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Monday, February 18, 2013

Internet Advertising For Your Camp, Just $49/Year

If you're looking for an affordable marketing option with great value and ROI, list your camp on for just $49 per year.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Text Message Marketing for Summer Camps

The next big thing (actually, it's already here and growing) for camp marketers is mobile marketing. Mobile marketing encompasses many facets, from text message marketing to mobile coupons to QR codes and more.

Why is mobile marketing so hot? Well, consider this: Your camp family prospects and customers might leave home without their purse, wallet, or computers ... but not without their cell phones! And by 2014 (next year), more people will conduct online searches with their mobile devices than they will using their desktops. That's crazy!

In an upcoming post I'm going to talk about a great mobile couponing tool created by my friend Shawntay who I met on Twitter. But today I wanted to introduce you to one of the fastest, quickest, most effective ways to reach your prospects immediately in real time...and that's text message marketing!

All About Text Message Marketing

Text message marketing is quick, powerful and effective. Once you build your opt-in list (kind of like building your email list), you can text your customers enrollment updates, special offers (like coupons), and all kinds of other valuable info.

Mobile marketing (in this case, text messaging) is also a great communication tool, not just to stay in touch with customers and prospects, but staff too. You can segment your opt-in list into separate groups or lists and provide messaging for just those specific groups or lists. For example, you could have a staff list, and text important messages to all your counselors at once. Or if one of your camp buses is running late, you could text the parents to let them know when the bus will arrive so they didn't worry.

Text message marketing is an easy, cost-effective way to get more enrollment. Statistics show people open their text messages 95% of the time, and within SECONDS of receiving the message, too. Not only that, response are as much as 10x greater than email.

Now you can't just start sending your customers and prospects unsolicited text messages whenever you want. As we just mentioned, your goal is to build an opt-in list of people who agree to receive your texts. And you should also use a text message service, similar to your email marketing service, to streamline your text message marketing activities and appear more professional to those who receive your texts. You'll generally pay a monthly fee to join the service, the price of which is based on the number of texts you send, the number of people on your list, or some combination.

I've tried various services. There's many good ones out there. Some are more complicated than others with various levels of sophistication required to use them. The one I've been using lately is called Qwikon. The reason I like it is for its ease of use, affordable monthly fees (you get a free trial, too) and the great customer service. If you decide to try it (and why not?), the gentleman who owns the business is named Brooks Lambert and he'll take care of you, I promise you that.

If you're already using text message marketing to promote your camp and connect with customers, you already know the benefits of mobile marketing. In any case, you owe it to yourself to at least look into this hot new marketing method which is growing and here to stay. I was even able to arrange an exclusive deal for you with Brooks at Qwikon; he will give you a 15% discount off your first year's use if you let him know you're connected to me.

Bottom line, if you haven't discovered text message marketing yet, now's the time. Good luck!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Coupons and Candy Go Hand-in-Hand

A couple weeks ago we made a quick post on how to market to kids and parents at the same time. The strategy discussed was to attach a coupon to a candy bar. Candy is something every child loves, and the coupon equates to something every parent loves -- saving money.

Those who've read this blog for a while know I'm a big fan of stealing marketing ideas from other industries and applying them to summer camp marketing. I got the coupon/candy bar idea when I took my car in for service two weeks ago. When the mechanic finished fixing my car, he gave me a Hershey bar with a coupon attached good for $5 off my next service. That's a pretty sweet marketing strategy to encourage me to bring my car back to him next time it needs work, rather than take it to another mechanic.

I can think of at least a dozen ways to use this idea at my camp. I know you can, too. Give it a try. Your campers and parents will love it!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Best Place to Distribute Your Flyers? School Carpool Lines

Is marketing with flyers included in your camp's marketing plan? It should be. Flyers are just about the cheapest advertising materials to produce, and when distributed in the right places, unbelievably effective.

You can distribute your flyers everywhere. Pediatrician's offices, telephone poles, little league fields, camp fairs. But where's the NUMBER ONE place to hand them out?

School carpool lines.

Seriously, have you EVER seen more moms sitting around doing absolutely NOTHING about 10 or 15 minutes before their kids get out of school? This is an incredibly captive audience for you.

Now you might be wondering whether this type of solicitation is kosher, especially in a school environment. Different places have different rules and regulations, so you'll need to check with yours before undertaking this remarkably effective marketing strategy.

If you're walking up and down a public sidewalk handing out flyers, you might be fine, but again, you need to check first. The best way I've found to make this work is doing deals directly with the schools themselves, where you can actually distribute the flyers on school property for a fee to the school or a percentage of any enrollments I get due to handing out the flyers.

See if you can swing this too, it's easily worth the effort.