07776 103 785 john@makesportfun.com

Mary Brown is the Head of Marketing at Aquaterra Leisure – they do some fantastic marketing work at Aquaterra and we’re lucky enough to have a case study from her of a project they ran which got 2000 new swimmers into swimming lessons.

What is a project/ class/ group Aquaterra has run which has been particularly effective at getting lots of people involved in activity at good Value for Money?
We did a project to get more adults to take up swimming lessons

What target audience were you focussed on?
People who could not swim, were nervous of swimming or who had not swum for a long time.

Why did you choose that audience?
Because when asked, people who do not currently take part in activity suggest that they would like to swim.

What were your objectives for the project?
We wanted to teach 400 adults how to swim in a period of time we would normally teach 120, so effectively increase demand by over 300%

What did you do to appeal to that audience? (e.g. product, price and processes)
Changed name of lessons from ‘non swimmer’ and ‘improver’ to ‘beginner’ and ‘refresher’ – introduced a 60+ only option

Introduced booking via email to swimming qualified staff (previously booking were via leisure centre reception)

Decreased lesson prices from £50 for 10 lessons to £10 for 10 lessons

Introduced lots of early morning lessons – from 7am

How did you know what would appeal to that audience?
Brain storming in the office – we were on a tight schedule!

How did you promote it?
Door dropped mini-magazine to residents. These had attractive photos, motivational messages, plus practical details like dates and times and centre details

What messages did you find worked?
Testimonials from adults who recently learnt to swim despite initial fear. Key drivers are wanting to take children or grandchildren swimming, being able to swim on holidays, accessing water sports

Did you achieve your objectives?
Yes, 700 signed up! Further research led us to a price point of £24 for 8 peak time lessons in groups of 8. Other times are £16 for 8 lessons. In first year we filled an average of 550 spaces per term across 4 pools. This has settled to around 500 per term. We view income on a long term model rather than a short term view.

What lessons did you learn from this?
People who are apprehensive of water want to learn to swim but they are not going to shell out large amounts of money for something they are scared of. Charge a reasonable price and they will give it a go.

People are prepared to turn up for a lesson before they go to work. There are teaching pools all round the country that lie empty between 7am – 9am.

People who cannot swim need a conversation or email exchange with someone who know what hey are talking about before they will commit. A busy reception is not the place to sell a swimming lesson.

Our surveys have shown that the most popular course length is 8 weeks and people prefer back-to-back terms rather than breaking for school holidays.

Get help with running some swimming marketing.