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.


Should You Hire A Marketing Agency Or An Internal Team?

As small to mid-sized outdoor companies grow, it becomes tougher to be the CEO wearing all the hats. You feel trapped between your need to grow and the realities of hiring an employee. In the beginning, it was possible to bring in a steady stream of leads and convert them while marketing the company and integrating a strategic direction for the organization. But now, as your outdoor business continues to grow, so does your to-do list.

I went through some of these struggles as I built my marketing agency. As my client list grew, I was stretching myself too thin trying to keep up with their needs while still trying to bring on more clients. I finally hit a point where I had to hire employees to help. While at first it stung seeing my overhead go up, in the long-run, I’ve been able to maintain consistent leads, maintain current client satisfaction, and be able to enjoy dinner with my wife and children every night.

A common question for many outdoor businesses is, “Do I hire an internal marketing team or a marketing agency to attract, convert, close, and delight my growing customer base?” And while we would love for you to hire us, sometimes it makes more sense to build an internal marketing team. Today I want to review the pros and cons of hiring an internal marketing team vs. hire a marketing agency. Every outdoor company is different so take a moment to think about your company’s needs and vision to make the best decision.

Hiring an Internal Marketing Team

Pros:

  • Expertise: An internal marketing team will live and breathe your industry. Or at least that’s the hope. As you search for the perfect hire, you’ll gravitate toward a marketing director who has experience in your industry.
  • Speed: Because of their expertise, your internal marketing team can get things done quicker. They also don’t have a list of clients pulling them in different directions so they can buckle down and focus on your projects.
  • Accountability: Since the in-house marketing team shares a wall with your office, it’s easy to supervise projects. I’m not saying you’re a micromanager but there’s something to say about walking down the hall and getting an immediate status update on projects.
  • Company Insight: Working in the same office as the CEO keeps the marketing team abreast of company goals and culture. They are always “in the know” of what’s happening so they can adjust their strategy to fit the needs of the business.

Cons:

  • Hiring Process: Hiring an internal marketing team can take a lot of time. A lot. Not only will you need a marketing director who has the knowledge and experience to lead a team, you must find a coordinator and/or social media guru and/or graphic designer. The list goes on depending on how deep you want your marketing bench. Once you decide how many people you want to hire, you’ll spend time recruiting, interviewing, and making offers. Once you’ve found the right people, you need to train them and finally, they can start developing a strategy. This could take up to 2 months…and that’s being gracious.
  • Employee Issues: Now you’ve found the perfect hire, it’s time to start the hard part. Managing them. Employees call in sick, take vacation time, quit, and sometimes they aren’t the right fit so you have to fire them.
  • Cost: According to Glassdoor, the national average salary of a marketing director is $116,000. A marketing coordinator? $47,000. Graphic designer’s national average salary is $48,000. Depending on your market, these salaries could be more or less. Not only do you have salaries to pay but to be competitive, you’ll want to include benefits. On top of all of this, your employees need a workspace, computer(s), software, etc. Hiring an in-house marketing team can add up making it costly.
  • Limited Skill Set: Let’s say you hire a marketing director and coordinator to keep costs down. There’s a good chance they won’t be as skilled in graphic or web design meaning you must find an independent contractor or agency to help. Unless your company is able to afford a full-blown internal marketing team, you’ll most likely outsource a lot of work.

Hire a Marketing Agency

Pros:

  • Manage Expectations: A well organized, marketing agency knows how to manage their workloads. Because they are working with several clients, they are able to churn and burn projects and adapt to changes in a marketing plan. It is not in their best interest to stretch themselves too thin if they want repeat clients so they will be very transparent on what they can deliver.
  • Wide Skill Set: Marketing agencies need a large talent pool to give clients what they want. Instead of having to work with several independent contractors, an agency can support your business from strategy planning to content creation to web design and more. Depending on your company’s needs and the agency you work with, you can also just “a la carte” services.
  • Easy to Cancel Agreement: Unlike an employee, if you’re not happy with the marketing agency it’s easy to end the contract. Sure the ease of canceling a contract depends on the agency but there’s a lot less paperwork to fire an agency. Also, you’re not committed to renewing the agreement each year.
  • Creative Ideas: Because an agency is working with a variety of clients and projects, their creative brain is constantly working. They are not immersed in one company’s culture so they can bring fresh ideas and insight to your marketing projects.
  • Less Oversight: Once you’ve discussed goals and approved a strategy (which usually happens in the first 30 days), the marketing agency is off to work. The agency is able to work independently and only needs your kiss of approval on certain things, leaving you free to manage your company.

Cons:

  • Disconnect: An agency isn’t immersed in your company culture like an in-house marketing team. It can take a little time for a marketing agency to fully understand the day-to-day needs of your business.
  • Response Time: Because you’re not an agency’s only client, it’s harder for them to drop everything for you. First-class agencies thrive in a fast-paced environment with tight deadlines but they still have other clients to take care of.
  • Location: If you’ve opted to hire an agency outside of a 60-mile radius, it is difficult to get that behind-the-scenes video to post on Facebook. Or a candid photo for Instagram. It can take more planning to get these moments captured.

Making The Decision

Hiring an internal marketing team or a marketing agency has its pros and cons. Before deciding, it’s important to think about your company’s goal. We would love to work with your outdoor business but our main goal is for your company to thrive. If your business will thrive with an internal marketing department, then start hiring. We’re here to help in any capacity now or in the future.

If you’re not sure what to do, contact us today! We are not in the business of selling you something you don’t need so if it makes little sense, we’ll be transparent.


The 4 Reasons To Keep Your Nonprofit Blog Going In 2018

Raise your hand if you’re tired of hearing about the importance of blogging. *Mine is raised.* Content marketing is dominating marketing trends and if everyone was blogging and doing it well, I’d leave you alone. Due to shrinking budgets and overworked staff, blogging has taken a backseat for many nonprofits. Producing quality blogs and posting consistently can be taxing on nonprofits. But what if I told you:

These are powerful stats. As much as we want to fight this trend because of lack of time and resources, blogging can have an impressive impact on a nonprofit. Blogging gives nonprofits the chance to share their story, motivate donors, and keep people abreast of important issues.

Consistency Is Key
According to HubSpot, companies that prioritize blogging efforts are 13x more likely to see positive ROI. When companies produce 16+ blog posts per month, they get 3.5x more traffic and 4.5x more leads than companies publishing 0-4 a month. For nonprofits, this translates to higher awareness and a growing donor list. Now posting 16 blogs a month for any size nonprofit is asking a lot. But the point is, if you’re not blogging regularly, you won’t see positive results.

Quality Over Quantity
More blog posts can lead to higher web traffic but it is important to produce quality posts. If you’re pumping out blog posts just to hit a certain number, readers will sense that and quit reading. Not only will they quit visiting your website, they’ll tell others. Telling an effective nonprofit story that resonates with potential donors and volunteers is more important than posting three blogs a week.

Blog Content Ideas
I am aware of the time and budget constraints nonprofits have. And since I’m feeling generous, below are ideas you can incorporate into your content marketing strategy.

1. Numbered Lists

People love to read lists. They are easy to skim which encourages readership and shares when posted on social media. Here are examples nonprofits can use:

  • 5 Ways To Get Involved In Your Community
  • 8 Ways The Outdoors Can Improve Your Happiness
  • 4 Reasons Kids Should Be Outside More
  • 10 Startling Facts About Wildlife Conservation

2. Guest Blogging

When you’re short on time, asking someone else to write a post can help you stay consistent and give a fresh perspective. Ask a corporate sponsor to write a post. This can help them with brand awareness. Maybe a volunteer has been dying to share their experience and wants to write a blog. Guest blogging is a great way to mix up your blog.

3. Photo Essays

Blogs with images get 94% more views so why not create a post full of them! You’ll still want to include some copy to introduce and close the photo essay but this is a creative way to share your story. Some photo essay ideas are:
A successful fundraising event
A before and after of a project you completed
Faces of the people who have benefitted from your nonprofit

4. Interviews
Interview volunteers, donors, staff, or the people you’re helping. If you’ve written some lengthy blog posts earlier in the month, post the interview as a video instead. While you know the value of your nonprofit, hearing it from a donor or volunteer can help inspire others. People want to hear real stories and interviews can do just that.

Start Blogging Now!
Blogging is vital for nonprofits to share their story and create change. As much as we want to fight this trend, it isn’t going away anytime soon. Need help getting started? Contact us today for a free, non-salesy consultation!


2018 Inbound Marketing Trends

It’s a new year which means new marketing trends to help grow your business. While some trends in 2017 are still relevant like blogging and social media, we did some research to see what new marketing tactics will help your company thrive in 2018.


7 Last Minute Checks Before A Trade Show

Trade shows can have a huge impact on any size business. Over 80% of attendees have some sort of buying power so if planned correctly, companies can network with potential customers and even close deals on the spot. This is a chance for salespeople to take a break from the cold calling and emails and make a lasting impression in person.

 

Since trade shows can be costly, it’s important your business has planned well in advance with goal setting, booth design, premarketing, etc. To maximize your ROI, take a look at these last minute checks to ensure a successful show!

 

  1. Charge Everything

Laptops, phones, iPads, tablets, anything that needs to be charged, charge it. The last thing you want is to be showing a demo on your computer and it dies. Or capturing a lead on your iPad and “low battery” pops up and there’s still five hours left in the show. Since 24-hour battery life on most electronics isn’t a thing, it’d be wise to pack extra batteries and power cords as well. And if you’re not located next to an outlet or you’re not sure, bring extension cords.

 

  1.  Have A Backup Plan

Having a backup plan for everything that could go wrong will give you peace of mind and will also continue to maximize your ROI at the show. Here are a couple scenarios that can happen to anyone and how to plan ahead:

  • The booth was shipped well in advance but with holidays, extreme weather, or just incompetence, there’s no guarantee everything will arrive on time. Pack a company branded tablecloth and marketing materials in your suitcase just in case you arrive at an empty table.
  • The marketing team put together an amazing slideshow for a meeting you planned with some prospects but the trade show doesn’t have the proper cords to hook it up. Pack extra cords and also print out copies of the slideshow on some nice paper in case there are tech issues.

Even if you plan for the trade show a year in advance, things happen. So always plan for the worst and just pack extra of everything.

 

  1. Update Your Credit Card App

A lot of trade shows give exhibitors the ability to sell their merchandise to attendees. Whether it’s a B2B or B2C show, make sure you have the software to close the sale on the spot. There are several credit card apps you can download on a phone or tablet but you’ll want to check that it’s up to date. If it’s been a while since you’ve used the app, double-check it’s the most updated version. You don’t want a bunch of frustrated first-time customers who waited in line to buy a thermos, rod, or energy drink because the app needed a new update.

 

  1. Pack Snacks & Water

Rule number 1 in trade show etiquette is to always have someone at the booth. Most companies send at least two representatives to manage the booth but if you’re a small company, your partner planned a lunch meeting, or someone is sick, you might get stuck at the booth by yourself.  Instead of leaving your booth for an hour to grab something to eat, pack some granola bars, a sandwich, or some nuts to munch on. Bring a water bottle as well because networking will leave anyone parched. And lastly, pack mints. No one wants to smell onion breath. No one.

 

  1. Double-Check Your Lead Capture

The cost to convert a lead from a trade show is 38% less than a sales call so it’s vital to have some sort of lead capture. Collecting business cards is always a nice backup plan but fewer people carry them around these days. It also can be tedious manually inputting them into your CRM. Talk with your marketing team in advance about setting up a form on your website people can fill at your booth that automatically puts them in your CRM. Apps like Leadature, is another solution for capturing potential customers at the show. No matter what method you use to capture leads, double-check the day before and on the day of the show. If something goes wrong, see step 2.  

 

  1. Email Current Customers

The main goal of a trade show is to get new customers but this is also an opportunity to strengthen current relationships. A few days ahead of the show, email your current customer base and let them know you’ll be at the trade show. Delighting your existing customers with free passes, drink tickets, or some cool marketing swag can help with retention and future sales.

 

  1. Post On Social

Not only do you want current customers to know you’re at a trade show but fans on your social media want to as well. Within your fan base are tons of potential customers who might be attending the same show. Leading up to the event let them know your booth number with a tweet or Facebook post. You can even post your schedule on Facebook and ask fans to message you to set-up more meetings. While at the show, post a Facebook Live video of you giving a demo of a new product.

 

Trade shows are the perfect opportunity to have face-to-face interactions with future and current customers. It’s important to take full advantage of this opportunity and using these last-minute checks will help you leave a lasting impression. If your trade show is in the Denver area, check out our post on making the most of your trip!

 

Good luck out there, exhibitors!


Why Outdoor Wilderness Programs Should Use Inbound Marketing

In the past, most outdoor wilderness programs focused their marketing efforts on traditional outbound strategies, including trade shows, telemarketing, print ads, and radio or television ads. But with the availability of technology, the focus has quickly shifted to inbound marketing strategies such as blogging, podcasts, webinars, search engine optimization, infographics, YouTube videos, and eBooks. The focus of inbound marketing is being discovered by customers, rather than going out to find them.

Inbound marketing can, therefore, be a powerful way of drawing prospects to your wilderness site, and gradually converting them into customers. Here are a few ways you can use inbound marketing for success.

1. Create Brand Awareness For Your Outdoor Wilderness Programs

Outdoor wilderness sites can dramatically improve their brand awareness especially around the different programs you offer. You can tell success stories and highlight unique aspects of your trips that sets you apart from your competition. Potential clients are spending a lot of time researching options and comparing data points. Use videos, social media, and blog posts to start attracting those clients to your website.

Once you turn the money off for a pay per click campaign those leads stop filtering in.

2. Get More Leads With Less Money

Just like outbound marketing methods, inbound marketing requires some upfront investment. However, as your marketing resources grow, leads are pulled to the site over time compounding your growth. Unlike a paid-for-click (PPC) campaign where the leads go away once the money stops flowing, an inbound marketing plan will continue to organically attract users to the site over time.

3. Establish Credibility

Before people sign up to go on one of your trips, they want to be sure they are reserving a spot with a credible outfit. Inbound marketing offers outdoor wilderness programs a great opportunity to establish credibility with their customers.

For instance, if you are booking a month-long trip, you could create a series of blogs or videos that offer an overview of experiences that happen on a typical trip. In the process, you could answer common questions asked by families and prospects in the research phase. The more prospects see you as an authority in your industry, the higher your chance are of obtaining that business.

4. Target Qualified Customers

Inbound marketing is all about pulling in already interested customers. Unlike outbound marketing, you’re not throwing money at advertising that  is marketed to everyone. Instead, you are using specific keywords, blogs, and social media posts to attract the perfect customer. When you create content that your customers are searching for, it makes it easier for them to find you. They’ll sign up for your newsletters since you’ve established yourself as a thought leader. You’ll also save money since these leads are more qualified than leads coming from TV ads or other traditional marketing strategies.

5. Enhance Organic Search

Getting people to your website organically is all about SEO. And how do you increase your SEO? Blogs, keywords, social media, videos. When people are searching for wilderness therapy companies, they might start by Googling, “What is Wilderness Therapy?” “How can Wilderness Therapy Help My Teenager?” When you create blogs addressing these questions, you’re able to get these prospects on your website…organically.

Inbound marketing is a new way to approach prospects. While leaving the comfort of traditional marketing is scary, inbound marketing will help you gain more qualified leads, increase brand awareness, and so much more. Are you ready to dip your toes into inbound marketing? Check out our blog on how inbound marketing can help you attract the right clients. We provide a 4-step approach to inbound marketing. If you’re ready to dive in, head first, then give us a call! We offer a free, 30-minute, non-salesy, consultative call. Let’s get started!