At first glance, this title probably evokes thoughts of quality boats and yachts. However, I’d like to take a moment to describe the listing itself, talk about why it’s so important, and provide some tips on producing high quality listings.

Every boat on the market merits a quality listing. Sellers deserve it; potential buyers need it.

Unfortunately, many online listings leave much to be desired. Poor or nonexistent photos and incomplete descriptions are all too common. Inexplicably, these shortcomings are common even in higher end boats.

Don't skimp on the small boat listings

Whether a boat is worth $25,000 or $2,500,000, each deserves good photography and a thorough, accurate and complete writeup. We all want to attract the high end business, but we forget the small boat market at our peril. We need to attract young families to boating and these are the listings they'll buy. That's our seed corn for tomorrow's higher end business.

It’s no mystery. A clean, uncluttered vessel highlighted by great photos and a thoughtful, complete writeup will go a long way to raising the odds of securing quality leads.

Even when people aren't actively in the market to buy, they are browsing, maybe just for fun, but also maybe to educate themselves. Quality listings are important here, too. The more thorough your listing, the better educated that person will be when it comes time to buy.

Good photo = good first impression

And really, how hard is it to create a quality listing? It's usually not difficult, it just takes a little time and attention to detail. Quality photography is probably the most critical factor. Pictures unquestionably help sell the boat. It's the first thing someone browsing the internet for boats sees, and here like everywhere else, you never get a second chance at a first impression. How many boats do you see listed where the main photo glamorously depicts a vessel tied up, obscured amongst a forest of pilings, shorepower cords, wet canvas, and dock boxes? Even better, how exciting is it for a potential buyer to see a listing featured on the hard complete with wow-factor enhancing shrink wrap? Sellers and buyers deserve better.

You don't need thousands of dollars worth of equipment to produce excellent photography, however you do need a decent camera with a couple different lenses, and key among these is a wide angle lens to better capture enclosed areas. Note that wide angle lenses require a bit of technique to use properly, so spend a few minutes surfing or ‘you-tubing’ and you’ll learn what you need to know. Pay attention to lighting. You’ll need a decent flash unit to fill in light in darker areas.

Ask yourself: would a potential buyer want to see him or herself on that boat, in that photo?

Declutter inside and out

Staging the boat is also a must. With any luck your seller has removed or will remove the bulk of personal effects before you photograph the boat. But if not, you need to take the time to move items out of view for each shot. Photos cluttered with random personal effects detract from the photo quality. Just like in the housing market, curb appeal matters. Persuade your seller to get the boat detailed or at least cleaned up prior to you arriving to take photos.

The vessels 'cover shot' should be of it afloat, away from the dock and preferably with an uncluttered background so the boat has a chance to look her best. Ask yourself: would a potential buyer want to see him or herself on that boat, in that photo? If the boat is tied up, covered with canvas and soaking wet, what do you suppose the answer is?

Take your buyers seriously

Besides lots of good photos and video, when buyers get serious they develop insatiable appetites for information. You’ve got to feed that hunger with an accurate and thorough vessel description. This will help ensure that prospects eyes stay on your listing longer. If the write up is sketchy or incomplete, odds are he’s moving on to find more info, away from your listing. Keep his eyes on yours by providing the info he wants to see.

It’s no mystery. A clean, uncluttered vessel highlighted by great photos and a thoughtful, complete writeup will go a long way to raising the odds of securing quality leads.