When I worked in a pool store, I was considered “The Golden Child.” I was a know-it-all, and everyone came to me with their pool questions: “How much shock do I need to add?” “Why does my pool look like a black lagoon?” “How do you keep these darn ducks out?” They all came to me.
Why? Because knowledge is power! I knew how to solve all their pool problems.
In some cases, I was able to convey this knowledge to my customers. This worked so well some no longer needed to speak to me. They just came into the store, I tested their water, they read their own results, and bought the things they needed.
As a marketing director, I know that one of the biggest keys to a successful marketing campaign is knowledge. If I can teach my customers the correct way to take care of their pools, then I will start to build an army of loyal customers. That’s because I’m providing them with more than just some chemicals and equipment, I’m providing them with something of real value — knowledge.
I want you to really look at your retail stores and ask yourself, “Am I teaching my customers anything?” If you’re not, you need to start. If you are, you need to capitalize on it. Here are a few suggestions I have for educating your pool customers.
1. Hold a pool school event.
We use to hold just one pool school event each year. Our chemical supplier, BioGuard, gave us the materials we needed. When we put the word out, we got over 50 people to attend at each store each year. Then after the two-hour school, they were invited to take advantage of discounted pool supplies. So they gained knowledge, and we increased customer loyalty and made some sales. Everybody won.
You don’t really need BioGuard’s help to do this. I’m sure you have a few knowledgeable people and enough store space to organize a good pool school. Just make sure you reward your attendees for coming out, either with coupons or after-pool-school discounts.
Pool schools are something I recommend doing at least once every month. Your customers will appreciate your trying to educate them, and I guarantee they will tell their pool-owning friends about it.
2. Make education signs for your store.
If you don’t know how to make an attractive sign yourself, and you don’t have anyone on staff that can do it, don’t worry. You can find someone to design a simple sign easily enough (craigslist is a good place to start). What’s really important is to create signage that teaches. It could be as simple as illustrating what a pH scale looks like and why it should be in the proper range, or how add calcium hardness to pool water. Maybe you could make a sign illustrating the energy savings associated with an automatic pool cover. The possibilities are endless.
If you can create fun and engaging posters, then you have reached a higher level of customer service and satisfaction by taking some of the fear and mystery out of pool and spa care.
3. Start a blog.
This is one of the easiest and cheapest things you can do. You already have a website, so just install blogging software such as Wordpress on your server or hosting account. You can have a blog set up in less than an hour.
Once you get off the ground, start spreading the word about your blog to your customers. Let them know that you’ll be blogging about pool care, and they will check it out. Wantto make sure of it? Offer discounts for subscribing to your blog.
Each blog post can turn into a sales pitch, but you shouldn’t be too obvious about it. For example, you could write a blog post about shocking your swimming pool and promote the shock you sell in your store simultaneously. Rather than being a straight sales pitch, however, make sure you’re spreading some useful knowledge. Another idea would be to write about an under-utilized specialty chemical you offer. After all, if your customers have no idea what a chemical is designed to do, why would they buy it?
Also, you could use your blog to inform your customers about upcoming events and sales or new products that you’ve introduced to your lineup.
I would love to hear some of your ideas for educating your customers or about the benefits that you’ve experienced by doing so. Just write it in the comments section below.
Matt Giovanisci is the creator of Swim University (www.swimuniversity.com) and has over 15 years of experience in the swimming pool and hot tub industry. He is also an award winning web designer and has been featured on Martha Stewart Radio as a pool & spa care expert.
Matt Giovanisci is the creator of
Swim University and has more than 15 years of experience in the swimming pool and hot tub industry. He is also an award-winning web designer and has been featured on Martha Stewart Radio as a pool and spa care expert.