We introduced summer camp website marketing tools and tips in the previous article. In this article, we’ll get into some details on how to bring parents to your website through Google Adwords. Google has an excellent 800 helpline [866-246-6453] for do-it-yourselfers and a slimmed down platform called Adwords Express for newbies. Google Adwords for summer camp marketing takes more time and resources than email marketing and social media activities. This means you will have to give yourself more time before expecting to see results.
Getting Google Adwords to promote your summer camp going means selecting a few programs you want to advertise. If you have a wide set of offerings you should likely trim down to a few to simplify the process. The goal is to make the ad specific to one type of camp you offer. This way parents will be happy to land on your website that details that specific camp.
The main components of each Google campaign are:
-Defining a geographic territory where your ads will show. Remember searchers are looking at home and work so make sure you reach commuting parents.
-Building a list of search keywords such that when searchers use these words your ad is presented.
-Constructing ads that in a very limited space provide the key information about what you are promoting. For example content, the age of participants, schedule/duration of programs, your website address.
-You’ll also set a daily budget and put bids in yourself or allow Google to allocate your budget.
Last you’ll need to link this Adwords account to your Google Analytics. Once again the Google 800 number will help newbies and those more novice – no code required or Webmaster assistance needed. Utilizing Google Adwords for summer camp marketing may seem daunting if you have little experience. If this is the case, you may want to consider getting some outside help.
Weighing the benefits of outside help
If you seek outside help, agencies should be able to do all the above within a day or two given your time imperative. Agencies don’t need to be local. You can even set up a video call to get acquainted. They will likely charge you a startup fee for the concentrated time upfront and then a monthly fee to manage your Google Adwords for summer camp work. The monthly fee is largely a function of how much you’ll be spending with Google, Yahoo, Bing, or Facebook. The cost can increase depending on the complexity of the scope of work.
Agencies with experience with comparable businesses should be willing to allow your programs to stop and start while charging you only when you are running. This is because they understand your seasonal nature. More than likely if you see value in their work you will want to utilize them in your “winter” programs. If they have “camp experience”, a few agencies such as mine specialize here, or something related, you could see immediate activity. If promoting camps is not in their wheelhouse or you are too small a client it may take longer for you to see the benefits.
Be wary of flowery promises about specific guarantees or those throwing out numbers of what they accomplished elsewhere. This is a giant red flag. Find someone willing to work month to month which will concentrate their interest in keeping you happy, but allow them 90-120 days to prove their merit.
Those of you with year-round programming may well find Search marketing of comparable value during the year. I devoted this column to it because for the purposes of summer business it will need to commence asap if you’re reading this after April. It is closer to my heart as my principal activity and after this month I’ll leave it until we look at the marketing toolkit as it applies to school year programming.
Next, we’ll look at Email Marketing and Social Media in some detail. These too will be applicable year-round but they will be lower cost activities, easier to manage in-house than paid search. I believe it will not be too late in June to ramp up here to catch last minute summer program shoppers – mainly ones familiar to you.
We will also discuss some common problems and issues that may be holding back your enrollment. By June 1, you’ll likely have a pretty good idea what the summer is going to look like so we’ll provide some tips and reminders so you finish out well and pick up some last minute low hanging fruit.