Your Open Water Course Should Be Free

Let’s face reality, growth in the scuba diving industry is fairly stagnant. Luckily, with eLearning, you don’t have to work as hard for your open water courses.

Sure, you may have spent $2-3,000 on education and six months of your time to become an Open Water Scuba Instructor, but consider that an investment for when your Open Water student takes Advanced Open Water. Actually, give away Advanced Open Water too. And Rescue.

I mean really, your students can get through all of those courses in a week anyway, it’s not like it takes much of your time and you didn’t have to go through any special training beyond your IDC to be able to teach these courses.

Have I Lost It?

You’re probably thinking I’m absolutely insane and are figuring out how to either send me a nastygram or unsubscribe from this site. You’re in luck, I’m just trying to make a point.

What’s The Point?

Having attended yet another DEMA Show (I reported on it for Aquaviews), I sat in on a few courses about online marketing for dive shops. Since my career involves online marketing in the dive industry, it’s important for me to keep up with what “the industry” is telling everyone.

I repeatedly heard things like

“You can get a free site at…”

“You can design your own site at…”

“No need for a web developer, you can set up your own at…”

While these statements aren’t factually inaccurate, they are completely short sighted.

As I pointed out earlier, you can become an Open Water Scuba Instructor in 6 months for a few thousand dollars.

In terms of cost, you spent roughly the same as a decent web developer paid for one edition of Adobe Creative Suite.

Now I challenge you to go learn how to exhibit mastery with Photoshop, Fireworks, Dreamweaver, and Illustrator in the same six months it takes to become a scuba instructor. Oh yeah, you’ll need to learn some HTML, CSS, PHP, and Javascript too.

Déjà Vu All Over Again

When I worked in the real estate industry, I had realtors ask me about how to build a free web site. I asked them how to for sale by owner (FSBO) my house. They didn’t like that response.

But the reality is that 99% of you are not web developers.

Sure, you may be able to figure out how to install WordPress using whatever 1-click software your host provides. Or you may just go the limited route and use

You may be able to figure out how to upload images, change your header, and create some pages.

You may not even mind having to post in forums with the hopes that some other WordPress user will come along instead of having actual support people to contact with question.

I can also leave my wing at home and just take a garbage bag with me on my next dive to control buoyancy.

Sure, it’ll work, but is it the best idea for my livelihood?

Your Site Is Your Business

Based on what I kept hearing in DEMA seminars, we all want younger divers. It’s a relatively untapped market, they’re young so we get them for a lifetime, they’ll have kids so we’ll get their kids too, so it makes sense to desire them as customers.

They’re finding you online. I already talked about the importance of being found online (to the example tune of $6,000 per month).

Why is it that you were willing to invest in your credentials, in rental gear, in a retail space, in compressors, but organizations like DEMA and PADI are telling you it’s okay to not invest in marketing your business?

Both DEMA and PADI have programs to help you out with your marketing, so why do they then devalue your single most important marketing channel by telling you to go the free or cheap route with your website?

They claim it’s because you’re unwilling to invest in a web site. That may be true, but it doesn’t make it right.

You don’t have to be a GUE diver to do it right: unless you have web development experience, hire a professional to build your most important marketing asset.

I have recommended my friends at Pro Scuba Sites in the past and will continue to do so going forward. Realizing that my time is dedicated to my career, I’m working on some things behind the scenes to bring you access to even more scuba marketing wisdom and assistance. If you’d like to be kept up to date on what’s going on, be sure to subscribe to the newsletter in the box below the related articles just below this text.

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