Off-Season Marketing Ideas

7. Is there a picture in the local paper of a child winning a spelling bee or a sporting event? Cut it out, laminate it, and send the photo to the child’s parents. In many cases the photo caption reads, “Suzie Smith, daughter of John and Jane Smith, holds her trophy for the poster contest,” so it’s easy to get the address. Of course, you’ll enclose a camp brochure and a small note saying, “Congratulations on your first-place finish in the state spelling bee. Thought you’d like another copy of your picture for a scrapbook. If you’re looking for a fun summer camp experience, check out our Camp Happy Times brochure.” Then enclose a brochure along with a discount coupon, if possible. Parents love the laminated picture and think you are a wonderful camp director for sending them another photo. Of course, they’ll take the time to look over the brochure. When my picture was in the paper about a training session I presented, a local funeral home sent me a laminated copy. They also included a short note telling me they’d be glad to help if I had any “funeral planning needs.” I know it was blatant advertising, yet I liked my laminated photo! Morbid as it sounds, they would be the ones I’d call if I needed to arrange a funeral next week.

8. Have you had people contact you and say, “Gee, I’ve lived here 10 years and I didn’t know we had a camp in our community”? Look for ways to attract a large number of people to your camp off-season. One camp director, knowing how many churches offered individual holiday bazaars, decide to take the idea further. He contacted many smaller churches, offering to give them space in his dining hall for a community bazaar. Twelve different churches set up in one location, attracting close to 1,000 people visiting the camp. Another camp director, located in a fairly central location, heard about the Girl Scouts conducting an annual food drive. He offered his parking lot as a drop-off location. On one weekend, over 500 families dropped off food … next to his camp sign, of course! He also passed out camp brochures as people donated food.

We often think marketing our camps means designing and printing another expensive four-color brochure. In many cases, you get great marketing results from donating your parking lot or sharing your casserole recipe that feeds 50 people.

Silvana Clark has over 20 years experience helping thousands of children create arts and crafts projects and presents keynotes and workshops on a variety of recreation-related subjects. She can be reached at her Nashville, Tenn. office (615-662-7432) or via e-mail at

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Related posts:

  1. Steps to Jump Starting Your Brand Marketing
  2. Staff Marketing
  3. Designing Your Marketing Budget
  4. Off-Season Prep
  5. Social Marketing

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