We tend to have this love and hate relationship with the elusive side of marketing within our businesses. This is especially prevalent within our market of Golf Car sales and service market since there is no clear cut way to present your service and product to your targeted customer. Before going down the rabbit hole too deep, I oft en ask the straight forward question of ‘How much do you spend on marketing?’ So oft en businesses will not have an idea of their budgeted expense for marketing which makes it difficult to know if it is effective or not. With all this in mind, wouldn’t it be nice if there were some simple suggestions that would help you compile an effective marketing plan? Well, we thought it would be prudent to provide a digestible list to help spur your business towards a trajectory of growth through effective marketing advice.

Track every dollar

Whatever you decide to set your marketing budget as (average is between 2% to 5% of annual gross revenue), you need to know how effective your dollars being spent are. Simply placing an ad in a magazine or newspaper is nice, however if you do not know how many sales or new customers you acquired from the ad, then you have no way to identify the Return on Investment (ROI).

Therefore, we need to find ways to track our ads.

An effective way is to place a promotion only in that ad and see how many people come in and take advantage of the promotion. Or, you can set up a separate phone number that redirects to your main line and see how many additional phone calls you receive as a result of your ad. An advertisement is meant to generate additional revenue and profit. If I spend $500 on an advertisement, I should at least break even with $500 in profit. Before committing to any advertising, be intentional about what the return from the advertisement should be.

Get in Front of the Customer

In the golf car market, there is no shortage of customers with questions pertaining to how to maintain their golf car. So, why not be the expert in your local market? Hold free, educational seminars inside your store and invite your customers to come. Better yet, go to their community and hold seminars at their local recreation center or community center. You’d be amazed at the trust and loyalty this builds with your customer and the long term value it builds. They’ll become your ambassadors in the community.

Barter for Marketing Dollars

If you have a fleet of vehicles set up as 4 or 6 passenger units, then why not barter their uses at large scale events such as trade shows or community gatherings? We oft en see our golf car units being rented out at the local trade show or event, but why not barter with the event venue in exchange for a booth or sponsored advertising. It is a win-win for your business and the event. Not only that, but your potential customer will be riding in YOUR vehicle. In addition, it is great to advertise at golf tournaments, however the expense can add up quickly. Some of the larger OEMs have free hole-in-one insurance. So, in exchange for being at the golf tournament, you can provide a vehicle as a hole-in-one prize with little to no expense to you!

First Impression

A first impression to your new customer is critical in today’s world. With the rise of the internet, baby boomers and seniors are shopping online for 3-4 hours per week. Before visiting your store location, over 75% of your customers will visit your website prior to coming to your store and 55% of those customers decision to do business with you will be based on your website. And, if they do decide to visit your store, then make sure you represent your business with pride through a clean and presentable store. We often forget these basic principles through the busy day to day business operations. In summation, you have two store fronts for your business: your website and your physical store. Be sure that they are both in alignment with your marketing direction.

A successful marketing campaign can be done in a multitude of ways, however these 4 tips should get you started in the right direction. If you are tracking your dollars spent and continually work on improving your ROI, then that is the right path to take. We wish you luck in your marketing endeavours and look forward to providing more insight to you in the future.

Chad Hively, Partner at GCX Management, has been providing online marketing services to various golf car dealers and manufacturers for over 4 years. Visit GCXManagement.com for more information.