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How to Market a Motorcycle Dealership – 8 Marketing Ideas, Tips, and Strategies

| Local Advertising

How will you sell more motorcycles in 2019?  Here are 8 motorcycle marketing ideas that will help your dealership close more sales.

Today’s motorcycle industry is more dynamic than ever.  There are a greater variety of bikes appealing to a wide range of tastes and rider needs.  Online review sites and Youtube videos provide almost endless info on bikes and the riding lifestyle.  Some motorcycle dealers are even selling directly to consumers online, with new bikes offered at stunningly low prices.

Dealerships have to compete with each other, online retailers, and a significant used market.  Here are 8 tips that will help your dealership get found and close more sales with today’s diverse motorcycle buyers.


Motorcycle Dealership Marketing Idea #1:  Design a Modern, Functional Website

Your website is ground zero for your sales.  Expect all serious buyers to have visited your site before walking onto your lot or calling.

The primary thing potential buyers are looking for on your website, of course, is your current inventory.  Make sure you keep this updated, with details and plenty of images of bikes.   Detail the condition, mileage, and pricing on all used inventory and include plenty of pictures.

Keep your website design simple and easy to navigate.  Make sure it’s easy to filter searches by make, model, type, used/new, model year, inventory status and price range.

Today, your website must be mobile responsive so people can navigate it on their phones.  Many people check motorcycle websites while they’re actively out shopping for bikes.

Particularly on used bikes, write up your own descriptions instead of just re-using manufacturer content.  This begins the process of the buyer not just buying the bike, but buying it from you.  For example:

motorcycle dealer marketing product description

Since most dealerships just use the manufacturer description, you gain a competitive advantage by having a more lively, original product description.

Pro Tip:  Pricing on Your Website

One question many dealerships struggle with is whether or not to include pricing on their website.

Websites that don’t include pricing do so because they want to use the request a quote call to action as a way to generate the lead.  Some dealers don’t even include mileage on used models, so people have to contact them to get any real info on the bike.

While this is a way to generate website leads, it also flies in the face of the transparency many online consumers expect.  Details – including the condition, mileage, and asking price of the bike – are the main info visitors are interested in when they visit your site.  The only way you’ll get the lead without that info is if they’re really interested in a particular bike, but you’d likely get that lead anyway.

Additionally, keep in mind that most manufacturer websites have MSRP’s listed on their websites.   With a little research, a shopper can get price ranges on any bike they want.

Not having prices on your site can make it seem like you have something to hide, and it also smacks of the “salesy” approach many shoppers want to avoid.

It’s better to have a list price or sale price, then you can include info requests such as:

  • Request a quote
  • Make an offer
  • Request price drop notification

Any of these requests will provide contact info you can follow up on.


Motorcycle Dealership Marketing Idea #2:  Know Your Buyer Types

Today’s motorcycle dealerships need to understand the type of buyers they’re dealing with, particularly considering how well informed most shoppers are when they walk onto a lot.

First, consider the buyer type.  There are two you should consider.

The first is the more experienced rider who is probably looking for a bigger motorcycle.  For these riders, status and social interaction play a role in the type of bike they choose.  They may want a big cruiser, fast sport bike, or powerful adventure machine.  In most ways, this is the stereotypical motorcycle rider.

The second is a rider type that’s being recognized as vital to the health of the industry, which is a more moderate rider interested in a smaller capacity bike.  This includes beginner riders, but also commuters and older riders looking for something easier to handle and cheaper to own.

Manufacturers have recognized the importance of this second group in recent years, which is why there are so many more small displacement adventure, dual sport, and commuter-oriented bikes on the market.

These two riders types tend to be divided between those who are seeking status and adrenaline versus those who are looking for practicality and low-key fun.

It’s worth noting that a lot of millennials – who are not proving to be as big a market as the industry would like – fall into the second category.

Pro Tip:  A Motorcycle Shopper’s Anecdote

I’m shopping for a motorcycle, and recently visited several local dealerships.  

I’m an older guy who is new to motorcycling.  I very much fit into the second category of rider.  I want a practical, less powerful bike that I can use as a safe commuter and gentle weekend adventure bike. 

At two of the dealerships I visited, the salespeople failed to recognize I was this type of rider.  They insist on telling me that if I get a smaller displacement bike I’ll be bored with it.  It won’t provide the rush that makes riding fun.  I’ll look like a wimp compared to guys on their liter bikes, bellowing with might as they blow by me. 

These guys were trying hard to sell more bike than I wanted.  I get what they’re saying about power, but I’m not looking for a powerful bike.  I intend to be a safe, conservative rider who will probably always be happy with less than 50 hp.

They didn’t get the sale, and they probably won’t, even if they have a bike in stock I’m interested in.  I want a salesperson who gets the type of rider I want to be. 


Motorcycle Dealership Marketing Idea #3:  Prepare for Informed Buyers

If there is any product today where marketing and sales need to understand the research process of buyers, it’s motorcycle sales.

As with many products, there are many reviews published on motorcycle sites.  However, perhaps the biggest factor with motorcycles is Youtube videos.

Take any bike you’re interested in and do a search on Youtube.  There will be dozens of reviews and vlogs, both from semi-professional reviewers and bike owners.  Shoppers can get a tremendous amount of information about bikes and watch them in action as people do test rides.

Many videos compare similar bikes, giving people shopping for a type of bike from different makers detailed information between the two.

For example, Motorcycle Magazine has a Youtube channel where they post bike reviews and vlogs that have a lot of information about bikes.  I happened to be interested in a Kawasaki Versys X-300, so I watched this video:

This type of video gives me a real sense of how this bike would ride, covers many of the specs, and offers the personal opinions of the rider.  Just this video alone has 134k views.   Their channel has millions of views.

I can watch dozens of videos and read as many reviews on just this one bike.  The amount of detail I can get as a shopper is incredible.  By the time I walk into a dealership, I may know more about the bike than the salesperson (in fact that happened at one of the dealerships I describe above).

There are a couple of considerations here.  First, make sure your staff is aware of how much information bike shoppers will have when they come to your dealership.  They’ll know specs, have comparisons in mind, and will have a feel for how a bike rides – before they ever ride it.

It’s a good idea to have your staff keep up with the latest online content and reviews on bikes you carry.  When they know what prospective buyers are thinking when they come in, they’ll have a better chance at connecting with triggers that will close sales.

Second, consider creating some videos of your own.  Feature bikes, talk about mods, and get into the culture of riding you enjoy.  This makes great content for your own Youtube channel and you can add it to your website.  Just a short overview of the latest bikes you’re carrying is a great way to start the sales process with potential buyers.


Motorcycle Dealership Marketing Idea #4:  Have a Dedicated Online Salesperson

With so many people doing online shopping and requesting info via your website, it’s a good idea to have at least one person dedicated to handling online estimates and keeping up with the latest content.

This person is responsible for quick responses to estimate or test ride requests.  They keep your inventory up to date and run ads on Craig’s List, Facebook Marketplace, Cycle Trader, eBay, and any other sites you want to list bikes.

Be aware of what a strong lead generation tool sites like Craig’s List, Facebook, and Cycle Trader can be.  On these sites, you can get sales leads from people who are searching in the used marketplace.  You’ll want to list your pre-owned inventory here, but you can list any bike and get your name in front of prospective buyers.

If your website has online chat, this is your rep for that feature.  Chat can be a great way to draw leads into your dealership, so we suggest using it – but making sure it’s manned during business hours.

Your online salesperson should also monitor your reputation and make sure poor reviews aren’t hurting your lead generation.

When comes to your online channel, you want to be responsive and updated.  Make sure you have a team member on these tasks.


Motorcycle Dealership Marketing Idea #5:  Master Search Marketing

When someone goes online to search for a certain make or model of motorcycle, they are showing buying intent.  You need to get them into your sales funnel.

This is where the tactics of pay per click advertising (PPC) and search engine optimization (SEO) are necessary.

With PPC, you can set up campaigns so that if someone searches for make of bike you sell (Honda, Kawasaki, Harley Davidson, etc.) it will trigger your ad.

You can then use the keyword insertion feature so the exact model they searched for appears in the headline of your ad.

For example, I was looking for a 2016 Honda cb500x and got served this ad:

motorcycle dealership marketing ppc adOptimize your campaigns as specifically as you can for makes, models, and years.  The more you have in inventory, the more aggressively you want to run the ads.

For organic search, you’ll want to rank for more general terms of makes, models, and your location.  When I do a search for “honda motorcycle dealership Colorado” I get:

motorcycle dealership marketing seo

The maps area results are driven by your Google My Business listing.  Be sure to set this up and optimize both that content and your website for your location.

The content on your website, social media signals, inbound links, and overall site authority impact your SEO rankings.  Be sure to put location keywords into your page title tags and mention your location in descriptions of your services.

Motorcycle Dealer Marketing Tip #6:  Use a CRM

Today every dealership needs customer relationship management (CRM) software.  It’s indispensable.

CRMs do two main things.  They keep your staff on the same page as leads move through the sales cycle, and they automate follow-up tasks so you can maintain consistent touches.

CRMs today usually function in the cloud, so they’re easy to access from any device.  They do the job of funneling leads from every source, including showroom, online, service, email, and phone.

CRM software like the small business CRM by Marketing 360® lets you personalize follow-ups based on the vehicles leads showed interest in.  It simply lets you manage contacts in a professional way:

When you look into CRM software take note of what training resources are available.  The biggest problem dealerships have implementing CRMs is a lack of consistent use from all staff.  You want something robust, but also something new salespeople can pick up quickly.  A complicated system with features you don’t need will hinder use.


Motorcycle Dealership Marketing Tip #7:  Reputation Management

Vehicle salesmen – the sleazy, pushy type – are a cliche.  Today, most sales professional are nothing like this, and you have to make sure your online reputation matches it.

Today online consumers evaluate what it’s like to work with dealerships based on comments from previous customers.  They find these on review sites like Top Rated Local, Google My Business, Yelp, and BBB.  If you activate it, you can let customers leave reviews on your Facebook page.

If someone searches on for your dealership by name, they’ll see your Google listing, with reviews being highly visible:

motorcycle dealership advertising GMB listing

Hard not to notice those reviews.

What this comes down to is that every time you really treat a customer well, it helps your marketing.  Every time you go into the “pushy” or “slippery” mode, it hurts your marketing.

Responsiveness also matters.  We’ve seen motorcycle dealers get poor reviews just because they failed to respond to an estimate request.

Because a motorcycle is a major purchase for most people, many are motivated to leave reviews.  The star ratings stand out on search results so much they’ll create an impression before anyone even visits your website.

Monitor your reviews across all these platforms.  It’s part of your digital marketing manager’s job.  Respond to any reviews you see fit, but especially the negative ones.  Explain your side and offer to rectify the situation.  Many buyers will change their review when they see you value their opinion.

However, don’t obsess over every bad review.  You’ll never satisfy everyone, and the anonymous nature of making online comments leads some people to be unfair (services like Top Rated Local let you mitigate this to a certain extent).

Request reviews from happy customers who are loving their new bikes.  Proud new motorcycle owners will usually be more than ready to leave you a glowing review.  An easy way to do this is email follow-ups through your CRM.


Motorcycle Dealership Marketing Tip #8: Social Media Marketing

Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are free to use and your leads on these platforms.  Those are two good reasons to do some social media marketing.

Start by setting up your Facebook business page.  Add videos, images, and set up reviews.  Also, set up messenger and have your online salesperson respond to chat requests.

You can post info about your dealership, images of new inventory, and mention sale/deals.  Facebook is a great place to mix personal, fun content from your staff and customers with promotional material.  When someone is in the market for a bike, be sure to ask them to follow you on Facebook for the latest.

Also, curate content from manufacturer and industry websites, like Youtube reviews videos you think would help you sell.

Use Instagram as a place for images and videos.  Go out for a team ride and turn it into an Instagram story.  It makes a great inventory gallery you can update.  Get your staff in for the occasional fun shot, and get a shot of proud new customers with their bikes.

Your online salesperson is a good choice for managing these platforms.  Make sure you keep things fresh and interesting.

Thanks for reading and best of luck!  If you need help with your online marketing, we have a full staff of marketing experts, writers, and designers that can help you gain an edge over your competition and connect with leads.  Call us today.

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