Are Paid Scuba Diving Directories Worth It?
The internet is full of diving sites and directories and places wanting your advertising dollars. It would be impossible to do ad campaigns at every one of them. I will walk you through the process of how I advise my clients as to whether they should be advertising on specific directories or not.
The first thing you have to do is figure out how much each diver is worth to you as a dive shop. If you charge $250 for a day of diving and have dive boats going out each and every day anyways, it is worth almost that entire amount of that $150 to bring that one extra customer on board. If you are getting only $40 and would be sending out the boat for a single diver you have to figure in the time of your captain, your gas, your divemaster, your time etc. In this case, it is worth far less to you to bring in that diver. Heck it may even cost you money to make the trip. These are two extreme examples but it is something you have to figure out before you start dishing out all of your advertising budget.
The next thing you need to know is what type of traffic it is. If it is traffic for people reading general scuba diving information, browsing a dive forum, or reading about equipment, you aren’t really looking at an extremely high conversion rate. You may get some people who are curious and click the ad, but chances are there are a lot of things that have to happen before that person books a trip to where you are located. If you are in an area specific dive directory such as the PADI directory or on sites such as Scubadviser or Divereport you are looking at people who are exploring the different options for diving in an area. These people likely have or will soon be booking a flight and a hotel room to your area. They are trying to decide which dive shop they want to use when they get there. This is where you want to stand out from the crowd and is generally better spent ad dollars.
The next thing you have to look at is the cost and how long of a contract you are locked in for. If it is month to month it is no big deal to try it out and see how it works. If you are looking at a yearly commitment you may be wise to research a little more. When looking at the money that it costs per month to list here this is when you have to go back to how much each diver is worth. If it costs $40 per month and your profit from each diver is $80, you have to get a diver every second month. Everything else on top of that is gravy. Anything less than that and you are wasting your money.
After you make your decision to list on a directory it is important to track its usefulness. If you aren’t using some sort of web analytics program you need to be. These programs allow you to look at the source of the traffic to your website and analyze the behaviour or where people visit after they come to your site. So if you look at your analytics after a few months and realize that only 2 people have visited your site from where ever you placed your ad and both were on the page for 20 seconds and then bounced (didn’t go any deeper into your site or make a reservation), well then it is likely time to cut ties. On the other hand, if you have gotten 50 clicks from the ad to you page and 20 have gone on to make a reservation, chances are you want to keep that one up and going.
So at the end of the day there is no right answer that fits to all about spending your ad dollars. I think it is a great idea to try new things in terms of advertising, I just would highly recommend monitoring and tracking their success so that you are not continuously dumping money into campaigns that are losing you and your dive shop money.