Yachts and even smaller boats are hardly seen in store and although a lot of people were very skeptical about generating real leads from online marketing today it is the primary source of clients and the most effective one in terms of return on marketing spent. Many companies and entrepreneurs in the yachting industry are somewhat confused by the huge offering there is out there for tools and agencies that promise just about anything under the light of day.
Very few agencies (if any) understand the complexities and diversity of the type of clientele that decides to purchase a boat/yacht
or even the more simple requirements that yacht charterers have. In an orderly fashion, we’ll try to pin down for you a clarifying set of points in a bit of a checklist on the process and tools which one should use for marketing yachts online as well as marketing the experience of yachting.
Understand the metrics first
Above all, there are very few metrics that will really count and those are:
The amount of visitors and sessions (one visitor can and will do more than one session if interested), The average time they spend on your website, Your click/visitor acquisition cost, Your CTR (click through rate), Your Website bounce rate, Your conversion rate and ultimately your (business) closing rate (if your website does not conduct the actual transaction online it will be the leads/closed deals) Before you go ahead and spend any marketing money online you have to make sure you can track your performance so it is fundamental to have the followings at hand. a) A fine tuned Google Analytics installation for your website Google analytics is a free tool to track your visitors, their sessions on your website, their behaviour, the source of traffic and a lot more however, if it is not finely tuned to track the conversions and the lead generation part of your website such as a contact form or enquiry form you are not going to be able to discern effective campaigns from ineffective ones Below is a video example of advanced conversion rate tuning in Google analytics.
b) Making sure you learn how to read the metrics and filter traffic before you make any changes to your website – You might also want to try to use another tracking tool such as CrazyEgg or HotJar that will actually give you a heat map and click map of what your visitors are doing on your website.
c) Loading speed is a crucial metric (read this post) that can influence all the others, this should be kept always under control and should ideally be under 2sec. If you are using wordpress we highly recommend to choose a solid hosting company such as Siteground we can’t speak highly enough of them.
Choose the right tools and make sure you have time and resources to use them correctly:
There are countless tools you can use to market your yachting business online but using virtually all of them at 10% of the tools potential often equals to spreading your resources to thin and not making the best out your time and budget. Let’s pin down those tools you cannot do without.
- Email Marketing Software – We recommend Mailchimp (also see this article) simply because it’s solid and easy to use and gives you a lot of control and monitoring tools for your email campaign
- Google Adwords : Google Adwords will serve the purpose of making Search and Display campaigns on the whole Google proprietary network and partner network. It’s fundamental to know how to use it as it is otherwise very easy to waste money with it and pushing ads to a not-that-relevant target market. Do not venture into an Adwords campaign if you don’t have the appropriate conversion tracking on Google Analytics set up and tested (See video above and previous block) – It’s fundamental to have the proper set up for re-marking/re-targetting campaigns because as we all know decisions related to buying or even chartering yachts are far from impulsive and your prospective clients will need to be exposed to your brand more than just once.
- LiveChat if you want to interact more with your visitors (We also wrote a specific article with some case studies on this very specific tool link here)
- Social Media management tools such as Hootsuite (All related social media accounts need to be active first) – Posting on Social Media on a regular basis can be incredibly time consuming tools like Hootsuite can help scheduling posts in advance so that they can regularly get posted and monitored.
Strategy Planning and execution
- Make a Content plan for your website, for your social media posts and for your email content
- Frequency: keep your brand and products/services of on top of mind without being harassing this all comes down to having a well planned frequency of posts, emails, display campaigns, video campaigns and any other type of communication you are putting in place towards the same target market.
- A/B test: Testing is crucial you can test email campaigns with A/b testing in Mailchimp, you can test variations of your home page or landing page with Optimizely and you can also A/b test different ads within the context of a display campaign on Adwords, there are new tools for the latter but they imply a certain degree of knowledge of the Adwords platform.
- A new pair of eyes on your website will spot things you can’t because you have been looking at it too much or simply because you don’t have enough User Experience expertise, so get yourself a brand new pair of eyes to review your website and let you have a professional review.
- Get you Google Analytics data reviewed by a professional your interpretation might not be the only one on how to improve your presence.
- Review the size and weight (in KB) of your images
- Test and review Page speed figures and see where the areas of improvement are.