As far as the big box retailers are concerned, the holidays are just around the corner. But there’s a method to their madness…
Every October, a friend of mine dresses up her family in red and green fuzzy sweaters and has a photographer take their photo. I know it sounds like a scary Halloween costume (those are different sweaters), but the photo shoot is actually for her Christmas card. Two months later I receive a festive card with my friend, her husband and the wiener dogs next to the shining tree.
These increasingly-popular photo cards are a great opportunity for word-of-mouth advertising. By staging an underwater holiday scene, your customers can share their enthusiasm for diving while spreading the word about scuba!
Even though the holidays are several weeks away, it’s important to get started now.
Step One – Collect props: Round up a Santa costume, fake Christmas tree, etc
Step Two – Plan your dive: what will you charge for the “sitting fee”? Will you provide prints or just a CD of digital images? Who will be Santa? If possible, do a practice run and use the photos in your marketing material. It’s also a good idea to charge a non-refundable reservation fee ($20 or so) good towards the final cost.
Step Three – Get the word out: promote the event in your newsletter, post the information on the homepage of your website, and send out a short press release to local media.
Step Four – Bulk up: Start eating! Santa needs to have that “bowl-full of jelly”! Just kidding. But you may want to “bulk up” on some Discover Scuba Diving forms (70254).
Step Five – The big day: You’ll need two teams to ensure things run smoothly: one team topside to handle the DSD orientation, paperwork, and gearing up the family. A second team (underwater) stages the photo. Allow 30-40 minutes per family and coordinate the activity so while one family is underwater, another can be topside getting ready.
Step Six – Bring ’em back for more: Before each group leaves, send them off with a packet of information including: a schedule of your upcoming classes and trips, brochures on kids’ activities such as Bubblemaker parties and Seal Team, and info on how to give the gift of scuba during the holidays.