Could this be the best summer camp video ever?

Making great camp marketing videos is so important!

Birch Trail Camp for Girls just released their new 2015 marketing video and it is AWESOME.

[We're totally biased, of course, because we were involved in the production of the video but even if we weren't we'd still LOVE it.]

BTC's director, Gabe Chernov, came to me this past winter and said that he'd like to be the one to create the video that I've been talking about in so many of my presentations. (such as 10 Things Every Camp Should Do On YouTube)

I've been so inspired by how photographer Sue Bryce's promo video so clearly talked to her ideal client.   It was focussed on the life of a woman who would love to have her portrait shot by Sue - it wasn't a video about Sue at all.  Because her client could see herself in the video she would be much more likely to purchase a session from Sue than another photographer who's video is all : ME, ME, ME, BUY FROM ME.

The elements that make this video a success:

  • It's narrative (it has a story) so people will watch longer that 60-90 seconds.  I don't know how to say this any plainer: your camp video is too damn long!
  • The music pulls you through the story with a great melody and a wonderful message.
  • It's high end.   Yes, you absolutely can create great camp marketing videos on an iPhone (so long as they are SHORT). This video, however, shows what you get when you're ready to invest in video as a marketing tool.
  • It's emotional.   Yet another camp video of sailboats, kids swimming and your oh-so-clever-grouping of multi-ethnic kids hugging... not emotional.  Boring.
  • It surprises you.  The camera work includes some great angles to really immerse us in the story (I loved being there to see the UAV camera work!).
  • It plainly shows the ways that Birch Trail Camp transforms the lives of the girls and young women that go there.

 Check it out:

What elements of this video do you like or dislike?  Leave us a comment below!

What Lady Gaga Can Teach You About Marketing Summer Camp

Little Monsters - one thing camp people have in common with Lady Gaga. No, I'm not referring to our campers, I mean that we have affectionate nicknames for the important people in our life.

Lady Gaga is a top-selling music artist because she is amazing at building and looking after her community (whom she calls her Little Monsters).   Camp Leaders can learn a lot (and will in this session) from how Lady Gaga's treats her True Fans.

What you will learn in this presentation
1. an understanding of the commitment Gaga makes to her True Fans and how easy it is to do with your camp families
2. a focussed plan to build an intensive two-way relationship with the campers and staff who LIVE to return to your camp.
3. specific actions you can take to build word of mouth referrals from your "Little Monsters"

This interactive presentation (strong visuals and videos) will show camps how to Lady Gaga has become an international sensation and how these lessons can work for camps.   
Your take home strategy: Focus on Your One Percenters, Lead with Values, Build Community, Make Them Feel Like Rock Stars and more.
We will break down each of these strategies and show how other camps are using them currently to fill their bunks.

Your Job: Make other's lives easier - it will impress parents

Marketing Your Summer Camp is Easy When You Focus on Your Clients

Most camps find it very hard to stick out (among camps, let alone the other summer activities available).   There will always be another camp that is willing to run cheaper with better toys. 

{I heard a wise man once say: there will always be someone willing to go into bankruptcy faster than you.]

So How Do We Compete?

You be more useful. You strive to make families lives easier in everything you do.

In his amazing book Youtility, Jay Baer said there are 2 ways to stand out in a busy marketing place: 

  • be amazing (go viral) - you can do it once or twice but it's really not sustainable
  • be helpful.  This job you were born to do.

I found this scan on my computer today and it inspired my thinking.  This is a hand-drawn map of Huntsville, Ontario - the small town near our camp.    This map was handed down year to year from one summer administrator to the next.  This is a survival guide for the person responsible for all of the town runs each week. 

Cairn summer camp's town run map

What can you hand to your parents to show them that you know what they're going through?

Winner! Our #TwitPitch2014 Contest Has a Winner

Congratulations Camp Wightman!

CampHacker #twitpitch Contest 2014

This spring we announced a contest for the best #TwitPitch. We were looking for camps who could give parents enough information in 120 characters that they would take the next step: reach out for more info, click to see the website, request a brochure, etc.

The winning pitch was: We're not all bugs and dirt. Camp Wightman: where faith, friends, and fun collide. Building disciples since 1956.

Judging the Contest

I found a panel of experts (parents with kids that are the right age for summer camp) and asked them to rank the anonymized submissions.  These rankings were tabulated and Camp Wightman (in Connecticut) came out on top.

The judges came from lots of interesting professions (PR professional, insurance broker, banker, camp director who didn't submit for the contest) and life experiences.

What's this?

I must say #1 and #2 were very close! 

So close that we're going to offer a $750 CampHacker Playbook to the second place pitch: Your kid needs to be a kid. With role models, outdoors, growth, friends, and memories. Camp can help. This entry came from Camp Kitaki in Nebraska.

The next 3 pitches in ranking's were

  • S'mores, canoeing, swimming, and archery anyone?  Come on down to Camp Kateri, where memories are made one week at a time! 
  • Want the best for your child? So do we. Ask how Camp Takodah can set your child on a course for happiness and success.
  • Every boy is entitled to an experience that is magic. Camp Nebagamon.

It's interesting to me (a lesson that we'll be applying to CampHacker clients this winter!) that all of the top picks were about "kids being kids".  The middle picks seem to be ones that had a play on words and the ones that were ranked lowest seem to talk about a future state of the campers - what they will grow up to become.

This ranking is hardly statistically significant but it's fun to look for patterns. 

We had a lot of great entries - thank you to all the camps that submitted!   We look forward to seeing what you can come up with for #twitpitch2015

What do you think of the way things ranked?  Leave us your opinion in the comments!

Surprise & Delight Your Camp Parents With Your Last Minute Communication (podcast)

How can you "Wow" your summer camp families between now & opening day?

There are so many opportunities for camps to show their families what they have to offer.  One this week's podcast we talked about how the experiences AND the communications with have with our families can lead to better Word of Mouth recommendations and happier campers.

Podcast: Listen for free (and ON THE GO) in iTunes or the Stitcher App 

Listen to the audio, find our Tools of the Week and links to our co-hosts info here: WOW Camp Parents With Last Minute Communication