Guide your customers through the path to purchase

By Lauren Labunsky

The “customer journey” and what it looks like in today’s world has become a hot topic as marketing has become more and more focused on digital strategy. Websites have begun to replace in-store visits as a customer’s first experience with a business. If you have a well-designed responsive website with regularly updated content and inventory, you’ve got the customer’s first impression down. But what happens with those website visitors after that first visit?

In person, it would be easy for someone on your sales team to see the types of boats a customer is browsing in your store. They would likely ask you questions related to your in-stock units, which would give you a better understanding of what they were looking for. None of this is possible with your online showroom – your website – without Marketing Automation. These unknown factors make it difficult to help a prospect and encourage them to follow through with a boat purchase.

Marketing Automation takes the blindfold away. It gives you as the dealer eyes to see the actions and intentions behind each online prospect who would otherwise be anonymous. It starts with an identification and tracking process for each website visitor once they fill out a form on your site. Not only does this immediately match each unknown visitor to key information like name and email address, but it also shows you the actions that the person has taken that relate to your site – pages visited, units clicked on, emails opened – as well as the frequency of those actions. This gives you insight into how serious a prospect may be about a purchase.

In that vein, another key aspect of Marketing Automation is Lead Scoring. Based on rules that you set, each website visitor (lead) is assigned a score that indicates how serious they are about purchasing and how high of a priority they should be in terms of sales outreach. Let’s say that your dealership highly values responses to your marketing emails – a lead who hits “reply” will go up in score by 20 points. This signals to your sales team that it’s time to give that lead a call and invite them into the dealership. Some Marketing Automation providers even make it possible to send automated text message notifications to sales team members when a lead hits a certain score, eliminating the chance of any wasted time in following up.  

Marketing Automation also helps guide customers by lead nurturing through email marketing campaigns. Automation makes it possible to send only content that is personalized and relevant to each lead based on the actions they’ve taken on your site. Email marketing can help in post-sale and encourage repeat customers too – service reminders, trade-in opportunities, and sales on similar units can all contribute to the continuation of a customer’s journey.

Considering how advanced digital marketing strategy can be, it makes sense that advanced tools are needed to work alongside it. Marketing Automation makes your job easier, taking the mystery away from each prospective customer. It enables you to provide logical ways to help prospects move along their unique path to purchase.

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 or call 800-288-5917.

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