Few businesses are more seasonal than running an RV dealership except, maybe, running a water park. However, unlike the water park business, there are several things RV dealerships can do during the offseason to grow their business. From marketing and advertising to ensuring your F&I solution is ready whenever an unexpected surge in business occurs, the off season is anything but a time to take a break.
Off-Season RV Dealer Marketing
Your marketing strategy off season will be built on a foundation laid down during the heavy selling season. So, when RVs are rolling off of your lot during the peak season, you should be doing everything you can to maintain engagement with those customers. Peak season can be an exciting time, and getting customers to write reviews or otherwise engage socially will make it easier to maintain top of mind awareness during the slower months.
By laying the seeds for future nostalgia while in the peak season, buyers will think back to their experience (when talking to friends about buying an RV) and those “almost-buyers” will be inclined to return next year. If you’ve done a good job of instilling a sense of possibility into future potential buyers and you have encouraged enough customers to write reviews, future buyers will think only of you during the off-season (and know where to return when it’s time).
RV Advertising Ideas
If you have instilled positive feelings during the initial sales process (even if the sale didn’t close this time) you can foster a sense of nostalgia using your advertising and email marketing during the off season. Particularly in a year like 2020 heading into the winter of 2021, everyone is building a pent up desire to get out and travel.
Be careful, though, that you do not foster a sense of resentment. If your advertising and email marketing campaigns come across as tone-deaf, maybe by only depicting people in group settings enjoying a dream vacation, for example, it could strike the wrong chord when people are stuck quarantining in their homes.
In other words, you should sound aspirational and optimistic, building fantasies in people’s minds about what waits for them on their RV adventure.
Maintaining RV Business Year-Round
Besides selling new RVs, the peak season should be about bulking up your email lists and socials. Think of this like a bear getting ready to hibernate for the winter. Not a perfect analogy though, because your dealership isn’t going to be sleeping through this slow season.
Instead, this time can actually be used to boost engagement instead of slowing down. Your website should include many calls to action, you should be replying to every review placed on google, and keep up with email communications and social media posts.
When crafting emails, in particular, try not to simply place advertisements or promotions in your customers’ inboxes for months on end. Instead, craft your emails such that people actually want to reply. Don’t be under the illusion that each and every contact on your list is going to have a conversation about RVs, but something to pique curiosity and tend to that “adventure is coming” ember is a good way to boost traffic when customers return.
The key to the off season is maintenance. Maintaining levels of customer engagement while using the slow time to get the dealership into top shape. Peak season will come again before you know it.
Scalable F&I Services
The other side of the off-season equation is all of the behind-the-scenes work that must happen. Perform the thought experiment: if a major surge happened tomorrow, would my dealership be ready?
Of course, no one is expecting customers to start streaming through your showroom doors right now. However, If that did happen, would you be ready? Often, a dealership’s financing and insurance structure is inflexible. During the peak season, your team may not be equipped to handle the load of customers. If you staff up, it is unlikely enough business is coming through the door to justify a larger department.
One of our specialties at Finance Solution is scaling our level of service depending on demand. Our clients aren’t stuck paying for staff to just sit around, nor are they paying retainer fees. We only get paid when our partners get paid.
Fill out the form below to get the conversation started. The slow season is a perfect time to get your F&I set up properly for the peak season.