Spring Marketing Jumpstart Guide

Two easy-to-execute digital marketing campaigns

By Colleen Malloy

When the weather starts changing from freezing to fair, and your mind switches gears from snow plows to lawn mowers, you’d better have a game plan in place to ensure your marketing plans don’t take a back seat once the season rolls into full swing.

Need a little inspiration? This month, I’m offering up a belated holiday gift of two easy-to-execute digital marketing campaigns to boost engagement and drive even more sales this spring.

Campaign Idea #1: Run a photo contest

I’ve talked a lot about getting the most out of your social media channels in this regular monthly feature, but it bears repeating that you absolutely must use social media to do more than just promote your products, services and specials. Why? Put simply, people don’t want to be sold to on social media. If too much of your content is sales focused, it’ll turn your customers off.

So how do you build your brand on social media without just posting inventory or pictures of cute cats? Run a spring project photo contest on Facebook. Ask your fans to email in photos of their spring projects and add a branded frame (think a Polaroid picture with your logo on it) over each of the photos and share them on your Facebook page, tagging the person who submitted the photo. Online editor tools like PicMonkey (www.picmonkey.com) can make editing photos like this a snap — no graphic design skills necessary.

Why not just have people upload their pictures right to your Facebook page? Brand awareness. Once you’ve posted the branded images on your page, ask your followers to vote for their favorite photo by liking and/or sharing — giving you exposure to Facebook users beyond your page’s reach. The post with the most interaction wins, and instead of a gift card, I’d recommend giving a new product that you’re interested in promoting — more awareness, zero direct sale. A real win for social media engagement.

Take promotions for this campaign beyond social by encouraging participation and sharing the results via website banners, a blog post, your email newsletter and in-store with signage on your community events board. While social may be the primary platform for this campaign, it’s important to always consider every communication medium at your disposal when planning promotions. Don’t forget to simply ask your store visitors to participate — the power of word-of-mouth advertising is still alive and well!

Campaign Idea #2: Harness the #ThrowbackThursday hashtag

If you’ve spent any time browsing social media on a Thursday, you’ve probably seen vintage photos posted with the hashtags #ThrowbackThursday or #TBT.

Take advantage of this popular hashtag trend by creating a Throwback Thursday Pricing Rollback campaign, which you repeat on a regular basis throughout the selling season to build anticipation and drive in-store visits.

The best Throwback Thursday photos either make people laugh or brew up nostalgic feelings. Dig through your dealership archives to find photos that tell your brand story as it has evolved over the years and show your more human side: from a photo of your first day in business to a photo of you pushing a plastic mower as a toddler.

Post the photo with the #ThrowbackThursday hashtag, a short caption, and most importantly, a limited-time promotion based on the throwback photo. You could roll back prices to what they would’ve been in the year your photo was taken, or you can give a discount based on that date — for example, if the photo was taken 20 years ago, give customers 20-percent off of a product, or if the photo was taken in 1975, give them $19.75 off of their purchase over a certain dollar amount.

Just like with the photo contest, this campaign starts on social, but your promotions should span all of your marketing channels — if you’re doing any paid search or retargeting campaigns, this promotion is ideal to drive immediate e-commerce sales. Not selling online? Well, that’s a topic we’ll have to dig into another time!

Having some planned campaign ideas in your back pocket is critical to help you hit the ground running once the hectic spring selling season starts, because while you’re busy, I’ve never met a dealer who couldn’t use just a few more door swings each spring.

1504_OPE_FS_Social Strategy2_author-Colleen Malloy-webColleen Malloy is the director of marketing at ARI Network Services. Prior to joining ARI in November 2013, Malloy served as the editor of Motorcycle and Powersports News. She is dedicated to the mission of helping dealers improve their operations through the implementation of ever-evolving best practices paired with ARI’s suite of award-winning data-driven software tools and marketing services that help dealers “Sell More Stuff!” — online and in-store. ARI removes the complexity of selling and servicing new and used inventory, parts, garments and accessories for customers in the outdoor power equipment, powersports, marine, RV, automotive tire and wheel, and white goods industries. More than 22,000 equipment dealers, 195 distributors and 140 manufacturers worldwide leverage ARI’s website (www.arinet.com) and eCatalog platforms to “Sell More Stuff!”

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