Selling a boat in 2020 requires either a super cheap price, or an online posting with a plethora of pictures and information. Unfortunately, many boat dealerships still believe in the old “Boat for Sale” sign. Regardless, you don’t want your boat on a lot collecting dust and decreasing in value.

Everyone turns to the internet first when they are looking for information, products, or services. You want potential customers to find your website, browse your inventory, and contact YOU – not a competitor.

In this article, we will share internet marketing dos and don’ts so you can sell your boat fast and effectively. These methods will give you a way to reach your target audience, maximize your online brand, and grow your boat dealership.

Prepare Your Boat for Selling: Staging

Once you’ve got your price set, you may be tempted to post some photos and make a listing – but it’s not quite time yet. First, empty the boat of all of your stuff. From life jackets to fishing gear, anything in the boat that isn’t being sold with it should be removed before posting it.

Remove any non-essential items. A good rule of thumb: if someone were driving it away right now, is there anything you would need to take out of it? Not only are you determining what does and doesn’t come with the boat, but you are also beginning the process of cleaning it.

Do: remove anything from the boat that isn’t being sold with it.

Don’t: wait until the sale is finalized and rush to empty it before the buyer arrives.

Clean Your Boat

You guessed it. The next step is to clean your boat. If you can, call a professional detailer.

Man cleaning a boat

Marine industry prospects usually know exactly where to look for dirt and grime. They will see those minor rough patches if you don’t clean the boat thoroughly. If the boat is sold with a trailer included, clean that too!

This is also a good time to take care of any routine repairs. The point of this is to avoid having a potential buyer assume that they will have to undergo some type of fixing before they can get on the water.

You can also include these updated repairs in your listing to show your market that you have taken good care of it. Be prepared to show them documents confirming legal ownership, and the boat’s maintenance records.

Do: clean the entire boat, including small areas like cabinets, handles, etc.

Don’t: turn potential buyers away by showcasing a filthy boat.

Take Photos of Your Boat

Any good marine marketing agency will tell you that people love to see detail. Highlight those intricate areas that you cleaned up. Make sure to take both close up shots and wide angle shots. Buyers in the boating industry want to feel the size of the boat they might buy, and the best way to do that is through wide angle or aerial shots.

Always wait for the best lighting. When people think about spending a day on their boat, they probably imagine a perfect sunny day. Keep that in mind when planning your boat’s photoshoot!

Another thing to keep in mind is taking photos of things about your boat that change, like cushions or a top cover. For example, a photo of the boat with the cover and one without the cover should go side by side in your listing.

While pictures of your boat sitting at the dock or on a trailer are okay, it can make a world of difference if a buyer can see the boat in action. Take the boat out on the water and try to get some interesting shots of it in action. Not only are you showcasing the boat in action, but you’re also validating the fact that the boat does run and drive as you describe. Most manufacturers have those lifestyle shots, too. Make sure to check with your manufacturers to see if that have that content available.

When a prospect contacts you with interest, be prepared to show them the boat. If they’re still interested after an initial viewing, take them for a sea trial.

Do: Gather a well-done collection of photos that showcase your boat’s features and capabilities.

Don’t: Take pictures of a dirty boat on a rainy day or take photos that can be misleading (don’t go photoshop-crazy and make the photos misleading).

Get Involved in the Digital World

A great place to spread awareness of your boat dealership is social media. Instagram and Facebook are both excellent platforms to share photos and descriptions of the boats you have for sale.

Small businesses are often intimidated by the idea of running social media accounts, but it gives you an opportunity to start conversations directly with the people who care about what you’re selling: boats.

By being present on these platforms, you give them a chance to ask questions, research your boat dealership, and learn more about what you offer.

Here’s a rundown of the four main social media platforms of importance to boat dealers who want to succeed in their marketing plans:

Facebook: This is the best place to initiate interaction. Your goal should be to get people talking on your page. Asking questions is a great way to do this. You can also write a short description of boats, offer sales and special promotions, and share news related to the marine industry.

Grady White Boat posting on Facebook

Instagram: Instagram is the perfect place to showcase your beautiful selection of boats. Use your most attractive pictures here. It’s also a good idea to do some hashtag research to find out what hashtags your potential buyers are viewing (but don’t flood the post with unrelated hashtags like #OOTD or #gardening)

Boat for sale on Instagram

Twitter: A great place to post reminders about upcoming sales, changing your hours of operation, or special events. Think of Twitter as your company’s news page.

Boat posting on Twitter

YouTube: A great place to post videos. Take your boats out for a spin and record all the awesome things it can do. Boat lovers will have a blast seeing the capabilities of different models.

Example: to youtube video

Do: Post a few photos and videos that highlight the best aspects of the boat with a description of its features

Don’t: Avoid social media altogether, or post one poorly taken photo with a caption that only includes the name and price of the boat.

Get Started

The most important thing during this stage of the sale is to remember that honesty is the best policy. More than one boat sale has been missed when a potential buyer realized the seller was being less than completely transparent with them.

While this article isn’t a comprehensive list of way to sell boats, it will certainly lead you in the right direction. If you’re still overwhelmed by the idea of marketing boats online, we can help.

As a full-service marine marketing agency, Boat Marketing Pros can help you reach more customers, increase brand awareness, and improve your business overall. Call us today for information about our services.

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