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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Is Your Website Mobile-Friendly? Take Google's Mobile Website Test to Find Out

All of us know the frustration of visiting and/or using a website where you have to pinch the screen and expand the text because the words are too small and scroll sideways just to read all the website content and the links are too small or too close together and all that.

Well guess what?

Sites like these, in Google's opinion, are not mobile friendly. That means your site is not optimized for mobile users, so Google could penalize you in its mobile search results.

In fact, starting yesterday, Google began adding a "mobile-friendly" label to its mobile search results so users are better able to find what they're looking for.

Is your camp's website mobile-friendly? You can take Google's "Mobile Friendly Web Site Test" here to find out.

If you (actually, Google) discovers that your site is not mobile-friendly, you should consider making the requisite updates quickly.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

How to Get the Most Social Media Marketing Benefits from Your Camp Photos

I try to make a point of visiting at least five different summer camp websites and their social media sites each day. It's the best way to monitor the competition and all that. In many cases I've followed the same camps online for years. One thing I keep noticing is that many of these camps are using the same pictures and videos in their marketing that they've used forever.

If you're using the same photos on your social media sites that you used many years ago, I suggest you revisit this practice because you may be severely limiting your social media marketing benefits by doing so.

Some photos are timeless, no doubt about it, so this isn't to say stop using old photos. But in most cases it's better to use current camp photos --  preferably from the most recent summer -- to maximize your social media marketing benefits especially when marketing to kids themselves. Here's what I mean.

Imagine a child who attended your camp last summer is visiting your camp's Instagram page right now.  If he sees a photo of himself at camp last year, he's MUCH more likely to tag and/or share that photo with friends than if he was looking at very old photos from many years ago with completely unrecognizable kids.

On some of my own sites, I still use photos from 10 years back, but VERY sparingly. In order to get full and complete social media marketing benefits, the majority of your camp pictures must be current and new, not old and used.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

How to Get a 58% Email Marketing Open Rate by Including Lists in Your Subject Lines

Did you know creating lists (numbered or bullet pointed) is one of the top ways to get people to share and read your content?

Let's say you're writing a blog post about why kids love camp so much. You could title your post, "Kids Really Love Camp!", and that might get you a few readers here or there.

But if you titled your post with a list, like "Top 5 Reasons Kids Love Camp," you will ALWAYS garner more interest than the generic example above.

Here's an email marketing tip. Try using lists in your email subject lines. I'll bet your open rate will be MUCH higher for those emails than your others.

Most email marketing companies let you compare and test things like this, so that you can use the data to continually improve your email marketing in the future. But when you're doing your testing, be sure to ONLY test one variable (such as the email subject line) or you won't get accurate results.

Here's what I mean in real life -- here's an example from an email I just sent out to my own customers where I tested the email subject line to get people to sign up for my summer camp.

First I selected 500 random families on my email list who've been to my camp before, but who have not signed up for camp this year. I wanted to get them to re-enroll for this upcoming 2014 summer season.

So what I did was, I divided my list of 500 families in two sets of 250. Then I wrote the email itself, which I made CERTAIN was the same for all 500 families. (The entire body, pictures, text, etc. of the email was identical for everyone AND I sent the email at the exact same time on the exact same day.)

But even though all 500 families got the same email content itself, each group of 250 got a different subject line so I could test which subject line worked better.

For the first group of 250 families, the subject line was this: "Sign up for Camp Today!"

For the second group, the subject line was this: "Top 5 Reasons You Need to Sign up for Camp Today"

Guess what? 

The first group had an open rate of 29% -- not too shabby by any means.

But the second group -- the one with the LIST ("Top 5 Reasons..." in the subject line) had a whopping 58% open rate! It was amazing, and it shows that using a list in the subject line did the trick. (The reason I know this is because it's the only variable that was different between the two emails.)

Try it yourself. Ask your email marketing provider if they allow A/B testing. (I use Constant Contact). If your email marketing vendor does not allow this type of testing, switch to one who does. You will be pleasantly surprised with the results!