How Valuable Are Your Current Customers?

We talk a lot about driving more traffic to your website, converting prospects to leads, and leads to customers. All of this is great but, do you remember learning in Business 101 that it costs more to acquire a new customer than to keep an existing one? If not, here’s your reminder: It costs anywhere from 5-25 times more to acquire a new customer!

Acquiring new customers for your outdoor business is vital for growth. We get it. But don’t forget about your current customers. They have already purchased a product or service from you and if the experience was good, they’ll likely come back! Your current customer base can also write a review, tell their family and friends, and even defend your company from criticism. So isn’t it time to turn your customers into promoters? We think so. In this post we’ll go over:

  • How valuable your current customers are to future profits
  • Other factors that play a role in customer retention
  • How to delight customers and turn them into promoters

The Value Of Current Customers

The inbound marketing process attracts new customers, converts them into leads, closes the sale, and then delights.  And yet only 29% of businesses are focused on maximizing the lifetime value (aka delighting) of their customers. All stats prove the value of current customers far exceeds the value of new customers.

We are living in a time where customers have endless choices. There is no longer one outdoor gear company. There are hundreds. And if a customer has a bad experience with your brand, they can pick a new one to buy all of their summer camping gear. Separate yourself by being one of the few companies who focus on keeping your current clients more than just satisfied. Focus on wowing them at every touch.

Customer Retention Factors

Customers have so many options to choose from when it comes to the latest outdoor gear or outdoor services. Several things factor into why a customer chooses one company over the other:

    • Price: Many companies say they don’t want price-conscious customers and instead, value-based customers. And that’s great! Keep reading because delighting customers adds value to your product or service. But no matter how valuable your product or service is, the price is top-of-mind for customers.
    • User experience: If customers can’t easily book a room online at your rustic cabin in the woods, you might lose them as a lead. If your online store for fly fishing rods takes forever to load, your prospect will look elsewhere. Creating an easy online experience for prospects can turn them into customers.
    • Communication: When communication is clear, transparent, and two-way, customers are more apt to come back. Communication is more than when you’re talking to a client on the phone. It’s being honest and factual in blogs. Clear directions in an email. And fast replies to Facebook messages.

Price, user experience, and communication will most certainly help you retain customers. But now it’s time to turn those customers into promoters.

Delighting Customers

Customers want reasonably priced goods and services. They want their online shopping experience to be easy. And honest, transparent communication will keep them coming back. But when you delight your customers, you exceed their expectations and turn them into a promoter.

Delighting customers means:

    • You answer their questions. You can do this with a blog post, responding to fans on social media, or replying to an email in a timely fashion.
    • You help them out. Go beyond answering customers questions and provide additional resources or recommend additional services.
    • Customers achieve their goals. Your product or service should help customers achieve their goals. You can find out your customer’s goals through surveys and creating buyer personas. But if your customer’s goal is to catch more fish, your fly rod or fishing guide better help them achieve that.
    • You’re excited to help them. Customers take note when your team is enthusiastic and excited to help them. Even if it’s just showing a customer where the bathroom is. Customers want warm and personable interactions with your company.

It’s easy to turn customers into promoters when you focus on delighting them. A promoter is the millennial’s version of word-of-mouth marketing. Promoters of your brand write reviews, engage with your company, defend your company, and tell friends and family about how great you are. You can turn customers into promoters by:

  • Giving them something. We all love free stuff so give them free stuff! It doesn’t have to be huge either. Send them an exclusive hat only available to customers who have purchased a certain amount. You can also give them a discount for being such a loyal customer.
  • Get their feedback. If a customer keeps coming back to buy your company’s goods or services, there’s a reason. So get their feedback! Loyal customers want to be heard and if you recognize them by inviting them to a focus group they’ll feel extra special.
  • Providing even better service. Southwest Airlines is known for their exceptional customer service. But loyal customers get even better service. A-List Preferred customers not only earn more points but they have a special number to call for quicker service.
  • Inviting them to a special event. Invite your loyal customers to the grand opening party of your second rock climbing gym. Take your top clients to a sports game and wine and dine them in a suite.

Put Your Current Customers First

Delighting customers is the last part of the inbound methodology and one many marketers forget. Putting your current customers first turns them into second, third, and fourth-time buyers. Bonus: they also become brand promoters!

 


Are Meta Descriptions Hurting Traffic To Your Website?

Meta descriptions are those little blurbs that appear in Google search (or Bing if you’re weird and use that).

 

In December 2017, Google upped the character limit to 320 and it left me wondering, “do I need to update my client’s meta descriptions?” This thought snowballed into a series of questions around meta descriptions followed by a lot of Google searches and researching. What I found out was:

  • They’re important
  • Character length matters depending on the article you read
  • Meta descriptions affect click-throughs
  • How to write an effective meta description

Meta Descriptions Are Important

This is your outdoor company’s last chance to get people to your site. Google pulls in thousands of search results for outdoor products and services so you need to stand out.

We had a client who wanted to improve their SEO. We ran a web analysis on their site and while there were several things we needed to fix, we noticed they had zero meta descriptions for their products. I chatted with our content creation specialist and we decided to create meta descriptions for each page on the site. We knew it’d be timely but I gave her a tight budget to stick to. She worked her tail off and updated all the meta descriptions and then we waited. Within a month, we saw huge improvements on Google Search. I can’t attribute all the success to updating the meta descriptions but we found more people were clicking on the links because they provided an accurate depiction of the product.

Character Length

If I had a nickel for everytime Google changed their algorithm I’d be living on a boat with my wife and daughters fishing all day. So when Google changed the meta description character length to 320 I placed another nickel in the jar I keep next to my desk. I don’t actually do this but maybe I should start because as I was writing this blog post, Google went back to 160 characters!

Then, I started researching. Moz is an SEO tool we use for our clients and they wrote an in-depth blog post on how many words you should include in your meta description. And instead of boring you with all the details, I’ll just tell you that 150-160 characters are the sweet spot. And the fact that Google reverted back to shorter meta descriptions.

 

So to answer my first question, “do I need to update my client’s meta descriptions?” No.

Click-Throughs

Meta descriptions alone won’t affect your SEO rankings but the copy you create can affect how many people click on the link. It’s important to use captivating copy that is relevant to the page. Nobody likes clickbait articles and landing pages so make sure your meta description is accurate.

Another thing to include in the meta description is keywords. When people search for “custom built sprinter van,” Google will highlight those keywords in the meta descriptions in the search.

When Google highlights the keywords I typed into Search, I’m more apt to click on those links than pages that don’t. This again goes back to creating relevant and accurate meta descriptions.

Creating An Effective Meta Description

Meta descriptions are similar to any copy you create that needs to be short, concise, and attention-grabbing. But they can be quite challenging since meta descriptions need to use keywords, encourage clicks, and stand-out. It’s often the first touch your brand has with a new prospect.  You only have 160 characters to get people to click on your link so:

  • Use action words: The point of the meta description is to get people to click so tell them to click! Or learn, discover, find out, read, experience.
  • Use keywords: I mentioned this in the section above but it’s worth noting again. Keywords show that your content is relevant to the person searching. But don’t go overboard. Make sure keywords are used in an authentic and natural way.
  • Be accurate: This is worth noting again. Don’t increase your bounce rate on the site by providing inaccurate information. Clickbait articles are tacky and unprofessional and you don’t want potential customers to think that about your business, do you?
  • Answer the prospect’s question: Don’t you love it when you type in Google, “family-friendly campsites over Memorial Day,” and the first 5 searches that appear answer your exact question? I do too! So write meta descriptions that do that. Think about what your prospect will be typing in Google and how your site can provide value to their search.

Stop Hurting Traffic To Your Site

Everybody wants more traffic to their website so they can convert, close, and delight. Since Google is always changing their algorithms, one thing we can hold onto is creating engaging and relevant meta descriptions that provide answers and benefits to a prospect’s questions.


The One Tool You Need For Better Engagement At IFTD

IFTD is coming up quick and if you’re like me, you’re looking for leads. Of course, I’m excited to check out the shiny, new gear and have late-night “meetings” with old and new friends. But if I came back to the office with a tan, hangover, and no leads, my team of marketing gurus would not be thrilled.

There are several things you can do before, during, and after the show to maximize ROI but the most important thing is to have a CRM. Now before you roll your eyes and say, “Not another ad for some expensive CRM system that my sales team and I will hate,” what if I told you it was free? And it’s easy? Automated? Easily organizable?

Are you still rolling your eyes? I’m sure some of you are and if so, I get it. Luckily this is a short read so you won’t get dizzy with your eyes rolling around. So let’s get to the point.

Hubspot CRM

Hubspot CRM is 100% free and will stay that way forever. There are some really amazing CRM systems out there and I’ll admit that Hubspot isn’t the best one on the market. But a lot of those CRM systems cost a gazillion dollars and have way more features than any small to mid-size company needs. And if you’ve ever been in sales and were forced to input a ridiculous amount of information into a CRM after one call, email, or visit than I’m sure you understand that CRM systems can go overboard.

So why not take advantage of a completely free CRM system that you and your sales team might actually like? And if you try it at IFTD and hate it, you didn’t spend a dime. Ok, moving on for those still rolling their eyes.

Email Notification

If you’re reading this then you most likely received an email from me and clicked-through to this blog post. Not to creep you out but I know exactly how you got to this blog post. Yes, I’m talking to you, Tom. How? With Hubspot’s email notification.

With Hubspot’s free CRM you can track exactly who is opening your emails, what they’re reading, and what they’re clicking on. From there, you can spend more time reaching out to prospects that are actively engaged in your product or service. And sure, other CRMs do the same thing but do they also give you real-time notifications directly to your email or even Gmail account? And is it free?

Build Custom Sequences

There is too much happening at IFTD for me to waste time sending emails during the show. And after the show, you and I will probably be getting a beer together. Again, talking to you, Tom. So quit wasting time in the hotel room sending emails and set-up automated and personalized emails to your prospects. You can easily spend one hour setting up a series of emails and schedule them to go out before, during, and after the show to a select group or individuals.

Meeting Calendar Scheduler

I remember the days when I sent at least 5 emails to one person just to pin down an hour of time to meet. No more! With Hubspot you can send a shareable link to prospects that syncs with your calendar and lets leads pick a time right away.

Interactions In One Place

It’s easy to see how your prospect is engaging with your service or product with Hubspot’s CRM. Find out if they opened your email or clicked on any links. And if they did, you can create a task to send a follow-up email or give them a call.

Convinced?

Yes, I’m partial to Hubspot because they make managing marketing initiatives for our clients and Sage Lion Media simple. But their CRM offers everything our agency needs for managing contacts, automating processes, logging activity, and providing robust data. We’d love to help you get it set up, there is still time before IFTD this year. 

Book a 10-minute chat with me and we can help you implement the CRM heading into IFTD.



How We Crushed Our Client’s Sales With Databox

We juggle a lot as an inbound marketing agency. Each client has a different product or service which requires a different strategy to achieve their goals. While some agencies struggle working with a variety of clients, we thrive! I’m not saying we don’t want to pull our hair out sometimes but we love the challenge!

Technology has made staying on top of client tasks and goals much simpler. You hear us rave about Hubspot all the time and I’m not going to say they’re my number one choice in managing marketing goals, tasks, and automation but…(they’re definitely #1).

Another tool we started using this year is Databox and they quickly moved into our top 5.

databox

What Is Databox?

Databox keeps “your KPIs front and center” by pulling data and analytics from different sources like Google Analytics, Hubspot, and Facebook. From there, you can create Databoards that track different goals.

Track Google AdWords

Track Facebook Ad Campaigns

Databox can track numerous campaigns and provide real-time analytics for each of our clients. Databoards are simple to manage and can easily be shared with my team as well as clients. Everyone is able to log-in to Databox and see how sales, marketing, and the overall business performed on a daily basis. From there, we can manipulate our strategy to make sure we crush our monthly, quarterly, and annual goals.

Crushing Goals

We are constantly finding new ways to improve with Databox and last month we crushed it! Our clients have lofty goals heading into the summer and one client in particular set a goal to increase online sales in April by 180% from last year.

Spoiler! We hit our goal by 134%! Almost double the sales from last year.

But how?!

We are lucky to have a Google Adwords whizz on our team and for this particular client, we wanted to attract more people to the site with ads from Google. We created a Databoard that tracked our Google Ads and keywords and kept an eye on it daily. We’d see which ads and keywords were performing the best and the worst. We’d remove ads that were getting zero clicks and put more money toward ads performing well.

Not only were we tracking ads and keywords but the performance of landing pages, emails, and overall conversion rates.

This plethora of data helped us easily stay in control of our Google Adwords campaign and maximize our client’s ROI. Needless to say, when we called our client for their monthly review they were ecstatic.

Give Me More Data!

Each client of ours has a Databoard tracking different metrics and goals. It’s one of the first things we do when we start working with a new outdoor brand. We like tooting our own horn with all the positive data Databox provides but it isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. Sometimes when we log-in we notice traffic to the website is down, conversion rate is dropping, or blog views are low.

And instead of running to my closet to cry for 20 minutes like my youngest daughter likes to do, we dig through the data a little more to find out why. Why are views, traffic, and clicks down? The “Goals” section allows us to quickly check in on our client goals and adjust our efforts accordingly.

Are You Convinced?

If you are a data junkie like we are then Databox is your new BFF! If you want more information on Databox head on over to their site (or give us a call). And if your outdoor company is ready to crush your goals then call us. We’ll give you 3 actionable takeaways for free!

 
start-growing-on-the-trailhead


Are You Missing Leads By Not Tracking Calls From Your Website?

Are you that person that rolls your eyes when you see a friend calling you instead of texting?

Yea, me too. But when it comes to business, phone calls are important. Especially when your product or service can’t be sold through e-commerce. One of our clients manufactures and distributes heavy machinery. Their product is not something you can “add to cart” after you’ve perused the site.

With inbound marketing techniques, we increased traffic to their website by 162%!

Our client noticed an uptick in phone calls to the company but there was no way to track if those calls came from our superhero inbound marketing efforts (even though we knew they did 😉). Insert: call tracking. Tracking phone calls to your sales department can help guide your digital marketing efforts.

Today we’re going to go over what call tracking is, why digital marketers should be tracking calls, and our favorite call tracking service.

What Is Call Tracking?

Call tracking is exactly how it sounds. Digital marketers can use unique phone numbers on digital ads, CTAs, etc. to see where the calls came from. Depending on the call tracking service, outdoor marketers can also record the phone call, see the length of the conversation, track if it converted to a sale, and several other metrics.

Why Digital Marketers Should Track Calls

Outdoor companies that close sales over the phone or provide a service should track their calls. And if I’m being 100% honest, I think every company with a phone should track their calls. The insight companies receive through call tracking can help maximize their ROI on marketing campaigns or help them understand their customer base more.

Real-Time Analytics

Call tracking allows you to have unique phone numbers on each digital ad or CTA your company has created. Every time the number is called, you can see exactly what advertisement led to a phone call. Based on the phone calls, you can see what ads are working and which ads you need to stop wasting money on. You can also adjust the tone, play with wording, and see if the ad performs better. Marketers can even track the customer’s journey on your website depending on the service you choose (we use CallRail).

Quality Assurance

If one salesperson is outselling another, wouldn’t it be wise to understand why? Call tracking services allow you to record inbound and outbound calls so you can help train your sales team. Salespeople can learn from each other how to close sales and delight customers.

Integrate With CRM Systems

Salespeople can save time tracking phone conversations when a call tracking service integrates with your CRM. Certain call trackers (like CallRail) will automatically send calls as leads and activities to our CRM of choice Hubspot. Marketing and Sales can see where and when the lead found your outdoor business on their dashboard.

How Do I Start?

There are several call tracking companies that provide a laundry list of benefits. If you didn’t notice, the service that got us hooked to tracking calls is, CallRail. After speaking to different companies, we found CallRail offers the best features for our outdoor clients at a fair price. The reports we provide each month help us make better marketing decisions moving forward. It also helps us become more transparent with our clients as we can show them when a digital ad flopped and what we’re doing to fix it.

Call tracking services provide a plethora of information that outdoor digital marketers can get lost in. While you don’t need Sage Lion Media to get a CallRail account, we could help you save time and money if you do. CallRail is a service anyone can sign up for but when you work with us, we take care of the good, bad, and ugly parts of creating an effective digital marketing campaign.

We take the time to make sense of the data and provide you the most meaningful information. We manipulate the tone, images, and content of advertisements and CTAs so your sales team gets the most qualified leads. We integrate your CRM, Google Analytics, and website with CallRail.

If you have the bandwidth to take full advantage of a call tracking service then we recommend CallRail. But if you’re not sure and want more information on how Sage Lion Media can convert, close, and delight customers through CallRail then contact us now!

 


How To Get More Customer Reviews & Improve Your SEO

People want to be heard loud and clear when they’ve had a negative experience with a product or service. Rarely do people leave positive reviews. Even though you might get repeat customers and awesome sales, you could lose potential customers who saw your 1-star average on Facebook, Google, or Yelp. Maybe it’s time to, dare I say, ask for reviews?

Yes! It’s OK to ask customers to leave reviews. Especially since only 23% of customers review your business online. Today I want to discuss the importance of online reviews, how to increase your reviews, and why you should monitor them. And hell, if you like this post or have used our services in the past, leave us a review on Facebook or Google!

Online Reviews Matter

We all know word-of-mouth marketing is the best kind of marketing. We trust our friends and family to steer us in the right direction for a quality product or service. Online reviews are the digital version of word-of-mouth marketing. 93% of consumers say online reviews affect their purchasing decision!

If people are deciding between two companies that rent converted camper vans and they see one company has an average of 4-stars and the other has 2-stars, who do you think they’ll pick? Now you could argue and say 4-star has over 100 reviews while 2-star only has 5. But, when companies don’t have many reviews, bad reviews will skew the overall average. Since 68% of customers want to read four or more reviews before they can trust your business, you better find ways to increase your reviews. We’re here to help with that!

Ways To Increase Reviews

  1. Make It Easy

Before you ask for reviews, make sure you have an easy review process. Have a link handy that you can email to customers. Put it in your email signature. Create a cool business card with the link to hand out. Add a call-to-action on your website. Whatever it is, simplify the process. If your customers don’t know where or how to leave a review, they won’t do it.

2. Ask In Person

When a customer returns a converted camper van and is handing you the keys, ask them to leave a review! That simple. Give them a business card with a link or ask for their email so you can send the link. A person-to-person request is effective when you’ve performed a service. Most likely, you’ve spent more time with this customer so it won’t be awkward.

3. Send An Email

Sending a personal or automated email asking for a review is another way to increase online reviews. If your business is performing a service, I’d recommend sending a personal email. Actually, if you have the time, always send a personalized email. People miss the “personal touch” from business so this is another chance for you to make them feel special.

But I get it. You’re busy! So am I. Sending a personalized email for each product or service sold takes a lot of time. Setting up an automated email is more efficient and you can still add a personal touch. Every time I order something on Amazon, a week later I get an email asking to leave a review. I don’t leave a review for every product but I leave more reviews than if they didn’t ask. Creating an automated email like Amazon can help increase the number of reviews your business receives. As proud Hubspot Partners, we have created several workflows for our clients that makes automated emails a breeze.

4. Ask On Social Media

If you have a large following on social media and few reviews, ask your fans! You can even ask your small fan base for reviews. Include links to Google and Yelp.

Monitor Reviews

Once you ask for reviews, people will leave them. And when that happens, it’s important to monitor and respond to them. If someone leaves a positive review, thank them! Ask how your converted camper van made their road trip to the Grand Canyon better! Get the name of the sales rep that recommended that awesome pair of hiking boots. You want your customers to stay engaged with your company so keep them engaged.

It’s even more important to respond to negative reviews. Getting feedback on a product or service can help your company do better. If the review is about a poor attitude from an employee, respond and let them know you’re having a company-wide training on customer service. If a customers ski jacket zipper broke on the first-run, ask for their address so you can send them a new jacket.

People look at positive and negative reviews. If customers see you are trying to rectify a negative experience, they’ll trust you have their best interest at heart.

Leave Us A Review

Online reviews can be that one last piece of information a potential customer needs to pick up the phone and call or press, “add to cart.” And how you handle reviews can show off your company’s awesome culture. So leave us a review on Facebook or Google. Do you find our blogs helpful? Or are our topics irrelevant? Did we increase your companies leads? Whatever it is, we’d love to hear from you.



Hubspot Adds Instagram

Sage Lion Media loves Hubspot. We love Hubspot just as much as we love taking the day off to cast some lines in an alpine lake or pass a flask around a campfire on a crisp, summer night. Hubspot makes marketing simpler for our agency and managing our clients. With their marketing automation tools, we have more time to prospect, brainstorm, and chase fresh powder after a snowstorm in the mountains.

Hubspot is always improving their marketing automation tools and this month, they announced some pretty big news. Facebook has recognized Hubspot as a Badged Marketing Partner. With this partnership, Hubspot has the ability to directly publish to Instagram!

Why Is This Big News?

Facebook is a powerful social media marketing tool with 2.1 billion daily active users. After Facebook bought Instagram, their daily active users skyrocketed. Instagram expects to hit 1 billion active users this year!

Instagram is becoming a prime marketing tool for outdoor businesses to showcase their brand and create a new community of followers. Currently, social media marketing tools have the ability to create Instagram posts and even see analytics. But it is a convoluted process to schedule and publish a post. Most social media marketing tools give you the ability to create the post in their app, but then you have to copy and paste your post directly into Instagram. For businesses with more than one Instagram account, it’s a lot of logging in and out and memorizing usernames and passwords.

With Hubspot and Facebook’s new partnership, social media marketers can save time by scheduling posts for all social networks!

What Else?

Hubspot offers a robust, analytics feature for social media accounts. It’s simple to track engagement, clicks, contacts, and more. They also make it simple to manage different accounts and stay on top of comments and messages. Hubspot will incorporate these same features with Instagram making it easy to track, monitor, and manage all of your social media marketing efforts. Hubspot has also added some new features with Facebook.

  • Hubspot now allows you to host, upload, and publish Facebook videos with their social tools.
  • Marketers can dive even deeper with Facebook Ad targeting by syncing Hubspot lists with Facebook Audiences.
  • Integrate Facebook Messenger in Hubspot so you can monitor all messages from one app.

Hubspot Loyal

Hubspot has been a lifesaver for our agency. We are able to stay ahead of our client’s needs and provide detailed analytics with their software. If you want to learn more about Hubspot for your outdoor business, send us a message for a free, non-salesy consultation! And if you’d prefer to meet us on the slopes or an alpine lake, we can arrange that.


Understanding Keywords For Your Outdoor Business

Every website is vying for that number one spot on Google Search. It could be the main website, a blog post, or a landing page but each and every one of us wants to be the first thing people see. While search engine optimization (SEO) rules on Google are constantly changing, keywords have stayed fairly consistent. Understanding keywords for your outdoor business can lead to impressive results on Google Search.

Today I want to dive into what keywords are, why you need them, and how to make them work for your outdoor business.

What Are Keywords?

Keywords are how people find you on the internet. Rarely do people type in the exact URL when they are searching on the internet. Most consumers type a word or phrase into Google Search to see what pops up. From there, they might adjust what they’re searching for or immediately click on one of the top links.

Why Do You Need Keywords?

If you haven’t figured it out already, keywords play a huge role in where you appear in Google Search. Google will crawl each page of a website searching for keywords to help it determine its purpose. This way, when a user searches a keyword, Google can provide the most relevant results.

Keywords not only help search engines understand the purpose of your page but it also helps consumers. If someone clicks on your blog post, they might skim through it to make sure the information provided is relevant.

Lastly, keywords are the foundation of your website. All the content on that page should tie back to your keyword(s). If your website is about hiking boots, it’s important to include “hiking boot” on the page. As well as specific keywords to your brand of hiking boot.

Types Of Keywords

Depending on what people enter in the search bar, they could be using a broad keyword or long-tail keyword. Knowing the difference between these keywords is important to understanding how people search for your business.

Broad Keyword

A broad keyword is exactly what it sounds like. It’s typically one word and it can relate to a number of things. Let’s say a consumer is looking for new hiking boots. If they are just starting their search, they might type in, “Hiking boot.” This is an example of a broad keyword. It is not specific and thousands of companies sell hiking boots so thousands of results will appear.

Consumers that type a broad keyword into Google Search are most likely at the top of the funnel and are just browsing the web. These consumers rarely turn into leads since they are just beginning the sales journey. Broad keywords also have a high search volume so there is a lot of competition for these words.

Long-Tail Keyword

Long-tail keywords are more specific to your company and brand. Let’s use the same hiking boot example. A consumer who uses a long-tail keyword might search for, “comfortable and lightweight hiking boot” or “women’s waterproof hiking boot.”

Unlike broad keywords, long-tail keywords have less competition. Also, consumers using these keywords tend to be further down the sales funnel and are more likely to be a lead or a sale. If they typed in, “women’s brown waterproof hiking boot size 8,” then they are probably ready to make a purchase the second they find the right brand.

Keyword Research

Understanding keywords are very important when writing content for your outdoor business. As I mentioned earlier, keywords are the infrastructure of every blog post or landing page. Let’s use, Sage Lion Media, for our example of keyword research.

Step 1

The first step is brainstorming general topics about your business. Think about what a potential customer would be searching for. Sage Lion Media’s general topics could be, inbound marketing, outdoor marketing agency, content marketing, marketing automation.

Step 2

It’s time to start turning those buckets into keywords. What will your ideal customer be searching for in Google search? As I mentioned earlier, broad keywords can be difficult to rank for so think of specific and long-tail keywords. If we start turning, content marketing, into keywords, our ideal customer would search:

  • Is blogging still relevant? (answer, yes.)
  • Content marketing strategy
  • What is content marketing?
  • What makes the best website content?
  • Is social media content marketing?
  • Blog post ideas

This brain dump can include as many keywords as you like. Another way to come up with more keywords is to check out Google. Type in, content marketing, into the search bar and see what they prefill. Also, scroll to the bottom of the search page after you’ve typed, content marketing, and see the searches related to it.

Step 3

Moz has a great keyword research tool that will help you narrow down your list. It’s also free! You can narrow down your list of keywords using these tools as they rank the keywords against the competition. Moz will provide suggestions, how difficult it is to rank for, and more.

Finished!

Now that you’ve narrowed down your list, you can start creating content. Don’t go overboard on landing pages, blog posts, and other digital media with keywords. You still want to create quality content so use the keywords wisely.

Start Writing Content

Every quarter or so, we like to go back to the keywords we chose for our clients to see if they’re still relevant. We also want to see if there are better keywords to help us rank higher in Google. This is something we recommend you do as well. So save this post on your desktop so you can come back to our simple, 3-step keyword research guide.

Still confused about keywords or don’t have time? Give us a call for a free, non-salesy consultation!


The Latest In Social Media

We are 3 months into 2018 and a lot has happened with social media. From Kylie Jenner costing Snapchat $1.3 billion to Facebook potentially slapping businesses in the face with its new algorithm. Let’s look at what’s been going on in the world of social media marketing. And I promise to make no more Kardashian/Jenner references.

Facebook

Algorithm Change

Mark Zuckerberg wants to get back to the roots of Facebook. Connect people with people. Several users have been frustrated with the number of posts from brands, businesses, and media so Facebook is changing its algorithm. Users will now see fewer posts from pages and more posts from friends and family.

So what does this mean for marketers? Everyone is still unsure of the new algorithm’s impact on business but here are some ways to continue standing out.

  1. Quality content has always and will always be king. Facebook wants “meaningful interactions” which means, comments. When brands and businesses post on Facebook, share content that is engaging. Facebook will prioritize these posts.
  2. Facebook loves video content and will continue to include them on user’s homepage. But Facebook loves live content even more. In his post in January, Zuckerberg said, “Live videos often lead to discussion among viewers…live videos on average get six times as many interactions as regular videos.” Live videos create a conversation and that’s what Facebook wants.
  3. Brand ambassadors have been trending for social media marketers for a while but might also see a decline in page views with the new changes. Instead of focusing on the “big fish,” start connecting with real people. If a brand ambassador has a personal Facebook page, ask them to share content on there. Have a diehard fan with a lot of Facebook friends? Surprise them with a bunch of free stuff and have them review it on their personal page.

Other News for Facebook

  • Facebook is seeing a decline in users. Last year, they lost 2.8 million users under the age of 25! Social media platforms like, Snapchat, are swooping up Gen Z.
  • And finally, some good news. Facebook is making it easier for businesses to see how their Page is performing. Post views will now be based on viewable impressions. Previously, reach was defined as a post showing up in a users News Feed. Post views will now only count when the post enters the user’s screen. This will give businesses a more accurate view of their post views even though they might see a dip in reach.

Twitter

A decline in daily and monthly active users has plagued Twitter for a while but there might be some bright light. Even though the US has seen a 2% drop in daily active users, people who use the app are spending more time on it and engaging more. Why? In November of 2017, Twitter upped its character count in a tweet from 140 to 280. This has made it easier and faster for users to tweet. Tweets that reach the 280 character limit are also being liked and retweeted more often. These users also have more followers and mentions.

Twitter has also improved their ads which has seen a 75% increase in engagement from 2016 to 2017. Rumors of Twitter being on its deathbed have echoed around Silicon Valley but businesses looking for quality engagement with their fans might want to think twice. There are over 67 million Twitter users in the United States. Majority of those users are 18-49 which means they have buying power. While other businesses are pulling back on Twitter, we’ll stay in the conversation with the apps engaged Tweeters.

Anything Else?

The world of social media is evolving for better or worse. One of the better changes is Hubspot’s new integration with Instagram. As a valued Hubspot Partner, we are ecstatic about this!

As an inbound marketing agency, we want to help your business attract the ideal customers and convert, close, and delight them so your outdoor business can prosper. Social media is an amazing tool but we understand the work that goes into it. If you need help to put together a plan or just have a question on creating a Facebook ad, call us! We’d love to have a free, non-salesy chat with your outdoor business.



Google Chrome Is Coming For Your Ads

Have you noticed fewer ads the last few days?

The day of ad reckoning is upon us. Last June Google warned us they would start blocking annoying ads natively within their Chrome browser. Well, that day has come and gone, and the web seems like a nicer place right?

I want to shed a little light on what’s going on and how it might impact your outdoor marketing efforts. Especially if you rely on pop-ups to drive conversions.

1) It won’t block all ads, just the ones we all hate.

Google is trying to curb a rising problem, too many people are installing adblockers on their web browsers. In 2017 they joined the Coalition for Better Ads, they created standards for how marketers should improve ads for consumers. The ads shown below have identified as experiences that are banned from the standards.

Chances are you’re probably using some of these types of ads right now.

The two that we are concerned with are Pop-Up Ads and Large Sticky Ads.

Pop-up Ads

Pop-up ads are a type of interstitial ad that do exactly what they say — pop-up and block the main content of the page. They appear after content on the page begins to load and are among the most commonly cited annoyances for visitors to a website. Pop-up ads come in many varieties – they can take up part of the screen, or the entire screen.

Included ad experiences tested: Pop-up Ad with Countdown, Pop-up Ad without Countdown

We’ve had pretty good success running these types of ads. They can be a great source for driving visitors to a call to action or getting them to sign up for a newsletter. When used correctly they can even provide value to the end-user.

Two forms of pop-up ads are currently under review and are exempt from being blocked. Ads that take up 30% or less of the content and Exit Pop-Up Ads that appear after a user has ceased active engagement with content. Eventually, these ads will be submitted for review and blocked.

Large Sticky Ads

Large Sticky Ads stick to the bottom edge of a page, regardless of a user’s efforts to scroll. As the user browses the page, this static, immobile sticky ad takes up more than 30% of the screen’s real estate.

A Large Sticky Ad has an impeding effect by continuing to obstruct a portion of the page view regardless of where the user moves on the page.

We don’t use these as much and never over 30% of the screen, but it’s worth noting. I have seen plenty of outdoor websites that add signups and specials in these lower areas. Blogs are notoriously bad for using this kind of ad.

2) If you use some of these types of ads don’t panic.

Google is probably out scanning the web looking for ads as we speak. To know if your site has been flagged you’ll need to check your Ad Experience Report in Google Search console. But it’s not actually in your search console yet. You need to hit this link to see your report.

First of all, you have time to adjust should you be flagged. You have 30 days to address any issues on your site. If you don’t, Google Chrome will automatically block the ads on your site. Visitors will see a warning that you are a bad advertiser and ads are being blocked.

3) Our strategy moving forward

As I mentioned we’ve been using a few of these ads on some of our client websites, because frankly, they work. Especially when you have a compelling offer. First of all, we’re not panicking but we are watching.

On any site we run pop-ups we are waiting for Google to crawl the site and update the report. Once we are flagged we will respond accordingly. There is still some gray area out there about what’s technically a pop-up and what’s not. So we’ll wait for Google to tell us if we’re in violation. So far we haven’t been flagged anywhere.

If we’re flagged we will rely on user triggers to display our ads. We use Opt-in Monster and HubSpot Lead flows to serve our pop-ups. Both have triggers we can use to only show ads that meet the requirements stated in the Coalition for Better Ads. These triggers include things like:

  • Exit Intent (someone trying to leave the site).
  • Ads that show up after certain interactions.
  • Not requiring users to wait a certain number of seconds before content is shown.
  • Showing different ads to mobile or desktop users.

We also want to continue to create unique and innovative ways to be seen by our client’s customer base that fall within Google Chrome’s ad standards. We will continue to keep our clients informed of these changes so sign-up for our monthly newsletter to hear the latest in inbound marketing trends, news, and more.