I’m here to tell you that you need to be the big fish in the small pond. Why, you might ask? Well, the big fish in the small pond is winning the local game. Winning the local game is critically essential to the success of your business and with a couple of items in place, and some focused time you can take the checkered flag in the local market.
Ok, that’s all well and good, but how can I win the local market?
- With more first impressions of your business now on mobile devices, the first thing you need to do is make sure your website is mobile friendly. Does it load quickly and is it responsive to mobile devices? If it isn’t, fix it now. If you don’t have a digital presence, I suggest you get one. There are plenty of great digital partners in the powersports business that can get you going. Remember, you have to invest in your business if you expect it to grow.
- Now that your website is set-up for mobile what about the rest of your digital footprint. When your shop is searched on Google is there a complete listing? Is the address correct? The phone number? The hours? What about the reviews? If you’ve never looked at this before you probably have some work to do, but it’s pretty simple to do, and Google is there to help. Visit www.google.com/business and get started. You’ll claim and verify your business and be well on your way to optimize how your business shows up online. Set-up a calendar reminder and check this listing often, correcting and editing as necessary. And don’t forget to include your social media accounts.
- Now, look at the rest of your advertising and promotions. Are you spending money on customers in your market? Ones that will come into your shop. Are you paying for random banner ads or are you targeting potential customers by using targeted Facebook ads?
- What about other promotions? Are you supporting the local racetrack or riding clubs? Don’t look at these as expenses and instead look at them as investments in future purchases. Racers and riders are using their machines and wearing out parts. They should be getting those parts from you. Perhaps you could offer gift cards for entries and help promote their events in your store, a win-win for both you and the promoter.
- Are you working with the local municipalities and businesses? Side by sides, ATVs, and power equipment are in use by virtually every public works, police and fire and parks departments around the country. As the local dealer, you should be fighting for this business. Do a good job, and perhaps the work and sales will extend past just the municipalities. Many of those workers are potential business as well.
- Host local events. Is your store big enough or in the right location that you could host local events? Events that give back to your local community. Could you use your conference room after hours for meetings of riding clubs or other organizations? Events like these bring new, potential customers into your dealership.
- Work with other local businesses and the chamber of commerce. Are you a member of the chamber of commerce in your town? What about other local business groups? There is opportunity in numbers and sharing what your business does could potentially lead to sales within the group or their customer base.
- Are you working with your local schools and universities? You could target university students with new scooters and entry level bikes. You could help out with high schools and their shop programs to teach motorcycle maintenance. Think outside the box.
So, let’s wrap this up. Winning local business is a relatively simple way to improve the bottom line. But it helps out in other ways too. The conversation in the industry over the last several months is: How do we get new riders into motorcycling? There are several initiatives we’ve all read about in Powersports Business, and the OEMs are shifting focus on more straightforward entry-level machines to stimulate that new rider, but I believe your shop and focus is the #1 way to increase new riders. By building the excitement at home and in your backyard, your local business improves as does motorcycling along with it.
What other things are you doing to win the local game? I’d be curious to know. Thank you for reading.
Scott Lukaitis is a writer, photographer and powersports industry professional with more than 25 years of experience from the dealership to the manufacturer level. He owns and provides content for his websites njmotocross.com, lukaitisphoto.com and scottlukaitis.com and is currently the chief operating officer at Engine Ice Hi-Performance Coolant.
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