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Monday, October 25, 2010

If Your Testimonials Aren't Specific, Don't Bother Using Them

Last week I posted about the benefits of using testimonials to pump your camp. Testimonials lend credibility to your marketing. When someone from the outside says something nice about your camp, their comments are more believable, and credible, than anything you can say about yourself. But I think I forgot to tell you something.

Your testimonials aren't credible in the least if they don't specifically mention the actual people who gave them. Here's what I mean.

My daughter attends a few camps each summer. The other day we got a flyer from one asking us to pre-register for next year. The flyer includes testimonials from parents and kids (nice effort by the camp), but the testimonials lack credibility. They're only attributed to a "Camp Parent" or "Camper," not the specific person who gave the quote.

You tell me which of these sounds more believable:

"My child loved your camp. We'll be back for years to come."
-- Camp Parent

0r

"My child loved your camp. We'll be back for years to come."
--Jennifer White, Camp Parent of Johnny White, age 6, Las Vegas, Nevada

No brainer, right? If you're gonna use testimonials -- and you SHOULD -- you need to use them the right way. The best place to start is by using specifically believable quotes attributed to real people, because the whole point of marketing with testimonials is to increase credibility for your camp. Never forget that specifics (like the person's name, age and where they live) automatically do that for you.

You know what? I'm gonna take this thought one step farther. I wouldn't even bother using testimonials unless you make specific attributions to the people giving you the testimonials, otherwise your testimonials might work against you.

A general testimonial with no mention of the person who gave it could actually HURT your credibility because it sounds like anyone in the world could say it.

In fact, in the reader's mind, it might raise suspicion that you made it up yourself ... and if that's the outcome your testimonials achieve...ouch!

Here's the deal. Your goal is to achieve positive and believable compliments from actual, real-life customers, then to share those comments with other potential customers to demonstrate that your camp is just what they're looking for.

Since you're not believable unless you're specific, here's how I'll end this blog today:

This post was written by Eric D. Naftulin, age 45, on Monday, October 25, 2010 at 8:07 am in Los Angeles, California.  

Friday, October 22, 2010

Upcoming Camping Magazine Article; How to Market Your Camp

I'm writing a "how to market your summer camp" article for the March/April issue of the ACA's Camping Magazine. If there's anything in particular you want me to cover, let me know.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

How to Market Your Camp with Testimonials

If you're doing a great job, happy camp families are probably sharing compliments with you in private. Why not make these wonderful stories public? Whenever you get a compliment, tell the family you're flattered they recognized you, then ask for permission to use what they've said as a testimonial on your website or in your brochure. Don't underestimate the power of a great testimonial as a selling tool for prospective camp families. Whatever someone else says about you is by far more convincing than anything you say yourself.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Video Email Marketing Tip

One up and coming social media tool is video email marketing. But if you've ever tried to send videos in your emails, you may have encountered problems. For example, sometimes video emails bounce back or even go straight to spam. Solution: Just use a screenshot (jpeg) image with a play button arrow, then link the image to your actual video. Not only will your email reach your intended recipient, your click-through rate will skyrocket.

Twitter's Block? Here's a List of Things You Can Tweet About

Though I'm not a big fan of Twitter, I know there's many addicts out there. If you ever get stumped and need ideas for what to "tweet" about, here's a helpful list.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Cooperative Marketing at Its Best

Took my daughter to the orthodontist today. Noticed a new sandwich shop in the lobby as we entered the building. Hopped in the elevator up to the 12th floor for the ortho appointment. At the end of the appointment, as we were paying at the front desk, the receptionist handed us a 20% off coupon to use at the new sandwich shop. We went right downstairs and bought some food. The sandwich shop was getting its marketing done by the dentist, and the my daughter and I really appreciated the dentist giving us the coupon. That's cooperative marketing at its best, and as a camp professional, you can easily set these kinds of deals up with various businesses and organizations in your neighborhood. It's always great when you can get other people do to your marketing for you! :)

How to Maximize Your Marketing Budget the Easy Way

Even if you only read this blog occasionally, you know I'm a HUGE fan of making every dollar you spend on marketing do the work of two. Naturally this requires you to maximize your marketing budget. Easiest way to do this is by simply asking your customers and prospects how they about you. When you find out how people learned about you, you should put your marketing resources there and forget about the other marketing tactics you've been doing that are less effective or don't work.

How to Optimize Your Press Release

Tips for promoting your press release from the Staples Canada blog.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

How to Market to Teens and Parents at the Same Time

Here's an interesting article (and valuable for all of us) from MediaPoint.com on how to market to teens and their parents simultaneously.

As we all know, camps have two primary target markets, kids and their parents. (Although I also contend we should be targeting grandparents, too.) In any case I think you'll enjoy reading this.

I do have one point of contention with the article.

Frank O'Brien, the author, says we should stick to print ads when marketing to parents because parents are less tech savvy than their teen kids and "just coming around" to the internet.

Hardly. While O'Brien's position may have been true 5 years ago, it's not anymore. Parents for the most part have caught up with their kids in terms of how to use the internet. Moms are one of the fastest (if not THE fastest) growing segment of Facebook users. This guy's lost in the past if he thinks print ads are the best way reach parents these days

Enjoy the article!

How to Optimize Your Website for Viewing on a Cell Phone

From what I've heard and read, 2011 will finally be the year people use their cell phones and mobile devices to view websites as much or more than actual computers. I've blogged about this before, but as 2010 winds down now is the time to make sure your camp's website is fully optimized for mobile viewing and more.

How to Get Repeat Website Visitors

Most camp directors update their websites each fall or winter after camp ends for the next season. Maybe you change a few dates, alter a few forms, switch a picture or two. But if that's all your doing -- if you're just using the same static website you've been using for months or years, you might consider making more significant updates. The main reason is to increase your number of repeat visitors. If there's nothing new to see, why would anyone come back?

Here's a few ideas for what you can put on your Website to encourage repeat visitors:

  • Dynamic content
  • Blogs
  • Polls
  • Surveys
  • Forums
  • Announcements
  • News updates
  • Picture of the day (adding a new picture each day)
  • Video of the day (adding a new video each day)

Including any of these things on your site will help a static website involve visitors with fresh, interactive content and encourage them to return to your site more often.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

How to Market Your Camp's Food Service Program to Moms

If you're an astute marketer, you're always on the lookout for ways to separate yourself from your competition. For resident camps especially, your food service program might be a way to do it. Do you highlight your healthy meal program when marketing your camp? Check out this article from MediaPost. You might pick up some nice ideas for ways to market to moms in connection with your camp's meal program.