Marketing Your Advanced Adventure Programs for maximum effect


Continuing Ed is just Customer Loyalty in another guise

We don’t need an MBA to understand that customer retention goes a long way to making any business a successful business, and this is especially true in the retail dive business.

The stats for the whole retail sector of our economy back this up. According to figures published by a leading business consultancy, acquiring new customers can take from five to eight times more money and effort than retaining current customers. A two percent increase in customer retention has the same effect on profits as cutting costs by 10 percent. Loyal customers are 15 times more likely to spend money in a store they have shopped in before rather than a new one. In the direct retail business, loyal customers spend an average of three times more, and sometimes 10 to 20 times more, than a customer who’s not a regular.

As if this wasn’t troubling enough, the recognized challenge for retailers is tracking repeat customers in order to gauge how well retention strategies are working.

In dive retailing (specifically in selling diver education) we have a prime indicator telling us how well we are doing retaining our latest crop of new customers: Newly Minted Open Water Divers. And this is a simple breakdown of the percentage who return to take their next course with us.

Typically, these courses include specialties like Nitrox and Deep, Wreck or Night. And a major task for the dive store is making the course appealing to new divers. We thought we’d help our members this month in two ways. Here are some tips on making SDI’s Advanced Adventure a stronger seller in your market.

Last month, Scuba Diving International launched its newly written, full-color Advanced Adventure Student Manual, and that in itself will help to sell course. The manual has great pick-up-ability and is written in a simple straightforward way that makes reading the material enjoyable for students. In a couple of weeks, SDI will start a direct to diver campaign to push this new manual and the course associated with it and you should prepare to take advantage of this promotion. Order your SDI Advanced Adventure Student Kits now!

Advanced Adventure, of course, is the perfect next step for a new diver. The course involves five dives, minimal classroom work and can be easily completed in a weekend.

Advanced Adventure graduates must do one deep dive and one navigation dive. These core specialties must be covered but the three remaining introductory dives are what can make the specialty a winner for your shop.

These three dives are drawn from a menu of SDI specialties. The new student manual has chapters on the two core programs (deep and navigation) and nine others including: Advanced Buoyancy, Boat Diving, Computer Diving, Drift Diving, Dry Suit Diving, Marine Ecosystem Awareness, Night Diving, Underwater Photography, Shore and Beach Diving, and Wreck Diving. Using these as the basis for putting together a unique course you can offer something perfectly suited to highlight the strengths of your teaching staff and the diving available in your area.

For example, combine wreck, drift and boat for a wreck diver package. Photography, marine ecosystem awareness and night, makes an awesome underwater imaging deal. Dry suit, drift with boat could be a terrific river diver combo.

Use your imagination to mold an Advanced Adventure program to suit your local conditions and diving opportunities, and you will have built a specialty package unique to your operation and imminently salable to your open water graduates.

There are really no huge secrets to customer retention. Listen to your customer’s needs. Innovate and be creative in how you offer your services and products. Satisfy them with superior value. Stay connected with them after each sale.

You can meet all four of these guidelines with a simple plan to follow-up graduation from their SDI Open Water Diver program with an invitation to continue their diving education with an Advanced Adventure course…

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