All posts tagged 'marketing'

Got Gas? Tell the World!

When scanning the airports on GlobalAir.com’s Airport Resource Center, you may notice that some FBOs are promoted at both the top and bottom of the website. Why is that? Read on!

Is your FBO taking advantage of websites that promote your services and fuel prices? It should be! Not only is this a (virtually) free medium to let pilots know who you are and where you are, but it lets everyone know your personality and puts a human face on your company. And if you’ve been in the aviation business for a while, you know the value of being known personally.

The great news – you don’t have to dump a lot of your valuable time into self-promotion online to get something out of it. Many of the services available you can spend as little as 5 minutes a MONTH to make work for you! Do remember that the more you put into anything, the more you get out of it – but in the fast-paced online world, having NO presence is a bigger crime than having a minimal presence. Think back 20 years and imagine not being listed in the phone book, and the impact that would have had on your company!

Possibly the easiest thing you can start doing to increase attention for your FBO is to frequently update your fuel prices online. I’ve heard too many times, "My fuel prices rarely change, so why bother?" Simple answer – pilots don’t know that! If they see that it’s been three months since you last updated your prices, they are going to assume that you don’t care enough to inform them long before they assume that the price is unchanged – are you sure you want to give that impression?

Every FBO that sells fuel should have their own page on GlobalAir.com that only they are allowed to update – and freely promote their facility. Make sure that all your information is accurate by going to this link, typing in your identifier code, then clicking on the link to your FBO to view how the world sees it. If there’s a lot of missing information, that’s easily remedied by logging in and adding what is missing.

Many points of interest can be added include which credit cards you accept, if you have courtesy cars or access to rental cars on site, what (if any) ramp fees you have, direct access to your website, and an interactive Google map to your location, and much more. Here is a great example of an FBO taking advantage of many of these free services.

Ok, let’s say you’re been around the block for a while now, and you’re ready to invest in the image of your FBO. Or you’ve taken the time to talk with your fuel provider and fuel card services to discover that they will reimburse you for some advertising you do (you HAVE done that, haven’t you?). Time to step up your presence by adding your logo, some photos of that facility you just upgraded, all the featured services and cards accepted and more – maybe even have your logo on the airport page itself! Here’s an example of an FBO that is going the extra mile to showcase everything they have to offer.

Finally, don’t forget to let all your friends know about your FBO using social media. While you can copy and paste links to your page, many sites like GlobalAir.com make it easy by including quick links to all the popular social media sites – just take a quick look around the page. You can’t get any simpler than this to let the world know where they can find the gas (and more) they are seeking!

Ready to show off your favorite FBO on social media sites? You will find quick links to do so on the bottom of the page!

Selling Your Aircraft? Get More Inquiries

FSBO

The other day, a gentleman selling Cessna 172 called our office. It seems that the first time he placed the aircraft on our site, he got several inquiries from potential buyers. A couple of them even made offers. However, he held out for better offers since it was getting a lot of action. Maybe that was the right decision, maybe not. Regardless, after a couple of months the inquiries started to slow, and ultimately stop.

He wanted some advice on getting the response he was receiving initially. I figured that if he wanted these tips, several sellers out there could use this advice. I sat down and compared 25 aircraft that have received the most inquiries – not just views – to see what they have in common with each other. Here are a few of the things I found.


Photos, Photos, Photos!

Take a look at this Cessna 182. As you can see, there isn’t a lot of detail included – but there ten photos of the outside, the interior and the panel in the Image Gallery. "A picture is worth a thousand words" is an old adage for a reason – short of seeing the aircraft in person, nothing comes as close to putting potential buyers in cockpit like a series of clean, clear and bright photos. More photos also tells buyers that you have nothing to hide from them!


Summarize Thoroughly

Imagine you only have ten seconds to tell someone everything about your aircraft. Can you do it? You had better figure it out, because that is about the maximum length of time a person will look at text when they’re skimming. We live in the Age of Instant Access, so make sure you can attract buyers instantly.

Here’s a good example of a summary that’s making an impact – this 1978 Sundowner. They touch only on specific value-added items, plus appeal to the ease of taking this aircraft to the skies. Everything about this aircraft screams "turnkey and ready" – no wonder it has received over ten inquiries in three months!


Highlights

Speaking more towards the fast-paced society that we experience, sometimes you only have a few words to get out before that potential buyer moves on. The shiniest object in the room gets noticed first. This is where the Highlight tag (also known as Teaser Text) comes in handy.

Highlight Tags

When you drill down to a specific aircraft type, next to the photo on GlobalAir are a few words highlighted in red. Imagine this time that you only have two seconds to define the aircraft you have for sale. This should be a statement of value, such as "Only 130 hours SMOH" or "Price Reduced". Also effective are things that make your aircraft a rare find, such as "Totally Rebuilt" or "Millennium Edition". Even something as simple as "One Owner" or "Always Hangered" speaks to someone. The biggest crime here is leaving it blank, as you’ll be surrounded by aircraft that "speak louder" than yours.


Vote Early, Vote Often

While everything I’ve listed so far speaks to creating the most effective ad for your money, this tip speaks more to your continued involvement. The worst mistake you can do is believe your aircraft will "sell itself". It doesn’t matter if you have the most pristine, low-time and/or cheapest aircraft on the market – if you’re not actively pushing it, it will take longer to sell.

So how can you be more active in getting your plane in front of the passive buyers (the ones that wait for the right deal to present itself instead of going out to find it themselves)?

One of the easiest is with your social media pages. At the top of every page on GlobalAir.com you will see quick links to Facebook, Twitter and Google+ - log into your social media account, click on the link, and post your ad to your personal page, and encourage your friends to share it. You already do this when playing games or sharing funny cat photos – may as well use your friend network to spread the word!

Feeling aggressive? Another option is a broadcast GlobalAir sends twice a month called Plane Mail. Imagine your aircraft e-mailed to over 50,000 aviation professionals and enthusiasts at once! Even if they aren’t buying currently, they probably know someone that is. And it’s an astonishingly inexpensive approach!


So what is the ultimate takeaway from this list? It boils down to 1. Set your ad up right, and 2. Stay involved in promoting it. If you think that’s too much to do, be prepared to have that aircraft for a while the go-getters snag all your potential buyers.

Pre-owned Update

By: Bryan A. Comstock
www.ainonline.com

Finding a pricing floor for many models has been as elusive as the search for Atlantis, but recent market action is giving hope to underwater sellers. The typical summer plumping of inventory never occurred this year, setting the stage for what could be an active wave of buying in the final quarter. 

Retail transactions in the pre-owned segment are up over the same year-ago period among light and medium jets and about even with where they were last year in the large category. While a one-year look back might not provide enough incentive to do cartwheels, consider that you would have to look back at the peak years of 2006 and 2007 to find numbers close to the current level of sales.

A possible explanation for the noticeable uptick is the extremely attractive pricing that has swept through the market year after excruciating year and which may only now be close to a tipping point. Though buyers surfacing now are certainly not late to the party, it may take longer to sift through markets already plucked of their low-hanging fruit.

Seriously, Challenger 604s and GIVs for less than $5 million? Yes! While you might be looking at 10,000 or more hours in the logs, there are non-project aircraft that can be bought for a song. Of course, such low pricing on large-cabin aircraft compresses pricing not only on predecessor models but also on smaller segment markets, such as the super-mids and mid-cabins. G200s, Hawkers, Citations, Learjets are just deals waiting for a buyer. Any upside pop in consumer confidence (be it from QE3 or the upcoming election) could see fourth-quarter numbers eclipse quarter-over-quarter figures for the peak years. The resetting of these asset prices, coupled with the larger number of choices today, is the only way this could be possible. Despite inventory trending down over about 500 aircraft since 2009 (even as the fleet has increased), collectively just over 13 percent of the worldwide fleet is for sale.

Pressure on Newer Inventory

Once a buyer begins to apply his own parameters, however, the field of wings may diminish. For example, for a buyer wanting a 2000 or newer model, the percentage figure drops below 9 percent. If that buyer doesn’t want to look beyond North America, choices drop another 2 percent. A European buyer wanting to buy on home soil has even fewer options in terms of the sheer number to choose from, but twice as many in percentage terms when compared with the U.S. In Europe, 298 aircraft fall into the 2000 or newer grouping compared with 437 in North America. A buyer in today’s market should not overlook any offerings in Europe, as the glutted market appears to offer fertile shopping grounds.

Take the Citation Excel, for example, a popular midsize that saw its fleet size grow to more than 370 before a new and improved version came along. Still a well sought after aircraft, it shows up with only 8 percent of its fleet for sale, but half of the 30 are in Europe and only 11 in North America. The successor model exemplifies the point further. Equally popular, the XLS offers 21 for sale. Only six of them are based in North America and more than half are in Europe. Perhaps not as surprising is the Falcon 2000, where European and North American supply is even at eight, with only two others located outside these two areas. The Challenger 605 is just one more example. Of the 17 for sale at present, nine are based in Europe, four in Asia, three in North America, plus one delivery position.

The take-away here is that with more than 2,500 aircraft for sale worldwide it shouldn’t matter where you shop as there are plenty of deals to go around, and in the past several years we haven’t seen anyone raise the price of an aircraft that has been on the market. In addition, with such fertile hunting grounds, buyers seem less emotionally engaged than at other times. If a seller isn’t market priced, the buyer will explore the many other options that are available. While indicators imply that some model types have reached the bottom of the market, that doesn’t mean prices are going to shoot up anytime soon and buyers still have the decided edge at the negotiation table. Even the most popular of aircraft have absorption rates extending beyond a year.

(Image Credit: www.ainonline.com)

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