Most class managers and camp directors have found the transition to virtual programming successful, discovering benefits like reducing costs and carbon footprints, and making attendance accessible to a wider audience. The key to getting a broader audience is to expose your program to more potential participants.
Let’s take a look at ways to market your programs so that you can inspire participants from other locations to sign up for your virtual programs.
Partner With a Non-Competing Brand
A non-competing brand can be within the same industry or completely outside your program. Collaborating with a non-competing brand is an excellent way of expanding your program to other markets and making your program known to a brand-new audience.
One example of partnering within the same industry will be if you’re managing a local YMCA. Not all YMCAs offer the same programs. Consider partnering with another YMCA from different regions of your state or YMCAs from out of state. Virtual programming means virtually anywhere. Have both of the YMCAs cross-promote the other’s programs.
Another way to partner with a non-competing brand is to move outside your program's industry. For example, if you offer a virtual program that centers on the arts, think about reaching out to a completely different program like the local Animal Humane Society. The local Animal Humane Society is an example of a non-competing brand. The point is to reach out to a brand that offers a program that is different from yours.
Within or outside your organization, some ways to cross-promote your program would be:
- Use social media outlets. Add comments to a program partner's Facebook page, or tweet about the program, offer a video snippet on Instagram or your YouTube channel.
- Send out a joint promotional postcard using your combined mailing lists. Share email lists and send out an email promoting your partnership.
Cross-Promote Event With Instructors and Counselors
Ask your instructors or camp counselors to share snippets of their day, a recent blog, an upcoming program or a discount or promotion on future programs. Consider offering your staff incentives for every new registrant that comes directly from their social media platform.
Leverage Social With Video
Create a video to generate excitement. Whether they’re sneak peeks, how-to videos, tutorials or snippets of classes, it is an easy way to spark interest and motivate potential registrants.
Don’t wait for the beginning of your event to create a video! Now, before your program begins, is the time to share valuable information. In the same way a movie trailer prompts people to see a motion picture, a short preview of your program will persuade people to register and get excited about what’s to come.
The key to original video content is to keep it short. Create a short video promoting your program, sharing it on social media and video platforms like YouTube and Instagram. Studies suggest that a video two minutes in length is the sweet spot for engagement, optimal for YouTube or Facebook. The Instagram video length limit is one minute in a regular post. (Videos posted in your Instagram Stories can only be 15 seconds in length). HubSpot found that user engagement was strongest on videos of about one minute long, maximizing user interest with brevity.
Utilize Sponsors' Channels
When your sponsors and partners showcase your virtual event, it promotes your program rapidly, benefitting all involved. Be direct and ask your sponsor to notify their contacts and followers about your virtual programs. Provide the program link and links to social media pages and any other content you publish. Share any pertinent information from graphics to announcements, to a social media hashtag.
Be a Guest Blogger for Another Program
When talking with the managers of another program, make sure you’re clear about what you want to get out of guest blogging. Having a conversation will help you find non-competing programs that you may be eager to blog for and also give you a feel for guest bloggers you like to invite to post on your blog. You’ll get a chance to expose your blog and your virtual program to a brand-new audience.