Free advice can be worth big bucks

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Sadly, when I’ve asked some dealers whether they’ve looked over the free marketing and training advice specifically designed to sell boats, I usually get a “no.” The explanation is either “I didn’t know about it” or “I haven’t had the time to check it out.”

That’s unfortunate because there’s some good free stuff available to you that just might increase your bottom line.

Up front, it’s important to recognize that our industry’s national Discover Boating campaign is not just an effort to reach the public with our boating lifestyle message, albeit that’s what you mostly see and hear about. It also serves the industry with public relations and marketing insights about the latest trends and how they could positively impact your business.

Specifically, a new series titled “Boost Your Business” has just been unveiled with its first lesson, “Influencer Marketing 101.” It examines what influencer marketing is, its importance and how to implement it into your marketing plans. Actually, it isn’t really that new and its popularity has been growing, with 86 percent of marketers having used this strategy in 2016 and many doubling their investments this year, according to eMarketer.

In a world now full of cluttered ads it’s not surprising that people are responding to influencers more and more for entertainment, beautiful imagery, genuine recommendations, tips and ideas. Whether your influencer is a blogger with a large fan base or a social media personality or both, influencers are one of the best items in a marketer’s toolbox for generating awareness and sales. Indeed, one study even claims businesses generated $6.50 for every dollar invested in influencer marketing.

So take time to learn more by reviewing the latest “Boost Your Business” component. But here are some basic tips to help you get started:

Define your goals: Whether it’s creating authentic content, driving website traffic or increasing your social media engagements, make sure you outline your main objectives before creating a program.

Influencer profile: What type of person do you want to influence and promote your name? Do they like the outdoors, do they fish, can they provide high-quality photos, do they have a good following? It doesn’t have to be someone with millions of followers, either. For example, Sperry used micro-influencers (ones with smaller, but very engaged follower bases) to help promote its “Odyssey Awaits” campaign last year, according to reports in AdWeek.

Discover influencers: How do you find influencers? Depending on whether it’s a blogger program, Instagram influencer campaign or both, there are organic ways of finding influencers through your own research. There are also several companies that can help, including Tinker Street, Linqia, TapInfluence, Influence Central, and Curalate Explore. Check out this Inc.com article about more influencer marketing companies that can help fuel this type of program.

Measure results: Make sure to set key performance indicators that will measure and show that your program is delivering on the goals you set. KPIs give you the data to analyze and can be the basis for decisions on changing, improving or optimizing your influence marketing game plan.

Want to know more? Go to this Social Media Week blog post. For more social media know-how, check out Discover Boating's "Social Media 101" articles on GrowBoating.org. And, for questions about Discover Boating’s PR and marketing campaign, you can contact Colleen Richardson at crichardson@nmma.org.   

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