RV Dealer Digital Survival Kit

Having a robust digital marketing strategy during the current COVID-19 outbreak can help boost consumer awareness of your brand and help your business survive these uncertain economic times. Right now, it's more important than ever to maintain customer relationships and find new ones.

Be Efficient--Save Energy and Cash
It’s time to take a hard look at all your marketing initiatives. Do they seem out of touch with current conditions? If so, postpone them. Campaigns that have yielded less than stellar results in the past should be axed immediately.

Your priority is to preserve cash, but don't step over dollars to save pennies by overlooking the rare opportunities for growth. Millions of Americans are spending time at home in front of their computers, tablets, and mobile devices, so it's important to continue spending on digital marketing. Bidding for ad space and placement is at the heart of digital advertising. With more homebound people and fewer companies advertising, the cost to drive traffic, build brand awareness and, most importantly, collect leads for future nurturing is at an all-time low.

Here's what you can do 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 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
Approach all your communications with sensitivity. Make sure your 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 quarantine periods continue, outdoor enthusiasts are 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. But make sure your message is appropriate -- toss pushy, self-promoting posts out the window, as these could generate negative reactions.

Promote the RVing 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, RV dealers can fuel customers' passion for camping by emulating the nation's top real estate agents. These professionals are experts at providing an online experience that’s almost as good as actually visiting a home. Up your game and offer 360-degree virtual tours of your campers, coaches, travel trailers, and fifth wheels.

Here are some tips:
  • Make sure your lighting is optimal--turn on all lights and open all windows
  • Use a tripod to generate crisp images
  • If the lighting still isn’t bright enough to reduce shadows, slow the shutter speed
  • Use a wide-angle lens to capture more light and depict more open space
  • Film 360-degree photos and videos to create interactive virtual tours

Many dealers have ignored the quality of their Internet listings and inventory posts because they have been overly dependent on personal interactions on the showroom. But studies show customers are spending more time researching purchases online and making up their minds before actually visiting showrooms. So it’s critical to provide a remarkable online shopping experience.

Be a Flexible Conduit
Teach your sales staff how to show your inventory via one of the many online video sharing services. Offer to finalize deals using DocuSign, and provide free delivery within a predetermined distance of your dealership. Focus on maintaining a steady flow of incoming leads.

If you find that some staff members are underutilized, here are tasks they can do that will pay dividends down the road:
  • Evaluate all 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, using email, text, and phone
  • Make sure your website text is as thorough and descriptive as possible
  • Clean up your CRM email campaigns and internal customer data

Whatever you do, do not take advantage of the crisis by fearmongering. Step 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. 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.