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Fix the Summer Camp Marketing Plan: Minimal Investment, Maximum Return

Posted by Jason Mellet on Apr 5, 2021 8:00:00 AM
Jason Mellet

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Camp may be seasonal, but a robust summer camp marketing plan is a year-round effort. This is easier said than done. Many camps find it challenging to fit everything they want into the marketing budget.  In general, a summer camp spends in the range of 10-20% of anticipated revenue on sales and marketing efforts. Between brochures, website maintenance, advertising, and more, camp marketing expenses can rack up quick.

However, the truth is that there are a ton of things you can do to achieve maximum impact without a heavy financial investment.  Here are four of our best tips for an affordable, high-impact summer camp marketing plan:

Leverage Website Content & SEO

By and large, parents will turn to online search engines first in their search for a camp their kids will love. You’re going to want your camp to show up at the top of the list. The most cost-effective way to appear above the competition is with a robust content marketing strategy and sound “search engine optimization” (SEO) practices.  As the saying goes, content is king.

An active summer camp blog is a great place to start. A steady supply of fresh updates helps, and so does a smart keyword strategy.  Some quick research with an online keyword tool like the Keywords Everywhere extension for Google Chrome can help you find words and phrases with healthy search volumes between about 100-1,000 searches per month (low enough that you could rank, but high enough to be worth the effort).  Then, generate web content that includes those keywords and put it up on your site. 

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You might write short blogs about:

  • Answers to FAQs from camp parents.
  • Checklists to help families prep for camp
  • Eye-catching infographics with stats or other useful insights about camp
  • Interactive content like quizzes, polls, or contests with user-generated content like camp photos!
  • Video blogs (vlogs) with text descriptions or commentary and embedded YouTube videos. Embed them on your website too!

When you sign up for a free summer camp listing with Camps With Friends, you’ll also receive a complementary promotional spot on our BetterCampFinder blog with a backlink to your website— and backlinks are another critical component of SEO!

Double Down on Social Media

Your camp parents are likely to be spending 2 hours each day on social media sites. That’s a huge share of time, and posting on social media is free. Spread the word about registration, share your blog content, post fun pics or promotional videos,  and more to send traffic back to your website. Check out our five creative ideas for social media content that will drive enrollment for your camp!

Don’t just share on your own page, though. To reach new audiences, you can join groups on the platform that are related to the interests, age groups, and location of your summer camp and then share posts within the group.

Lean Into Referrals

Word of mouth is your best camp marketing tool. For many camps, referrals are by far the most reliable and lucrative source of new business. And your camp families trust one another’s experiences. Start by encouraging parents and kids to write testimonials. Post them on your website and social channels, and include them on referral sign-up forms. 

Then, launch a full-fledged referral campaign. A brochure bundle referral campaign, for instance, can lead to plenty of high-converting opportunities. You can also consider launching the referral program at a springtime open house, while you’re already re-establishing relationships with returning families.

Team Up With Community Organizations

Two heads are better than one! Get involved with local partners (or sponsors) that are already popular in your local community. You might agree to both distribute one-page flyers to your members, or mutually promote one another on your websites, social media, print materials, and at live events. This is a form of “influencer marketing” that allows both of you to expand your reach across each organization’s audience. Think about groups such as:

  • Schools
  • Churches
  • The rec department
  • Youth sports
  • Gymnasiums
  • Art, dance, or music studios
  • Children’s theatres
  • Community centers
  • Parks
  • Libraries
  • Scout troops
  • Farmers’ markets
  • Historical societies or museums
  • And more!

A field day with a local nonprofit might be exactly what you need to sell out this summer. Stay tuned on our blog for more ideas on how to develop a successful summer camp marketing plan!

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Topics: Summer Camp, summer camps, Camps With Friends