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    5 Low-Cost Digital Marketing Ideas for Summer Programs

    5 Low-Cost Digital Marketing Ideas for Summer Programs

    Posted by Marie Schwartz
    5 Low-Cost Digital Marketing Ideas for Summer Programs


    The events of the past year and half have had their impact on digital marketing. Marketers have now been pushed to do more with less. According to Gartner, marketing budgets have fallen to just 6.4% of the overall company revenue in 2021. However, leveraging digital marketing is crucial to gaining exposure and generating new leads. Especially for teen summer programs, it’s critical to reach your target audience where they are — social media, email, and Google search. 

    Luckily, there are low-cost digital marketing actions you can take that will still promote your summer program effectively. Continue reading to learn the 5 most effective low-cost digital marketing ideas for summer programs.

    1. Managing Online Reviews

    Whether positive or negative, collecting reviews from past summer program participants is crucial to digital marketing success. Believe it or not, 72% of prospects won’t take any action in regards to signing up or even making contact with an organization until they’ve read reviews. Many prospective customers are under the belief that organizations put their best foot forward in their marketing initiatives and don’t showcase the entire picture. Thus, more prospects utilize reviews to gain knowledge of the program through participants who have had first-hand experience with the program and the organization.

    So, don’t underestimate the power of a positive review. A positive opinion is one of the most trusted referral sources for consumers. So make sure to ask your happy campers to review your summer camp or summer program at the end of your season. It’ll help you find new prospects for your summer program next year. However, do not ignore negative reviews. Instead, respond to these types of reviews by offering an acknowledgement of their personal experience. Additionally, invite them to speak to a member of faculty directly to sort out any issue and gain feedback to make your program better for the next participant. By sharing this type of response, organizations show their appreciation and compassion for feedback and willingness to learn from it. 

    2. Online Directory Marketing

    Have you ever googled your camp or program? Go ahead. Chances are, you have a larger digital marketing presence than you think! There are many summer camp directories out there, including Yelp and TeenLife.com. These directories have pulled your camp’s information to provide a complete database for your users. Most of the time, it’s easy to claim your business by contacting the website support team. It's in your best interest to make sure these listings are accurate because they may come up higher in searches than content you control. 

    The best way to ensure that your online directory listing has accurate information is to regularly update your listing. Take for example, a TeenLife listing. On the right side of the listing, your program’s details are highlighted for website visitors to get a quick rundown of your program. Additionally, visitors can view your website, request more information about the program, or apply for the program — all directly through the listing. 

    The best way to ensure that your online directory listing has accurate information is to regularly update your listing.

    Keep in mind, the image above shows an upgraded listing. Featured, Premium Plus, and Premium Listings are upgraded listings that offer more visibility and functionality. To upgrade your listing, click here.

    3. Social Media Management

    We would be remiss if we didn’t place an emphasis on the importance of social media when it comes to digital marketing initiatives. Teens dominate social media with as much as 9 out of 10 teens being active on social media channels. Therefore, it’s important to have a social media presence on the channels that most teens are active on. According to RNL’s 2021 E-Expectations Trend Report, 70% of teens use Instagram, 62% use YouTube, 41% use TikTok,  35% use Facebook, and 27% use Twitter. 

    While teens may be most active on these social media sites, remember to also reach other target audiences you may have such as parents or educators. For example, odds are you’ll have a better chance reaching a school counselor on LinkedIn rather than on TikTok. Essentially, the best practice is to understand your audiences and where they like to receive their information. From here, you can focus your outreach efforts on your audience’s  top channels.

    4. Blogging for SEO

    A blog is an easy way to inform potential participants all about your summer programs. In addition, blogs help increase your online visibility in search engine results pages. 

    Best practices include:

    • Writing consistent, educational, and relevant content
    • Optimizing your content for SEO
    • Sharing your blogs on social media and via email marketing

    Consider this: SEO is one of the most effective digital marketing strategies, achieving 20 times more traffic opportunities than pay-per-click on both mobile and desktop devices. Focusing on blogging for SEO will increase your summer program’s organic traffic, brand awareness, and help you attract more leads.

    5. Email Marketing

    Email marketing is a great way to reach students and parents without spending a lot of money. In fact, the average ROI of email marketing is $42 for every $1 spent. With approximately 72% of consumers preferring email for marketing communication, email remains the most effective when used to nurture relationships with prospects.

    Most email marketing platforms will allow you to measure opens, clicks, unsubscribes, and bounces, so you can see the efficacy of your marketing. By consistently monitoring these metrics, you can see what’s working and what’s not. Then, you can make any necessary adjustments to their email marketing campaigns to generate more positive results.

    Final Thoughts

    Marketing a summer program is not that simple and we understand the challenges summer program marketers face. That’s why, TeenLife has created an online directory that is sure to get your program directly in the hands of your best-fit leads. All you have to do is contact us to start boosting your program’s online visibility and receiving highly qualified leads.

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    Marie Schwartz

    Marie Schwartz

    Marie Schwartz is the CEO and Founder of TeenLife Media. Marie launched TeenLife in 2007 after moving to Boston with her husband and two middle school sons and discovering that there were no information resources for families with older children. Today, TeenLife's award-winning website lists thousands of summer and gap year programs, schools, college admission resources and volunteer opportunities for teens around the world.