Boat shows are an important part of marketing in the boating industry. Learn how you can get more visibility and increase sales when you utilize these digital tools to market your boat show attendance!
In this episode of Boat Marketing Podcast, our host Harry Casimir, the CEO of Boat Marketing Pros, will be talking to Sydney Fahrenbruch, Digital Marketing Manager at Atilus & Boat Marketing Pros, to give you an overview of the 6 steps to market your boat show online.
Read the transcription below. Transcribed by https://otter.ai
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So in this episode today, we were going to introduce the question – how can I market my boat show online? The reason for this topic is because this is basically the season right now all the boat shows are going on.
So, we have with us today, Sydney, our Digital Marketing Manager from Boat Marketing Pros. She’s gonna really detail out some of the key elements that you can take from this podcast today, and utilize and for them to work for you to see some results for your boat show.
There are six things that you need to know to market your boat show, and she’s gonna go over each of those key points. So, I guess, Sydney we’re gonna dive right in. Can you tell us a little bit about why you think marketing your boat shows is important?
So boat shows of those are really important, particularly for boat dealers, but it could also be for a boat rental club on any kind of vendor in the marine industry, really, because it’s just a way for everyone in the community to kind of get together and engage.
So it will definitely increase your brand awareness because people who maybe haven’t heard of you; or maybe have heard of you, but to know a lot about you, will see you there, see your team, and get more information about what it is you guys do.
And then since all the boat shows are very local, so they’re very specific to that area that they’re in, it’s going to help you engage with the local community that’s immediately around you. Or maybe if you travel to other cities for boat shows, engage with that community.
And of course, it’s going to help you increase sales because you’re going to get in front of more prospects, more leads, more people you can sell to. Then to kind of relate it to the digital space a little bit more – it is going to help you drive more traffic to your website, kind of twofold.
With that increasing brand awareness and getting your name out there, after the fact, people are gonna follow up by visiting your website and wanting to learn more about you.
So, I guess what maybe could you elaborate a little bit in terms of driving more traffic to the website? Are you saying that after someone visits your booth or see your brand or your name at the boat show, you think that they go back home, and basically looking or at least they know who you are, probably go to your website and find more information? So, I’m assuming that and at this point, if you go to a boat show, you should at least have that event on your website. So that when people go to the website, they can recognize and see the events on your website, and possibly dive in more correct?
Yes, exactly. So that’s something that people will do to follow up after the fact. If they met someone on your team there, or they walked by your booth at the boat show and maybe didn’t stop to talk to you but wanted to know a little more, they will most likely follow up by visiting your website or looking up some more information about you.
To lead that funnel, you can start by making sure you have everything on your website and making sure you can utilize these tools to promote yourself being at the boat show beforehand.
That’s fantastic. Thank you.
I know we talked about the six things that you need to market your boat show. So can you kind of walk us through those key points? And along your way, I will be asking you a few questions. But can you elaborate on this?
So we’ll start with step one. It’s really quick and simple.
This is kind of just something to get yourself organized before we start doing anything, which is to create a one-sheet for your event.
So we recommend, whether you’re the business owner or the marketing manager, who’s kind of overseeing everything, just create a simple one-page document with all the information, all the details on the event. Where it’s going to be, what time it’s going to be, exactly what you’re going to be doing there, what team members are going to have there – things like that, just so you have all your details in one place.
As you upload everything to your website, to Facebook and everything, it’s going to keep all the information cohesive. And any communication you have internally. So you as the business owner, if you’re communicating to your team, or if you’re working with an agency, and you need to communicate with them, you can all kind of reference to the same document to make sure everything everybody’s on the same page.
So that’s just a quick simple step to do beforehand just to make sure you have all your information consistent.
That’s fantastic. So almost like a checklist of the things that you must do and should do right before you show happen.
And if you have any suggestions, how long before the event should they have that checklist ready to go? Is it a month, two months, three months in advance? I guess it depends on the show, right?
If you’re going, for example, to the Miami International Boat Show, or the West Palm international Boat Show, or the one in Michigan, those are kind of depending on where you are in the country, and how the travel time is.
Yeah, it’ll depend on the event when it comes to how early you should do it. I would recommend to just say as soon as possible, as soon as you do have that information, go ahead and get things rolling.
And you’ll see later when we talk about some of the promotional things you can do we recommend as far as really pushing things out there to start at least six weeks in advance. So that’s a good starting point. But you can even start sooner.
That’s good. So point one is created one sheet for those events, create those detail. What do we do next?
So once you have all your data compiled, you can start pushing it out there and to all these different channels. And the best place to start is definitely your website because of course, your website is kind of the center of everything you do of growing your business online and promoting it. So, putting it on the website makes it easy for your audience to find the information that they’re looking for. If anyone is searching for the event, information about it, they’re going to find it there.
So, if you do have frequent events, and frequently attend events, we do recommend implementing an events calendar on your website. There are plugins that you can do that, it’s a pretty simple task. If not, though, you can also just use a landing page, whether that’s creating a separate page on your site, or even using your blog to just post some information about there about it on there.
So, just get it posted to your website and make sure to include the date, the time, the location, just an overview of what the event is going to be about. Any vendors that will be there – just pretty much any important details that you know your audience that would want to attend would be looking for.
And we also recommend a form that you can collect RSVPs. Even though you don’t necessarily have to have people RSVP for the event. But having a form there just so you can collect people’s email so you can follow up with them is always a good place to start and you can kind of get that relationship and that connection going with them.
That’s fantastic. So I’m assuming especially for the RSVP, and you brought a good point here in terms of making people RSVP for the event, it is not required. However, the key here I guess, is for lead generation.
As you know, dealers do have plenty of salespeople waiting to have that potential customer walk in. It’s a great opportunity while you have this event established on your website, posted on your website, you can solicit people to submit their information. And for the most part, most people would love if you give them an offer of something on that the events page. Stop by a booth in one or two weeks, or something like that, we would love to see you. Why don’t you drop your name and email for a chance to win something? As you know, people love t-shirts.
So, there’s always things that you can offer people. And most people that come to your website are probably potential customers anyways, they may stop by the event where you’re going to be at and talk to you.
Sydney, what’s next – can you unpack this for us?
So once you have the event added to your website, the next step would be to add it to your Facebook page. We have seen that Facebook is very powerful in terms of people finding events. Obviously, people connect with their friends, and if they see, “oh, my friend is attending this event, I’m interested”. Any users that are following your page will see once you add the event, so it’s just kind of another place to put it and get it in front of more eyes.
So in doing that, add the same information. Keep it consistent as far as the name, the date, the time, any information you’re putting out there. Make sure to follow Facebook’s guidelines, for images and things that you put on there. And there are a couple of additional options like categories you can check off. Just get all the information filled out there. And then, you can link off from Facebook to your website to ultimately drive more traffic to your website.
And then there is also the option on Facebook to boost posts and you can boost events. So if you wanted to do that if you have some audiences built-in Facebook, you can target people interested in boating or interested in certain types of boats in that geographic area. You will have to pay a little bit in ad spend but you can try to promote it to get in front of some more people through that.
Excellent, that’s fantastic. Yeah, I use Facebook myself, although I wouldn’t say I’m an advanced user, I always see events that I’m very interested in the first thing I do is just mark it on my calendar. If want to be there either with my kids, I’m always just like put down in my calendar. So it is really very important if you’re going to be in an event, especially for boat shows.
And one of the things Sydney mentioned, is when you adding an event and Facebook, you do have the option to select a few categories or things that you can filter to. One of the things that you want to do is kid-friendly. Because I know, most parents, my friends, we usually take our kids to go boating shows. So make sure when you create an event for your Facebook for people to check you out at the local boat show, make sure you select kids friendly. That way, you can increase your visibility on Facebook and also get parents to be more inclined to come by.
I guess the next one is number four, Sydney. Can you tell us about number 4?
Yes. So, for step four, it would be a third-place that it’s really important to make sure you add a listing for your event, which would be Google My Business.
So Google, my business is kind of tied to local search. It’s tied to your map listing In Google, and a lot of times Google pulls from here for event information
So lately, as we know, the search engine results page is always changing. But if you’re searching any kind of event type thing, they pull in those listings for events separately, and they list them right at the top of the search engine results page before you see the normal, organic, and ad results. Google my business is where it pulls these from. So it’s really important to have it listed there.
So when you log into your Google My Business profile, if you just navigate to post, you see an option to add events. And you can just go ahead and post all the same information there. Be sure to keep it consistent with your website, and Facebook – as far as the name of the event, the date the time. Again, if you have that one sheet from the first step, it’ll be easy to keep all that information consistent. And then, just make sure to link off to your website and that will help with driving a lot of search results and visibility with people in that Local Area from that map listing.
That’s fantastic. That’s a good point. And as of late, and this is really fairly new to the Google world where now you almost you can see events if an event is related to the search terms that you put in Google.
So that’s really, really important, especially for the local search, to see what shows that a dealer will attend. It’s it is really important to have that information up there for you so that for the user when they search – you’re right there, that’s perfect.
So I guess now – we went over creating the sheet, we added the events to your website, you create an event on Facebook, you add it to Google My Business. What’s the next step – number five?
Yeah, so those first four steps are really just about getting all the information out there, making sure you have your event listed everywhere you can. The next few steps will be a little more about how you can promote it, once you have all that done.
So step five, will start with planning and scheduling social media posts. Like we said, we recommend if you can – announce the event about six weeks out. So do that initial post on Facebook, Instagram, if you want to do Twitter & LinkedIn, they can be used for certain people in the boating industry. But for the most part, Facebook and Instagram are going to be your two main channels.
So start about six weeks ahead to announce the event. And then in the weeks leading up to it, we recommend posting at least once a week, and you can tease specific things. So you can say – we’ll have a certain boat model we’ll be featuring, we’ll have this salesperson there that you can come to say hi to, we might be working with this specific vendor that you can also see – so just kind of tease things to continue to build up that buzz for the event.
Then, the week leading up to it, we recommend posting at least twice on the week of. And you could even do like a countdown type of post saying – the boat show is this weekend, or we have two more days until the boat shows something like that.
During the event, you can utilize stories and posts throughout the day, do more like live posts throughout the day to kind of just continue to generate that engagement.
I’m assuming that that engagement you’re talking about is not only for people to see – you can post pictures – but it’s more for brand awareness, to let people know in the community that you’re there, but also when they have this itch to buy a boat, they know where to go. Where to go to get that boat. So it’s not just because you want to post, but it’s more of visibility.
Yes, and with adding the event on the website and adding it on your Facebook page, you’re going to ensure that people that are looking for information about the event are going to see you.
But with these kinds of posts, you can generate – if you’re posting good engaging content, people that follow your page, if your content gets shared and someone that doesn’t follow your page sees it, this is going to help you build that up that audience that might not have already been there.
So it’s just something else you can do. And then for those who are already interested in the event, keep them engaged and make them remember, “okay, I know I have to stop at this booth when I’m at the show and come see you.”
That’s fantastic. And now, number six, what is it that you would like people to do? Number six on the six steps?
Yes. So, this will be the last step and we did kind of touch on it a little bit earlier when we talked about the RSVPs. But you can utilize your email marketing, to promote the boat show. And again, like we touched on with the lead generation – to follow up.
So similar to the social posts, we’d recommend announcing the event about six weeks out with a “save the date” email. And then in the weeks leading up to that, maybe four weeks ahead, two weeks ahead, and the week of you can send a reminder email. Obviously you don’t want to have too much overkill when it comes to email marketing. So use your best judgment on how often to send those.
And with those emails, you can prompt the call to action to RSVP and you can collect more emails. And then after the fact you can follow up with a thank-you email saying, thank you for RSVPing to come to see us at the boat show, was great meeting all of you – and you can use that to turn those leads or the people that you met at the boat show into future sales. So you can tie it all together as a lead generation tactic.
That’s fantastic. Well, thank you, Sydney.
Now I do have another question for you, I guess. Can you tell me why would I go through all the steps and do all this if it’s a boat show? Most people know of it. Why should I do all this? Can you tell me? What would be the reasoning behind doing all this?
Well, I think like we said, the brand awareness, and being engaged in the community, going to a boat show, and just being there is going to do that anyway. But everybody else that’s there is kind of on an even playing field as far as that’s concerned.
So if you do these things, ahead of the boat show, and after the fact, it’s a way to get a leg up on your competitors, because if someone is searching for information about the boat show, and nobody else has anything on their website, and you’re the one that does, you’re going to have that increased visibility from people coming to your website. And when people come to the boat show, they’ll say, “Oh, I saw you guys on Facebook” or something like that.
And by capturing emails, you’ll have a way to capture more leads and have that communication. Then it just helps with your brand image, to put you ahead of competitors, and it will help you drive more sales while you’re there.
So I think it’s just kind of a way to differentiate yourself from the competition. And at the end of the day, these are six steps, but when you really break them down, they are not that complicated. We have the tools already in place to utilize them and obviously, if you’re working with an agency, like Boat Marketing Pros, they can implement everything for you.
That’s fantastic. Thank you, Sydney.
And just to echo your point. Yes, there’s all this for one boat show. There’s always some information somewhere online. But quite frankly, most boat shows are based on what we have seen, most boat shows are local – unless they like Miami International, Palm Beach International or some of the other big ones – most boat shows are just local boat shows.
And that is why it’s imperative that you have that information circulating on your website, on your social media, newsletter, and want to entice people to sign up. Not just because you want to get the information up, but most organizers, as Sydney mentioned, many of these boat show website’s don’t promote this as much because they don’t need it. They don’t have a lot of incentive to do so anyway, they do but they don’t because if you think about it, most people already know. For example, most people know the boat show for Saratoga is on that date. If you can put really detailed information about that event on your website is basically you’re promoting that event itself, but also get people to know your brand, be aware of your brand, and be at that boat show.
And that’s really the key here for those six points. I guess to wrap it up, is there anything else, any last points you want to make before we wrap this up? This has been really helpful, very good information for boat dealers. Whether you have your two-man show, or a one-man show, to 200 people – you still can use this good information to put into action. So is there anything else that you would like to add to this, any last point you want to make?
I think we covered everything and like you said, it doesn’t matter if you’re the biggest boat dealer there, or you’re the smallest – anyone has the tools to do this. And just taking these few steps to really promote the boat show, promote yourself and get all that information out there will definitely get you ahead of all the other vendors at the boat show.
That’s fantastic. Well, thank you so much, Sydney for joining me today on all on our Boat Marketing Podcast. We appreciate you guys listening in to the end of this. Again, my name is Harry Casimir if you want to help with any of this, or how to implement any of this – you can subscribe to our podcast on our website at boatmarketingpros.com/podcast or shoot us an email at [email protected] and we will be we would love to see how we can help.
So with that, that’s a wrap for us, and thank you so much.