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Wednesday, March 8, 2017

How to Connect With Hot Camper Prospects You Didn't Even Know You Have

As you can imagine I get asked many different marketing questions from many different people, but one question comes up time and again? How can I get more campers right now?

I could probably spend days showing you how. But here's a quick tip: Focus on your hottest prospects first -- those most likely to sign up for camp or who've expressed interest in doing so -- and go after the colder prospects later.

Not only is this a sound marketing strategy, it's easier on your marketing budget, too.

Now maybe you're asking yourself who your "hottest prospects" are? There's tons of them! Two groups that come immediately to mind are:

  1. Campers who attended your program last summer (and even the year before) but who haven't signed up yet for this year; and
  2. Families who've emailed, called, or otherwise inquired about your program, such as asking for a brochure or other information

But there is one additional group of people -- potentially HUNDREDS OF THEM -- who are EXTREMELY interested in attending your program, but whom you have probably overlooked.

In fact these folks have already TRIED to get into your camp, but they were turned away or otherwise denied, and you don't even know who they are.

What a shame to miss out on these red hot enrollment prospects!

Confused? Let me explain.

If you're like most camps, schools and other organizations ask you all the time to donate a free week of camp, or a free camp session, to their fundraisers, right?

And since you want to do the right thing, you gladly donate almost every time., right?

And then the school lists your donation on a site like biddingforgood.com, where people bid on your donation for a free camp session.

 Now here's the thing. There can only be one auction winner who gets to enjoy your program this summer, but what about all those people who also bid on your donation but didn't win the auction? These are what I'd define as "hot prospects," and there could be untold numbers of them!


Somehow you've got to reach those people -- all those families who bid on your school donation but didn't win the auction.

The problem is, these folks are generally anonymous. Yet you are losing out an a jackpot of potential sign-ups by ignoring them simply because they lost the auction!

So what can you do? There's a bunch of strategies you can use to reach these people. I've tried a number of things. Some work better than others. But in general, here's my suggestion.

When you are solicited for a donation, let the auction chair know that while you are happy to make as donation to their school, you also understand there can only be one auction winner and you don't any family to miss the camp experience just because they got outbid by someone else.

Then go on to say you will gladly offer a special prize, discount, bonus or freebie for the families who participated in the auction but who didn't win, and you need the auction chair's help to  communicating this message to those families.

I have done this several times. It doesn't always work, but most times it does, and when it does you will be thrilled with the results!

Auction chairs (and/or those whom solicited donations from is) are generally more than willing to help in various ways. They understand most of us aren't running charities, so they are typically willing to assist you in exchange for your generosity in providing the donation.

Here's how some of the auction chairs (or people who've requested donations) have helped me reach all the families who've bid on my school donations (not just the ones who won).

Some have written emails or sent out flyers on my behalf explaining my offer(s).

Others have given me a booth at the actual fundraiser events so I could meet the families and explain the situation in person.

Others have provided similar methods of help, and in general they're happy to do so.

The big thing for you is to never let those people who bid on your donation but lost just fade away without trying to get them registered for your program.

Hot camper prospects are hard to come by, so striking when the iron's hot is the best way to get more enrollments quickly.

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