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Improving your club's shop window 

Open day It is vital that your club is in a position to make the most of increased demand this summer.

With 2016 shaping up to be a fantastic year for sailing, with the return of the Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series, as well as the Olympics and Paralympics, it is vital that your club is in a position to make the most of increased demand.

The first place to start is assessing your club's shop window. This is the public-facing aspect of your club, including the website and all social media channels, and the state of this will help inform visitors initial impressions.

 Research shows that people lose interest if they can’t find the information they want after six seconds. With so much competition for people’s attention and leisure time, you need to make sure your online presence is as sharp as possible to grab attention.

Here are six simple website tips to get people to Push the Boat Out with you.

Keep it simple

Keep your homepage clear, well laid out and easy on the eye. Using loud, brash colours and loads of animation can distract the user, and all you’ll achieve is giving them a headache! Choose a strong and consistent theme and use a couple of good quality images that make your club look welcoming and friendly.

Avoid the cardinal sins 

Location, directions including a postcode and a contact email address are THE most important pieces of information that should be easily accessible. on your website. Use clear titles for each and think about embedding a Google map of your location and including images of the club so people can spot it.

No news is bad news 

Maintaining a website can take up a lot of time and effort. If you haven’t got a willing volunteer to keep it updated regularly, this can make it look like you have nothing going on, an instant turn-off for website visitors. News pages are the worst way to make a website look out of date. Some clubs now use Facebook more as their ‘news’ page as it’s much easier to update.

Use the PTBO resources 

As an official Push The Boat Out club/centre you have exclusive access to a range of resources to support your PTBO marketing, including logos and web banners. Put one in a prominent position on your homepage – complete with the date of your event - and link it through to a further information page, again making that page clear as to what you’re doing, when you’re doing it and time(s), any cost, who can come, what’s on offer etc. 

RYA Start Boating

The RYA have numerous resources, including the 'Where's My Nearest' function, videos and the RYA Start Boating web pages to help newcomers easily access the sport.

RYA-affiliated clubs and centres are encouraged to look at these and share and embed on their website and social media channels.

Mobile-wise

 Almost three-quarters of people use phones and tablets for online browsing, and many people who see a PTBO poster or sign will be out and about so accessing your site on their phone. Your website may not be fully mobile friendly so check it on a number of different mobile devices to make sure the key information is still prominent, clear and can be viewed and accessed easily.  

Avoid the hard sell 

You want people to have their interest piqued about trying sailing and to get the feel that your club is warm, friendly and somewhere they might like to spend their time. Don’t put them off before they even get to your gates by bombarding them with information about courses, membership and racing. Notions of expense and commitment can put people off right from the start, while talking about racing introduces something only likely to terrify someone who’s never even been in a boat before. By all means if you are running any special sign up course / membership offers at your PTBO event mention it and provide links. But get people along first, then introduce these things once they’ve experienced just how fab the sport and your club are!

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