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.
1. Keep camp details up year-round. Rather than take down registration info after the season ends, keep fees and session details posted so potential customers can see what next year might look like. Add a note stating that the season is over, but new dates will be posted soon. Parents who find a site without any details will simply move on.
2. Invest in online advertising. “If you build it, they will come” does not apply. Just because you have a website doesn’t mean parents will find you. Camp directories, Facebook ads, and online display advertising on relevant sites are low-cost ways to drive traffic to your camp Web site. And more traffic means more campers!
3. Use multi-media to showcase your camp. A photo gallery gives parents a visual taste of camp activities and facilities. Flip video camcorders start at $149 and can be used to create and post videos to your site. The better glimpse you can give parents, the better chance you’ll have to sell your camp.
4. Install Google Analytics. Google Analytics is a free service that can generate detailed statistics about your site, including how people found it, which sections are the most popular, and much more. Don’t rely on asking your customers where they found you – many of them won’t remember. Tracking these details can help you determine where to emphasize your advertising dollars in future seasons.
5. Display contact information prominently. Post your camp phone number, email, and address on every page or make sure a link to a “Contact Us” section is well-displayed. Making it easy for parents to reach you with questions and concerns is vital.
6. Keep the design simple and easy to navigate. Skip flashy gimmicks like an animated splash page and open with important basics like camp dates and locations. Also, include a map that shows where your camps are located. A site that delivers information in a clear, straightforward manner is the best way to sell your camp.
7. Offer multiple ways to register. In addition to online registration, offer alternatives such as a phone hotline or a downloadable form that parents can print out and send. More options makes enrollment easy and accessible for all parents.
8. Create an email marketing list. Collect email addresses and send out notices when camp enrollment opens or to announce special events or fundraisers. Include anyone you’ve ever received an inquiry from, even if they didn’t attend. Refreshing people’s memory throughout the year ensures your camp will be on their radar as they plan for the next summer.
9. Include an FAQ. Answer all those questions you’ve been asked repeatedly in the past, including questions about meal options, activities, bunk setup, etc. Providing answers to common questions will save parents time and help them make an informed choice more quickly.
10. Give parents a take-away. A printable brochure (PDF) or one-sheet that includes your URL and contact info will help people find their way back to your site later.