green road sign that reads 'summer camp' with pine trees in the background

Did you know there are over 12,000 summer camps in the United States? With so many, summer camps must stand out from the competition.

The best way to ensure that you attract new campers and keep them coming back is to have a solid marketing strategy.

Here are 14 summer camp marketing strategies to consider.

1. Define Your Target Market

Before planning any marketing campaign, you need first to identify your ideal customers. The best way to do this is by creating a buyer persona.

A buyer persona is a comprehensive overview of your campers’ and their parents’ demographics and lifestyle habits. By defining who your prospects are, you can then determine where they are, how to reach them, and what messaging resonates with them.

2. Develop Flexible Programs

Next, make sure to create options that appeal to your new customers.

One of the best ways to do this is to develop flexible program options and upgrades. Flexible program options for summer camps include offering different session lengths, from day camps to week-long stays, and customizable schedules.

Flexibility supports the preferences of campers and their families and accommodates diverse learning needs. It also allows more families to attend, widening your target market.

stack of four red and black coffee mugs with a summer camp logo

3. Design A Memorable Brand

Building a memorable brand is the best way to stand out from competitors and attract more campers.

Start by thinking about what makes you unique. What does your camp offer that no one else does?

Next, consider how you can communicate your uniqueness through your camp name, logo, and design, like colors and images. Once your brand is defined, always create brand standards to ensure consistency across all channels.

4. Create A Marketing Strategy

Once your buyer persona, programs, and brand are created, you can start developing your marketing strategy.

Start by creating messaging that will resonate with your buyer personas. Then, use a mix of marketing channels to reach and engage potential campers and their families. Make sure your marketing highlights the singular identity of your camp.

Use your branding consistently and market differences like special programs, experienced counselors, and pristine campground locations.

5. Leverage Digital Marketing

When developing a summer camp marketing strategy, invest in digital marketing activities like social media, email newsletters, and blogging.These are low-cost, high-return marketing activities.

Create a robust, SEO summer camp website loaded with valuable information for parents and campers. Build camp accounts on popular social media apps like Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok.

Finally, consider running digital ads on search engines like Google and social media during the busiest recruiting times of the year, like the beginning of the year and Springtime.

6. Build A Traditional Marketing Strategy

Summer camps also benefit from traditional marketing strategies. Traditional marketing strategies that work well for summer camp marketing include:

● Local Newspaper Advertisements
● Direct Mail Campaigns
● Local TV And Radio Ads
● Community Bulletin Board Postings
● Sponsorship of Local Events
● Participation in Local Parades or Festivals

7. Create Eye-Catching Marketing Assets

Once your channels are defined, you can build eye-catching assets; for digital marketing, consider creating eye-catching, informative copy, images, and video content.

For traditional marketing, make stunning print materials such as brochures, posters, and ads. If you use any photographs of campers or families, get their permission before publishing.

row of green coffee mugs with 'scioto hills' camp logo on them

8. Find Opportunities For Community Outreach

Community outreach is one of the best ways that summer camps can market.

Creating partnerships with local schools, clubs, and churches can help people learn more about your camp and your values. Also, consider partnering with local charities to create scholarships for kids to attend.

This strategy is great because it will help you grow your brand and support your local community.

9. Host An Open House For Both Kids And Parents

One of the most essential things an effective summer camp marketing strategy does is build trust with parents. A great way to do this is to organize an open house.

Have staff host activities like games, crafts, and sports and let parents and kids play. Ensure that some informative sessions are included so parents can learn about the schedule, program options, and associated fees.

10. Introduce A Referral Program

Word-of-mouth is an excellent way to attract more campers. Parents trust other parents regarding their children’s safety and social and educational development. So, by offering a referral program, you are helping build trust with parents.

Further, you are reaching your ideal target audience because parents of camp-aged children tend to know other parents of camp-aged children. Also, consider offering a sibling or family referral discount.

11. Cultivate A Strong Alumni Network

Creating an alum network is another effective strategy to cultivate word-of-mouth marketing for your summer camp.

Consider hosting alum events where past campers can come with their families and reconnect. You can also create a Facebook group or other online forum where alums can stay connected, network, and make referrals.

12. Have A Contest Or Giveaways

Contests and giveaways are always an excellent summer camp marketing strategy for lead generation. Consider contests that reflect your niche, like a nature photography competition or campfire storytelling contest that offers discounts or prizes.

You could also run giveaways on social media for camp merchandise like handmade stoneware mugs. Get creative! The more creative you are, the more contestants you will attract.

13. Create Niche Camps

Consider creating mini-camps throughout the off-season, like fall, summer, or winter “pop-up” camps.

These camps can be hosted on weekends and themed around seasonal activities. Consider creating target pop-up camps that embody themes like robotics, cooking, or dance. Consider also offering pop-up camps to include campers who cannot attend camp otherwise because of disabilities and sensory issues.

green coffee mug on a table with a summer camp logo

14. Give Campers Memorabilia They’ll Use

Consider using the end-of-summer gift as a way to create customer retention or add to your camp’s general store for purchase. Rather than giving campers something they’ll grow out of, like a t-shirt, give them something that will last and they will use every day.

A handmade, high-quality stoneware mug featuring the camp logo and colors is a wonderful option. This keepsake will last a lifetime, reminding them of the good times and, eventually, to send their own children one day.

Use these 14 summer camp marketing strategies to attract more campers and increase your camp profits.

At Grey Fox Pottery, we’ve worked with summer camps to create memorable mugs. We offer a variety of glazes, colors, and styles to reflect your unique brand. View our custom coffee mugs and soup bowls and inquire about making an order. They’ll help your campers preserve their great memories and help you keep kids coming back every year.

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