Boat dealers may sometimes feel like a fish out of water when trying to sell boats online. It’s not unusual: even car dealers face the same struggles because they are used to accompanying people in showrooms and selling cars in person. Boat dealers can go through a similar experience. Not to mention that selling boats involves a very different skill set than marketing services online.
Terms like digital marketing, link building, SEO, and inbound marketing just sound confusing to those who are not familiar to them. That said, these are skills that boat dealers now have to learn and master because the world is quickly embracing technological advancements. Various industries are now going digital and that also includes the boat selling industry.
It is now the norm for consumers to do their research and check things online before buying them. They use search engines to collect information about products and services. Now typically, people don’t do this for vehicles because they prefer to see them in person. But the pandemic has affected every industry and it has now changed the way people buy vehicles—including boats.
In fact, COVID-19 restrictions have only accelerated the shift towards online transactions. People are embracing this change. More customers are purchasing things online and having them delivered straight to their doorstep. It’s simpler, safer, and more convenient.
Today we are going to talk about how these changes impact boat dealers and how you could effectively adapt so that your business will thrive under this new landscape.
Your Potential Customer Isn’t Always Down the Road
The digital world opens up a lot of possibilities for boat dealers because you can now reach even more people than ever—even those from across the country. These days, online marketing is one of your most important jobs because your potential customers aren’t always down the road. They may be far away and you still need ways to connect with them.
The internet is your best bet when it comes to connecting with these leads and prospects. It is now being used as the main source of information—traditional media have fallen behind. Instead, everyone uses social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, Snapchat, TikTok, and many more. It’s undeniable that the internet has changed the way we communicate and access information.
Prospective buyers are also using search engines to do their research, not only on boats, but also on trustworthy boat dealers.
In order to attract their attention, you need to increase your online presence. It’s not enough to just have a website anymore, although you still need that for your sales funnel. You have to be where your leads are. If they are on Facebook, you need to setup your own page. If they are using YouTube, you need to start making video content. That’s how you reach your leads even when they are not physically interacting with you.
Search engines, social media, and email marketing provide you with a lot of opportunities to connect with your target audience. You can communicate with them directly rather than just putting up a billboard and calling it a day. With these new methods, you can market your services more effectively and at a reduced cost than traditional advertising.
If you have a boat selling business, you need to learn more about digital marketing. Combine that with your existing industry knowledge as well as the current trends in boat buying and you will get ahead of your competition.
Trends in Boat Buying
The boating industry is fiercely competitive. That’s why it’s good to know some of the trends that are influencing the way boats are bought and sold. For example, boats are slowly becoming more powerful, more luxurious, and more energy-efficient over time. The industry is continuously striving to make better boats that meet environmental challenges.
One of the biggest trends among people who buy boats is the growing interest in fishing. Recreational boating is still very popular, but more and more people are also picking up their fishing gear and spending peaceful afternoons fishing and relaxing.
Because of this, fishing-related accessories like motors and depth finders are projected to become more popular in 2022. Boats that are fully equipped are sure to be in the center of attention.
For boat owners, kill switches are also becoming more popular. These are designed to kill the engine quickly in case of an emergency. Some kill switches work in combination with the so-called “man-overboard” alarms, which allows them to operate when someone falls out of the boat.
Another interesting trend is the increase in the number of older boaters. This may have something to do with the fact that boats are generally expensive. The average age of boat buyers has always been in the middle-age range. But younger people are opting for other recreational activities, which is why the median age is continuously increasing.
As for boat popularity, boats that are 28 to 45 feet long are still considered the strongest in terms of popularity and revenue. Smaller boats that are below 28 feet in length are trailing slightly behind. The market for bigger boats that exceed 45 feet is still there, although it is a bit smaller. That said, boat rentals are getting more and more popular across the board.
Overall, boating is still considered an expensive option for recreation. But with boats becoming more affordable, sales are increasing for both personal use and boat rental. This is all thanks to improved engine technology, fuel efficiency, and better manufacturing techniques.
Boating is also still considered a family-friendly recreational activity, and that is still one of its most attractive qualities for buyers. Boating allows families to relax and have fun together while spending time outdoors. Whether it’s fishing, touring, or day-cruising, the appeal is there for families that want to have a good time in the water.
Why Boat Buying Exploded After the Pandemic
When the pandemic happened, the initial assumption was that it was going to kill the boating industry. If everyone can’t go out, nobody can go fishing or boating—then no one is going to buy boats. But in fact the opposite happened and the pandemic only strengthened the industry as a whole. It led to huge bumps in prices and fewer boats at any given time, meaning there’s more space for boaters to enjoy.
The COVID-19 pandemic actually led to a surge in boat sales. Because of flexible work environments, more people in the US were able to try out boating for the first time. In fact, according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association, sales of boats, services, and marine products reached a 13-year high in 2020, reaching $47 billion. This was a 9% increase from 2019.
The marine association said that the most popular boats in 2020 were freshwater fishing boats, pontoon boats, and wake boats. Wake boats, which are used for wake surfing and wakeboarding, were up to 20% to 13,000 units last year. Some boat dealers considered 2020 to be one of their best years.
All this came as a pleasant surprise that shocked the boating industry, especially because industry players thought they were in for rough times. It’s even gotten to the point where manufacturers have to expand their production capacity to meet the demand.
This trend is not showing any signs of slowing in 2021, and there are more first-time boat buyers than ever. But since the pandemic shut down the economy—why exactly did boat buying explode during this time?
The pandemic may have caused a number of restrictions, but it also led to more people exploring a new, more outdoorsy lifestyle. Come to think of it, boating gives you as much social distancing as you need. Lockdowns made people feel trapped, and so boating gave them the freedom to stretch their wings while staying sage. We know that social distancing rules will still be important moving forward, but that’s not a problem when you are on a boat with your own family.
Boating also improves people’s physical, mental, and emotional health, which is a big deal when you are in the midst of a pandemic. People are trying to take care of themselves and one of the ways to do that is by finding recreational activities that let you soak up the sun and get some fresh air.
This may also be due to the fact that flexible working schedules give people more time to enjoy these activities that they otherwise can’t schedule. Most industries have adapted to the remote working environment, and it seems to be the next big development in the workspace for the foreseeable future. This means less time in the office and more time with the family, allowing workers to be productive in both aspects of their lives.
Because of the pandemic, there are fewer gatherings and events with large crowds of people. So boating is a great alternative to sporting events, amusement parks, and concerts—one that is more relaxing and in touch with nature.
Why Boating Dealerships Need to Focus On Generating Sales from Across the Country
Now that a lot of transactions are happening online, boating dealerships can make the most out of the opportunity and start generating sales from across the country. You can potentially attract a wider audience and grow your business.
To do this, you need to use digital marketing techniques including search engine optimization or SEO. SEO is all about optimizing your website and content with relevant keywords so you can potentially improve your rankings in search results. Doing so will allow you to appear higher when people look up keywords such as “boats for sale” and “boat dealerships”. You can do keyword research and find out which ones work best and which you should include more in your content.
Because people often do their research before buying a boat, you need to improve your search result rankings so that you will be exposed to a much larger group of people. Think about how when you type in a word, sentence, or question, Google comes up with a long list of sites that are relevant to your query. Typically, you will only click on the first few links that come up. You will rarely look at the second page.
This is why you need to use SEO. You want to be in the first page of search results—or ideally, at the very top. Sprinkle in some high-ranking keywords into your content and do this for every single article, video, or web page that you create. As more people visit your website and engage with your content, your rankings should improve over time. A huge part of SEO is frequently updating your site to ensure fresh content.
On that note, content marketing is a great digital marketing strategy for a number of reasons. Content helps you deliver value to your audience in the form of information, entertainment, or both. In turn, you get to position yourself as a thought leader in the boating industry, which makes you more reliable and trustworthy in the eyes of your leads. Content also improves your visibility online especially if you post them on your social media.
Launch a blog, start a YouTube channel, and optimize your website—and then start adding content on a regular basis. You need to post about things that are relevant to your audience’s interests, like things they search about on Google. Content marketing increases your online presence and helps you attract a larger audience.
If you’re not yet on social media, you should be. Social media is such a powerful tool for marketers, and if you’re not on it, you’re getting left behind by your competition. At the very least, you are missing out on a fantastic source of leads. Some small businesses are still intimidated by having to update their social media account. Of course you can hire someone to manage it, but you still need to make sure that their posts are consistent with your tone and your brand.
No matter what your company sells, you should be accessible via social media. You don’t have to be everywhere. As a boat dealer, you can just use platforms that are popular among your target audience. Facebook and LinkedIn have users who are mostly similar with the people who usually buy boats. Some Instagram users love the great outdoors because of the scenery and the beauty of nature, so you can appeal to them as well. Get creative and find out where your audience likes to hang out.
Finally, it doesn’t hurt to complement your organic marketing strategies with a PPC campaign, also known as pay-per-click advertising. With PPC, you can select the phrases and keywords you want to trigger your advertisements. Then, if your bids are among the highest, your ads will display above organic listings for targeted keywords. So if you bid on “boats for sale” your boat dealership should appear when someone looks up that phrase.
How to Leverage Kennected Video to Shoot Profitable Videos That Provides an ROI
There’s another strategy that you need to know about if you’re planning to use digital marketing to sell more boats across the country, and that’s video marketing. Similar to email marketing, the idea is to contact prospects and provide them with important information and updates about your business. But instead of the traditional email format, you are going to use a personalized video. Kennected Video can help you with that.
With Kennected Video, you can engage with prospective boat buyers with custom videos that you can track. Videos are a lot more eye-catching than your usual, boring email. They are less likely to be ignored or marked as spam. Plus, because Kennected Video lets you customize your outreach, it is sure to attract the attention of your leads.
The goal of video marketing is to get a conversation going and establish a relationship based on value. By creating that connection, you can convert the lead and get the sale.
Kennected Video is designed to send customers a video that cuts through the noise.
What’s great about Kennected Video is that it reports on how many times people watched your video, so you know if it’s engaging enough or if there’s something that needs to be changed or improved. You can even redirect them after watching the video, perhaps to a financing page, etc. This way, you are automatically sending them to the next level of your sales funnel, and that improves your chances of securing the conversion. You can sell more boats with this strategy.
Kennected Video is the easiest way to send customized outreach videos for email marketing. You can create engaging videos via the Kennected Video app or chrome extension.
It has a lot impressive features. You can share your screen, your face, or both: whatever you need to deliver the message you want. Kennected Video helps you stay connected with your leads no matter where they are. You can send your personalized video messages through your favorite channels allowing you to build those connections faster.
Highly impactful videos are very easy to make with the help of Kennected Video. This software lets you create a rolodex of evergreen video content that you can use over and over. Improve your pitch by uploading existing videos. Merge, trim, and edit clips easily. With the help of call to action buttons, you will always be closing deals.
It even allows you to use a custom-created video landing page. Alternatively, you can select from Kennected Video’s library of ready-to-use designs. If you want to improve accessibility and clarity, you can add easy-to-read captions to your Kennected Video and really drive the point home.
For better brand building, you can use Kennected Video’s customizable media player. Stay on-brand with full control of colors and design of your video player.
Boat dealerships are busier than ever. The pandemic has surprisingly strengthened the industry, so there’s no reason to stop selling boats. Use Kennected Video to send video messages via email, text, or CRM. Or you can share your videos on social media or via direct message. Pair it with Kennected’s LinkedIn automation tool to easily reach your target audience on LinkedIn.
Use Kennected Video today to connect with more leads and sell more boats online.