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Showing posts from March, 2010

How to Market Your Summer Camp with Flyers

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I love marketing my camp with flyers. They’re easy to make and cheap to print. They’re more eye-catching than business cards (since they’re bigger and contain more info), and they can be just as effective as brochures.

You can’t just make a flyer and hope for the best. You need an effective design, printing and distribution strategy. Otherwise your flyer might convey your camp as “cheap” -- obviously not the image you're going for.

Even high-end camps can market with flyers. You can include all kinds of detailed information, plus pictures. Prospects should be able to make an informed descion about your camp when your flyer's done the right way.

You can get away with printing your flyer in black and white, but I suggest color instead. People want to know what your camp looks like and what you offer kids. You can’t beat color for showing that.

Last week I made this flyer about Aloha Beach Camp’s surfing program that I distributed at a Camp Fair:


I wanted to test whether color or…

Announcing Camp Coupons.com

Need to fill your camp? Give your customers a discount. Post a coupon on Camp Coupons.com for free.

Surefire ways to get newspaper or magazine articles written about your camp

How'd you like a newspaper or magazine article written about your camp? That's PR, and it's a high-impact, low-cost way to establish credibility, build name recognition and reach untold numbers at people at once.

Much of the stuff you read in newspapers and magazines everyday comes from people like you who pitch story ideas to authors and editors. Many writers aren't creative enough to come up with story ideas on their own. Instead they rely you for things to write about.

When a writer considers a story, they want timely, newsworthy, relevant information for their readers. Now that spring is here, you'll see more and more stories appearing about camp because camp is a relevant topic this time of year, and information about camp is beneficial to the public at large.

Some publications get pitched hundreds, if not thousands, of times each day. Like anything else, your idea must stand out if you hope to pique the author's interest.

Or does it?

Here's a practi…

Search Engine Market Share

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Here's a look at the market share of the "Big 4" search engines from last month. As you can see, Google continued to dominate getting 71% of all user searches in February while Yahoo got 15%, Bing 10%, and Ask 3%.


How long has your camp been around?

Do parents ever ask how long you've been established? The longer, the better in their eyes; more years means more credibility.

They don't know it, but when parents ask how long you've been around, they've actually given you a FANTASTIC opportunity to send them to your website or Facebook page without sounding like your typical "visit our website" sales pitch.

Let's say you've been established 30 years. So when a parent asks, you can answer honestly and proudly: "This will be our 30th summer."

But you don't stop there.

Here's what else you do.

You say, "And you know what? You can even see pictures of our early years on our website or Facebook photo album. We've got some really cool pictures from way back when we started. You can see how we've changed and grown and improved through the years. I think you'll really like it!"

Bingo. Not only have you just blown the person away by telling them you've been arou…

How to achieve response rates of 12% or more with sales letters

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When I worked at an advertising agency many years ago, I learned how to market with sales letters. Now they're one of my favorite marketing tools.

Sometimes I achieve response rates as high as 12% or more when I send sales letters soliciting camp enrollment. Most people I know are happy with response rates of 2% or less.

Sales letters can be VERY effective sales tools IF you know the nuances involved in creating and sending them. If you don't, marketing with sales letters can punish you financially.

You know the kind of letters I'm talking about - the typical sales letter you get everyday from credit card companies, gyms, or magazines trying to get you to buy their stuff.

Here's the thing about sales letters though. You're competing against every other piece of mail that arrives in your prospect's mailbox every day. So you gotta make your letter stand out.

Here's a relatively plain sample sales letter I found online:



Nothing about this letter grabs me. I…

Hubspot says no to Camp Fairs. (I mean trade shows.)

If you're like me, you probably don't think attending camp fairs pays off. In my opinion they're too expensive, time consuming and don't attract the number of prospects we need to make these events worthwhile. Before the "internet age" and online marketing, attending camp fairs was worthwhile. Now a MAJOR internet marketing company,  Hubspot, has quit attending trade shows, too. Check it out.

Moving Billboards: My New Marketing Experiment

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One of the marketing tactics I've always wanted to try but never have is "transit marketing."

You know those huge ads plastered on the sides of big trucks that drive up and down major major streets and thoroughfares all the time? That's what I'm talking about.

I confess I'm MESMERIZED by those things. Every time one goes by I pay close attention. I'll bet lots of other people do, too.

I might be wrong but I think these "moving billboards" could be a very effective advertising tool. Just imagine a picture of a big happy camper with your camp's name, phone number and website on the side!

What's not to like about this type of advertising? For one thing, people of all ages, income levels and backgrounds see your ad. And if you live in a big city like me, thousands and THOUSANDS of people could see your ad every day.

But most importantly, this kind of advertising goes to the very heart of what's needed for advertising to be effective …

Even Kids Are Perverts

Here's a list that might be helpful to you in your marketing. It's the Top 100 searches kids performed online in 2009. Funny, kids are just like adults -- sex and porn round out the top 5.

ACA Billboard Misses the Mark

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I follow @acacamps on twitter. Today they posted a picture of their "Because of Camp" billboard in Austin, Texas. Unfortunately the billboard misses the mark, BIG TIME.

For a billboard to be effective, it should contain 7 words AT THE MOST. And the words should all be close to each other and any pictures shown. Otherwise the billboard is a waste of money and won't do its job right.

The main purpose of outdoor advertising, and billboards in particular, is to REMIND people of things. I don't know if the ACA's billboard reminds people of camp. But a simple message like, "It's Time to Sign up For Camp" would do the trick a lot better than the hodgepodge of pictures and words they're using now.

How will people driving by on a street, highway or freeway grasp all these words and pictures in the brief second they're exposed to this sign?

Unfortunately, they won't.

New Camp Search Engines Coming Soon

There's lots of camp search engines out there and they're pretty much all the same. So I'm making a few new ones for you to list your camp. They'll be different than the ones you're familiar with in many respects. I will keep you updated, but they should be ready this camp marketing season, I hope

What is your camp's website strategy?

Sometimes we spend so much time trying to drive people to our websites we forget what our goals are for doing so. What do you want prospects to do once they arrive at your website?

I'll bet everyone has different goals for what they're trying to accomplish with their sites. But I also hope we all have these same three goals in common:
We want people to stay on our sites We want people to come back to our sitesWe want to convert visitors into paying customers/enrollmentsWhen people hit your website and don't find what they're looking for, statistics show they'll leave in seconds. To keep them longer, provide fast-loading pages and easy-to-find, relevant content.

People won't stay on your site forever, so your strategy then becomes getting them to come back. Games, contests, and interactive tools like blogs and message boards can help.

Naturally, we all want a well-designed website that's nice to look at. But I'd rather have an ugly site that gets peopl…

Customer Service: One of Camp's Best Marketing Tools

Wow, this article makes me feel OLD! It's a story I wrote for the American Camp Association's Camping Magazine way back in 1996 when I was directing Tumbleweed Day Camp and served as ACA's Public Relations chair. I found the article searching the internet today. There there's no reference to online marketing in the article because the internet was nothing back then. But much of the stuff I wrote still seems remain relevant today (14 years later!) so I wanted to share it with you. Hope you like it.

So far, camp directors have no problem marketing to kids. Good!

So far 6 of the 9 people voting in our latest poll say marketing to kids IS ethical. I'm with you. But we need more votes to get a true representation.

How to Become a Youth Marketing Master

You may have noticed our latest poll deals with marketing to kids. Whether you've got an ethical issue with that is your business. That's what the poll is for. But however you feel about youth marketing, you'd do well to study its intricacies and various ways to connect with kids, because kids are typically the KEY INFLUENCERS in a family's camp decision-making process.

Personally I have no problem marketing to kids. I don't want to fall behind my competition. So I make a concerted effort to study youth marketing and its subtleties.

I suggest you spend at least a half-hour each day visiting various kids' websites like these and others:
Yahoo kidsNickelodeonPBS KidsNational Geographic for kidsThe United States Government's Kids WebsiteDisney.com Teenmag.comThe folks who run these sites are youth marketing MASTERS. Their only job is to capture and keep kids' attention so they can build connections and brand awareness and eventually sell stuff to kids.

You …

How to Rise in Yahoo's Search Result Rankings.

I'm as guilty as anyone when optimizing my website for the search engines. I tend to focus my attention on Google and hope for the best with Yahoo, Bing and the others. Unfortunately that's not a good strategy. Here's why.

Despite Google's dominance, Yahoo still get hundreds of thousands (actually, millions and millions) of searches each day. The good news is, it doesn't seem too hard to crack Yahoo's algorithmic code if you want to start rising in its search result rankings.

From what I've observed, Yahoo places inordinate weight on your title tag(s) to rank your pages and site. Title tags appear as those blue clickable links on the search results page.

To see for yourself how much weight Yahoo places on title tags, go to yahoo.com and enter a search term. Any word or phrase will do.

After you enter the word or phrase, pay close attention to the results you see. Those title tag links almost always match your inputed keyword(s) -- very often verbatim!

The …

Website Design Tip

If I were you, I wouldn't put a "Under Construction" signs on your web pages. It only cheapens your site and looks unprofessional. Better to wait till your site's completely done, then publish the finished product.

Hispanic-American Kids Could be a VERY Lucrative Market for You

Quick fact: Over half of all people UNDER the age of 18 in major US cities are Hispanic-Americans. And the number will only grow.

Are you targeting those kids for camp?

The World's Second-Best Search Engine Optimization Secret

You might have the best website ever, but if nobody knows about it, who cares? If people aren't visiting your site, what's the point of having one?

Well, there's tons of stuff you can do to help people find your site. As we've discussed many times, optimizing your site so the search engines -- especially Google -- can find it is a key factor, largely because 50% of all website use begins on search engines.

(To me, fifty-percent is a MIND-BLOWING number!)

So what can you do to help your site become more popular with the search engines?

Writing good title and description tags; posting fresh, relevant content; and getting lots of incoming links from other important websites are the traditional strategies.

But what's the world's #2 Search Engine Optimization secret?

Keywords.

Not keywords as in meta-tags. We already know Google doesn't even consider those anymore.

Instead I'm talking about keyword content sprinkled throughout your website ... and that pr…

Now you can market your events for free

If event marketing (camp fairs, open houses, etc.) is part of your camp's promotional plan, the Facebook Events application is a fantastic (and free!) way to promote them.

You might also check out Eventbots.com, another service where you can list your events for free. (I haven't used this service, but I've know it's popular and heard it's useful, so you might give it a go.)

8 Ways to Generate Traffic to Your Website

Check out these 8 strategies you can use to get more traffic to your camp's website. You might already be using some of most of them. This compilation is from Chris Crum at SmallBusinessNewz.com

How to Increase Your Enrollment 70% in 2 Weeks

I'm not sure if you can increase your enrollment 70% in 2 weeks. Maybe you can, maybe not. But if the title of this post got your attention, now you know the power of using specifics, not generalities, in your marketing.

When you speak and write in specifics, your marketing message comes across more persuasively. You sound more credible and believable. And you capture prospects' attention more easily.

What if the title of this post was, "How to increase your enrollment in a short period of time"?

Well, a "short period of time" is a general statement. It doesn't grab you. It doesn't convey the same power as saying, "70% in 2 weeks," because "70% in 2 weeks" is convincing and specific.

Using specific names, numbers, dates, prices, and facts is the most effective way to write sales copy. Check out these examples of how and why using specifics, not generalities, is the more effective way to promote your camp.

General Discount Offer