It could be a dream of yours to run a successful summer camp or start a children’s academy but passion to influence young minds isn’t enough to sustain and grow a business. Providing an outstanding experience for each attendee is of course crucial because word of mouth is a powerful referral source but to get in the position to provide an outstanding experience, you have to get them in the door. You may feel overwhelmed with all of the other tasks involved with your business like organizing activities, legal requirements, and the acquisition of camp directors and teachers, however perfect organizational execution is worthless without clients. Competition is fierce for just about any type of business so advertising is critical. Here are some thoughts on how to advertise your summer camp or children’s academy with t-shirts and more.

Marketing is successful when you’re able to express your value proposition to the consumer. Parents don’t need to spend the money on summer camp and academies. Your job will be to make them want to. How? By making them like and trust you. Your summer camp or academy needs to be either outstanding or useful, or both. Focus on what makes you different from other summertime activities that may be free or less costly than what you’re offering. Are you conveniently located to public transport? Include that messaging with any of your advertising. Teach your target audience what makes you valuable.

A website is an unquestionable necessity. You need to be able to direct potential clients to a destination to do more independent research on your offerings. Your home page should instantly tell a story of why a child would want to attend. The most obvious choice is to convey this with a picture of happy students engaged in activities that you offer. Develop pages for both new and returning clients. These should include news and events, calendar of classes, application forms, and a gallery featuring more pictures of happy students. Include a way for people to sign up for a newsletter. This will be invaluable to keep clients coming back year after year and also to communicate new offerings to increase awareness.

Focus on how you’re solving a problem for parents in your marketing messages. Offer solutions for boredom and how your valuable activities will enrich their children’s minds or provide healthful exercise for their bodies. Include messages about strengthening social skills as well.

When signing up new registrants have a social media policy in place asking for permission to use their children’s images in your advertising efforts. If they are uncomfortable with having their child featured individually, ask if they can be included in group pictures. Google Hangouts and Facebook Live are great opportunities to engage with parents and prospective students curious about what you have to offer and your teaching and engagement style.

Communicate frequently with social media posts and don’t be afraid to use hashtags. These can help gain new followers and spread awareness about your programs. Be sure to include geographical hashtags too. Anyone looking for information pertinent to your area may see your post and share it with a friend or family member if you’re offering something relevant to their needs or interests.

Written content is critical to gain new business from the web. Start a blog on your website including lots of educational content. This can be in the form of How-to’s, demonstrations, featured interviews of clients, and staff highlights. Go into detail and use keywords that would be useful when people search on the web for a certain kind of activity. Use locations specific keywords frequently as these are typically less competitive than generic keyword such as soccer camp. Using “Sante Fe Soccer Camp” is much less competitive.

Take a look at what your competition is doing too. How are they positioning their value proposition? Can you do better, or at least equivalent? Monitor what is said about your business online. You can do this easily by frequently searching for your camp’s name on Facebook, Instagram, Yelp, and Google Reviews. Respond to both positive and negative reviews but always take a breath before posting back to a negative review. It’s a good idea to have someone else who wasn’t involved in the situation to look at it before you post. You might be communicating more defensively than is wise.

Have custom t-shirts printed up for you summer camp or academy. T-shirts are inexpensive promotional items that garner a lot of attention. Think walking advertisement for your business. They are fantastic for group pictures too and create a sense of unity for the group. T-shirts are also great for staff because a custom message can help identify who is in charge especially in a large group setting. The type of t-shirt you choose should take into account what activities the wearer will be involved with. Are they primarily outside? Probably a lighter colored t-shirt like white, yellow, light green, or light blue would be best. Is the wearer going to be involved with sports? Then consider performance wear for moisture wicking. Is it a more professional or upscale academy? Then think about embroidered polos to reflect the impression you want to create.

Custom caps are another way to promote your summer camp or academy. Kids love hats and since they are a valuable promotional giveaway, are more likely to wear them year round. There are custom apparel options you may not know are an option like custom printed dancewear, shorts, yoga pants, and sweatpants, jackets, and even socks.

Designing custom summer camp apparel doesn’t have to be restricted to your logo. You can communicate what your value proposition with slogans, images, or even hashtags. Here are a few designs ideas for summer camps and children’s academies.

Hosting a free field day at the end of the semester for a school is a brilliant way to get the attention of potential clients. The teachers will love you and you can give out t-shirts and flyers for the kids to take home to the parents. Showing kids how much fun they could have at your camp or academy is a worthwhile expense especially if their friends sign up too.

Offer the opportunity for your clients to bring a friend for the day. This will literally provide a doorway for new attendees. Open houses are yet an additional opportunity to showcase what your summer camp or academy has to offer.

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