Mandatory online tools for your SCUBA business

This is an article as part of our DEMA Expo 2009 round-up.

The good news is, most of the online tools you will need for marketing your SCUBA business online are free and easy to use. The bad news is you have to set them all up. Surprisingly, most of the people I spoke to after several of the online marketing seminars at DEMA had either never heard of or never looked at these tools.

This is a list of which tools you need and why (per my comment to @DesParoz below, definitely not in this order):

  1. A professional web site. Unless your previous job was as a web designer, you should probably just pay someone to develop your SCUBA web site. You don’t need to have the most amazing web site in the world, but one that is search engine optimized for your local market is critical. I will take this one step further and suggest including a blog – they are incredible for search engine optimization.
  2. A Facebook Business Page. Not a personal Profile pretending to be a business, since that violates Facebook’s terms and conditions anyway. A real (also free) Business page for your SCUBA business. My addition that was missed in most of the seminars is that you must be ACTIVE with your community.
  3. A Twitter Account. Even if your town isn’t the most prolific Twitter city around, you never know when you might have someone travelling to your neck of the woods who is searching for a SCUBA instructor or SCUBA store via Twitter. Twitter is also a great way to learn about ocean-related activities and new SCUBA gear.
  4. An email newsletter. A SCUBA email newsletter is a great way to keep your customers coming back to your SCUBA web site, diving classes and SCUBA store. I recommend MailChimp because they are easy to use, offer a wide variety of features and you can start using them completely free.
  5. Analytics. I’m a statistics junkie, but your online SCUBA marketing should have some metrics to track success. One of the most widely used is Google Analytics since it’s free. I will share a great WordPress plugin that will correlate your Google Analytics with your blog posts AND your MailChimp email newsletters to really track your progress easily.

I’ll dive into each of these more thoroughly as I progress through my brain dump from DEMA.

What do you use?

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