According to statista.com, over 29 thousand boats were sold by brokers in the US during 2017, which totalled an impressive value of 3.9 billion dollars. With figures expected to rise further in 2018 in this lucrative market, we’ve put together 5 powerful strategies that every boat dealer shouldn’t ignore if you want a slice of the action.

1. Video may have killed the radio star but it could boost your sales

Yes, that’s right, we’re talking about a video. Videos are a powerful tool which can give potential customers an instant, immersive and ‘real world’ view into your boats for sale. Todays boat buyers expect to view boats for sale efficiently from the comfort of their own home. Often photos can be misleading; videos set accurate expectations of the layout, color and overall condition before they go to view it in person.

Videos are a great way to engage your audience as content is much more memorable than other types of online content. The Online Publishers Association reports that 80% of internet users can recall watching a video online within the past 30 days. When it comes to selling your boat, Vivaboats spokesperson Jonathan Pujol, said he found ‘much higher levels of interest with classified ads that feature video clips.’

Drone footage is becoming increasingly popular to create impressive sweeping shots from great heights. You could give customers a spectacular 360° view of your forecourt or a stunning view of your boat in action out on the water. Just make sure that your videos are professionally shot and built with longevity in mind.

Embedding your video on your website will also benefit the SEO (search engine optimisation if you didn’t know!) of your website as it encourages engagement and the time spent on your site.

2. Create a Facebook business page

There’s a reason why there’s currently over 60 million active business pages on Facebook. In this day in age, activity on social media is the equivalent of having a virtual forecourt. Who wouldn’t want to lay foundations for a sale, even when your actual dealership is closed?  

With stats claiming users spend a minimum of 20 minutes a day on Facebook, with activity spiking at 8pm on weekdays, you’re missing a prime opportunity to engage with potential customers by not having a business page.

Setting up a page is easy, and the best part is, it’s free! However, it’s important to make sure your page doesn’t just become a feed of your boats for sale. Including industry insights, good news stories of happy customers and special promotions will help increase customer engagement on your page. Facebook is also a great tool to gain valuable insight into consumer trends and demands, such as what boats your audience want you to stock.

If you’re looking to invest further into Facebook marketing, they have some fantastic options available whereby you advertise your boats to a specific audience. For example, you could target a message about a promotion on a motor boat for sale to men, aged 25 – 40 who live in Florida and have an interest in sailing.

By selecting your audience demographic by gender, age, location and interests, you can send highly targeted messages which on average see a return on investment of 400%    

3. To blog or not to blog

With over 2 million blog posts wrote every day, if you don’t have a blog, it’s time to start one! Joining the blogosphere is a great way to establish authority in the world of boats and sailing.

Boating enthusiasts will search for boat related content for enjoyment. By reading your blog, you’re feeding their knowledge while building trust within the customer, trust that could serve you well when trying to sell to them.

Your blog should be interesting and insightful covering topics such as, ‘Best boats of 2017,’ ‘How to maintain your boat,’ and ‘Top 10 places to sail.’

Another benefit of writing a blog is it’s SEO friendly. Search engines love to see original content and frequent updates. Essentially the more content you have, the more the search engine has to crawl and index, which helps give crawlers a clearer understanding of what your website is about and which type of searches it should rank highly for.  

4. Target the millennials 

Businesses are often intimidated by having to open and manage yet another social media account so they’ll often stick with the platforms that they’re familiar with. While Facebook and Twitter have their place in the social media stratosphere, a survey undertaken by Facebook themselves found that millennials are leaving Facebook and turning their attention to Instagram instead. So if you’re trying to target a younger audience, you need to move with the times.

Instagram is about sharing high quality and creative photos taken on your mobile phone. As Instagram is all about the visual, it’s the perfect tool to create desire for a lifestyle they could enjoy by owning one of your boats.

Don’t worry, you don’t need to be a professional photographer to use Instagram. All you need is a smartphone, a bit of creative flair and Instagram’s inbuilt filters will help you create some amazing photos.   

Posting great images is only half the story though as you need to add hashtags if you want your photos to be seen. Unlike Facebook where using more than two hashtags decreases engagement, Instagram users can use up to 30 hashtags to help users find their photos.

So if you’re selling a power boat in Miami, you could Instagram a photo of your boat in action with the hashtags #powerboat #bowrider #miami #biscaynebay #sailing #coconutgrove #boatforsale #luxury #weekends #sunnyday #boatlife #sea #miamilife #speedmatters #adventure #livingthedream

To date, there’s already 77 million users in the US alone, a figure that’s expected to rise to a whopping 116 million by 2020. With that in mind, is Instagram something you can really choose to ignore?

Need help? Spidersnet Social Profile Creation can help with setting up your account and everything you need to know to get you started.

5. Hit them direct

Sure, it’s no secret that direct mail has declined in the last decade, but it’s not dead yet. As less clutter is coming through our doors, clever marketers are reverting back to direct mail as they’ve got less to compete with when trying to get their audiences attention.

So long as it’s done strategically and targeted, direct mail can still achieve great results. According to the Data and Marketing Association, over 100.7 million adults in the U.S made a purchase from a catalog in 2016.

Keeping good records of your previous and potential customers will help you send great targeted messages. For example, you could send a catalog of new models available to all previous customers who’ve had their boat for over 3 years. The campaign could be titled ‘Is it time for a change?’ with information on trading their current boat included.

What do we do?

In a nutshell. we create websites for boat dealers and brokers. Alongside building award winning websites, we have a suite of tools available to make managing an online business easy. Interested in finding out more? Visit our website for more details.