Make the right connections

By now, the Internet has become an essential marketing tool for most marine dealerships and for many also a secondary venue for selling parts, goods and accessories. If you don’t have a Web site yet, there are a number of Web service providers that specialize in the marine market.

Once you have one, there are several basic components that should be included on any site: new and used inventory (both including photos), pages to feature parts and accessories and service, an events calendar and a contact page. Plaster your URL on any and everything you can, from business cards to service trucks, and across all your advertising.

If the resources are available, you can add content such as a customer testimonial area (MacCallum’s Boathouse, Inc., Ranked 94 in 2006), a forum (Crystal-Pierz Marine, Ranked 5 in 2006), Web cams (Parks Marina, Ranked 9 in 2006), an “Ask the Expert” section (H&S Yacht Sales/Southwestern Yacht Sales, Ranked 17 in 2006) or staff profiles (Seattle Boat Co., Ranked 16 in 2006).

The key to a successful Web site is keeping it updated with fresh information. White’s Marine Center (Ranked 89 in 2006) has its marketing firm do this, but it can be done in-house as well, if trained personnel are available.

Numerous Top 100 Dealers use meta tags and search engine optimization to ensure their site is at the top of returns when consumers in their area conduct marine-related inquiries.

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