Whether you run a residential camp or a day camp, getting the word out early and seeing registrations coming in for next season is undoubtedly a top priority for most camp directors. You know that to get the participants you need, hire the right staff, and be in top shape overall when spring rolls in, planning needs to start as soon as the kids are on their ride back home!
Today’s parents are more demanding, always pressed for time, and more reluctant to spend money. A growing number of activity choices vie for their attention and messages about what camp “is” or “should be” add to the clutter. It’s getting tougher for camps to stand out and now, perhaps more than ever, you need to be crystal clear about who your market is, what you stand for, and where you’re going.
So, first things first: how will you grab parents’ attention to get them to register to your camp?
It starts by understanding the 5 fundamental motivators that drive all buying decisions:
The secret to constructing the perfect camp marketing campaign is putting yourself in your audience’s shoes to understand how to fulfill these five desires.
You’re a consumer, too. You want products and experiences that provide the same benefits that you want to offer your customers: improved experience, convenience, savings, fun (or at least more time for fun), and results.
Use this shared experience to connect with your target audience.
Think about how you, as a consumer, become aware of new opportunities and what features attract you to one offer over another. The last time you responded to an advertisement or offer, what words, locations, colors, images, or approach motivated you to investigate further?
Who are the people that need what you have? Your target audience is primarily busy moms. If you’re not a busy mom yourself, go to a venue where you’ll find lots of moms (e.g. school playground, soccer field) and figure out:
Also, think of asking new registrants where they heard about your camp to get an idea of where your most effective marketing is taking place.
Successful camp leaders know that doing some research or testing assumptions from time to time is a must to stay ahead of the game.
Many camps offer the same types of benefits: skills and endurance training, character development, good habits, and increased self-confidence. These are great, but they’re expected.
To win, you need to be "differentiated". It's a fancy term that means this:
Now take your "Power Positions" and think of the 5 buyer motivators we talked about earlier. What else can you do to make your offer even more compelling and draw more participants?
1. Exceptional Experience: From registration all to way to the end of the camp, make your camp exceptional and you’ll create a memorable experience for the kids and their parents alike. In a survey of over a thousand parents, “Quality of Programs and Staff” was stated as the number one reason why parents chose a camp. You have an exceptional program—make sure your marketing shows off the quality of your programs and staff! Can you capture metrics that show a high percentage of return campers? Do you have elite supporters or the endorsement of a well-known individual? What and who can help support your quality claims?
2. Convenience: No one has time to print out forms, hand-fill them, and mail them with a check, or worse, drive them to you. Paper days are o-v-e-r. Yet many camps still “force” parents into this outdated process. Look at what parents actually crave! Think of how you could offer them an insanely convenient way to register their kids and pay the fees 24/7, and you’ll not only attract more parents, but you’ll also create a positive experience for them.
Make the whole process paperless and stress-free for yourself, too, by taking advantage of tools that handle:
3. Savings: In these economic times, it’s rare to find people who aren’t looking for a good deal. Often, the savings you offer can be used to incent parents to pay attention to the information that is most important to you:
4. Fun: Our Parent Camp Survey revealed that FUN was the second-highest rated criteria for camp selection.
5. Results: SKILL LEARNED was the fourth-highest rated criteria for parents in our survey.
The Rule of Seven says that people typically must see a message seven times before it registers! This is especially true if they’re not even looking for what you have to offer. That’s why it takes multiple communications in an assortment of forms to reach your audience.
If you want to avoid your website resembling a popsicle stand in the desert, you’re going to have to leverage a variety of means to get the word out, whether it’s through the facility you use, colleagues, or community connections.
The end of camp is the perfect time to capitalize on the built-up enthusiasm of your campers and to re-connect with peers:
Camp forms are perfect for managing all camp types from summer camp registration to sports camps, church camps, and more. Let ACTIVE Camps help you efficiently manage your campers.