Last updated on November 19, 2022
Back in May, my friend Travis Allison on his Go Camp Pro blog posted a very interesting and worthwhile article about how families go about choose your camp or, more specifically, the reasons WHY they do it.
As Travis explains, it’s all about selling the features, not the benefits, of the camp experience you deliver to kids. That means you’re not just selling the camp experience itself, but something deeper.
You’re selling the OUTCOME of that experience in terms of personal growth for kids, making new friends, overcoming fears, or whatever else kids TAKE AWAY from the program you deliver.
Selling benefits, outcomes, or, as Travis explains, the reason(s) “WHY” families choose your program over another isn’t always easy to convey. But I learned a little trick regarding how to do it, which works every time, and I’m happy to share with you.
Seven years back, I discussed this trick in another blog post. I wanted to recount it here because Travis’ excellent post reminded me of it. I’ve been using this trick for years, and you should too. But remember, this is not intended to “trick” people into signing up for you camp. You never want to do that. It’s a trick to make the benefits of participating in your program easier to describe to parents.
So here’s the trick.
Basically, each time you mention a feature of your program, you follow it up with these three words: “… and that means…”
And then you go on to explain what the feature actually to in terms of what kids “take away” from attending your camp. The three words, “and that means” will naturally lead you into what the benefit is every time.
Here’s a quick example.
I own a beach camp. It’s easy for me to mention “a fun beach camp experience for kids” in my marketing materials, and I do that all the time. But it’s usually not enough to generate enrollment.
If I really want to grab more enrollment, I need to be more specific about conveying what “a fun beach camp experience” really means in terms of WHY the camper should choose our program.
So what I do is, I use my “…and that means…” marketing strategy to explain the benefits of, and reasons why, kids should sign up for my camp.
Last summer I had a very nervous camper attending my beach camp. He wasn’t nervous at first though, when his mom signed him up in March, three months before camp started.
At that time, was really fired up and looking forward to camp and learning how to surf.
His mom was super happy, too because the child had three awful prior experiences at different camps, so he wasn’t too thrilled with the idea of camp in general. Just the fact the boy wanted to try our program made the mom giddy.
Then something bad happened. Seeing how excited the child was for the opportunity to learn to surf, the mom signed herself up for private surfing lessons herself with a local company here in L.A.
The boy went with his mom to her first lesson.
As he sat on the beach, he watched his mom fall off her surfboard and brake her ankle — on her first lesson. Witnessing this unfortunate accident caused the boy to change his mind about coming to camp anymore.
When she called to explain this to me, I assured his mom I understood her son’s resistance and how it really must’ve been scary for him to see her get hurt. We talked a long time, and actually had a few conversations over the course of 2 weeks.
And then I offered the following statement (paraphrasing):
“I really think your son would have a great time with us here at Aloha Beach Camp but certainly understand his apprehension. He’ll learn to surf, just like you want him to, and he’ll have a blast doing it. And that means he’ll overcome his fear of the ocean, fear of surfing, and fear of getting hurt, and best of all we’ll help him become open to trying new camps and other camp experiences in the future. That’s our promise to you.”
Even though learning learn to surf is surely a benefit, in this case it wasn’t the most important one for this family. Overcoming his fear of hurting himself and being open to the idea of going to camp again were the principal outcomes the boy would acheive by doing attending our program, and the ones most important to him mom.
Assuring the mom I understood this, an using the words “…and that means” to describe how we’d acheive her desired outcomes, is how I did it.
(Just in case you’re interested to know, the boy did end up coming to camp with us. At first it wasn’t easy for us get him in the water. After a couple days, he finally tried and was up and going! 🙂
Pretty cool video of him! He enjoys surfing now and camp itself. I don’t think he will come back to my camp this summer because he’s looking for a resident camp experience. I am overjoyed to hear it!
And with that I will close this post. But just a quick reminder, any time you find yourself struggling to convey the benfits of your program compared to the features — or, as Travis says, selling the “why” of your camp — use the words, “…and that means” immediately after stating the feature.
Those three magic words will naturally lead you into the “why” every time.