Answers to your toughest Internet questions

One of the most popular topics of discussion in the industry this year seems to be Internet technology. Whether it’s SEO, mobile marketing, social networking or e-commerce, marine professionals want to know how to expand and improve their online efforts to drive efficiencies and increase sales in their businesses.

That came through loud and clear in the results of the third party Marine Dealer Conference & Expo follow-up survey conducted this winter. But we didn’t want to wait until this year’s conference to satisfy that demand for information.

Instead, we’re asking you to submit your Internet questions via this blog or an e-mail to our staff. In return, we’ll seek out experts on these topics – Internet professionals who specialize in that area, marine executives who have successfully tackled such challenges or both – to get you the answers you desire.

To be honest, we’re seeking answers of our own about how to improve our online efforts. Like so many of you, for example, we’re engaged in social networking through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and our blog site, http://insider.boatingindustry.com. And while we’re fully committed to those efforts, we continue to experiment with ways to better serve you via those mediums.

One such experiment that seems to be working involves our Facebook postings. By using a conversational tone to describe our articles and asking directly for your insight, we’ve been able to gain more feedback from you, which is one of our goals. In general, social media experts agree that Facebook users are looking for a more personal level of interaction, whether they’re communicating with friends, family or businesses.

What Internet strategies are working for you? Are there Internet questions we can research on your behalf? Let us know how we can help.

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4 comments

  1. Liz:

    This is a topic that is near and dear to my heart and something that we work on daily. I am looking forward to listening to the questions and concerns of our industry peers and I offer my professional assistance and input.

    David

  2. Liz,
    It's very interesting that you mention the survey results from the MDCE. I had emailed Matt about my concern of the lack of speakers in regard to dealer Internet Operations. He had replied to me that the subject would be covered, and I would say that it wasn't covered enough.
    It's great that boat dealers are looking for more information in regards to their Internet Operations. They should be rightfully concerned, because when the great white of the industry, Marine Max figures out how to leverage the power of the Internet. Dealers will be in trouble. I just finished probably one of the most controversial blogs that's gonna hit the marine industry. You, and others can view it at: http://boatnrv.wordpress.com/

  3. Liz:
    I would suggest analyzing Internet successes of the similar industries. Real Estate and Auto Industries are far ahead with using the latest technologies to their advantage. It would make sense to borrow their proven aggressive online lead gen strategies.
    What makes it harder for dealers - is that there is no online boating classified portal that would apply the latest web, mobile and social marketing technologies to promote them. OceanList.com team works hard to make this finally happen! I am very interested in results of this discussion.

  4. Liz,
    This article describes exactly what many of our clients asking and talking about lately. Social networking became a phenomenon..with that, if used correctly, it also provides an incredible platform to advertise your company in a very personable and direct way.

    At marinwebclub.com, one of the services we offer is Social Networking Optimization. However, we always make sure to educate our clients before they will decide to participate in this relatively new marketing strategy.
    I would like to offer some advice about Social Networking to your readers and hope that the information can be useful. 😉

    Social media and networking follow the same set of guidelines as in any face-to-face interaction. You need to be yourself; you need to add value; and most importantly, you need to build relationships.
    Social media and networking is the big buzz in today’s marketing world. Professionals and small businesses are moving over to social networking and online marketing in droves. However, many more professionals and businesses still do not understand the power of the Internet to market their business.

    Social media and networking is all about building relationships with potential customers. Using your social networking tools is exactly the same as going to your local Chamber of Commerce or networking club and meeting new people that you can reconnect with in your local community.

    What should I do?
    The first step is to be memorable so that when you follow up with a new contact they instantly remember you.
    How are people going to remember you? What memorable experience are you creating so that they recommend you to their friends and family when they have an opportunity for you? You must create that memorable experience, you need to be unique and you must try to help everyone in your circle of inspiration.

    Talk about current events and the affect that it has in the marine community and industry. Current events and the impact that it has on your clients and your industry are also great ways to attract new people (potential clients) to your blogs and websites. Engage yourself in conversations with others and offer your insight into their postings. Participating in what others are talking about in the marine community will attract followers to your sites.

    When leveraging social networking, it is important to add value. You do not have to create content all the time on your own. Leverage existing content that is out there today that your clients, friends and contacts would find value in. Be helpful, offer assistance and whenever possible follow up. Following up just as you would in a personal meeting is critically important.

    When you are marketing online, you cannot afford to be boring. If you are looking at attracting new business opportunities through social media and networking, do things that are fun and will attract potential clients to visit your site, maybe even post fun contests on your social networking sites – it all drives traffic to your online business.

    Remember these basic tips and create memorable, value-added experiences that you can bring to the world.

    ..and in case you feel that you want to leave Social Marketing to expert professionals, MarineWebClub.com's social media and networking tools can bring a tremendous amount of value to your business the right way.
    Thank you.

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