Five Resources to Protect Your Dive Business in the Face of COVID-19
Tuesday, March 17, 2020
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With the uncertainty surrounding the spread of COVID-19 and the latest information that the effects of this National Emergency could continue into the summer, it is critical for dive retailers and all small dive businesses to stay in front of their customers and to utilize all the resources available to them.
DEMA suggests several resources that have been made available from the federal government and DEMA to consider using during this crisis.
Most important is the need for all to remain safe and follow the guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). These guidelines can be found on DEMA’s COVID-19 update page.
The President has ordered that low-interest loans be made available to small businesses effective immediately from the Small Business Administration (SBA) in states affected by COVID-19. Congress has increased funding levels for these SBA Disaster Loans to $50 billion.
Dive businesses in most states and US territories are now eligible for these SBA Disaster Loans. You can apply for an SBA disaster loan by calling the SBA at 1-800-659-2955 or start the application process online. To find access to your local SBA resources, click here. Don’t wait – these resources are finite and may take time to process.
The federal government is currently recommending that people limit gathering as much as possible, but you can still bring people together for education using online instructional resources. You can also host online events to bring your diving customers together and involved with your business diving community.
Diving is a healthy outdoor exercise, and when your customers are still diving locally, you can give them good ideas for participating using proper social distancing and following appropriate safety guidelines.
Help your customers keep their dive equipment clean. Divers Alert Network has issued guidelines for sanitizing dive equipment.
Reach out to other dive retailers for more ideas. You can find contact information for other nearby retail dive stores at GoDiveNow.com or by using DEMA’s Member Directory. Now is a good time for all of us to work together.
During this time, it is imperative that your business remains visible to your customers. Make sure you are continuously communicating about your operation, talking about diving, and generally keeping customers and local divers engaged. Time after time, businesses that keep promoting their operations and services come out better and faster following a crisis when they have continued marketing.
DEMA Member businesses can keep up their continuous marketing efforts and their cost down by utilizing the FREE professionally designed marketing materials from the Go Dive Now Member Toolkit.
Other ideas to keep your customers and local dive community engaged with your business include:
- Access sharable COVID-19 specific social media and marketing images designed by DEMA and Go Dive Now to help you keep your clientele and community engaged with your business and the industry.
- Host a Facebook LIVE viewing party. This can be a fun and interactive way to demonstrate how to clean your own equipment, show new products, talk about your service/classes/trips, etc., host a fun diving themed “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) online session, etc.
- Get creative with alternate shopping options. Offer a way for customers to purchase online, by phone, or with curbside pickup. Offering private shopping appointments is another option that provides you with a unique opportunity to deliver EXCELLENT one-on-one customer service and develop a personal connection with your clientele.
- Encourage the sale of gift certificates. Consider incentive offers like, “Receive $10 store credit for every $50 gift card purchased.”
- Subscribe to DEMA’s Go Dive Now Marketing Digest. This email subscription goes out twice a month with marketing ideas as well as suggestions for social media and promotional content, using materials from the Go Dive Now Member Toolkit. The content offered in the Go Dive Now Marketing Digest can help you spend less time worrying about creating content and more time focusing on your customers and business.
- Customize and promote your store with your FREE Go Dive Now videos available in the Go Dive Now Member Toolkit.
DEMA Member Retail Stores can stay in front of potential customers by receiving a FREE chart of local zip codes which contain the greatest number of target households with the highest per capita income who are good candidates for interest in learning or continuing to dive. These zip codes are ideal for targeting on social media, using Go Dive Now materials, which are free to DEMA Members.
DEMA will continue to provide access to guidance as more resources become available. If you have questions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.