From The Helm:
DISCOVER SAILING CONTINUES TO ATTRACT THOUSANDS OF NEW PEOPLE TO SAILING
By Jonathan Banks
With companies throughout the sailing industry facing declining sales, tighter marketing budgets and limited resources, Sail America members need look no further than the successful Discover Sailing program to access thousands of sailing prospects. And, what’s more – it’s free!
Discover Sailing is Sail America’s national outreach program that introduces new people to sailing. The Discover Sailing program features an informative website (www.discoversailing.com), an award-winning DVD (Discover Sailing: The Ultimate Adventure), free introductory sailboat rides, PSA ads, brochures, and an extensive database of sailing prospects.
Since the Discover Sailing program started in 2000, over 50,000 people have registered online, by phone, or at a Discover Sailing event to receive the Discover Sailing DVD: The Ultimate Adventure, while more than 30,000 people have opted to receive e-mail messages from Sail America members. Over the past 18 months, there have been more than 800,000 visits to the Sail America and Discover Sailing websites, plus more than 12,000 requests for the Discover Sailing DVD. Each year, the Discover Sailing campaign generates, on average, over 10,000 qualified sailing prospects, while the Discover Sailing Tour introduces over 1000 new people to sailing.
One of the major Sail America membership benefits is the free use of the Discover Sailing prospect list. Sail America members can access tens of thousands of highly-qualified Discover Sailing leads via e-mail or snail mail. If you are looking to target sailing prospects who are interested in learning more about sailing, please send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve the list.
The Discover Sailing Tour is an integral part of the Discover Sailing program and is held at several events around the country each year. Discover Sailing gets new people out on the water to discover the joys of sailing. Participants sign up for a free 45-minute introductory sail with a qualified captain to experience firsthand the wonderful sailing lifestyle. In 2009/2010 we will be running Discover Sailing events at the Newport International Boat Show, the St. Petersburg Power & Sailboat Show, Strictly Sail Miami and Strictly Sail Pacific. In addition, we are partnering with other boat show producers to offer free Discover Sailing rides.
New for 2009, we have developed a program that allows local event organizers to host their own Discover Sailing program. Sail America will provide, free of charge, banners, brochures, DVDs, waiver forms and boarding passes. This is a simple turnkey program that will help introduce many new people to sailing. To learn how to put on your own Discover Sailing program, please e-mail me at email@example.com
Many members are already taking advantage of the Discover Sailing program.
In July 2009, the Sailing Channel Theater sent an e-mail to the Discover Sailing list and saw a major spike in website traffic and video plays the day the e-mail hit. The blast had an open rate of over 4000 and a click-through rate of 34%.
When Hake Yachts used the Discover Sailing list in June 2009, they reported several good leads as a direct result of the e-mail.
Savannah Hess of Great Lakes Scuttlebutt magazine also tapped the Discover Sailing e-list.
“The day that the e-mail went out, we saw a 700% increase in traffic to our online magazine and approximately two times the traffic on our website versus normal visitation traffic levels,” she said. “We saw a small boost to our online subscriber numbers as well and it seems that inquiries into placing classified ads in our publication have coincidentally recently jumped. All in all, it created a lot of interest in our publication and hopefully many of the visitors will return!”
Looking forward, Sail America will continue to support the Discover Sailing program. We are, however, looking for a sponsor to help fund and expand the program. As a sponsor, your company will receive unique exposure to highly-qualified sailing prospects and will be supporting an important industry initiative. If you are interested in learning more about this sponsorship opportunity, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (401) 841-0900.
Executive Director, Sail America