I had a question come in from a church in India asking about how to market for Christian youth camps. It really is a good question in which I thought the response could benefit a lot of other churches as well. So here are my 10 ways to market Christian youth camps.
- Look at what you are currently doing and be resourceful
- Have attractions not Christian constants
- Early registration pricing
- Leverage social media
- Remember the parent
- Do more than an announcement
- Build everything in careful planning
- Lead the way with word of mouth
- Contact your contacts
- Measure your outcomes
The first thing I look at in strategizing marketing is what the organization is currently doing, and how we can use those things to promote upcoming events. Utilize what you have. Most youth groups do events and outreaches, but rarely do they strategize the timing of those events in regards to how they can build surrounding events as well. Big Idea: Plan events in advance and promote camp at outreaches to gain interest beyond your regular attendance.
In regards to the language and driving points for a youth camp, if your target is both Christian and non-Christian, then build your attractions to something that would appeal to them. Time of worship and prayer are not huge attractions for lost youth, but having a known band, a great location that screams “vacation”, or taking along a comedian/entertainer can really make the event appeal to those you are after.
One of the greatest initiatives you can have is to get pre-registrations for the following year during the camp and the few weeks after. This is so key in getting people committed to come early on. You can also push registrations by reducing price if they sign up at other events and during pre-registration initiative
You can do giveaways where they enter to win by posting about camp on Facebook. Resolve issues by creating a group or event page to use for communication about problems, reminders, and Q&A.
You cannot forget that parents play a factor in the decision. Announce youth camps in main service as well as youth services so they can be familiarized with what is going on. Have take home information for parents to look at and make a decision for their kids.
Don’t stop at doing a video announcement or a stage announcement. That does not fully give a taste of the event. Theme a few services that are special camp services that have fun presentations, camp themed messages, announcement of camp, encourage youth to dress in camp attire, have camp band lead worship, the whole nine yards. Be sure to do this BEFORE it is too late to sign up. Also, have students share their experience through previous years.
Do major outreaches and community engagements to build your youth group several months before camp. It is a great way to build your youth group and provide an avenue for growth, community, and discipleship within close proximity of when they arrived.
You and your leadership team should be asking students if they are signed up, if they are going to camp, and working through the situations that hinder them from coming. This catches on and students start asking the same thing to each other and it can encourage them to invite their friends outside church.
It’s amazing how people get details and never use that information they are given. Call people who are in your database. Send out email updates to parents and students about camp and upcoming events. Parents want to know what is going on within the church for their kids.
To continue to grow you need to see where you are currently and challenge yourself to grow the following year. To help track how you are doing, log the number of sign ups for each week of the year to see if you are doing better to date compared to the previous year. This helps to see if the promotional initiatives are effective and if not, you can then adjust accordingly.
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It is my, Steven Records, desire to see the American Church be all that it can be... healthy, faithful, and growing. So this free resource is made available to help churches and ministry's grow through practical ideas and strategies. Please, watch this vision video to know what I am all about and how you can support the vision to create thriving churches and reach the lost.