Effective Summer Camp Marketing from Joanna Warren Smith

I hear this too often from day, resident, travel, private and not-for-profit camps ... especially regarding marketing and promotion.  Even if efforts have not proven productive, Directors repeat the same routines expecting different results in spite of Einstein's definition of insanity.


  • MAP OUT YOUR YEAR-ROUND MARKETING PLAN.  Yes, put it all on paper and be deliberate to maximize efforts during promotional seasons.  Right after camp is the optimal time to communicate with parents and campers about reasons to return while May is the perfect time to invite not-enrolled inquiries to tour during the summer to see camp in action.  Complement efforts with Social Networking, but realize that those platforms do not provide total saturation.
  • FOCUS ON MONTH-BY-MONTH EFFORTS.  Targeted, personal outreaches are essential to 4 different networks ... 2013 Parents, 2013 Campers, New Acquisitions and 2014 Families.  Many camps have actually separated the 2014 group into Parents and Campers with measurable results in the subsequent year's retention rate.
  • CREATE A VISUAL CHRONOLOGY.  Utilize a binder to maintain all communications in a chronological order.  This is very different than storing items in folders on your computer.  The visual presents a powerful picture of what you are doing, what is missing and how you can refine efforts to increase enrollments.
  • TRACK RESULTS.  Compare marketing efforts to enrollment patterns to secure indicators of positive and negative responses.

It is still early enough in the recruitment year to capture all of your efforts since camp ended.  Take the time now to organize your marketing plan to increase 2014 enrollments and set the stage for a more strategic, cohesive promotional effort in the future.


Need an objective perspective on any aspect of camp?  Give me a call at 310-451-1876 or email campconsulting@verizon.net

(Note from Travis:   We are so thrilled to be posting the always brilliant HINTS from camp consultant Joanna Warren Smith!  If you don't already you should sign up to receive theses HINTS in your email - in the right-hand column of Joanna's website: http://camp-consulting.com/)