We are excited to share with you a short series about Slideshows, a great alternative marketing technique for summer camps that was introduced to us on CampHacker 8: Why Go to Camp Fairs? by our 5th Chair guest host, Paul Sheridan.
I’m writing this on a ferry back home, to Orcas Island. I’ve put some miles down this January and February. We have a schedule of 18 slideshows to promote and celebrate Four Winds scheduled this winter – four in Southern California, four in the Bay Area, one in Portland, three in Seattle, one in Vancouver, one each in Salt Lake City and Park City, one in Denver, and one in Montreal. Fourteen down, four to go.
This may seem like a tough travel schedule, but I certainly know camp directors that have it worse. I actually enjoy the travel quite a bit. It’s great to connect face to face with new families and campers, parents, and staff that are already well immersed in the Four Winds community. It gives me a little Camp feeling in the dead of winter.
Moreover, it’s a wonderful way to promote Camp. It’s a way to reach out and remind people in a very real, genuine way of why Four Winds is so great. Word of mouth is the best marketing there is. The slideshows offer a way for families to hear not only from me why Four Winds is great, but also from the parents that have already seen the benefits in their kids.
The shows happen in families’ homes, usually on a school night. We show up at 6:15 PM, the guests arrive at 7:00, and most families leave by about 8:30. I’m usually in my car and on my way back to the hotel by 9:30. People meet, introductions are made, snacks are eaten, and by about 7:20, we gather in the living room, I thank the hosts for hosting and everyone else for coming, and talk for about 10 minutes about why camp is good. When I’m done, my Assistant Director, Emily, queues up a wonderful slideshow filled with pictures and music from last summer that lasts about another 10 minutes. When that’s all through, we have questions and answers for as long as people want to ask them.
Camp is about relationships and connections, and the slideshows are too. Facebook and Twitter, Camp fairs, print advertisements, search engine optimization, listings on pay sites, and mailings are all to some degree less personal than simply meeting in somebody’s living room and talking about Camp.
Read Part 2 of Great Camp Slideshows for Paul's best tips.
Writer Paul Sheridan is the Director at Four Winds * Westward Ho Camp on the San Juan Islands of Washington state. These days you can find him cramped in coach, flying to another slideshow.