If 2020 had a theme, it would be adaptability. Faced with COVID-19, businesses were forced to think of new ways to attract and engage customers. But even during this unprecedented time, there are several pandemic-proof strategies that marine brokers and dealers can rely on to attract new customers. No matter if you’re developing strategies for future in-person events or looking to take more of your efforts online, these 4 strategies are easy to implement, actionable, and sustainable.

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Attract People with Signage

People are visual by nature. Remembering something we see is easier than recalling information that’s written or heard. To put that in context, if someone is presented with visual information, 65% can remember it 3 days later, but only 20% recall it if it was written or spoken.

Whether you’re heading to an in-person event or considering signage around your store, adding a sign can increase your annual revenue by nearly 5%. As you consider what signage will be most effective, focus on creating signs that include high contrast text and color, as it can boost response by up to 25%.

Some types of signs you can consider are:

  • Feather flags
  • Ground decals
  • Custom tablet stations
  • Hanging banners
Feather Flags at a Special Event

Create a Buzz

Buyers have a choice in where they take their business, so you need to create an experience that gets customers talking. Word of mouth is one of the strongest ways to generate qualified leads, with nearly 75% of buyers saying recommendations from family or friends is key in their ultimate purchase decision.

As you think about creating this buzz, look to your current community—which should include both your current and prospective customers—and identify influencers who you feel could extend the reach of your business. This could be someone who has an engaged social media following, deep connections in the local community, or has lived the lifestyle for a number of years. These are a few examples, but there isn’t one perfect persona; you should be looking for someone who can help authentically promote your business to their network.

Since you are asking these influencers to help you, be prepared to offer them something in return. Consider putting together lifestyle bags with swag they can use in the lifestyle and show off to family and friends. For the boating community, some examples could be:

  • Dry bags
  • Waterproof first aid kits
  • Fold and go hats
  • Clear bags. Many events now require these on entry, and people will scramble to find them.

Engage the Family

As customers engage with your business—again, either at an in-person event or digitally—you can’t focus solely on one family member. You never know who the final decision maker might be or what is driving their desire to purchase. Maybe the husband selected three boat models for his wife to consider or maybe the kids’ hobbies are driving the purchase. You might not know these family dynamics, but can have swag prepared for every member of the family.

If you’re at an in-person event, consider having several options available so potential customers can pick what they prefer—but if this is a customer you’ve worked with before, try to cater your selections to what you know about them. No matter what, high quality swag is one of the most effective ways to prompt action across generations and 82% of buyers think more positively after a business gives them swag.

Some topical and relevant options might be:

  • Boating totes
  • Wine tumblers
  • Color-changing items like mood sunglasses or cups
  • Light up items like submersible beacons

Promote the Lifestyle

One effective way to attract net new customers is a giveaway that promotes and resonates with the lifestyle you sell. People who are committed to a particular hobby are choosing to participate in that lifestyle, and they’re passionate about it. They not only want the boat, but also all the accessories that go with it. So when there’s an opportunity for them to win high quality swag, they are more than willing to hand over their contact information—which is how businesses acquire over ⅓ of their new customers through giveaways.

Since you’re asking for contact information to enter the giveaway, you’ll need to offer something of true value to your target audience. Some examples could be:

  • Custom Tervis tumblers
  • Custom Yeti tumblers
  • Denali fishing shirts
  • Columbia fishing shirts

Make sure you take the opportunity to co-brand these items, so whoever wins becomes a walking billboard for your brand—helping to create that buzz. As you can see, many of these strategies can layer on top of one another. No matter where you plan to use these strategies, rest assured that the return on your investment is there—with consumers who receive swag being 3x more likely to book a meeting than those who don’t.

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