For those of you who missed it, to enter this last contest, you had to share your online marketing experiences for your SCUBA business. David has a great experience, check it out (emphasis and links mine):
I have had a web site since day one, actually it was ready to publish before I even became an instructor. I have tried the telephone books, newspaper and the local want ads publications for advertising. I hand business cards to everyone I meet. I ask everyone that calls how they found out about me, whether they sign up for a class or not. 96% say “your web site” or “on the internet”. The other 4% are word of mouth referrals from former students or acquaintances. I have never had anyone tell me that they found me through the telephone book or newspaper ads.
With the above in mind, I spend my time advancing and maintaining my placement in the search engines and getting reciprocal links from other scuba resources or free advertising resources such as Yelp. This is a part time venture for me so I don’t really have an advertising budget. Using Google analytics, studying my web statistics and refining my keywords is free and has been time well spent. I no longer advertise in the phone books (other than the free one line ad) or newspapers and my business has continued to grow.
I have an unlinked blog set up but I really don’t know what to blog about. There is not enough scuba “action” in West Texas to keep a blog fresh. I am still thinking and working on getting that going. I just have to decide on a continuous source of content to keep it fresh. Will a blog get me any more clients? Who knows, but it doesn’t cost me anything to try. Same with a newsletter. Deciding what to write about each month is the issue.
David is an Independent SCUBA Instructor in West Texas, but by looking at his web presence, he handily beats many SCUBA shops I’ve seen. He has a brand. He has a web site. He’s on Facebook. He’s on Twitter. He has a staff. A great FAQ. He promotes classes and travel. Compared to my local market, he is by no means a discount SCUBA instructor.
96% of his students find him online, all done without an advertising budget!
As for generating content, one of the biggest lessons I’ve (re)learned over my years of blogging (elsewhere before this, since this site has been around less than a year) is Keep It Simple. The must mundane thing to you could be huge for your potential customer. One idea would be to grab a Flip camera and their inexpensive housing and film your classes. Chop the video up into bite-sized morsels and show off what YOUR class is actually like on your blog. That’s a lot of content right there. Once you get going with it, finding content becomes easy, time is the problem 🙂
Congrats on winning the contest and for doing such a great job with your SCUBA marketing!
Photo via Darrren Hester