SEO vs. SEM: How the Outdoor Industry is Paving the Way

Depending on what you may have read, what others have told you, and your own past experiences, you may have formulated thoughts on SEO or SEM and how they can impact your bottom line. Built and managed the right way both of these avenues can lead to huge potential ROI. We have seen the greatest success in running these campaigns side by side and can attribute that success to a few factors which we will discuss below.

Long road for SEO

SEO & SEM: What’s the Difference?

SEO is the practice of implementing content and technical changes on your website to send Google and other search engines the right signals for the keywords you would like to rank for. SEM involves paying for clicks or visibility in front of the audience of your choice. This can include ads on Google, Facebook, Amazon, LinkedIn and more. While SEO is a much more organic play with factors involving domain age and links from other websites pointing to your site, SEM is much more predictable. You have much more control of who sees what and how they interact with your media with an SEM campaign.

Combining SEO and SEM for a Marketing Powerhouse

If you are able to rank organically on the first page of a search engine results page, you are in the mix and should be driving valuable traffic to your website. If your traffic is not converting, it may be time to look at building a brand story. Once you’ve established this traffic, you could look at turning on ads for the keywords you are on the first page for. The real estate you cover on the page will keep your product or service at the top of the viewer’s mind. Even if they scroll past your paid ad, they are more prone to visit your site via the organic listing because they’ve seen you before. This leads to higher click through rate for your organic traffic and costs you nothing. As long as you have a proper margin established with your product you can find out exactly how much each lead will cost you and audit viability on various keywords as you move through the process of research. The key is finding and building out keywords without as much competition. They may not carry the volume, but they will convert at a much higher rate. This typically comes in the form of more specific keywords built into your paid ad campaign.

What if I Have a New Website?

New websites are much harder to rank organically than sites that have been around for years. Brand new websites look fishy to Google from the start and it is important to get off on the right foot as Google and other search engines crawl and index your website. It takes time to build up content and begin to establish yourself as a knowledge resource with Google. The more content you create and the more people who link to that content creates more trust with Google and other search engines. This process takes time, and depending on the competition you are trying to enter the space with, you could be looking at years to see the results you are truly looking for. Paid ads become an efficient and measurable way to generate leads in this lead time. Some people have referred to this as the “reverse SEO” strategy, but we call it common sense. You can’t sit on your hands watching your rankings move from page 9 to page 2 with no direct increase in leads or sales for months and not get antsy.  Creating, refining, and executing an advanced SEM strategy can generate the leads and cash flow you are looking for initially while you execute your SEO strategy. Once you reach the first page in organic listings, you could scale back your ad spend and evaluate maximization of your ROI. Having the right partner to create and manage your SEM campaign can be the difference between success and failure.

There are many ways to integrate SEO and SEM into the same strategy, creating a cohesive and engaging process for your audience. Combining these two important marketing tactics can revolutionize your leads, conversions, and sales. Contact Sage Lion Media to learn more.


5 Top Video Marketing Recording Devices for 2020

As we approach 2020, it is important to stay on top of changing industry trends to ensure you are staying at the forefront of video marketing content. Users love being fed fresh, high-quality content and we have put together our top 5 video recording devices coming in 2020.

Portal+ from Facebook

With innovative and fresh ideas constantly coming out from the Facebook team, it is hard to discount the power this social media behemoth has. Facebook portal is primarily used for parents and other family members who are far away, but there are many more uses for this tool than chatting with family. With AI technology in their camera, it tracks you as you move around the room. This could be an excellent tool for someone looking to present via facebook live. Product demonstrations and tutorials could move out to your user base with buttery ease and you’ll look great doing it because the quality is HD, depending on connection.

Mirrorless

Mirrorless cameras continue to shine in the space and only continue to improve in quality and processing power. The Sony Alpha line dominates the space. And further adjustments to the device have only made it better. Having the ability to interchange your lens for different types of shots sets this camera (and the DSLR) apart from other options. Mirrorless cameras are light and easy to manage. You may run into trouble with previewing low light shots since the mirrorless camera cannot receive as much light as a DSLR or regular 35mm camera.

DSLR

The acronym DSLR has stuck with the video marketing community for years. This once innovative technology continues to improve in processing power and speed. Unlike its mirrorless counterpart, DSLR cameras work in very much the same way as 35mm cameras. With mirrors being used to reflect the light. This helps your efforts considerably in low light situations. DSLRs are also able to preview images in much better quality because of the advanced mirror system found within the body of the camera. Both mirrorless and DSLR options have the ability to interchange lenses on the fly. Envision yourself capturing a wide angle shot for creative effect, and then utilizing a superzoom lens for more detailed, close up shots of your product or service.

GoPro Hero 8 Black

GoPros have been part of industry standard since 2004 since the product’s launch. Constant improvements have continued to section this device off as a powerhouse for action video recording. With features like automatic image stabilization and 360 degree video recording, the GoPro Hero 8 is sure to have something that will please you and your consumers. The camera continues to add features and functionality to improve you video recording experience and quality overall. Addons like microphones, lights, and preview screens improve upon this experience. We are always excited to see what the GoPro team comes out with next.

Smartphone

Our handheld devices are powerhouses of technology so it makes sense to utilize these tools as well. Your phone is typically always on your person, so a quick video, live recording, or picture can happen at a moment’s notice. As the hardware and quality improves in our devices, so does the potential for video marketing. If you add on features and tools like image/video production applications, external tools like image stabilization and clip on lenses, you are sure to have a polished product come out on the other end.

Stay on top of trends and changes to the outdoor industry in our blog found here. The space is constantly changing. You should have a guide to help you clear out the unnecessary information. And keep you in front of your consumers with the best tech available.


Do’s and Dont’s of Content Marketing in the Outdoor Industry

Much of our approach to content involves building a story for your outdoor brand. There are a few key foundational ideas in building this story which led us to produce a list of do’s and dont’s of content marketing in the outdoor industry.

Have a Content Marketing Strategy

A content strategy unifies your content marketing efforts across many avenues. While developing this strategy is definitely important, sticking to it is even more so. A well-built strategy will have exact deadlines and be closely monitored to quickly determine when things have moved out of the timeline. Often, communication can break down across team lines. But having a comprehensive content strategy ensures everyone is writing for the same goal. No matter the topic or client.

Make Your Customer The Hero Of Your Content Marketing

Painting your user as the hero places them as a protagonist. Maybe your customer sees you as Yoda, but more importantly, they see themselves as Luke Skywalker. Understanding the desires of your potential consumers, and positioning yourself as a guide with solutions is key to content creation that converts.

Have a Content Marketing Checklist

Creating and sticking to a content marketing checklist ensures your valuable content is being spread across vital channels quickly and efficiently. For example, as you post your blog to your website, you can have it auto-upload to your facebook wall or story. Confirm it was posted properly, and check it off the list.

Track All the Data

The amount of data we are able to collect using Google is staggering, so customizing it and honing it down to 2-3 key performance indicators can keep you out of the tall grass when looking at the data itself. Determining the metrics you want your users to hit helps you to understand what it is you want your customers to do when they interact with your website or product.

Don’t Get Tunnel Vision

We get so consumed in our own brands and own identity that we forget to see what others are doing. This may be in the form of competition research or simply browsing the web. Analyzing specific assets you like on other websites and finding ways to incorporate them into your strategy (the right way) can set up your business for success. A tool like evernote can easily snap, store, and organize all of your findings into something manageable and shareable. Paying attention to outdoor industry trends leads to more creativity and fresh ideas.

Don’t Talk About Yourself

Explaining your offering and gloating are two different things. You should stay far away from gloating about your brand. One, it doesn’t paint the user as the hero (as mentioned above). And two, it really doesn’t do much for the user if you aren’t engaging and offering a solution. Stay away from words like “we” or “our company” and try to limit the “since 19xx” quotes.

Don’t Be Too Hard on Yourself

Content strategy is complex and always changing. You should not get down if your blogs are not converting like you originally thought. Look at all of this as a work in progress to educate yourself and your potential customers. Authority is built over time. Taking the step to simply DO it is just half the battle. Keep it up!


5 Reasons to Increase Your Content Marketing Efforts

We all build content intended to convert traffic into leads and then into customers. Each company with a desire to be successful wants to establish itself as a knowledge source in the space. We write blogs such as this one to try to establish some of that trust and authoritativeness, as well as expertise.

Most companies know they need to increase their content marketing efforts, but many don’t know where to start. Here are a few reasons to start today.

Brand Reputation

As you produce more and more content, you become a one-stop resource for your users. The typical user wants to learn about your company and investigate your service or product. Building content intended to inform, engage, convert and create trust with your users is how a successful company gains a supportive following. An excellent experience centered around your content will keep them coming back for more.

As your brand reputation and awareness increases, so does a return on the investment. Content is becoming the way you establish and nurture the relationships with your customers.

Conversions

Conversions are the lifeblood of your business and the overall reason to engage in paid media advertisements, content marketing, and SEO. However not all conversions are created equal. There may be leads that need to be nurtured over time to produce the kind of traction you are looking for. 

Purpose-driven content builds a user flow you want your users to follow when they engage with your product. Giving direct calls to action and trying to inform the periphery about your product while not having to be as hands-on can help you produce better results more quickly. A good content marketing plan puts the tools in the hands of your users to spend money with you in some way. Whether this is through donations, product purchases, or newsletter sign-ups, we know how to convert your readers into paying customers with outdoor content marketing.

SEO

SEO is an attempt to build out web pages with the intention of ranking higher on Google. The first step to a comprehensive SEO campaign is research. Identify what people are searching for to find your product or service. If you build your brand according to the building a story brand guide, and include specific keywords you think will convert users, you will start to see more organic traffic rolling in. 

Organic traffic should be easier to convert since these potential customers are actively seeking a solution. We all go straight to Google to find the services and products we need. The user interface and user experience on your website will eventually become your success or downfall.

Cost Effectiveness

An engaging content marketing plan for the outdoor industry is extremely cost-effective. Many companies build their services or products on paid advertisements. But this route can just lead to frustrations down the road if you don’t keep it up. If 70% of your traffic comes from paid ads, you are heavily relying on those paid ads to perform.

We understand you are an expert in your field. And every piece of content you produce is going to develop the trust with your users to understand your business. Content is a much more natural way for you to engage with your users.

Many times paid ads are built to convert quickly. You have an ad running, and a landing page used to collect information. But giving them the option to deep dive into your content will leave them feeling knowledgeable. And if they would like to reach out, making it an easy and positive experience is imperative to converting that traffic.

Traffic

Using content marketing to generate trust with your users leads to higher traffic and more eyes on your product or service. Therefore, creating unique, insightful and engaging content will improve the “first impression” your new users receive. And then greatly contributes to nurturing your returning visitors as they progress through your website. 

Google understands how users interact with your website. Establishing your brand as an educational resource in your space keeps them coming back for more. If you pair this with a monthly newsletter for people to sign up and receive updates, you will have an easier time offering valuable resources to your website traffic over time.


What To Do If You’re Struggling With Top Of The Funnel Strategies

If your company is struggling at the top of the funnel, we’ve got 5 tips that will attract prospects to your website and convert qualified leads into sales.

Your outdoor company has built a beautiful website and the sales team is ready to answer any questions prospects have. But they’re waiting…and waiting…and waiting.

The sales team has received a few calls and emails but only a handful are qualified leads and they’re not converting. What’s an outdoor marketing team to do?

What Is A Marketing Funnel?

The marketing funnel is the process of turning prospects into customers. Today, we’ll just go into the three most common stages of the marketing funnel. But if you’re interested in turning your loyal customers into brand promoters, check out this blog post.

Top of the funnel strategy

All versions of the marketing funnel start with awareness. Prospects need to know your company exists and understand your services or products before they can become a customer.

The next stage is consideration. This is where prospects turn into qualified leads. These prospective customers are more invested in learning about your outdoor company. With the right lead nurturing, they can be converted into customers.

The final stage of the marketing funnel is conversion. The prospect has gone from visitor to qualified lead, to customer.

Deeper Dive Into ToFu Marketing

Marketers love seeing more visitors on their website and views on their blogs. Attracting visitors to your website is what top of the funnel (aka ToFu marketing) is all about. And if you want to turn visitors into loyal customers, you need a strong top of the funnel.

Customers at the top of the funnel are just beginning their search to address a problem. They know they need something new but aren’t sure what they’re looking for. An example of this would be, planning to go fly fishing in Montana but not sure where to find the best rivers for cutthroat. These prospects are just browsing the infinite web to gather information.

Marketers can use ToFu marketing strategies to bring awareness to prospects as they search for solutions to their problems.

The key to top of the funnel marketing is driving quality traffic to your site and nurturing them into a lead.

When marketers focus more on the amount of traffic they get to their site, they end up having a low conversion rate. They can also frustrate their sales team when they hand off “leads” that aren’t truly leads. Just because someone has landed on your site, doesn’t mean they’re ready for sales to give them a call or send them a personalized email.

Top of the funnel marketing is all about bringing awareness to your brand and guiding potential prospects in the process of solving their problem. When we work with clients on ToFu marketing, we approach projects looking for short-term wins and long-term gains.

Short-Term Wins

We live in a world where people want results instantly. We want our clients to see leads right away so we develop a strategy for short-term wins. When it comes to top of the funnel marketing, our focus in the short-term is keywords, meta descriptions, and a PPC strategy.

Man placing hand next to the keyboard of a laptop

Focus On Keywords & Meta Descriptions

Building content around keywords can drive prospects to your website. When people search for yourkeywords, make sure your meta descriptions are accurate and the content is relevant so you don’t increase your bounce rate.

Have a Pay-Per-Click Strategy

The easiest way to attract people to your website is to use broad keywords in pay-per-click campaigns. They may not always turn into leads but this will raise your brand outreach with more eyeballs on your website. It’s much easier to rank for broad keywords than long-tail keywords.

Long-Term Gains

As those begin to gain traction, we transition into long-term gains. And long-term gains is all about quality content. The key to top of the funnel content is to convert and nurture using the content you feel solves their specific pain point.

Social Media Is Your Friend

Facebook is still the ruler of social media but with their on-going algorithm changes there is a constant battle of iteration and decision making which tends to lead us into analysis paralysis. Quickly adapting to these changes will ensure your campaigns are fine tuned for any issue that might arise. Social media is a low-cost to entry spot for brand awareness. Social media is a long-term gain because it takes time to build up your page. You need engaged fans and valuable content like videos to become a trustworthy source of information. Social media isn’t free but targeted ads can be a low-cost way to build brand awareness and drive traffic to your page or website.

Create A User-Friendly Website

This might sound obvious but it must be said. I’m sure you’ve found yourself on a website that took forever to load, was hard to navigate, or wasn’t mobile-friendly. And what did you do? Immediately leave. It’s important for companies to invest in their website so it not only looks professional but encourages users to stay on the site.

Camera set up overlooking canyon

Generate Valuable Content

What is the first thing you do when you need to solve a problem? Ask Jeeves. I mean Google! And from there, Google can take you down a spiral of blogs, videos, podcasts, and more to help you solve that problem. No matter what product or service you’re selling, adding relevant content to your site will help not only attract people to your site but generate qualified leads. If you are a lodge that takes anglers on fly fishing excursions, then create blogs that talk about the best rivers for cutthroat trout or a video on how to release a deep hooked fish. Providing solutions helps outdoor companies build trust with prospects.

Slow & Steady Wins The Race

Why would you ask a prospect to buy your service or product the second they subscribe to your email list? Remember that top of the funnel marketing is all about awareness. Prospects are just learning about your company so it’s important to nurture your leads. Send them a welcome email with links to blogs or videos that might help them solve their problem.

Generating Qualified Leads At The Top Of The Funnel

Building a strong marketing funnel takes work at the top. It’s important to spend time educating prospects and building awareness if companies want to generate more qualified leads. Your company can be positioned to keep your funnel full with our 5 tips that focus on short-term wins and long-term gains.


Outdoor Video Marketing Trends You Must Know For 2020

Our team has put together an infographic outlining the important upcoming outdoor video marketing trends that will impact the digital marketing industry as a whole.

As we approach 2020 it is important to understand the ways you can adapt to critical marketing updates in technology. Sources like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok have all garnered massive followings. With huge potential for getting your product or service in front of the eyes that need to see it. For outdoor brands especially, outdoor video marketing has become a way to build brand awareness. It also helps drive engagement and converts leads into sales. But how can you create a video or ad that customers actually want to see?

Shoppers spend a third of their time online watching videos. And 45% of people watch more than an hour of Facebook or YouTube videos a week. And where the views go, ad dollars follow: video advertising is increasing 40% year-over-year.

Outdoor Video Marketing Trends For 2020 Infographic

Keep us in mind as you look to broaden your brand and fill the outdoors with your product and people supporting.

Outdoor video marketing trends change which means you need a solid partner that can get the job done for you every time something new pops up.

If you’re in the market for innovative ecommerce and/or digital marketing solutions, view our inbound marketing services today!


Creating An Effective Call-To-Action

Quality content on a blog post or website is key to attracting prospective clients. At Sage Lion Media, every email we send, blog post we write, social media post we create, a call-to-action is included. In our blog today, let’s review what a call-to-action is and some best practices when creating an effective call-to-action.

What Is A Call-To-Action?

So what is a call-to-action? A call-to-action (CTA) is “an image or line of text that prompts your visitors, leads, and customers to take action,” according to Hubspot. It’s important to encourage prospects to contact your office or sign up for an event after reading a blog post or email. If they don’t, what’s the point of creating engaging content?

CTAs take prospective clients to a higher valued page on your website. If the call-to-action says, “Read more…” in the meta description on Google, this gets your prospect to your site. The page you direct that prospect to on your site should include another CTA which takes them further down the sales funnel.

Inbound Marketing Methodology by HubSpot

Best Practices

Since CTAs are all over websites which shows it’s not rocket science to create. However, creating an effective call-to-action takes a little more finesse. Such as a converting CTA that sends a clear message about why they should click and delivers that promise immediately. Including an action verb is Rule #1 when creating a call-to-action that converts. But just because you said, “download” or “click” doesn’t mean prospects will download or click.  Here are Sage Lion Media’s rules to an effective call-to-action:

  1. Actionable Messaging. Yes, you need more than an expressive verb to get people to click on a CTA but this is the first step. Without an action verb, you’ll just have a fancy graphic, words, and zero clicks.
  2. Make it clickable. You can have the most creative copy in your CTA but if it doesn’t look visually appealing and clickable, you will miss out on a lot of prospects.
  3. Create urgency. Nobody wants to be left out so let prospects know they need to download your ebook NOW! Include a countdown next to your CTA that informs prospects your ebook is only free for 48 hours. If you’re trying to fill up spots for an event, say, “Spots are limited. RSVP today!”
    Image of cell phone with download offer
  4. Focus on placement. CTAs should be weaved in naturally to a blog post. Typically you’ll find a call-to-action at the end of a blog but you can also place one in the middle, on the sidebar, at the top of the page. Whatever makes the most sense. Don’t go overboard and have a CTA in all locations.
  5. Color matters. A CTA needs to stand-out. If the webpage is blue, the CTA should be a different color. Easy enough! Pick a contrasting color that is still in your theme so it will pop out on the page.
  6. Size matters too. You want people to easily see the CTA but it can’t be too big that it takes away from the main content.
  7. Clear and concise. An effective CTA is short and to the point. A prospect should know exactly what they’re getting once they click on the link.

Pro tip: We like to do A/B testing on CTAs for our clients. We’ll play around with wording, placement, and sometimes the color to see what gets more clicks.

Start Creating

While a call-to-action encourages a prospect to take one more step down the sales funnel to become a lead. That action can be a link in an email that says, “Shop Our Lightweight Tents Now” and guides the prospect to your company’s brand new line of backpacking tents. Whatever you want your prospective customers to do, creating a CTA that gets clicks can turn those prospects into leads.


Building a Story for Your Outdoor Brand

In 2017, Donald Miller published Building a Story Brand and it has become a measure of standard across the internet marketing space. The overarching message instructs the reader to clarify their message so their customers will listen. So many of our clients come to us with a version of struggle related to the solution Donald presents.

Whether you are struggling to get your customers to engage with your brand, or you’re just trying to get your brand off the ground, we have the track record and knowledge to provide results with creative and engaging media. None of this ties together without clear and direct messaging exemplifying your brand.

Make Your Customer the Hero

Building a brand story based around your consumer develops a sense of trust and relationship someone wouldn’t experience with other forms of content buildout. Positioning yourself as a guide along the customer’s journey to finding and committing to their solutions keeps you at the top of your customer’s mind. You are developing a trigger point in the consumers mind that relates your product or service to a solution. 

Here is the flow of nearly every story in the words of Donald Miller:

“A CHARACTER who wants something encounters a PROBLEM before they can get it. At the peak of their despair, a GUIDE steps into their lives gives them a PLAN, and CALLS THEM TO ACTION. That action helps them avoid FAILURE and ends in a SUCCESS.”

Generic customer journey map image
Customer Journey Map Example

Nearly every book you read, every movie you watch follows this plot line and we naturally notice when stories don’t develop in this fashion. Why shouldn’t your brand story follow the same model? To lead them through this process, we answer three questions. What do you offer? How will it make my life better? What do I need to do to buy it? If we can answer these questions well, we make the customer the hero and the product their solution.

Talk About Your Customer’s Problems

Relating to and engaging with your customer’s problems sets you up to understand why you are doing what you are doing. You’ve developed a product or service as a solution to a problem, but your customer may not know they have a problem. Writing about your customer’s problems shows you are just like them, and have created a product for them because you’ve experienced some of the same problems in the past. If you put those problems front and center in front of your customer’s you’ll let them use their own imagination to find you as their solution. Even though you have led them to water, they have to be the ones to drink. There are three types of problems any customer may face.

There are external problems, internal problems, and philosophical problems. External problems are physical, tangible problems, like products or services they need. Internal problems are problems they face internally, these are deeper, more personal fears and then we have philosophical problems. These problems are bigger than the basics of purchasing a product or understanding oneself a little better. If your product or service has a deeper meaning or impact, it would be worth employing this form of content as well as writing about internal and external problems.

Position Yourself as a Guide and Call Them to Action

As we’ve defined previously, customers are not looking for another hero. These folks are looking for a guide. When you think of fly fishing, what brands do you think of? When you think of hunting, which brands do you think of? Those brands have established themselves as “guides” for fly fishing and hunting, respectively. When someone considers these items, they know where they can go to get the information they are looking for and can trust. As the internet continues to expand and content farms keep pumping out generic content intended to rank on google, it is becoming more and more important so instead of clicking through organic search results, these folks are going directly to websites for information.

Once you have established yourself as a guide, it’s time to call them to action.  “Direct” calls to action come in the form of making a purchase, filling out a form, or picking up the phone. “Transitional” calls to action are things like testimonials, free trials, and free content. You probably come across transitional calls to action all the time without even realizing it.

Provide a Happy Ending

The last thing a hero in a story wants is a bad ending. It is important for you to paint a picture of success involving your product or service. Some terminology could include “imagine yourself in 6 months”, or “if this problem was solved”. This puts success in the mind of your consumer and ties your product to it. A solid happy ending will include one or more of the following:

  1. Win some sort of power or position/status.
  2. Be unified with somebody or something that makes them whole
  3. Experience some self-realization or transcendence that makes them whole

If you can satisfy these basic human desires your client will leave with confidence and trust in anything you offer. Learn more about how Sage Lion Media develops engaging stories for outdoor brands by visiting our content marketing services page.


2 Tactics After Attending a Trade Show To Increase Sales

Whew, this year’s IFTD was a whirlwind and a big success here in Denver. While at the show I met up with a bunch of clients. Hung out with old friends. And met several new prospects. As the show wraps up I’m getting ready to follow up with a few leads I had positive interactions with. Here’s a simple framework for developing meaningful conversations with new leads and increase sales.

While it’s easy to plow through your emails and play catch up the first day of an event, you don’t want to lose track of the contacts you made. Redirecting some of that focus to your new leads can ensure those long days on the show floor don’t go to waste.

1) Actually Connect

This seems like a no-brainer but less than 30% of all trade show exhibitors have a plan or process in place for following up with leads. Here are some tips to follow:

  1. Avoid Boilerplate. Don’t go online and search for an email template for conventional follow up. Doing this will ensure one thing, you’ll look like everybody else. 
  2. Try video. According to HubSpot adding video to your sales emails can increase the open rate by 5X. We’ve seen similar results in the last few years and include a simple video in nearly all our sales emails. One possible subject line for your follow up email could be “[Prospect name], I made you a video to say thanks for the time at IFTD. 
  3. Thank the prospect for their time. And remind them of your conversation. These conventions can be a whirlwind for people walking the show floor. A recap of your conversation can help jog their memory for what you talked about. 
  4. Ask them to do something. It can be as simple as booking time on your calendar (we use a HubSpot meeting link) or as complex as downloading a piece of premium content. But asking your prospect to take an action will give you valuable insight into how interested they really are and allow your CRM and automated workflows to start collecting contextual data.
IFTD Trade Show Hall
IFTD Trade Show Hall

2) Classify Your Leads

Not everyone you meet is going to be a sale and you definitely need to know which ones are worth emailing directly. It’s worth developing a specific goal for each business card you collected at the show. We like to split our leads up into the following buckets: 

Connected but not ready to sell

These are contacts who you meet throughout the show or at the after-parties. They may be junior members of a team or just interesting people you want to keep in touch with. I typically try to connect with these people through social media. I feel LinkedIn is the best platform to do that. It’s an opportunity to stay in touch through your channel and expose them to your news feed posts and so that you can see theirs. 

Qualified to do business

These are the new accounts I’d like to target. My goal is much more direct as we discuss specific business opportunities. I like to schedule my follow up meetings at the show, so I already have it on the calendar. I will send a personal video email within a few days of the show, thanking them for their time and remind them of the talking points we discussed at the event, so they’re prepared during our phone call. 

Nurture

The last group of people may or may not be business opportunities. But they could be people who are your peers in the business. You may want to build a lasting relationship with them to bounce ideas or vent about problems. If you’re in the same city, asking for a recurring meeting might be a great way to build your network. You might also watch out for interesting articles you both find useful and shoot them an email about it from time to time.
IFTD and other industry trade shows are a great opportunity to meet new people and reconnect with old friends.

Following these simple strategies can help you increase sales, make sure your time is used efficiently and develops long lasting successful business opportunities.


Top 5 Outdoor Industry Marketing Trends That Will Matter in 2020

Outdoor Industry Marketing in 2020

The landscape is ever changing in the world of internet marketing as a whole as well as the outdoor industry’s niche, but the core values stay the same. As a product owner or service provider, you want to capture potential leads looking for your product or service, educate them on why your product or service is a better choice, and then make the process as easy as possible to convert those folks into a sale. Here are a few of the trends we are seeing as we approach 2020 in the outdoor industry.

Video Marketing

Video Marketing for the outdoor industry is becoming more and more popular as the user base shifts into a more technologically advanced crowd. With new technologies and strategies emerging regarding live video, augmented/virtual reality, and a high propensity for “vlogging”, engaging and informing your users in the creative avenues they are looking to be engaged and informed in is vital to a successful outdoor industry marketing campaign.  While the tech is advancing at a fast pace, so are the ways in which we can display that content to users. TikTok has emerged as a massive platform for video sharing, and the old faithfuls in Facebook and Instagram remain staples to any social media strategy in the form of paid ads or organic rankings/results, and 5G gets it to us more quickly and with better quality than ever.

Inbound Sales Tactics

Inbound marketing involves the placement of your product or service in front of your potential buyers with the intention of having gathered some information on them by the time you make contact. Some of the avenues for doing so would be shoppable content. This involves utilizing services like Google shopping, Amazon, and so on. Having your products available for purchase in the areas people are looking for them leads to sales and brand recognition. Instagram has also started allowing users to “swipe right to buy” on various products, allowing those who have engaged with your product and are interested to have the easiest path possible to purchase. Product Demonstrations and tutorials are also becoming more and more popular. Giving your users the tools to understand and utilize the product from the start can set you apart from the competition.

Outdoor Industry Marketing

Voice & Visual Search

In 2020 it is estimated that 50% of all searches will be done with voice. This stat has certainly made the rounds, but what does it mean for your marketing efforts? The main area your strategy will change in relation is the types of keywords you will rank for in the future. For instance, someone may go to Google.com and type “New Outdoor Products”, while someone performing a voice search may phrase it as “What New Outdoor Products are on the Market?” While the core of the search remains the same (new outdoor products), the included keywords change the types of results that may come up. Massaging your content to include these more “conversational” based keywords is key to capturing this potential. Another area where search is improving is visual searches. People can now use their phone cameras to explore products to find out which product is in front of them. Say a friend has a really cool new gadget or product, you would be able to pull out your phone and perform a Google search based on what your camera finds. Ensuring your product is available and optimized on the various platforms ensures this process is as seamless as possible.

Paid Advertisements for the Outdoor Industry

Machine Learning & Artificial Intelligence Allow More Customization than Ever

Paid ads have always been a staple of our marketing campaigns here at Sage Lion Media and we are constantly researching for changes in the space. Using tools involving machine learning and artificial intelligence, we have the ability to personalize ads at scale and segment your audience using more advance information. In 2020 users will see fewer organic results and many more contextual ads specifically targeted to the user. Ad personalization allows you to attach some type of personalization to the ad. It may have the person’s first name attached in the form of a “Hi Jerry, are you looking for ________?” or it could have something related to their previous experiences while browsing the web or with your product specifically. This personalization is intended to lead to higher conversion rates and more customization. Audience segmentation allows you to display advertisements to different subsets of people based on demographics and other factors. An example of this would be displaying more visual based ads to the 24-32 year old subset, and a more informational ad displaying for those in an older age group.

Content Marketing for the Outdoor Industry

Content is and will always be king. Your words tell the story you are looking to tell and should be built to bring your users along a journey. Some emerging trends we see popping up are experiential based content strategies, more focus on user interface and user experience, brand partnerships, and a real push for visibility on content based communities like reddit, LinkedIn, Slack, Facebook, Quora, and more. Creating an outdoor content strategy from the ground up with these new platforms in the mix keeps you at the top of mind no matter where your potential buyers are looking.