Co-founder at Movinhand & Enrollhand
Prior to co-founding Movinhand, Recruithand and Enrollhand, Alexis was leading operations for a 4,000 person group in Europe. He now helps school leaders maximize their enrollment growth through creating tailored engagement experiences for parents. This includes hyper-targeted advertising, onsite parent reception operations, staff coaching and student retention/re-enrollment tactics
Co-founder at Movinhand & Enrollhand
Why Not Start a Summer Camp? You Can Make a Difference While Increasing Enrollment10 min read
Why Not Start a Summer Camp? You Can Make a Difference While Increasing Enrollment
What if you could start a summer camp at your school that could be both profitable and a boost to enrollment? Other businesses have small, affordable offerings that they use to attract their customers to a larger service that comes later.
Could a summer camp play that role? (as you read on, think of other such offerings as well, such as an AP course, college credit course, tutoring option, etc.)
Whether you’re a private school, charter school or even a public school, the fact remains: Your school is a business.
You need to find new ways of attracting parents and students. It is the key to your success and future enrollment.
In this article, I will show you that starting a summer camp can be an exciting way to attract new families to your school.
With some careful planning and effective marketing, you could implement a summer program in a matter of weeks.
Consider this: According to the American Camp Association (ACA), summer camps are an $18 billion dollar industry, and there are over 14,000 quality summer camps operating in the United States alone.
Obviously, there’s no shortage of programs for parents to choose from. So let’s look at ways to make your camp the chosen one.
Calling ALL Campers!
Who is your target audience?
Is it families who are new to the area? Parents concerned about a values-based education? Young parents interested in project-based learning, STEAM, or the Montessori approach?
Identifying your target audience is the first step in formulating the perfect offering.
Put yourself in their shoes and think about what they are looking for in a summer program.
Depth, variety, and quality of activities are important. Providing a balance of hands-on learning, character building, the arts, and outdoor recreation would definitely be an attractive prospect for parents.
According to ACA, parents look for summer programs to help their children learn new concepts, build self-confidence, and make friends in a safe environment.
Take a look at this summer program and all it has to offer. Notice the range of creative programs available.
This program caters to a wide range of age groups, including 3-year-olds. Including a wide variety of age groups with age-appropriate activities is a great way to widen your camp’s appeal.
Don’t forget to also keep the kids in mind. Summer is about freedom and fun, so you want to evoke that message too. Get them excited about your school’s camp and the adventures they will have.
Outshine Your Competition
What will make your camp stand out from the rest? This is a crucial question when planning a summer camp.
There’s lots of competition out there, so it’s important to put a spotlight on the unique aspects of your brand.
Highlight your excellence, your staff, your activities, your location, or anything that sets you apart from every other camp.
What’s your impact? How can you contribute to their children’s lives?
Look at this summer program highlighting self-discovery, hands-on programs, and relevance to the real world. They also mention their historic location.
Parents as Participants
Today’s parents want authentic, relevant educational experiences for their children. They also want to be involved in their children’s education.
Make sure you include parents in the camp experience. Ask for volunteers. Invite them to participate and contribute to program.
Plan a time for parents to visit camp sessions, show a video, display the children’s artwork, or put on a show.
Use this as an opportunity to showcase and talk about your school.
Put a spotlight on your challenging curriculum, educational activities, small class sizes, highly qualified teachers – everything unique about your school.
Share your school’s story with parents. What do the students love about your school? Why are your teachers so amazing? Why should they enroll their children?
Your goal is to enroll more students, so don’t waste the opportunity to show parents what sets your school apart.
Offer a brochure highlighting your school, and don’t forget to offer a freebie branded with your school logo. Pencils, pens, keychains, magnets or any giveaways like t-shirts or hats are great ideas.
If parents leave with a favorable impression of your school, they will tell their friends and spread the word that your school has something amazing to offer.
Partner With Local Businesses
Building community relations is a great way to lower operating costs while getting the word out about your camp to prospective parents and students.
Choose businesses who have something to offer you and have a positive reputation in the community.
Ask them to help with advertising your camp and school. Offer them some free advertisement in exchange for donations, food, equipment, or any services you may need.
Contact local banks, vendors, museums, art suppliers, rental companies etc. and ask for donations or reduced rates.
Many businesses will jump at the chance to help out, especially when given the opportunity to advertise to successful parents in the community.
Focus on businesses who share your vision for a dynamic summer experience for the community’s children.
Is Your School Website Dynamic?
You might be sighing, thinking “yes, I know” but the fact remains: your school’s website is a marketing tool. If you haven’t updated the content since 1999, it won’t help much.
Share information about your summer camp on your website. Make that information highly visible and accessible for parents.
Consider having an FAQ section about your camp.This can be helpful to parents wanting to know all the details.
Remember to include a way for parents to register online and inquire about your camp and school.
Gather phone numbers, addresses, and emails from interested parents. Create an opt-in, where parents can leave their email address for more information.
Other businesses add infographics as optional downloads. These are called “lead magnets”, you probably understand why…
Most parents, especially millennials, do most of their research and browsing on their mobile devices.
If busy parents can’t access your website or enroll with mobile technology, you might miss out on potential campers and future students.
Let Social Media Work for You
Social media is ideal for advertising your new summer camp to families who aren’t familiar with your school and who otherwise may never view your website.
They may not be ready to shop around for a school but a summer camp? Sure. That’s not such a big decision. Wink.
Facebook advertising, in particular, can be a great way to promote your camp and reach your target audience. You can highlight all your camp has to offer while promoting your school at the same time.
Pinterest is another popular platform for promotion and is especially popular with moms.
Also, remember that kids are on social media more than parents, and will have a say in the summer camp they attend. Consequently, it’s a good idea to promote your camp on youth-oriented platforms like Instagram and Snapchat too.
Enrollhand Can Help
If you are looking for ways to boost your school’s enrollment, implementing a summer camp may be a terrific choice.
You can foster a fun learning experience for kids while attracting new parents and students to your school.
Having a specific focus for your camp is essential. Plan for authentic learning experiences balanced with summer fun.
Attracting parents is your goal. Advertise through your school website and use social media to your advantage.
Partnering with local businesses can provide you with free advertising and necessary supplies for your program.
Most of all, parents want their children in a fun, safe, and enriching environment. They also want to be involved.
Include them in your planning. Invite them in. Show them how and why their children can flourish in your school environment.
While all of this may sound like a great idea, you may not know how or where to begin. That’s okay.
Understanding how to formulate your plan, implement it effectively, and market it strategically is our specialty. Contact Enrollhand today, and let us help you get started.