Episode Transcript

Welcome to the Marine Marketing Podcast, where we cover marketing and website topics for the marine industry. While you’re listening, subscribe to the podcast so you don’t miss any future episodes. And now here’s your host, Harry Casimir.

[00:00:17.60] – Harry
Hey. Welcome back to another episode of Marine Marketing Podcast, your trusted source for navigating the digital world in the current marine industry. I’m your host, Harry Casimir, CEO of Boat Marketing Pros. You guys know Boat Marketing Pros is a digital marketing agency located in Florida. We help marine businesses take more leads, get more sales, and go to the next level. Today, we have an exceptional team members from our own company parent agency, Atilus. So this episode is Planning and Managing your Online Presence, and our guest today is Valerie Baker. She is the project manager and account manager at Atilus and Boat Marketing Pros. She helps clients navigate and stay relevant on the web. So today, we have the pleasure to have Valerie with us, and she has lots of insight to share with us, and I cannot wait. So, Valerie, I happen to call her Val internally. So a lot of times, you will probably hear me say Val. Thank you so much for joining me today. Please introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about you.

[00:01:42.00] – Val
Of course. Thanks, Harry. I’m excited to be part of this episode of the podcast. I’ve been with Atilus and BMP for almost seven years. So I have a lot of digital experience. Here and excited to give some insight for all of the marine businesses out there.

[00:02:00.00] – Harry
Valerie is overseeing our clients’ digital marketing presence, whether you are a boat dealer, manufacturer, or club. And some of you guys who are listening to this, have already been working with her. Again, thanks, for joining me. We are going to dive right into digital marketing and web presence. How do you stay relevant online from a planning and managing perspective? So this is where we kick off here. So, Val, in your role overseeing clients’ accounts and managing accounts and managing projects because you’re overseeing the team as well. How crucial is a solid online strategy for our clients to succeed?

[00:02:44.90] – Valerie
Yeah. So a digital strategy really can make or break a business. Having a strong digital strategy let’s you go from the top to the bottom, and everyone knows exactly what you need to do and how we’re going to execute on everything without a solid strategy you’re just gonna be flopping in the wind and not sure where you’re gonna go. A weak sail doesn’t go very fast.

[00:03:12.59] – Harry
Good point. And it’s very interesting you touched on that. I feel like It’s a cliche, but if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. And yep, it goes the same way from a marketing perspective. Now often what we have seen is client come to us, and they don’t really have a clear marketing plan to go to market. So they come in, we just have if you where you spot here or a billboard there or we have a website that was built in eighteen hundreds. So all of that oftentimes, some businesses consider that as a plan to stay relevant. Can you add to why and how should a company go about changing the perception and change the mindset of not having a clear plan to maintain web presence and be competitive.

[00:04:14.59] – Valerie
Yes. The first part really is to have a strong website, something that outlines your services and where you’re located, All of the information on how someone can contact you is really the first pillar and stepping stone for any good strategy. And then you can get into the digital marketing, whether it be Google PPC or Bing or, local SEO, so showing up on Google when someone’s looking, for you on the map. And then organic social media is typically the next step, and creating blog post as well. So there’s a lot of little steps, but starting off with a strong website that has enough Content and is updated regularly is really that first pillar.

[00:05:02.10] – Harry
That’s awesome. It’s funny that you talk about website as a very key pillar. So let’s dive into it a little bit when it comes to website because website, it’s obviously it’s the storefront of almost any business nowadays. And, a few of my videos, I even state that website is probably one of the cheapest, best employee you can have at your company. Even better than the owner sometimes or the president because they stayed up twenty four seven, and they don’t really complain much, unless, of course, you don’t take care of them and this is the different take. Right? How do you ensure your website itself regardless of what industry you are in? How do you ensure it is optimized? And to what extent you optimize it and why it’s important.

[00:06:03.30] – Valerie
Yeah. So there’s a lot of different pieces there. First looks are always important. So you wanna start off with a clean, easy design with a clear call to action at the very top, as well as some eye grabbing something, like, along those lines to draw the users in, and then you need to highlight your services. So, regardless of what industry you’re in, you’re gonna have some kind of service or some kind of product, and that needs to be front and center. So whether you’re a boat dealer, you wanna show some of your inventory, or if you also do repairs, you can highlight your service department, Something like that. Just wanna make sure that it’s all there front and center. When someone loads on the website, they know exactly where to go.

[00:06:51.39] – Harry
That’s awesome. And, yeah, if I could add to what you said, one of the things I often see in a website, if you think of it, it’s your business. Right? And oftentimes, that’s the only interaction they will have with you. And yep well you have to make that first impression. When they get to this website, the website got to load fast. You have to present the information that’s relevant to them and get them to what they need.

[00:07:21.39] – Valerie
Exactly.

[00:07:23.69] – Harry
Yeah. So if I could add also one of the thing why you want your website to be updated, I have this conversation with a colleague of mine yesterday, actually, because your website is optimized once it’s optimized properly, it’s indexed by search engines Google, Bing, and many other one, but we’re gonna stick with Google for now. And Google is in the business to get people to the destination they want to go to. Meaning that if someone search on Google for best Fishing boat or spot boat for Gulf of Mexico, for example. If you are ranking for that specific keyword And Google send that user to that specific keyword to that specific landing page of yours, and that user bounce back out because the website is too slow or the content is not relevant.

[00:08:18.30] – Harry
Or for whatever reason, Google will slowly start tagging you out. This is why it’s so important to optimize your website, not just it, for the content, for the information. So can you speak to Val in terms of when it comes to some of the key things like that. Search engines look for when you optimize your website in the down layer that most end user don’t understand and and really for all of us, we don’t really care. We just need it to work. How does that affect your ranking in Google and a long term standing and search engine result page as well. Can you expand on that a little bit?

[00:09:01.39] – Valerie
Yeah. Optimizing your website is, as you said, extremely important. So speed is one factor that needs to be considered, but also, like you said, Content and having a clear direction of where users supposed to go when they land on your website. It’s important. So if they want to contact you, is your contact information easily accessible? Is your phone number in the header? Is there a big contact us button? And as well as adding content to your website regularly. So adding blogs or if you do any kind of events, adding those on your website also helps Google realize, hey, this website’s not just stagnant. It’s actively being worked and people are updating it. It’s a relevant business.

[00:09:46.79] – Harry
That’s awesome. Now, that’s very interesting you say that in terms of it. Regularly updating your website is part of the optimization. It’s very interesting, shifting gear here a little bit, but in the same line of getting a clear plan and managing your online presence to stay relevant and competitive, looking at social media from that aspect, there’s lots of possibilities and lots of opportunities for almost any marine businesses that take social media serious, they can see a very big uptick both in engagement and possibly even customer loyalty. It. Can you speak to how the marine business in general can navigate through the water of social media and eventually create a meaningful connection, a truly engaged connection with the audience, with the target market.

[00:10:45.10] – Valerie
Yeah. So there’s multiple approaches that you can do with social media, but the first and foremost is posting. A lot of businesses don’t do it. Start posting because they’re afraid or they’re just like, oh, social media is not that important, that kind of stuff. But starting to post, get your name out there, start gaining a little bit of traction, and then actually respond to people when they comment on your post is a great way to start building that community. Instagram and Facebook are great places to have little mini conversations with people in comment sections, and sometimes that evolves into, a direct message or a DM, and then you can continue the conversation there, and then, eventually, it could turn into a paying customer. Someone that actively visits your business or comes in, becomes, a club member, for example, something like that. That’s happened to us on multiple occasions with some of our clients. So you can create different buckets of things that you yourself are inspired to create. So whether it be a video of you out on the water or it could be you taking a photo of yourself at an event, something like that. And then post that stuff on social media for one month, three months, whatever, and see what resonates with your audience the most. It. You don’t want to just create the content that you think your audience wants. You want to create the content that your audience needs.

[00:12:21.79] – Harry
Exactly. And one of the things if I could add a couple of things that I would highly recommend that you do as a business owner, director of marketing manager, or coordinator, whatever position that you have, if it’s related to. When it come to social media marketing, you cannot really go wrong. Don’t be afraid. There are three things that you need to do maybe plan it out a little bit. So have a plan on when you’re gonna post and where you’re gonna post. So decide which platform you’re gonna concentrate on. Right? So whether it’s Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, focus on those that you can maximize. Again, depending on the audience that you are in because the audience that you are targeting for a boat dealer, it might be a little bit different than the audience you are targeting for a boat rental place. So those are two different business model, different segment of market. So you want to understand the consumer behavior for your specific credit goal. Once you do that then you determine, okay. I will try to post every Monday, Wednesday, maybe Friday. And these are content that, as Valerie said, those content are not necessarily have to be, like, super fancy content. It. just take your phone out, take pictures underwater, take pictures of your team members fixing, an engine, walking on the yard. So there’s a lot of different piece of content you can provide. And, actually, if anything, we highly recommend that you don’t try to sell your audience Right on your social media itself. Nobody wake up in the morning and said, let me log in to Facebook, go buy something. They log in to watch how many cat videos in there, and then maybe end up lacking your video enough and eventually come to you. An Although Google and Automata, Facebook and Instagram, they really push for professional profile and business profile, But you get more bangs for your bucks if you are using your personal profile, which is very interesting and weird. So you want to actually capitalize on content, like, You can post both on your social media, personal social media, and on the business so you can bring those people on. So to recap, When it comes to social media, one, determine what channels you’re gonna you will submit those information. Two, an Stick to a schedule. Consistency and frequency is extremely important in social media. And three, and possibly even most importantly, If you do not have the bandwidth, the desire, and the capacity slash resources to do this yourself, it. Find someone to help you. For us here at both marketing boards, we help many of our clients where we manage All of the social media aspects, which means that, basically, the picture you take you don’t want to post, you send it to us. We write the caption. We write the content for you. Sometime we even Depending where you are, we put some of your team members to to send us those content. And there are plenty of content we can actually generate ourselves on your behalf Because, again, we understand this industry. So I wanted to share that on social media as well. Thank you, Raul. If you want to add anything To that point, just go ahead.

[00:15:53.20] – Valerie
Yeah. Not really much else else to add. Just make the content that you want to make and not necessarily what you think everyone wants to see from you.

[00:16:03.00] – Harry
That’s awesome. It. And one last thing I will add, content that you post on social media today as we speak, Google as a search engine not going to Find your post on Facebook and present it to the world. That’s not going to happen, at least not right now. However, And although this is not something they admit, but I suspect that’s something that they looked at as a signal that states to Google or Google looked at How if you post social media posts on those social media platforms and you’re regularly keeping your website fresh, you’re regularly providing educational Content, whether it’s blog posts or, even a podcast, maybe videos. All of those are different signals that it. Tell Google and search engines that you are active and you mean business, and that give you authority, and authority will become More and more important. Now with the advance of AI, which we’re gonna touch base on very quick, I I think social media will continue to Your original content, very unique content will continue to dominate and become a bigger piece of your overall marketing strategy. It. Now I know we talk about digital planning and managing web presence. We talk about an How to optimize your website to ensure it’s performed to the max. And we briefly talk about social media, How it play big role within your overall marketing strategy when it comes to online. But the bigger piece here, if you think about it, whether you have a website, social media content, whether it’s pictures, text, Creating video, creating PR piece, all of that come to one thing is basically creating content. Content is extremely important for almost everything that you do. So, Valerie, can you break it down for us And tell us what content you find that’s most relevant to specific especially, boating Industry, and I know we’re talking very bored here. The marine industry has a lot of different verticals, whether it’s boat dealers or boat manufacturers, boat rental and clubs, And so forth. So, obviously, the different audience will have to pick. But can you tell us, like, some of the content that you see that’s most resonating With some of the target audience, for example, wood dealers and the boat clubs and boat manufacturers.

[00:18:41.70] – Valerie
Yeah. So content is really how you speak to your audience. So having a unified voice it. In having a unified message is really important. So taking that from your brand values or any of the other, Like, high level things and breaking it down into the content that you’re putting out every day, whether it be on social media, in blog posts, anything like that. It. But having a clearly defined voice is going to help users know you as a business and also recognize you from the crowd. So if you’re saying the same things that Billy Bob down the road is saying, then there’s not really a much of a differentiator there. But if you’re clear and focused in your message, that content’s gonna shine through all of the other noise.

[00:19:33.29] – Harry
Well said. I mean, I agree. It is very different from just content out there versus having a well thought out resonating message that your target audience an We’ll resonate with for those of you guys that Exactly. That listen to some of my videos and podcasts before, There are five comp key component in when it comes to business. It’s almost like the intro and the outro, and then there’s the middle piece, which I call the three m’s. Once you figured out what is it that you want to sell, the next big thing is the three m’s, which is the first m is the market, which is target audience, an Who are they? What demographic? What’s the makeup of that avatar? Some people call it avatar, target audience, ideal customers, but You name it. At the end of the days, what is the target market that I have? That’s the first m. The second m is the message. Right? An How do you create a message or how you develop a message that resonate with your target market or your ideal customers? It. Because the way you speak with a doctor or a lawyer might be a little bit different in how you speak with Someone that’s doing something completely different. So you have to understand your customers. And sometimes it’s not even that, the way you speak with a A customer may be a doctor in New York who might be different how you address a doctor in in Miami because of, it. Again, sometimes it’s it’s understanding your market is super crucial. That has nothing to do with sometime with risk. It has nothing to do with that. It doesn’t have to do with risk or even demographic, but understanding where that customer come from is what’s so critical. Yep. And the last piece, which is the last m, is the media medium, which means where do I find my target audience and deliver that message to them. So all of that, when you kinda break it down to content, It’s super critical for you to understand how you’re gonna craft those content to tell your brand story. Go ahead, Val.

[00:21:42.00] – Valerie
Yep. And that’s how that ties right back into digital strategy, so that’s part of everything that we do.

[00:21:49.20] – Harry
That’s awesome. Thank you. So I guess let’s dive even further in terms of how critical is it? We are shifting gear right now and talking about more and in terms of Reputation and reviews because this is becoming and more and more relevant, especially for brick and mortar businesses. It. Most of the search engines the company that’s in the map business, like, it’s Google, Apple, and you name it. It’s becoming so important that you have to be there. So can you Yeah. Break down and tell us a little bit about how do you go about making sure you have a good reputation slash review online, and how do you maintain that?

[00:22:33.90] – Valerie
Yeah. So Maintaining your reputation online is mostly reputation management. So you want to make sure that people are leaving reviews. One, that’s all always the first hurdle that we face with a lot of our clients is getting that very first review. It. And then once someone does review, it’s responding quickly, thanking them for leaving that review. If it’s less than a four star or even, like, three and a half star. We reach out to the customer, that left a review directly and see how we can make that right. Sometimes you’re never going to please everyone, but sometimes a simple, it. Hey. Sorry, Jan. We know that you didn’t have a very good experience. Is there anything that we can do to help you? It. And then sometimes that could turn that around. People have updated their reviews after the fact for a higher score. It. And then sometimes there’s nothing you can do, but you can, as a business, respond to those reviews publicly, and people can see that, hey. Just been a bad egg, but the business handled it professionally.

[00:23:43.59] – Harry
And how does one go about Managing those reviews, do you have someone in the team that manage this an In house or a company. Oh, that how does that work?

[00:23:58.79] – Valerie
Yeah. Or to compose takes care of a responding to reviews for a lot of our clients. That’s one of the services that we offer within the local SEO package that we have. But if you don’t have an agency like us to take care of that for you, claiming your Google My Business profile is, a big step to actually being able to review or respond to those reviews. And then designate someone it. To go in once a month, once a week, depending on how frequently you get reviews to respond. If reviews are sitting there left Unresponded for months on end, sometimes years. That doesn’t give a very good credible look to someone that may be searching your business on the map.

[00:24:45.09] – Harry
That’s awesome. And if I could add to that, one of the thing that I have seen over and over is the review process, and it’s it it. Seem like most businesses are not baking in and really account for those reviews how critical they are. And I know Google Yep. Really pushing this, and it’s becoming super critical for a local business. So what I would highly recommend, If you have not done any reviews as Val said, the first step I would highly recommend you do is make sure you claim your business a profile. It’s free. You don’t have to pay for it. Just do that. Claim it. If you search for your business right now on Google, there is a good chance it is there, And it may not be cleansed yet. So grab it, and you might have to go to verification process. And, I believe there’s plenty of videos that you can find on how to get that going, but make sure you get that done. Claim your business profile. Second thing you want to do, make sure it’s been updated. It’s because your business profile claiming it alone is not enough. You actually have to maintain it, update it. It. So there is something called NAB, which is name, address, and phone number. Those are the basic fundamental things that you want to make sure You have on your business information, and make sure that information is consistent across the board. But within Google itself, it asks you what category of business you belong to. So make sure the business that you are well known for or very relevant for is that business that’s the number one categories. You can provide multiple services, but make sure the categories that you select first is the one you want to get ranking or get a client for or you are well known for. That’s very critical. And then once you have that, it’s making sure, as Valerie mentioned, have a consistent plan in place Or someone to ensure that they check your reviews, make sure none of them will fall to the crack. Because if you don’t check that, it. Then, again, you just don’t maintain it. If you don’t maintain it, Google doesn’t really pay attention to you as well. So it’s very critical to To ensure you maintain your Google Business Profile to get your reviews going. One last thing I would mention It’s automated the process. There are softwares out there, not to mention specific one because there are too many of them. But there’s plenty of software that you can actually a Fairly automate that process so that after someone gets service from your company, one of the service managers or sales it. People can simply go on your CRM, say, this person is happy with the service, and that there’s an automatic email that an Drip down. Let’s send an e an email to that person, say, hey, Bob. Thank you so much for stopping by. Can you please review us? And The system will know whether Bob clicked on that link or not. And until Bob is clicking or we’ve or submit a review, an That system can automatically send reminder for Bob to come back and give you a review. Actually, they can be email, an Phone call, sign in phone call, voice mail, or text messages. So there’s lots of way to get reviews, and those are very easy hanging fruits, it. If you may, for you to get ranking on your local maps, local search engine results. So I thought I would share that tip. Anything else you want

[00:28:17.20] – Valerie
Yep. Oh, I think you covered it all.

[00:28:20.90] – Harry
That’s perfect. So I cannot believe we’re almost in the top of half of the hour here. But can you tell us little bit about both marketing pros, what your role, and how do you assist client in general to With the digital slash online voyage, how do you help them navigate All that online water that that’s just too much sometimes for some people.

[00:28:51.00] – Valerie
Yeah. It’s a vast, vast a world out there on in digital marketing world. But at Boat Marketing Pros, I am the account manager and project manager. It. So I’m on both ends. So I’m front facing with a lot of clients as well as our other account coordinators, helping them come up with strategies it. For our other clients that I may not directly manage, but it’s a full team effort here. Everyone has, their hand in all of the projects As well as making sure that everyone on the production team is doing what they need to. We’re strategizing frequently, making sure that it. The little pieces that you may not know need to happen as a client are getting done. So to help your business online it. Navigate that water as Harry said, and make sure that we’re helping you get the leads that you need, it. Getting your message out there, getting all of the social media posts out there, everything that needs to get done for your business to really grow and shine an And the web is getting done.

[00:30:00.50] – Harry
Awesome. Thank you, Val. I cannot believe the time flew by, I guess, when you’re having fun, time flies. So as we set sail toward the conclusion of this episode, My friend, remember, planning and managing your online presence is extremely critical, and it is not Some additional work or a most do deal, it is the opportunity that’s you’ve been waiting for. It. I have never seen so many opportunities, although there are challenges obviously in business. And no matter where you are, there will always be challenges. But those challenges oftentimes have opportunity that’s come behind them. So if posting, updating your website is a challenge to you, it. Maybe that’s where the opportunity is as well. So maybe it’s time for you to find someone or a marketing agency like us That can help you navigate and go to the next level. So with that, with great insight from Valerie, it. And thank you so much, Val, for sharing your expertise and share with us how we can plan and navigate this vast water of an Online marketing stuff. So is there any last parting word, anything else you want to share with the audience before we we conclude here?

[00:31:21.40] – Valerie
No. Just that the digital waters are easily navigable when you have someone by your side that knows what they’re doing. So thanks, Harry. Appreciate it.

[00:31:30.40] – Harry
Awesome. Thank you, Valerie, for sharing your expertise to this today with us. And to our listeners, thank you so much, guys, for Sticking around, listen to us, sharing some tips and post and how to navigate the the water world of digital. And as I always said, if you an Ever have questions, comments, and you have certain topics you would love for us to cover, feel free to email us it. At podcast at book marketing post dot com. And we have lots of resources as well on our own website, book marketing post dot com slash resources. We have unlimited information here. All of it is free. Just go ahead and feel free to help yourself. So before we go, don’t forget to subscribe to our podcast, and you can find us all the places that Podcasts are syndicating, whether it’s Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Spotify and all other places. You can also find us on our website so to see all the past episode. So thank you so much again for sticking with us. Until next time. Your online presence shine brightly through the horizon. Thank you, my friend. Later.

Thanks for listening to this episode of the Marine Marketing Podcast. If you have any questions, send them to [email protected]. For additional resources, visit boatmarketingpros.com/resources/

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