When it comes to marketing, the overarching objective is to get more of your clients in the water, and to bring in new clients who will appreciate the benefits of your aquatics facility.
Before you can create a brand identity that will resonate, you must develop a clear picture of your audience and establish a strong mission.
From there, programming will follow, along with strategies that will speak to the wants and needs of your audience and help define the image of your aquatics facility. Here are some suggestions:
Many facilities miss out by not reaching out to underserved groups. Teaching children is key, but there are other groups of people who also can benefit with the right approach to learning this life-long skill.
For example, a 1998 Gallup poll of Americans reported that 46 percent of adults are afraid in deep-water pools; 64 percent are afraid in deep, open water. Moreover, adults who have never learned to swim often pass that fear on to their children.
To reach them, consider positioning your facility as one that encourages all members of the family to learn this life skill. Develop and promote a family learn- to-swim program, and if you have instructors who specialize in teaching those who are afraid, make it a part of your strategic marketing message.
Minorities also are historically under-served. The drowning death rate is four times higher for African-American and Hispanic children ages 10 to 14, and two times higher for children ages 5 to 9.
Those statistics, reflective of population counts compared with whites, are shocking and disturbing because the tragedies are preventable through education. Your organization can develop a marketing strategy that speaks to this crisis, and create programming and partnerships to carry it out.
Come on, get healthy
Whether it’s a relaxing 20-minute soak in a warm-water spa, a lap swim workout, or vertical aquatic exercise, your facility can provide healthy solutions every day. Reach out to athletes, older adults, and special populations such as those suffering with diabetes, arthritis, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis and heart disease — and spread the word that aquatics are good for the body, and great for overall health.
One way to demonstrate why water is so good for health is by including the latest research and data in your messaging.
Today’s patrons are evermore conscious of water quality and lifeguarding professionalism. If your facility utilizes trained lifeguards and certified pool operators (and I hope you do!), develop a strategy to tell that story through your marketing. For example, if you have installed a swim monitor system or new piece of disinfection equipment, talk it up!
Be sure to also consider highlighting your special benefits. For example, you might promote your facility as having the perfect pool temperature and environment for target markets, such as those with arthritis and fibromyalgia, who like the water warmer, preferably around 88 degrees.
Depth also is important to different user groups. A marketing strategy that reaches out to these populations is another way to highlight the special benefits your facility offers.
Finally, energy efficiency can be part of an effective marketing strategy centered on operational excellence, too. Today’s consumers are watching how places they frequent manage energy usage. Have you recently installed VFD drives? Do you regularly conduct energy audits? Let your patrons know about the steps you’re taking to reduce your footprint.
Once you’ve defined your branding strategy, remember that it’s not set in stone. The message you use to define your image should continue to evolve and grow, along with your facility.