Kick off the new year with an end-to-end digital marketing strategy

By Lauren Labunsky

Happy New Year, boat dealers! Many of you likely set goals or made a New Year’s resolution for your business – was digital marketing strategy at the forefront of your mind when you thought about how to help your dealership achieve more success in 2020?

If not, you may want to re-think plans for your business in the new year. Online presence and digital marketing strategy play such a huge role in today’s business climate. These days, it isn’t enough to just have a website for your dealership – in fact, that’s the bare minimum. In order to compete in the marketplace, you need to stand out among a sea of similar dealerships online. How can you do this? By setting up an end-to-end digital marketing strategy for your business.

Having a well-designed, easy-to-navigate, mobile-responsive website is the starting point. Next, you need to think about how interested buyers are finding your site. Eighty-seven percent of shoppers begin their search online. People use search engines like Google to find the dealership that is right for them based on things like location and type of inventory. To make sure that customers in the market for boats like yours find your dealership, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) can be a huge help. SEO works to enhance the content on your site to help it attract search engine algorithms, earning it a higher ranking and an increased likelihood of clicks as a top website choice. SEM allows your dealership to place ads as sponsored listings above the organic listings, delivering specific marketing messages to members of your target audience who are searching for units like yours.

Customer research does not begin and end on the search engine. Shoppers are also likely to visit other industry-related websites, such as those comparing different types of boats, travel blogs, and other similar resources. Advertising to visitors on websites related to your business is made possible through Behavioral Targeting. Another targeted digital advertising strategy, Website Retargeting, entices past website visitors to return to your site with ads for your dealership that follow those people around online. Geofence Targeting takes it a step further by serving digital ads via mobile device to people visiting relevant locations in-person, such as your competing dealerships in town.

Once a prospect does visit your website, it’s important to offer the proper follow-up to take them from interested prospect to satisfied customer. Marketing Automation allows you to identify website visitors and track the actions they take on your site, showing you the types of boats they are interested in and how likely they are to buy. This tool lets you offer personalized lead nurturing content and score leads based on level of interest, ensuring that your sales team reaches out at the right time with the right message. Marketing Automation takes the mystery out of your website visitors and gives your dealership the best chance of converting visitors to buyers.

Any one of these tools alone would give your dealership a competitive advantage, but setting up an end-to-end digital marketing solution is one of the most beneficial things you could do for your business in 2020. These strategies enhance your dealership’s online presence in different ways while at the same time complementing and supporting each other – allowing your dealership to cover all its bases in the online space. Make 2020 the year that your business takes its digital strategy to the next level.

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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