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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

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! :)