This week I got an opportunity to check in with one of our North Carolina summer camps. They have been with Grow My Camp since our beginning and are seeing some encouraging momentum with enrollment. I hope this interview inspires you to know that you too can grow your camp!
1. What specifically are you noticing about camper enrollment this fall?
The glaring difference in enrollment this fall is that we are 216 campers ahead of any other year on record. We are on track to be full by opening day. We were able to get a huge jump on enrollment with a heavy emphasis on re-enrollment on closing days. We saw parents positively respond to the opportunity to save money by enrolling early.
2. What are some new parts of your summer camp marketing funnel that you’ve implemented that seem to be working?
First and foremost is giving our new families a reason to enroll now. We communicate off the bat future discounts they will be eligible for. For example, when a new family enrolls and asks what discounts are available, I explain there are no discounts available for new campers (except the sibling discount if there are more than 1 child or the Alumni discount if the parent was a previous staff member of camper). I then explain at the end of their first summer, they will be eligible for our deepest discounts on opening day. They remember this and go ahead and re-register on closing day of the session.
3. What part of the camper recruiting funnel do you see as super important that maybe you took for granted a few years ago when you just started off with Grow My Camp?
I have always known that communication was the key to a healthy and thriving growth campaign. For a long time I assumed that everyone would want to chat on the phone or email. This may have been the case years ago, but today many parents prefer to text or not correspond with us at all. They simply do all the research on their own. I have learned that I need to make all channels of communication open and available- especially those that are convenient each parent. My goal is to make sure that our prospective camp families’ preferred way of communicating is available. This allows us to clearly and consistently share our message.
4. What 3 things would you attribute your camper enrollment growth to?
First, our retention campaign has been thoughtfully developed over the years. It has slowly increased and is now more effective than ever. We are working smarter and can better predict what will work for our customer base. Secondly, our programming and hiring have also improved. We understand that retention is directly correlated with the quality of our off camp trips, on camp activities, evening programs and quality of staff. Striving for excellence in all these areas positively affects enrollment. Last of all, we know who we are as a camp more than ever and consistently broadcast the same message. When first partnered with Grow My Camp, we went through a painful yet enlightening self-reflection process. We really wrestled with better defining our core values and mission as a camp. This process was foundational to our current success.
5. What would you tell another camp owner or marketing director that is looking at partnering with Grow My Camp?
Partner with Grow My Camp! They aren’t just another summer camp marketing agency. They recognize the patterns of marketing specifically for summer camps (they’ve done so for their own camps). Expect to committ to the partnership for at least 3-5 years. Also, make sure you dedicated to having the right personality managing the sales process. This person will make or break it your ability to nurture leads well!