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Friday, November 27, 2009

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!

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