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Monday, November 30, 2009

Are People Talking About Your Camp On Twitter?

Find out right now

Recommended: The Guerilla Marketing Blog

One marketing blog I recommend all camp directors read is the guerilla marketing blog. "Guerilla Marketing" is a marketing concept that requires marketing with effort and creativity rather than lots of money.

The guerilla marketing blog is by nature a small business marketing blog, but you can learn a lot from it and apply what you learn to your camp. Check it out when you can get an hour or two without being disturbed.

Does Your Camp Have a Blog?

If you don't write a blog you should start one. Blogs are fantastic marketing tools for several reasons, but principally because:

1) They give you a way to stay connected with customers and prospects; and
2) Search engines LOVE them.

Why are blogs so popular with search engines? Because the Internet loves new content. So if you're updating your blog regularly (at least 3 times a week), you should see a nice boost in your search engine rankings.

You can start blogging today for free. Try Wordpress, LiveJournal, Tumblr or Google's Blogger tool.

What should you blog about? Anything related to your camp, the camp industry, your personal life, or whatever else will draw your customers and prospects closer to you. Your blog is your camp's online relationship between you and your camp families. Have fun!

Where does Google rank your camp's Website?

Where does Google rank your camp's Website? Find out here.

How to Write Great Ad Headlines

When you're writing an ad, the headline is the most important component. This is true no matter what type of ad you're running, online or off, but it's especially crucial for online advertising for two reasons.

First, with online advertising, you're typically contending with limited space or character restrictions. This holds true whether you're using banner ads, Google Adwords, Facebook ads, or whatever.

Second, when people view your online ad, they're probably in a hurry (in fact they're most likely viewing your on their mobile device, which means they're on the go), so you only have a FRACTION of a second to capture their attention with a powerful headline. 

Get this. If your headline doesn't catch your prospect's attention immediately, they won't read the rest of your ad. Typically, 80% of people will read an ad's headline, but only 2% will read the rest. That's why your headline is so important -- if it doesn't strike like lightening, you can kiss your prospect goodbye.

So you can see how your headline can determine the success or failure of your ad.

How do your write a great headline? It's not easy. It takes practice. But as a general rule, the best headlines provide a benefit to your prospect, generally answering their question, "What's in it for me?"

I always suggest writing the copy (text) of an ad first, then writing the headline last. Why? Because often times you'll find your headline hidden in your ad copy, which you didn't even know was there until writing your ad in the first place.

Your headline can be long or short, but keeping it to 15 words or less is a good general rule of thumb for a print publication. For online banner advertising, seven words or less is good (depending on the size of your ad), and I believe Google Adwords and Facebook both limit your headline to 25 characters.

Here's a list of the 100 best advertising headlines ever written if you need some ideas. When you write your next ad(s), you might try to adapt these into your print or advertising campaign.

Nice to Meet You!

Just wanted to take a moment to introduce myself to those of you new to this blog. My name is Eric Naftulin and I’m the owner/director of Aloha Beach Camp Summer Day Camp in Los Angeles, CA (http://www.alohabeachcamp.com). I love running my camp and have a passion for marketing. I also have a mission to expose as many kids as possible to the camp experience.

The best way I know how to do this is by marketing my camp better and helping other camp directors do the same. If we all concentrate on marketing our programs, the natural outcome will be that more kids than ever will get to enjoy the camp experience.

Someone just asked me what my motivation was/is for writing this blog, and if I'm worried other camps will steal my ideas. Heck no! The whole point is to get as many kids as possible into camp -- either mine or yours -- and the best way to spread our message is through marketing. I hope you'll take my ideas and use them at your camp. I can't promise they'll all work for you -- you'll have to experiment to find out what works best for your situation -- but I'm pretty confident most will have value to you.

Besides, there are more than enough kids to go around :)

Act Now, it's FREE!

There's a bunch of words and and phrases that work better than others in marketing. "Fun," "Free," "Easy" and "Safe" are just a few. Don't go overboard. But next time you're updating your camp's website, writing a sales letter, making an offer or redoing your brochure, try incorporating some of these words or phrases into your copy. I know you'll be pleased with the results.

How to Get More Referrals

If your camp rocks, chances are you're getting lots of word-of-mouth referrals. At Aloha Beach Camp we want 85% of our enrollment to be referral-based. That's how we keep marketing costs down. Why pay for advertising and marketing when you can get other people to do it for you ... for free? 

Here's a slam-dunk way to get more referrals: Every time you get a referral, contact the referring family to say thank you. You can call them, email them or send them a personal letter (I think a hand-written note is best). They'll be blown away you took the time to do it.

Here's a link to some sample referral letters I found online. Customize them to your camp, start sending them today, and watch your referrals grow like a weed.

No comments?

This blog is meant to be interactive, so if anyone has comments or questions, don't be shy!

Add a Coupon to Camp Coupons.com

We've been getting lots of new coupons additions to campcoupons.com. If you want to do something nice for your camp families and give new customers an incentive to sign up, add your camp today.  It's free!

RatePoint vs. Constant Contact Email Marketing

We use ConstantContact.com for Aloha Beach Camp's email marketing programs. We've been hearing great things about a new service called RatePoint though. RatePoint claims it gives you more features than Constant Contact at half the price. I haven't looked into it yet, but if true, that's a pretty good reason to switch. Go to ratepoint.com/hello for more info and a 30 day free trial.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

How to Rise in Google's Search Result Rankings By Writing Articles About Camp

One of most effective ways to rise in Google's search results is accumulating links back to your website. The sheer number of links isn't as important as the quality, popularity, and general content of the site they come from. One link to your site from another that Google considers "important" is a better than, say, 10 other links from sites Google considers "unimportant" (Google's words, not mine).

Getting links to your website isn't always easy, but there are ways to do it. One of the best I've found is by writing articles related to your industry and making them available for distribution on other sites. Here's how it works.

Log onto Google and type in, "submit your articles" or "article marketing sites." Pick 4 or 5 sites that seem decent to you. Create a free account, start writing and posting your articles to these sites, then watch the magic happen.

Magic? In terms of getting FREE distribution of your links across the internet, yes. Here's why.

After you submit your articles to these sites, other internet authors (bloggers, etc.) will then use your articles as content on their sites. (You grant them this right in exchange for posting your article for free, but don't worry, you'll still retain copyright).

Now here's the thing. You must ALWAYS include a link back to your website within your articles, because when these other bloggers and writers post your articles to their sites, they'll post your links along with them.

It's pretty amazing. You can see how writing just one article can get links pointing back to your website on literally thousands of other sites in just minutes!

One or two things to think about. Make sure your articles are well-written and relevant. The internet is filled with piss-poor content due to other article marketers using this strategy as a means to get quick exposure.

Also, avoid including your links in the body of your articles. Save them for the byline to maintain your credibility.

If you want to see some examples of articles I've written and how they link back to my site, check out some of the articles I've written for articlesbase.com.

I hope you give article marketing a try. It's a great way to get links back to your site, establish yourself as an expert in camping and hopefully pick up a bunch of new campers fast.

Do You Have a Slogan for Your Camp?

Here's Inc.com's vote for the Top 10 slogans of all time. Some marketing folks also call slogans "USPs" or Unique Selling Propositions. Do you have a slogan for your camp?


...

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Hot Prospects: Single Dads

Most camp marketers think about moms and kids when determing who to market to. Have you considered single dads?

I don't know about you, but when we get an inquiry from a single dad at Aloha Beach Camp, we have an astounding 72% percent conversion rate turning that inquiry into a paying customer.

If I were you, I'd buy a mailing list of single dads, create a special offer just for them, then send them a postcard detailing the offer. And I bet I'd be pleasantly surprised with the response!

63 Killer Marketing Strategies for Your Camp

Dan Kennedy is one of the top 4 or 5 marketers in the world, in my opinion. I've read all of his books and  recommend you do, too. You can get a wealth of marketing ideas from Dan in just one chapter.

I won't lie, Dan's marketing style is somewhat "edgy." So you need to decide for yourself whether you're comfortable adapting his ideas to your marketing program. But I'll tell you what, they work.

You can do a search on Amazon for Dan Kennedy to find his books. "No BS Success," "The Ultimate Sales Letter" and "The Ultimate Marketing Plan" are my three favorites.

Meanwhile, there's 63-point "Killer Marketing Checklist" Dan put together which you can read on the internet for free. Whether you are starting a new camp, need to increase camper retention , writing a marketing plan, drafting a sales letter, overhauling your camp's marketing program, looking for new marketing ideas or doing anything else even remotley related to marketing your camp, you owe it to yourself to take a look at this.

Although it's about 89 pages in pdf format, it's a literal goldmine in terms of how much it can help you market your camp starting now. Click here to get it. (Rememeber, it's FREE, but it can help you add more than a few bucks to your bank, that's for sure.)

Enjoy!

Friday, November 27, 2009

How to Write a Marketing Plan in Just 7 Sentences

Did you know you can write an effective marketing plan in just 7 sentences? If you don't have a marketing plan for your camp, now is the time to write one. It'll help you focus your marketing strategy and get more kids into camp. There's no reason not to do it.

5 Easy and Cost Effective Marketing Strategies You Can Use at Camp Today

Lot's of professional marketers claim it takes a long time to get your marketing message across to the public and by extension for you to see results. I say, bullshit.

If I know you (and if you're anything like me), you don't have time or patience to wait forever until your marketing starts working.You need results right now.

You're in luck. Here's 5 easy and cost effective marketing strategies you can start using at camp today. Let me know how they work for you - they've worked pretty well for me!

1. Put a coupon in your ad or on your website. Everyone loves a bargain, especially in these tough economic times. Not only is marketing with coupons a great for your camp stand out from the crowd, it's a nice gesture to help current customers save a few bucks while providing a financial incentive for new prospects. (One caveat: don't go overboard with your coupon offer for current customers; you don't want to offer too many discounts to people who'd otherwise pay full price.)

2. Get listed on the camp-specific search engines. The Internet is where it's at! More than one study has proven that many (if not most) people begin their search for products and services on the Web. Get your camp listed on sites like campsearch.com, campchannel.com, kidscamps.com and others. Many of these will offer you a free listing or you can upgrade to a paid one.

3. Use postcards in your direct mail efforts. Many camps use direct mail as a marketing tool. This is a fantastic strategy when done right. But direct mail can also be a money pit if you screw it up. I'll tell you what, if you haven't been using postcards for direct mail marketing, give it a try! Not only are postcards cheaper to mail than traditional sales letters or brochures that might get tossed in the round file before your prospect even opens it, that same prospect MUST look at your postcard since there's no envelope required. Put a picture of a happy camper on the front side of your postcard, a brief (but important) message on the back, and you're set. Try modernpostcard.com, vistaprint.com or 1800postcards.com for some quality postcard sites online.

4. Always, always, ALWAYS get prospects' contact information when they call.
When you speak to a prospective camp family on the phone, make sure you get their name, their kid's name and age, phone number, mailing address, email address and how they heard about your camp. This way you can stay in touch with them after the fact with follow-up mailings, phone calls, emails and more. Capturing their contact information will also help you tailor your marketing to that specific family. I've seen too many camps take phone calls from red hot prospects only to lose them as potential customers because the camp representative didn't get the contact info. That's a shame, especially considering a simple follow-up call or email is often all you'll need to convert a prospect who's on the fence into a paying family.

5. Market your camp every day. All of us in camping wear many hats. But that's no excuse for putting your marketing on hold. If you don't have time market your camp yourself, do yourself a favor and designate one of your employees as your marketing coordinator. This person should spend AT LEAST one hour per day promoting your program(s). Don't let a single day pass without spending this bare minimum time telling the world about your camp.

So there you go...5 marketing tips you can implement today. Hopefully you're already doing them, but if not, there's no time like the present!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Best Marketing Website on the Internet

People ask me all the time my opinion on the best marketing website on the internet. I've come across lots of good ones (and lots of bad ones). I'll get into detail in the coming weeks and months about some of the better ones out there. For now, you might take a look at gmarketing.com. It's a winner.

10 Reasons Your Marketing Stinks

Great article here from entrepreneur.com

When is the Best Time to Send Emails?

If you are a summer camp marketer using emails to market your camp to parents, Tuesday through Thursday mornings are generally the best time to send them. If your emails are directed at kids, sending them in the late afternoon when they get home from school is the best time. (And you better be sure you're complying with the coppa law, too.)

If you are using emails to send camp newsletters, frequency and timeliness are important. Since your recipients are expecting to receive your newsletter on a regular basis, so be certain to send your emails at the same time, every time.

Always Use the Telephone to Follow Up With a Prospect

Even in the age of the Internet, the telephone is one of your best friends in marketing your camp. In fact, it's a nice compliment to your online promotional activities.

If you haven't already, you'll probably start getting phone inquiries from prospective camp families soon . When people call to request your brochure, video, CD, or other promotional pieces, make sure you get their phone number and email address (at the least) so you can make a FOLLOW UP call to them between 7 to 10 days after you send out the info.

Don't think of making a follow up phone call as "telemarketing." For one thing, THEY initiated the relationship with YOU by calling for information. So you're just giving them a friendly call to say hi, confirm they got your info and answer any questions they have. Not only will your prospect appreciate your follow up, you'll increase your inquiry-to-enrollment covenversion rates this way.

So don't be lazy and wait for the prospect to call you back, because they might never do it. Be proactive and get on the phone!

Add Your Camp to Wefollow.com

Are you (or your camp) on Twitter? If so, go to http://www.wefollow.com and get added to the directory. I did it using the search terms #summercamp, #entrepreneur and #marketing

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Do Your Camp's Website Have FAQ Page?

I spent a few hours today checking out your website. Well, maybe not your website. But I did pick 25 summer camp websites at random to see which ones had FAQ (frequently asked questions) pages. About half of them did not.

Why You Need an FAQ page

If your camp's website doesn't have an FAQ page, you should add one. Here's why:

1. It's good customer service
2. Search engines favor FAQ pages
3. FAQ pages can help promote and sell your camp services
4. FAQ pages can be a huge time-saver for you. (You're probably getting the same questions over and over again anyway, so why not put them on your site?)

Your FAQ page must be detailed and informative. Anticipate customer questions in advance, then put them online. Make them easily accessible from your home page. And don't worry about having too many FAQ's or giving out too much information; in fact, the more, the better.

Search Engines Love FAQ Pages

Here's why search engines love FAQ's. When people visit Google, more times than not they enter a question to find what they're looking for.  In response, Google wants to deliver the most relevant possible results to the user's query. So if your FAQ page contains relevant information -- and, even better, matches the questions users are asking Google verbatim -- BINGO! You could find your summer camp's FAQ page at the top of Google's search results in no time.

(Lesson here: Anticipate EVERY possible question a customer or prospect might ask, then put it on your FAQ page!)

Update Your FAQ Page Often

Here's another thing. Don't just put your FAQ page online and forget about it. The internet is 100% content-driven and hates stagnant material. In fact, Google LOVES fresh content, so update your FAQ page regularly just like you would your blog (your do have a blog, right?) with new, relevant information on a regular basis.

Then sit back and smile as you watch your FAQ page rise in the search engines faster than you can say "happy camper!" :)

How to Add Value Until They Say "Uncle"

Even if we weren't in a recession, you'd be a pretty smart marketer if you looked for ways to add value to your customers'  purchasing experience. Your chances for favorable enrollment are best when you offer extra value to what you're selling. Adding value means making people feel like what they're getting is worth more than they're actually paying.

If you sell camp for $1,000 per session, you want parents to say to themselves, "I'd be an be an idiot not to buy this."

Dan Kennedy (http://www.dankennedy.com) is one of my all-time favorite marketers. For one thing, he's innovative. For another, he's got balls -- he doesn't care what anyone thinks of him. He just goes out there and makes a boatload of money because he's such an astute marketer. Check out what he says about adding value:

"Do yourself this favor. The next time your state or country fair comes around, get out there, go to the commercial exhibit tent, and watch the guys who demonstrate and sell stuff like Ginzu knives or the Miracle Chomois. I know, I know -- not very sophisticated. Well, get the  monocle out of your eye and pay attention because these guys know how to pile on value until you holler, "Uncle."

The people who put together the Sports Illustrated Magazine TV commercials learned this lesson well and sell al lot of subscriptions because of it. Anybody can use this, if they're smart and have the guts.  Let's take the real estate business as an example. If I was advertising in that business,  here's the kind of thing I'd do: I'd say: Look, we both know you can go and buy a house from any real estate company and that any company can get you any house. But when you buy from us, here's what we'll do.  First, we'll give you a 90-day warranty on the heating and cooling system and major appliances. Second, we'll give you this great camera, so you can take pictures of your new home to send to your friends. Third, the day you're moving in, we'll send a big, strong, strapping college kid out there to help you unpack boxes and move furniture and do anything else you need done. The kid's yours all day at our expense. Fourth, you'll probably be buying at least one or two pieces of new furniture, so we'll give you a 10% Discount Certificate from this fantastic furniture store. Fifth, you're going to be tired after moving in, so we've got a 2-for-1 dinner certificate for you at a nice local restaurant, so you won't have to worry about dinner. Sixth, just for fun, here's a coupon for two free video rentals at a nice video store right in the new neighborhood. Now you're not going to pay a cent more letting us find you a house than dealing with any other real estate company. You might even pay less, because we're pretty good at our job. But you will get all this great stuff free.

How much will all  that cost the real estate company? $100 for the warranty, $10 for the camera, $25 for the college kid, zip for the coupons."

I've read all of Dan Kennedy's books and model lots of my promotional activities based on what he does. Just to give you an idea of what I mean, here's some of what we do at Aloha Beach Camp to add value to our customers' experience:

1. We give every camp family free pictures of their kids at camp. (That's right, families don't need to pay for their kids' pictures anymore. We take pictures of their kids all week and post them every Friday night for customers to download, all free.)

2. We give folks a 100% money-back guarantee. Even if their kids to don't love camp, we'll refund all their money so all the risk's on us. 

3. We give our campers free lunch every Friday.

4. We give every camper a free goodie bag filled with t-shirts, coupons, magazine subscriptions, and lots of other freebies and discounts valued up to $100 or more

These four points are just a start. We do a lot more, too, which I'll share with you later. For now I just wanted to share these ideas as a starting point to help you start thinking about what you can do to add value for your camp families. Let me know if you want more ideas.

55 Search Engine Optimization Tips for Your Website

55 Search Engine Optimization tips for your camp's website: http://www.searchenginejournal.com/55-quick-seo-tips-even-your-mother-would-love/6760/

How to Use Twitter to your Camp's Full Advantage

Are you using Twitter to your full advantage? Visit http://getsatisfaction.com/twitter.

How to Use Seach as a Local Marketing Tool

Good info here about using search as a local marketing tool. (Day camps may find this extremely useful.)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

3 Easy Ways to Monitor Your Competition

Let's face it, we're all friends in the camp community but lots of us are going after the same kids, too. That's why it's s always a good idea to stay on top of your competition. 

Ideally your competitors will be reacting to your marketing activities rather than you reacting to theirs. In any case you should stay apprised of what they're doing. Here's three easy ways to do it.

1. Sign up for Google Alerts.  Just input your topics of interest
(in this case, the names of your camp competitors or anything else you're interested in following), and you'll get email updates from Google whenever your chosen topics appear on the Internet. You can get the alerts once a week, once a day, or even as they happen depending on your preference.

2. Get on your competitor's email (or snail mail) list. Create a new email account for yourself with a free service like Yahoo or Gmail. (Don't use your camp's name in your new email address because you don't want your competitors to know what you're doing.) Then, go to their websites and sign up for their newsletters (or whatever other tools they use to keep in touch with their customers.) When your competition sends updates to their customers and prospects, you'll get the same information.

3. Make a point of reading your competitors' blogs. If they have any sense about them, your competitors are be updating their blogs at least three times per week. Most of the time they'll be posting information like "what's new at camp" and all that. You can get some great information they don't want you to know this way.

Test Everything!

Here's a smart and easy way to maximize your marketing dollars. Test everything!

Here's an example. Last year I sent a 700 piece mailing to local prospects. The variable I tested was the ink color of the return mailing address on the envelope. labels (yep, I'm that anal).  Half (350) of the labels were printed in blue, the other half in black. The offer I was making was the same in both envelopes.

My response?

Forty (40!!!) more people took advantage of the offer with the blue address label. That's a rediculous difference in response and rediculously important information. Why? Because now I know to expect a higher response to future offers when I send them with blue return address labels!

I'm not stopping there though. What if a red return address lable is more effective than blue?

For my next mailing, that's what I'm gonna test. If blue pulls better than red, I know I've got something here. If red pulls better than blue, that's great too because blue works great already! So then I'll test red against another color, and so on.

What else can you test?

Headlines
Signatures
Fonts
Brochures
Stamps

You name it, you can test it. And when you use the results to your advantage it's the best way in marketing to make every dollar you spend do the work of $2 or more. And that's what it's all about!


Doing an email campaign to promote Winter Camp? Test two subject lines against each other to see which gets the best response. For example:

Subject Line # 1: "Sign up now for Winter Camp"
Subect Line #2: "Save 10% Off Winter Camp. Enroll Now!"

If one of the emails pulls significantly better than the other, you know you've got a winner. Just be sure everything else in both emails is exactly alike, because if you change any other variable (even a picture or single word), you won't be comparing apples to apples and your results will not be true.

Good luck!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Social Media and Search Engine Marketing

In the future I'll be talking about using the internet to maximize your camp's marketing potential, including social media like Facebook. (If your camp doesn't have a presence there, it's time to get one). Meanwhile, check out this blog on search engine marketing. I read it all time and find it helpful. Hope you do, too. http://www.searchengineguide.com/

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Do it yourself camp websites

Did you know you can design your own website, even if you don't know HTML or other programming languages? Why continue to pay someone else to make your camp's website or maintain it when you can do it yourself and make it look just as good and functional?

If you can cut and paste, drag and drop, or click a link, you can make your own site with all the bells and whistles. There's lots of "do it yourself website" programs to choose from. Some are better than others. They'll all give you more control and cost you less than if you're beholden to a professional "website designer" or "webmaster" who has lots of other clients, doesn't provide the customer service you deserve and charges you an arm and a leg every time you need to make a content change or add a photo. (As the guy I used to pay to design Aloha Beach Camp.com,  Keiki Camp.com and my other sites confided in me recently "all the 'create your own website programs' are making it tough on us professionals to compete.")

When you're ready to make your own website, here are some companies to consider:


GoDaddy
Bravenet
Homestead
Sitekreator

Those four should get you started. For more ideas, Google "Do it yourself websites" or "Make your own website." The main thing to remember is your camp can have a really nice web presence without the cost and headaches or working with someone from the outside, if you're just willing to put in the time to do it yourself.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

5 Tips for Email Marketing

Is email part of your camp's marketing arsonal? It should be. I spend lots of time on the entrepreneur.com website, and I came across an article by Gail Goodman who shares 5 tips for email marketing you can use to start the New Year off right. Here's a link to the article - enjoy.

Internet Marketing Tips for Camps

Internet Marketing Tips for camps (article I wrote for the ACA about a year and a half ago) -- hope it helps you: http://www.acasocal.org/documents/spring08update.pdf

How to Rise to theTop of the Search Engine Rankings

Here's one of the best search engine optimization checklists I've found. This could help you get your camp to the top of the search engine rankings: http://www.clickz.com/3624560

Free Online Photo Editing Site

Here's a FANTASTIC online photo editing site where you can tweak your camp photos and make them look their best, all for free. You don't even need to register to use the site. I can't recommend this enough: http://www.picnik.com

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Connect with us on Facebook

Don't forget to find us on facebook and become a fan.

How to Optimize Your Website's Keyword Content

Here's a great tool to help you find the best keywords for your website. Go to http://www.wordstream.com and play around with the site. When you find the best keywords, use them in your website's content. Optimal placement of keywords in website content is a surefire way of helping your camp improve in the search engine rankings.

What's your camp's most successful marketing tool or strategy?

Take our poll in the upper right.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Now More Than Ever, You Need to Market With Coupons

Just because it's free isn't the only reason why you should add a coupon to Camp Coupons.com. Check out this article about why you should strongly consider adding coupons to your marketing arsenal.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

21 Holiday Marketing Tips

Here's something cool from Small Business Newz.com: 21 Stats to Keep in Mind this Holiday Season. Which (and/or how many) of these are helpful for your camp's marketing program? (In my opinion, the first two are crucial, so I'm cranking up the gears for Aloha Beach Camp's social media marketing and using camp coupons to inventivize families to sign up for camp early with a discount. You can do this too!

Disney's Marketing Blows Me Away

Went to Disneyland yesterday to celebrate my kids' birthdays. Generally not a fan of roller coasters, waiting in long lines and dealing with crowds. But the way Disney markets, promotes, and merchadises blows me away. It's EASILY the best marketing company in the world. All us camp people can learn a thing or two from the folks at Disney, especially because we're all targeting families as our prime market base. Next time you're at Disneyland or Disney World, watching their TV shows or shopping in one of their stores, see if you can't steal a marketing idea or two and tweak it to fit your camp's promotional strategy.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Google's Small Business Network Offers Great Marketing Resources for Camps

Great marketing resources for your camp at Google's small business network. Check it out here...

Sunday, November 8, 2009

How Much Money do You Spend on Marketing?

Sometimes people have difficulty determining how much of their operating budget to allocate to marketing. The formula I use is at least 10% of projected sales goes to promoting my camp.

I generally plan my budget each fall for the upcoming fiscal year (Jan 1). So, for example, if I'm anticipating sales of $500,000 for Aloha Beach Camp, I allocate at least $50,000 for marketing and advertising.

Depending on your individual goals, you might allocate more or less. Do you have an organized plan for how much you spend on camp promotion?

Friday, November 6, 2009

How to Market Your Camp on a Limited Budget

Nice article here on marketing your camp on a limited budget.

Does Your Camp Have a Blog?

I assume you have a blog for your camp. There's too many good reasons not to. And there's no good reason why you shouldn't. On the chance you don't have one, but you're considering starting one, here's how to do it and what you need to know.

Go to Wordpress.com or Blogger.com and sign up for a free account. Either is suitable for any kind of camp, and both let you post pictures, video and text easily. (Personally I think Wordpress has more functionality, and most people seem to like it better, but I prefer Blogger. Blogger's owned by Google, so your blog could be viewed more favorably in the search engine rankings each time you make a blog post.)

In any case, make sure you submit your blog url to google's blog search ping service (free) at http://blogsearch.google.com/ping, and burn it at Feedburner (http://www.feedburner.com -- another google owned service) for better promotion and distribution. Have fun!

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Don't forget to follow us on twitter for more camp marketing tips and tricks

How to use Twitter Effectively for your Camp

How to use twitter effectively for your camp.

Need a new Website? Brochure? Promotional Materials?

Here's an article that shows the various way people and companies are using twitter. Also, elance (the article's publisher) is a great resource anytime you need a contracted project done like a brochure, website or whatever. Just post your project description to elance, and start receiving bids in minutes. I've used it many times myself with really nice results; I've had a few websites built by companies in Pakistan, for example, for only $700 whereas the American bids ranged from $1,500 - $4,000. The finished product was great, too.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

How to Get Dramatic Marketing Results

Everyone’s doing the same thing to market their camp. But if you’re looking for some really dramatic marketing results, the best place to find new ideas is by stealing them from other industries and applying them to your camp. That’s how you can really separate yourself from the camp marketing clutter, where everyone is doing the same thing. Google, "stealing marketing ideas from other industries" and see what you get.

Top 3 Marketing Books EVER!

Here's three good marketing books I think you'll like. They're my all-time favorites cause they're easy to read with loads of marketing ideas you can start using at your camp right now: 

1. "The Ultimate Marketing Plan" by Dan Kennedy. 

2. "Getting All You Can Out Of All You've Got" by Jay Abraham. 

3. "Guerilla Marketing" (all editions) by Jay Conrad Levinson. 

FYI, Amazon.com probably has the best price on these. Enjoy!

What's Your Favorite Marketing Website?

There's lots of free sites on the Internet where you can learn a lot about marketing. One of my favorites is duct tape marketing. Check it out and see if you can't find some useful marketing tips for your camp.

Introducing Google's new Social Search

If you ever needed a reason to market your camp with social media, here it is: Google's Social Search: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/10/introducing-google-social-search-i.html

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Do You Hate Marketing?

You know what? I've made lots of great friends in the camp community. But I haven't found too many camp people who embrace marketing to the extent they should. Sure, there are some very astute camp marketers. But in my humble opinion, most camp folks either don't like marketing or simply aren't good at it. Here's what I mean.

If I know you, you're probably only using a few marketing methods to fill your camp. But there are so many more available to you. I'm talking low cost, easy-to-use promotional strategies that will add kids to your camp right now. And I'm going to share them with you here for free. I ask nothing in return, but if you want to increase enrollment and make more money, I hope you'll use at least some of my ideas at your camp.

I hope you're as excited as I am about what lies ahead in campmarketingnews.com. If you find this blog worthwhile, please let a fellow camp person know, drop me a line or leave a comment. You can also follow us on twitter at http://twitter.com/campmarketingnews and connect with us on facebook (don't forget to become a fan!).

Talk to you soon : )

How to Double Your Sales in Just One Year

Lots of times we spin our wheels trying to increase enrollment by getting new customers. A constant flow of new customers is essential, otherwise it's goodbye, camp. But here's a little known (yet stunningly obvious) marketing strategy you can use to actually double your sales (read: double enrollment) in just one year: sell twice as much to your current customer base.

Let's say family "A" is paying you $500. I'm sure you're resourceful enough to squeeze another $500 out of them, and so on down the line until all your customers have paid you twice as much than they already are.

Then, bingo! You'll have doubled your income without the effort or expense of acquiring a single new customer. So what are you waiting for? Start selling more to the camp families customers you already have!

Does Your Camp Have a Marketing Plan?

Does your camp have a marketing plan? It doesn't need to be long or involved or complicated. In fact, the shorter, the better. Here's my marketing plan for Aloha Beach Camp:

1) To get customers;
2) To get customers to refer; and
3) To beat my competition

That's pretty easy to understand, and because of that, easy to execute...just the way it should be.

What Does this Blog Cover?

I write this blog to share with my camp friends everything about marketing I know. This includes Internet marketing, direct response, customer service, brochures, and a boat load of other promotional tools you can start using today to give get edge on your competition and make your enrollment swell. I'm sure you've got your own marketing secrets to share, so please don't be shy...let's here from you!

We're Back!

Camp Marketing News.com has been offline for a few months. Now we're back and better than ever with new and improved marketing tips, tricks and ideas to help boost your camp enrollment through the roof. I hope you'll visit often because we'll be posting new content frequently. Even better, all the information here is free. Your comments are welcome and encouraged, so let's have some lively and valuable discussions about summer camp marketing!