With so many camps for families to choose from, the task of creating and marketing your camp to stand out against the competition may feel overwhelming. How do you start marketing? Who do you even market to? Do you need to spend a ton of money on ads?
You have the camp, let’s fill it with more campers. Here’s Waldo’s realistic guide to camp marketing for complete beginners. We have compiled a list of successful marketing strategies to help guide you throughout the process. Implement these strategies into your camp marketing plan to reduce your stress of camp numbers, and see the results with a strong camp season.
Before reviewing camp marketing strategies and ideas, let’s first break down the campers into three different groups to better determine the appropriate marketing strategies.
- Segment 1 – Returning campers
- Segment 2 – New campers
- Segment 3 – All campers, returning and new
While returning campers and new campers alike both need marketing, the type of marketing strategies differ. Here are convenient ways to reach your target audiences and provide more value to your customers.
The individuals who previously attended your camp and may come again are the returning campers. This group hasn’t officially committed to returning again – but if they do, they are your returning campers! While you may not need to market to the returning campers as much as others, this group still needs marketing to keep them coming back each year.
Keeping up with communication post-camp is key. Sending your campers and camp families emails or text messages on holidays, the campers birthday, and to share important camp information are a low cost and great way to stay in contact with your campers. You want them to remember your camp, and ultimately lead them to registering for your upcoming camp season.
Sending letters in the mail to your camper family’s homes is another way to continue communication. While this method of communication is generally a little more costly than emails or text messages, physical mail is a good method to reach your camp families, especially if they aren’t big into technology. Waldogram postcards make it easy to keep in touch with campers throughout the year.
By previously attending your camp, you could offer discounts to the returning campers.
- Early Bird – If the returners register by a specific date, they receive a discount. This method is beneficial for your camp because it encourages campers to register earlier than normal, helping you better prepare.
- Referrals – If your returning campers refer another camper to your camp and they register, the returning camper receives a discount. This method helps boost your numbers and bring new people to your camp, while the returning camper receives a discount at the same time.
- Siblings – If your returning campers bring a sibling with them to camp, they receive a sibling discount.
Gifts & Holiday Cards
Sending small gifts by mail to your campers and camp families is a kind and thoughtful way to stay in touch. This gesture not only is well received, but also acts as a simple reminder to your camper families about your camp and shows that you appreciate their business. If you’re a WaldoCamps customer, enjoy bulk pricing discounts on Waldogram postcards. We’ll handle postage, print, and delivery.
💡PRO TIP: Include an early bird discount in your holiday postcard. Increase a sense of urgency with a limited time deal.
The new campers are individuals who could be potentially interested in attending your camp. This group requires the most of your marketing efforts, as they’re likely unaware of your camp and you must find ways to reach them.
Visiting schools and marketing your efforts there is one of the easiest ways to reach individuals who may be interested in your camp. Going to the locations where camper aged children are is a beneficial method to reach new individuals.
- Take Home Flyers – Meeting with local school districts and asking about sending home flyers for your camp is a great way to reach campers and families who may be interested in your camp. Be sure to include a link to your website, social media accounts, and the camp contact information.
- Weekly Newsletter – Most schools still send home weekly newsletters, or have switched to digital newsletters. Getting your camp featured in a newsletter is an effective way to reach campers and families, as well as the local community.
- Booths – When schools have events with vendors, have a booth set up to display your camp. This can attract attention from potential campers. If you decide to have a booth, this would be a great time to get people involved by having a giveaway. Whether people enter for a chance to win merchandise, a discount for your camp, or the entire camp experience for free, giveaways are a good opportunity to get your name out there.
Whether you’re marketing to returning campers, or the newbies, these marketing tips are applicable for all categories.
Build a Website
One of the first steps to recruiting for a successful camp season is having a good working website. You can make your website on an easy to edit builder without knowing any code. Here’s an expert guide with the best website builders.
- About Us – Your website should have an About Us section where potential campers and camper families can learn about your camp. This section is a good place to have a welcome video from you personally, brief introductions from counselors, or a short video of your camp.
- Offerings – This is the section where you explain what your camp offers, explain the details of your camp, possibly include a sample itinerary of a typical day at your camp, and list the prices.
- Health and Safety – The importance of healthy and safety protocols is important to parents, especially those sending their campers away for the first time. Having a section of your website dedicated to explaining how your camp ensures health and safety for all campers is crucial.
- Reviews – Including positive reviews and testimonials from campers, camper families, and camp counselors is a good addition to your website. Before individuals make decisions with their money, they check the reviews. In order to make your camp stand out, having a portion of your website dedicated to real reviews is important for your success.
- FAQ Page – Your website should include a FAQ section with common questions from new campers and camp families. This information can help potential campers feel more comfortable and knowledgeable about your camp.
- Chat Support – Even though you have a FAQ section, having chat support or another way for potential customers to ask questions directly is a beneficial addition. Don’t worry about having customer service coverage. Chat widgets have great away message options where you can reach back out to answer questions later.
- Contact – Including a contact section on your website is important for individuals and other companies to reach you. Consider adding your camp’s email and phone number directly on your contact page or in your website’s footer. The easier you are to contact, the better.
- Blogs – Writing blogs and posting them on your camp website is a great way for more potential customers to come across your website. Writing a quick update about your summer camp, activities, and your planning through the year is a great way to start. Blogs are also a great way to support your customers with newsletters.
Take Advantage of Social Media
Meet your customers where they already are. Social media is powerful. Utilizing social media pages to your advantage such as Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, and Twitter is great for expanding your reach. Posting upcoming deadlines, relevant information, and details about discounts or giveaways are methods of effectively using social media to expand your camp.
Properly using email marketing to reach both returning campers and new campers is an effective way to spread important information, discounts, news about upcoming camp sessions, and deadlines. It’s a simple way to keep the line of communication open and remind your camper families about your camp.
Simplify Registration Process
Sometimes the best marketing is making your customer experience worth talking about. Making the registration process as simple as possible is a good marketing strategy. If customers become frustrated with the registration process because it’s too long and complicated, you may risk losing potential customers. Having the ability to pay online is a must.
💡PRO TIP: Ready to take online payments to the next level? Consider adding convenient payment plans for your customers.
We hope you find these strategies helpful for your next camp session. If you’re looking for a way to easily share camper photos with the camper families at home, WaldoCamps by Waldo Photos is the simplest resource for you. With facial recognition technology and automated mobile photo delivery, camper families can view photos of their campers experience and save these memories for a lifetime. Added bonus? Your website and social media content will be a breeze with Waldo’s AI-concierge services managing your photos and parental posting permission.