When it comes to online marketing, boat dealers often feel like a fish out of water. Selling boats requires a completely different skill set than marketing services online. Terms like SEO, link building, and inbound marketing sound intimidating and confusing.
Yet in today’s digital world, online marketing is an important part of a boat dealer’s job. Everyone turns to the Internet first when they are looking for information, products, or services. You want these potential customers to find your website, browse your inventory, and contact you—not a competitor.
By using proven online marketing strategies, you can improve your boat sales. These methods will give you a cost-effective way to reach your target audience, improve your online presence, and grow your business.
On this page, we will discuss boat dealer marketing, how to generate boat sales leads online, and why online marketing is the best way to reach your goals. If you want to learn more, keep reading, and give us a call at 888-601-5359.
Why is Internet marketing important for boat dealers?
The web has become our primary means of seeking out information. The age of the Yellow Pages and other traditional media is dead. These days, everyone has a Facebook page and an email address, and the younger generation uses the Internet almost exclusively to communicate. Your boat selling business needs to be where your customers are, and that means making a big push online.
It’s also important to note that Internet marketing has given boat dealers (as well as other business owners) an extraordinary opportunity to reach their customers at a reduced cost than traditional advertising, and in ways that result in a higher ROI. Marketing methods like search engine optimization, content marketing, social media, and email marketing allow boat sellers to communicate directly with those interested in buying a boat, rather than plastering a billboard along the highway or paying for ineffective direct mail advertising. With these new methods, you can send finely targeted messages—and more closely track the responses.
Here are a few online marketing ideas you can use to improve the reach of your boat dealership online, attract more potential customers, and grow your business.
1. Optimize your website for searches with SEO
When you go to a search engine like Google and type in a word, sentence, or question, the site returns a long list of sites it believes are most relevant to your query. The higher a website appears in those search results, the more likely it is someone will click on it.
The goal of SEO, or search engine optimization, is to boost a website to the top of those results when someone searches for a relevant term. You can use SEO to rank higher in searches for terms like “boat dealer” or “boats for sale.”
In addition, you can incorporate geographic information that makes it easier for people in your area to find your business and make a purchase.
For example, you can include your address, phone number, maps, and images. You can also claim your Google My Business listing and update your profile with key information about your boat dealership. This will help you to attract a more targeted, local audience.
SEO relies on a proven combination of techniques, including:
- Incorporating high-ranking keywords into the content on your site
- Updating your site frequently to ensure fresh content
- Getting links to your site from other high-quality sites
And that’s just the beginning. SEO can be very complex, but you can read our SEO tutorial for beginners to learn more about why it’s important and how to incorporate all the SEO factors that matter into your website to rank better in searches.
2. Create PPC campaigns
With pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, you can select the keywords and phrases you want to trigger your advertisements. Then, if your bids are among the highest, your ads will display above organic listings for targeted keywords and phrases related to your business.
One of the main benefits of PPC advertising is that you don’t have to wait for results. Unlike search engine optimization (SEO) campaigns, which can take several weeks before you see results, PPC campaigns can start driving relevant traffic to your website the minute they are clicked to go live.
Additionally, PPC is affordable, and you only pay when people click your advertisements. So if nobody clicks on your ads, you won’t pay a cent.
3. Use email marketing
Email marketing is a great way to keep in contact with prospects and provide them with important information and updates about your business.
You can include opt-in forms on your website and blog and encourage people to sign up to receive your email updates. And you can also encourage people to sign up to receive email updates at in-person events, such as boat shows.
Once you’ve compiled a list of email addresses, you can begin to send updates. For example, you might want to send a monthly newsletter, or you can send a weekly email roundup with the latest information about your industry.
People may not be ready to make a purchase when they start receiving your email updates. However, if you consistently provide helpful information, they will be more likely to keep your business in the front of their minds when they are ready to buy. They may even share your business with friends and family members who are looking to purchase your offerings.
4. Launch a blog
If your website does not already have a blog, it’s time to start one. A blog is a great way to establish your authority on a subject while also making search engines happy. They love to see original content on your site that is updated frequently.
More importantly, your potential customers enjoy reading blogs simply for entertainment. “Boat people” love to learn more about boats. When you can feed them information about something they find fascinating, that helps build the trust that becomes the foundation of your offline relationship. When you begin your sales pitch, you’ll already have their trust and interest because of your blog.
Your blog should not be about selling boats, however. Instead, it should focus more on general topics related to the boating industry, such as boat maintenance or reviews of newly released boats. You’ll want to provide useful and helpful information that will make your company look more trustworthy. In the long run, that will bring you more customers than a hard sell ever will.
5. Start social media accounts
Small businesses are often intimidated by the idea of having to update a social media account. They wonder what they will say and how often they need to post. But no matter what your company sells, it’s important to have multiple social media accounts.
Social media gives you an opportunity to start conversations directly with the people who are interested in what you’re selling: boats. The people who visit your pages may be looking to buy very soon, or they may be doing preliminary research. If you’re present on these networks, you give them an opportunity to ask questions, research your company, and learn more about what you have to offer. This can be the start of a great relationship!
Here’s a rundown on the four main social networks of importance to boat dealers:
- Facebook 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.
- Twitter is the best place to post reminders about upcoming sales, changes in hours of operation, or special events. Think of it as your company’s news page.
- Instagram is the best place to showcase your incredible selection of boats. Use your most attractive pictures here and have fun with filters and hashtags.
- YouTube is the best place to post videos. Take one of your boats out for a spin and record all the special things it can do. Boat devotees will have a blast seeing the capabilities of different models.
6. Improve your website’s content
One great thing about online marketing is that it forces you to examine your website’s content very closely. Sometimes you will realize it can be improved. By writing better content for your website, you can improve your lead generation and get more people to submit contact information.
You can also target the right people online by incorporating your geographic location into your website’s copy. That way, you aren’t wasting your time with leads from California when your boat dealership is in Maine!
Hear What It’s Like to Work With WebFX!
“SEO is a complicated concept, and is, very frequently, a moving target. I think WebFX have done a great job at explaining our goals and how we’re going to meet them.”
Need help creating a customized boat dealer marketing plan?
We hope you found our tips for boat sales marketing helpful. Although this isn’t a comprehensive overview of all the ways that you can promote your boat dealership online, it will certainly help you get started. You can also learn about web design tips for boat dealers, which may help you get a better idea of what your business should be doing to market online.
If you’re overwhelmed by the idea of marketing online, and aren’t sure where you’re going to find the time for all this, we can help. As a full-service Internet marketing company, WebFX offers affordable SEO and Internet marketing plans that can help your company reach more potential customers online, growing your business and improving your customer base significantly.
To find out what WebFX can do for you, just call at 888-601-5359 us or contact us online today. We’ll listen to your needs and marketing goals, and provide you with a no-obligation, completely customized quote designed to take your business to the next level. Feel free to reach out to us at any time — we’d love to hear from you!