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Showing posts from 2015

Top 26 Joint Venture and Partnership Prospects for Summer Camps

The Fastest Way to Grow Camp Enrollment is Through Joint Ventures and Partnerships with Like-Organizations Who Share the Same Customer Base As You (Kids and Families), But Who Don't Directly Compete with You. Here's 26 Potential Partnership Ideas to Help You Get Started.
How do joint ventures and partnerships work? Imagine your local real estate agent (let's call her "Sally") happily refers all of her clients to your camp. In return, you send an email to your customer list endorsing Sally as someone your customer families will be very pleased with next time they need help buying or selling a home.

As you can see, there's many potential benefits to setting up partnerships like this, but principally, it gives you instant access to new markets and potential customer bases you couldn't otherwise reach.

Where to Find Joint Venture Partners
I've been writing this summer camp marketing blog for many years and have advocated establishing joint venture and pa…

Make Sure Prospects Can Find You On Social Media via Your Website's "Contact Us" Page

Does your website's "Contact Us" page include links to your social media sites? If not, you're missing a huge marketing opportunity
There's lots of overlooked opportunities in marketing. I don't know why so many stones are left unturned, but it's pretty regrettable because most folks don't realize how making one little change or improvement to your marketing program can have such a huge impact on your bottom line.

Here's what I'm getting at. I just visited 10 random summer camp websites. Every one of them is missing a MAJOR social media opportunity because they don't have links to their social media accounts on their "Contact Us" pages on their websites.

Go ahead, visit your own website now. Click on your "Contact" page. Does it include a way for website visitors and camp prospects to visit you on social media? If so, congrats -- you're doing a whole lot better than the other 10 websites I saw this morning.

Now ple…

Have You Considered a Mother's Day Summer Camp Promotion?

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Summer Camp and Mother's Day Were Made for Each Other. There's Lots of New Enrollment to Be Had By Offering a Mother's Day Promotion at Your Camp.
One of the most effective ways to get the most bang for your marketing buck is tying in a promotion to a Holiday.

Here's a few examples:


A suit company gives men a free tie on Father's DayA candy store gives you a free chocolate bunny on EasterA baseball team gives you a free Jackie Robinson replica sports jersey on April 15, the day Jackie Robinson debuted in the big leagues (Jackie Robinson Day isn't a national holiday, but it should be and you get the idea...)

So it seems pretty clear, Holidays and promotions go together. People are conditioned to spending money in conjunction with Holidays. That's why so many brands center promotions around them.

If you're wondering what I'm getting at, it's this: Mother's Day and summer camp go together. Offering a Mother's Day promotion is just about the…

How I Got 152 Pinterest Followers in 27 Days

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Less than 4 weeks ago I had just 23 followers on Pinterest. Today I have 175. That's a net gain of 152 followers in 27 days. Let me show you how I did it.
First of all, I'm a big believer in stealing (maybe "borrowing" is a better word) marketing ideas from other people and applying them to my own summer camp marketing.

So I looked around at some of the big players on Pinterest -- those people and companies in my niche (kids, moms, camp, etc). who had a ridiculously large number of followers compared to most other people out there -- to see what commonalities they shared.

It didn't take long till I discovered that many of these people didn't just have tons tons of followers, they followed tons of people (and companies) themselves

Ah ha! 
So here's what I did. I came up with this theory that if I just started following boatloads of people who were remotely interested in the same things I am, they'd start following me back in droves. I decided to put…

Summer Camp Email Marketing Poll

Have you taken our new email marketing poll on Facebook? Which email marketing program do you prefer?

STILL Don't Have a Mobile-Friendly Website? G-Day is Almost Here

For Those Camp's Who Didn't Heed My Warnings About Making Your Website Mobile-Friendly, G-(Google) Day is April 21 Many camp directors are freaking out about Google's announcement that non-mobile-friendly websites are about to get hammered in the search results starting April 21.

This should come as no surprise. I've been preaching for years about the importance of building a mobile-friendly site. The reason why is because Google's #1 goal has always been to provide the most relevant search results and best user experience possible.

Well guess what?

If your website forces users to pinch their screens or scroll horizontally just to use your site, or widen it by hand just to tap a link, that means your website is not optimized for mobile...and THAT means you are making it difficult on Google to provide relevant search results and good experience for users. So consider yourself warned (again). If you don't make the appropriate adjustments to your website by A…

3 Simple Content Marketing Tips To Help Your Summer Camp Stand Out From the Crowd

I came across a blog directory today which lists various summer camp blogs of note. I was glad to see Camp Marketing News included. Whoever compiled the directory described my blog as consisting of "no nonsense posts on camp marketing."

Damn right!

If you've been following my content a while, you know I don't go with the flow. And I don't want you to, either.

Seriously, how can you expect to make any marketing improvements, or get higher enrollment, or do better in search rankings, if you keep doing things the same way you've always done them?

And how can you expect to stand out in a crowded camp marketing field if you're promotional program is the same as everyone else's?

Seriously, take a look around to notice how other people market their camps. There's usually very little difference, if any, from the one to the next.

As I'm quite fond of saying, if everyone's doing the same thing, then many of us aren't necessary. 

I&#…

CampCoupons.com is back. Now you can market your camp with coupons!

As some of you may know, I used to run a website called CampCoupons.com where camps could market themselves with coupons and families could search the site to find offers and discounts from camps that appealed to them.

The site was quite popular from 2010 to 2013, with dozens and dozens (and dozens!) of camps listed was a pretty unique concept in summer camp marketing, if I do say so myself. It was basically a "one-stop shop" for folks to discover new and exciting summer camp opportunities and save money on summer camp too.

And camps really enjoyed participating. They got lots of new campers from it. There really was nothing else like it, and there still isn't. But I eventually got involved in other projects and let the website go.


Well, long story short, I'm happy to say the Camp Coupons website is now fully redesigned and ready to go for 2015 and beyond!

So if you're looking for a novel and affordable new way to market your camp and really call attention to yo…

How Summer Camps Can Profit When Giving School Donations

If it seems like the number of requests you get for school donations increases every year, this post is for you.

I won't go so far to say getting so many donation requests is annoying, but it can definitely get stressful when you're bombarded by everyone and their brother who want one.

The problem is (especially for us little guys who operate "mom and pop" summer camps), giving away free camp sessions here and there is tough because the money we make from filling our camps with paying customers is generally how we feed our families. There's only a limited number of non-paying kids we can afford to accommodate because they take away spots from other kids who'd otherwise pay full price. In that respect, asking us to donate free camp is similar to asking an employee to take a pay cut. When you look at it that way, it's disconcerting.

And yet, undeniably, making donations to schools and organizations in need is the right thing to do. It generat…

28 "Leading Sentences" You Can Use in Your Content Marketing

Even though everyone may have different marketing goals, we all use content marketing to achieve them.

For example, you may be trying to get more sales leads, while I may be trying to close more sales.

Your sister may want more Twitter followers, while your girlfriend wants more YouTube.

And so each of us spends time creating and distributing content relevant to our respective marketing goals in hopes of getting our customers and prospects to take some kind of action (follow your sister on Twitter, for instance).

But even though each of us might use different content marketing tools to reach our goals, there's one thing we can all agree on, one singular purpose we all share:

Each of us wants to capture -- and KEEP -- our target market's attention all the way through our respective content marketing messages, because if we can't we severely hurt our chances of achieving our goals in the first place.

Let's face it.

If just won't matter if your sister creates the best…

Top 3 Social Media Quotes by 14-Year-Old Twin Boys

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After reading with interest this week the post about how teenagers use social media, I wanted to get my own 14-year-old twin boys' opinions on the matter. The reason why is because the original blog post was written by a 19-year old college student, and I run a summer camp for kids, so I thought my kids' insight would be more valuable to me and other people who run youth-serving organizations or companies that market to kids.

So I asked my boys, Josh and Noah, if I could interview them over video about their social media preferences and post it online but they declined. They'd rather play baseball today since it's their last day of winter break. But they did say I could have 45 seconds with them to ask a few questions. Here's what they told me in a nutshell:

 "Twitter is FAR better than Instagram for two reasons. One, it's much easier to talk to people on Twitter than Instagram, and two, you can post several times a day on Twitter without losing followers. …

How to Increase the Response of Your Early Bird Discount Offer

If you're like most camps, you probably offer an Early Bird discount as a marketing strategy. There's a reason why so many of us do this...and that's because it works!!

There's no doubt about it, all of us typically see a huge enrollment rush just before the Early Bird deadline expires or even ON the deadline itself. (This rush of sign-ups shows just how important saving money is to families these days, and also how such a discount can be such an important enrollment driver for your program.)

But here's the thing. Even though you may be getting a bunch of sign-ups at the Early Bird deadline, wouldn't it be nice to get even more? The good news is, you can.

Consider this: Even though everyone loves a discount, sometimes saving money still isn't enough to get people to sign up for camp. In fact, I'd be willing to bet there's a lot more campers you could be getting just by offering a LITTLE SOMETHING MORE beyond your Early Bird discount itself.

Now I&#…

Camper Retention as a Marketing Strategy Is NOT the Best Strategy for Camps

A long-held strategy among summer camp marketers has been to retain current campers first, and acquire new ones next. I used to feel that way myself, but not anymore.

The fact is, if you run a great camp, you should have no trouble getting lots of referrals and repeat business from happy families, which means camper retention should take care of itself.

On the other hand, if you don't have a constant stream of new campers every year, let's face it - you're toast. There's just no way to continue operating without loads of new kids each summer.

Camps aren't like restaurants or car dealerships or airlines or pro sports teams or any other business, for that matter, that can rely on keeping customers for life. As camp professionals, we only have a few years at the most before customers move away, try other things, age-out of our programs, or otherwise stop coming to camp for whatever reason.

So even though this thinking flies in the face of traditional marketing strate…

If You Don't Allow Cell Phones at Camp, You're Missing the Biggest Social Media Marketing Benefit of All Time

My ideas of summer camp marketing are different than most. The traditional way to market a camp is taking a safe, comfortable, familiar approach, doing things like they've always been done, and thinking "inside the box."

My way involves taking risks, trying new things, borrowing marketing ideas from other industries and applying them to my promotional activities, and employing an "edgy" marketing style I believe helps my camp stand out.

For example, I think cell phones should be allowed at camp. I've held this position a long time. There's lots of reasons I feel this way, but in general, it's just the way the world's going and camps that try to fight it will have a tough time.

I gave a marketing speech in Tucson last month to summer camp owners and directors where I posited cell phones should be allowed at camp.. I'm not sure my position went over too well because from what I observed, the vast majority of camp marketing people (or at leas…