Summer Camp Activities for the Summer Camp Revolution coming soon!
Getting your Campers and their Families to do (some of) Your Marketing for You If you are in a position to make summer camp marketing decisions, you’ve heard the term “word of mouth marketing” more times than you can remember. If you were playing camp marketing bingo, “word of mouth marketing” would be the center square. The big mistake I made when I took on the responsibility of making marketing decisions for a summer camp? I assumed this whole “word of mouth” thing would take care of itself. And it does, to some degree… but relying on it taking care of itself was causing us to miss out on a ton of word of mouth good will. I’ll explain where I was, and what I discovered. By the way – if you want to take a break and check out Travis Allison’s definitive slide-show on word of mouth marketing from his 2014 Tristate ACA conference, I couldn’t blame you. I learned a ton there, and much of what he covers is NOT covered below. The first step in developing a word of mouth “buzz” The big idea I had at the time was to create singular, memorable events at camp. Big events, with lots of pomp and circumstance. My guess was (and still is) that kids rarely go home and tell their friends about playing soccer, but they WILL tell them about building a raft from scratch in order to cross a lake. Now, I stand by the idea that we shouldn’t actively market our camps based on these big events alone. After all, Your Camp is Not its Jet Skis. But when kids want to verbalize their camp experience to others, they definitely mention this sort of thing. While they likely come back to your camp each year for things a lot more important than activities, they may not understand your why as well as you do, so it really helps to give them some big memories to point to, specifically, when sharing the story of your camp with others. But giving you a tip like “Have a really fun and memorable camp” seems like a cop out, so I’m not even counting that as part of the list of 11 ways to enhance your word of mouth summer camp marketing. Call it a bonus 🙂 On to the list! Leveraging your web presence to enhance your word of mouth marketing campaign. Tips 1-4 are ways we’ve seen to leverage word of mouth marketing concepts online. 1) Gather and share camper and parent testimonials. Here is our page at Vanderkamp. This isn’t classic “word of mouth marketing” in that people aren’t talking to each other directly, but it provides “social proof” (more on that in the web design articles coming up at a later date) – showing that real people have had terrific experiences at our camp. We’ll link to these from our Facebook page, references them in e-newsletters, and so on. 2) Encourage people to share things digitally If you’re going to all that work connecting with people online, why not ask them to pass that information along to others? It helps to have universally interesting content (pictures of kids doing interesting things, as opposed to just text), but often times just asking people to share things...read more