Every camp differs slightly in finding campers. For some, they come solely from congregations or individual communities. For others, they are more scattered. Regardless of where your campers come from, you need to have a clear message of what you offer and strong marketing materials that are compelling and easy to understand.
Here are a few tips to help you navigate this challenge:
1. Never stop talking about the problem you solve for campers and their families.
If you don’t solve a problem, why do you exist? And, if they don’t feel that problem, why are they compelled to sign up? Spend some time with your team and think through the problems that you solve for campers and families. Perhaps it’s the need for faith development; maybe you are an easy-to-use alternative to summer day care; or it could be that you the offer kids a place to build confidence and make friends.
2. Make signing up for your program easy.
This can be a tough one for camps. Afterall, there is a lot of information that you have to gather in order to serve the camper in the best way possible. From ACA health requirements to contact information and photo release, it can be a bit daunting for parents when they sign up. Yes – you do need to collect this information. But, you also need to make it as seamless as possible.
3. Clean out the messy closet.
Camp websites are notorious for looking like the inside of a messy closet. Everyone shoves stuff on there and nothing is easy to find or attractive. For the user, it’s frustrating and looks unpolished. Take some time to ‘empty the closet’ and only put back one thing. Create new landing pages (or closets) for each main area.
4. Show success
When you are creating your summer print promotions – whether it’s a simple postcard or a full brochure, show pictures of success. Sure, your camp is beautiful and the scenery helps make the experience rich for all who come but save those pictures for the scrapbooks. Show lots of photos of campers interacting with their counselors, activities, and smiles. It makes a difference!
5. Show up where they are
Camper parents, especially moms, are leery of random marketing efforts. Instead of running that one-time ad in the paper, spend your time and money showing up where they are. Does one community offer an annual barbeque every year – go there! Maybe the moms in a town are known to hang out in the local coffee shop – hold an event there! You get the idea. Do the extra thing to reach out to them. It doesn’t have to be expensive. It does have to connect with them where they are at.
Learn more about these tips, plus get worksheets, templates, and samples of resources that can guide you in accomplishing these things in our December Camp Marketing Kit.