By Christopher Kourtakis, director of sales and marketing, 360° Industry Solutions — In the past couple of months, I have been touring the country, visiting dealers at boat shows. It was a big surprise that a majority of the dealers I spoke with did not even consider a social media marketing plan to help promote their booth at the boat show. In fact, the most common response that I would get is “How would I use social media to effectively market my boat show booth?”
Below are several brief ideas on how to successfully promote your dealership’s events using the big five social media platforms.
Constantly provide updates to your customer. Tweet about the traffic in the booth. Use Twit Pic to send a picture of the boats, one boat at a time. Tell your followers how great your display is. Offer Twitter-only special promotions only to your followers such as a free night at a local marina if they purchase a cruiser at the show.
This is the perfect place to show your customers how great your display looks or the boats you have on display — tell them how grand everything looks. Provide a special promotion to your fans. A great example would be to offer a watersports package if they purchase a boat at the show.
Another great example would be to offer free tickets to the show if they are the first to answer a question correctly about your company. Even something as simple as the name of your accessories manger is a great way to engage your customers.
For larger boats that will be on display, allow good customers and potential buyers the opportunity to schedule specific time slots to walk through the yachts. This way they are not waiting in line with everyone else. It also shows that you respect their time at the show.
Develop a walk-through video of your display. If you have a new model, focus on it as you walk through your display. Develop a video that will entice your customers to want to visit your display. There is nothing better than a welcome message from the owner or sales manager personally inviting your customers to the show. Finally, having your used boat inventory online for your customers to see will force them to visit the show and discuss the used yacht to ensure it was not purchased by someone else.
Create a slideshow of the display and each model on display at the show. Posting photos of each salesperson who is working the show will invite your customers to visit your display as they can associate a name with a salesperson. This is a great way to identify your yacht specialist or your runabout manager so that a potential customer is not waiting for the wrong person and possibly wandering off to someone else’s booth.
Sending personal invitations to the show is not only professional, but may obligate your customer to make sure they schedule time for the show. Seeing an e-mail with your name and photo on it can provide a level of comfort to your customers.
Additionally, don’t forget to form a Linkedin Group for your clients to follow your dealership through daily and weekly updates.
Again, these are just examples, as there are so many ways to personally involve your customers with your business.
After the show is over, use your social media channels to thank everyone for coming or sending last-minute show specials. Finally, ask your customers what they liked about the show and what they did not like. Social media is a great way to get instant feedback from your customers.