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2013 Best Digital Strategy: Marine Connection

Best Digital Strategy

Marine Connection
West Palm Beach, Fla.

There’s no doubt that digital media has permeated our lives. A recent eMarketer study found the average U.S. adult spends more than five hours a day using digital devices for non-voice functions, and as we know, the Internet is the first place many go when looking to make a big-ticket purchase.

That’s why it’s more important than ever to have a strong digital strategy, and Marine Connection has proven it does. The southeast Florida dealership, with three locations, has excelled in digital promotion, and it has done so with marketing efforts that originate in-house.

Marine Connection’s presence starts with its impressive website that, along with a backend inventory planning system, the dealership built itself. MarineConnection.com touts the company as “South Florida’s #1 boat dealer,” “#1 Hurricane Boat Dealer in Florida,” and “South Florida’s Exclusive Rinker boats dealer,” catching a customer’s attention from the start. It highlights the dealership’s boat brands, with lifestyle photos from each line it carries. Inventory is also easy to find, with five featured boats — from those more affordable to higher-end vessels, and from new to used — displayed prominently on the homepage near the full inventory locator.

Inventory listings also include clear pricing (when available), detailed specs and information and numerous photos (with one pre-owned unit recently featuring 115). Buttons to “Ask a Question” or “Get Pre-Approved” are easy to find.

And Facebook, Twitter and YouTube links are always visible at the top of every navigable page.

Those social media sites are also where Marine Connection impresses its audience. With more than 1,100 Facebook fans and more than 1,400 Twitter followers, Marine Connection provides its customers with a variety of photos and videos. The content not only promotes sales but also showcases deliveries in and out of the dealership, demonstrates new models and celebrates the boating lifestyle.

Many of the videos that appear on Marine Connection’s Facebook and Twitter pages are those that come directly from the dealership’s YouTube channel. YouTube is an area where Marine Connection particularity shines. New in-house videos are posted every few months, at a minimum. Sixteen have been posted in the past eleven months. Most videos are walkaround reviews of new or pre-owned boats in the dealership. Nearly all of them have at least a few hundred views, many have thousands, and the top view-getter has nearly 27,000 hits. In total, the MarineConnection.com YouTube channel has more than 700 subscribers and a shocking 1.5 million-plus views.

Marine Connection's Twitter account

Marine Connection's Twitter account

To produce the best videos and photos possible, the dealership in 2012 updated its cameras, filters, Steadicams and software.

Marine Connection also reaches out to other sites to generate online traffic. The dealership pays for banner ads on BoatTrader.com and several boating forums. Striving for top ranking on Google, it also pays for Adwords, introduces fresh content to its website often and performs search engine optimization (SEO) services in-house.

But Marine Connection doesn’t only choose these tactics and hope they work. Instead, the dealership carefully tracks analytics to measure ROI. Using Google Analytics measured weekly, staff can pinpoint exactly what source drove a customer to MarineConnection.com. Using unique, easy-to-remember URLs on TV commercials, Marine Connection can even track through the Internet how potential customers are receiving TV ads. And with all the recent efforts, MarineConnection.com traffic has increased steadily since July 2010.

Marine Connection has made it clear that it is making an impact with digital marketing, and the dealership shows no signs of slowing down.


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