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Saturday, December 17, 2011

Who's Got the Best Summer Camp Marketing Advantage, Day Camps or Resident Camps?

I often hear resident camp folks lamenting the fact their camps are not local establishments. They think day camps have a marketing advantage over them because day camps serve local customers.

Well I am here to say even though "local marketing" is a popular buzzword these days, day camps DO NOT have any marketing advantage whatsoever over resident camps, assuming the resident camp marketer is an astute one.

Personally I would be drooling if I were a resident camp marketer. In general, a day camp only has a confined market area to draw from. Overnight camps have a worldwide market base. For every one prospect who might attend a day camp, resident camps have millions.

The one area day camps may APPEAR to a have a slight marketing advantage over day camps is the word-of-mouth aspect because groups of friends tend to live close to each other and hang out in person and talk and all that. But resident camps can overcome this with a strong social media presence and well-designed websites that appear in the top pages of search results and create warm, "homey" impressions of their camps and programs.

(If I ran a resident camp, one of the first things I'd do is design a "Meet the Camp Director" page with a video introducing myself and welcoming people to the page/site, my camp, etc. and I'd plaster that video all over the internet, too including on mommy blogger sites and other sites of influence.)

Did you know most Facebook fans of any given page are NOT locally based fans? Only 15% are. That means 85% of your Facebook fans live, and come from, everywhere just like your resident campers do. (This is not my opinion, it's a fact as reported in the Wall Street Journal.)

It just goes to show, where you are located makes no difference if you know what you're doing from a marketing standpoint and understand how to make your camp stand out from the crowd.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Marketing Tip for Resident Camps: Healthy Food for Kids is THE Hot New Restaurant Menu Trend for 2012

If you're looking for a new marketing angle to help your resident camp stand out from the crowd, you might want to focus on your nutritious meal program...and FAST.

Everyone knows camp food doesn't have the best reputation. But here's your chance to change your customers' and prospects' impressions and win some enrollments in the process. The National Restaurant Association just conducted a survey of 1,800 professional chefs, who stated children's nutrition will be one of the hottest restaurant menu trends of 2012. This video describes more:


As a camp director, you MUST find a way to piggyback on these findings and use them to your advantage. I don't run an overnight camp, but if I did, I'd start a marketing campaign right now highlighting all the healthy, nutritious meals campers enjoy at our program three times a day, everyday they're at camp.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

What's a Good Response to Your Direct Mail Campaign?

Even with the prevalence of email, social media marketing, mobile marketing and all the other newfangled marketing tools, direct mail is still a valuable marketing tool for your camp. In fact direct mail is making a comeback. I believe camp marketers who include direct mail as part of their marketing strategy have an advantage over those who don't.


One question many folks ask is, what's is a good response to my direct mail campaign? Other people think direct mail marketing is "too expensive," so they avoid it altogether.

Truth is, direct mail is only "expensive" when it doesn't meet your goals. When it meets your goals, it can produce a goldmine of new leads and enrollments for you.

Let's say you and I decide to send 1,000 postcards to each of our respective customer lists. Our goal for the mailing(s) is to get our customers to call us to inquire about our Early Bird tuition discounts for 2012. You're shooting for a 1% response rate, I'm shooting for 2%.

Now let's say 10 people respond to your mailing, and 15 respond to mine. Even though more people responded to my mailing, YOUR mailing was more successful because you met your goal of getting a 1% response rate while I fell short of my goal of 2%. You should be happy! :)

I guess what I'm saying is, there's NOTHING in marketing that's too expensive -- direct mail included -- when it meets or exceeds your expected return on investment. You'll never know if your direct mail effort is expensive, successful or anything else unless you set goals for it beforehand. If you determine what constitutes a "good" response ahead of time, even a "small" 1% response rate could be HUGE for you, and there'd be nothing expensive about it!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The next HUGE social media site is upon us...

In my opinion, the next HUGE social media site (craze) will be Pinterest. It's a virtual pinboard for sharing what you love with the world, and it offers ENDLESS opportunities for your summer camp marketing. You need to "request an invite" to get on the site. Don't wait...request your invite and join the site today.

Google Adwords Alternatives

Many camps participate in Google's Adwords program. In case you're unfamiliar, Adwords allows you to create your own ads based on keywords people use to search for your camp online. Then, when people search for your camp with those keywords, your ad appears next to or above Google's search results page. If people click on your ad, it leads them right to your website and you pay a fee to Google each time someone clicks on your ad.

Personally I'd rather see you work harder to get your camp to come up in the organic (free) search results than pay money for online advertising. At the same time, participating in the Adwords program can be a fast, easy, and (occasionally) affordable way to increase traffic to your camp's website. So there's no doubt paid advertising can be helpful. But  you owe it to yourself to investigate other options besides Google's Adwords program.

You might find Adwords works the best for you, but if you are considering paid internet advertising for your camp, Adbrite and Bidvertiser are two other programs you might consider.   

Follow us on Twitter

Don't forget to follow us on twitter because we often tweet information that doesn't appear on this blog.

Search Engine Marketing for Summer Camps

We talk a lot on this blog about how to optimize your camp's website so search engines can find and display it to people looking for your camp. This is very important because many camp searches begin online these days. I've spoken to many camp directors who still don't even have websites, but who read this blog anyway. I appreciate that! I also realize search engine optimization can be difficult to understand and foreign to many. That's absolutely fine! The point is to learn as much as you can about this important marketing strategy, then either build a website as soon as possible so you don't miss out on campers, or use the information to improve your existing search engine rankings. I found this great article on Huffington Post called Search Engine Marketing 101 which breaks everything down and makes the concept easier to understand for all of us. Hope it benefits you!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

More Moms are Using Cell Phones to Find Summer Camps. If They Find Yours, What Will Your Website Look Like on Their Mobile Device?

About two years ago I posted about the importance of making sure your camp's website is formatted correctly so people can view it on their cell phones, not just their computers or laptops.

Now more than ever, you need to make sure you site can be accessed appropriately by mobile devices. If your camp's website can't be accessed by, or is not formatted for, mobile devices, you're in for a rude shock and could be missing out on potential camp enrollment.

The reason why is because moms are more likely to own a smartphone than the general public and they use them in their daily lives, including to go online and find information and make purchases these days more than ever. Check this article out.

Video: How to Beat Your Competition

Are you a smaller camp contending with larger competitors? If you've been looking for ways to become more visible and make inroads against your competition so you can get more campers, the marketing tips in this video should be worthwhile to you.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

How to Create an Online Press Release Search Engines Will Love

Do you market your camp with press releases? Maybe you've hired a new staff member, added a new ropes course, upgraded your water slide or made other improvements to your camp program and you want to share the news with the world. Sending a press release (or more than one) to the media's a great way to do this.

Certainly you can send out your press releases the traditional way, via "snail mail" to various news outlets and publications and all that. But you can also send out your press releases online. In fact many journalists and members of the media prefer getting press releases this way.

There's several points to consider when creating your online press release. One of the most important things to consider is how to make your press release favorable to search engines so as many people as possible see it, such as the various keywords and keyword phrases people normally search on to find your camp. Here's how to write an online press release Google will love.

What Makes Blogging Such a Great Search Engine Optimization Strategy?

There's so many strategies you can use to optimize your camp's website for search engines, it'd almost be forgivable for you to get overwhelmed trying to tackle them all, just give up and hope for the best. For one thing, Google uses a RIDICULOUS number of various criteria to determine whether your camp comes up higher in their search results than mine, and they modify that criteria every day. It's not a losing battle though. There's a few mainstay search optimization strategies that should always be a big part of your marketing plan. One of them is blogging.

The reason blogging's such a stout search engine optimization strategy is because:


  • Search engines absolutely adore fresh content; and
  • You can craft your blog posts to include various keywords and keyword phrases people are searching right now

For example, just last night I made a post on this blog which showed up on the first page of Google less than 2 minutes later.  There's no reason why you can't eventually get your camp's content closer to the top of not just Google, but Yahoo, Bing and the other search engines too.

If your camp doesn't have a blog, now is the time to start one. You should post regularly (at least three time a week) with pictures, video and text. If you don't have time to do it yourself, get a staff member to do it for you or outsource it. But in any case, start blogging now so you have a fair number of blog posts already online when the summer camp marketing season starts in full force a couple months from now.

How to Market to Moms

Good article here from Inc Magazine on how to master marketing to moms.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

What if Your Email Doesn't Get Opened?

Just to follow up on our series of recent email marketing posts, there's one more thing you can do to improve your email marketing open rates. I suggest resending your message within 9 days to all recipients who did not open your message the first time. I've found you can get open rates of at least 15% just by resending the same message 9 days later. 

Kids Eat Free on their Birthdays, Compliments of Your Camp!

Ever wished you could start a birthday club the way restaurants do, and give kids a free meal on their birthdays? Well, you can, and you don't need to own a restaurant or spend any money to do it. Let me explain.

If you're like most camps, you probably send postcards to campers to acknowledge their birthdays. If you don't, you should, because it's an easy way to make kids feel special while keeping your camp's name in front of their face year-round.

But you can do better than just sending a simple birthday postcard. You can set up a system where you give campers a free meal on their birthdays, just like restaurants do.

All you need to do is PARTNER with a restaurant to offer your campers a free dinner on their birthdays. The restaurant would LOVE the free advertising and this action will also make your kids' birthdays much more memorable while generating more word of mouth marketing for you since you will be the only camp around to give kids a free birthday dinner.

How to Get Our Blog Posts by Email

Having trouble getting our blog posts delivered by email? To be sure you get them, enter your email address in the box in the right sidebar, then follow the message to confirm (verify) you want to receive posts by email. You should be all set!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Free Apps For Your Website

Your website doesn't need all the latest bells and whistles, it only needs to look nice, be easy to navigate, be easy to find and leave parents and kids wanting more. But just in case you want to add a FEW bells and whistles here and there -- maybe a forum, photo album, FAQ service, speaking characters or any number of other free tools -- everything you could possible need is right here, and every one of them is free!

How Google Displays its Search Results

Fantastic video from Google about how they continually work to improve their search engine and results for users. Astounding to learn they change their algorithm EVERY DAY!

What's Your Camp's Biggest Marketing Challenge?

Don't forget to take our latest poll, "What is your camp's biggest marketing problem." The poll is listed in the upper right sidebar of the site. Your vote is completely anonymous.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

How Long Should Your Email Marketing Subject Lines Be?

A great looking email subject line is just as important as what the subject line says. We've all gotten emails with those ugly subject lines that are so long they go off the page or get hidden somehow and you can't even read them. I suggest keeping your email marketing subject headlines to 50 characters or less.

Limited Time Offer

All offers need a deadline. You always want people to sign up for camp NOW. If you don't put a deadline in your offer, your prospect has too much time to sign up for other camps or find other summer opportunities. Your number one goal should be to lock up as many kids as you can, as fast as you can, so you get them off the market.

Social Media and Kids

A Pocket Guide to Social Media and Kids

How to Reach a Large Number of Prospects at Once

Even one enrollment can make you smile but wouldn't you rather sign up a BUNCH of kids at once? What if you went to your mailbox and found one envelope containing 50 (or more) camp registrations?

One very effective way you can reach many prospects at once is by targeting groups, clubs, organizations and associations and offering a discount to their members. In most cases the Executive Director (or whomever's in charge) will forward your offer to their membership, not only because it makes them organization look good, but also because a summer camp discount is a nice membership benefit any way you look at it.

Video Marketing Contribution by Camp TV Media

Here's a video contribution by David Best of Camp TV Media who produced this video on behalf of Camp Stewart in Texas. The purpose of the video was to create awareness for the camp's late summer sessions. The video can be shared with mom bloggers and other people connected to the camp's target market. If you have any questions about the video, post them here and I'm sure David will be happy to answer them.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Top 6 Tips to Improve Your Email Marketing Click-Through Rate

Yesterday we discussed how to improve your email marketing open rates. Today we'll focus on improving click-through rates, because it's one thing for people to read your email but a whole other deal getting them to take action and click the links embedded in your email.

The following six strategies have helped me improve my camp's email marketing click-through rates as much as 51%. I'm hoping these tactics include your email click-through rates, too.


1. The Pictures and Videos in Your Emails Should be "Clickable"

A pure text email (unless it's incredibly short) will never outperform an email that contains images and/or videos. The pictures and videos in your emails should be clickable links to whatever you want your recipient to see next. You probably don't even need to tell people to click the pictures, because half the time their curiosity will get the best of them, and they'll wind up clicking the pictures on their own volition anyway just to see what happens next.

2. Your Pictures and Videos Should Include Captions with Links

I learned this trick by testing my own emails. I recently sent 300 people the same email, with half of them (150) getting a "clickable caption" underneath a photo. The other half of the group got the same photo and caption, except without a link. The group with the link in the caption clicked through at a 51% higher rate than the group that didn't get the linked caption. I'm not sure why this was -- maybe it's because people's eyes are naturally drawn to pictures over text and they are conditioned to seeing clickable pictures online so they clicked the caption by default. Whatever the reason, I've learned to ALWAYS include linked captions in my email marketing photos these days.

3. Short Emails are Better than Long

People are too busy to read long messages. For goodness sake, they might even be reading your email on their cell phones while driving! This means they realize they better read your email FAST, so maybe they'll only skim it. My suggestion is to keep your emails as short as possible with just a handful of links. If you only include 3 links -- compared to, say, 6 or 8 -- your click-through rate will skyrocket.

4. Don't Put Any Links in the First Paragraph

Here's another tip: Even though you may be focusing on keeping your email short, I suggest holding off on including any links until at least the second paragraph. Links in the first paragraph can be ugly and generally won't pull as well.

5. Include Social Sharing Tools in your Emails

Get Response did a study which showed that email marketing improves dramatically when social sharing icons (such as the option to post your email to Facebook) are present. If you include one social sharing tool, you can expect your email click-through rate to improve by more than 30%. If you include at least three social sharing tools, a 55% higher click-through rate can be expected compared to emails without social sharing options.

6. Include a P.S. with Linked Content;

Given the fact people are pressed for time, it's not uncommon for them to read your P.S. first. (You should always include a P.S. in your email messages!) Your P.S. content should briefly summarize the purpose of your email (such as what your offer is, etc.) and include a link. In my experience, including a link in your P.S. is a guaranteed click; I would be surprised if most of your recipients didn't click the link in your P.S. (as long as your message/offer is interesting enough).

I'm crossing my fingers the six points above will help your email marketing click-through rates improve. It's one thing for your recipients to open your email, but getting them to read the whole thing and click your links is a whole different animal.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

How to Increase Your Email Marketing Open Rates

Tonight I received a 2-part question relative to email marketing. The first part of the question was, "What's the best way to increase email open rates?", and the second part was, "What's the best way to increase email click-through rates?"

This is a VERY timely subject and excellent question because just like snail-mail, email marketing sending rates increase tremendously during the Holiday season, often by as much as 35% compared to the rest of the year. In fact later tonight I'm sending an email to one of my lists of 3,000 people inviting them to sign up for camp next year right now and, if they do, I'll give them a $50 gift card to either Best Buy, Sport Chalet, Starbucks or Burke-Williams, their choice. I hope they open my email!

Concerning open rates, a big factor of whether people open your email depends on if your recipients are familiar with your camp or they are new prospects. If they've been to your camp before, or know about you some other way, they will probably open your email based on that fact. But if you're emailing to a cold list with no previous history or familiarity between you and your recipient, getting them to open your email will be harder.

In any case, two key points to consider when strategizing how to get your email opened relate to your subject line. First, you should always assume your recipient's spam filter is set to "high." If you operate under that assumption, you'll be more careful not to write a subject line that gets trashed automatically. (There's no doubt about it -- your recipient's email system is on the lookout for junk, or anything it even perceives to be junk. If your email message is gonna be trashed, your job is make sure your recipient trashes it on his or her own volition, and not allow the email service to do so automatically.)

Now the best trick I've learned to make sure your email passes the spam filter test is to send it to yourself as a test run through at least three different email services before you send it to everyone else. (You can open email accounts for yourself for free at Gmail, AOL and Yahoo.) If the email you send to yourself arrives safely -- if it passes that test -- then you can be fairly confident your message will arrive safely in the recipient's inbox, too.

Another thing about the subject line, it really needs to smack your recipient right in the face. It needs to stand out among all the other crap people get in their inbox. If your headline doesn't grab your prospect, they'll delete your message and move on. Consider your email subject line the equivalent of an ad you take out in the newspaper or magazine. It's pretty much the same thing: Without a good newspaper headline, your ad will be ignored, and without a good email subject line, your email will be deleted.

Here's a quick video on how to write a good subject line:



Your subject line's not the only determining factor as to whether your email gets opened. Time of day, day of the week, your particular offer and many other things come into play. Here's a few links to some blog posts I've written in the past on this subject (each of these posts should help you get your email's opened without too much trouble):
I hope this post is helpful in improving your email open rates. I've given you a lot to chew on, so I'll leave it here for now. Tomorrow I will address the second part of the question, "How to improve your email click through rates."

See you then!

How to Make Your Camp "Talkable"

I'm sure you get a lot (if not most) of your summer camp business from word of mouth (or referrals) from happy camp families. Here's a very good video from the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) on how to get more word of mouth referrals, how to measure whether your word of mouth marketing program is successful, how to benefit from word of mouth marketing and how to make your camp brand "talkable." If you're into word of mouth and social media, check this video out.

Marketing Seminar: Live, or Online?

I've heard from a number of camps who'd prefer our upcoming marketing seminar in March to be an online event rather than a live, personal one in Palm Springs so more people can attend. If you'd prefer a marketing "webinar" to a live event, please "LIKE" this post so I can get some idea of how many folks might be interested.

How to Get Prospects to do What You Want Them To

What happens if you've invested a lot of time and money crafting the perfect ad, building the perfect website, writing the ideal article -- but it doesn't work? Well, one thing to consider is, did you include a "Call to Action"?

Nobody should ever see an ad you took out in the newspaper and be left wondering what to do next. You can't expect people to read your mind. You need to tell them exactly what to. That's your "call to action."

Here's how to craft your call to action: Figure out the purpose of your ad (or web page, or blog post, or whatever), then incorporate it, clearly and simply, into your marketing message (whether it's an ad, article, whatever).

If you want someone to call you after they see your ad, your call to action is, "Call Now!" (and you include your phone number.

If you want someone to go to your website after reading your article, your call to action should be, "Visit our website now" (and include your website or landing page address")

...And so on and on

Just remember, your marketing serves no purpose (and will be a complete waste of money) unless your prospects know what to when they see it. Just putting your camp's name out there is not enough - you need to tell people what to do, and if your marketing message or offer's intriguing enough, they will do exactly what you want them to.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Your Camp is Pepsi, and Your Competition's is Coke


There's lots of ways you can show your prospects your camp is better than your competitor's. And you don't always need words to do it. You can use pictures to prove your point just fine. In fact sometimes pictures are better than words.

As you probably know, I'm a big fan of stealing advertising ideas from other industries, then applying those ideas to market my own camp.

So imagine if you switched the Coke can for an image of your competitor's camp, and the Pepsi can for an image of your own camp, and the Coke straw for a picture of an unhappy, homesick or crying camper, and the Pepsi straw for an image of a happy one. Now THAT would be an effective ad!

Top 3 Website Design Tips

Late fall and early winter seems to be the time many camps update their websites for the future summer. The top three things to keep in mind when designing your site are:

1. Make it visually appealing

Nice looking sites are better than ugly ones, right? Fonts, colors, and pictures should match and be nice to look at. You only have a few seconds to grab someone's attention, so don't waste that precious time -- use it to GRAB your website visitor and suck them in to your content immediately.
 
2. Make it easy to navigate

Simplicity is best. If you can tell your camp's story in just a few, easy-to-navigate pages than 50 pages of complicated stuff where people have to jump around to find everything, they will become confused, pissed off and leave your site. Keep in simple!

3. Make it load fast

If people need to wait around for your pages to load, they'll get frustrated and leave. Not only that, search engines reward sites that load faster than others. Also, more and more folks are viewing your website on their cell phones, which don't always load fast anyway -- be sure to keep this in mind.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

What are Teenage Girls Talking About Online?

If teenage girls are part of your camp's target market, you need to know what's important to them. Here's a blog post that will let you know what teenage girls are talking about online. Now that you have this information, you can create marketing messages (such as blog posts of your own) around these topics.

How to Get More Referrals

Here's a nice article on how to get more referrals. This page links to 12 different resources so you're bound to find a referral generating strategy that works for you.

How to Make More Money Without Increasing Camp Enrollment

I want to show you how to make more money (I'm talking EASY money, pure profit) without increasing your camp enrollment. That means camps that have reached their enrollment capacity or others who have trouble getting new campers are in very good shape.

But first, here's the back story.

Last spring at the Tri-State summer camp conference I led a session called, "How to Triple Your Camp Enrollment in One Year." The concept of tripling your enrollment is not hard to grasp: If each one of your current camper families refers just two others you'll have tripled your enrollment right away.

Now many of the camp directors who attended my session were astounded at the simplicity of this formula. But others would not accept the concept of tripling your camp enrollment in just one year as a viable idea. They did not believe what I discussed would work for them, or they said it was unrealistic.

Listen. I'm not too eager to get egg on my face, so I assure you everything I tell you -- the marketing ideas I share with you -- DO work, WILL work and have been proven in action not only by me at my own camp but by many other people, too. I urge you to implement the marketing strategies I put forth so your camp enrollment grows larger than you could imagine.

Now here's another concept to consider: What happens if your marketing works so well that you reach full capacity at camp? What happens when you don't have room for any more kids? Does that mean you've reached your cap on money-making opportunities? No way.

Even if you're running at full capacity (a pretty nice problem to have), there's still many, MANY money-making options available to you. You can make a boatload of money without signing up any more kids. I can show you at least one, if not several, new profit centers you can easily add to your camp beyond basic camp tuition. Basically, all it takes is a new way of thinking -- a shift in your mindset concerning the way you promote your camp.

More on this in the coming weeks. But I can't give away EVERYTHING for free, so I will be having a marketing workshop in early March I hope you will attend. Most likely the workshop will be in Palm Springs. I'll teach you how to add one or more new profit centers to your camp you haven't considered before. Not only will you learn how to get new customers, you'll learn how to get your current camp families to buy more things, more often, and how to reactivate old customers who haven't purchased anything from you in a long time.

You will learn how to penetrate (even create) new markets with ease and make more a LOT more money even if you've reached a cap on camp enrollment. Best of all, the new money you make will be much more profitable the the money you've made before because it won't have the absurdly high costs of running a summer camp operation attached to it.

Don't believe me? Stay tuned...

Friday, November 25, 2011

How to Ask Your Fans Questions on Facebook

One of the best ways to engage your fans and get valuable feedback on your camp is by using Facebook's Questions feature. If you ask the right questions, it's usually irresistible for people to sit idly by without responding. This feature works like a poll. You pose your question, then your fans can choose from predetermined (multiple choice) answers you have created. Just click your "Question" icon (you'll find it on the same horizontal line as your status bar) on your Facebook page to get started.  

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

It's Time To Add or Update Your Camp's Free Coupon on CampCoupons.com

Don't forget to update your existing coupon at CampCoupons.com or add a new one. Either way, please fill out this form so we have your latest information. Although adding a coupon is free, what we do ask is that you LIKE Camp Coupons on Facebook in exchange for being included on the site.

Monday, November 21, 2011

How Cutthroat Are You Willing to Be?

Sometimes it's easier to sell the idea of summer camp on kids and families already attending camps than trying to get new kids to sign up who've never been to camp before. So, if I could should you how to steal away as many kids from your main competitor as you want, would you be willing to do it?

(And trust me, there'd be nothing illegal or immoral about this marketing strategy, it's just that you'd need a whole lot of guts to do it...)

So...would you? Could you?....Do you have the you-know-what to try it??? It seems to me like your camp is worth it....So what do you think???

Post your comments and let me know! 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

How to Get More Campers from the Same Number of Website Vistors

Chances are you have several pages of your website where visitors spend the most time. Once you determine which pages these are, you can leverage this information to get more campers from the same amount of website traffic you already have.

In my case, I discovered that web pages which include pictures of both counselors and campers seem to keep website visitors on the page at least twice as long as other web pages which include photos of kids, but not staff.

(You might give this a try and see if you get the same results for your own website and associated photos. If you don't know how to get statistics like these for your website, ask your web host who will be able to help you.)

In any event you can be sure you have at least some pages of your website where visitors hang around much longer than others. Once you have identified which web pages are your most popular, your next step is to implement strategies to convert them into paying campers. Two ideas come to mind.

First, add a "Tell a Friend" or "Forward this Web Page to a Friend" tool on these pages. You stand a VERY strong chance of people forwarding your stuff, because obviously this particular page (or pages) is of more interest (and therefore more "sharable") to your prospects than other pages of your site.

The next thing you should do is make a prominant link to your camp registration form along with your offer, because now that you have hot prospects, it's your best chance to capitalize on your website conversion strategies.

It's not easy always increasing website traffic, and it's especially not easy turning website visitors in actual campers. So you might as well work with what you've already got. You can convert more website visitors into paying campers simply by understanding how to convert them better.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Should You Use Video Marketing as a Staff Recruitment Strategy?

If I were gonna start a new summer camp marketing program today, video marketing would be at the top of my list of promotional tools. But video marketing isn't just a great way to get more kids into your camp. Given the way college students watch online videos these days, video marketing is also a great staff recruitment strategy.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Single Dads or Single Moms: Which is a Better Target Market?

A while back I mentioned single dads were an untapped target market for you. Single moms may be just as big, if not bigger. Did you know 40% of all kids are now born to single mothers? And 80% of all single mothers work? As you can tell from this article on mediapost.com, it's probably worth your while to send a mailing or something just to single moms and see what you get. The potential is enormous!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Please Come Back to My Website in Four Months

Many camps have not updated their websites for 2012. They've posted messages on their sites telling visitors to "visit us again in January or February for 2012 summer camp information," or something to that effect.

Instead, I suggest putting a email sign up box on your site with a message like, "Enter your email address so we can notify you when our site has been updated for the new year."

Not only is this a good way to build your email list, you're not leaving it to prospects to remember to revisit your website in a few months. You're contacting them hoping they'll get back in touch with you.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Top 3 Summer Camp Marketing Strategies for 2012

In between allergy attacks, each fall I spend a great deal of time analyzing my current year's marketing program and preparing my new one for the coming camp season. If you haven't done so, now is a good time to review your camp's marketing program so you can see what tactics you should focus on for next year.

While reviewing my marketing activities for 2011, I've discovered the following 3 strategies to be most effective in terms of generating new leads and campers. So, you can bet I'm gonna triple up on these marketing tactics in 2012:

1. Video Marketing

Unless you're living under a rock (and even if you ARE living under one), by now you're well aware video marketing is about to become the number one social media marketing strategy in the world. Moms, dads, kids, and camp family decision-makers aren't just watching videos on YouTube, they're watching them everywhere and sharing them with their friends. The longer you wait to market your camp with videos, the more potential campers you're losing.

TIP: Video marketing is about to EXPLODE in terms of the sheer power it'll offer you to promote your camp to the world. You do NOT need a professional video company to produce your camp videos. You can do it yourself (and probably should, since it seems more authentic that way). Here are 16 tips for successful online video marketing from Social Media Examiner.com


2. Email Marketing

Email marketing is currently the best social media marketing avenue out there. People check their email each morning as sure as they brush their teeth. Email marketing offers an amazing opportunity to communicate directly with your market base. Some might say email marketing isn't as effective as it use to be due to texting and instant messaging options and all. Truth is, email should be a staple of your camp's promotional strategy. If you don't have a "join our mailing list" form on your website, I suggest you add one today -- it's the easiest way to grow your mailing list.

TIP: Last summer I experimented with a "Start an Email Conversation With Us" link on the Aloha Beach Camp website. It worked like a charm. We received 4 times as many email inquiries as the year before, compared to the same number of website visitors. Why not give this a try on your camp's website?

3. Video Email Marketing

See where I'm going with this? I'll spell it out: Put videos in your emails, and you've got the biggest summer camp marketing home run EVER! Some studies say you'll get a 96% improved click-through rate simply by adding video to your email messages.The reason it works so well is because you're putting a face and a voice to a written message. I use Constant Contact's video email marketing feature. I have seen a 78% improved click-through rate by adding video. (Not quite 96%, but 78% is fantastic and I'm still hoping for improvement this year.) In any case, I can't stress enough how important this is. Imagine your prospects watching your YouTube videos right from their email boxes...the opportunities are unreal....

So there you have it. My marketing focus (and I hope yours, too) in 2012 will be on videos, email and emails that include videos. This does NOT mean we should ignore other marketing tactics. The more marketing strategies you use, the more effective your marketing will be. But these are the top three strategies I'm using going forward. I'll let you know how it goes!

VIDEO: 3 Tips to Increase your Facebook Fans

Here's a pretty good video with ideas you can use right away to increase your facebook fans.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

How to Use Social Media to Hire Camp Staff

Camps use many methods to hire counselors and staff. Placing classified ads in college newspapers might work, but as this video shows us, you might be better off using social media to find your next superstar counselor:

Monday, October 10, 2011

How Long Should Your Camp Videos Be?

I assume you have a camp video, and hopefully lots of them. Video marketing is the next big thing, not just for camps, but for every industry. My suggestion is to keep your videos as short as possible. If your video is less than 60 seconds, you're on the right track. People are crazy busy these days, and they lose interest fast. But, you know what? If you place 10, one-minute videos online, your camper prospects are much more likely to watch all 10 in a row than if you just posted one, 10 minute video.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Smartest and Easist Way to Optimize Your Camp's Website for Search Engines

You can visit thousands of different websites and talk to thousands of different people about the best way to optimize your website for search engines. You'll probably never hear the same thing twice.

But, you know what? The easiest way I've found to get my camp to the top of the search engines is by copying what other highly ranked sites do...and especially search engine optimization firm sites.

I just figure, if these guys are in business to help other businesses get their sites ranked higher -- and if they're ranked highly themselves -- then they obviously know what they're doing. They're putting their money where their mouth is.

Give it a try. Type in "Search Engine Consultants," "SEO firms," or something like that. Then visit the sites of the first ones you see. Pay attention to the way they layout their sites, how they use links, etc. See if you notice any similarities among them, then apply those strategies to your own website.

This idea works, I assure you! :)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

What are the Best Marketing Tactics You Should Use to Grow Your Camp?

Wouldn't it be nice if there was a secret formula for knowing which marketing tactics would get you 5 or 10 new campers every time you used it, and which marketing tactics suck? In my mind, the toughest thing to determine is which marketing tools to use and which to get rid of.

In this day and age of social media and internet marketing and with so many marketing options available, the choices can be so overwhelming inertia might get the best of you, causing you to end up doing nothing. Or maybe you're tempted to try a little of this, a little of that and see what sticks. I'm not sure that's the right way to go about things.


If you've ever heard the phrase, "You can't serve two masters," you know what I'm talking about. I'd rather see you master a few marketing tactics well than a bunch of them poorly. Rather than try your hand at all kinds of different promotional tactics - which can stretch your money and your emotional state thin - you're better off focusing on a handful of strategies that will get you many new campers than dabbling in tons of marketing strategies that only land you a few.

When I'm determining which marketing strategies to pursue and which to ignore, I use two main criteria:


1. Where will I find my best prospects? (If they're on Facebook but not Twitter or Linked In, then why waste time on Twitter and Linked In? I'd be better off spending three times as much time on Facebook instead.)

2. Are the results I'm getting from my marketing measurable? (If you're not testing and measuring results, you're just guessing and probably throwing lots of money down the drain. When you test your marketing results, you know for a fact what works and what doesn't. Then you can double up on what does and cut out what doesn't...and that's how you start signing up new kids by the dozens.)

Whenever I'm gonna start a new marketing campaign or reviewing my current one, it needs to pass the two-point litmus test above or I won't do it. And if you have any special criteria to help you decide which marketing tools to use when promoting your camp, please leave a comment so other people reading the blog can get ideas too!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Need More Word of Mouth Referrals? Consider Hiring Moms!

Want to build your word of mouth program to get more campers? Have you considered hiring moms?

In this economy, you KNOW there's tons of people (especially moms) looking for part-time jobs. If you're a day camp, why not hire moms (as camp counselors, for office help, whatever) to help you get some stuff done? They'll be grateful for the opportunity, and you can bet they'll tell all their friends about the great new job they got a local summer camp.

If you run an overnight camp, you could hire moms to work from home, remotely, right from their computers. Imagine the following scenario.

You hire a mom or two to help you with some office work. They're on their home computers  They take a 5 minute break from work to log onto Facebook. They update their status with a post about their new job working for your resident camp, and they're just taking a quick break to see what's happening on Facebook.
All their friends see their post about the new summer camp job. All their friends start asking questions on Facebook about your camp...wow! Just imagine what this could mean for you!

Next time you need some part-time help, or even to fill a full-time position or two, consider hiring moms at camp. It's a winning proposition.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

LA Camp Fair and Marketing Workshops Coming Soon

Gonna announce the date of our upcoming marketing workshop soon, plus we're developing an L.A. Camp Fair event for the spring that PEOPLE WILL ACTUALLY ATTEND! :)

Can Kids Go to Camp On Their Cell Phones?

Looking for a new way to engage customers and prospects (especially kids) while keeping them on your website longer and connecting with your camp brand more deeply? How about creating a board game (or even better, a video game or mobile app) around your camp's brand? You could take your most popular camp activities, then create a game around them. For example, kids could visit one activity after another and participate in all of them...just like they're at camp for real! Sounds cool, huh? Best thing is, building a mobile app isn't too difficult or expensive. This website might help.

Friday, September 9, 2011

What Does Search Engine Optimization Really Mean?

You've probably heard me talk about how to optimize your camp's website so the search engines can find it 11 or 12 million times. Here's a very informative article from Search Engine Land which helps explain the various ways to optimize your site. Whether your main SEO strategy is paid search, link building, organic methods or anything else, this is a valuable read.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Which Search Engine Marketing Strategy Is Best For You?

I don't like paying for advertising. I ESPECIALLY don't like paying for search engine marketing (such as the Google adwords program). I'd rather put in the extra effort to get my camp's website to appear higher in the organic search results than buying my way to the top.

Of course, there's times when "pay per click" advertising is beneficial to your search engine marketing program. Maybe you're starting a new camp and need online traffic right away.

If you're grappling with which search engine optimization marketing program to pursue, here's an article which could help you decide.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Hope You Had a Great Summer!

Hope everyone had a great summer with strong enrollment. I wrapped up camp last week. I love running Aloha Beach Camp but I'm glad it's over for another year. I am looking forward to a relaxing off season school year and hope you are, too. I wasn't able to post much of anything during the summertime because camp took up all my time. And this weekend I will be in Big Bear, California with my family for Labor Day. But starting later next week I'll be back to the grind, posting regularly about summer camp marketing so we can all have explosive enrollment years in 2012!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

VERY Basic Summer Camp Marketing Plan

Here's some very, VERY basic summer camp marketing ideas I found online from ehow.com. I assume most of us already incorporate these things into our marketing plans, but just in case, here's a look.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Not All Links are Created Equal

Just got an email from a camp director in Maryland asking how to get more links from other websites so his own website will rank higher search result rankings. Pretty astute guy. He's obviously aware accumulating links from outside websites which point to his could help his site show up better in Google.

Nobody's gonna just link to your site because they're in a good mood. Your site needs to be full of great content and value for others to link to it. And people need to be able to find your site in the first place if you hope to get any inbound links at all.

So what you need to do, you need to create a link-building strategy. The main thing to think about, though, is that you want concentrate on the QUALITY of the links, not the quantity.
This means if a popular summer camp blogger provides just one link to your camp's website, that's better than getting five links from five different gas stations around town. The reason why is because Google will view the link from the summer camp blogger as a vote of confidence for your sight while seeing the gas stations as having nothing to do with your camp at all.

Now one thing you may not be able to do is control what the links pointing to your site say, but if you can, you're in really good shape. Let's revisit the summer camp blogger example.

Let's say the camp blogger provides a link to your website with the words, "check out this website." As we mentioned, just the fact the link is coming from the blogger's site to yours is a big deal for you. But if the blogger changed the link words to say, "check out this summer camp website," that's MUCH, MUCH better. The reason why is because Google is looking for the most relevant websites to return to a user when the user types in their keywords. When the users keywords match your link words, BINGO, you've hit the jackpot!

So it's pretty clear that not all incoming links are created equal. When trying to accumulate links for your site, you should be targeting popular sites that relate to your camp while trying to influence what the words in the links say, if you can. This is one of the main ways Google and the other search engines rank your site in their search engine results.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Referral Marketing Idea

When you send enrollment confirmations to families, why not include a lottery ticket, Starbucks gift card or small gift certificate to the ice cream store. Parents and kids will love it and tell their friends. You can bet almost not other camps (if any) are doing anything like that with their confirmation packets.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Summer camp Marketing Workshop this Fall

At our summer camp marketing seminar this fall, I'll show you how to triple your enrollment in 6 months or less and triple your facebook fans in less time. We'll offer one live workshop seminar and one online seminar too, probably in October or November. Gonna be fun!!!

Monday, July 4, 2011

How to Make Twitter More Relevant for ... Teens?

Here's an article I just read on Mediapost regarding teens and Twitter. It pretty much confirms what everyone already knows, namely that teens don't care one bit about Twitter and prefer Facebook and photo sharing sites instead.

But then the article goes on to discuss how to make Twitter more relevant for the teen audience, basically saying teens could use Twitter to share photos and videos instead of (or in addition to) using Facebook and YouTube to do the same thing.

Personally I don't see the day when teenagers will find any use for Twitter (unless they own a business or have something to promote). Twitter just isn't built for the teen market.

Google Places is a Great Camp Marketing Tool

We've discussed many times before the importance of local marketing, especially for day camps. And we know many folks head straight to Google to start their camp search. That's why it's so important to have a Google Places profile. Here's a little more info about that from Inc. Magazine.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

How's Camp Going?

Hope you've gotten summer 2011 off to a flying start and enrollment is strong for you. Are you happy with how many kids are signed up? Is enrollment at capacity? How are things going? Leave a comment and let me know...I will be sure to get back to you!

- Eric

Thursday, May 19, 2011

How to Fill Your Camp in February, Not May, June or NEVER!

Unfortunately for most camp directors, the harsh reality is the traditional "sign up for camp months" of January and February are probably gone forever. You can't count on selling out by then anymore. The new reality is that the economy still sucks, the future's uncertain, there's too many other options for kids to do, and people are holding onto their money till the very last second. What does this mean? It means the NEW "sign up for camp months" are May, June and July -- this is when most of your enrollment will come in -- if you're lucky. Many camps bit the dust and are gone forever due to the recession.

Good news though. With the right marketing approach, you can still fill TONS of your available enrollment slots during the early winter months. That's still possible for you, even if it doesn't feel that way. We'll go into greater detail about this in our marketing workshop this fall. I'm not sure whether the workshop will be online, or in L.A., or in Chicago or Atlanta (all of these are options right now.) I'll have more information about this soon, so keep checking back when you can.

-- Eric

Friday, May 13, 2011

Post your videos on Find a Camp TV

Did you know video marketing is the next big thing? It's the number one social media tool out there! We've got a new site up called FindaCamp.TV where you can show your camp videos to the world. It's like YouTube for summer camps! All you need to do is send us your ready-made video files (the ones already on your computer!) and you'll be ready to go! Visit http://www.findacamp.tv for more info today

Friday, May 6, 2011

How to Use Email in Your Social Media Marketing Campaigns

Even though I'm a Facebook marketing nut (and can take or leave Twitter), I've always thought email marketing was/is the best social media tool around.

Here's 5 ways you can use Social media in your email marketing campaigns, courtesy of MarketingProfs.com

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

How to Turn Leads into Paying Customers

One of the difficult issues camp marketers face is how to convert prospects into paying campers. You might be generating all the leads you want, but if you're not turning them into enrollments, that's kind of like coming up to the plate in baseball with the bases loaded every time -- what an opportunity! --  then striking out every time. Ouch!

If you're getting lots of leads, pat yourself on the back. Lead generation should be a HUGE part of your marketing plan. Your next task becomes turning these folks into customers without coming off as a pest. (If you constantly harass people to sign up, they'll feel like you're desperate for campers and won't want to come to your camp anyway.) 

Since I don't know your specific marketing plan, I can't give you exact details about what will work for you. We will get into exact details at our Marketing Workshop this fall. For now, here's a few marketing goals and strategies that work for me when trying to turn families on the fence into paying customers.

1. Realizing most people are procrastinators -- especially when it comes to parting with their money -- I do my best to avoid thinking a prospect is a lost cause simply because I haven't heard from them in a while. At the same time, the longer a family sits on the fence, the more time you give them to find something else to do or choose a different camp. So my goal  is to get people to sign up sooner rather than later

2. What I do is, I let every person I talk to know I have a special deal just for them. When I talk to people on the phone, I ask, "Would you like to hear about today's telephone specials?", or "Are you interested in learning about special offers just for today's callers?" Believe me, they're ALL EARS when you ask something like that. So then you tell them you're giving away a free camp mug or t-shirt or extra horseback riding lessons or canoe rides for kids who sign up for camp by the end of this week. At least you've given them a serious reason to sign up NOW!

3. Sometimes inserting an extra email, follow up phone call or letter into your marketing process is all it takes. You just want to give them a little reminder. Maybe let them know you enjoyed talking to them recently, and you've been holding a space for their kid, and you're willing to hold it a little while longer if they're able to make a decision soon because you've got other kids on the waiting list who want their spot. This conversation could be all you need to get the enrollment, but remember, don't be pushy. Don't overdue it. You can achieve what you want without a hard sell. A hard sell might turn people off. It's a delicate balance, but you can achieve it.

4. Invest in an autoresponder. Autoresponders allow you to send a series of automatic emails at regular intervals to prospects who've contacted you in the past so you can build relationships with them. You can send the same emails to tons of prospects at the same time. What if you are sending regular emails to your prospect list of 2,000 names and only getting a 1% conversion rate?  That means 20 kids are signing up every time your emails go out! And that's why email marketing with autoresponders is one of the single most effective marketing tools you can use to convert inquiries into campers.

Now remember, these are just a couple ways you can go. How aggressive (or passive) you want to be with your follow up and lead management system is up to you. It's only the start of May, so people who contact you now about camp and you think might be lost causes could surface again in a few weeks to sign up for camp. For now, do me a favor and take a few minutes to closely examine your lead management and follow up system, then implement any changes you think might be necessary to turn those "looky-loos" into paying camp families. Good luck!

Monday, May 2, 2011

If you were starting a new camp today, how would you market it?

I get emails all the time from people asking this question. I guess starting your own camp is a popular thing to do!

Anyway, here's what I'd do if I were starting my own camp from scratch (and I assuming I had a very limited budget as many of the people I hear from do):


  • I'd get a very descriptive, but unique, domain name
  • I'd blog and blog and blog like crazy while including popular summer camp keyword phrases people are searching on right now
  • I'd start a customer referral program to reward people for referring others to my camp
  • I'd send targeted postcard mailings to the same mailing list at least three times during May and June


That's what I'd do. How about you?

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Have you seen the new video marketing website for camps?

Many of you know I run a website called CampCoupons.com, where you can create and post your coupons for free to get more kids into camp (because people always appreciate at discount!). Now I'm putting together a new site called Find a Camp.TV, the first video search engine website for summer camps. Check it out when you can.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

How to Get 15 - 30 Likes on Your Facebook Status Today

I'm a Facebook marketing addict. Through trial and error I FINALLY figured out how to get between 15 and 30 "likes" and decent fan engagement every time I make a post.

Here are the top 4 ways you can do it too:

1. Ask a question
2. Conduct a poll
3. Give something away for free
4. Always MAKE SURE you TELL your fans to "Click Like" with respect to your post

Regarding point #1, you can ask any type of question. Trivia works especially well. In fact you could even ask trivia questions about your camp.

For instance, you might ask: "How many counselors did we have last summer?," or "Guess how many kids we had a camp last year." You can use Facebook's new "Question" tool next to the "Status" tab at the top of your page to offer a few multiple choice answers for people to choose from.

Sometimes you can combine a few of the strategies above to really max out your fan page engagement. I had a few extra surf camp t-shirts from last summer lying around which I thought our fans might be interested in having. So I posted the following status: "Click Like if you want a free Billabong surf camp t-shirt." So far 30 people have liked the post. The only conditions to get the free shirt are 1) they need to attend our next open house to pick it up, and 2) everything is first-come, first-served because we only have a limited supply of t-shirts left.

Here's a bonus tip: Tying your Facebook posts into current events also works really well. Aloha Beach Camp's current status is, "Click Like if you don't care ONE BIT about the Royal Wedding!" Well, apparently there's lots of folks like me out there who don't give a rat's ass about it because 9 people already clicked like within about 8 minutes of me posting it. I know there will be lots more! (Here's the link if you want to see it: http://www.facebook.com/alohabeachcamp)

Try some of the strategies I mentioned. I know how bad it sucks to wait around for days with no response from fans after posting a status on your fan page. Let me know how you do!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Online Marketing Workshop This Fall

Looks like "Online Webinar" is dominating our latest poll for a marketing workshop in the fall. Click like if you're interested in "attending" this virtual workshop and I'll get you the details ASAP.

Do You Make This Mistake When Marketing Your Camp?

From what I've observed, the top mistake made by camp directors is they stop marketing their programs the minute camp starts. Don't let this be you!

Naturally you're busy and the pace of camp is hectic. But don't forget, there's still TONS of people searching for camps all summer long. They might be looking for a program in July or August. So you need to be out there pumping your program to generate interest all summer long.  

Even if you don't get too many customers during your summer marketing campaign, at least you'll be collecting names, addresses and emails to use for 2012 and beyond.

So don't stop marketing your camp in June. Keep it going in July and August, too. This effort will pay big dividends for you!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

How to Get Free Pictures for Your Website, Blog, Ads and Brochures

What happens when you need just the right photo for your camp's promotional materials...but you don't have one? You can find lots of free photos that can work perfectly for you on the Web. Google Images is a good place to start. But not the regular Google images.

Instead, go to Google, click on Images, and then click on "Advanced Images Search" just to the right of the search box. (The font is very small so look closely to find it.)

You'll be taken to a page where, under "Usage Rights," the default search will be set to "not filtered by license." Change it to any free picture license of your choice. You'll have many options, some of which you can even modify to suit your exact needs.

I have used Google's Advanced Image Search a number of times when I've needed a free camp photo fast. I hope it works for you, too.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Did you print too many brochures this year? No way!

Even though there's still a few months left in this camp marketing season, don't forget having lots of extra brochures on hand at the end doesn't do you any good.

If you have extra brochures lying around when you're done marketing your program, that's not only a waste of money (because you printed too many), it also means that for every brochure left over, one less family didn't hear about your camp.

Don't end this marketing season until you've distributed your brochures EVERYWHERE!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Summer Camp Marketing Workshop Coming this Fall

We'll be holding a summer camp marketing workshop this fall if there's enough interest. The workshop would be short (no more than a day or two), fun and informative, and moreover, by attending the workshop you will learn how to double your camp enrollment by next summer plus get tons of tricks, tricks and marketing strategies which run the gamut from Social Media to traditional promotional strategies your competitors don't know. Please take our Quick Poll to let us know if this would be worthwhile to you.

How to Get Your Customers and Prospects to Write Your Blog Posts for You

If you're struggling for topics to put on your blog, here's a way you'll never get writer's block: Get your customers and prospects to do it for you! Here's what I mean.

Chance are you get emails from parents asking questions about camp, right? Usually they're the same questions over and over (which you should put on your FAQ page on your website), but if you're like me, once in a while (at least once a week) the questions you get are unique. And just because you've never gotten them before doesn't mean other people aren't interested in hearing your response. 

So every time you get a question from parents, especially unfamiliar ones, be sure to post those questions (and your answers) on your blog.

This is a very easy way to get your customers and prospects to essentially write your blog posts for you...and you sure as heck can't beat that! :)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Please support the future of my camp!

Dear Camp Friends,

I would not typically use this space to make a personal appeal, but something has come up recently which could affect the the future of my summer camp program so I ask for your help.

As many of you know, I have owned and operated a summer beach and surf camp for kids in Malibu, CA called Aloha Beach Camp for the past 12 years. I am able to operate the camp because the Los Angeles County gov't issues beach use permits on an annual basis allowing me to do so. Obtaining the permit has been relatively simple all these years; all I need to do is tell the County by October of each year that I intend to run the camp again for the subsequent summer, and then they issue the permit.

But now they want to change their process for issuing beach camp permits. Instead of the simple renewal system they have historically used, they are proposing the implementation of a competitive and selective bidding process. Permits would potentially be issued to the highest bidder with limited qualifications running camps. So, this means I could not only lose my camp permit to someone with deep pockets, but further, any action taken by LA County to put in place a new camp operator who could literally be learning on the job would obviously put camper safety in jeopardy at the beach!

I'll close this post by asking you to help support my cause, which I call "NO BIDDING FOR BEACH CAMP PERMITS," on Facebook. You can do so by following this link and clicking the Like button on that page.

That's it for now. I won't bring this stuff up anymore on this page. I'll stick to your marketing and that will be that. Thank you very much again,

Eric

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Anyone need any summer camp promotional items?

If you're looking for camp promo products or items, like t-shirts, mugs, blankets, or anything else, check out www.idmepromotions.com. I don't get anything for mentioning this, I assure you, but I have it on good authority they just updated their website at a huge cost and have everything you'll need this summer at great prices. Check it out when you can. Or you can also email jeff@idmepromotions for more info.

Monday, March 28, 2011

How to Get 100 New Enrollments Right Now, Part 2

Couple days ago we discussed how to get 100 new campers right now. It was a widely-read post prompting several emails from camp directors asking for any other ideas I could share about signing up lots of kids for camp at once. I sure do: Take out a booth at your local Farmer's Market...It's better than a Camp Fair and you'll have the chance to meet tons of kids and families who are prime prospects for your camp.

Now don't be concerned this strategy only works for local camps like day camps. If your Farmer's Market is a known event (like mine is in L.A.), families from all over the world (such as those traveling or on vacation) will be drawn to the Farmer's Market so you'll have a big opportunity  to pump your camp to kids from all over the world.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

How to Get 100 New Enrollments Right Now

If you can find ways to market your camp to many people at once rather than just one at a time, and your marketing message is effective, you could see you enrollment grow like a weed.

Now don't get me wrong. One of the primary ways to create trust and make deep connections with prospects -- especially in today's social media marketing age -- is by building relationships one person at a time. But that doesn't mean you can't market your camp in such a way you'll get enrollments by the boatload instead of just one at a time.

Personally, I'd rather give a site tour to 100 people instead of just 10.

I'd rather put on a free "How to Choose a Summer Camp" marketing seminar for 250 attendees rather than 25.

And I'd rather promote my camp to a little league baseball team comprised of 12 kids all at once rather than each of those 12 kids individually.

Here's an example of how this works. Why not offer a "group rate" to those 12 kids on the little league team so they all sign up for camp together? This strategy is A LOT easier and more cost/time-effective than trying to get 12 individual enrollments from various places here and there.

All you need to do is contact the team's head coach or the "team mom" to offer this benefit to their team. If you can do this with 8 or 10 different teams today, you could find yourself with about 100 more kids signed up for camp tomorrow than you had yesterday. How cool would THAT be?