A Blog To Help The Marina Owner Understand Online Marketing

Who are you? Your Newsletter Readers Really Want to Know

Feb 7, 2024 | Marina Advertising

woman on a dock at the lake reading a marina newsletter on her phone

It doesn’t take Pete Townshend and the CSI theme song to let a marina manager know that having a consistent, personable newsletter is a must for marina growth.

But why?

Good question. Some marinas–around this time of the year–do a last-year reflection followed by a new-year goal-setting to prepare to step forward and reach new heights. With the AMI Conference concluding last week, and marine industry stakeholders invigorated as we high-tide ebb our way to spring, now is a great time to review one of the simplest, surest ways to engage customers:

The newsletter.

Here are a few reasons why–whether you have five tenants or two hundred–taking the time to put out a monthly or quarterly newsletter is in every marina manager’s best interest.

Build and Nurture Your Client Relationships

Your marina might have great services: you’ve got a covered dry dock, a gorgeous Airbnb rental, and maybe the best food that exists on your body of water. That’s wonderful, but it’s all supported by the culture that stands behind the amenity. If a marina has an amazing restaurant, but a surly staff–customers take note, it shows up in your business reviews, and everybody suffers. OR the flipside: you just have the basics of ice, bait, and wet slips, but you are phenomenally friendly and caring toward your clientele. 

Which model would you prefer? Which model would your customer prefer? 

Publishing a consistent newsletter engages and affirms the culture that you foster. The customer learns your voice, character, and enthusiastic know-how for what you do. Every time a reader opens that email, another grain of trust is built. You become a familiar entity in their inbox, and it provides an avenue of engagement: the reader has a clear and open channel to ask questions, make comments, and engage with you in an intentional forum for relationship-building. You will likely publish upcoming events in your newsletter, and in turn, your customers show up and experience your marina as a treasured destination rather than just a passing-through service point.

boat docked in marina

Drive Traffic and Conversions

You may have a significant market share of the product you offer, but how can you sell it if nobody knows about it?

Here in February, an easily convertible newsletter topic might be that your service center is open for tune-ups going into spring. That’s a newsletter topic right there. Write what you do, why you should do it, and how to schedule an appointment. All of a sudden tenants are calling you and asking if you can check their battery or install a new Garmin dashboard.

The newsletter is a way to drive traffic to your website, and from there to your phone lines or reservation form, as they’re prompted to take action. Beyond the baseline services you offer, this is an imperative avenue to draw out crowds for events you host, like lighted boat parades or movies on the water.

Data, data, data

Data meme

Every time you publish a newsletter, you’re receiving feedback without speaking with anyone.

Your “open rate,” or the percentage of people who open the email, shows you how much of your tenant base is interested in the topic you put in the subject line. Your “engagement rate” is how often each reader directly interacts with you. It is common for your audience to be lurkers, or to rarely engage directly. But the more consistently that you publish a newsletter, the more familiar it becomes, and the reader feels more comfortable and encouraged to respond.

In your Mailchimp interface (or whichever newsletter service you use), you’ll be able to see statistics for each subscriber–their open rates, engagement rates, and how many times they viewed your email. By looking at an overview of these statistics for your client base, you’ll start to see patterns. “Oh, my customers really responded and came out for the professional networking happy hour I advertised in the newsletter last month.”

The data informs how you calibrate advertising and helps you discern what you should do less of, and where you could expand.

Your marina has a personality and human beings behind it.

This is perhaps the most important piece of any newsletter: your voice.

Your newsletter is an active face of your brand. It is the piece that is always moving with the seasons, bubbling up for Memorial Day and Independence Day–it is a living, breathing representation of your business. The newsletter represents life.

This is a format where a manager can channel what’s important to them, and what’s important to their clients. Perhaps you have a tenant–they’ve been with you for five years, they’re pretty old-school about how they’ve done reservations in the past, and they’ve expressed some apprehension to you in migrating to a digital communication platform like Dockwa. That’s an opportunity–time to assuage their questions with a newsletter topic dedicated to the “who, what, and why” of using Dockwa at your marina.

Maybe you’re excited about a new menu item at the restaurant. Your readers might not all want to eat that habanero fire shrimp po’ boy special, but it doesn’t matter–they’ll see your enthusiasm, that your marina is a vibrant, active place, and they’ll spark curiosity about your buzz.

Your marina has a personality–the newsletter is its voice. Give yourself a megaphone.

Hammer and Nail Marketing


Hammer and Nail Marketing is a boutique marketing firm that helps small to mid-sized marinas get noticed by boaters. If you’d like to focus on operating your marina without the additional responsibility of marketing, get in touch with us.

We’re boaters ourselves from a background of operating a family-run marina. From a group of experts who know the water, let Hammer and Nail Marketing help you be the waterfront your local boaters see every time they cast off.


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