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Friday, November 13, 2015

Top 26 Joint Venture and Partnership Prospects for Summer Camps

The Fastest Way to Grow Camp Enrollment is Through Joint Ventures and Partnerships with Like-Organizations Who Share the Same Customer Base As You (Kids and Families), But Who Don't Directly Compete with You. Here's 26 Potential Partnership Ideas to Help You Get Started.

How do joint ventures and partnerships work? Imagine your local real estate agent (let's call her "Sally") happily refers all of her clients to your camp. In return, you send an email to your customer list endorsing Sally as someone your customer families will be very pleased with next time they need help buying or selling a home.

As you can see, there's many potential benefits to setting up partnerships like this, but principally, it gives you instant access to new markets and potential customer bases you couldn't otherwise reach.

Where to Find Joint Venture Partners

I've been writing this summer camp marketing blog for many years and have advocated establishing joint venture and partnership deals many times before. I am aware of several camp directors who've set up these types of arrangements based on ideas or advice I've given and have been quite successful. More often than not, however, I come across too many camp directors who are either too intimidated to jump into something like this or simply don't know where to start.

If you are timid about getting started, don't be! Just start. All you need to do is contact a few other businesses, schools, or organizations that serve kids and families to propose an affiliation. As long as your proposition has value, how could anyone say no?

With respect to finding joint venture or partnership contacts, here's a list of places, people, groups and organizations in case you're stuck finding a starting point to propose joint venture marketing  partnerships with:

  1. ACT/SAT/Academic Subject Tutors
  2. Schools
  3. Teachers
  4. Sports coaches
  5. Fitness instructors/private trainers
  6. Physical therapists
  7. Pediatricians
  8. Pediatric dentists 
  9. Eye doctors or eyeglass retailers
  10. Dermatologists
  11. Realtors and real estate agents
  12. Pool services
  13. Dry cleaners
  14. AC/Heating companies
  15. Car wash or auto detailers
  16. Vets and pet groomers
  17. Pest control companies
  18. Gardeners and landscapers
  19. Toy stores
  20. Kids' clothing stores
  21. Bike sales and repair shops
  22. Sporting goods stores
  23. Your insurance agent
  24. Your bank
  25. Restaurants you frequent
  26. Frozen yogurt and ice cream stores
There you have it. That's at least 26 ideas to help you get started. Everyone on this list has access to other people you want to reach.

January and February are ideal times to make your initial contacts and set up your partnerships, as all of these places will be looking for new forms of income to start the New Year and your marketing season will be just heating up for the summer.

Let me know how you do. Good luck!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Make Sure Prospects Can Find You On Social Media via Your Website's "Contact Us" Page

Does your website's "Contact Us" page include links to your social media sites? If not, you're missing a huge marketing opportunity

There's lots of overlooked opportunities in marketing. I don't know why so many stones are left unturned, but it's pretty regrettable because most folks don't realize how making one little change or improvement to your marketing program can have such a huge impact on your bottom line.

Here's what I'm getting at. I just visited 10 random summer camp websites. Every one of them is missing a MAJOR social media opportunity because they don't have links to their social media accounts on their "Contact Us" pages on their websites.

Go ahead, visit your own website now. Click on your "Contact" page. Does it include a way for website visitors and camp prospects to visit you on social media? If so, congrats -- you're doing a whole lot better than the other 10 websites I saw this morning.

Now please don't get me wrong. If you're like most camps, your website's "Contact Us" page probably includes a feedback or brochure request form and maybe your address, phone number and other ways folks can reach you.

Those are important features, but if your "Contact" page doesn't include a tool for inviting prospects to visit you on social media, you're missing a big opportunity. That's because your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media accounts and pages are natural extensions of your website's "Contact Us" page.

Every person that visits your "Contact" page obviously wants to reach you. That means they're hot prospects for you.

If someone fills out a brochure request form from your "Contact Us" page, great -- you've got a new lead. But what if they also saw on that page a link to your Facebook or Instagram accounts? Now you've got a couple new ways to really connect with them and cultivate a new relationship (or potentially new customer) going forward.

So if you don't have links to your social media sites on your contact us page, definitely consider adding them today. It shouldn't take more than a few minutes to do this, and the potential payoff could be huge.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Have You Considered a Mother's Day Summer Camp Promotion?

Summer Camp and Mother's Day Were Made for Each Other. There's Lots of New Enrollment to Be Had By Offering a Mother's Day Promotion at Your Camp.

One of the most effective ways to get the most bang for your marketing buck is tying in a promotion to a Holiday.

Here's a few examples:

  • A suit company gives men a free tie on Father's Day
  • A candy store gives you a free chocolate bunny on Easter
  • A baseball team gives you a free Jackie Robinson replica sports jersey on April 15, the day Jackie Robinson debuted in the big leagues (Jackie Robinson Day isn't a national holiday, but it should be and you get the idea...)

So it seems pretty clear, Holidays and promotions go together. People are conditioned to spending money in conjunction with Holidays. That's why so many brands center promotions around them.

If you're wondering what I'm getting at, it's this: Mother's Day and summer camp go together. Offering a Mother's Day promotion is just about the most timely and relevant marketing strategy you could do.

Here's why:

  • Mother's Day is exclusively for moms
  • Mother's Day falls in May when the weather's warming up, school's winding down, and families are contemplating camp opportunities for their kids
  • Most moms are responsible for arranging their kids' summer schedules
  • Most mom's pay for camp
  • Most moms love saving money
  • Most Moms respond to offers just for them

Running a Mother's Day summer camp promotion could be the fastest way to generate a huge bunch of enrollments in the shortest possible time for your camp. An enticing offer that gets moms to sign up for camp RIGHT NOW could be just what you need to get a huge enrollment spike in a very short period of time -- even just a few hours.

Last year I got 41 enrollments in 12 hours by doing a Mother's Day Promotion via email where I offered a $7 discount per day (which was actually just rolling back prices to Early Bird rates which expired a few weeks earlier) to prior year families who hadn't signed up yet.

Now if I'm being honest, I pretty sure getting that many enrollments in just one day was some kind of fluke because it's easily the single best enrollment day I've ever had in comparison to the work required (basically typing a 15 minute email message) to get all those enrollments in the first place.

But I'm definitely doing it again this Mother's Day, and if I only get half that many sign-ups this time, I'll be happy.

I realize some camps don't like giving discounts. But if you want to generate a bunch of new money in short period of time, this is one of the best ways to do it. You need to think of what you're getting -- a ton of new enrollment in no time flat -- compared to what you're not. (There's no way 41 people would've signed up for Aloha Beach Camp in 12 hours on Mother's Day without this promotion.)

If you decide to do something like this for your camp, keep a few things in mind.

Your promotion needs to stand out and really catch the eye of your target market (moms), because everyone and their brother saves their best marketing gimmicks and promotions for Holidays. You'll be competing against flower shops, candy companies, restaurants offering Mother's Day Brunch, all of that.

At the same time, you shouldn't have too much trouble, because simply by virtue of being a camp, you've got a HUGE head-start over all those other brands. That's because Mother's Day is the time of year Moms are thinking of camp anyway. Offering a small discount in connection with Mother's Day is a timely, relevant summer camp marketing strategy that can work wonders for your program.