4 Main Takeaways from The SPARC Effect: The Magic Behind Marketing Auxiliary Programs

Posted By: Amy Grier SPARC News,

With the mantra "marketing never stops," Aubrey Bursch, Founder and CEO of Easy School Marketing,  joined Travis Walker on The SPARC Effect podcast to talk all things marketing for auxiliary programs. From targeted emails to social media platforms to referral programs and discounts, Aubrey stressed the importance of brand, tone, knowing your audience, and having fun.

Here are the 4 main takeaways from Aubrey and Travis' in-depth conversation on auxiliary program marketing.

1. Make Data-Driven Decisions

Keep track of what strategies are generating the most inquiries and enrollments. When planning your marketing for your summer or auxiliary program, use data collected from previous years to determine what strategies are likely to have the most impact. What are the conversion rates on your e-mail campaigns? How many new participants came through a referral program? Do your social media posts generate inquiries? Do current participants take advantage of early enrollment or discounts? Conduct surveys and facilitate focus groups to get feedback and to find out what participants need and want in auxiliary programs.

"Lean into what works," Aubrey says. She also advises having contingency/backup plans if you don't see the enrollment numbers you want. For example, if one popular class fills up, but another is struggling with enrollment, you may want to send targeted emails to those who are waitlisted for the popular class telling them about the great alternative class they may not have considered.

2. Know Where Your Audience Is 

If you're wondering which social media platform would have the most impact for your program, find out where your audience is. "That's where you lean your energy and time," Aubrey states. Whether they hang out on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or another platform, focus your social media marketing efforts there. 

Surveys and focus groups are helpful here, too. Ask which platforms they use, how they find out about and research auxiliary programs and summer camps, and what information would be most helpful for them to see on social media. 

Aubrey also suggests that a postcard campaign might work well depending on your community. Because postal mail is not frequently used, postcards can stand out and have more impact in a world of digital marketing.

3. Pay Attention to Tone

"Make marketing fun!" Aubrey says. "There's a lot you can do with your tone of voice in emails." The tone you use should match your program's brand, which may be different from your school's. For example, if your summer camp experience is fun, positive, and energized, use that tone in your emails, social media, and across all your marketing efforts. To make potential participants excited about your program, communicate that excitement in your marketing.

4. Optimize What You Already Have Before Expanding Your Marketing Efforts

Before spending more time, money, and energy on expanding your marketing outreach, ensure that what you're currently using is fully optimized. Aubrey suggests asking yourself a few key questions: "Do you have a really clear idea on who you are and who you serve? Do you have an effective website with testimonials? Have you optimized everything you already have?" If so, then it might be effective to increase outreach through ads.

You can also focus on marketing efforts that are free: gaining a better understanding of your audience through surveys, asking for reviews on review sites, and gathering recent testimonials. Other free strategies Aubrey recommends are a strong LinkedIn profile with regular updates and a completed Google Business profile, which helps people find and read about your program in Google searches.

Interested in learning more about marketing and all thing auxiliary and summer? SPARC offers professional development, tools, survey reports, a host of resources, and a community of supportive auxiliary professionals. Join today to take advantage of all this and more!