boating season marketingTake advantage of boater enthusiasm before boating season begins by creating early buzz for your marina or waterfront business

Early spring marks an exciting time for boaters… the shrink wrap comes off, temperatures warm up and the promise of another enjoyable boating season begins.

The start of boating season is also a great opportunity for businesses to harness boater enthusiasm and put plans in place to make the most of the season ahead.

Here are some marketing tips to ensure that you are building on early boating enthusiasm for your business.

Create Early Social Buzz

Boaters crave communication about what is going on at their marina or favorite Tiki bar. Luckily, social media makes it super easy to communicate to your boating clientele. As the weather warms up and you are opening for business post frequent status updates and photos to create early buzz.

If you are still getting things ready at your business, keep those updates going too. Many marinas and waterfront businesses get a jump on the spring season by finishing up new features or updates. Updates on new or improved happenings like dock upgrades, a new pavilion, menu additions or improved services will help fuel the enthusiasm.

Marketing Tip: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram work best for getting the word out fast. Likes, shares and re-tweets keep your business top of mind as the season gets underway. Using social media management dashboards like HootSuite make it easy to keep up with updating multiple sites at one time.

Hold a Spring Open House

Invite new and existing clients to check you out with an open house event. Whether your goal is to sell more boats, secure more slipholders or attract more general clientele, an open house is a welcoming event for people to see what you are all about.

A small investment early in the season in an open house will help you profit more now and throughout the season. Be creative as you can to make your open house event memorable and well-attended. Make sure your boat line-up showcases the latest models from your boat brands alongside your pre-owned boat inventory. Offer special incentives for new slipholder rentals, boat purchases and future transient boaters. Hold drawings for giveaways that keep them coming back. And of course be sure to offer something that entertains the kids… because happy kids will help adults stay longer!

Marketing Tip: Use events features on Facebook, Google+ and even your email marketing service so that you can easily send out reminders and track attendance.

Participate in Local Boat Shows

Boat dealers and brokers know that spring is one of the best times to sell a boat… but it is also a great time to get the attention of boaters interested in the products or services you sell. Whether you hold a mini-boat show at your own facility during your open house event, exhibit at a local or regional boat show event or simply attend an event, make the most out of early spring boat shows to build on pre-season buzz.

Marketing Tip: Create some new branded merchandise to give away at local boat shows… promotional items are a great way for customers to remember you and spread the word about your business.

Create a Contest

Nothing builds enthusiasm (and leads) like a good old fashioned contest. Be sure to keep it boating related for it to be fun and relevant to your business. Make the prize something related to your product or service offering – it’s a great way to showcase what you do throughout the contest, and encourage contest participants (win or lose) to try out your business.

Take advantage of social media to build buzz quickly and easily facilitate your contest. Photo contests on Facebook are fairly easy to do (people post on your page and encourage friends to “like”) and you can easily extend your reach with a small investment in Facebook ad targeting tools.

Marketing Tip: Make entering their email address a requirement for contest entries to build your email marketing database for future promotions throughout the season.

What are some of your tips for creating pre-season buzz with boaters? Share your marketing tips below!




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Diane is a marketer, avid boater and author of the award-winning book PR Tools to Toot Your Own Horn. In addition to being founder of MarineMarketingTools.com, Diane runs the small business site SBMarketingTools.com and the boating lifestyle sites BoaterLifeOnline.com and BoaterKids.com. Diane is also marketing director for SureShade, the new standard for shade on boats.

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