Sowing & Reaping – A Simple (but Powerful) Concept!
Building a compelling brand for your RV dealership is a powerful business tool; not everybody has it, but those who do seem to have that “edge” which sets them apart from their competition. Often you can buy very similar RVs from several different dealers, but there’s just “something” about that one dealer’s brand that keeps you coming back, causes you talk about them, makes you feel so good when you engage with them.
Rather than waxing philosophical about this, I’m going to keep it to something tangible in this post; namely, the quality (and quantity) of the content that gets produced and shared by an RV dealership. I’ve talked about your content before, but not so much on the “sowing and reaping” aspect of it.
We’re all sharing content online – from banners to RV classified listings to emails and social media etc.
The question is, does any of it “stink”?
There’s a saying in the computer programming world – “Garbage in, garbage out!” In fact, the whole concept of input/output (or I/O for short) is critical not only in computer science but also in your RV business as well. It doesn’t take much explanation – if you feed something garbage, you get – at best – well-organized garbage.
I’ll add a new saying to that: “Nothing in, nothing out!”, because sometimes, that’s just what happens – with many RV ad listings.
Let’s look at the roster for some of the All-star players in the content game.
RV Listing/Inventory Information
Working with RVT.com, I see all kinds of listings come in; the good, the bad and the ugly.
▼▼▼ Where’s the sowing and reaping here? ▼▼▼
One of the strange things I’ve noticed in particular, is that often times, it doesn’t seem like the value of the vehicle being sold has any impact on the quality/treatment of the listing. We see $100,000++ vehicle listings being given a similar (weak) treatment to $2,500-$10,000 listings…
I’m talking about poor-to-no descriptions, missing pieces of data (i.e., slides, GVWR, sleeps, fuel type, mileage, etc.), poor photography, no dealership branding or calls to action, etc.
Clear, Bright Photos
Possibly as important as the textual data are the photos of your inventory.
Super-clear and obvious recommendations: Clear, Crisp, Bright, Beautiful. Don’t settle for anything less; don’t sell your business and your inventory short by putting up a wall of ugly pixels between you and your buyers.
★ Invest in a digital SLR camera and some lighting equipment – hire a photographer if necessary to work 1 day a week.
Think about the real estate biz and how dramatic a difference good photography makes when home shopping!
The Power of Video
Yes, videos for listings are powerful.
But! Promotional dealership videos speak volumes to customers and put a real face to your logo.
RVT.com for example has a dedicated ad space where dealerships can place interactive videos right on their listings (separate from the listing video itself); this banner ad location has proven to generate very high levels of engagement (like, way, way higher than average display ad numbers). See Large Rectangle RV Detail Page Ads here. Here you can share your …
- Tour your facilities
- Show real customer testimonials, and more!
Note: These brand videos are highly reusable and can be shared across virtually all of your channels (including display/banner as mentioned above).
Once you’ve “walked the walk” digitally by providing accurate and complete data in your online inventory listings, you can start wooing customers with your compelling brand story (you see, it’s a little harder to back up your story when your listings are shoddy!)
I’m mentioning it because it’s important! Email drives repeat interactions with your brand; access to a person’s inbox is a privilege not to be taken lightly.
And yet, getting email right isn’t easy (at least, not for me), but if done well it can really set you apart from the pack in this industry.
Clean, attractive emails with minimal copy that are delivered in a timely manner can increase your customer’s engagement with you.
Don’t stop at dry service reminders…
- Find reasons to thank your prospects and customers
- Invite them to BBQs
- Offer them specials and service discounts
- Offer them free service
- Send out cross-promotions to campgrounds or other businesses (and ask for some back from these other groups)
- Create and share cool content with them, etc.
It’s ok to ask for a Facebook “Like” on your other channels, but please don’t pummel folks with pleas to connect on social media!
It gets old, fast.
Rather, one of the best places to connect with people on social media is, not surprisingly, right within that particular channel!
So, if you’re not already, consider advertising on Facebook (as well as paying to boost your posts’ reach) rather than spamming “Like us on Facebook!” all over every other channel. You’ll get more mileage, and likely, a more engaged social media audience as a result.
But I Digress…
I could go on and on about the pursuit of mastery over various marketing channels, but I really want to bring the focus back to sowing and reaping.
So I’ll say this:
You can start wooing prospects and customers in your marketplace this year by sowing liberally into a brand which displays qualities such as friendliness, approachability, professionalism, care, accountability, expertise/knowledge, ethics and values, to name a few.
It may require a cultural shift, or at least a mobilization of what’s already there…
But really, what kind of RV dealership would you rather own or work for? One that embraces at least some of the above qualities, and “shows it” with words, images and most importantly actions, or one that feels more like just another “RV mill” that happens to be geographically near a customer?
At the end of the day, unless you’re all about rock-bottom-prices and that’s it, there’s a really good chance that your customers and prospects care about the above qualities, even if they don’t know it yet! And what’s more, they’ll even consider traveling just to be a part of your brand. So go ahead, wow them, woo them, and reap the business benefits. Don’t be afraid, start this year (or at least, start planning this year for next year…)