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Florida marine trade association launches own grow boating effort

By Brent Renneke

During the downturn, the Southwest Florida Marine Industries Association produced a commercial aimed at growing boating in the area. The only missing ingredient was a call to action and a place to send viewers, so the association created GoBoatingFlorida.com.

First launched in October, the website has since grown into a one-stop resource for prospective southwest Florida boaters, who can learn about boating destinations, boating businesses and events in the area.

The website has become more developed during the last six months, and today the association is running 30-, 15- and 10-second advertising spots directing traffic to it, said John Good, director of member services for the association.

The commercial is patterned after the National Marine Manufacturers Association’s Grow Boating commercial, and Good said it was a visit by Carl Blackwell, vice president of marketing and communications for NMMA, that started the momentum for both the commercial and website.

“We are very proud because we don’t feel there are a lot of associations out there really promoting both the industry and the association like we are doing,” Good said.

The site’s main function is to drive business to the association’s members, who are featured in the directory and event calendar, according to Good. He says that as his group continues to develop the site, members will see increased benefits, eventually attracting more marine businesses to join the association.

“It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, the value of our membership grows exponentially because they are seeing those benefits,” Good said.

Still in its early stages, Good said three marine companies have started advertising on the site, with three more companies in the process of signing on.

The website will add a “Marketplace” section in the future where member businesses will be able to post sales and special activities on the website, according to Good.

Currently, Good said many of the participating businesses are located in Lee County, so a short-term goal is to grow featured businesses from neighboring Collier and Charlotte Counties.

GoBoatingFlorida.com’s Facebook page launched 10 days ago and currently has more than 500 likes. Good said the association hopes to work with convention and visitor bureaus in southwest Florida to further both the site and social media’s outreach.

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