A few years ago, dealership marketers may only have considered traditional marketing vs. digital marketing on a desktop computer. They might have expanded their reach with digital by emailing an advertisement instead of printing flyers, or creating graphics to promote a sale on their dealership’s Facebook page. Today, the digital landscape has expanded on a huge scale, and it’s not enough to simply create a digital version of your traditional marketing pieces. Customers are spending more time than ever online, and they’re not just using computers. As a marine retailer, the rise of Internet use on mobile devices should be a main focus of your marketing efforts.
To simplify things, there are three basic steps to take to assure that your marketing efforts are mobile-friendly.
- With smartphone and/or tablet in hand, consumers today are constantly on the go, and they take information with them. It’s easy, quick, and convenient for people to research boats and boat accessories on their mobile devices before visiting a dealership like yours to make the purchase. To meet your consumers where they are online, your dealership needs to be present everywhere that customers may be visiting. This includes visibility on search engines, business pages set up on social media platforms, accounts on third party review sites – essentially all consumer-facing touchpoints. This is the first step.
- Second, it is reasonable to imagine that a prospective boat customer would first search online for dealerships in their area. Is your dealership optimized for search? Not only in terms of SEO, but have you also invested in paid advertisements that reach online users in your target audience? Consider the amount of screen space your prospect sees when they search via mobile. There’s only enough room on a smartphone screen to show the top few results, so without proper optimization your listing will be lost.
- It’s very important to optimize your business listings for search engine map results. Make sure the location and contact information provided on search engines as well as any third-party site is consistent and accurate. Not only is it important to your ranking, but prospects who want to visit your dealership will rely on this information when they are out and about.
- Third – a responsive website that is fully operable and easy to navigate on mobile is crucial. If customers are not able to find what they are looking for on your site due to a non-responsive platform, they’ll move onto the next dealership to find what they need instead. Also important to consider – Google's Mobile-First Index, which gives websites optimized for mobile ranking priority over sites that are not. Responsive websites are more important than ever before.
Some marketers seem to have trouble connecting the dots with customers’ digital behavior, and many don’t recognize the high occurrence of in-store sales that happen as result. It’s necessary to be ready for those mobile moments that customers have with your dealership. With 84% of consumers searching for reviews, ratings, or price comparisons via mobile and over half of offline sales influenced by mobile activity, this is not something for boat dealers to brush aside.
It’s true that consumers are making the final buying decision on a boat in-store – it’s a huge purchase, both financially and literally. But dealership marketers cannot forget the mobile moments that lead to an in-store visit. In today’s world, mobile-focused marketing strategies are necessary for success in offline sales.
Lauren Labunsky is the public relations manager for Dealer Spike, a company that provides innovative websites as well as a suite of powerful online advertising solutions that help marine dealers help increase sales and service profitability. For more information, visit www.DealerSpikeMarine.com or call 800-288-5917.