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Friday, January 28, 2011

How to Encourage Innovation at Your Camp

If your camp's not innovating -- if you're not creating new programs, activities and ideas all the time -- you're gonna fall behind your competitors, most of whom are concentrating on innovation themselves.

You gotta keep up, but sometimes it's not easy to stay ahead of the curve. It's easy to run out of new ideas when you've been, and continue to be, involved in the day to day aspects of running and your camp. So where should you turn for new ideas?

To your staff!

If you're like me, you probably agree camp counselors are some of the most creative people in the world. I mean let's be honest ... have you ever met a great counselor who's NOT creative? I know I haven't.

So when you're stuck in a rut and need fresh ideas, ask your staff. They'll enthusiastically share the new ideas you've been looking for. They might even come up with a fresh marketing idea or two (or three) that makes you say, "Wow, what a great idea, I can't believe I didn't think of that before."

And that means you didn't just hire great camp counselors this year, you also hired a bunch of free marketing and advertising consultants, too! :)

Do you have an "About Us" page on your camp's website?

Check out this video from Small Business Newz about the value of having an "About Us" page on your camp's website:



Thursday, January 27, 2011

Is One Big Ad Better than 4 Smaller Ones? Maybe not...

Some people think the bigger the ad, the better. Naturally you'd love to have the biggest ad on the page, but if you could reach more people with several smaller ads in more places, that might be better. Check it out.

Let's say you're running a half-page ad in a single newspaper or magazine. Why not cut the size down to four, 1/8 page ads in four different publications and run them there? 

As long as your ad is well-designed and well-placed, you might be better off. You might see a better response with several smaller versions of the same ad in several different publications than one big ad in a single publication. 

You never know till you try...  :)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Can You Triple Your Enrollment in Just One Year?

You can if you're attending the upcoming Tri-State Conference in New Jersey. I'll be leading a session called "How to Triple Your Enrollment in 1 Year" on Thursday, March 17. We'll discuss effective, low-cost sales and marketing techniques that could get you at least 3 new campers for every one kid you used to get. Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Your Brochure and DVD aren't just Sales Materials, They're SHARING Materials

You probably view your brochure and DVD sales materials, but do you also see them as SHARING materials? If you don't, you should!

Let's say someone asks for a brochure. Don't just send one, send several. Attach a personal note not just thanking them for their request, but asking them to hand out the extras to any friends who might be interested in your camp.

Monday, January 17, 2011

How Much Money Does Making One Follow Up Phone Call Mean to You?

In the past few days or weeks you may have (hopefully) started getting inquiries from families about camp this year. Don't forget to follow up by telephone a few days after sending people their requested information.

Most people won't call you again after making initial contact. You gotta be proactive and check in on them. Make sure they got their info and do they have any questions.

The more follow up calls you make, the more enrollment you'll get. Let's say 100 families call you for a camp brochure. You follow up a week later with all of them. Ninety-nine aren't interested. But even if just one person out of every 100 follow up calls you make registers for camp, think about this: What if you made 1,000 calls? 2,000 calls? More? That's a LOT of kids just for using the telephone which you're doing every day already!

If you have a good lead-generation strategy in place, you might be able to fill your camp just by making follow phone up calls. Even if you don't like telemarketing, this is a tool you can't neglect. 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

How to Get an Instant Sales Force Working for You Right Now

Wouldn't it be great if you had a full-time sales force recruiting campers for you? You already have one: Your counselors and former counselors. They're already representatives of your camp, so why not pay them $5 for every camper they send your way?

Five bucks is nothing compared to how much you'd spend to get a new camper anyway. But $5 for a college student is HUGE when they're wondering where their next meal's coming from.

So get in touch with all the camp counselors who worked for you last summer. Call them on the phone or send them an email to let them know they can make $5 or more the easy way. And don't put a cap on how much you'll pay them; if they send you 5 new campers, give them $25 (and so one).

Presto, you've got an instant sales force working for you right now.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Back from Vacation...FINALLY!

I love traveling, but my latest espcades were oo much! I've spent 18 of the last 25 days in Orlando, Palm Springs and Tempe, Arizona. Far too exahusting and I'm glad to be home!

I know I haven't posted lately about sales and marketing your summer camp, or responded to a few of your questions and comments about marketing, either. Now that camp enrollment season's ramping up, I'll get back to my regular schedule which will (hopefully) help us all get more campers this year!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

"Your Camp Sounds Great But it Costs Too Much" and other Customer Fallacies

If you asked me what's the best thing you could do to increase your enrollment, I'd say adopt a "salesperson first" attitude. Your mindset should be salesperson first, camp director next.

When you adopt a salesman (or saleswomen) stance, you market your camp from a position of strength. You may have lost potential customers in the past because you didn't know how to deal with various objections or reasons why they didn't want to sign up for your camp. But if you understand one simple sales technique, you can turn most of those people who'd otherwise get away into paying customers.

What kind of "sales technique" are we talking about? Storytelling marketing.

Last January, we discussed how to market your camp with stories. Storytelling marketing is a wonderful sales technique for a number of reasons, not the least of which is it helps customers understand what you're offering from another customer's point of view. This helps address people's concerns better and leads to higher enrollment.

Let me explain with a story myself.

One of the most common objections we get from prospects at Aloha is price. But when people say it costs too much, I use storytelling marketing to deal with their objections.

Let's say someone tells me, "Your camp sounds great, but it's too expensive." In that case, I don't get defensive or argue with them or try to explain our price rationale.

Instead I demonstrate, through stories, how other people with their same concerns actually benefited by attending Aloha Beach Camp.

When I get that dreaded price objection, I say, "Well, you know what? You might think that's the case, except many families who've been with us the longest, like the Smith's and the Jones', were concerned about price, too. But that was before their kids tried camp. Today they'll tell you they'd gladly pay double what we charge. That's because their kids love camp so much, they say the value they're getting is worth twice as much as the price."

Can you see how effective this is? Instead of sounding desperate with reasons why we charge what we charge, I let the Jones and Smith families correct the erroneous perception camp costs too much. Most of the time people have no idea I'm actually using a sales technique, and it moves them from being concerned about price to, "I guess it's easily worth the price after all."

Maybe you get price objections at your camp or other reasons why people don't sign up right away or they "need to think about it" and they'll "call you back later." You can deal with this better if you adopt a salesperson mindset from a storytelling marketing prospective. You'll also have a huge leg up on all the other camp directors who don't know how to sell or don't care to learn, and your enrollment will thank you for it.