Marketing your summer camp correctly can make all the difference in creating a successful business that new and previous families will return to year after year. Successfully marketing your name and brand goes a long way in getting noticed by your target audience at all stages of their summer camp search.
We live in an age when marketing has become easier than ever, leveraging the power of the internet as a worldwide word of mouth. There are countless amazing and unique ways to market your summer camp, and below you’ll find the best ideas for your summer camp marketing strategy.
Get ready for a great summer for your campers and business with these marketing tips and tricks for summer camps. Need additional help? Contact us and learn how we can help you market your summer camp to increase your enrollments.
Summer Camp Marketing Channels
The three best channels to spread the word about your summer camp are SEO, email marketing, and social media. Every summer camp business needs to include some combination of these three tools in their marketing strategy to be seen by as many potential families as possible.
Search engine optimization, otherwise known as SEO, is a means of getting your summer camp ranked higher in search results on search engines like Google. Using relevant keywords and a proven formula for content, SEO can help make your summer camp rank higher on Google when people search for summer camps in your city or state. If you put in the effort to achieve high-ranking content, it will almost certainly pay off with increased free traffic to your camp’s website. As an extra boost, you can also pay for your website to show up in relevant searches for summer camps through Google Adwords.
Email marketing is one of the most well-tested means of keeping families interested in your camp throughout the year. Current and prospective customers that sign up through your website and social media can receive the latest news and specials. Through a series of automated systems, emails can be sent out to your entire list at set intervals that you choose. This is a fantastic way to keep your campers engaged year-round. They can help get the word out about discounts for signing up and reminders about when it’s time to enroll.
Social media has become an incredible marketing tool and the primary means most people use to inform their purchase decisions. If you want to capitalize on this opportunity for your summer camp, it’s easy and best of all completely free at times. You can run ads on places like Facebook or Instagram to showcase your summer camp through images or videos to prospective families, or you can do it for free as people Like your Facebook page or Instagram. This can be an effective bang for your buck, but do the math for your camp to make sure whether or not it makes sense.
All three of these options are things that the average person with a reasonable amount of technological savvy can implement. A comprehensive marketing strategy doesn’t have to be rocket science, and the more ways to spread brand awareness, the better.
10 Marketing Ideas For Summer Camps
Use a Referral System
A referral system is a great way to reward existing customers and encourage future customers to spread the word about your summer camp to their friends and family. Any time an existing customer refers a new one, reward them with a discount or additional perks for doing so.
The referral system rewards return business and provides a valuable incentive for families to choose your summer camp for their kids. Bundle this with some form of savings for repeat sessions, and you have a recipe that’s sure to attract families over and over again.
Value is a big deal, and the more you can offer to potential campers, the more smiling faces you’ll have to take pictures of for your website and social media pages. Use those platforms to spread the word about your referral system. You can also have a page on your website specifically talking about it.
Get Listed On Online Directories
When you want to market in a central place, look to online directories like our website: summercamphub.com to feature your summer camp. Families searching for camps in their area will be able to find your camp based on your region through specialized search features.
These types of online directories are made to consolidate all of the summer camp choices from around the country into one place so people can make their decisions easier. Getting listed on such a site gives you additional viewers and increases brand awareness.
Since a lot of these pages rank for terms targeting state or city specific camps that parents search for, people will have another way to find your website. It will also give your camp a chance to shine when compared to others in the same area who may not otherwise be featured on there.
Implement Early Bird Discounts and Sibling Discounts
People love saving money, and providing discounts can be the difference whether or not parents decide to send their children to your summer camp.
The most popular discounts that summer camps offer are the early bird and sibling discounts. Early bird typically involves receiving a discount for registering way in advance. This gives your customers a value proposition to choose you, and it provides you with a certainty that you will fill all of your bunks for the summer.
For families who intend to send multiple children to camp, a sibling discount is an absolute no-brainer, and you should include one in your pricing structure. As with the early bird discount, it gives families another reason to choose your camp and gets you two campers. Implementing discounts and coupons in your checkout is easy with certain camp management software.
These are the most popular discounts for a reason because they work. But don’t be afraid to get creative and think outside the box about other discounts.
Use Search Results Advertising (Google Adwords)
Utilizing SEO is necessary to get your summer camp featured near the top of search results, but there are also paid ways to guarantee a top spot. You can opt to focus some of your ad spending on Google AdWords.
You buy in at an appropriate price point, and your website will receive the first-page treatment across multiple platforms including web search, YouTube, and more while listed as an advertisement.
This will require an initial investment and routine checks to ensure you spend wisely while converting paying customers. You can cater this investment to a level suited to your budget and get amazing results without truly breaking the bank. It’s a great way to boost the SEO side of your marketing strategy and utilizes the full power of the Google ecosystem to get your messaging exactly where it needs to go.
Attention is a competition when it comes to securing sales for your summer camp, and Google Adwords can give you an edge in a crowded market. While SEO can take a couple of months to really play a role in your marketing, Google Adwords can provide an instant stream of visitors at a cost.
Update Your Website Design and SEO
Your website design needs to be thoughtfully designed to be intuitive, informative, and easy to navigate. A good website must also take advantage of SEO to achieve the most traffic possible through search engines.
If you keep your camp’s website updated on a consistent schedule, this will allow you to use the most effective keywords at any given time to get the most visitors possible. With a modern website design, you’ll keep visitors engaged long enough to be interested in learning more which can also improve your SEO as Google notices that your visitors spend more time on your site.
Provide families with every possible means of contacting you through phone and email, and include all of your social media links prominently displayed throughout the site. Make sure your important pages like the Dates & Rates, Sign-Up, or your contact page are very visible.
A great website helps you win the fight for attention. It’s your first chance to make a great impression on future families, so make sure to put your best foot forward and win them over straight away.
Work With Local Schools and Youth Groups
Team up with area schools and youth groups to offer programs through your camp. This can be a great way to add additional revenue outside of the summer season or as a way to boost local engagement by aligning yourself with proven institutions.
You already have the property and facilities, so why not allow these organizations the opportunity to utilize them? It will give you an expanded client base and the local word of mouth community organizations provide.
Be sure to vet any potential partnerships and only team up with the organizations that align with your camp’s vision and mission. Maintaining consistency with your partners is as important as the consistency you maintain throughout your brand, and you want these to line up naturally.
The larger, national organizations will have higher barriers for entry to be partnered with, but the extra effort pays off in a big boost to brand awareness through association. The YMCA and local Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts are excellent youth groups to consider reaching out to.
Offer Free Camp Tours
Some families will want to see your facilities before they choose to send their children to you. It’s a good idea to arrange one-on-one trips or host an open house before the season starts to allow prospective families to come out and tour the grounds.
Take this opportunity to engage families with your summer camp’s vision and build on their expectations of what your camp offers. Show them all of your facilities and take the chance to get to know them. If possible, ensure that some of your camp counselors are there so they can meet them as well.
You can introduce future campers to the place they will call home for the summer months, so bring out the red carpet and treat them as honored guests. Summer camp is a family experience, so treat newcomers like family, and they will attend the reunions every year.
Use Videos For YouTube and Social Media
The appeal of social media platforms and YouTube is that they allow you to provide a multimedia tour of your summer camp through videos and high-quality photos.
Combine a set of walkthrough videos with a map of the grounds of your camp, and you have a completely interactive tour that anyone with an internet connection can access. Take this a step further and use the videos to engage with prospective families through social media posts.
Share videos of campers enjoying the full range of activities that the facilities offer, giving each activity a chance to shine. You want to appeal to as many campers as possible, so represent the interests of as many as you can with video proof of the fun in store for participants.
Drone footage is all of the rage and it’s an excellent idea to offer a full tour of your facilities and grounds virtually. Video ads on places like Facebook tend to be more engaging than photos, so you can even use these videos for your online advertisements rather than simply uploading them to YouTube.
Ask for Reviews From Parents
Take a page from modern commerce and ask your previous parents of campers for reviews of their summer camp experience. Reviews are a huge part of what helps people make decisions on where to go and what to buy, and this extends naturally to summer camps.
Guide parents to leave reviews on your camp’s Google Business Profiles as a way to stand out and rank higher amongst other local summer camps in the Google map packs. If you have a Yelp page or Facebook page, ask them to leave a comment about their experiences there too.
Testimonials should be a prominent feature on your website, and if possible, grab user reviews from Google and link them directly so folks can visit your listing and see how high your rating is. If people find you through Google, that initial rating they see can be the deciding factor whether or not they stick around to learn more about your program.
Include an exit survey for all campers near the end of their stay that helps them summarize all of the things they enjoyed about your summer camp, and include space for ways you could improve the experience. These reviews can give you valuable insights into the needs of your campers and inform you how you can better serve them and ensure more visitors in the future.
Sell/Gift Summer Camp Merchandise
Branded merchandise can help spread the word about your camp, and it’s a cost you can easily wrap into enrollment fees. Every camp should have high-quality merchandise, including branded clothing and apparel that people will see.
As with so many areas of summer camp marketing, pictures full of smiling faces having a blast with your camp t-shirt can go a long way in securing new campers.
Make your merchandise available for sale through your website or camp store and allow anyone to purchase it. You’ll add sales money to your revenue and get a better-than-free boost to the number of walking advertisements of your brand.
You can also include it as part of your built-in running costs and provide every camper with a free shirt. While it may not get you many direct enrollments, it can raise awareness about your camp, and people will certainly remember your logo when they start to search for summer camps.
Maintain consistency throughout the merchandise by establishing a brand guideline for your camp’s color scheme, fonts, and general messaging. Keep it simple and on brand, and people will flock to grab some of your gear.