Sometimes you choose a hobby, sometimes a passion chooses you. And that’s exactly what happened when Peter Letts discovered scuba diving.
He first dipped his toes as a diver in 1992, but soon took to the deep end and became addicted to the sport. Almost 10 years later, he left a successful corporate career to turn his passion for the oceans into a business. “I had a midlife crisis, chucked the corporate world aside, and decided to open up a dive shop,” he explains.
Peter is now retired. His daughter, Rachael, has taken over the reins at Abyss Scuba Diving. He’s still involved in the business—in charge of their marketing efforts—and they’re doing way more than just staying afloat.
In fact, Peter is churning out PPC (pay-per-click) campaigns and landing pages that see an average conversion rate of 35%.
And he doesn’t even break a sweat doing it. Why? Because he’s found a smarter way to build landing pages to turn traffic into conversions. Way more conversions.
Inspiring marketing results AND a happy retirement? Easy.
Abyss Scuba Diving, By the Numbers
Myself, my daughter, and the first person I’d ever taught to dive—the three of us opened up Abyss Scuba, and we’ve grown it over the last 20 years to be the second-biggest dive shop in Australia. Today we do a whole range of things. We teach people how to dive, we take them out every weekend, and we organize trips up Pakistan Mobile Number the coast every few weeks. — Peter Letts, founder, Abyss Scuba Diving (now retired)
From Chemist, to Founder, to Marketing Trailblazer
Throughout his career in the corporate world as a food chemist, Peter Letts always thought he knew how to do the marketing side better than the pros. Shortly before he opened his own business, it was time to find out if he was correct.
As a hobby, Peter set up the website for a local dive shop. In those days, Google hadn’t come alive yet, and AltaVista was the main search engine. “If you searched for anything in Sydney, you only found this shop, which tripled their business in six months. I thought I could do the same thing when I opened up my own business. And that was how I ended up running our marketing.”
Keeping the Business Afloat After Challenging Times
Abyss’s digital marketing efforts evolved alongside the web. By 2020, the business was the second-largest dive shop in Australia. Customers that started visiting the company 20 years ago flew into Australia and other exotic locations every year to dive with the Abyss crew, and fresh faces from all over the world regularly joined them on new adventures.
As 2020 kicked off, the team prepped for another bumper season. But they had no idea of the difficulties the next couple of years would have in store.
It’s an understatement to say that the pandemic years have been challenging. People, economies, and businesses have suffered all over the world. Small businesses have been hit particularly hard, especially in the travel and tourism sector.
Australia’s borders were closed for the better part of 2020 and 2021. With Abyss Scuba relying predominantly on international visitors, it’s been tough. The team also felt the impact from environmental disasters in Australia.
Sydney has been belted by a series of problems. Three or four months before COVID, we had bushfires around the area, which blackened the water, which meant no dives. Then we had multiple lockdowns, shrinking our customer base to only our council area. Now we’ve just had floods, which have blackened the water again. It’s been two and a half years of struggling, and we’re still in that struggle stage. We’re finally about to come out of the dirty water, and then we’re heading into winter, which naturally reduces the number of people.
Abyss Scuba’s unique business model predominantly relies on returning customers rather than looking for a steady stream of new ones. “Ideally, we’re looking for six to 12 new customers a month,” Peter explains. Because most of their returning customers come from abroad, and local restrictions severely closed their pool of domestic prospects, they’ve been operating at about 40% capacity for the last two years.