Now that you’re a Marine Industry Certified Dealership, it’s time to let folks know about your achievement. You invested a lot of sweat equity, time and money into becoming Certified, and the effort is worth boasting about to both local and national consumer and trade media outlets.
The best way to make the announcement about becoming a Certified Dealership is by writing and distributing a press release. To simplify this process for you, we created a basic press release template: One aimed at a consumer audience, and one designed specifically for trade publications. These skeleton releases should be filled in and completed using your dealership-specific information, and also beefed up with quotes attributable to dealership principles or personnel that speak to the value of becoming Certified and what it means to for the customer to buy boats, accessories and related equipment from a Certified Dealership.
After you’ve drafted the press releases to both consumer and trade audiences and are comfortable with the copy, now it’s time for some internet research. Mail the trade release to the major North American marine industry publications:Soundings Trade Only, Boating Industry, Boating Business Canada, IBI, etc. E-mail addresses for editors of the aforementioned magazines are most likely available on the individual publication websites; simply do some Googling, and you’re apt to come across the names and addresses you need.
When it comes to creating a distribution list for the consumer-facing release, you’ll also want to do a bit of homework to find the best local consumer news outlets. Target your local newspapers, regional magazines and television and radio stations. Use search engines like Google to help you locate names and e-mail addresses so you can do your best to personalize each note.
Plan to send both the consumer and trade releases exclusively via e-mail; rarely are these materials faxed or "snail-mailed” anymore. E-mail is the fastest, most direct route possible to the desk of the appropriate person.
When in doubt about the best person to address the release to, make a quick phone call and ask someone at the publication or station, "Who typically receives press announcements?” Get the proper spelling of that person’s first and last name, their e-mail address and phone number (if they’re willing to disclose this information). This way, your important announcement is most likely to end up in the right hands.
Always attach a PDF or Word Document of the press release to the e-mail, using the press release headline as the subject line of the e-mail communication. Also, write a personal note to the person whom you’re sending the release. No one likes to receive form e-mails; they seem impersonal. Address the e-mail "Hi [insert name],” or "Dear [insert name], and include a friendly message that follows a brief announcement of the news you’re about to impart, along with contact information for follow-up. Example:
Hope this note finds you well. Enclosed please find the latest press release from ABC Marine. We’re excited to announce that ABC just became a Five Star Marine Industry Certified Dealership!
In order to achieve MICD status, ABC had to meet a stringent set of industry standards that counts us among the most elite marine retailers in North America. Best of all, this means that our customers always will know they can count on us for top-notch service before, during and long after the sale.
The complete press release is attached for your review. Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions related to our Five Star Marine Industry Certified Dealership designation.
After your salutation, insert your e-mail signature that lists all pertinent dealership contact info (phone, e-mail address, physical address, website, etc.) so someone can follow up with you if they have questions or need more information. Also, it’s a good idea to let media outlets know at the end of your e-mail that "High-resolution photography is available upon request.”
Keep in mind that many news outlets cannot publish stories in print or online without artwork, and you always should aim to make their jobs easier by letting them know photos are readily available (and in a high-resolution, print-quality format of 300 dpi, which stands for "dots per inch”).
If you don’t have photos of the dealership, arrange to have some taken. Find an employee at the dealership that’s somewhat technology savvy and has a decent camera (even iPhones work in a pinch) and have him or her snap a few shots from different angles. Anything that might show dealership personnel interacting directly with customers or has MICD signage visible in the background is ideal.
Follow these logical steps, and your dealership is well on its way to earning the MICD recognition it deserves!
For a link to consumer and trade press release samples, visit the MICD Portal and under the heading "Press Releases” for Step 1 MICD, Step 2 MICD or Five Star MICD, click on the link to download the documents entitled "Consumer Release” and "Trade Release.”