The explosion of digital media over the last 30 years has forever transformed our economy and culture. Everything ─ from the way people shop to the way retailers reach out to potential customers ─ now takes place through a digital channel.

You know what else has exploded in popularity over roughly the same time frame? The recreational vehicle (RV) industry. A combination of friendly economic conditions, a wave of retiring baby boomers, and millennials who prioritize experiences outside the routines of daily life — particularly outdoor activities — have driven RVs to new heights of popularity.

Aside from the obvious reasons for optimism, this development has implications for you and your RV dealership. For one, when was the last time you reevaluated how you market RVs?

The uninitiated might assume that marketing RVs isn’t so different from marketing cars or trucks. But, dealers know that RVs feature unique selling points – longevity, space, comfort, convenience – that are distinct from any other vehicle class.

Circling back to the explosion of digital media, though, there is one way that marketing RVs should look a lot like marketing any other class of vehicle, or many other unrelated products for that matter: your approach to digital marketing.

Why should digital marketing look the same across so many industries? Because there are proven basics that apply no matter who you are, what you’re selling, or who you’re selling to. There are just certain ways to get digital marketing right, and infinite ways to get it wrong.

RVs are no different, and in the digital age, it pays to get this right. With a foundation rooted in the basics, you can then play off the unique value of the product you’re selling to customized audiences. So, let’s revisit your approach and see: are you getting the basics of digital RV marketing right?

The Basics

What are the basics? They can be broken down into a few key concepts:

  • Targeted messaging and delivery
  • A top-notch website
  • A sensible and consistent social presence

That’s really it! Seem too simple? Well, it’s true that many different factors fall under these umbrella concepts, but if you keep coming back to them as your starting point for every choice and decision, you’ll stay on the right track.

Targeted messaging and delivery is probably the most obvious value that a digital format provides in terms of reaching new and existing customers. This means leaning on customer and demographic information to understand the specific needs of those customers you currently have as well as those you hope to attract, and tailoring your offers and specials to draw them in.

Delivery can vary from paid search and display campaigns to email, which still enjoys sky-high engagement and conversion rates. A mix of all of the above is best (email also works great in tandem with a direct mail campaign). The great thing about digital media is delivery is vastly cheaper than physical media.

When you do draw people in, what kind of website are they clicking through to? Your site needs to go beyond barely functional and should feature easy-to-use navigation, quick loading times, accurate and up-to-date inventory data, and lead incentives that capture critical customer info while encouraging customers to come to the store in person.

Also, don’t underestimate the importance of optimizing your site for mobile, as over half of your site visitors will likely be using a mobile device. Nothing loses these people faster than having to pinch, zoom, and endlessly scroll their way through a hard-to-read website.

Finally, use a consistent social media presence to boost your brand, create effective and engaging ad campaigns, and position your dealership not just as a place where people can buy an RV, but as a valued contributor to the community.

Beyond its targeting capabilities, social serves as the ideal place to build your reputation by highlighting philanthropic outreach and initiatives, sharing feel-good stories from customers who are living their best lives in an RV you sold them, and advancing causes that matter to you and your employees.

Conclusion

Marketing an RV is distinctly different from marketing any other class of vehicle, but there’s one area where the same set of basics holds true: digital marketing.

It’s time to reevaluate your approach to marketing your RVs online. Are you getting the basics right?