1. Flash sales promoted on your website. “With more and more consumers buying parts, accessories and garments online, you can promote your website with a flash sale,” said Brad Smith of ARI. “Sale prices are good only for one day or for a few hours on a given day. Make sure that you send out an email invitation announcing the event and post it prominently on your home page. Special prices are only valid for a short period of time, so this type of event encourages impulse purchases.”
2. Charitable benefits. Adam Smith, of Adam Smith’s Texas Harley-Davidson in Bedford and Texoma Harley-Davidson in Sherman, was recently approached about hosting a benefit for a local police officer’s ill son. The event was hosted at the Bedford location, and the dealership offered up grand prizes, water and other beverages. It marketed the benefit to its Facebook fans and email base. “They were reaching out to different fireman riding clubs, police officer riding clubs, military or ex-military riding clubs, so we saw a whole new set of people that we’ve never really seen at all,” he said.
3. Multiple vendor party. One of Wildhorse Harley-Davidson’s most popular events at its Bend, Ore., dealership was its Man Cave party. “We just had a bunch of vendors that were geared toward hunting, guns, car stereos, home theater systems, fishing — just stuff like that. We set up booths,” explained Kelly Riley. The dealership provided food and showed a televised Ultimate Fighting Championship bout during the event. Wildhorse Harley also hosted a Lipstick and Leather event, which had the same format but was geared toward women.
4. Spring and fall open houses. Each spring and fall, Appleton Harley-Davidson in Clarksville, Tenn., hosts an over-the-top open house. “We try to get something different here every year, and [on May 5] we did the Purrfect Angelz. We found them on YouTube, and we researched them. They’re all former NFL cheerleaders, and they perform at motorcycle events,” said Kara Black. Other entertainment, food and sales also were offered.
5. Social media meetings. “Harness the power of social media by holding a tweetup where all your raving fans come together [on Twitter] at a specified time to share ideas, ask questions and just socialize. Consider taking it one step further by holding a live event at your dealership immediately following the tweetup,” Brad Smith advised.
6. Meetup.com events. “I would certainly recommend that dealers get involved and host events for motorcycle and scooter groups that are a part of Meetup.com in their areas,” suggested Michael Levy of Rider Rescue Roadside Assistance. “It’s a great place to start with groups that are already organized and are always looking for events and venues that benefit their clubs.”
7. Anniversary parties. “Our anniversary party is the biggest one of the year,” said Chrissy Daniels of Suburban Motors in Theinsville, Wis. The dealership hosts an anniversary event each year that features bands and a variety of activities. The dealership aims to make each year’s event unique from the last.
8. Local festivals. Adam Smith’s dealerships have begun attending local festivals in several nearby cities. “We started taking our 1948 cab-over Chevy pick up with a motorcycle on the back. We take it, plus a couple other motorcycles over,” Smith said. Though few direct sales are made at the festivals, attending is a good marketing move for the dealerships. “The word on the street in our communities is, ‘Wow, I see you guys everywhere.’”
9. Service seminars. “We provide breakfast for the customers and have the service manager come in, and he’ll speak about oil, batteries and other service topics,” Black said.
10. Motorcycle boot camp. Harley-Davidson has begun pushing events through its dealerships, and one is the Motorcycle Boot Camp, which Wildhorse Harley-Davidson is hosting at its dealership. “It’s geared more toward younger people who are just starting riding.”