While at the Marine Dealer Conference & Expo last week, I had a chance to sit down for a Q&A with one of our newest exhibitors, MoreBoats.com, a boat search tool using a pay-per-lead model for dealers and brokers.
The website was launched by Vladimir Islamov and Anna Islamova (husband and wife – Russian family names sometimes have a different form depending on gender) in April 2012, who saw a need in the market after years of research. The company started from the desire to create a platform for dealers and brokers where they only pay for results generated from the leads on MoreBoats.com. A critical goal of the business is an awareness of whether the website’s traffic performs to the end.
The company intends to partner with a customer relationship management solution, with a particular interest in partnerships with companies who provide services and data from different aspects of the marine industry. They aim to track the entire sales process and analyze what marketing strategies are most effective. Based on closing rates provided by its brokers and dealers, MoreBoats.com states its closing rates are higher than industry standards, particularly with used boats.
MoreBoats.com gave away a 90-day free trial for its website at the company’s MDCE booth, which were won by six dealerships: Iguana Boat Sales, Slalom Shop Boats and Yachts, Yarmouth Boat Yard, Happy Days Boating Co., Boat Tune and Action Water Sports.
Boating Industry: What is the company’s mission?
Islamova: We are committed to listening to what brokers and dealers need in the market. That’s how our pay-per-lead model was born; we’ve been listening to brokers and dealers and their concerns in terms of how much money is being spent on the marketing. They don’t know what really performs and there is no trust for online media sometimes. We decided to erase that by providing leads. If we provide leads, that’s only when we get paid. Our business goals are…in sync with our clients’ goals.
BI: What makes the pay-per-lead model a better model?
Islamov: We benefit only when our customers benefit. For us as a business, it’s easier to start because we’re not requiring our customers any service [or other] fees. They can upload any amount of boats.
Islamova: People charging for listing the inventory we think is beyond this time already. In today's technology world, dealers can find many opportunities to list their inventory for free to market themselves and we understand how it can provide them with higher visibility or more traffic. As a business, we aim to provide "real value" to our clients - tangible results of our expertise. One of the real values we see we could provide is to improve quality of the leads, increase their conversions. This way dealers can focus on doing what they love doing the most - closing deals and getting more people on the water.
BI: What made you choose to start MoreBoats.com? Did you see a need in the market?
Islamova: The biggest indicator for me was that the brokers and dealers always talked about needing an alternative and there was no alternative. We [also] saw a gap between the young generations going boating – something that’s tied into my non-profit as well. We looked at the site and overall approach, and we thought that we could do something different. That’s what we’re planning to bring next year – a different type of platform that will educate the consumer about boating: how much boating costs you for [a] specific boat. We think our generation wants to know it all before we … buy it and we don’t want to do research.
BI: What’s one takeaway you hope dealers have from MoreBoats.com?
Islamova: We are a new company as a platform but we’ve been researching for over seven years. We know the industry. It’s not like we came out from a different industry trying it out – we’ve made a commitment and that’s why we’ve launched.
Islamov: Both of us are avid boaters. We’ve been boating since we were teenagers or younger, starting with small boats and then sailing. I was competing with Russia, racing sailboats, and here we are boating on a regular basis.
BI: What do you hope to bring to the marine industry?
Islamova: We hope to bring a lot of new blood. We’re really committed to bringing in brokers and dealers [who are] not afraid to try something new again.