Lori Stacy, CEO Trader Interactive

Marketing to Current Marine Customers

5 Tips to Help Your Dealership Succeed in Marketing to Existing Customers from Boatline

By Lori Stacy, CEO of Trader Interactive

Today’s consumer buying environment is more competitive than ever, which is why retaining loyal customers is key. To keep up in this space, you may have to adjust current marketing strategies to better appeal to your existing marine consumers.

Here are five tips to help your dealership succeed in today’s digital marketing landscape and remain top of mind with consumers.

1. Personalize the Buying Experience

Now more than ever, customers are seeking a personalized buying experience from dealers, both in person and online. In fact, a 2017 Epsilon survey found that among respondents ages 18-64, 80 percent indicated that they’re more likely to do business with a company if it offers personalized experiences. Tailored buying experiences can be used throughout a shopper’s buying journey, from start to finish, to better retain existing customers.

Start by reaching out to current customers for their feedback. This can come in the form of online reviews, incentivized surveys and more. For example, Boatline recently surveyed marine consumers about electric boats, who let us know that the most effective marketing strategies to overcome their reluctance around electric boats would be hearing electric boat owner testimonials (43 percent) and reading informative articles (42 percent).

When used effectively, this feedback can optimize your sales tactics and customer service efforts. You can also create personalized promotions based on the information you collect from in-person and online shoppers, as they browse your dealership’s website. Use this feedback to analyze the most popular brands and types of watercrafts that your consumers are interested in to create more effective marketing and promotional campaigns.

Lori Stacy, CEO Trader Interactive
Lori Stacy

2. Establish a Loyalty Program

If you have consistent buyers, reward them for their loyalty to your dealership. According to research from Bond, 79 percent of consumers say loyalty programs make them more likely to continue doing business with brands. Some of the most effective loyalty programs use a tiered system, allowing customers to receive rewards depending on how much they spend at your dealership. These rewards can range from discounts on service offerings to free gifts and related marine products. The more they buy, the bigger reward they’ll receive.

As you roll out your own loyalty program, make sure the language is clear for customers to easily understand. Too much fine print could decrease interest. You can promote your loyalty program to customers in person and in any sales or service collateral, such as online ads and email newsletters.

3. Develop Quality Content

Content is king in marketing, and producing engaging and quality content can set your dealership apart and keep your customers interested. This content can range anywhere from blog posts to videos to podcasts.

Blog articles are a great, free way to add content to your dealership’s website. In fact, companies with blogs generate an average of 67 percent more monthly leads than companies that don’t blog. Write about topics that are helpful to marine shoppers, such as new model releases or maintenance guidelines. Blog posts don’t need to be too long to see results. For a sampling of marine blog posts, check out Boatline’s blog.

The written word isn’t the only medium you can use to create quality content. Capture the attention of your existing customers by adding video walkarounds to your inventory listings. This allows shoppers to get an up-close look at for-sale inventory that could be theirs. You can also use video to promote your current sales and promotional campaigns, as well as offerings from your service department.

4. Use Social Media Platforms

Social media is an excellent way to reach consumers in a way that’s convenient to them. Consumers of all ages, from 16 to 64, spend anywhere from one to three hours a day on social media. If you haven’t already, create a social media page for your dealership. Facebook tends to be the easiest for dealers to manage and, according to the PEW Research Center, social media users in the U.S. spend more time on Facebook than any of the other popular platforms.

Maintaining your dealership’s social media pages allows you to spotlight your inventory, gather insights on your shoppers/followers, monitor your competition, and interact directly with your buyers. Some of the most engaging types of social media content includes contests and polls, videos and customer testimonials. You can also use your social media pages to share your blog and video content and respond directly to customers if they have questions.

5. Create Dynamic Email Campaigns

Even with all the new forms of communication emerging, email marketing is tried and true. In 2019, the average person spent about 143 minutes per day checking their personal email. Email is still a primary form of communication and serves as a great way to reach consumers and promote your inventory.

Boatline email marketing guide

Start by creating a database of existing customers and any leads you’ve been collecting. It can be helpful to divide your consumer base into two lists — current and prospective customers — so you can implement email campaigns that best fit their needs. Make sure your emails contain valuable content that keeps subscribers interested and engaged. Share your blog posts and videos, service offerings and inventory listings with your email subscribers.

To boost your email marketing efforts, use an email service provider (ESP). ESPs offer software that helps you create, develop and implement your email marketing strategies. When choosing an ESP, you should consider the following:

  • Size of your consumer base
  • Amount of support you’ll need
  • Email templates and other features
  • Reporting and statistics

If you’d like to learn more about developing and executing successful email marketing campaigns, download Boatline’s Email Marketing Guide. In this guide, you’ll learn how to grow your customer lists, write eye-catching subject lines and text, understand the stats in an email report, and more.

As you can see, there are several ways to build your dealership’s brand and retain current customers in an increasingly competitive marketplace. With the help of these marketing tips, along with Boatline’s Email Marketing Guide, your dealership will be increasing customer loyalty and generating more sales in no time.

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About Boatline

Boatline partners with dealerships to help sell new and pre-owned inventory on their dynamic online marketplace. Boatline is a division of Trader Interactive and belongs to the well-known “Trader” family of brands, with decades of experience connecting buyers and sellers of lifestyle and commercial vehicles. Listing inventory through Boatline helps dealers increase their visibility, generate customer connections, drive sales, and maximize profits. For more information visit Boatmediakit.com.