Showing posts from May, 2010

Cross Promotion Marketing: You Scratch My Back, I'll Scratch Yours

Here's a nice way to extend your marketing reach without increasing your marketing budget: Try a cross-promotion. When you do a cross-promotion, you and another non-competing business agree to help each other out by marketing to each other's customer base on behalf of the other. Is there a children's clothing store in your community? Maybe they could distribute your brochures to their customers, and in exchange, you could hand out their marketing materials to your camp families. That's how cross-promotions work. One thing you'll like about cross-promotions, they're a win-win arrangement for you and your marketing partner because you each get an opportunity to expand through other's customer base. You're reaching many more potential new customers than you otherwise would without your cross-promotion partner. Another great thing about cross promotions is they're relatively easy to set up and aren't too expensive to set up. The main cost invol

Frequent Blog Posts are the Way to Google's Heart

I always enjoy discussing summer camp marketing with camp directors. Even though I get lots of different questions and comments about various topics, a pattern has emerged. Most of the questions from camp folks revolves around internet marketing in general, and social media and website optimization in particular. Most people usually want to know the best way to get your website to the top of the search engine results...and how stay there. Well, you can use all kinds of different strategies, but in my opinion the absolute best way to rise in Google is though your blog. Why Google Loves Blogs Blogs that are updated frequently are favored by Google versus static websites. Google figures, hey, if your blog is being updated all the time, people must be interested in seeing it. But if it's old, static content, Google might be thinking you've got nothing new to offer. As I always say, try to update your blog at least three times a week because, in general, Google typically index

#1 Secret of Writing Google Adword ads

I've noticed a few camps advertising on Facebook and Google Adwords lately. If you're one of them, here's a tip to improve your ad's click-through rate: NEVER use your camp's name as the headline for your ad. Nobody really cares about your camp's name. They only care about picking a good camp. Most people scroll through Google's ads and search result pages until they find something that intrigues them -- then they click. Benefits and offers help them do that, but your camp's name doesn't. I just made about $4,000 helping a camp in North Carolina design its Google Adwords strategy. But I'm gonna share the same information with you right now for free. #1 Secret of Writing Google Adword ads The #1 secret of getting people to click on your Google ad is writing a descriptive phrase that clearly highlights your offer and benefits AND includes the exact keywords the user's searching for . Quick example. Let's say you and I run comp

Sorry Twitter, Facebook Owns You

We're running a poll right now to find out which social media marketing site works best for camps. Not too many people have voted, but among those who have, Facebook blows Twitter away. I understand why. Twitter can't touch Facebook in terms of its marketing potential for camps. There's so many more moms, kids and families on Facebook it's not even close. If my camp (Aloha Beach Camp) stopped using Twitter, our enrollment wouldn't suffer one bit. If we dropped off Facebook, we'd be in trouble, and I'd bet the house your situation is the same. From what I've seen, Twitter is not a good customer lead or acquisition tool. Most of the stuff you see there is no different than the email spam you get. Twitter is mostly filled with people posting NOISY, useless information in hopes you'll "follow them" or "retweet" their stuff. (Now if you're a celebrity or otherwise famous, Twitter's another way to pump your personal bran

How to Blow Parents Away with Amazing Customer Service

Is there ANYTHING better than the enthusiasm of delighted patients? (Delighted kids are nice too, but I'll stick with parents since they're the ones paying...) Anyway, here's a way to amaze parents so much they'll be drooling all over themselves to refer friends to your camp and keep coming back year after year: Make every camp family feel like they're your only customer, no matter how many other customers you have. The way to make every family feel like they're your only customer is to make them feel important. Look at it this way. Most parents can't accurately assess your skills as a camp director, but they can definitely assess the experience they have with you. That means it's probably worthwhile to bend over backwards as much as you can, not to the exclusion of other customers, but for the benefit of each individual one. Giving "progress reports" to parents while their kids are at camp is one place to start. Schools give progress

Introducing Twitter

5 Ways to Get More Twitter Followers and Facebook Fans

I've gotten lots of calls and emails from camp directors the past few weeks (my phone number is 818.919.1713 if you'd like to reach me) asking how to get more Facebook fans and Twitter followers, so I thought I'd address it here. Personally I don't care if you have 5,000 fans and I only have 50. Sheer numbers mean nothing to me and I hope they don't to you. The only thing that matters is: The level of influence your friends and followers have over their friends How much your friends and followers like you; and How often they refer their friends to your camp Look at it this way. I'm in much better position to cultivate relationships with 50 people -- one at a time on a regular basis -- than you are with 5,000. Most likely, if you have 5,000 Facebook fans, they don't even know who you are, and you sure as heck don't know them. I get it though. I understand why people want more followers and fans. It's an ego boost for one thing. So here'

If it's Not Broken, Let's Fix it!

I'm not a fan a fixing things that aren't broken. I still think Facebook fan pages are better than "liking" something and I also prefer Google's clean search results and home page better than the new stuff they just put out. But we're talking about Google and Facebook, the two most powerful creatures on the Internet, so what can you do?

Did you know 80% of Your Facebook Fans are Meaningless?

You know the 80/20 adage, right? The rule of thumb that states 80% of your business comes from 20% of your customers? I don’t know if that’s true in the summer camp field – I'm guessing it's probably not. But I do know this: if you’ve got lots of Facebook fans, twitter followers and blog subscribers, most likely a very small percentage of those people represent a very large number of your site visitors. So the 80/20 rule applies here, and I'll give you an example. One of my Facebook pages has almost 14,000 fans. But only a precious few actively visit the page, comment, post photos or otherwise participate. Among those who do, it's the same people every time. Same goes for most of my other other websites, fan pages and blogs. At first I was frustrated by this. I beat myself up trying to figure out how to engage the vast majority of people who weren't participating. Then I realized it didn't matter. I realized the way to make social media really work is to &

Do You Have an "Elevator Pitch?" Can Your Customers and Prospects Share it with Their Friends?

Hopefully you can describe for prospects in 45 seconds or less exactly what you do and how your camp differs from all the rest. That's your "elevator pitch." But unless your customers and prospects can tell their friends about you in 45 seconds or less, word-of-mouth marketing's probably not working as powerfully as it could be for you.

Social Media Marketing is a New Concept for Everyone...Except Camp Directors

I've always felt social media marketing and summer camp marketing were made for each other. And when you really think about it, haven't camp directors ALWAYS been social media marketers, even before that fancy term was coined? If "social media marketing" is about having conversations and connecting with your customers and prospects on a personal level, seems to me like we've been social media marketers all along. I don't remember where I heard this, or even who said it, but I was reading a magazine article a few weeks ago where the author called social media marketing "conversational marketing." Wouldn't you agree that "conversational marketing" is nothing more than talking with customers and prospects, listening to their feedback, and earning their trust so they'll sign up for camp and tell all their friends? And haven't you ALWAYS marketed your camp that way? Before "social media marketing" was all the

What's the Single Best Way To Market Your Camp?

What's the #1 marketing strategy to use at your camp? Well, if there was a magic bullet, we'd all be rich and I wouldn't be writing this blog anymore. Fact is, no single marketing technique works for every camp every time. You and I might have identical marketing plans, but yours might work like a charm while mine doesn't do jack. Why? Because every customer is different. People have different tastes and opinions, so they respond differently to marketing messages even when the message is the same. You might think Chinese Chicken Salad is the best thing since sliced bread, but your best friend might hate it. That's the kind of thing we're up against when we market our camps. Now even though there’s no magic bullet, there is one marketing principle we should all embrace, otherwise our camps will fall off the proverbial cliff: We need to know and understand our target markets like the backs of our respective hands. My guess is your camp’s target mar

How to Retain Current Customers and Reactivate Old Ones

One of the downsides of running a camp, or any organization for that matter, is you're gonna lose customers eventually. People stop coming to you for any number of voluntary or involuntary reasons affecting your customer attrition rate. Voluntary Reasons Customers Stop Coming to Your Camp "Voluntary" means customers have made a conscious decision not to attend your camp anymore. There's endless possibilities why. Maybe they found a camp they like better. Maybe they had a bad experience with you. Maybe they didn't feel "connected" to your camp. Maybe they did feel connected, but your prices are too high. Or maybe their kids just felt like they've outgrown your program (a common concern among camp directors). Involuntary Reasons Customers Stop Coming to Your Camp Experts say the two most involuntary reasons customers stop patronizing any business is because they either die or move away. This happens about 5% to 10% of the time. Not much y

How Do You Set Camp Prices? Are Your Customers Happy with what You Charge?

Do you know what your competition charges for camp? Are your families comfortable paying what you charge for camp? At Aloha Beach Camp , I make it a point to know exactly how much my competition charges so I set my prices accordingly. If I was going to name a formal pricing "strategy," I guess I'd say we intentionally set our prices on the "low end of the high end camps." But there's a number of factors that go into setting your prices beyond just what your competition charges. Check out this video from Web Pro News which I hope you'll find useful, then let me know what you think. More WebProNews Videos

Ever had a Camp Family Appreciation Day? Why Not Give it a Try?!

Whenever I need a new marketing idea, the first place I look is outside the camp industry. In general most camp marketers all do the same thing (brochure, website, etc.), so I've learned the best way to stand out from the crowd is by "stealing" promotional ideas from other industries. My feeling is, hey, if your marketing ideas work, who the heck cares where you find them? Some of the best marketing strategies I've ever used are from the sports marketing field. Professional sports teams in particular are marketing MASTERS. One of the primary ways they get you to go to their games is by offering various promotions and giveaways. Most teams even have a dedicated section on their websites just so you can find out when they're giving away a free blanket, t-shirt, hat, bobble head, magnet, action figure, player autograph or whatever. There's a very good reason why they do this: promotions and giveaways fill stadium seats. Here's why I'm telling you

OK McDonald's, Enough with the Fake Drive-Thru Voice

Don't you think it's weird when McDonald’s use a recorded drive-thru voice to ask you for your order? And how about when Mr. Automated Speaker Greeter asks you to add something to your order BEFORE you've even ordered in the first place? And don't you feel like an idiot RESPONDING to the recorded voice as if it’s a real person? I've gotten to the point where I just ignore the fake voice and wait for a real person (who's often no more competent than the voice box). Hey, I'm pro-technology all the way from the largest fast food restaurant to the smallest summer camp. But I don't see how a prerecorded greeting helps anyone. When technology gets in the way of having a real conversation with a real person, and hurts customer service, the technology's gotta go.

Double Your Lead Coversions, Double Your Enrollment

I talked to a camp director this weekend who's frustrated because she's having a hard time converting leads into enrollments. She says she gets all the leads she can handle from her website, but she can't turn them into paying customers. Considering she spends over $23,000 on marketing each year, you can imagine her disappointment at how much money she's wasting generating dead-end lead after dead-end lead. If you haven't read my blog post, How to Double Your Sales in Just One Year , now might be a good time. In that post, I talk about a very easy and obvious -- yet overlooked -- method of increasing your camp enrollment without spending all your time, money and energy chasing leads that go nowhere. If you need a cost-effective way to increase your enrollment right now, here's the kind of thing I'd do: I'd contact all your families from last summer who haven't registered for this camp this year. (You can call them on the phone or email them, b

How to Know if Your Camp Video's a Winner

Here's a quick way to know if your camp video is working as hard it can for you: Try watching your video with the sound off. Ask others do to the same. If you (or they) are still half-way engaged, you know your video is a winner. Like pictures, video is a visual marketing medium, and people often make yes or no decisions about signing up for camp based on the pictures you show. Adding music or sound later is only a bonus.

When Google Looks at Your Website, What Does it See?

If you’re familiar with this blog or read the archives, you know that updating your website and blog on a frequent basis is among the easiest ways to get your camp's website to the top of Google. At risk of sounding like a broken record: GOOGLE LOVES FRESH CONTENT! But sometimes it’s hard to find the time to update your blog and website, especially now when you’re getting ready for camp. If you don’t have time to update your website or blog, you should at least make sure your current content is strong and easily readable by Google. Here's what I mean by "easily readable." I mean if you have a Tennessee horseback riding camp, your website content should reflect this in a crystal clear way, otherwise Google might think you sell Tennessee horseback riding tours instead. In that case, Google won't show your website to people who need your camp. That's a missed opportunity for you! Here's what you should do now. Go to Seo to see your site t