Music Summer Camp Marketing
I have found that there are two types of parents when it comes to signing up for summer camp. One type is looking for camps in January and February and then there’s other parents … my wife and I fall more into this category. We wait until maybe April or May or even June, to start shopping around for summer camp. Ideally, a music school in December would be mapping out their plans for summer camp and rolling out their marketing efforts for summer camp in January. In this podcast, I’m going to share with you different marketing strategies that worked for my music school.
My summer camp was big business for me. At its height, I generated $45,000 with it one year. I recently spoke with the buyer of my music school. He did $55,000 last year with summer camp. Impressive numbers. We don’t know what this summer’s going to look like with COVID. Things are looking like they’re moving in a positive direction. I think parents are certainly going to want their kids involved in summer camp. Last summer was right in the middle of the Delta variant and summer camps, nonetheless, did well, at least in the States. I know different countries, have their own unique challenges.
Camp Fairs and Trade Shows
Summer camp fairs were my number one way to fill up my camps. It was also how I built up my email list. I use these camp fairs as an opportunity to promote my entire music school year-round. If you’re thinking about doing a summer camp, the first thing I would do is go online, look to see what summer camp fairs are offered in your area. Arts and craft shows are a great place to purchase a booth to promote your music school and summer camp. Any type of trade show where your ideal customer is likely to visit is the type of event you should try to reserve a booth for.
Maybe you’re not 100% sure if you want to run a summer camp or not. I’d enroll in one of these camp fairs, anyway. Just put some simple pitch together, some description as to what your camp would look like if you run it. If you get enough interest from the camp fair, enough enrollments, then you know, you should go ahead and launch your summer camp. I want to share with you a summer camp sales pitch that I wrote just for this podcast. What you say to parents when they come to you at their booth is so important. Every year we’d work on our pitch. It got better with each year. Try to get it down to a 20 to a 30-second sales pitch.
If you’ve ever had a booth at these camp fairs, you know that quite often, you have a lot of people coming up to you at once. You don’t have a lot of time to devote to each individual. Having a memorized pitch that you can knock out in just a few seconds can be super helpful. You want that sales pitch to simply spark the person’s curiosity. You want the parent to walk away from your conversation and think, “Wow, that camp sounds really interesting.” You don’t need to hit them up with all the details. Here’s the pitch that I put together. If I were to set up a booth at a camp fair today, I might say something like this.
A Sample Summer Camp Fair Sales Pitch
Mom: Hi, I was interested in learning about your summer camp
Me: Great. My name’s Dave, what’s your name?
Mom: I’m Wendy.
Me: Nice to meet you Wendy. What’s your child’s name?
Mom: His name’s Clark.
Me: Let me tell you a little bit about our music school and summer camp. We’re a year-round music school located in Olivette. Our school is based on the belief that playing an instrument isn’t as hard as many people think and that all children possess musical talent. Our summer camp places children in rock bands with other kids of a similar age and skill set. They spend the duration of camp working together to put on an end-of-camp rock concert. Does learning an instrument and playing and performing in a band sound like something that Clark might enjoy?
Mom: Of course. I think he’d love it.
Me: Well, great. Here’s a brochure that goes into greater detail about our camp, as well as, our year-round music programs. I was just wondering, would you be interested in possibly winning a free week of summer camp, which is valued at $350?
Mom: Well, of course, who wouldn’t want to win a free week at camp?
Me: All you have to do is enter this drawing. We’ll announce one lucky winner on March 1st. If for some reason, lady luck isn’t on your side, we’ll offer you a free music lesson for just entering the drawing. I want to reassure you that we won’t spam you and you can always opt-out of our emails if ultimately you decide that you don’t want to be considered in our free week of camp drawing.
Make Your Sales Pitch All About The Customer
This pitch contains few details about the summer camp. I tried to keep it very customer-centric. I tried to talk about things that I think a parent would be interested in. I first got the mom’s name and the kid’s name, so I could personalize my pitch. Even though this would be for a camp fair, I established that we’re a year-round music school located in Olivette. That right there is going to qualify a lot of people. “Oh Olivette, that’s nearby. That’s a great location.” I didn’t start off talking about the summer camp. I stated my music school’s core belief that we believe playing an instrument isn’t as hard as many people think and that all children possess musical talent.
That statement is designed to build intrigue but it’s also something that I believe is true. I believe anyone can play and enjoy an instrument on some level. When I get into the details of the summer camp, I only share details that I know would be of interest to a parent. Their child’s going to be in a rock band, working with other kids to put on a concert. Then I ask the parent, does learning an instrument and playing and performing in a rock band sound like something Clark would enjoy? That question forces the parent to imagine their child having that experience.
Asking Questions That You Know the Answer To
Whenever you ask a prospective customer a question, it’s helpful when you know what their answer is likely to be. This question allows them to future pace, to think into the future, and to imagine this scene and its hopefully an attractive scene. Maybe the parent says, “No, that sounds terrible.” Then they’ll tell me right there and they’ll walk away and great, it’s not a waste of their time or my time. Then hand them the brochure. The brochure’s going to have all the details about the camp. I don’t want to get bogged down in the details about the camp unless, of course, the parent starts asking me.
The brochure I had out is a combination of promoting the school and the camp. Instead of me asking her if she’d like to hand over her email, I said, “Would you be interested in possibly winning a free week of summer camp that’s valued at $350?” Who wouldn’t want that opportunity? By getting the parent to say, yes, I now have her forming positive thoughts. “Yes, I would like that.” “Well, great. Fill out this form with your email. I won’t spam you and you can always opt-out.” I sweeten the offer with, “even if you don’t win, you can get this consolation prize of a free music lesson just for signing up for the drawing.”
Hopefully the offer of a free week of camp or the possibility of winning that and the offer of getting a free music lesson for just handing over their email and reminding them that they can opt-out, you’re making it very easy for them to hand over their email. I would go into these camp fairs, typically walk out with maybe 50 to 100 new emails. It’s a great way to build an email list. I would do three or four of these camp fairs a year. I would do arts and crafts fairs, even when I wasn’t promoting my summer camp.
These fairs allow you to meet your market face to face. It allows you to try different marketing messages to see which messages resonate and which ones don’t. When you’re on social media running ads or posting things, you don’t know how people are responding to your message unless they maybe comment on social media. When you’re talking to a person face to face and you say something that makes their eyes light up, you know you just crafted a message that’s resonating with them. If you deliver a message and the parent doesn’t react, they don’t respond in any way, maybe that’s not a great message.
Additional Summer Camp Resources
- See the American Camp Association for more information about summer camp fairs.
- Looking for fun camp activities? Read 27 Summer Camp Activities to Spice Up The Summer Camp Atmosphere.