Anchor Your Boat Dealership’s Facebook Ads With Strategic Targeting

Anchor Your Boat Dealership’s Facebook Ads With Strategic Targeting

When it comes to Facebook marketing for boat dealers, it’s easy to feel like a fish out of water. 

To increase brand awareness, lead generation, and eventually, boat sales, attracting the right audience with the right message is key. But how do you reel in the right people? 

Whether you’re a boat-marketing beginner or have been steering the digital marketing ship for your business for years, here are five Facebook ad targeting tips for boat marketers.

Pay Attention to the Buyer’s Journey

Following the buyer’s journey is our first tip for a reason — it’s where you should begin before even running Facebook ads for your boat dealership!

The Buyer's Journey
Image credit: HubSpot

Don’t overcomplicate the chart above. Before running Facebook ads, all you need to do is to consider where your audience is in their buyer’s journey. 

  • Awareness: Is a shopper in the very beginning stages of their boat-buying journey? They are likely in the “Awareness” stage. 
  • Consideration: As shoppers begin to do more boat research, perhaps they’ve come across your website (hopefully because of some strong search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) work!) They are considering the options, and therefore fall into the “Consideration” phase of the buying journey. 
  • Decision: When a shopper has done enough research to the point of feeling confident of taking the next step, they are in the “Decision” stage. This could involve filling out a form on your website or setting up an appointment with your sales team to see their boat of interest. 

Someone in the Awareness stage likely shouldn’t be seeing the same Facebook ad as someone in the Decision stage of the buyer’s journey. This is where your ad targeting becomes so important!

Understand Your Detailed Targeting Options

Although boat marketers are somewhat limited to demographic and interest targeting options due to Facebook’s Special Ad Category for Credit criteria, there are still ways to find qualified leads through Facebook advertising. 

While Facebook may not currently have sailboat, speedboat or fishing boat targeting options, many other similar interests are available to use in your Facebook advertising.

interest targeting on Facebook

Even though some of the targeting options above aren’t directly correlated with people in the market for a boat, you’ll likely attract some people who will be interested in what your dealership is selling or the service you’re offering. 

Utilize CRM Targeting

Marine Facebook ad targeting should always be intentional, and sometimes it can be tough to rely only on “interest” information. 

You don’t want to “wear out” your core audience by using the same targeting every month. That’s why we advocate for incorporating your current leads and past purchasers from your customer relationship management system (CRM) into your ad targeting playbook. 

The contacts in your CRM make up some of the most valuable data you have access to! Nurture current leads through their boat-buying journey by encouraging them to take another look at their boat of interest and to contact the dealership. 

Or, try showing past purchasers of five years or later some of your newer boat models, while encouraging them to see what their current boat is worth. 

Your CRM is chock-full of valuable data, so don’t sleep on including these people in your Facebook ad targeting!

Reach More with Special Ads Audiences

While targeting these custom audiences of contacts within your CRM, boat marketers also have the ability to target an audience most similar to this group of people with Special Ad Audiences

Special Ad Audiences are similar to traditional Facebook lookalike audiences because they use online behavior similarities from the contacts in your original audience source to create a new audience group. 

Utilizing Special Ad Audiences allows you to increase your Facebook ad reach by attracting new leads most like your current customer base. 

Exclude Unnecessary Clicks

Once a person purchases a boat from your business, there really isn’t a reason for them to be viewing your Facebook ads in the immediate future (until they’re ready to buy again).  

Thankfully, you’re able to exclude recent purchasers from viewing your ads (and accidentally clicking on them, costing you money) when you upload your recent boat sales lists into Facebook Offline Events

This will prevent paying for unnecessary clicks and allow you to focus your money where it really counts — on new leads and customers.

Steer Your Facebook Advertising Ship in the Right Direction

Navigating the waters of Facebook advertising for your boat dealership can be choppy at times, but if you keep these targeting tips in mind, you’ll be that much closer to smooth sailing. 

Looking for more Facebook advertising tips? Our Facebook Ads eBook includes Facebook hacks that benefit those working in nearly any industry. 

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