Swim England

A nation swimming

Visibility and Relevance

Frontier One of the Swim England Partner Hub addresses visibility and relevance. This area looks at the first part of your customer journey – the outward appeal of your centre and how you are marketing your business.

It looks at how easy it is for customers reach and access your facility, and how understanding needs and motivations can help you engage and encourage customers to swim.

This Frontier has three sections:

  1. Getting to the pool
  2. Understanding your customers
  3. Communication and engagement

Click on the boxes to expand or close each section, then click or tap between the tabs to read some thought-starters and download useful resources.

Expand iconGetting to the pool

The experience of getting there:

  • Is your centre easy to reach and close to transport routes?
  • Can you improve access by working with local bus companies, asking them to stop at your centre?
  • Once on site, are your grounds, pathways, signage clear, clean, well maintained?
  • Is it obvious how to find reception or the entrance?

Is the whole journey accessible?

Think about parents and buggies, wheelchair users, sight/hearing impairment – is any part of the journey a challenge?

  • How accessible is your car park?
  • Do you have any designated accessible and/or parent and child spaces?
  • How far are the spaces from the entrance?
  • Is there level access from the car park to the entrance to the centre?
  • Is there a fee for car parking spaces that could be aligned to your concessions?


  • Walk the walk with a range of different customers and potential users. Allow them to explain what would make their journey easier and improve their experience.
  • Approach your Local Authority to support you to make this journey easier and more inclusive.
  • Create a virtual tour of your site and pool to allay any concerns for new visitors.
Case Study (CS1)Inclusive Swimming Experience (Vivacity)

Expand iconUnderstanding your customers

The National Picture

We’ve profiled England’s population and created nine key customer types with similar characteristics, motivations and barriers to swimming. They give the national picture about who goes swimming.

Your local community may have similar groups.

Use the ‘national research and how to apply it locally’ document to apply segment knowledge on a local basis.

NS1Complementing fitness
NS2Considering fitness
NS3Family focused
NS4Fitness focused
NS5Prioritising parents
NS6Restorative swimmers
NS7Swimming champions
NS8Wellbeing wannabes
NS9Young at heart
National research and how to apply it locally

The Local Picture

By understanding your own customers, you can improve their experience and increase retention and loyalty.

Review your current membership database. Use this to identify groups or types of customers, then ask yourself:

  • Which are the most important to your business?
  • What is the most appropriate pool session for them?
  • What is the most appropriate way to communicate with them?
  • Are there other sessions that would be as appropriate or more appropriate to meet their motivations?

Who uses your pool but is not member? Find out more about non-member users – what are their demographics, needs and perceptions?

Ask your customers how satisfied are they with your offer.

What changes can you make to increase satisfaction and visits? If in doubt about customer perceptions:

  • Try a mystery shop or incentivised survey.
  • Ask your visitors, customers and local organisations for feedback.
  • Ask about the Swim England Facility Satisfaction survey to understand your customers needs and satisfaction levels, and how you can improve your business.
Insight Tools (T1)Facility satisfaction survey

Who used to swim at your pool (but doesn’t now?). Finding new customers is always key for your business but don’t forget your lapsed customers.

  • Do you have a list of ex-members?
  • Can you have permission to re-contact them with a new and relevant offer or incentive to re-join?

Who might swim at your pool? Look at how to find new customers

If you combine your own customer data with a demographic profiling tool, you will gain an in-depth picture of your customers and where they are located in your area.

Use this information to:

  • Find more like your current customers: determine where there are the highest concentrations of your best customers in your area and engage with them.
  • Find new types of customers: identify dominant, viable segments (groups) in your catchment area
  • Match or create provision to suit them
  • Understand their motivations for participating in aquatics and give guidance on the most appropriate sessions


  • Contacting Swim England to use our Community Survey tool. We can help you to understand the demographic profile of your local community and how to attract new visitors to your pool.
  • Contacting your Active Partnerships for local demographic information and details of any local projects in your area i.e. Get Active projects.
  • Public Health England localised health profiles provide a snapshot overview of health for each local authority in England.
  • The Office of National Statistics localised Census statistics from 2011 provides a range of population characteristics and subject areas.
  • Speak to / partner up with local groups such as community groups, charity and volunteer organisations, housing associations, or corporate businesses to offer sessions suitable for their audiences.
Insight Tools (T2)Community survey

Expand iconCommunication and engagement

Content and appeal:

  • Include the relevant health, fitness and wellbeing benefits.
  • Use images that are relevant to your audience – and which show a diversity of people – ability, body shape, swim wear, age, ethnicity.
  • Make it social and fun and keep customers engaged and retained. Just Swim is a new FREE membership for regular adult swimmers, offering training, tips, discounts on kit and event offers. To get involved see the information pack for further details and download the posters.
  • Can you link to a national campaign or event such as This Girl Can or create a ‘Swim for Life’ to support a charity?
  • Staff profiles can assist in familarising new and exisiting customers with the staff and their roles within the facility.

What is on offer?

  • A new class, off-peak offer, swim stroke technique session, or adult lessons?
  • Are the benefits of the session clear? Can you provide a video clip of the class?
  • Do you offer concessions? Ensure customers know how to access them.
  • Consider offering specific pool focussed open days with a range of taster sessions avaiable to give customers the opportuntity to see how the pool and pool based activites can help them achieve their goals.
  • Consider linking your offer to local and National campaigns i.e. Swimathon, Drowning Prevetion Week, Local Triathalons, Mud Runners etc.
  • Consider utilising promotional offers such as; unlimited monthly usage, student offers, bring a friend for free, coffee style reward cards etc. in your marketing strategy to attract and reward existing and new customers.


  • Do you offer a swim induction for new joiners (see Ideas for Aquatic Inductions) or hold open days to showcase your activities and sessions?
  • Consider what information would encourage and welcome new swimmers, such as the key things to bring with you.
  • How do customers reach/access the centre and facilities? Try an online map, directions, clear contact details, use inclusion symbols to show accessibility.
  • Include a call to action – what do you want them to do? Book a class? Look at the pool timetable?
  • Staff profiles can assist in familiarising new and existing customers with the staff and their roles within the facility.
[A4 and A3]Just Swim App posters
(IP1)Just Swim membership information pack
Case study (CS2)Encouraging adults aged 50+ to swim
Ideas for aquatic inductions
Ideas for helping your customers make informed decisions
(IP2)Inclusion symbols pack

Customers use multiple channels. Make sure you talk to them using the channel(s) they are most likely to respond to.

  • Members – can you communicate with them directly by email, text or e-shot?
  • Facility users – promote swimming opportunities or lessons around your facility using internal posters, screens, pop up banners, leaflets.
  • Gym users – promote directly to gym users – use posters and banners in the gym.
  • Gym instructors – include training in swimming as part of role?
  • Social media – post regularly, and incentivise people to follow /like pages to regularly remind them about swimming. Also use social media to drive traffic to your website for pool timetable, bookings or information.
  • Read the Activity Alliance’s Inclusive Communications guide for advice on inclusive and accessible communications.

For your website, consider

  • A prominent and clear timetable which is easy to find and easy to book online.
  • Content which is regularly updated.
  • Class descriptions – clear, consistent information (with video clips).
  • Is it accessible? Use inclusive symbols across all digital /print collateral.

You could also use local community sites to promote your pool and classes, on notice boards or at local libraries.
Can you engage directly with local community groups to provide an incentive for regular swims?

Case Study (CS4)How to create an inclusive marketing campaign (Activity Alliance and Active Partnerships)
Case Study (CS5)Transforming the swimming experience (Swim Leicester)
Marketing and Communications

Create a simple plan

This should include: who you want to target, when, how often, the channels you will use and what you will be promoting.

This way you can keep a track of your communications, ensure your approach is targeted, consistent and achieves your communications goals.

Simple communications plan template

By ensuring a positive working relationship between the Operator and Aquatics Clubs it helps build a seamless pathway from Learn to Swim into Competitive Swimming/other aquatic disciplines.

  • Be clear on what exit routes are available from your Learn to Swim Programme
  • Providing information to Parents on these exit routes to ensure they have a clear understanding
  • Ensuring that there is a transparent link between yourselves and the aquatics club
  • Consider using Talent Lanes to support the aquatics club in identifying talent
  • Providing/allowing notice boards, club banners and trophy cabinets