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Friday, April 23, 2010

"'I'm Too Busy to Market My Camp."

Most camp directors wear many hats. Especially now, as summer draws near, you're running around like crazy making sure everything's set for another great camp season.

That means it's easy to put marketing on the back burner. When you're hiring staff, focusing on your program, preparing your facility and all that, it's easy to tell yourself, "I'm too busy for marketing right now."

Please think twice, and then two more times, before putting your marketing on hold. Even if you're phone is ringing off the hook (hell yeah!), you gotta keep marketing your program. No matter how busy you are, you don't have the luxury saying "not now" to your marketing.

From one camp director to another, I realize your "to-do" list is growing, not shrinking. So here's my list of the four top things you can do to fit marketing into your daily schedule even when you're tied up with countless other day-to-day tasks:

1. Stick to a Daily Marketing Schedule

Designate a fixed time each day so you're marketing takes place according to a set schedule. Does your marketing plan call for daily blog posts? Do it at the same time every day. Because if you know 8:15 pm is your designated assigned time to post to your blog, you're gonna have a hard time finding excuses not to. It's kinda like going to the gym: you might not like it, but you know you gotta do it. And if you push yourself, eventually it becomes second nature and just another part of your busy day.

2. Stick to The Marketing Activities You Like

I don't know too many camp directors who put marketing at the top of their "Fun Things To Do" list. But unfortunately our lives are made up of doing things we don't like -- even if we despise them, we gotta do them anyway. Wanna keep your teeth? Go to the dentist. Wanna keep your camp? Market the heck out of it. Here's the good news though: ANY marketing you do can help, so why not stick to the promotional activities you like? If you hate cold calling, don't do it. If you love making connections on twitter, do that. You know the phrase, "do what you love and the money will follow?" Marketing's the same way. If you enjoy your marketing activities, they are more likely to be effective, and in turn you are more likely to see positive results.

3. Focus, Focus, Focus!

If you're like me, you probably spend a lot of time online each day. Why not? It's fun! But one thing about the internet, it's WAY too easy to get distracted. You visit one website, then innocently click a link, then one more, and somehow you end up 200 cyber miles from where you started. So remember this: For every minute you find yourself distracted watching a YouTube video or playing online games, that's one less minute you're spending marketing your camp.

4. You Don't Need to do Everything Yourself

This should be a no-brainer. But sometimes camp directors feel like they need to do everything themselves. Trust me, once you learn to delegate, life gets easier! For one thing, you won't be stressing out so much and you'll have more time for all of your responsibilities, including marketing. If you have fliers or brochures to hand out in your community, you don't need to waste a whole day doing it yourself. You can hire a high school kid to hand out the fliers for you while you do other stuff like reference checks.

I wish I knew one single surefire way to create more awareness, referrals, and enrollment for your camp. But I don't -- I only know a bunch of different ways that all work together to achieve these results.

But I can tell you this: There is one surefire way to lose marketing momentum and hurt your enrollment, and it's this: forsaking your marketing activities because you "don't have time" or you don't like doing it or whatever.

Sure, you're busy, I know that. But following the four tips I outlined above should give your marketing a boost, even in crunch time.

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