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This is a guest post by Samantha Stone Avneri.
Now that the dust has settled and kids are back in school, that means you finally have time to get stuff done! That might include getting to emails that were sent last May, going over your financials, putting together some stats, reviewing camper and parent surveys, and setting goals for next year.
While I’m sure you have a process for all of your post-camp tasks that are unique for you, below are 3 things every Camp Director should be focusing on in preparation for next summer!
CHECK THE DATA
The great thing about using camp registration software is that it collects a large amount of data to help you get clear on your process, your campers, and give you helpful insight on making improvements to your camp. Take full advantage of this data and create reports that will give you the numbers, and insight, you need to continue improving! Below are some ideas on how to use your data.
- If at some point you have asked in a survey about session ideas from campers and parents, run this report and get some ideas for next summer rolling.
- Take a look at the ages of your campers from this year and what that means for next year, assuming they return. Do you have a bunch of campers who are moving to high school, for instance? Think about this as you plan for next year.
- Run some financial reports and pinpoint any issues or outstanding balances so you can close these.
- Optimize your process! Your application can tell you a lot. Were there questions that always came up during registration that were problem points? Did you not collect the information you ended up wanting or needing? Was the information you collected unnecessary? Fine tune your forms, so you can make the registration process quick and easy next year. One of the pros of online software is automating the process to help save you time. If parts of your application ended up costing you hours on the phone and troubleshooting via email, address these now!
GET YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA GAME ON
You might have a Facebook or Instagram profile, and you probably posted pics and videos throughout the summer. The low season is your time to really make the most of these platforms to share collages, more photos, create albums, put together a video highlight reel, etc. to ride the wave immediately after camp. These more polished images and videos can be repurposed in a few months when you begin advertising for next summer. You can also freshen up your website with this updated content.
The low season is also a great time to connect with campers and parents. Try connecting with them on social media (follow them, friend them, etc.) and then make sure you are posting consistently during the low season – blogs, new photos, interesting articles, etc. to keep your camp at the forefront of their mind throughout the year. If you make these connections NOW, as you move into your marketing campaign later in the year to begin registration for next summer, you will have a built-in audience to grab them early!
USE YOUR FAMILY INFORMATION FOR MARKETING
Capitalize on the information you have received throughout your registration process, including emails, child age and information, etc. Have this information readily available so you can reference it as you begin planning.
Start by setting up a marketing campaign as you move into Fall/Winter/Spring. This might include special offers at certain times: Black Friday camp deal, New Year deal, etc. If you are using a registration software, you can write out all of these emails and set up your system to send to specific groups of parents on specified dates. For example, you can market to a certain age group by targeting those parents specifically.
You can also re-market to parents who might have started but never completed your application and didn’t end up enrolling. Just filter to find these applicants and create an email list for them. You can offer this group a special, or unique deal to entice them to come back so you can close the deal this summer. This is where some of those graphics you’ve created come in handy. You can share what an amazing time other campers had this past summer so parents understand what their kid “missed out” on and what they can expect if they enroll. Coupled with a sweet deal, they might find it hard to resist!
The low season is also a great time to plan some events to keep the camp connection alive. Send out invites through your system, create the event on social media as well and keep it open so parents can invite their friends. A great, fun way to keep the spirit of camp alive! Having made connections with parents and campers online, these invitations are easy!
SUMMING IT UP
The theme here is information gathering and connecting! There are tons of great ways you can use the information and resources you have in your off-season to really make a big push for next year in terms of: planning, outreach, marketing, and content creation.
Remember, your camp software has the ability to double as a sales platform. Use the information you’ve gathered to inform your session planning and market to past clients.
Spend time creating awesome content (though pictures, videos, blog posts, etc.) that you can accompany with your marketing. Share these things on social media. Reach out to families and connect with them to build your online community! The more you share, the more this community will share too, which means, indirectly, some free advertising as pictures, posts and videos are shared throughout your community.
Sure the low season is your time to sit back with your feet up for a moment and enjoy the silence, but it is also the time to devote energy to all of the nitty-gritty planning you can do that isn’t possible when kids are around. Good luck and happy planning!
This is a guest post by Samantha Stone Avneri, Marketing Manager for Regpack, an online camp registration software used by over 1,000 camps and over 4,000 organizations worldwide, including the NFL, Goodwill and Stanford.