2018 Best in Class: Best Digital Strategy & Website

Boulder Boats

Henderson, Nev.

Boulder Boats owners Kristina and Stuart Litjens consistently stress having a measurable and repeatable sales process. 

At the heart of their trend-setting dealership strategy is an aggressive digital marketing and website effort that’s grown exponentially. 

From its headquarters in Henderson, Nev., this Top 100 dealership has organically grown its social media platforms; in 2017, the dealership’s sites tallied nearly 30,000 followers and that figure continues to increase. 

Last year, Boulder Boats also started its Marine Dealer Certification process, which enabled the dealership to add a customizable blueprint that will help all locations to establish an efficient and effective process. 

To execute these processes, Kristina and Stuart created two new positions that will improve their business, a human resources director, and a digital E-commerce marketing manager for three locations: Henderson, Mesa, Ariz., and Visalia, Calif.

 “We are continuing to grow our Twitter, SnapChat, Pinterest, and Tumblr audiences daily,” Kristina says. “If we don’t think a current method will yield the number of leads needed to reach our goal, we add other methods. Many of our leads and sales traffic are driven from our social media postings.”

The content of online reviews on sites like Yelp, Glassdoor, Google, website and even Facebook can mean the difference between success and failure, she adds. Positive customers comments can produce an average increase in sales of 18 percent and that consumers are likely to spend 31 percent more because of positive reviews. Kristina and Stuart also have an intimate understanding of ROI and track it religiously as industry leaders. 

“It keeps us from spending money unwisely, and helps identify potentially lucrative opportunities,” she says. “For example, maybe we spend $500 on Facebook Ads. We track the campaign over several weeks and discover that leads from those ads generated $10,000. That’s a massive ROI.” 

To create a similar effect, Zach Coolidge, Boulder Boats’ new E-commerce digital marketing manager, will help build and grow the dealership’s brand. His responsibilities include developing a department-wide online strategy, collaborating with the IT department to establish site analytics, and providing data analysis to create an overall strategic plan. 

“I’ve known Zach since my childhood, and when he finished serving in the military, I consulted with him for a couple of years before we hired him,” Kristina says. “We were subcontracting some graphic work, and he helped me set up what we have today with our

Boulder Boats’ business model is different from many dealers because it has locations in three different states. “We sell new boats, but we also sell used boats globally,” Kristina says, adding: “We started our Facebook page almost 10 years ago. Everyone kind of scoffed and laughed, and said ‘good luck’ in trying to sell boats on social media. It’s really been beneficial for reaching customers. Every single message gets answered, and we send out packages of swag every single month across the world. It’s really helped us stay in tune, and been great advantage for us.” 

Stuart says the majority of Boulder Boats’ online traffic is inventory driven; people continuously want to see boats, and that creates good engagement, as well as the opportunity to develop good customer relationships. 

“We get better attendance at our events when we post them online,” he says. Boulder Boats takes a different approach in the way it drives traffic to the website, averaging about 1,000 unique visitors a day. 

The dealership had a complete web site changeover during the year, with Stuart coming up with the idea of including additional products on all boats listed, as well as notifications Boulder Boats is selling online parts. 

“I think that’s going to do really, really well for us,” Kristina says, adding: “We dipped our toes into the E-Commerce waters a few years ago to capture new customers and nurture existing ones. We have such strength in social media crossover. Our goal is to have a campaign structured six months to a year out.”   


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