How To Survive a Denver Trade Show at the Merchandise Mart

We’ve been going to the Fly Fishing Show for years. In that time we’ve learned a thing or two about how to make sure the time there is fun and productive. We shared our knowledge with our clients through this infographic.

As the outdoor industry continues to face threats from land sales and public auctions, events like these become more and more important for our industry. They are opportunities to open up new collaborations and stay engaged with others in the industry.

 



2017 Fly Fishing Trade Show Impressions from Denver

We’ve been going to the Denver Fly fishing trade show for many years now. It’s one of the highlights of the new year. On a side note it’s pretty much guaranteed to snow or be really freaking cold that day here in Denver. This year was no exception. But while it may have been cold outside the large crowds and good vibes inside kept the cold at bay.

2017 feels different.

There was something very different in the air at this show. Everyone I talked to seemed really excited about the coming year. There was a ton of new product on display and overall the manufacturers were pumped to get it in front of consumers. Booths seemed fuller, reps seemed more engaged, and the feeling of 2017 is going to be great seemed to be everywhere.

Rubbing elbows with leaders in the industry

After the holidays have beat us all down it’s nice to beat back the cold of winter by surrounding yourself with fly fishing. One of the things I love about these trade shows is the opportunity to meet the owners and big players in the industry. In almost all cases you can shake hands with a major player for a significant brand right here in Denver. I love that about the show. It takes the culture of a fly shop and extends it through to the manufacturer’s. How often do you get to share fishing stories with the people who designed the rod and reel you caught the fish of a lifetime on?

A full fly fishing trade show

As usual Saturday was packed. Big crowds and tough parking are the name of the game on Saturday. Luckily (for the out of towners) the Broncos didn’t make the playoffs this year. That meant big crowds on Sunday too.

Great Catching Up With Old Friends

We’ve been in the industry long enough to have developed some great friendships with several of the manufacturers in the business. It’s always great to share a beer with your clients and look ahead to 2017. If the Fly Fishing show is any sign of things to come this year is going to be different.



An active role for helping the outdoor industry

I don’t think there’s anything about the new year that isn’t exciting. I love being able to reassess, relaunch and redesign. 2017 isn’t any different. We’re moving full speed ahead on a lot of new initiatives that should be a huge asset to our friends in the outdoor industry.

New Outdoor Industry Focused Website

Late last year we begin rebuilding our own website using the foundation of growth driven design. It was way past time to expand beyond our one pager we had for years. The first things we added was an outdoor marketing blog. Our content is going to be focused on helping outdoor businesses and non-profits achieve their goals using data in 2017. We will be focusing on the tools we are using to help our clients excel in the online marketing world.

We also finally added a portfolio that shows off some of the work we’ve done over the last few years. We’ve been fortunate to work with some of the biggest players in the outdoor industry and we’re excited to show off some of our work!

Hubspot Agency

At the end of 2016 we made a big investment in ourselves and started our journey to a hubspot agency partner. It’s been an amazing transition full of ups and downs, really hard insights into what we at Sage Lion Media were failing at, and lots of incremental wins.

There’s no doubt that inbound marketing can move your needle and we can’t wait to show off the ideas we’ve been learning and executing on.

Newsletter

We’re also stoked to launch our first newsletter at the end of January. This monthly outdoor focused newsletter will feature a new video every month, current hot topics in the industry, and resources for downloadable content.

Tips, Tricks and in-depth content

As we get further in the year we will continue producing quality ebooks that are meant to help you get ahead. We just launched our latest ebook: A Post Holiday New Customer Engagement Plan. This resource will help you identify your new customers, classify them, and deliver curated content around their interests. Our goal is to churn out a new ebook on a monthly basis.


Delivering a client thank you this holiday season

It’s been a rollercoaster of a year here at Sage Lion Media. But what year isn’t full of highs and lows when you’re running a small business. One thing that has remained steady is our collection of amazing clients. I’ve been racking my brains for a way to tell a client thank you.

The usual Holiday card is always a nice touch and probably something will still do this year. But I thought of an even easier way for thanking your clients this holiday season. I’m going to leave a LinkedIn referral or thank you on as many of my client’s profiles as I can.

Here are three places to give a client thank you today.

1) Facebook

client thank you facebook

Leaving a review on a Facebook page is very easy. More importantly, rating stars help the company’s EdgeRank (think Google Page Rank but for Facebook). The more stars a company has, the better ranking, it will receive on Facebook.

2) Google Maps

client thank you google

Another great spot to leave a review is on Google Maps. A solid review here will help your clients business look respectable. Just head to Google Maps, search for the company, and find the review box on the lower left.

3) LinkedIn

client thank you linkedin

It’s easy to think of my clients as part of a larger organization. They work for X company so shouldn’t I leave a review for the business? Yes, you can do that if you leave an authentic review. But it’s the people who make up the company that really make it great. These people are your clients and you can leave them a recommendation in their LinkedIn Profile. This recommendation adds a personal touch to show your respect for a customer as a person. A well crafted statement helps give them credibility when working with others in their industry and can have an impact on their career. If I woke up tomorrow with 5 new LinkedIn recommendations I’d be ecstatic.

If you don’t feel like leaving a full review in LinkedIn Endorse the skills of a client. It’s super easy, but really not as awesome as writing a full recommendation.

Be Truthful. 

The key to leaving a review or recommendation is to make sure it’s authentic. The old adage, if you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything applies here. Don’t make up stuff just to leave a review. It ultimately makes you look bad and diminishes the actual reviews for your client.


5 emerging marketing trends for 2017 you should be ready for.

It’s never too early to start looking ahead to the upcoming year. When it comes to marketing things are always changing. A good marketer needs to absorb what’s changing around them and prepare to act on what’s important to the business or risk being left behind by competitors.

As you push to end 2016 on a strong note now is not the time to relax:  2017 will be here before you want it to and a lot is happening in the marketing world. To help marketers stay current and keep track of emerging technologies we’ve put together a list of 5 emerging marketing trends for 2017. Check it out.

5 emerging marketing trends for 2017

1)  Data will drive Design

People often think of design as an arbitrary thing based on your personal preference. Great design feels magical; you can’t always explain it, and it’s often difficult to replicate. While some parts of design are dependent on the artist, taking a design and making it work on the internet is not. That’s where having the ability to track what users are doing becomes invaluable.

growth driven design heat map

The design industry is in the middle of a shake-up, and 2017 will bring it to a head. Data will finally begin to dominate the online design industry. We’ve been using heatmaps, visitor recordings, A/B testing, and user segmentation to increase our conversion rates across all our marketing touch points. We use the results gained from these tools to drive our design decisions and relay our findings back to the client and the sales team. This data becomes a critical part of a growth driven design campaign and ensures we’re making sound decisions based on what we observe, not what we “think” is right.

If you’re only focused on data you can extract from Google Analytics, 2017 is the perfect time to take advantage of more advanced analytics software you have at your disposal. 

2) Live Social Media Streaming

fb-liveVideo continues to dominate the internet. One trend worth watching this year is live video streaming. With live streaming marketers can speak directly to their audience. Chances are, if you’ve been on Facebook in the past six months, you’ve seen Facebook Live in action.

The move to live video streaming makes sense — social media works best when we’re in the moment. Think how quickly you refresh your Twitter feeds, consume disappearing Snapchat snaps, and look at trending topics. We want to know what’s happening right now.

Nothing is more right now than Live Video.

Oh, and did we mention the potential live video has for Facebook engagement? Initial data from Facebook revealed that people comment 10X more on Facebook Live videos than on regular videos.

Live social media streaming is going to be huge in 2017. You need to develop a strategy for working live broadcasts into your marketing channels. 

3) THE PLATFORM-AGNOSTIC EXPERIENCE

We saw a significant push by the big players (Facebook, Google, Apple) in 2016 to keep users in their ecosystems. We continue to see these brands take steps to reduce the friction between mobile apps, websites, mobile devices and computers.  The goal is to provide users with an increasingly seamless experience across platforms and keep users from leaving.

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How can you compete against these goliaths of the industry? The key is to continue to create content your users crave. We already know content is so important to an effective inbound campaign. But do you have a solid understanding of your audience? That’s how you can differentiate yourself from the big players. Only you know your audience, and it’s your job to know them better than anyone else.

2017 is the perfect time for a deep dive to understand your customers. Then use that data to develop customized content that for your audience, specifically which part of the buyer’s journey they are on. 

4) Big push for Content Rate Optimization

Content Rate Optimization or CRO is the process of increasing the number of visitors to your site to customers. There are a variety of ways to increase conversions including, A/B testing, heat mapping, visitor recordings and more. I came across a pretty amazing stat this week. For every $92 spent acquiring customers, only $1 is spent converting them. (Econsultancy, 2016) (Source: http://www.hubspot.com/marketing-statistics)

For every $92 spent acquiring customers, only $1 is spent converting them.

One of the problems we consistently see is a client launching a campaign, spending a ton of money on the launch, with little thought on how to improve the campaign after it goes live. Luckily there is a better way. One of the biggest benefits of Growth Driven Design is the ability to build dynamic campaigns that are flexible enough to adapt to the demands of the users. Growth Driven Design allows the campaign to maximize ROI through the life of the campaign.

Establish a Growth Driven Design plan for 2017 that can react to the needs of your visitors. Let them tell you what they want, not the other way around.

5) Video will eat the internet

As the cost of entry to create compelling video continues to slide, and the video viewerships continue to rise, 2017 will be the year video consumes most of the internet. We’ve already talked about the increased value in Facebook’s push to live streaming. Even Mark Zuckerberg is convinced videos is the future:

“We’re particularly pleased with our progress in video as we move towards a world where video is at the heart of all our services,” Zuckerberg said in a statement on Wednesday night, as the company reported better-than-expected earnings.

There is little doubt that video can be a powerful marketing tool. We’ve used video in our campaigns time and time again. But it needs to be more than just a beautiful picture. Using a video hosting service like Wistia gives you a slough of marketing tools that can help you increase your conversions over services like Vimeo or YouTube.

In 2017 take advantage of the technology out there and identify services that make converting customers a priority and start using them consistently.

Hopefully, these 5 emerging marketing trends for 2017 will help you prepare for 2017. If you’re ready to start planning for 2017 and need help please get in touch. We’re happy to help.

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3 Benefits of Growth Driven Design

Has this ever happened to you? You design and build a beautiful website, launch and watch the success roll in, for a month or two.  When month three and four roll around, you notice site performance is starting to collapse. Soon your site analytics are back to the same levels as before you started. What in the world is happening here? Your new site is failing and failing hard. Don’t feel bad, we see it happen all the time.

The traditional web design process has been broken for awhile now. We realized there was a problem years ago. As we watched cent sites suffer. While the process was good for Sage Lion Media we wanted to provide more value for our customers. Slowly we began shifting to more of a partner with our clients and our Growth Driven Design (GDD) process was defined. Over the years we started to notice 3 benefits of Growth Driven Design.

3 benefits of growth driven design

 

1) Minimize the risk of launching a new website.

A typical small business can expect to spend $15,000 to $50,000 on a new website. In traditional web design, this money is often paid before any measurements are taken on the effectiveness of the site. That’s just bad business.

A common misconception of traditional web design is that your site needs to have it all—and have it all perfect—as soon as you launch. But that kind of thinking is far from the truth.

The big boys (Facebook, Google, etc) know this. When they launch a new product, it’s hardly perfect, but they need you to use the new app or widget to understand what needs fine tuning. They don’t launch in a vacuum, and neither should you. We’ve pioneered a systematic approach that allows us to shorten the timeline for launching your site, so we can start to see the real-time impacts of our design at work. This means that our time to live is shorter. Why does this matter? Because once we’re live we can start collecting data on your users. What are they clicking on? Where are they leaving? Why aren’t they converting?

Once we know what’s working and what’s not working we can start the process of making it better.

2) Continuously improving is better than spending all your budget in one redesign.

Time is money, too, especially in a small business environment. Launching a new website often requires a substantial time commitment from staff and management over the course of up to six months. With everything on your plate right now, can you imagine taking all that on?

3 benefits of growth driven design

Getting to launch quickly so we can begin tracking also spreads the cost of a design over a few months. This allows you to see results while still under contract.

Web designers really don’t know for certain what is going to be effective for your product or service needs. Design decisions are typically based on hypothesis and experience, not data. And, traditionally, web designers are not around to follow up on the effectiveness of what they just built for you.

The truth is that without dedicated monthly effort, your site will suffer, or even fail completely, and the design process will eventually need to begin all over again.

3) Makes your business stronger

Growth-Driven Design is tightly integrated with marketing and sales. What you already know about your customers helps inform the improvements we make to your site, and as we learn about your site visitors, we share this information to help you improve upon your marketing and sales tactics.

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3 reasons for creating a Black Friday content calendar

You’ve just booked an epic float trip, down a beautiful piece of water that’s been on your bucket list for years.

You could go totally on instinct and hope the conditions, the fish, the hatches, and your selection of flies perfectly align without any pre-planning on your end- but it’s probably better to have a plan an understand what might happen while on the water. The same is true when considering your black Friday marketing calendar.

The basics of an effective Black Friday content calendar

The holidays are going to be crazy. I know it you know it. When things get crazy no one has time for a social media post.

A successful holiday season requires consistent publishing, even when bandwidth is thin. If you’re not buying the need for a Black Friday content calendar let me shore it up for you:

  1. Social media calendars improve efficiency. During the holidays speed is critical to getting your message out. According to Content Marketing Institute, 60% of social media marketers with a documented strategy rated themselves as highly effective.
  2. Calendars help avoid scrambling at the last minute to get content up. Planning your Black Friday content weeks in advance will free you up to strategize more deals during the holidays. It will also allow you critical time to spend with your customers during the shopping season.
  3. Plan your content around major shipping days. Looking beyond Black Friday your content calendar can help you stay on top of important shipping days heading into the end of the year.

 

Now that we have a good understanding of why we need a Content Calendar let’s look at our two favorite tools to stay organized this Black Friday.

3 Helpful Tools for organizing your Black Friday content calendar

1) Google Calendar

Hands down our favorite way to organize our content is within the Google Calendar.

Here’s an example of how we lay out a plan for a client using Google calendar. Within each event description is a link to a Google Drive document that includes the content to go out that day. This helps us stay organized from one central location. We also color coordinate the posts, red-it needs content, yellow-it needs review from the client, green-it’s ready to go out.

screenshot-google-calendar

2) The old paper calendar on the wall.

If we’re just brainstorming ideas, I like to use paper and pencil to map out initial concepts. It’s easy for me to see the flow from month to month and make changes on the fly.

Paper-calendar

3) Hubspot Publishing Calendar.

A new toolset in our quiver is the Hubspot publishing calendar. This thing is so easy to use compared to our old way of publishing. One simple glance gives us all the info needed to see what’s going out day in and day out.

hubspot-calendar

Ready to create a plan for Black Friday?

Hopefully we’ve given you a few solid reasons to start planning this Black Friday. If you haven’t already check out our Guide for Developing a Plan for Black Friday. It will help you develop a solid game plan heading into this critical shopping season for any outdoor business.

 black friday marketing strategy


Selling Experience As Gifts This Holiday Season

As we speed towards Black Friday and the holiday gift giving season, the stress of the holidays is already bearing down on me. In my family life I have kids, a wife, in-laws, parents, siblings, coworkers, etc all in line to get gifts. Then I have to make a list for myself so that everyone can reciprocate the gift giving back. Typically my default gift is anything fly fishing related. But as I look back on the year, it’s not the toys that make the fishing great, it’s the experiences on the water that I truly crave. So this year I’ve asked my wife to forgo buying me gifts and look for ways to get me more experiences on the water. And it turns out I’m not alone.  While doing research for our Black Friday strategy e-book we discovered there is a huge opportunity for selling experience as gifts, especially in the outdoor community.  

Twenty-two percent of consumers planned to give an experience-type gift in 2015, and 36.5% said they’d like to receive one. Those numbers jump significantly for Millennials: 36.1% of 18 to 24-year-olds and 35.4% of 25 to 34-year- olds planned to give a gift of experience. (NRF)

Selling Experience As Gifts

I think we can all agree that getting new gear is pretty awesome. But studies have shown more stuff doesn’t all mean more happiness. In fact a recent study in the Journal of Psychological Science show that people actually enjoy waiting for an experience more than receiving more stuff. Think about it. When I’ve got a big trip coming up I spend weeks fussing over every detail, making sure I’m ready for every contingency. By the time the trip gets here, I’m so excited I can barely sleep at night.

Do I get the same level of excitement for a birthday or even Christmas morning? Probably not.

We can use this data to our advantage by selling experience as gifts in our upcoming holiday selection.

Outdoor Experience Gift Ideas

Trips

This is a no brainer and the one I’m hoping to find shoved in my stocking this year. Just be sure that the buyer and your staff understand that after the purchase the gift receiver will need to set up the specifics (dates, times, etc) You could go the extra mile and create a unique graphic for download the buyer could print out at home.

Gear demo days with purchase.

Prepare a special day where customers who receive this gift can come in and get hands on training with their gift. Really focus on the one to one interaction with your new customer. Maybe there is an opportunity to partner with a manufacturer for this one of a kind experience.

Training Classes

In the fly fishing world you could offer unique experiences based on tying or building a rod.

Selling Experiences: the bottom line

With a little creative though I think you’ll easily find several new and creative ways to provide experiences to your customers. The time in the outdoors is really what’s important here, not just the gear you are using.

 black friday marketing strategy


The new Mavic looks like the ultimate backcountry drone

It’s the season of new drones. This years crop looks amazing with a huge focus on creating smaller, more portable drones that can easily move from spot to spot. At first glance this new Mavic drone looks like it could be the ultimate backcountry drone.

I don’t even know where to begin to describe this drone, it looks so incredible. The Mavic starts with a much smaller form factor. That’s huge for getting it up into the backcountry. I love the idea of being able to have it on you, similar to your DSLR. If you think something would make a cool shot, whip out the drone and launch it. The goal is to create amazing aerial shots wherever you go.

The other jaw dropping feature of this drone is how many features still come out of the box. With such a small form factor, you’d expect there to be massive cuts in the performance of this smaller drone. But after watching the video, I couldn’t find anything. It looks like DJI loaded this drone up.

It is capable of reaching an absolute max flight time of 27 minutes and a maximum distance of 8mi (13km) due to its powerful, high efficiency motors.

Those motors also propel the drone forward at over 40mph. It feels like a combo aerial videography platform and racer built into one.

Enough of me rambling, you need to watch this video.

If I have one concern it’s that weird glass over the camera lens. I’m not sure what purpose that serves? Is it to protect the camera on landing? Either way it looks like it will require care to make sure it’s clean prior to launch. Which is just one more thing. As with all my DJI purchases over the years I’ll probably give it a few months out in the wild and then read the reports on performance and durability.

Overall this drone looks incredibly exciting and I can’t wait to fly it.

Tech Specs:

  • 4K Ultra HD Video at 30fps
  • 12MP Still Camera on 3-Axis Gimbal
  • Sensor: 1/2.3” (CMOS), Effective pixels:12.35 M (Total pixels:12.71M)
  • Lens: FOV 78.8° 28 mm (35 mm format equivalent) f/2.2 Distortion < 1.5% Focus from 0.5 m to ∞
  • Image Max Size: 4000×3000
  • 4.3 mile range, up to 27 minutes of flight
  • Remote control operating frequency: 2.4 GHz to 2.483 GHz

Key Features:

  • 24 high-performance computing cores
  • Dual-satellite connectivity
  • Small Size & Portability
  • Obstacle Sensing System
  • Vision Positioning
  • Autonomous Subject Tracking
  • Gesture Control

 



Growth Driven Design- What’s wrong with traditional web design?

We’ve been doing traditional web design for almost 8 years now. In that time a common theme has continuously repeated itself. A potential client usually has one of these four problems with their website:

  • Our website is broken, features that used to work no longer function.
  • We haven’t updated our website in years, we’re too busy.
  • We need (insert hot new feature here), because everyone else has it.
  • Nobody can find us on Search engines.

These problems are endemic to the current web-design cycle that is prevalent in the industry.

Traditional Web Design Process is built around a redesigned website every 1.5 to 2 years. The site sees modest growth after relaunch then stagnate while waiting for the next cycle to begin.

The other problem with traditional web design is search engines reward sites that provide consistent content updates. If you haven’t made a blog post in six months, that’s going to hurt your rankings. Or if you’re creating content that is not being shared maybe you’re talking to the wrong people.

In addition to creating a website that it woefully out of date and ineffective in building an engaged client base, traditional web design is incredibly risky.

Traditional web design suffers from the following risks:

Significant up-front costs
A typical small business can expect to spend $15,000 to $50,000 on a new website. In traditional web design, this money is often paid before any measurements are taken on the effectiveness of the site. That’s just bad business.

Significant time commitment
Time is money, too, especially in a small business environment. Launching a new website often requires a substantial time commitment from staff and management over the course of up to six months. With everything on your plate right now, can you imagine taking all that on?

No follow-through
It’s six months after the launch of your site. You’ve spent thousands of dollars in design fees. You’ve spent dozens of hours away from running your business. The website looks great. But, does it meet your goals? Some parts of the site, probably. EVERYTHING? No way.

Web designers really don’t know for certain what is going to be effective for your unique product or service needs. Design decisions are typically based on hypothesis and experience, not data. And, traditionally, web designers are not around to follow up on the effectiveness of what they just built for you.

Growth Driven Design can help you take back your site.

I hesitate to say traditional web design is broken, but it’s seriously flawed. Luckily there is a better way. Using Growth Driven Design principles we create a launchpad site that allows us to collect data on users. We use that data to refine the site over time. So instead of a huge upfront cost for a site that provides temporary success, we become a partner with you and grow a successful site based on data, not guesswork.

If you want to learn more be sure to download our Growth Driven Design ebook. It goes into extensive detail on the process and benefits of the system.

growth-driven-design-ebook