Year after year families, longing for a fun and fitting experience for their seasoned or new camper, flock to Google to search for one thing: camp registration.
Camps are just as full of anticipation on their end. Many hope that months of marketing, successful past seasons, and an inclusive community will draw new campers to their enrollment pages.
While every camp has its own desired rate of growth, it’s safe to say that many aim to increase their registration numbers year-over-year.
If we take the overall camper turnout and split it into two main segments based on past attendance, registration makes up returning campers and new campers.
Both are equally important for growth, community, and a fantastic camp experience.
But when it comes to marketing, there are some subtle differences in how camps should appeal to the right channels to increase new camper enrollment.
Read on to get some simple, actionable tips for compelling kids and families alike to opt-in for a first-time experience with your camp!
Social media is a booming industry for a variety of businesses. In our opinion, camps aren’t using social media enough.
Whether you’re running Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest, there is always more you can do to optimize your efforts. If we consider the visual aspect alone, camps have a real advantage.
Your camp has endless access to fun, vibrant, educational, and inspiring images that people not only relate to but want to participate in! There’s no excuse to not post to your social accounts with routine updates – people love to see them.
Go the extra mile in your quest to appeal to new campers with a little storytelling. Share an anecdote or two every few weeks that highlights a specific challenge, triumph, or adventure your camp rocked.
Be sure to post throughout the year – the stories don’t end just because camp is over!
Word of Mouth
Word of mouth is a great way to boost registrations without the upfront cost. Referral or word of mouth campaigns rely on the praise, reviews, and participation of past campers to help you welcome in new enrollments.
There are several ways you can encourage camp families to share their experiences with others.
Send an email after each session closes asking families to tag you in their camp pictures on social media or shout you out in community conversations.
You can also offer incentives for families that introduce new campers to your program. Consider 10% off a registration package or including a free add-on.
Word of mouth is an especially helpful tool for camper retention, too! New campers are more likely to return the following year if they know they’ll see familiar faces.
Many online advertising platforms have the option to create localized ads. But sometimes nothing is as good as a real local ad. Consider purchasing a quarter or half-page ad in your local newspaper.
Or, if budget allows, create a high-quality 1-2 minute video. Work with your local channels to air it on TV. You can also look for paid sponsorship opportunities with local organizations.
Speaking of sponsorships, partnering with businesses whose audiences overlap your target market is another way to gain year-round exposure where you might not otherwise.
Pursue upcoming trade shows, farmer’s markets, fairs, or school programs. You might also inquire about opportunities to speak (maybe for free!) or even sponsor an activity.
You never know when one new camper enrollment will lead to many more!
Online Lead Generation
Some camps overlook the opportunity to gather leads throughout the year. On your webpage, be sure to have a static opt-in form in plain sight. Visitors can use it to subscribe to a newsletter, email updates, or, even better – registration announcements!
A contact form alone is not typically enough and can provide a barrier of entry for folks just looking to sign up for alerts without starting a conversation. Consider how you can optimize your lead generation process.
Offer handouts, resources, or information that parents would find valuable no matter what time of year. It’s an easy way to exchange a freebie for an email address. Promote the materials on social media and make sure the offer is visible and compelling on your website.
Use the email addresses you collect to nurture interested families so they’re ready to enroll a new camper come spring!
Whether your camp season’s just wrapping up or registration is right around the corner, it’s never too late to start implementing campaigns that will help you reach a larger audience. Increase new camper enrollment and reinforce your awesome community using these tips today!
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