Full disclosure - I’m a sailing fanatic. If it floats, sail or power, PLEASE market to me. This is true for most boat buyers because boating is a passion and we can't get enough.
Buying a boat is also a lifestyle purchase, social by nature. Boating manufacturers picked up on this sometime ago long before the age of digital marketing by creating rendezvous, user groups and publications with content targeting specific boat owners. I’m convinced that the concept of a “chat group” was in fact first born by these user groups. Digital marketing is simply an extension of the strategies and tactics that have worked in boating marketing for decades. Below is data that outlines marketing plans for boating companies in 2015. The importance of digital marketing is immediately apparent.
Digital marketing for boating companies starts with turning your website into a marketing and sales platform. This series focuses on the following 5 key strategies:
- Lead Nurturing through Email Marketing
- Storytelling and Blogging
- Social Integration
- Community Building
- Product Building
Here is the first of 5 key strategies that these websites should employ:
Lead Nurturing through Email Marketing
Would boat buyers want to be contacted with relevant information regularly about their way of life – their passion? Answer: YES! This is why employing email marketing to nurture prospective buyers is crucial. Buying a boat is often a major investment and doesn't happen on the first visit with an "add to cart" button on your website. The vast majority of buyers coming to your boating website may not be ready to purchase that day. It's important to have content that is relevant to them. This would include access to educational ebooks, product videos, brochures and other "top of the funnel" offers.
Once you have captured a buyer's email address, in exchange for an offer, you can immediately enroll them in an automated email marketing workflow to nurture them towards a purchase.
Here is an example of what a lead nurturing email marketing workflow could look like:
- Buyer enters their email address on your website to receive an ebook on "10 Things to Know Before Buying Your First Sailboat." We now know that we have a first time buyer interested in sailboats and can try to nurture them into a customer.
- The buyer is now a lead in your database. Over a period of time this lead will automatically receive a follow-up emails like, "The difference between a full keel vs a thin keel sailboat"
- Email to close a customer. At some point we want to see if this lead is ready to buy. This is done through an email that focuses on "bottom of the funnel" offers like "Boating Pricing or Comparison Guide" or "Dealer Locator".
- Once a lead has clicked one of these bottom of the funnel offers they are automatically sent to a dealer/salesperson to follow-up.
In this example we were able to successfully capture a new lead, nurture them into a customer, then deliver that marketing qualified lead to a dealer or salesperson. All automatically via digital marketing. There are endless variations and strategies around this concept. Snyder Group is always happy to discuss this and other digital marketing strategies. Contact Us here.
Stay tuned for Part 2 in our series: Storytelling and Blogging