Alternative Ideas To Advertise Your Dive Shop
Advertising and marketing your dive shop doesn’t have to take place on billboards, newspaper ads, tv commercials, or even through SEO campaigns (however, for my sake I hope you don’t abandon these). There are all kinds of things you can do that will bring some attention to your business in ways that are more subtle but still have the desired impact of getting your name into the publics eye in a positive way. The great thing about some of these is that you can gain some links from around the web if a local newspaper or blog or anything decides to write about them. This gives some SEO value to non-SEO style advertising. Win win.
Leverage your community
You don’t have to think big when it comes to your marketing efforts. Think locally. What’s going on in your community? Sponsor a Little League team or a 5k charity walk/run. Give away bookmarks with your logo on them to local schools or programs. The great thing about this type of idea is that it not only gets your business in front of a whole range of potential clients, but it also puts yourself and your business in very good light as someone who is charitable to the local community. Local people are much more likely to support someone who supports them and their children than someone who doesn’t.
Collaborate with other businesses
Put your shoes on and go and meet with other businesses in the area. Print off some promotional material and hand it out. Take each of these businesses material and display it at your shop as well. Cross promotion is a great way to gain customers. If you live in a holiday type town this is great. If you can put pamphlets or flyers in local hotels, restaurants, bars, or other tour operators this gets you in front of the right crowd for basically only the price of the printed materials. Meeting the business owners puts a face to the business name and gives you a better chance of them referring customers to you when customers are seeking a scuba operator.
You never know the benefits of networking until you do it. It is something that certainly doesn’t necessarily provide instant results, but you never know when you are going to stumble upon a gold mine. Getting out and about in your area, meeting new people, and letting them know what you and your dive shop are up to is fantastic. You never know who has always wanted to go diving but has been putting it off and needs only a little extra boost. You never know who knows a major travel agent who is looking for a scuba operator in your town. Many of the best business contacts come from what people often refer to as “dumb luck”. Chances are that these episodes of “dumb luck” occurred when dive shop owners were putting themselves out there and being social in their community.
Give a speech
Speak about diving or conservation at a local group, school, or university. People are always looking for guest presenters to come in and make a school day less boring or to talk with a group. Not only do you get to your message across and advertise your dive shop, you get the chance to be thanked on a website or blog where you most likely may never have had a chance to be seen or have a link.
Organize a beach clean up
Another example of subtle advertising that has many benefits. If you can make it big enough that local media take note, all the better. You look great to the community, you get a chance for a news story in a local paper (and link), and you get to clean your local beach so that you and others can enjoy it more. For bonus points you could always give away some tshirts to participants. If you’ve got a nice tshirt that people will continue to wear, this will create advertising for years to come.
Ask for ratings and referrals
Don’t be shy. When you are done diving for the day, remind customers that if they enjoyed their trip and their service that you would appreciate if they could rate your shop on tripadvisor, google+, facebook or whatever. Do it in a tasteful, personable, and non-pushy way. Let divers know that their support goes a long way in letting you continue running a business and doing the job you love. Make it easy for them to do so on your website.
Keep a customer database
It is easier to keep a customer than to find a new one. With email programs now it isn’t overly hard to send out newsletter campaigns to large groups of people at one time. Keep old customers engaged and coming back and your business will always be growing.
This is certainly only a partial list of potential ways to market your dive shop relatively cheaply. If you have got some other ideas or examples of ways you have done it in the past, please leave a comment below letting us know what you did and how it helped!