Carefree Boat Club

Winter Advertising
Success Report

While some parts of the nation are lucky enough to enjoy year-round boating, it is common for boats clubs to see a drop in leads during the winter, “off” season. Our Winter Program proved to be a successful addition to the marketing efforts of enrolled Carefree Boat Club locations.

First year, guided off season program compiled of past successes: A deeper look inside the makings of…

This year I decided to create a program which consisted of my last 4 years experience with Carefree Boat Club. Combining digital marketing elements to drive leads during the off season.

In this example we will be breaking down the services provided based on the package that was sold to this club. 

We also made a great discovery which potentially saved the brand from a class action lawsuit, as we had seen this happen with the competing boat club franchise. Results in over a 1 million dollar lawsuit.

Our package had a mass text program which we had done over the last 3 years with out any issues. When I signed up for the provider program, the provider stated that things had tightened up. And that I need to complete verification, this was totally new. 

Come to find out that if there is not whats called “express written consent” on the web forms, then you can not send automated mass text without the prospect agreeing to receive this form of communication. This is stated by the TCPA guidelines, the violation is $500 per every sms sent. Source here

That being said I told the client that we can not provide this service and offered to make the forms compliant. We gave the club a complete refund for this misunderstanding. Unfortunately it was taken negatively, when ultimately other marketing companies would have just ran with it to make the client happy. Risking the brand itself, I myself took the hit in efforts to show them I was doing the right thing.

Program Break down:

The program consisted of 5 major elements: ( see program guide here)

Mass SMS & Mass Email:

Blitzing the current database with a series of offers over the 5 month off season. Trends state that demand increases around May 19th Slide 14 Shows A True Illustration. So by doing this, we would surface low hanging fruit. Only needing 1 – 2 sales per month would be a win on the spend. 

Send mass text each month twice per month and send mass email while also designing the email and the list creation as well. A full done for you service. 

Remarketing Social Media Facebook & Instagram

We used the same offer and created animated social media ads, in attempts to show the offer to the prospect now wherever they land on websites online. Google states they reach over 90% of the internet users worldwide – Source Think with Google

November Facebook/Instagram Ads


December Facebook/Instagram Ads


January Facebook/Instagram Ads


February Facebook/Instagram Ads


March Facebook/Instagram Ads


Remarketing – Google Display Network

Banner ads in the display network, remarketing all website visitors with the offer. 

Manually build custom banners 15 sizes. Each month, we worked hand in hand with our client to ensure their satisfaction with our design, revising and updating the layout until they gave final approval.

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Email Marketing

We built two emails per month and sent them on behalf of the client. When designing this program I kept prices extremely affordable. When reviewing the competition, they send a very plain text email with minimal artwork. We took from this that our expectations were not set correctly with the client and had some pushback as some clubs expected a high end agency design which just simply wasn’t possible with these time frames. Our price on these emails charged to the client was $399 for two emails. In the agency world that would equate to about 2 – 4 hours of design work. We have learned from this and have built process to set better expectations.

    Google Search Ads

    We kept search on, but used a theory of 20/80 split with more emphasis on the display network and social media as we were pushing a message to existing users. As there is no to little demand is most northern markets as most boats are winterized and the club is in non operative. 

      The Build & Organization

      We used basecamp to build out templates for each project and tier level built.  For example if the package only included Facebook ads, then the project was built month over month with the tasks involved in creating this campaign and a tech assigned to it. There were tasks built for getting offers from the client with deadlines. There were also multiple stages of review task built for the team. 

       In Reflection and further development:

      What we started to begin to question after seeing an increase in leads by 61% YoY, and a difference of 3 sales. Was it demand because of a covid shadow? Was the market recovering? Was it a soft lead issue, or was it a sales team issue?

      These questions are still unknown, but we did evaluate the tools available to us, and will be rolling out a sales and marketing alignment program. 

      This program is in simple terms a source of truth for all things. We would look at elements such as lead response time, how many times a lead was contacted, did a lead get moved through the deal stages. Stats say that if a lead is not contacted longer than 5 minutes, there is an 80% decrease in lead qualification – source here


       We have also built out a lead status dropdown within Hubspot, sales people can choose this dropdown if a lead says too expensive, wants to buy a boat, sold to freedom. We built buckets around most common objections. Having this we can investigate where the problem lies. For example Tona from Los Angeles stated the leads were soft, and people were saying it was too expensive asking me to tweak some things. 

      I had them use this method and we found the majority of the leads that said too expensive came from organic search. Had nothing to do with ads. 

      In Summary

      We believe that by using remarketing on both platforms, Social media & Google display network. That we were able to keep the prospects top of mind and hope to see a major increase in the season. As we have seen people come from the woodworks from over a year ago. 

      We have also learned how to set better expectations and feel out club owners based on their take on the level of designs needed. 

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