RV Dealer Digital Survival Kit During Public Health Crisis

During and after the current public health crisis, having a robust digital marketing strategy will accomplish multiple goals. It will improve your brand awareness, and most importantly, help your business survive the uncertain economic times we face. Some dealers have started to see a decrease in sales opportunities due to state restrictions and the economic anxiety the outbreak has caused. It’s more important than ever to act swiftly to preserve customer relationships and find new ones.

Plug-in and Stay up to Date

The next step may be one of the most psychologically challenging for many—staying up to date and knowing your Ground Truth. You’re having information thrown at you left and right, and it’s easy to let mental fatigue kick in. Get good at deciphering sensationalism from valuable information that will help you survive. Reading this article is an excellent start. Be sure to stay on top of the numerous and ongoing changes with the economic stimulus packages and how they affect your business.

Be Efficient; Save Energy (and Cash)

Only after you have addressed your fundamentals should you shift your focus to Digital Marketing. Then, it will be time to take a hard look at all of your marketing initiatives. Are they out of touch? If so, postpone them. Scrutinize campaigns that have yielded sub-optimal results in the past and immediately give them the ax. Although your priority is to preserve cash, don’t step over dollars to save pennies by overlooking the rare opportunities for growth that are out in front of us.

Millions of Americans are spending ample time at home in front of their computers, tablets, and mobile devices, so it’s crucial to continue spending on digital marketing. Bidding for ad space and placement is at the heart of Digital Advertising. With more people at home and fewer companies advertising, the cost to drive traffic, build brand awareness, and most importantly, collect leads for future nurturing are at an all-time low. This pandemic will not last forever, and these are critical times for your dealership to gain considerable brand equity and rack up leads to nurture down the road. Here are some specific examples you can execute now:

  • Create lead-generating campaigns on Facebook
  • Run “Likes” campaigns on Facebook to grow your organic audience
  • Use Facebook and YouTube Live to bring aspects of your dealership events to the cloud
  • Raffle prizes using live events and then send winners their goodies in the mail
  • Remarket (appropriate content) to those who have visited your website

Connect at a Deeper Level

When it comes to communication, the first thing you need to know is that you will need to approach it responsibly. Make sure that your current advertising and organic marketing strategies are aligned. Be careful about touching the frayed nerves of your customers and prospects. Treat every social media post and your overall messaging with care.

As our quarantine period continues to adjust, outdoor enthusiasts are increasingly becoming desperate to resume outdoor activities. If your audience can safely enjoy the outdoors without posing a risk to themselves or others, be sure to let them know. Delivering an appropriate message is vital. Toss pushy, and self-asserting posts out the window as these kinds of posts are shortsighted and could ultimately generate negative sentiment.

Appeal to those that can’t or won’t go outdoors. Promote the lifestyle more than ever before to emotionally connect with your audience. Your customers are craving adventures and have plenty of time on their hands, so help them to accomplish their dreams.

Steal Some Thunder

Speaking of dreaming, how does an RV dealer fuel their prospects’ and customers’ passion for camping and their home away from home? By learning and emulating the nation’s top Realtors. Among other things, some Realtors are experts at providing an online experience that’s almost as good as actually visiting a home. Up your game and offer 360º virtual tours of your campers, coaches, travel trailers, and fifth wheels. Here are some tips you can quickly implement, experiment with, and further develop;

  • Make sure your lighting is optimal; turn all lights on and open all windows
  • Use a tripod to generate crisp images
  • If the lighting is still not bright enough to reduce shadows then slow the shutter speed to allow more light in
  • Use a wide-angle lens to capture more light in your images and depict more open space
  • Film 360º degree photos and videos to create interactive virtual tours

For too long, many dealers have ignored the quality of their internet listings and inventory posts because they have been overly dependent on personal interactions in the showroom. Data shows that our customers are collectively moving towards more time being spent researching purchases online and making up their minds before coming into showrooms. More than ever before, it is critical to stand out from your competition. Create a lasting first impression on the web by providing a remarkable shopping experience.

Be a Flexible Conduit

Be willing to change. Teach your sales staff how to show your inventory via one of the many online video sharing services. Offer to finalize dealers using DocuSign and offer free delivery within a predetermined distance of your dealership’s location. Focus on adapting your strategy to weather the uncertain times and to create and maintain a steady flow of incoming leads. If you find that some members of your staff are underutilized, here’s a list of seemingly mundane tasks they can perform which will pay dividends down the road;

  • Evaluate all of your social media copy and images; are they appropriate?
  • Make sure all inventory on your website has pricing
  • Stay in constant communication with existing customers; use email, text, and phone
  • Make sure you are as thorough and descriptive as possible with your website text
  • Clean up your CRM email campaigns and internal customer data

Ignoring this pandemic and operating like you normally do will not make the outbreak disappear, and can even make you look out of touch. Even worse, it can drive you out of business. When strategies change in our industry, we sometimes lose sight of the overall goal. Whatever you do, DO NOT try taking advantage of the current crisis by fear-mongering. Consider ways to alter your plan and show up as a leader. These are challenging times, but with a delicate approach, you can implement a strategy that will pay off in the long run.

Joe Iribarren is the owner and founder of Beyond Creative Growth Agency. A husband, father to four, biker and retired DJ, Joe can be found wakeboarding, fishing, or boating at any given time. He has 15 years of experience in internet marketing and started his career at a prominent dealership in South Florida. Contact him at joe@gobeyondcreative.com.