The Effective Marketing System

There is a a simple process that provides a workable, simplified system to get the word out about your camp… one that should help keep the bunks filled season after season.

Each step is designed to build on the previous one. You can ignore any of the steps you don’t feel comfortable using. However, the plan’s effectiveness is based on the idea of building a solid foundation, one brick on top of another.

Step One: Initial Contact

There are several ways to make initial contact with campers and their families–from simple and inexpensive to concentrated, planned and slightly more costly.

The first idea that comes to mind is the camp website. This is often the first line of attack in a marketing campaign, and it’s a powerful one. It’s a 24-hour-a-day, 7-days-a-week salesperson, always ready to make a powerful first impression–so make sure it does. An


Be sure to deliver a powerful first impression with your website.  Photo courtesy © Can Stock Photo Inc. / Elenathewise

Be sure to deliver a powerful first impression with your website.

Photo courtesy © Can Stock Photo Inc. / Elenathewise


ineffective website is like a giant, flashing stop sign on the information super highway. If it’s not up to date, kids and their parents are going to click away in a split second. Space ads are another way to get attention. These small ads in newspapers or magazines are seen by the people you want to attract most. Since Sunday magazine supplements of large metro newspapers often have entire sections dedicated to summer camps, there’s likely to be a lot of competition, so make sure your ad stands out. Don’t try to explain everything about the camp in the tiny space available; give just enough information to make parents want to contact you.

Step Two: The Response

Now onto the nitty-gritty–your personal marketing system. This is not make-believe. Each of these steps is a proven, successful marketing method by itself. Put them all together, and you’ll have a near-perfect, and highly profitable way, to advertise your camp.

First, let’s assume someone has filled out the form on the “Request More Information” page on the website.

Be sure there’s space for the name and address of the person requesting the information, as well as information about the camper, including a contact phone number and email.

You should now automatically receive an email from the website detailing the contact information. Put this in a safe folder for later reference.

The system also should automatically send an email to the person making the contact, thanking him or her for requesting more information, and promising that the information is on its way.

Then, send out the Camper Information Kit.

Step 2-A: The Camper Information Kit

A successful Camper Information Kit should be as informative as possible. This is a calling card, the item that’s going to make the camp stand out from the crowd. As with the website, you only get one shot to make a first impression, so make a good one.

I prefer calling it a Camper Information Kit as opposed to a Camp Information Kit for one simple reason: keep the emphasis on the campers. It should include:

  • A professionally designed, four-color brochure. It should be exciting, and should reflect the look and feel of the website. A consistent look across all media is very effective, and shows a level of professionalism that parents and campers appreciate–even if on an unconscious level.


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