It’s the end of summer camp season. Thousands of children are saying their goodbyes and embarking on a new school year, and maybe you’re thinking this is a good time to finally take a vacation.
Well don’t go anywhere yet … not until you’ve surveyed every family and counselor.
“But we already send a survey to our families!”
And that’s nice, but I have a feeling you’re not gathering nearly as much data as you could. Simply asking “on a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your child’s summer camp experience?” yields nothing in terms of marketing intelligence.
When done right, your survey will trigger a marketing chain reaction that creates dozens of opportunities to delight families over the coming year:
- a better website user experience
- content creation ideas for lead generation
- improved search engine results
- micro-targeted email campaigns
- loyalty and referral programs
- word-of-mouth evangelism
- packed open houses
- an improved camp experience, and …
- fewer marketing dollars spent on new camper acquisition.
Why You Should Survey Families
Which kids will return next summer? Which families will send a younger sibling for the first time? Which will refer a friend or relative? What are they really saying about you to the community? How easy is it for them to find information on your website? You’ll never have the answers to these questions if you don’t do a comprehensive survey.
Repeat customers are your most valuable marketing asset, because you’ve already spent the energy and ad dollars upfront to get their attention. If you’ve gained their trust so much they return each year, there’s a good chance they’re telling others about you. In fact, when a B2C business grows retention just 5%, they can expect profits to grow 25-95%, because they’re decreasing marketing dollars spent on cold outreach.
So this isn’t a time to stick your head in the sand. The best companies ask for brutally honest critique, and innovate their products and services accordingly.
When to Send Summer Camp Surveys
Try to send surveys within a week or two of camp ending, while the summer is still fresh in the minds of parents, kids and counselors. This will also ensure you grab their attention before they get busy with back-to-school stuff.
When sending the survey, let them know approximately how long it will take (you should test this first), and you may have to send a few follow-ups to remind them how important their feedback is. It’s good to set an expiration date and a tone of urgency.
What to Ask in Family Surveys
Your survey should hit on every topic possible, and encourage parents to complete a large portion of it with their child(ren). The questions you ask will depend on whether you’re running a day camp, sleep-away camp or specialized camp (e.g., religious, special needs, activity-specific), but here are some general areas to include:
- Usability of your website
- What they think of your social media channels
- How they originally learned of your camp
- Registration process
- Costs and contracts
- Length of the camp season // hours of operation
- Pre-camp prep
- Communication between camp and family
- Off campus trips
- Activity options
- Safety procedures
- Meal options
- Counselor quality
- Counselor tipping
- How likely they are to refer your camp
- How likely they are to return next year
- Would they take advantage of a “very early enrollment” option to make monthly payments throughout the year?
The possibilities are almost endless, and no topic is off limits. Make an exhaustive list of every single thing your camp offers, every step of your process, features you’re considering adding, and put it all in a survey. Ask open ended questions too, like “is there anything you want us to improve upon for next summer?”
If you don’t ask, you’ll never know. And you won’t be able to hyper-segment your email lists, which is what I’ll be writing about in the next installment of this summer camp marketing series.
Why You Need to Survey Counselors
You can’t have happy kids without dedicated counselors, so getting their feedback is just as important as that of families. You can hit on many of the same topics listed above, and throw in:
- Do they feel they were trained correctly?
- Do they think they were paid fairly?
- Did they feel like you cared about their experience?
- Would they return next year?
- Would they recommend counselorship to an age-ready relative or classmate?
- What did they like/dislike most about their experience as a camp counselor?
Remember, these young adults are your workforce and brand advocates. As in any other workplace, keeping them happy and involved in your business can reap positive benefits for years to come.
How to Send Your Camp Survey
By now you might be thinking, “alright, this sounds like a good idea, but how the heck do I execute on it?!”
If you’re just getting started with surveys, I suggest SurveyMonkey because it’s very easy to use. Depending on how many families and counselors you need to survey, create a “Select” (monthly includes 1000 responders, but annual will get you unlimited) or “Gold” account.
Once you’ve got your account set up, create two separate surveys — one for families and one for counselors. Before you can send them, you’ll set up “collectors” in order to capture results. Do not use the general survey link collectors because they won’t give you the ability to segment your lists later.
Instead, gather all of your family email addresses, and upload them to a list in SurveyMonkey. Repeat for the counselor list. This will allow you to send customized survey links to each respondent, and export feedback to their CRM profiles later.
If you’re using an all-in-one marketing automation suite, like HubSpot, this will all be done a bit more efficiently. To learn more about that, email me and I’ll be happy to explain. In fact, I’m available if you want to hire me to do the whole survey thing for you.
What to Do After the Survey
I’m a big believer in unexpected customer delightion. Use this opportunity to surprise survey responders with some nicely packaged swag and a handwritten note. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or expensive, just something that shows you care and reminds them of you throughout the year:
- Camp banner for the child(ren)’s bedroom wall
- Baseball cap
- Wall calendar (better yet, a desk calendar with daily camp trivia!)
- Car magnet
What You’re Going to Do With the Data
You’re going to take all this amazing feedback and use it to educate and delight those families so much they’ll definitely return next year, and/or tell everyone within earshot about your program. You’ll also turn the survey data into actionable business intelligence, so you spend the next year innovating on camp offerings.