Believe it or not, selling or renting your boat slip online doesn’t have to be difficult, expensive, or time-consuming. Boat slips often represent a fairly large investment, so you know how important it is to spend your energy actually selling the slip instead of attempting to sell it! If you’re looking for some simple tips and tricks to help your listing stand out from the crowd while avoiding common pitfalls, this article is for you.
Pitfall # 1: Realtors
The first mistake many people make when trying to sell a boat slip is thinking that a realtor is the only option. There are several drawbacks to realtors; first of all, you’re paying a sometimes-hefty commission. Furthermore, boat slips are a specialized market with a narrower audience, and it turns out many realtors simply aren’t motivated to sell them.
Instead, consider learning how to sell/lease the slip yourself, using some common tools available online. Why should you be selective about which tools you use? Let’s consider Pitfall #2.
Pitfall # 2: Craigslist
While it was the most popular online marketplace for a long time, primarily because it’s easy-to-use and free, Craigslist has several drawbacks that now make other options more appealing. For instance, on Craigslist you can’t post video, and your listing becomes less visible with time. While video isn’t mandatory, it does add appeal and professionalism; we’ll talk more about that below. Regarding post visibility, there is nothing you can do about it on Craigslist except re-post, which could confuse potential buyers.
Finally, due to the anonymous nature of Craigslist, spam and scams have grown rife on the website—you might find the majority of your time is being wasted on unscrupulous individuals. Scammers have even been known to pull information from your post and re-post it themselves, posing as the seller and potentially putting you in a bad situation.
What Should I do Instead?
Believe it or not, you can sell the boat slip yourself with the following information. The secret to successfully selling your slip online is to treat it like a digital marketing campaign. This is because digital marketing campaigns, when done correctly, are an extremely cost-effective and efficient way to get people’s attention. For instance, you probably saw this article promoted online and decided to click on it.
The next logical step is to learn about digital marketing. Don’t know where to begin? There is a lot of information out there and it can get overwhelming. Fortunately, we’ve put this brief guide together.
Digital Marketing to Rent/Sell Your Boat Slip: Top 5 Things to Know
Although we don’t recommend Craigslist, you are going to have to rely on a listing of some kind, whether that be a facebook ad or a landing page (more on that below), so it’s important to go over some best practices first. Next, we’ll summarize how to use the most important digital marketing platforms; it’s very easy to get bogged down in the details, so start with this summary, especially if you are unfamiliar with digital marketing in general.
Tip # 1: Have Good Media
When viewing a property remotely, prospective buyers generally want as much detailed information as they can get. At the very least, you should have several high-quality photos of the slip and any included amenities, especially if it’s in a marina or yacht club.
A short video does wonders to illustrate what the property actually looks like; just imagine you’re giving a real-life tour and narrate accordingly. These days, most smartphones shoot high-enough quality video that you don’t even need specialized equipment. Even better, YouTube hosts video for free; you just have to upload the file—you can even edit the video’s length directly on the website. Keep it short and sweet.
Finally, make sure that your written description is thorough, error-free, and answers common questions that prospective buyers or renters will want. For example, is it in a dredged harbor? Is fresh water available? Are liveaboards welcome? While you don’t have to write a novel, make sure you include a fair amount of detail.
Tip # 2: Make an Ad Image
Once you have a good image of your boat slip, you can use a free online design tool to make an ad. The tool is called Canva, and you simply upload your best photo, choose a font, and add some text—eg, “for sale: boat slip in beautiful ABC Marina” —to the image. You can then download the ad and it’s ready to be used! Canva is very user-friendly; the whole thing should take less than 10 minutes.
Tip # 3: Use Facebook
Facebook has come a long way when it comes to ads and paid content. Because it’s the most popular social media platform on the planet, we recommend considering using Facebook to sell your slip. There are several ways to do this: the simplest is to make a listing in Facebook Marketplace, using the media you perfected after reading Tip # 1. If you want to really take advantage of Facebook’s best feature for advertisers, though, you’re going to have to learn how to make a Facebook ad.
Facebook’s best feature when it comes to paid ads is being able to dial in an extremely relevant audience. The platform has so much user information that it’s possible, for instance, to show your ad only to empty-nesters living in Boca Raton who make more than six figures a year and have “sailing” listed as an interest.
To get started with Facebook advertising, navigate to the “Ads Manager” section (or Google ‘Facebook Ads’). You’ll need to select your awareness objective, which will be “reach”; your consideration objective will be “lead generation.” Facebook will then help you build an audience for your ad. Next, it’s time to upload the image you made in Canva and come up with a snappy headline and byline for your ad. Tip: make your writing clear, concise, and relevant. If you’re selling or renting the slip for a competitive price, don’t be afraid to put that in the headline. Make sure you include video if you have it.
Finally, you will have to decide how much money you want to spend on the campaign. There are many factors that will influence the size of your cash spend, but for only a few dollars a day you can start testing the ad and perfecting your audience reach.
Tip # 4: Understand Google Ads (Formerly Known as Adwords)
You know those sponsored pages you see at the top of every Google search? That’s Google’s marketing tool, possibly the biggest player in the world of digital advertising. To begin, make sure you have a Google account (if you have Gmail, you have a Google account). Then, go to ads.google.com to get started.
Navigating Google Ads can be a bit less intuitive than Facebook, but the premise is similar. When someone clicks on your ad that pops up during a relevant search, you pay a small amount. While you used to need a whole external “landing page” (single-page website) using Launchaco or Instapage, you can now use a tool called Google Sites inside the Google suite to create a simple page with a contact form. Treat this page with the same advice we gave for Facebook ads: use a strong image, or better yet video; write an attention-grabbing headline; make sure the description answers common questions that come up with boat slips.
When it’s time to design the campaign, AdWords Express might be your best choice, as it’s an option that simplifies the sometimes-complex decisions that digital marketing can entail. While you don’t have to spend a huge amount of money in AdWords, “boat slips for sale” is a pretty specific search term, so it might be more expensive. Depending on the value of the boat slip, a few hundred dollars a month is money well-spent if you’re able to get a sale out of it.
Tip # 5: Don’t Get Overwhelmed
If the thought of creating and running your own Facebook or Google Ads campaign is overwhelming, there is another option. Moor for Less is both a dedicated boat slips for sale/rent listing site and a digital marketing agency. For less than you’d spend on Facebook or Google ads in a month, you can list your slip for a year. If you’re ready to sell or rent it faster, their marketing team offers custom marketing campaigns for Facebook, Instagram, Google, and YouTube. While there is a cost associated with letting someone else do your marketing, leaving it to the hands of professionals likely means that you’ll get results more quickly.
In Conclusion: Digital Marketing is Worth the Money
Selling or renting your boat slip can be difficult, especially because it’s a very specialized area that requires a very specific audience. Avoiding realtors and Craigslist in favor of slightly more advanced digital marketing is the fastest way to sell your slip. Generally speaking, the more money you’re willing to spend on ads, the faster you’ll find a buyer. By the same token, being willing to spend the money to let a professional marketing team like Moor for Less do it for you costs much less than a traditional realtor.
Either way you decide to do it, modernizing your strategy with savvy digital marketing is worth it, especially given the potentially large profits associated with selling (or renting) your slip. Remember to take the time to make sure that you have good images and written content, pick the right audience, be willing to spend some money, and chances are that you’ll find a buyer.