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How Three Simple Words Can Exponentially Improve the “Fear Factor” in Your Marketing

Last updated on November 14, 2022

Did you know using the “fear factor” to generate enrollment is a hallmark summer camp marketing strategy?

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think you’re consciously trying to “scare” people into signing up for camp. But I’ll bet you’ve been using the fear factor at least two different ways in your marketing — and I’ll bet you’ve been doing it for years.

Early Bird Discount

When you offer an Early Bird discount price, you get a huge flurry of enrollment at the end, right? That’s because people are afraid of missing the deadline. When you tell folks, “Our Early Bird Discount Expires December 1” (or whatever your particular deadline is), you’re using fear to motivate them to sign up by the cutoff date.

Limited Availability

Another way you use fear in your marketing is by playing the space-availability card. When you tell parents to “sign up now because space is getting full,” you make families fearful their kids won’t be accepted into your program because you might not have room for them. The fear you create with this message causes parents to sign up now rather than waiting till later when it might be too late.

How to Exponentially Increase the “Fear Factor” Effectiveness in Your Marketing Strategy

Even though each of the above marketing strategies — your Early Bird discount deadline and limited space warning — can be extremely effective on their own, they become much more effective when combined together and the following three simple words are added in:  “…Whichever comes first.”

Here’s what I mean:

“Our Early Bird Discount Expires December 1 OR when space at camp sells out, whichever comes first. “

Now when you disseminate a message like that, you’re REALLY using the fear factor to your advantage.

Just combing the Early Bird discount deadline and the threat of limited enrollment space makes your marketing message twice as effective. But when you also add the words, “Whichever comes first,” your marketing improves exponentially. The synergy you created by combing your Early Bird deadline and limited availability message might be effective enough, but NOW you’ve got people worrying they might not get into camp EVEN if they meet the Early Bird deadline itself.

So what does this mean for you? For one thing, it becomes a real motivating factor for people to sign up right away. That means you’re getting paid sooner rather than later, something all us are looking for all the time.

It also impels parents to spread the word about your program to their friends, because in this day and age, many families sign up for camp together. 

Bottom line, if you’re looking for a quick and easy new marketing strategy to use, I urge you to try this. I’ve used it in my own marketing, typically in email campaigns, and it’s quite effective. Try it!

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