Introduction to Email Marketing for SCUBA


It came as a bit of a surprise to me, but the results of the recent survey had email marketing as the number one most requested topic by a decent margin. I was surprised not because I don’t think it’s insanely valuable (it wouldn’t have been on the list if I didn’t), but because most people I run into shy away from it because they don’t want to be considered spammers.

Online Marketing Motto

You’ll see me saying this on most of our topics:

Setup is a pain, but once it’s in place it’s easy

This definitely applies to email marketing as well.  Since it’s such a large topic, I’m going to break it down into easy to digest pieces.  First, an explanation of why everyone in the SCUBA industry should be using email marketing.

Email vs. Direct Mail

A few people responded asking about using direct mail. In my years of experience dealing with a direct mail happy industry, direct mail is used ONLY for marketing to a certain geographic area when you have no other options available.  The United States Postal Service has even begun discussions to deliver one less day a week because volume has decreased.  Direct mail is on the way out.  I will share some direct mail ideas, but I firmly believe email is far more effective.

Email & The Environment

Even if you don’t consider yourself a tree-hugger, the SCUBA industry is tied directly to the environment. If our reef’s die, our resorts go with it. If pollution hits our lakes and rivers, our SCUBA classes have to travel farther away. If air quality gets so bad, our dive shops have to increase filtration for tank filling.  You get the idea.

The Business of Email

According to a 2009 Epsilon Data Management Branding Survey, 57% of respondents view a company who markets to them via email more favorably and with greater loyalty.  For those of you who are just thinking “I already get too much spam, I couldn’t do that to my customers”, that same study shows that 84% of respondents said they like getting the emails even if they don’t read them.

According to a Direct Marketing Association in 2008, email marketing had a $45.06 return on investment (ROI) compared to only $19.94 for internet marketing and $15.55 for direct mail. So you get far more bang for your buck.

For those of you who are thinking of skipping email and going direct to text messaging, be careful. Not only do text messages cost your customers money, according to the ExactTarget 2008 Channel Preference Survey, only 9% of consumers prefer text over email for marketing.

Marketing Research

Now for those of you who like to simply throw your money out the window and just hope it makes its way back, I’ll be setting up a payment page soon…just kidding.  If you like to try to track your marketing dollars and fine tune your campaigns, email is one of the best tools.  I’ll be teaching you how to use an incredible tool that is very cost effective that will allow you to see who opened your email, how many times, what they clicked on and much more. Plus, list management is handled for you and your campaigns will help to build your brand.

Isn’t Email Free?

People always flinch when I say “cost effective” since they think email is free.  Two points on this one:

  1. Your email address is your brand.  If you send me  an email and your address is [email protected], it doesn’t convey a sense of professionalism like [email protected] or [email protected].  If Bank of America sent you an email where the address was [email protected], would you trust it? So I’ll teach you how to get a custom email address too.
  2. You can not use Hotmail, Yahoo, Gmail, Outlook or any other basic email tool to market successfully.  They can not keep your design consistent for your recipients which may destroy your branding.  They can not track the success of your campaigns. They can not manage subscribes and unsubscribes for you.  They can not automatically pull your articles of your new SCUBA blog and send them automatically to your list members, hitting both new search engine traffic and existing customers with one effort.

If you didn’t vote for email marketing before, hopefully I’ve sparked an interest since it can be one of your most powerful tools for customer retention.

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