It’s no secret that marketing your summer camp is essential for increasing your enrollment rates. As a digital marketing agency that promotes summer camps, one of the most common questions we hear is “How should I market my summer camp?” In this article, we’ll break-down this all-important question based on years of experience helping summer camps in Albany, Saratoga, the Adirondacks, and beyond get found online.

When is the Right Time to Market Summer Camps?

Ideally, you should be marketing your camp year-round, especially to parents and kids when they’re leaving camp and those magical experiences are fresh in their mind.

The best time to aggressively amp up advertising for your summer camp is late Winter – early Spring because this is when many parents are thinking about summer break and what their kids will be doing when school is out. In our experience, if a summer camp still needs registrations and hasn’t stepped-up their online advertising by March then they’re missing out on a huge opportunity.

What Are the Best Marketing Strategies for Summer Camps?

When it comes to marketing your summer camp there really are countless options at your disposal. The question now is, which options are going to give you the best return on your investment?

Some of the best places to promote your camp online range from your website to social media platforms to local websites that attract a relevant, geographically-targeted audience.

1. Invest in Your Website

Your website is typically the first place parents and kids will go to learn about your programs, read FAQs, watch videos, and see what makes your camp the best. Some of the best summer camp websites share several powerful characteristics, including:

  • Engaging Photos and Videos
  • Detailed Parent & Camper FAQs
  • Strategically Placed Info Request & Registration Forms
  • Mobile-friendly Responsive Design

2. Social Media Marketing

Facebook is one of the obvious channels for social media marketing because, as you might’ve heard, “everyone and their mother” is on this site. However, Facebook has been making it harder for businesses to reach their Page followers organically. To get your posts in front of more people you may need to “boost” your posts or run an ad in the newsfeed. Facebook advertising can be incredibly cost-effective and the advanced targeting features make it a powerful tool for reaching the right audience at the right time.

Kids can have a big influence over the decision when they tell parents where they want to go this summer, so make sure you have a strong presence on the platforms where kids are currently spending their time online. Today, these platforms would include Snapchat and Instagram, to name a few.

3. Email Marketing

Remember all those parents who enrolled their children at your camp last year? Keep in touch with them by running an email marketing campaign that promotes your camp specials, what to expect this summer, and reinforces what makes you the best camp for their kids.

Email marketing is still one of the most effective ways to reach people so it’s important to keep growing your list of subscribers. Over time, your new subscribers may turn in to new customers. A few great options for growing your email list are giveaways, contests, and adding an email sign-up form to your website.

4. Local or Regional Websites

When it comes to advertising to your local audience, try promoting your camp on local websites. We recommend looking for sites that your target audience is most likely to visit so that your display ad, listing, or sponsored content is seen by people who would find it relevant.

For example, Albany.com has a Summer Camp Guide that attracts a local audience who’s searching for summer camps in Albany, Latham, Schenectady, and the surrounding parts of the Capital District.

Local summer camps featured in the Albany Summer Camp Guide on Albany.com

This Summer Camp Guide received more than 10,000 views in 2016. While that number may not appear jaw-dropping at first glance, here’s why it’s actually quite powerful: the Albany Summer Camp Guide primarily attracts visitors who are in upstate New York. Because 90% of the traffic is local, these visitors are more likely to find your ad relevant as compared to, say, visitors who are outside New York and too far away geographically to send their children to your camp.

Additionally, if you’re trying to reach parents who are searching for summer camps in Saratoga Springs or Lake George, check out our Saratoga.com Summer Camp Guide and LakeGeorge.com Summer Camp Guide.

5. Influencer Marketing

Think about the trusted names, brands, and organizations in the summer camp industry – from industry associations to popular bloggers who have massive followings on Facebook, Instagram, and other platforms. Because these voices could potentially influence parents’ decisions, your camp might benefit from getting a mention, article, or review on those sites or social media accounts.

How Much Should Summer Camps Spend on Marketing and Advertising?

Based on our experiences promoting summer camps in Albany, Saratoga, Lake George, and the greater Adirondacks, camps should spend 10-20% of their expected gross revenue on marketing and advertising. Every camp is different, and how much you choose to spend depends in part on how aggressively you want to promote your camp.

Need Help Marketing Your Summer Camp Online?

At Mannix Marketing, we’ve been helping summer camps and other local businesses get found online for decades! We know what it takes to help you connect with the parents and campers looking for you, plus we have a team of experienced digital marketing strategists on hand to assist you along the way.

Interested in learning more about how we can help you market your summer camp? Contact us online today, or give us a call at 518-743-9424 to schedule a free 15-minute review of your plan and get recommendations from our Digital Marketing Strategists!

About Sara Mannix

Sara Mannix is the CEO of Mannix Marketing, Inc., a Digital Marketing Agency headquartered in Glens Falls, NY. She founded Mannix Marketing in 1996 with a goal to get clients "found" on the web through organic Search Engine Optimization (SEO). The company now serves over 1500 clients worldwide and employs a team of over 30 specialists, still operating under the tagline "We Get You Found On The Web." This multifaceted company is an industry leader, specializing in organic SEO, Link Earning, SEO-friendly Website Design, Online Advertising, Social Media and more. Mannix Marketing also has one of the largest portfolios of tourism and city guides in Upstate New York. These guides, which include Albany.com, Saratoga.com, LakeGeorge.com, GlensFallsRegion.com, CliftonPark.com and Adirondack.net, reach over 10 million visitors a year. Corresponding social media profiles for the region extend this reach to millions more on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube and more.