No Inventory? Now Is Not The Time to Stop Marketing

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If you didn’t attend, you missed out on the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas special webinar presented yesterday that addressed the subject of marketing steps to take when you have little or no inventory. But wait, here’s your second chance. MRAA is offering all dealers an opportunity to catch up because the webinar was recorded.

Let’s face it, the unpredicted demand for boats we enjoyed last year hasn’t cooled down. If only you had more inventory! Despite this quandary, now is not the time to let up on your marketing. Instead, it’s time to build long-term brand equity that will set the stage for a profitable future.

So said Danny Decker in the MRAA webinar that’s still available to you. Decker is widely recognized as a leading marketing coach and owner of Marketing Simplified. In the webinar he takes you on a deeper dive into recognizing that this time presents a unique opportunity.

Decker mapped out the need and the opportunity to keep in touch with new and returning customers you’ve gained this year and in previous years as well. It’s a chance to be successful in building long-term relationships with those customers.

The recorded webinar is being made available now to all marine dealers regardless of their membership in MRAA (an organization I urge all dealers to join). However, it will ultimately be archived in the members-only educational portal so now is the time to take this opportunity.

Another tool to build relationships
If there’s a hot trend in marketing today, it’s using video. Using video might seem daunting, but it’s really not. Following a few basic rules won’t make you Steven Spielberg, but you’ll be good at it quickly. Here, from the Ultimate Guide to Social Media Marketing from Entrepreneur Press are 5 tips for creating videos that customers and prospects will view:

First, get the right equipment. Indeed, you likely already have it if you have a smartphone with which to record your videos. This video footage can be the same quality you’d get with a dedicated video camera. Similarly, most laptops come with a built-in webcam and an audio port where you simply plug in a headset and mic.

Second, the biggest drawback to recording on a smartphone or laptop is that it’s hard to compensate for poor lighting. So, if you’re going to invest in anything for recording your videos, make it lighting. This is particularly important of you’ll be talking to your viewers from a dim sales office or the service department, for example. When you’re well-lit, you are crisp and clear to your viewers. To that end, the recommended placement of lights is two in front of you on either side of the phone or laptop camera, and one that is behind you to eliminate shadows. You’ll find inexpensive lights designed specifically for video work that can be adjusted and directed more easily than normal household lights.

Third, just as if you were seated across from your viewer, eye contact effectively connects with your audience. It’s how you build rapport. That’s not saying never take your eyes off the camera. But the more you can directly look at the camera, making each viewer feel like you’re looking at them, the more effective your videos will be. So, practice that! Get into the habit of looking at the camera while you’re speaking as though it’s the person you’re talking to.

Fourth, give yourself time to create good video content. No one’s born knowing how to produce gorgeous videos. It takes some practice and experience. Remember that, your viewers want to learn something from you and connect with you. They are happy to receive the information you’re providing and aren’t video critics. If you say something wrong or mess up just laugh it off and move on. After all, that just shows your authenticity, humanity and even your sense of humor.

And finally, it can be discouraging to spend time filming and editing a video only to get very few views. But don’t let that stop you. Publish the next one, and the next one, and the one after that. Keep pushing out that content and developing your following. If you’re not sure whether the videos are good, find trusted friends and colleagues who can give you candid, professional feedback, and then keep making your videos. Remember, it takes time to build an audience and get great at making videos. Give yourself sufficient time to accomplish that — and have some reasonable expectations and metrics as a gauge for your success.

Always remember, these days of hectic living, your customers will especially welcome how-to videos, quick stories of others successfully using their boats and, of course, things to do and places to go. In other words, there is a wide variety of good subjects that will go a long way to building that solid relationship.

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