The MUST HAVEs section are things that MUST BE DONE to drive registration. These are practices that we have done for 20+ years and we know they work. If you set up a program and do not do the MUST HAVEs, you have wasted your time setting up the program.
The MUST HAVES
but not limited to.....
Enrichment Program Marketing
✅ Gift Certificates to Schools
✅ Surrounding Schools Fundraiser
Distributing flyers to students of a school you are providing after school programs to is a very common and standard practice for advertising your offering to families. Flyers should be:
✅ Professionally printed
✅ Accurately provide the program details (description, logistics, and cost) Understand that ASP Flyers
✅ Often need to be approved (and may have rules about what is on them)
✅ Require planning with regards to the time it takes to submit for approval, get printed, organize for distribution, deliver to schools
ASP FLYERS WILL HELP WITH ENROLLMENT
✅ It’s frustrating when a school won’t let you send flyers home because ‘Flyers are King’; and when flyers go home, most of the time you will see a jump in enrollment.... BUT, if a PTA/Principal says no to flyers going home in backpacks or folders, here are some other ideas:
✅ Email the PE Teachers in the building and ask if they would help hand out flyers:
“Hi Mike – My name is Chris Whelan and I’m running an after school sports class at Forestville Elementary this fall – We are all about promoting Health & Wellness and I was hoping if I dropped off 100 flyers, you could pass them out in your class?
✅ Email the Principal and ask if it is ok if you make groups of flyers and you give them to each Bus Driver (along with a $5 Starbucks card)
“Hi Principal Lowry – I hope you are well. As I’m sure you are aware, we are running some after school programs @ your school and I was wondering if I made a couple flyers and gave them to the Bus Drivers (along with a $5 Starbucks card) and asked them to h and them out. We are all about Health and Wellness and would love to get the kids @ Forestville active 😊."
He the Principal doesn’t respond, call and ask the secretary.
✅ Call the Secretary at the school and ask if you can hand out flyers at the end of the school day
before kids get on the bus
Phone call would go like this: ‘Hi there, how are you? I am working with your PTA or Administration running some after school enrichment programs and I was wondering if it would be okay if I came by one day after school (of course I would check-in with the office) and handed out flyers before kids got on the bus or were picked up?"
✅ Put flyers on the community table at the school.
Camp Flyers are a very versatile method of advertising and marketing camps. They should be designed to be used and distributed to a much broader audience than flyers for afterschool programs. SummerCamp flyers can be:
✅ Handed out by instructors at after school programs
✅ Taken to special events around the community
✅ Posted in area “hot spots”
✅ Left at lobby desks, front desks, information desks
✅ Emailed as attachments to interested customers
✅ Posted online
Gift Certificates and Friend2Friend Deals
Camp scholarships: Email every school principal and offer 1 scholarship to a family in need.
Many schools have silent auctions and it’s always a good idea to reach out to partner and non-partner schools to offer up a camp gift certificate. It’s great awareness and also a strong move for the community.
Teacher Discounts – I think it’s really positive to offer teachers a good discount for their families.
No matter if I’m sending the gift certificate to the school for a silent auction or the principal to help a family in need, I like include 5 Friend2Friend Discounts. This way the winner of the Free Week will help promote/advertise to their friends.
Marketing isn't just about promotion - it's about patience.
Friend2Friend marketing is one of the best ways to grow your programs.
OTA Yard Signs
Taking advantage of “high traffic” areas is an important factor to consider in marketing. Yard Signs can achieve this goal with both foot traffic and vehicle traffic. They are a common and effective tool to get your service, program, and organization noticed. Print/Font size is crucial in the effectiveness of yardsigns. Understanding, that depending on the location (school grounds vs public streets and roads vs private property), rules, regulations, and maybe even laws apply to the practice of setting up yard signs for advertising purposes. When placing signs, consider:
✅ Angle of Message
Large banners promoting programs are effective, but also more expensive than other types of advertising due to the cost of having them made. The other factor to consider is whether the banner can be re-used. How specific the details are of the banner, is the factor for whether or not the banner can be used at a later date or a different location. When positioning banners, consider:
✅ Inside or Outside depending on locations proximity to street traffic (or highway traffic)
✅ Making sure they are properly hung up or staked to withstand weather like wind (hanging a banner that no one can read is useless)
The online social media and social networking service has become an integralpieceofsocialinteractionintodaysworld. Bothutilizedfor business and personal use, Facebook’s power to reach customers is undeniable. Parents have made Facebook a centerpiece of:
✅ Investigations for selecting youth programs and businesses
✅ Customer Service Requests/Feedback
The priority regarding OTA Facebook and other Facebook marketing options is to be relentless with content and swift with responses.
Instagram is a mobile photo-sharing application and service that allows users to share pictures and videos either publicly or privately on the service, as well as through a variety of other social networking platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and TickTok. Using Instagram is an excellent way of:
✅ Updating families on program activities (existing customers)
✅ Providing visuals of what participants and their parents can expect being
enrolled in one of OTA’s programs (potential customers)
Being sensitive to a families concerns regarding photos of their children online is something to be aware of when utilizing this platform.
Enrichment Blast Communication
An “email blast” is a low cost, highly effective way to advertise programming. The location and type of program are factors in who receives the mass email and whether a specific portion of your database is targeted or the entire database receives the notice. Utilizing the “email blast” tactic requires:
✅ Email collection from program participants to build internal database
✅ Partnering organizations allowing OTA’s access to their database
Promoting and utilizing OTA’s online registration platform with After School Partners is so important to build databases in order to effectively use this marketing tactic.
Camp Blast Communication
Most camp offerings will be open to a much larger customer base than an after school program (ASP participants must come from that partnering school, while summer camp participants usually can come from any part of the school district). Having a healthy database in order to access as many families in a district with a camp site is essential so that “camp email blasts” can cover as much of the population as possible. Camp email blasts should:
✅ Visually change with each email blast
✅ Announce any promotions / deals
✅ Feature camp highlights or special activities
Tap a Friend!!!
Subject: Overtime Athletics - Spread the word
Hi Families - Thanks so much for registering your child in our After School Program at Franklin Sherman Elementary. We are looking forward to kicking the program off on March 5th. Our programs are great but are even more great with FRIENDS! Please help us spread the word and 'Tap a Friend'
Please share our website and we will see you soon: www.otathletics.com/omaha
Thanks so much,
Overtime Athletics Omaha
✅ TAP A FRIEND Campaign is sending an email to the already registered families asking them for their help in spreading the word about our programs. This can be done with After School Programs, Camps, Clinics, ETC.
✅ Another low cost, highly effective way to advertise programming.
Surrounding Schools Fundraisers
At the surrounding schools - speak to their Principal or PTA and offer the following:
✅ Discounts to their students
✅ $5 -$10 back to their school per child that registers
In return, we can have our flyers distributed for all the kids to take home in backpacks.
Ask for School Support - Where and How can we advertise?
✅ Email Newsletter
✅ Social Media Posts
✅ Back to School Night
✅ School Fair
✅ Lunch and Recess Demonstration ➢ Open House
✅ PTA/PTO Meeting
✅ School Student Assembly
EVERYONE likes a deal. There are a variety of promotions that can be implemented for after school programs, camps, and clinics:
✅ Steal Deal
✅ Early Bird
✅ Multiple Weeks
✅ Sibling Discount
✅ Sign up for X amount of weeks, get 1 Free
✅ Area Business Employee Discount
✅ Teacher Discount
✅ PTA Member Discount
✅ Fire/Police Discount
✅ Youth Contest
✅ School Raffle Opportunity
✅ Specific Elementary School Discounts
✅ Sign Up, Get an OTA Gift
✅ Refer a Friend / Bring a Friend
✅ First Time Price
✅ First 10 to sign up deal
✅ Enrollment Competition
✅ End of the Year Play Day (free for past participants)
✅ Free week for PTA Coordinators
The customer (and parent) of today is a demanding one. Organizations that can adapt to this new level of expectations will be the ones that grow and thrive. Competitors will be compared to the level of service that others are providing and not making customer communication efforts will be noticed. Some forms of this type of communication include:
✅ “ Welcome Emails” for ASP and Camps containing program announcements prior to the first day
✅ “Update Emails” for families informing parents of the status and highlights of the class, program, or camp
✅ “Thank You Emails” for families at the conclusion of a program demonstrating gratitude for having attended and an invitation to see them in the future
'THANK YOU' Marketing
“Please”and“ThankYou’s”can go along way. Thanking Principals, PTA’s, Parks and Rec Directors, Owners of Partnering Facilities, and Parents are all part of OTA’s best practices. All methods of communication should be considered for “ Thank You” marketing, but the handwritten note is still the undisputed king for demonstrating a personal touch and conveying a real sense of partnership. “Thank You’s” build relationships and loyalty amongst partners and customers. Any “Thank You” Marketing should:
✅ Be carefully written and reviewed for errors and accuracy
✅ Be properly addressed
✅ Personal (where applicable)