Last week we talked about how to make your messaging customer-centric as we move into the holidays. A strong finish to 2017 will boost your start to 2018, so we wanted to give you some specific ideas for capturing their attention at this busy time of year.
When you give your customers and participants some year-end love with holiday promotions and thank yous, you’ll accomplish several important marketing priorities:
- You show gratitude. Your students and families enrich your life and make your camp or class successful. They’re the reason you do what you do. Reflect on a moment this year when you felt particularly thankful for a student or parent and allow those feelings to fuel a heartfelt holiday email to your participants. (Or you can swipe an email template from our packet of holiday emails and promos. No shame in that!)
- You get on your customers’ radar. Priorities compete for busy autumn and holiday months, and registering for your program may be one of those to-dos that falls by the wayside. Sometimes, former participants loved your program, but just never got around to signing up for the next session. When you pop up in their inbox with a holiday or year-end discount, they might really appreciate the nudge. Especially when …
- You provide timely gift ideas. A holiday promotion with a deadline provides great motivation for signing up NOW—or at least in time to slip a printable gift certificate into a loved one’s stocking.
Now’s the time to make your plan—before fall gets away from you! Here’s our spin on a pre-holiday to-do list that will strengthen your participant connections and give your program an edge for 2018.
Plan a festive (virtual) event: Hold a social media contest
Reconnect participants to your program and offer levity to everyone’s news feed with a fun social media contest. Remember to plan your budget. While social media contests don’t have to be expensive to be successful, you definitely need a big giveaway prize that everyone wants in order to engage them at this busy time. (i.e. Yeti tumbler? Apple watch?)
Here’s one idea. Drum up a contest that celebrates your counselors and staff. This will give them a nice morale boost, and hopefully remind summer staff why they want to come back next year!
Make a list of real and goofy criteria—everything from “Counselor of the Year” to “Staff Member Most Likely to Drop a Phone in the Toilet.” Invite your participants to nominate someone on social media, and the person who receives the most “Likes” wins. The names of those who participated go into a drawing for the grand prize giveaway. (Or, you could give the grand prize to the Counselor of the Year!)
Make a gift list: Decide on your “gifts” and promote them.
As you plan your holiday discounts, make sure you have marketing goals mind. Do you want to reach new registrants? Increase early-bird registrations? Boost your winter program? Significantly increase your number of Facebook followers?
Having a specific goal makes your holiday promotions easier to evaluate, and you should always measure what you accomplished against the time and budget you spent.
Here are some ideas for holiday promotions:
- Specials on camp or program gear for under the Christmas tree
- Discounts on your programs for “experience” gifts
- Early-bird rates for moms and dads planning 2018 activities
Send holiday greetings: Thank all your peeps for a great year
Now is the time to update your email lists, and identify audiences for various messages. Our packet of email templates will help you plan holiday communications. But here are some audiences to consider:
- Participants (parents and students) from your most recent sessions—your current customers.
- Recent participants—those who have not registered recently.
- Former participants—those who have not registered in more than a year.
- Community partners—schools, organizations, places of worship or any group that’s partnered with you to promote your program.
- Staff and counselors
After you’ve made your plan, including budget and scheduling, all you have to do is follow it.
Don’t forget to give yourself the gift of easier and more effective program management.