Although I never went on to college to further my education, I have always been a fan of learning. Thus, while attending the 2010 EasyRider's V-Twin Expo in Cincinatti I decided to attend to seminars. One about being profitable at making performance parts and the other discussing the future of the v-Twin scene. Both seminars were led by a panel of "leading" members within the customizing world. Unfortunately, I learned very little about either topic. What I did find out is that the silver hairs within the industry are afraid of the internet revolution that is influencing purchasing across the board and the younger guys on the panel are timid at correcting their older "wiser" peers. Much of the discussion obviously tainted by the fact that a leading print magazine was the host of the show and if the online revolution exists then it does nothing but deter companies from pulling their existing ads from print and going online. Or, it will force EasyRiders to change their business model to be online friendly which they are apparently not prepared to do.
The above described was hard to sit through and stay silent. While the lecture could have enlightened everyone to the free marketing they could be receiving through Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Youtube, blogging, etc they were kept in the dark due to the resistance to change found in this industry and an agenda the print media had. Now more than ever, powersports needs to scale back, find ways to sell to a larger audience and spend less money all together.
Hopefully, next year we will be able to put together a seminar to help our fellow retailers, distributors, customizers, competitors and anyone else who will listen and take a few lessons on how we can grow this scene and make it better through online interaction and progression.
Here's my favorite quote about how to sell perfomance and be profitable with my comentary:
"Rent a drag strip and bring a few of your customers out to race against you."
As uneconomical as this is, you might be able to make sense out of this. if you did it right. They could have added these tips to make this event a little more affordable and insure success.
-- Send out e-mail marketing blasts every week starting 4 weeks in advance to promote the event. Make sure to use Contstant Contact or Vertical Response when you do this to track the open rate of the e-mail. (Aproximately $20)
-- Put information on the event up on your blog on a bi-weekly basis 8 weeks prior to the event. This will give people time to plan for the event and tell their friends. (Free)
-- Have your blog RSS to your MySpace and Facebook page. This will allow you to duplicate your efforts without and extra labor. (Free)
-- Take photos and videos at the event. This will allow you to put them up on your website, blog, and other social media outlets so they live on the for all eternity and will create advance hype if you ever plan on doing the event again.
-- All of the above would take no more than 4 hours of solid work and only costs $20.