Summer at Heart & Soul Kids Activity Center is my absolute favorite! Before transitioning to the marketing role, I ran events for two years, which includes eight weeks of summer camp. The smell of sunscreen, happy kids, and Disney-themed crafts just makes my heart so happy!
In the past, a lot of effort had been invested into reaching an audience that wasn’t yet aware of Heart & Soul dance or gymnastic classes. While it worked fine, I noticed that the number of campers fluctuated week to week and I would either be prepping crafts for five more kids the night before or I would be ready with seven crafts too many. When planning the summer camp timeline I decided to focus more efforts inward initially and then gradually diffuse information to potential audiences.
My approach this year was to start early and build touch points with our students, schools, and parents often. In the February newsletter we released a teaser video for camps that was then used for our email campaign and at events we attended. Having a visual aide for promotion was a great way to let parents ‘try before they buy’.
Additionally, we released a summer guide with information on camps, themes, what to bring, and an early bird special. Anytime parents called and requested information at the front desk, the staff could send out this informational email along with a follow up three days later. Typically, we would not start getting early enrollment until late April, but already had parents signing up in early March through the summer guide.
While digital efforts were continued by sharing our excitement through Facebook and Instagram, I also decided to include a more traditional approach by printing an ad and camp summary in Bear Essentials. I chose Bear Essentials over large scale newspapers because of their geographic reach in Southern Arizona and the fact that our ad would be printed in the edition that was taken to the Festival of Books.
Finally, we tried something new and went to several summer camp events in March and April. While the exposure was great for Heart & Soul in general, both the new events manager and the business manager felt like we were connecting with families who lived just too far away to entertain the idea of driving out of the way for a summer camp. Most of the feedback they received during these events was that parents loved the idea, but wished we had a location closer to them. (Which, really, this was great to hear for future expansion!)
We are just wrapping up the fourth week of camps and have filled camp capacity three of the weeks. While I miss the crafting and playing, I do love building a community that comes back to Heart & Soul week after week!
UPDATE: Summer camp capacity was filled with three week left in the summer! We met our average ratio goals for enrollment and filled the camps to capacity six of the eight weeks. 52% of full fay/full week campers attended at least two camps and roughly 30% of all campers weren’t yet members of the studio.
Overall, it’s been a great summer for both campers and the studio!