Marketing Ideas from the 2010 Top 100

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Dealernews editors sifted through hundreds of applications to pick this year’s Top 100 dealers, which will be featured in next month’s issue. In the meantime, here are some of the marketing and customer service ideas that stood out from the pack.

Beartooth Harley-Davidson/Hi-Mountain Recreation, Billings, Mont.: What’s in a name? For Beartooth, the answer is everything. “Al’s Huge Package” is one of the store’s ad campaigns that’s cheekily named after the salesman who inspired the deal. Customers (possibly with their minds in the gutter?) have shown lots of interest: the store has moved package deals every week that it’s been published. (www.beartoothonline.com)

Bend Euro Moto, Bend, Ore.: The Ducati Fly and Ride gives out-of-the-area customers the VIP treatment when buying the Italian brand. Customers are flown into Bend and put up in a hotel to pick up their shiny new bike. “This is something we’ll continue to offer next season as it’s a unique buying experience,” Bend’s Top 100 application states. “It creates an instant bond with our customers, and its presented to target areas which have no Ducati representative nearby.” (www.bendeuromoto.com)

Bob Weaver Motorsports & Marine, North Tonawanda, N.Y.: Even the birthplace of “Weaver Fever” felt the pressure of a sinking economy. To garner more sales, the dealership set up booths at community events, including the local county fair. The moves paid off handsomely: 79 units were sold at the fair, and dozens more sold the following month. (www.weaverfever.com)

Cyclewise Inc./Ducati Vermont, New Haven, Vt.: Customers who purchase a bike here are paired with veteran riders for a full day of riding, practicing techniques and anything else the new rider needs help with. (www.cyclewisevt.com)

Cycle World, Houma, La.: Club Saturday is a monthly event that began last year. On the last Saturday of the month, all customers are offered special pricing and free lunch, but club members are offered double-discounts. (www.cycleworldofhouma.com)

Fun Bike Center, Lakeland, Fla.: Customers get a free meal on their birthdays, plus a discount on any vehicle accessory. On certain Saturdays, the store will have a money booth in which each person who entered the dealership would enter their name in a drawing. Every hour, a name is drawn, and the lucky winner gets to spend some time chasing after flying dollar bills in the money booth. “This promotion was very successful at drawing crowds and keeping them all day,” the store’s Top 100 entry reads. (www.funbike.com)

Gear Head, Ottawa, Ontario, Can.: All children who walk through the doors are given a Gear Head sticker to take home. Adults get key rings and other trinkets as well. (www.gearheadcanada.com)

Golden Triangle Powersports, Beaumont, Texas: The “No Excuses Event” pulls out all of the stops when courting new customers: With the purchase of a select model, one also gets a free riding course, bike delivery, gas card, helmet, jacket and gloves. For the month the promotion ran, they sold 81 units. (www.goldentrianglepowersports.com)

Hayden Honda Powerhouse, Kendallville, Ind.: The store’s customer lounge has a 10-foot bulletin board for customers to post rides, benefits or any other info they want to share with the motorcycle community. (www.haydenhonda.com)

J&W Cycles, Washington, Mo.: A promotion geared toward hunters was the most successful campaign of the year. For a few weeks in October, customers who bought an ATV received a free rifle. “We focused on a specific customer base at a specific time of year and made it simple with basic newspaper advertising,” the store’s Top 100 application stated. “We also posted the promotion on our reader board, website, Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter.” (www.jwcycles.com)

Outer Banks Harley-Davidson, Harbinger, N.C.: All customers who purchase a new or used unit are sent on an in-house poker run where each department is a stop. Customers are congratulated on their purchase and given free gifts at each stop. (www.harleybay.com)

Pig Trail Harley-Davidson, Rogers, Ark.: The Customer Appreciation Program awards customers who spend $250 or more in a quarter a rebate check in the mail equivalent to 5 percent of the total they spent. Rebate checks can be spent on clothes, parts, accessories or service. (www.pigtrailhd.com)

Renegade Harley-Davidson, Alexandria, La.: Every Saturday during Black History Month, the store became a platform for student winners of a local contest to read essays from a contest titled, “What Black History Month Means to Me.” Each winner received a $100 check and a Renegade T-shirt. (www.renegadeharleydavidson.com)

Riva Motorsports, Pompano Beach, Fla.: Riva sponsored a local radio station contest called “You Can’t Win,” where a Yamaha Waverunner was the grand prize. The contest boosted PWC sales for the store during the 180-days it ran. (www.rivamotorsports.com)