Marine retail is subject to extreme highs and lows every year, thanks to the peaks and valleys that come with the changes in seasons. Because of the up-and-down nature of their industry, dealers have to maximize revenue in a relatively short window, so it serves their interest to expand their reach as much as possible.
This makes sense as marine dealerships are, in most places, far less common than, say, automotive dealerships. An automotive dealer’s potential territory from which to draw possible customers is considerably larger, and that means your marketing strategies should be designed accordingly: not hyperlocal, but regional or even more significant.
So, if you were to stop and review your marketing strategy right now, would it reflect the need for a big reach? It might seem obvious, but there are some critical tactics to reaching a broader audience over a larger geographic area that, if you don’t execute them right, will leave your marketing performance suboptimal.
Let’s look at a few aspects of this kind of marketing to make sure your dealership is reaching as far as it can in targeting potential buyers.
Don’t Limit Your Notions of Who’s a Buyer
We can reasonably narrow down the typical marine buyer to some pretty accurate customer profiles. Simply buying a boat, Jet Ski, or personal watercraft in the first place implies a certain level of disposable income, and you can narrow down who constitutes the typical buyer even further based on location, employment info, etc.
However, it would be wise not to limit your targeting too much based on preconceived notions about who is and isn’t likely to buy. For every two customers who match expectations, there will be someone who walks through your door with a background that surprises you, hence the need to keep a broader audience in mind when marketing for significant reach.
As a marine dealer, it’s best to pull as many different types of customers into your base as possible, more so than dealers in some other industries who can afford to keep their targeting localized.
Think about how your products can appeal to people with a diverse array of interests beyond just those who are looking to buy the newest Everglades model.
Attribution – that is, figuring out which of your marketing channels to credit specific leads to always matters, but its importance is magnified when marketing with big reach in mind.
Why? Because when marketing over a large area to a broad audience, your ads will trend towards the simple end of the content spectrum, making them very hit or miss depending on how dynamic and relevant you can make that content.
When you do have a message that performs well under such circumstances, that’s going to translate to huge ROI by moving a lot of potential customers from a diverse audience over a large area further down your funnel. Knowing which ads perform to that standard and which don’t is crucial to getting the most out of your marketing dollars.
Thankfully, digital is an inherently attribution-friendly marketing channel and is quickly becoming the go-to for marketing at all levels ─ even though a healthy media mix is still recommended.
Let Your Customers Do the Work for You
It turns out that one of the most valuable commodities you have in maximizing your marketing reach is a resource you can leverage for little to no cost – your existing customers!
If you do the following, you should feel confident that you have existing customers who are ready and willing to go to bat for your business:
- Deliver a great product
- Deliver a great experience
- Deliver great, continuing service
Now, how exactly do you leverage this resource? There are plenty of ways. Offer incentives for customer referrals. Engage with your audience on social media to build rapport and offer additional value (such as useful or interesting content). Ask for testimonials.
The point is, every satisfied customer who’s willing to go on the record recommending your business is a massive boost to your word-of-mouth recognition and your reputation. That’s incredibly valuable as your budget could be spread thin over a large area.
More than many other similar industries, marine retail is suited to marketing with an emphasis on a significant reach to a diverse audience over a large geographic area.
So, make today the day you review your own marketing strategy. Does it reflect a need for big reach? If not, start implementing these principles and get more bang for your marketing buck.