Professional Level eNewsletter


See What’s New with SDI/TDI/ERDI

Back by popular demand are the International Training Quarterly Members Update Webinars. These webinars will include updates from the HQ staff on the new products and services, special announcements, and are a valuable session for EVERY SDI/TDI/ERDI Member to attend.


Become an SDI/TDI/ERDI Instructor Trainer!

ITW in Israel


International Training recently completed an Instructor Trainer Workshop (ITW) in Israel and it was a huge SUCCESS! The first U.S. based ITW of the year is quickly approaching (April 12 – 19, 2015), and space is limited. If you are an SDI, TDI, or ERDI Instructor who meets the prerequisites, and you are interested in taking your career to the next level, then you need to drop what you are doing and start the ITW application process today.

The course will take place over an intense eight days at SDI/TDI/ERDI World Headquarters in Jensen Beach, Florida. You will be working directly with headquarters staff and an appointed Instructor Trainer Evaluator presenting and evaluating various subjects such as: methods of instruction, dive leader risk management, the business of scuba diving, as well as teaching SDI, TDI, and ERDI instructor level courses. You will also present and evaluate in-water presentations and skills, participate in class discussions, take the ITW final written exam, and more!

After completing this distinguished Instructor Trainer Workshop, you will be able to train instructors, assist/staff Instructor Trainer Workshops, and conduct Crossover Programs for diving professionals. You may also qualify as an Instructor Trainer for TDI and ERDI courses as you build experience teaching at those levels, without needing to attend another ITW. As an Instructor Trainer, you become more valuable to your facility as well, since you will be able expand your dive center’s instructor base, thus increasing revenue opportunities.

If you are interested in applying for one of the next ITW’s, please click here to verify that you meet the prerequisites (call or email the Training Department if you have any questions or concerns), and download the ITW Application. Please submit the ITW application package in full, with all of the required documentation listed on page 2, plus a $500.00 deposit to reserve your spot.


Beginner’s Guide to Google Analytics – Part 2

by James Councill:
GA screen 1In Part 1 of the Beginners Guide to Google Analytics (GA), we reviewed what GA is and some very basic terminology and metrics you should review on a regular basis to evaluate your website’s (or app’s) performance. In Part 2, we are going to look deeper into the Audience and Acquisition sections of GA to find out more about your website’s users, as well as how they are navigating to your website.

We started in the Audience Tab, looking at how many sessions your website has during a given time period.

Tracking this consistently every month will help you evaluate your marketing success or lack thereof. However, there are some subsections of the Audience Tab that can provide you with some invaluable information to help you understand your audience, who/where they are, and how to best reach them. Without detailing every subset, let’s look at some of the most used and valuable information that can be deduced from these reports.

  • Demographics – What age and gender are the users who are visiting your website?
  • Interests – What are users interested in, and what affinity categories and market segments do they fall into?
  • Geo – Where are users geographically located and what language do they speak?
  • Behavior – New (first-time) users versus returning users, how are they engaging your website?
  • Technology – what browsers and networks?
  • Mobile – what devices are being used to access your website?
  • Benchmarking – how your sites statistics compare to other aggregated industry data?

How is all of this information useful? Well, knowing your customer is key to your marketing strategy. The market segmentation statistics provide you with user profile(s). Knowing where your customers are, what language they speak, the technology they use, their demographic and affinity profiles also allow you to put together targeted ads. For example, if you want to run some ads for your website, you may want to target those ads based on the information provided above, or you may realize that you need to target your ads elsewhere to break into a new market segment. Either way, this information provided by GA about your audience gives you the knowledge to make these well-informed decisions.

GA screen 1The Audience Tab gives detailed insights into your website audience, but you also need to know where these users are coming from and how they are reaching your website? In Part 1 of this article, we overviewed the Acquisition Tab, its terminology and how it provides you with this information through defined presets of channels, sources, and mediums. Like the Audience Tab, there is the Overview report, and a few subsections that breakdown your website’s user acquisition into more detailed reports. There are however, certain sections that do not apply to everyone. Adwords only applies if you are running paid ads through Google Adwords, and if you have both of these apps connected (highly recommended by the way). Most other subsections apply to all websites, with the exception of Paid Keywords and Cost Analysis, which are again reserved for paid advertising. Let’s take a look at the most commonly used subsections:

  • All Traffic – All Traffic tells you how someone discovered your site. It includes everything – from someone typing your URL into their browser, as well as search engine result pages (SERPs), email, social networks, or referrals from other websites.
  • Search Engine Optimization – what queries and keywords are being searched to find your website, landing pages, and a geographical summary related to those queries as well.

The SEO reports provides the search queries and keywords that have resulted in a URL from your website showing up in a user’s search engine results, along with the impressions and clicks for that query. This provides you with valuable keyword research data that can be very useful for paid search campaigns and content optimization.

  • Social – provides social analytics.

On the surface, this subsection can tell you which social networks are providing you with the most website traffic. This alone is valuable, but it also “provides you with the tools to measure the impact of social. You can identify high value networks and content, track on-site and off-site user interaction with your content, and tie it all back to your bottom line revenue through goals and conversions.” – Google Anlaytics Help Forum. Goals and conversion go beyond the scope of this article, but as you become more proficient with GA , I encourage you to start looking into these concepts.

  • Campaigns – Campaign tracking is mainly for tracking paid advertising, but is also very practical for tracking un-paid or custom campaigns, such as email marketing or paid campaigns that are not Google Adwords. Through the process of URL tagging, you can designate certain parameters to URLs for the purpose of tracking that URL and the traffic it is responsible for.

For example, let’s say you want to run a banner ad on the local weather station’s website for your Open Water Scuba Diving Class. Earlier, we learned that you can look at your website’s traffic referrals to see how much traffic is coming from the local weather station’s website, but that doesn’t really tell you how your ad is performing – does it? By designating the URL for that ad with a campaign tag, you can find out exactly how many sessions or users came from that ad. Once we setup conversion tracking, we will then be able to tell if the money you are spending on the ad is generating enough revenue to cover the ad spend or ROI? This, again is getting into concepts that are beyond the scope of this article, but just something for you to be thinking of in advance. Stay tuned for more…

Are there other GA concepts that you would like help understanding? Are there questions about the concepts addressed or not addressed in this article? Please leave your comments below, and we will do our best to answer them.


Technology Update: New Reporting Functionality for Facility Admins

We have long offered the ability to generate a report that includes student names, emails, and certifications. However we’ve recently made this functionality more robust by including a start and end date for the report being requested, thus enabling you to control the data being generated and having more accurate results than ever before.
Want to check out this new feature? Follow the steps below!

  1. As a Facility Administrator, log in and select Tools.
  2. The default page should be reports, if not select reports.
  3. After choosing the facility you wish to run the reports for – you may now select either a Start Date, End Date, or both (optional).
  4. Continue to run the report as you normally would, by selecting the drop down titled “Course Specific Facility Contact List,” to generate a report within the specific time frame.

We hope that you have found this new feature useful. If you have any suggestions that could help you through our website, we would love to know. Please send us a note on our contact page.



Beginner’s Guide to Google Analytics – Part 1

by James Councill:
What is Google Analytics?
Google Analytics (GA) is a free resource that every dive shop website (or app) should be using. It not only tracks how many people visit your website, but it can track so much more than you probably ever want to know. GA can tell you where your traffic is coming from, what actions users are taking on your website, high and low traffic pages. It can also tell you immense amounts of information about the users coming to your website, for example: geographic location, age, gender, language, as well as what device and browser they are using.

Getting Started with Google Analytics
For the purposes of this article we are going to assume that you have access to a GA account that is tracking your website’s statistics correctly, but if you do not have GA installed on your website, you can ask your webmaster to install or you can follow this step by step guide provided by the Google Analytics Help Center.

time dropdownWhen you first access your GA account, you will be directed to a reporting dashboard with some general metrics for a given time period. This time period is generally set to the previous month, but can be changed to any time period you wish via the dropdown menu, located on the top right of the dashboard. Let’s review some of these key metrics that you should be monitoring from this dashboard.

Basic Metrics
Sessions are a key metric because they measure when someone visits your website. GA defines a session as a group of interactions that take place on your website within a given time frame. For example a single session can contain multiple screen or page views, events, social interactions, and ecommerce transactions. A Session is not to be confused with a hit. A hit is the most granular piece of data in analytics. Hits are triggered by page views, clicks, and just about any activity a user can do on your website or app. Now to complicate things further, let’s introduce the term user. A user is GA’s account of a person that visits your website or app. When someone comes to your site, GA gives them a unique identifier, and tracks them as they navigate throughout your site. This illustration demonstrates the hierarchy of the terms discussed. Tracking sessions is most common, but whatever you decide to track, just do it consistently.
users sessions hits

Your dashboard will also show you other helpful metrics such as, pageviews, bounce rate, new vs. returning visitors, along with some other demographic information. You can find more detailed information under the Audience tab, but let’s stick to the basics for now.

Now that you are tracking visitors to your website, it is key to understand where this traffic is coming from. For this, let’s move to the Acquisitions Overview tab. Here we can see the top channels that all your sessions are arriving through, and what percentage of all sessions come from each channel. Google has defined a preset system of channels to group your website’s traffic into. These channels are: direct, organic search, referral, email, paid search, other advertising, social, and display. Most of these channels are self-explanatory, however, you can find definitions for each here.


This information can be very useful, but with just a few extra clicks, you can drill down this information to get even more details. To do this, you want to change your primary dimension to Top Sources/Mediums, using the dropdown menu on the top left of your screen. See below.

sources mediums

This will then break down these channels into more specific traffic sources and mediums. For example, it will break down your social channel into specific social networks. There are ways to break down this information even further, as well as add secondary dimensions, but as stated earlier, we are just reviewing some of the basics for now.

Once you are familiar with the above metrics, and navigating through them in GA, that is when you can start studying the behavior of your website visitors. What pages are they entering and leaving your website through? Which pages are performing well? How long users are staying? What links, ads, or images are being clicked on? We will also need a basic understanding of engagement, affinity categories, and market segmentation. We will dive into some these concepts in the next article of this series.

Are there other GA concepts that you would like help understanding? Are there questions about the concepts addressed or not addressed in this article? Please leave your comments below, and we will do our best to answer them.


Huge Webinar Turnout Sets the Tone for VIP

International Training has completely reworked and updated its cylinder Visual Inspection Program (VIP). Because of this major update, many issues have developed, and questions are being asked. Questions like:

  • What are the changes in the new program?
  • I’m currently a SDI/TDI VIP Instructor. Am I eligible to continue teaching or do I need to take the new instructor course?
  • Is the program fully compliant with CGA, NFPA, OSHA and HSE?
  • Is there an eLearning version?
  • What about insurance?
  • What are the Diver and Instructor prerequisites?

Last week, International Training sponsored a webinar to update facilities, inspectors, instructors, and instructor trainers on this new program, it’s implementation, and to answer any questions. The turnout was HUGE. A total of 120 attendees were present for the 40 minute presentation, followed by a very engaging 30 minute Q&A session. The webinar was hosted by Senior Vice President Sean Harrison and the program developer, Don Kinney. If you were unable to attend this highly anticipated webinar, you can see the recorded version here.

If you are you interested in taking the VIP Course, check out our upcoming dates and times to get updated or certified:


2015 Updates You Need to Know

2015 Standards and Procedures are posted live on the website!

As New Year begins, we would like to notify members and facilities the most up-to-date 2015 Standards and Procedures for SDI, TDI, and ERDI are now posted live on the website for review. In addition, all of the training updates from 2014 are posted in an easy to access location in your dive leader or facility administrator profile.

To access the 2015 Standards and Procedures after you have logged into the website at, select either your dive leader or facility administrator login level, and go through the following steps:

STEP 1: Select the “tools” tab…

step 1

Step 2: Select “Standards and Procedures” under the Members Tools list to access the live Standards and Procedures.

step 2

You can also select “Click here for training updates” to review over the standards changes implemented throughout 2014.

Not sure if you’re using the most up to date standards? – Take a look at the top right hand section of the page on any SDI, TDI, or ERDI standards listed. It should look like this…

version 15

See the red circled section; 15.0 notes the standards you are viewing were posted in 2015, during the first quarter. If the Standards and Procedures you are currently using list a number other than 15 – please update your teaching materials. They are available to you – for free – online!

The Standards and Procedures are also posted on our recently updated course description pages as well. For more information on how to access these new course pages – please click here.

Using the members section online – There are so many tools available to you – for free – in the Member’s Section of the site. We understand times are changing, and technology seems to quickly speed ahead, without giving us a chance to catch up…

If you ever feel this way or if you are unsure as to what tools are available on the website such as: diver registrations, accessing the live Standards and Procedures, where to find necessary forms to teach, how to utilize eLearning and more – LET US KNOW!

The Training Department actively conducts GoToMeeting or Skype sessions to demonstrate, in real time, how to use the website. You will have the ability to see our screen live as we navigate through the site. If you are interested in this, please send an e-mail to noting you would like to participate in a “web-tour.”

Thank you, and as always, please let us know if there is anything we can do to assist you.

Safe Diving,
SDI, TDI, ERDI Training and Membership Services

5 Tips From 5 Dive Shop Owners About Customer Experience

##We asked five SDI-TDI dive centers what they did that made a difference in keeping up with their customers’ needs and expectations. Reading through them all, the answer was pretty easy – it is about keeping the customer satisfied, happy and involved. Long term business isn’t just about the sale, but about the relationships.

We feel the same way.

“Sense of community”
Dive Addicts has tried to increase a “sense of community” through club meetings, socials, dive-a-longs, photo contests, free seminars, and lots of trips. We strive to make diving a lifestyle decision and not just a “once a year on vacation” type of activity. In this day and age of on-line super stores grabbing a substantial amount of equipment sales, we feel it is important for the local dive retailer to establish this personal connection with the local diver in order to survive what will surely become an increasingly more difficult market. When divers feel a connection through personal relationships with their LDS (local dive shop), pricing becomes less and less of an issue and it becomes more and more about where the customer feels comfortable, and how he or she wants to spend their time.

At the end of the day, it’s not about money. It’s about how people spend their time!

-Randy Thornton. Dive Addicts, Utah USA

“Customer loyalty – gaining it and maintaining it”##
Success in business is not just about the sales and profit gains. One of the most important gains of good business is gaining your customers loyalty. A loyal customer goes out and sells you and the center and will generate more customers for you. Reef Shepherd’s principle objective has always been to win over the customer first through excellent customer service which has allowed us to continue successfully competing in the market for the last 10 years.

-Santiago Estrada. Reef Shepherd, Colombia


“Empower our customers”##
We make the customer feel like part of the Water Quest Family. In the store we have a hang out area with couches. Many of our regulars come in daily and hang out. In this area most of our dive trips are born, not only by us, but by the customers themselves. Recently, we planned a trip to Utila in just 10 minutes notice for one of my favorite groups. We made reservations and off we will go next week to Utila. You might say it is crazy to cater to customers on a whim, but it is easier to sell a trip that has passion behind it than one that is planned for months ahead.

-Bill Schoeningh. Waterquest, Guatemala


“Be friendly and smile”##
If you really want to build loyal customers then you have to be friendly. Step one in being friendly is to start with a smile. This goes for when the customer enters the shop upon greeting, as well as when you answer the phone. If you smile while talking on the phone then it will come across in your attitude and will be perceived on the other side as “these people are nice and I want to give them my business.”

-Greg Kobrin. New England Dive Center, Connecticut USA


“Get noticed and keep it fun”##
Change the look of things, try walking into the centre and look at it from a customer’s perspective. Make it fun. Keep your centre pumping, have lots of things going on. Customers’ perception is one key to success! While doing this, make sure your staff and yourself are happy, if your customer thinks it is a chore then they will go somewhere else.

-Kel Bradley. St George Underwater, Australia