Where do you get your diving customers from?

If you have already completed the 'define your customers' worksheet, and the 'define your services' worksheet, then the next step in producing your marketing plan is to formally define where you get your business from, and to quantify this. This can often be easy if on your registration forms you include a box to tick which asks 'how did you hear about us'

The aim of this excercise is to help you plan where you want to spend your marketing budget, and how to monitor if that spend is giving you the right returns. So it is best to define areas with identifyable costs - for example web developments, advertising, referral. If you simply define by means of contact (eg phone, e-mail, face to face)

Our Hint: Start by being honest and splitting up what you make today - if you can, put some rough percentages alongside each source (eg 30% advertising, 20% repeat buisiness). Then in the final column decide what you want in the future. All you need to do then is work out plans to specifically target those groups.

Service Examples My Profile Today Target Future Profile
Repeat Business Customers who come back and buy from you again, you may want to include referrals in this category or list it as a seperate category.    
Advertising - Specialist Journals Adverts you place in specialist diving or local magazines    
Walk-in/Drive-in Customers who see your centre and make a direct approach by driving in or walking in.    
Website Divers who contact you after seeing your website    
Web catalogs and Directories Referals and questions from websites not directly under your control    
Partners, Booking Agencies, Travel Agents Formal arrangements with third parties who sell on your behalf, usually for a commision    
Direct Sales Team Your own team of    
Minor Sources (or "Other") If you are only making small amounts on some categories then they are not a focus, so group them as "other"    

Put the words together and you should be able to come up with a definition of your sources something like this :

  • Example 1 - A dive centre near Scapa Flow or Truk Lagoon "20% of the business comes from returning customers, often with new members in the group, 30% comes from our web pages, 30% from Advertising, 10% comes from afiliates, partners, and 10% other."
  • Example 2 - A beach-front dive centre in a popular tourist destination (not renown for the quality of diving). "40% of our business will come from Partners in resort including two tour operators; 30% from walk-in(tourists) and 10% from walk-in (local residents); 10% from web bookings and the remaining 10% from Other including repeat"

Tips on using your Source of Business profile

For every part of the statement you have put together above, you now have empowered yourself - you can make important decisions about what you are going to offer and how.

Here are some Marketing Hints to help you use the results.

  • The first and most important rule is "you cannot be sucessful in every channel". Now is the time to focus on what is sucessful!
  • If you can grow your repeat business then that is one of the most sucessful and cost effective strategies. To find out about building repeat business look at our pages about customer service
  • Focus on the three most important channels, and put your effort and marketing expenditure into these channels.
  • Make sure that your most profitable channel is your biggest channel, if not aim to grow it so it becomes the biggest.
  • There is no 'ideal mix'. It is up to you and depends on the costs of marketing to each channel. Two dive centres side by side may have focus on where they get their business from, or different facilities and both still be sucessful.
  • In your future profile, try not to be "me too" and just copy some competitor .. look for the gaps, what are they not offering ?
  • Be realistic in how much you can change.
  • Check what you have actually spent in each channel for advertising, web developments etc... are they giving you the returns you want?

What is the next step in Building your Marketing Plan

If you have now completed the customer profile worksheet and the service profile worksheet you have probably already got some ideas about where you could grow your business.

The final step is to complete the business strategy worksheet and come up with a set of statements that define what you are. When you have all four worksheets completed it is time to work out your plans to achieve the growth or change in focus that you want.