Market your SCUBA classes like an iPhone 4

On June 7, 2010 Steve Jobs announced the iPhone 4, the next iteration of the popular iPhone mobile device. On the 15th, pre-orders started in the US. Despite some issues, the initial batch online and at both Apple and AT&T stores sold out on the first day to the tune of over 600,000 devices. In less than one day.

Here are some ways we can be (almost) as successful as Apple in marketing our SCUBA products and classes.

Be proud of your product

If you haven’t seen one of Steve Jobs keynotes, you are missing out. He is an incredible presenter and you can see that he is proud of the products he is presenting. Jobs uses words like “magical”, “amazing” and “revolutionary” to describe his products.

Even if your underwater basket weaving distinctive specialty isn’t magical or revolutionary, be proud of your classes. Every class you teach and product you sell is at least “great”, but I’m sure you can come up with more adjectives.

While you should be proud of your current class, be even more excited for the next one. Jobs frequently uses a “one more thing” technique to keep building the excitement. Open Water SCUBA is awesome because it gets people certified to dive, but have you heard about my Advanced Open Water SCUBA class? It’s incredible! Far less class time, more fun dives building on existing skills and far more fun! Enjoying Advanced Open Water SCUBA? You’re going to love my Rescue Diver course! You get the idea.

If you aren’t proud of your classes, stop teaching because you’re doing us all a disservice. If you aren’t proud of the products you sell, why are you selling them?

Roll with the punches

During his keynote announcing the iPhone 4, Jobs was unable to get online for a live demo at one point due to the number of people on the wifi network. Instead of freaking out or stuttering and stammering, he made a joke about it and moved on.

A customer wants a Mares regulator and you only carry Aqualung? No worries! Know the competing product and be able to sell the benefits of what you carry over the competition. A student in your class starts asking too many questions (I typically don’t think there are too many, but we’ve all had THAT student) or is falling behind in the pool? Don’t waste the time of your other students who might get frustrated, but work with the “trouble” student outside of normal class time so everyone is happy.

Allowing yourself to lose your focus can make you come across as uncomfortable or unprofessional. Stick to your game while still taking care of your students and customers.

Scarcity is your friend

Oh this regulator? Super popular, this is our last one. Our upcoming Palau trip? Sold out the first day, but I’ve requested some extra spots, should I put you down if I’m able to get any more? Next weeks Instructor Development Course? I’m not sure we can get your course materials in time, but I’ll try.

Apple and AT&T sold out of over 600,000 iPhone 4 pre orders in less than 24 hours. The AT&T servers weren’t working well and a lot of people were angry. Do you think they stopped trying to get a new iPhone though? Not likely.

As scammy as it may feel, scarcity is an incredibly powerful marketing tool. That’s why stores have one day sales and any infomercial has an “if you order now” statement. Don’t be afraid to use it.

Despite the obvious differences in businesses, it is valuable to look at leaders from other industries to gain some additional marketing insights. Apple is one of many companies that has built an almost fanatical customer base that your SCUBA business should be more than happy to emulate. What marketing ideas have you borrowed from industries outside of SCUBA?

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