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’m not talking about increasing the discount. (Although if you did, you might see a huge increase in sign-ups. When I changed from offering a 25% discount to 40% for Early Bird sign ups in September, my Early Bird registration rate increased 61%.) But I understand not all camps have high enough margins to justify such a large discount.
So I’m just talking about offering a little something extra, a free bonus if you will, to go along with your Early Bird offer to increase its appeal.
While I can’t be exactly sure what your Early Bird marketing message is, I have seen many from other camps and all of them seem to be relatively similar. In general, here’s a typical Early Bird promotional message you might tell your camp families:
“Unfortunately we need to increase the price for camp soon, but you can avoid this increase by taking advantage of our Early Bird Discount program and lock-in last years pricing by signing up now etc…etc.”
And again, this type of thing will generally get you lots of sign ups — the discount itself does the trick. But let’s take it a step further by asking yourself the following question: “What additional bonus could I offer that my camp families that they’d enjoy so much they’d have a hard time saying no to?”
And then whatever you come up with — maybe it’s something as simple as a t-shirt, lunch bag, free registration offer, extra archery time, whatever — gets bundled together with your Early discount offer.
And when you do this, you can get more campers because you’ve suddenly increased the value of your offer. It’s not just a simple discount anymore. It’s a discount PLUS something else, and that can mean all the difference.
Now there’s just one more thing. Whatever you come up with as your free bonus must have:
1) High perceived value to your customer; and
2) Very low cost to you
You should absolutely NOT go out and spend a lot of money on something that will cut into your profit just so you can give it away as a free bonus.
In other words, if you have a bunch of extra camp t-shirts laying around from previous summers, by all means use those as your free bonus gift on top of your early rate.