Make Video An Important Part of Your Camp Online Marketing Strategy

Summer Camps That Market on YouTube Will Be Seen By More Parents

Transient

I was reading a blog post yesterday about the effectiveness of online video for advertising and marketing (a huge piece of advice that we give in our camp consulting business).

It is becoming more and more clear to me that, if you don't make use of video and YouTube, you are going to be left behind.

Check out these astounding stats on video viewership

  • 90% of Canadian internet viewers watch video online monthly
  • the average number of videos watched per month?  297. That's right... TWO HUNDRED AND NINETY SEVEN

(stats source)

Looking for some more hints to develop your YouTube Strategy?

There are a ton of resources available to you.    Here are just a couple:

  1. Check out our 10 Things Every Camp Should Do on YouTube
  2. Jim Louderback runs Revision3. the 6th largest network on YouTube.  He has a great article this week for the celebrities who have just been invited to create channels on the site.  You'll find a lot of great advice in there.  Hello, YouTube 'Channel' Partners. Here's Some Friendly Advice

Why Camp Marketing Isn't Seasonal

Transient

Summer is here and the campers are on their way! You're busy making last-minute preparations, training staff members, and getting ready for a summer filled with memories. You can put your marketing plans aside until the fall, right?

Think again. Marketing your camp is a year-round effort and summer is the best time to kick off your campaign for next season. Keeping positive memories alive in campers' minds throughout the year is essential to generating repeat business. It can also help you attract new campers in the future.

So stay focused on your marketing efforts during camp this summer. Here are some tips for using the summer season to prepare for next year.

  1. Prepare to shoot a new camp video. Parents love seeing video when searching for camps, so plan your video shoot before campers arrive to ensure you have everything you need when it comes time to edit. Check out our blog post for steps to shooting a video that showcases your camp effectively.
  2. Gather materials for your site redesign. You may have plans to redesign your Web site in the winter, but now is the time to capture the creative assets you'll need. Think about the areas you'll want to highlight and take the photographs you'll need on each page.
  3. Create and launch a new social media plan. Challenge yourself to keep up with a weekly schedule of Tweets and Facebook posts throughout the year. Accumulating photos and anecdotes now that you can post later will help you stay on track.
  4. Collect feedback from campers. Gather testimonials from campers before they go home, when the thoughts and ideas are still fresh. You can use quotes in your future marketing materials and help refocus your advertising efforts for next season. Also, gather stories you can use in your email newsletters or blog posts throughout the year.
  5. Consider an early early bird special. Offer a deep discount to campers who register for next season on the spot. You may be surprised by how many parents take you up on the offer!

Guest author Phillip Gilbreth is the Camps Sales Manager for MySummerCamps.com and KidsCamps.com, the leading online camp directories for connecting parents with kids and teen summer camps in the United States, Canada and worldwide.  Contact Phillip at pgilbreth@internetbrands.com

Advertising on camp directories like MySummerCamps.com and KidsCamps.com is one of the best ways to market your camp all year-round. Thousands of parents visit our camp directories throughout the year to research and plan for next summer. If you're not listed on our sites, you're missing out on tons of potential campers!

10 Things Every Camp Should Do on YouTube

Marketing your summer is a stressful business these days. As we compete with more and more summer activities it is much harder to set ourselves apart.

Families choose camp (and hopefully your camp) by relying on two strong factors to make the decision: a referral from people they respect and an emotional connection to the camp, it's programs, and it's people.

Video is a strong mechanism to reach those families on both factors.  By creating a great camp video (many, preferably) you give your current camp community something that they can pass on to their friends.  Something that they can use to refer your program to them.

By creating great, intentional camp videos you also show families a bit of yourselves.  Families need to feel comfortable leaving their children in your care, and it is hard to hide who you really are in the medium of video.

10 Things Every Camp Should Do on YouTube

  1. Educate.  Don't use video as a bullhorn to just tell people how great you are.  Teach parents how to choose a good camp, show them how to prepare their child so he/she does not miss home, explain your No-Cell-Phone policy.
  2. Appeal to kids.  You can't go wrong by imagining you're Sesame Street.  Keep the videos short, engaging, full of song and kid-focussed.
  3. Tour a sleeping area.  Parents will feel more comfortable sending their kids to you if they know what it is like inside your cabin/tents (also see #6).
  4. Keep it short.  Video watchers will give you 60 - 90 seconds of uninterrupted viewing before they start to get bored.   If you want them to make to the end of your 3 minute video you better be really letting your awesome out.  Anymore than 3 minutes and they're gone.
  5. Show us your WHY.  You want camp clients who feel passionate about the thing that makes your camp different than the other 15 000 camps in North America. Make sure they know what your WHY is. HINT: it's not your new speedboat.
  6. Show off your food.  Parents want to know where their kids will sleep and what they will eat.   Show off your food and you are farther ahead than 99% of the other camps on YouTube.
  7. Interview your counsellors. Kids who have been to camp will want to see people they know ("Hey! Watch this video of my counsellor from last year!") and new parents want to see who will be looking after their children.
  8. Plan ahead.   I have been using this awesome YouTube video from Camp Ouareau to illustrate this point.   You have 2, maybe 3, months to capture all of the video (and photos) that you will need for next year. Make a list of the shots you want and make it someone's job to complete that list.
  9. Know your keywords. Keywords are those words that people use to search Youtube.   By including good keywords in your description and video tags you will draw in more parents who are looking to make a summer camp purchase.  Check out the YouTube Keyword Tool.
  10. Support your community.  Interview staff or families who are doing stuff outside of camp.   Think of it as karma.

Stay tuned to CampHacker for more information in the coming months about using YouTube for effective summer camp marketing.   I'll spend some time and go into detail about these 10 ideas .