Using Digital Marketing to Offset COVID-19 Woes For Powersports, Marine, and RV Dealers

Does Digital Marketing play a role during a pandemic? Of course it does! The Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, is causing chaos and panic across the world. Global events are affecting you, your business, and your customers daily. The ever-changing landscape means you need to alter your digital marketing strategy, at least temporarily.

Sales and appointments may eventually decrease due to the pandemic and economic anxiety, so it’s essential to act now to preserve relationships. COVID-19 is a virus unlike anything we’ve seen before, and it may not go away for a while. But ignoring the outbreak and communicating with your followers like you normally do won’t make the outbreak disappear and will make you look tone-deaf and out of touch. Instead, focus on adapting your strategy to keep people engaged during uncertain times.

Slow Your Roll

No matter how COVID-19 affects your digital strategy, the goal should always be to communicate responsibly and to build healthy communities. Treat your social media updates and your overall digital messaging with care. Provide value by staying relevant.

Promoting events at your dealership (if still allowed by your local or state government) will make you look careless at best. Use Facebook and YouTube Live to bring aspects of your dealership events to the cloud. Have your audience interact with you while raffling prizes, then send winners their goodies in the mail.

No Zombies in Sight

As cruise lines and air travel become more restricted and confinement periods continue to grow, the public will be desperate for outdoor activities that require little human interaction. Riding and boating do not require assembling. Be sure to let your audience know they can still safely enjoy the outdoors without encountering the walking dead – provided that they follow their local laws.

Appropriately delivering that message is key to connecting with potential customers. Rather than just trying to sell products, you should aim to show customers you care about their health and the health of the community. Stop thinking in terms of B2C marketing (business to consumer) and start thinking in terms of H2H; Human to Human.

If You Have Nothing Nice to Say…

To maintain relationships with customers, communicate responsibly, and be careful about touching the already frayed nerves of your audience. Pausing your posting may be smart if you don’t know the right things to say, but if you’re confident and genuinely feel like encouraging folks, this is a great time to do so.

Remain particularly cautious about automation and status updates that aren’t appropriate for publishing now. Create holding categories on your software to keep posts from going live until the timing is right. Be extra careful about making jokes, and how you participate in conversations. If a joke needs any context, don’t make it. And if you’re going to join heated (or any relevant) conversation online, be sure to have all the facts first.

If you feel you have struck the perfect COVID-19 post, you’ll know it if the interaction is there. Set aside a budget to promote it to a broader audience. If you read my last article, you’ll know that Facebook will distribute your organic posts to only a portion of your followers. Promoting your post will allow you to reach a more significant number of people and to amplify your current audience pool.

Buy, Don’t Sell

Be sure that your current advertising and organic marketing strategies align. Hundreds of thousands of people will be spending more time at home in front of their computers and mobile devices, so it’s crucial to continue spending on digital marketing. These are critical times for your dealer to gain more considerable brand equity. Here are some excellent ways to do so:

  1. Write blog posts outlining outdoor activities that don’t require people to assemble
  2. Use Facebook and YouTube Live to bring aspects of your events to people’s living rooms
  3. Raffle prizes live and send winners their awards in the mail
  4. Teach your sales staff to show units using video conferencing tools such as Zoom
  5. Create a local COVID-19 Facebook support group

When strategies change in our business, we sometimes lose sight of the overall goal. So don’t lose sight of your business goals, but consider ways to alter your strategy and show up as a leader for your community. Digital Marketing does not require face-to-face interaction. Digital Marketing is also highly measurable. Use this to your advantage.

Here are several other valuable things you can do to make the best out of the current situation:

  1. Remarket (appropriate content) to those who have visited your website
  2. Run Likes campaigns on Facebook to grow your organic audience
  3. Promote your email list by offering relevant and entertaining (free) content

Your customers and prospects follow you because they trust you. Be sure to continue to treat your online followers as real people, not likes. Talk to your audience about what currently resonates with them. These are challenging times, but with a delicate approach, you can implement a strategy that will pay off in the long run.

We are a group dedicated to the rapid growth of #dealerships in the #Powersports, #Marine, and #RV industries. Our #DigitalMarketingServices include #SearchEngineOptimization (#SEO), #SocialMediaManagement, Pay-Per-Click (#PPC), #EmailMarketing, and #ReputationManagement.

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