Before we launched the ARI/MRAA Digital Marketing Master Series last month, we surveyed the MRAA membership to get a better understanding of the digital marketing savvy of the average marine dealer. The survey exposed two areas where marine dealers are lagging behind other retail industries.
But before I dive into areas for improvement, I’ll start with the good news. Seventy-seven percent of dealers ranked digital marketing as extremely important to their business and another 22 percent said it was somewhat important to the success of their businesses.
While the results of our second question show dealers are engaged with many of the digital marketing channels that can drive traffic to their websites and ultimately to their showrooms, we see one large gap. Only 18 percent of marine dealers are incorporating a blog into their digital marketing strategy. Why should you bother blogging? Want more website visitors and more leads? Those are two main reasons to start blogging. Need more reasons? Check out this blog post from the in-bound marketing pros over at HubSpot on why you should be blogging.
Online customer reviews can have an enormous impact on your dealership’s reputation. A whopping 58 percent of dealers rarely or never monitor their dealership’s reputation online. While hopefully all these dealers are missing out on seeing is rave reviews, one bad review can tarnish your reputation if not handled properly. The easiest way to keep a watchful eye on your online reputation is to setup notifications directly with the most popular review sites including Yelp and Google+, so you’ll receive immediate notification every time you receive a review. In addition, it’s a good practice to setup Google Alerts using your dealership name and its variations as the search terms. That way, you’ll get regular email notifications anytime your dealership is mentioned across the web.
Bob McCann is ARI’s Director of Education. ARI creates award-winning software solutions that help equipment manufacturers, distributors and dealers Sell More Stuff – online and in-store. More than 22,000 equipment dealers, 195 distributors and 140 manufacturers worldwide leverage our website and eCatalog platforms to Sell More Stuff.