15 minute marketing idea #5 – digital decor

15 Minute Marketing Idea #5
Digital DecorPimp Your iPhone
Bling your Blackberry
Trick Out Your Treo


Google G1 with scuba diving digital decorThe number of people using “smartphones” (cell phones which deliver email and the world wide web) is growing rapidly. According to ComScore*: Mobile Internet Usage Doubled in 2008 and one in five americans now own a smartphone (iPhone, Blackberry, G1, Treo, etc).

“Mobile Marketing” is the buzzword of 2009. Here’s an easy way to get your feet wet with mobile marketing:

During your next DSD or Open Water pool session, take photos of your students. Send the photos to your students by email or text and remind them that their under water mug shot makes a great facebook profile photo or mobile phone wallpaper.

Digital decor is especially useful for families. Suggest that Mom / Dad use their child’s underwater photo as their phone book entry. For the parent, it’s bragging rights: your kid is a yellow-belt in karate? Well, my kid can breathe underwater. Also, whenever Junior calls, the child’s smiling scuba face will provide a constant reminder of your business.

* Comscore monitors the popular websites and overall web usage. They’re kind of like the Neilsen TV ratings for the internet.

This is the fifth article in a series. Read more 15 minute marketing ideas.


15 marketing idea #4

15 Minute Marketing Idea #4
Ask Us About Fundraising Opportunities

Looking back, my sales career started early: as a Campfire girl. Springtime in Oregon meant going door to door in a yellow raincoat hocking almond roca from a plastic bag.

If I had my druthers, I would much rather have sold something cool – like a Discover Scuba experience.

Host a discover scuba diving event to benefit a local school, sports team or other community organization. For example, the local high school swim team:

Have students sell Discover Scuba coupons to friends and family. Include your logo and the team logo on the coupon along with the date and time of the event. The team keeps whatever proceeds are raised after you cover your expenses (pool rental, staff, etc).

IMPORTANT: the success of this program depends on the students’ ability to sell your discover scuba program. When possible, have the students go through a discover scuba before they go out and sell it.

Today, take fifteen minutes to create an “Ask About Fundraising Opportunities” flyer using our template.

This is the fourth article in a series. Read more 15 Minute Marketing Ideas.


15 minute marketing idea #3 – eLearning welcome email

15 Minute Marketing Idea #3
PADI eLearning welcome email

It’s common knowledge in the dive industry that word-of-mouth is our most powerful marketing tool. Start building a relationship with your eLearners from day one by drafting a welcome email.The next time you receive an email from webmaster@padi.com alerting you to a new eLearner, send your new customer a welcome email. Everyone appreciates a friendly greeting saying “thanks for doing business with us.”Here’s a sample PADI eLearning welcome email to get you started.

You could also create a “congratulations” email that will be automatically sent by our eLearning system. Some key points to mention:

  • Invite student to visit the store / we look forward to seeing you soon.
  • Request a testimonial for use on your website
  • Offer an incentive for the student to refer a friend to diving
  • Add a link or promotion for Advanced Open Water (now offered online).(right click and “save as” to grab these images)PADI Advanced Open Water online eLearning

    PADI Advanced Open Water online eLearning

Once you’ve composed your email, log on to elearning.padi.com

  • Click on: User maintenance
  • Click on: Student course completion email
  • Then choose which course (Open Water or AOW)

Your message will automatically be sent out whenever a student completes eLearning.

This is the third article in a series. Read more 15 Minute Marketing Ideas.

15 minute marketing Idea #2 – Interns

15 Minute Marketing Idea #2
Recruit A Summer Intern

Summer interns are great. They’ll get coffee, wash your car… okay, I’m kidding.Once upon a time I was an unpaid summer intern at 92.3 KGON (Portland’s Real Classic Rock). After graduation, I managed the intern program for our radio station group and every summer I hired 40+ interns.Interns are fun to have around and are well worth the time invested to recruit them. Moreover, interns would much rather work with for a dynamic small business (such as a dive shop) than while away their summer in the file room of a corporate office.

Right nowcollege students are starting to think about summer internships. Call or email your local college/university and find out:

  • Where to submit your summer internship offering
  • Is there a career fair or other opportunity to interact with the students?
  • Who is the main contact for the department of communications / business school?

I recommend communications and/or business majors. However, if you’re looking for a website re-vamp, consider a computer sciences or graphic design major.

It’s important to get contacts at both the career services office and in the communications / business department. Sometimes the career services people are better at sending candidates and sometimes the department heads are better – so be sure and talk to both. Also, try to find an opportunity to meet students in person. You’ll be able to collect contact info and promote your go pro program.

Collecting all this information from the school will likely take fifteen minutes. Of course, you still need to write-up what your internship entails. So here’s a sample internship posting. Fill in the blanks with your dive business information and you’re ready to go.


This is the second article in a series. Read more 15 minute marketing ideas.

15 minute marketing idea #1 – Phone Call Checklist

I work on this blog about one hour a week – not one consecutive hour, mind you – I work on it a few minutes here and there.

The phone rings, people come by my desk, my coffee cup gets empty, etc. I stop writing and get back to it later. Does this sound familiar?

With that in mind, I’ve decided to start a serious of articles called “15 Minute Marketing Ideas.” Here’s the first one: Phone Call Checklist.

15 Minute Marketing Idea #1
Phone Call Checklist

In the restaurant biz they call it a “rush.” There are no customers for half an hour and then BOOM there’s seven people in the store and the phone’s ringing off the hook.At times like that, it can be challenging to take a call from a non-diver with a lot of questions. Or perhaps you have a new employee who’s not well-versed in taking customer inquiries. Regardless, if the customer doesn’t get the answer they’re looking for, it’s a lost sale.

Take 15 minutes and jot down what staff should cover on every phone call. Post the list next to your phone for easy reference.

For example:

  • Ask, “how did you hear about us?”
  • Find out if the customer will be traveling
  • Do they need to get certified by a certain date?
  • Offer eLearning as well as your traditional classroom option
  • Invite the customer to visit the store and describe your amenities
  • Get contact information from the caller*

Asking for contact info is an often-overlooked but critical part of closing the sale. Collecting contact information allows you to provide follow up and track conversion. Otherwise, how will you know how many callers actually become customers?

Offer to email the customer more information about your classes or send a GO Dive DVD. If you’re not comfortable asking for contact information for these reasons, you can also ask “may I get your number in case we get disconnected?”

You can email an overview of PADI’s Open Water course directly from the webpage itself. Look for the “share it” icon. Click and then choose “email.”

click for larger image

graphic of how to use Share This on padi.com to send an email

Read more 15 minute marketing ideas

To Layaway or Not to Layaway?

Remember layaway? To me – the word evokes an avocado-colored washing machine and Mom telling me to “settle down or go wait in the car.”

In today’s economy, layaway is making a comeback! Let’s hope those avocado-colored appliances never do . . .

Aquatic Dreams, a PADI 5* IDC in Modesto, used layaway to successfully boost business during their winter sale. By promoting layaway in their sale flyers, the store estimates they brought in an additional $10,000 in revenue.

“Everyone who bought large packages mentioned that the only reason they purchased those items was because of the layaway program. One fourth of our sales were put on layaway and it is amazing how many people have come in and made deposits already. Now we have payments coming in small little chunks which is helping now that sales are light. “

Here are some basic steps to a layaway program:

  1. Decide what items will be eligible for layaway (anything over $250, for example)
  2. Next, create a purchase agreement so you and the customer know what’s expected.
  3. Write up the total price including tax.
  4. Calculate the downpayment – 25% down is typical
  5. Determine the financing period: 90 days, for example.
  6. Create a time frame for payments (once every two weeks). Be sure there’s an area on the form to log payments as they come in.
  7. Decide on the penalty for an unpaid balance after 90 days (12% interest, for example).

Have the customer sign the payment plan, photocopy the completed form and give the copy to your customer. Keep the original.

Something else to consider: allowing customers to “rent their own gear.” A portion of your rental fee (say 75% ) can count towards their layaway payment.

Who or What Got You Into Scuba Diving?

There are a variety of reasons people decide to try scuba diving. The results of our latest poll would suggest that TV Show Sea Hunt still has a strong pull. Here are the poll results:

Who or What Influenced You to Try Scuba Diving?46% TV Show
22% A Friend
17% Spouse
11% Was on Tropical Trip
4 % A Movie
2 % Advertisment

The influence of a friend or spouse combined is 39%. Proving that word-of-mouth is still a powerful influence in our industry.


Top 10 Activities Divers Enjoy

In a recent survey we listed 31 activities (everything from snorkeling to paintball) to find out which were the most popular with divers. The results may surprise you:

Top 10 Activities Divers Enjoy:

10. Pilates / Yoga / Stretching
9. Cycling (road biking)
8. Scuba diving
7. Computer / Video games
6. Photography
5. Weight training
4. Running or jogging
3. Swimming
2. Walking for exercise
1. Cardio training

Check out number seven. Who knew we had so many diver-gamers. I guess Nintendo knew something we didn’t. Rock n’ roll drumming wasn’t an option on the survey, but I’m lobbying for it to be added the next go ’round.

All joking aside, the above information is worth considering when planning your next marketing campaign. Posting a flyer at your local pool is a no-brainer, but what about reaching out to the local photo community?

Personal trainers at your local gym could be another valuable target-market. The survey results suggest active individuals are pre-disposed to enjoy diving; additionally, a trainer’s day-to-day work puts them in contact with lots of potential customers.

In case you’re curious, here are the bottom five activies:

31. Snowboarding
30. Horseback Riding
29. Surfing
28. Tennis
27. Water Skiing / Wakeboarding