Ultimate Digital Marketing Guide for Boat Dealers in 2020

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Are you new to the boat dealership industry or feel as if your business is stuck in a rut? No matter what the case is, there is a way you can go forward with the help of a digital marketing agency that specializes in the marine industry.

In 2020, it is almost impossible to imagine any business without a well-optimized website, social media accounts and, generally speaking, any kind of online presence. A large number of people get all their information on the Internet and that number consistently rises.

Decades ago, brick-and-mortar companies, including boat dealership businesses, were doing just fine with their local advertising methods and word-of-mouth recommendations. While these are still more than welcome and immensely important, a new dimension must be added for the horizons to open and to eventually establish, online dominance.

And that is exactly why we are here.

In the upcoming article, Boat Marketing Pros will do the following:

  1. Discuss the latest marine industry trends.
  2. Talk about the future of boat dealers, including boat clubs, rentals, manufactures, etc.
  3. Show you the importance of digital marketing and explain why boating dealerships should invest in it.
  4. Tell you who we are and give details about what we specialize in,
  5. Share tips for how to get started with your digital marketing journey. Anchors Aweigh, All Aboard!

1. Boat Dealership Trends

Have you ever feared that you’d be forced to close the doors to your company? Today’s economy may have rocked your boat more than once recently, but we have some good news for you. Market research shows that in the next 5-10 years, the demand for both buying and renting boats is going to increase.

The simple sentence probably gives you a sense of comfort and peace, but that doesn’t mean that you can allow yourself to be lazy and do nothing. With the higher demand for boats, people want their slice of the cake. The number of competitors will most definitely increase as well.

First, let’s check out what causes a higher demand.

Escape for People

Bow of a blue boat on sea

We live in turbulent times. All over the world, people are working hard, some for up to seven days a week. The amount of information we receive in a day is insanely high. With all the amazing technology at hand, the fear of missing out is stronger than ever.

At all times, we must know what our friends from high school are doing for the weekend, what the political situation in Indonesia is, and in Antarctica – the ice caps are melting. In other words, we are overwhelmed!

Consequently, preserving our mental health has become an imperative. While the mega-cities we built provide us with opportunities we could have only dreamed about, reconnecting with nature is something every human feels deeply in their heart and mind.

And boating proves to be one of the favorite activities among people living in the coastal areas. Some even drive for miles for a weekend escape out in the open sea, where two blues are connected like two pieces of a puzzle.

People are ready to save up some money and invest in a good and reliable boat. Having your own boat is certainly more beneficial than having to rent one, although that can have its advantages too. That means that boat dealerships will have a lot of work to do, especially post-covid.

Taking care of your boat is similar to a car, and although maintenance cost can be higher, it is definitely worth it.

Let us now mention what people love to do to relax after they sail out. There’s plenty of intriguing water activities with these being the most common:

  • Wakeboarding/Water Skiing – For adrenaline junkies and action-seekers, wakeboarding and waterskiing are perfect water sports. Boats that provide accessibility to these activities are always in demand, so make sure you have them in stock.
  • Fishing – Who could argue that there’s anything better than getting your rods ready, packing beer and sailing out in the open water looking for fish. Even if you come back home empty-handed, you can still make a day out of it.
  • Having dinner onboard – Having your boat sitting in the marina is perfect. You can have dinner on the water, without even sailing out. Such dinners can be relaxing, while also it is great to bring your business partners over and negotiate new deals.
  • Snorkeling/Scuba-Diving – The number of coral reefs is degrading by the day, yet we can still explore life under the surface and admire it. Snorkeling can be a great option for those who are taking baby steps, while scuba-diving is as exciting as it gets.
  • Throwing a party – This is usually reserved for the private boat owners, which a lot of people wish to become.

No matter what your boating company does – whether it sells fishing boats or those equipped for water sports, the demand is on the rise and more people are looking to buy. So that’s outstanding news for you!

Per-Capita Income Increases

Another reason why more and more people are looking for boats stems from the fact that Per-Capita Income increases. Hold on…what does that have do with anything?

We have already mentioned that the world we live in today is quite financially unstable, and that is true. However, the average income is on the rise, which means that people are going to spend more money on leisure and luxury activities. With that being said, connecting the dots s

hould be easy now.

But this is also connected to…

Tourism Trends and Interests

At the same time, this is our next major player in boating trends. Usually, people are looking to have fun during their vacation. Throughout the summer, most of them rush to coastal areas of the country or travel internationally in order to spend a dozen days under the sun.

Long gone are the days when the only joy was to doze off on the beach.The interest in nautical tourism and marine activities slowly but surely rises while the term “active vacation” is more popular, especially among the younger generations. This is especially visible in developing countries of the world.

Not only do the people want to go out and sail or cruise, but their interest in exploration is on a pretty high level. Going to the areas where only a

few people went before, voyaging towards Antarctica, heading deep in the Amazon – these are all examples.

While all of this can be done by renting a boat, people prefer to create their own itinerary and simply take their time. Of course, they do not go in some more dangerous areas we mentioned here by themselves, especially if they are not familiar with the terrain.

Country Breakdown

Expectedly, the leaders in this branch include the United States, some European countries such as Germany, Great Britain, and France, and a few Mediterranean countries. Let’s not forget Brazil, Mexico, China, and India who are also at the very top.

However, because of the shift in tourism trends we talked about, s

ome other countries are putting themselves on the map when it comes to renting boats. This includes Middle Eastern states and African states.

With all of that being said, it’s clear that the future of boat dealerships looks bright. At this point, the market is balanced out with nobody holding a monopoly over it. That means that there’s more room for you to step up and find your place in the marine world.

Now:

It doesn’t mean that you will be the one who can just reap the benefits without moving a finger. Some dealerships will prosper because they are working both with rentals, and selling their boats to private owners. The others will include attractive promotions and offer additions to their buyers…There are unlimited ways in which you can attract new clients.

There is a major difference from boat dealers who only advertise in the real world from those who are ready to challenge themselves and go a step beyond by establishing online dominance!

Boat dealerships who start to advertise their brand online will quickly see what they have been missing out on. With a proper marketing campaign, the Internet is an unexplored territory waiting to be conquered.

At Boat Marketing Pros, we strongly believe that every boating business, no matter in which sphere it operates, should have a website and a team of people that will spread their word, attracting more clients than they could have ever dreamed of. Online dominance is developed step-by-step, and there’s a bulletproof strategy that we can create for you.

But first let’s go over some other things…

2. Why is Digital Marketing Important for Boat Dealers?

In order to decide whether or not you need to hire professionals to create your digital marketing campaign, you must first understand why you’d need one at all. We know what you are thinking – “That involves extra costs, and we are already struggling to make ends meet”.

We know how valuable online advertising can be – here it is important to make a distinction. These aren’t paid ads that appear on your Instagram profile once and then disappear. These are carefully planned campaigns that last for months and that provide a cornerstone for your business. Once you push through the starting resistance and get the word out, things become a bit easier, and your voyage to online dominance is more clear.

However, it is essential that you see the value in online advertising,

and how your boat dealership can benefit from such a seemingly unnecessary struggle.

Every boat dealer must engage in digital marketing and here’s why:

  • It is inexpensive
  • It simplifies communication and makes it more personal
  • Your customers are onilne
  • Competition research is crucial
  • It levels out the market for you
  • You get to know your target audience
  • Customizability
  • Analytics

It is Inexpensive

The reality is that boat dealers aren’t bathing in money. They do a lot of work – from selling their boats and dealing with supply and demand, to keeping their boats in check. There’s also a ton of paperwork and sometimes unsatisfied customers to deal with.

On top of that, they should also take care of digital marketing just because it is a trendy thing to do?

Well, the internet marketing campaign for boat dealerships by itself doesn’t cost as much. In fact, advertising online is one of the cheapest ways possible to promote your business. What are you doing right now regarding your ads? How many new customers are you reaching?

The only prerequisite is that you find a good team to conduct your marketing campaign – and Boat Marketing Pros are at your assistance.

Yes, the campaign in itself is a bargain. It will actually surprise you. But you don’t know if you’d be taking a risk by working with a marketing agency, or if it will pay off. We will talk later about that.

Simplifies Communication and Makes it More Personal

With so many messenger and social media apps, communication has never been easier. You can talk to people from the other side of the globe as if you are right next to each other. Having set everything up, your potential customers can ask you questions regarding your services before they buy a boat.

They might send you emails, ask you questions on Facebook, respond to your activities, and actually share your content, leading you to reach more and more potential customers.

By setting up a communication system between you and your clients and being polite to everyone, you will add extra value to what you already do. Once you meet them in person and when they come to buy a boat, you will feel as if you already know them. More importantly, they will trust that you will provide a top-notch experience. All of that goes from a simple “hi” that pops up in your inbox.

A smooth conversation is definitely another box checked in towards online dominance.

Your Customers are Online

You are missing so much if you don’t establish your website with everything revolving around it. Even if your dealership is well-developed, how many new customers do you get, unrelated to those you already have? Probably not much, or none at all.

That’s why you need to tap into the online world. “I found your page on the Internet so I wanted to ask you…”, “Hey, I saw your website looks pretty good… How much…”, “On your Facebook page, it says that…

These are the kinds of messages you will get. Of course, not all of them will come to you personally, buy a boat, and take it for a ride. It is not a small investment to consider.

In fact, the number of conversions after initial contact isn’t as high as you might think. Nevertheless, you are still a winner if only one person buys.

First of all if they are satisfied with what they purchased. They will recommend you to someone else, which is a big deal if you are new in a boat dealership community. Secondly, there’s always a chance that you meet skillful people and you never know when you could strike up a new partnership.

Competition Research is Crucial

In other fields, competition can be spread worldwide, but this isn’t really a case in the marine industry. Let’s say you run a dealership and you have a certain market you are selling your boats to. Also, let’s say you have loyal customers.

The competitors are doing the same thing, but if they cannot find a certain boat, you would recommend someone else to them – even your biggest competitor. Even though you might not make a sale, you are honest to your clients and they will remember it.

Now how are things changing if you’re after online dominance?

What do you unlock online?

Based on the gathered information, websites, social media profiles, ranks of their blogs and other little nuances, you can see how people run their businesses. What do they offer as a business that your business does not? What do you like and what do you dislike?

In other words, you can grab inspiration and alter your approach. Also, you can realize what their internet campaign is like – what they do regularly, how they talk with customers, etc. This could help you immensely in taking your business to the next level.

It Levels Out the Market For You

One of the crucial segments of digital marketing is that it gives smaller dealerships a chance to compete with the big fish. When a campaign is run by professionals who know what they are doing, they can help a smaller business rank well in search engines, competing with the best of the best!

Of course, we need to take into consideration some factors such as the budget the dealerships have, not only for boats and equipment but for agencies to outsource their business to. Undeniably, the larger the company is, the more they can set aside for someone trustworthy to run their marketing campaigns. However, a big budget doesn’t always mean a well-put-together campaign.

We already said that a campaign by itself isn’t as pricey. These tools used to only be available to big brands, but now they are at everyone’s disposal to use.

Get To Know Your Target Audience

Low angle view of smiling man sitting on yacht boom

By conducting online surveys and interacting with people digitally, you will start to comprehend who your target audience is. If you’ve been in this business for a while, you probably already know your audience. For example, men are typically more interested in fishing than women, and they are more often middle-aged. Tap into the unknown and you may get some interesting answers from younger folk as well.

This could help you expand your boat dealership. By adding more fishing boats to your fleet, you will attract more people and that will convert in more sales.

This is where online engagement proves to be beneficial. Instead of shooting blindly, you can survey people first and see what they would like to do or see more of. Once you get the response, it becomes much easier to act. You can rest assured that you will not throw that money away for no reason.

Customizability

It is important for boat dealers to decide what they want to achieve. Not everyone wants to scale up – growing and expanding isn’t always the goal. There are many factors to consider. For example, if you focus too much on bringing in new customers, and it actually works, soon you might realize that you are missing a lot of models that people are looking for.

Boat dealing is a specific business and you need a balanced approach to grow. First of all, make sure that the brick-and-mortar part of your company functions well before you kick it up a notch and set up that online dominance.

In addition to that, a lot of small boat dealers aren’t ready to invest too much in such campaigns, and that is completely understandable. For them, having a website might be enough, just so they can refer your clients to something if they ask for it.

Of course this is far from the ideal situation, but it is still better than nothing. It fits your budget and it works, so there’s no reason to complain.

The boat dealerships need to evaluate the situation before they hire an agency to work on their sites and SEO (and other segments such as a mobile responsive website, for instance). Once everybody is on the same page, there shouldn’t be any problems when it comes to reaching that goal.

Analytics

Last but not least, you will be able to use analytics. Marine industry digital experts are going to assist you with reading and analyzing the analytics at first, and they will create a plan for your next steps. However, the agencies will not stick around forever, and eventually, you will need to learn this by yourself.

Once you learn how to read and analyze data, you can make your moves online, maintain everything, and go forward bravely. That, of course, depends on your goals. The analytics on Google are pretty advanced, but nothing that cannot be mastered. It takes some effort at first but it will come naturally later on.

We could talk about the benefits of digital marketing for boat dealerships forever, but this is where we will stop because up to this point, you hopefully realized the importance of online advertising.

This is where Boat Marketing Pros comes in!

Boats in a marina

3. Boat Marketing Pros – How Do We Tie In?

Boat Marketing Pros is a small team of digital marketing experts that operate specifically within the marine industry. You can read the About Us segment on our website. It is pretty short – but it’s cool to know our history.

What we’ve realized while working with different clients is that generally speaking, boat dealerships and other kinds of businesses are not as active online, and there’s a lot of room to maneuver, even for those who are starting from scratch. So how do you become dominant online?

Our aim is to help you establish the online dominance you deserve. It takes some time to get the ball rolling on the Internet, but with a professional digital marketing agency, you avoid the trial and error part. This will reduce the time it will take to actually see the benefits of online advertising – drastically.

While every company is unique, the industry is the same. We’ve already walked the walk – we ran into problems and solved them. Each campaign is unique, but with the help of our experts, there’s nothing to be afraid of.

We will help you with the following:

  • Website Solutions with Inventory Management
  • SEO
  • PPC Marketing and Email Marketing
  • Social Media Management
  • ADA Compliance
  • Retargeting

Website Solutions with Inventory Management

With today’s online tools and WordPress, everybody can set up a website in just a few hours. But there’s so much more to it. Creating a website that is optimized is tricky. Putting that website on the map is complicated – truth be told, a lot of websites remain invisible.

Moreover, boat dealership websites are different from regular sites for several reasons. Keeping everything transparent is crucial and the potential customers must see your fleet. Therefore, having boat images as well as model names together with clear pricing is a must.

The website also needs to be maintained. There is a matter of hosting and web design, too. A lot of problems can emerge with each of these segments, but if the website is properly set up, issues, which are bound to happen sooner or later, aren’t as grave and they can be solved more easily. That’s why we recommend you have a skillful team by your side.

Our professionals will deal with inventory management as well. The website is a crucial point for your dealership, and without it, no online dominance can be achieved.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

One of the big words in the online world, no matter what you do, is SEO. Search Engine Optimization is crucial when it comes to ranking your website in search engines such as Google. You’d think that when people type in “boat dealer” or “boat dealership” your website would come up right away, but things aren’t that simple.

Researching competitive keywords is essential and we find ones that aren’t as generic. The SEO for boating dealerships is a bit specific and it cannot be done by just any agency.

So, who better to find than Boat Marketing Pros who secure online dominance and are familiar with the niche?

PPC Marketing and Newsletters

What’s the use of a website and even a well-ranked website if you cannot offer your services to the people who are interested in those? We will need to actively advertise your boating company through different forms of marketing such as email advertising, and pay-per-click (PPC) ads, as they prove to be quite effective for any company in the marine industry, including rentals, clubs and manufacturers.

PPC advertising is a great way to earn money online and a step forward to achieving online dominance.

There’s also email marketing – more specifically, newsletters.

Email Marketing is highly-viewed with the advertisers as it has a large ROI and it is pretty effective. Sending newsletters to your subscribers from a mailing list will keep them informed about the promotions, deals, new boats that you have for sale, etc.

Not only do you keep in touch with your customers, but you increase the chance of them coming to you in person, looking for a specific model.

You don’t want to spam the people who accept the newsletter – timing is another crucial component here that many people forget about. Last but not least, automating the process will free up a lot of time. You can let us deal with this instead.

The combination of PPC ads and newsletters proved to be the most effective for boating dealerships, so we really focus on that.

Social Media Management

It is impossible to imagine a world without social media today. It has reshaped the world we live in and many people consider it to be toxic. However, let’s not discuss the pros and cons because that is not the point.

The fact is that people are revisiting social networks multiple times a day. Most of the younger generation turn to social networks as news outlets and gather all their information there. Another fact is that companies invest a lot of time creating successful pages. It is fair to point out that you don’t have to use all of them.

For the boat dealerships, having different accounts on social media in 2020 is crucial. So, getting on board there could prove to be a game-changer.

One sub-aspect of social media is reviews.

You can do whatever it takes to tell people that your dealership is the best when it comes to a range of boats you sell, as well as the gear you have to offer. We can do all it takes to make the best boat dealer website out there. Self-promotion, while completely acceptable if you ask us, is something people see every day. It is completely ok to speak up what you do, especially if you do it well.

But, there’s always a dose of skepticism in all of us…

We turn to others for opinions. Preferably, our friends, family, and people we can trust. Someone who has already bought a boat can tell us all about their experience and we will accept it. However, while searching online, people don’t have anyone in their surroundings who can assist them with this.

So, they look for reviews.

They trust reviews. Buying a boat is not a small investment. Some people go all out just to get their hands on one. If they are disappointed, you risk them leaving a bad review online, changing minds of potential future buyers.

At Boat Marketing Pros, we fully understand the significance of reviews online. Because of that, we are going to help you build your reputation and keep an immaculate image! Online dominance cannot be achieved if you have poor reviews.

This aspect is something that is often forgotten by boat dealers, especially those that have a larger number of customers. They often forget about a disappointed client who, for smaller businesses, can turn out to be lethal.

ADA Compliance

Let’s assume you do all these things by yourself. You build a website, you run it, maintain it, and you do the advertising. You are basically replacing an entire marketing company by yourself. Then, you receive a lawsuit and you have to pay a massive sum of money.

Why? It is because your website isn’t ADA compliant. Boating dealers receive fees if these things don’t adhere to the standards. While the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law in 1990, ADA compliance for websites is a fairly new concept.

You need to provide the best service to all citizens and potential customers, regardless of their disabilities. This is another aspect you can cross off your list if you decide to work with us on your digital business and gain online dominance. We code websites to be ADA compliant from the get-go.

As you can see, our services cover the entire playing field of digital marketing for boat dealers.

Retargeting

With this amazing tool, you can motivate people who have already visited your site, to take action. By doing this, you can increase your sales by a few percent.

4. What Else Should You Know About Boat Marketing Pros?

With over 15 years of experience in the marine industry, we have managed to gain a lot of knowledge. Like any reliable marketing agency, we are constantly improving. We keep following the boat dealer trends in different parts of the world so that we can best utilize them and transfer them into an online world.

Furthermore, receiving testimonials from the companies we helped is something we fully value. We have worked with wonderful people and are thankful for those moments.

Stick with Our Clients

Once we seal the deal, we will see it through. A lot of marketing agencies set things up and then leave the clients at sea. However, we keep track of everything and regularly send updates necessary for you to proceed. Furthermore, we deal with the maintenance of your website and solve problems as they emerge.

We will see it through. It may take months. It can take years. But you can rest assured that we will not leave you stranded.

Share Our Knowledge

One of the things we pride on is the information we put out there. The best thing about it is that the information is free!

We are not one of those companies that keeps all they know to themselves. We genuinely hope that we could help boat dealerships across the country through our blogs, podcasts, and case studies.

Even if you don’t want us to help you with your business digitally, you are always welcome to revisit our website and social media to learn about the best digital marketing practices for the marine industry.  Podcasts are extremely valuable. We talk about the marine industry in general, as well as specific problems and trends within the niche. We are in this world together.

5. Sun Sets on the Horizon but the New Day is In Front of Us

Sunset behind clouds over the ocean

This sunny day at the docks has come to an end as we bring this article to a close.

All ashore!

Hopefully, we managed to give you a glimpse of hope by sharing our knowledge about the best digital marketing practices in the marine industry. None of us should be afraid of what’s coming, as the future looks bright, and the sea is calm. The sales will rise, with your skills and will power, and our help with reaching online dominance.

This is beneficial to us all, but there are some pitfalls you must avoid. With the increased demand for boat purchases, the number of boating dealers will rise. They will try to beat you in the digital field, but with us by your side, you will get ahead of the competition and set up online dominance.

We clearly outlined the benefits of digital marketing, various aspects of it, and what you would be missing out on if you decided to turn a blind eye to these new technologies. It is a whole other world that invites you inside and there’s no reason for you to wait.

We showed you our philosophy, our goals, and what we offer, and we also made strong points of why Boat Marketing Pros is the best choice for any type of boating dealer, rental or a boat club looking to create a dominant online presence for their boating business.

It is time to part ways, but if you want to receive further information or you are ready to start working on your digital boating empire, get in touch with Boat Marketing Pros today. Call 888-928-4587 or click “Contact Us” from the menu on our website.

Published: September 01,2020
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