by Trevor Waddington, Founder & President, Truth Tree
You already know that marketing your summer camp helps to increase awareness and enrollment rates. But guess what? There’s never a wrong time to do it. COVID-19 drastically impacted enrollment in camps during summer 2020, and the outlook for summer 2021 is still relatively unknown. If you want to increase your camp’s chances, the best thing you can be doing is advertise to families all year long.
In this blog, we’ll be talking about the top marketing strategies that you can use to fill your camp in summer 2021 right now.
1. Invest in your website
While in-person interaction may be limited, your website is a 24/7 resource for families. If you haven’t updated it since March 2020 when COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, now is the time to do so. It’s the first place parents will go when they want information about who you are and how you’re handling the current situation. Here’s what you should have on it:
· Safety information regarding COVID-19
· Detailed parent and camper FAQ
· Registration forms
· Engaging photos and videos from your most recent session
You should also make sure you have a mobile-friendly design because so many people now browse for information on their phones.
2. Use your recent pictures to market
Do you take pictures or video when camp is in session to send to parents in a cute email at the end of the week? Well, if so, you just found a perfect new marketing tool. Bonus points if your pictures show you wearing PPE like masks or being socially distant. Recent pictures will give parents an idea of how you conducted camp successfully with COVID-19 precautions in place. Just knowing what to expect can make them more likely to enroll.
3. Choose your audience wisely
Due to CDC protocol, many camps have transformed how they operate. For example, camps that were once overnight now serve as day camps to prevent the potential spread from one area or state to another. With this in mind, targeting the same audience you targeted last year probably won’t work. If parents typically come from all over your state or the country to drop their kid off at your overnight camp, they’re probably not going to be willing if it’s just a day camp. Don’t spend your advertising energy (whether it’s social media, email, etc.) on people who you know won’t enroll. Instead, you’d want to target people in your local area because they’d be a more appropriate demographic. However, it’s
It’s also worth noting that the changes to your audience will ultimately vary based on who your previous audience was and what you are now offering at camp.
4. Try email marketing
You likely run an email list anyway as an attempt to stay in touch with regular families. Why not use it to try out email marketing? Email marketing remains one of the most effective ways to bring back your current customers and attract new ones. Take that email list, weed out the individuals you know won’t be interested this year (like those who don’t live nearby or those will be affected by new safety protocols). If you need an incentive to get people to join the list, try offering a discount for enrollment.
5. Be prepared to discuss your safety protocol
In the midst of a global pandemic, this is what parents and caregivers will want to know the most. They want to know how you plan to combat the virus itself and keep their child(ren) safe. Previously, you may have answered questions about your camp’s activities or curriculum, this year’s focus will be much different. Now, parents will want to know all about safety. Have your safety plan fully devised according to CDC recommendations and train anyone who is answering phones or emails on your safety protocol.
To help address the demand for this information, you can also address it on your website and in your email marketing campaigns so that parents know that it’s at the top of your priority list as you head into 2021.
Filling your camp in a post-COVID world comes down to digital marketing and lots of it. For some camps, the new precautions and safety changes will entirely change how they do business. For others, the changes are insignificant, and they’re just working to reassure parents. Either way, marketing is a challenge, and now is the time to do it.
Truth Tree is a digital advertising agency that works with private schools and summer camps. Our goal is to help you attract more families to your camp during this time. Visit here for more information.