With the polar vortex pretty much parked over the Midwest and snow falling as far south as the Florida panhandle, prime selling season might feel like it will never arrive. I assure you, before you know it, spring will arrive, and your doors will swing open and your counter will finally awake from hibernation. Until then, here are four off-season marketing tips that will help you build awareness for your dealership, build anticipation for the coming season and spark some off-season sales in the process.
#1 Evaluate Your Online Presence: When’s the last time you gave your online presence a serious overhaul? Take a hard look at your website, blog and social channels and take the time to freshen up images, rewrite content on your general dealership pages and plan your social and blog content for the full year ahead. Now’s a great time to draft blog posts and email campaigns for the busy season, dream up summer specials and create a library of graphics that are ready to upload to your website when you’re swamped this summer. The more you can do now to prepare your content for the busy season, the more likely you’ll consistently post, even when the season gets into full swing. Don’t forget, now isn’t just a time for planning, it’s a great time to connect with customers with cabin fever — who doesn’t fantasize about a summer ride with friends in the middle of a blizzard?
#2 Create Deep Customer Connections: Haven’t seen one of your summer regulars in a while? Extend a personal invitation for them to come into the shop for a cup of coffee and a personal tour of the highlights of your new inventory for the year ahead. Load up your dressing room with gear in his size, pull a new unit to the front of the display that might catch her eye and prep yourself on the features and benefits of your new PG&A that you think might tempt your best customer. They’ll love the one-on-one experience; you might make an off-season sale, and you’re working toward earning a customer for life. Follow up via phone, text or email a few days later and ask them to do you the favor of reviewing your dealership on Google+, Yelp and other directory sites, about the experience they’ve just had — who could say no?
# 3 Get Involved in Your Community: Giving back to your community is an amazing way to build grassroots support for your dealership. Think beyond your local race team sponsorships. Milwaukee offers a great example of a program to emulate in your own community. The Build Moto Mentor program pits three teams of high school students against one another as they work with mentors to restore vintage bikes on a $2,000 budget over the period of 100 days. Not only does this amazing program give its sponsors endless opportunities for promotion, but it also sparks an interest in the sport among a new generation and is just a darn good way to give back to the community.
#4 Get Out of Dodge: What better time to pack your bags, hop on a flight to Phoenix, rent a bagger and get away from it all. Believe it or not, this sort of break might be just what you and your business need to thrive in the off-season. Reach out to a tour operator like Eagle Rider or MotoQuest and coordinate a winter motorcycle tour with an open invite to your dealership’s customer base. Start planning next winter’s getaway now — you’ll have a year-long marketing opportunity as you promote the trip. The benefits don’t stop there: your dedicated customers who join you on the trip will need to do lots of shopping to prep for their adventure! And as you travel and when you get back from the trip, you’ll have endless fodder for blog posts, photo galleries, social media posts and in-store events to share your adventure with all of your dedicated followers.
What out-of-the-box off-season marketing tactics have worked for you? Share them in the comments section below!
Bob McCann is ARI’s director of education. ARI creates award-winning software solutions that help equipment manufacturers, distributors and dealers Sell More Stuff! — online and in-store. ARI removes the complexity of selling and servicing new and used inventory, parts, garments and accessories for customers in automotive tire and wheel, powersports, outdoor power equipment, marine, RV and white goods industries. More than 22,000 equipment dealers, 195 distributors and 140 manufacturers worldwide leverage our website and eCatalog platforms to Sell More Stuff!
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