Dealer Outlook

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Digital marketing is your next frontier to conquer

This simply can’t be ignored. A whopping 80 percent of today’s shoppers are researching their major purchases online. The question is: Does your website bring them into your store? If the answer is “no” or “not enough,” here’s some real help.

The Marine Retailers Association of the Americas announced the second session in its series of eight webinars on digital marketing. This one will be: “Ensuring Your Website Delivers for Maximum Results.” It’s slated for next Tuesday.

There’s no question that a dealer’s website must have the kind of impact that can guide prospects into the buying cycle. Moreover, websites that were designed a few years ago might not have what it takes to draw in today’s shoppers.

It’s particularly true if we’re talking about Gen Xers, Gen Y or Millennials. These are prospects born into the digital age. Forget silver spoons. Think laptops and smartphones. They research everything on them. And if your website doesn’t deliver, someone else’s will.

That’s why I’m recommending the upcoming webinar, indeed the entire series. The leader will be Scott Zimmer of ARI Network Services. From your home page layout to managing your online inventory, Zimmer will help you analyze the effectiveness of your current Web presence. He will also give you the tools needed to make your site a successful lead generator.

Here’s the best part: it’s free to MRAA members. Which brings me to an even bigger question: If you’re not a member of MRAA, why not? I have long advocated that every dealer can benefit from membership in two groups — the local marine trade association and the MRAA. The latter is the national association that represents our industry’s dealers

In both cases, these associations do for members what they can’t get done on their own. That’s particularly true for legislative and regulatory representation. But it’s equally true for business education and other economic benefits. The ARI/MRAA Digital Marketing Master Series is just one example of benefits that can increase your business.

The MRAA’s membership dues for a retailer start at just $300. The current eight webinar series alone is worth more than that. Incidentally, the first webinar held last month was on boosting your boat show success — timely for this show season. Missed it? MRAA members can log in and access it because it’s archived at mraa.com/digitalmarketing.

Fact: In the last two years, The MRAA has developed more new programs and member benefits than at any time in its long history. If you will just go to the MRAA website and see what membership means these days, I’m certain you will invest in your business by joining.

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