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.


How to Optimize Your Facebook Ad Funnels Using Video

Needless to say, marketers must be more creative than ever to not only attract audiences, but also keep their attention. Many businesses use Video Facebook Ads as a key part of their digital marketing funnel. Using video is a great way to boost your funnel strategy and ultimately drive conversions. 

The average human’s attention span is now shorter than that of a goldfish. While the average human attention span was around 12 seconds in 2000 — note, this is around the time that smartphones began entering our lives — it has fallen to eight seconds today. And the average goldfish’s attention span is nine seconds. 

Video qualifies 66% more leads
Infographic courtesy of Oberlo

Here are some key steps to build out your full-funnel advertising strategy on Facebook with video!

Know How Your Marketing Funnel Works

Your digital marketing funnel is the journey that prospective customers take from being unaware of your brand to becoming a customer. It’s important to know how your marketing funnel is structured so that you can optimize your cross-channel strategy. Ask yourself questions, like:

Digital marketing customer journey funnel
  • How long does it take for a prospect to travel from the top of funnel, when they’re unaware of your brand, to the bottom, when they become your customer?
  • Do you have any leading scoring in place to segment users?
  • What kind of content will resonate best at each stage of your funnel?
  • Are there holes in your marketing funnel that cause you to lose your prospect?

Know Where Videos Fit into Your Funnel

If your marketing funnel is a path that guides buyers toward a buying decision, how do you keep buyers on that path? Video is a critical tool for engaging your audience and building customer relationships, sharing information and communicating your brand story, and promoting products and services. And your users want to see videos — 54% of people report wanting to see more video facebook ads from marketers.

Video engages users longer
Infographic courtesy of Oberlo

Take Advantage of Video Facebook Ads in Your Ad Manager

Facebook’s campaigning tools make it easier for you to target your audience depending on where they are in your funnel. Check out these tips below:

  • Make videos as engaging as possible, and get to the point quickly — remember, goldfish attention span!
  • Check out Facebook’s recommended video specs before uploading to ensure the highest quality viewer experience.
  • Sequence your ads to effectively guide customers through the funnel by telling a story and/or presenting information to viewers in a specific order
  • Create content tailored to people at different stages of your funnel. Facebook allows you to target individuals who have engaged with your content before. Below is a screenshot of the custom settings dropdown:
Example of Custom Audiences in Facebook
Example of Custom Audiences in Facebook

Tailoring content to different levels of engagement can significantly boost your funnel strategy.

By setting up campaigns and catering your content, you can more effectively guide your audience through the different stages of your sales funnel. 

Video Ads Are an Effective Way to Boost Facebook Campaigns

Of course, creating video ads is easier said than done. Luckily, digital marketing agencies like Sage Lion Media are here to help. If you’re in the market for innovative ecommerce and/or digital marketing solutions, contact us today!

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Using Lead Scoring to Find Hidden Customers

Lead scoring is a dynamic process that needs to grow over time. Treat your first foray into lead scoring as an experiment. You need to work closely with your sales team to make sure the leads you are identifying are really qualified to purchase. If you don’t have a sales team, then you need to monitor your data closely for any sign that it’s underperforming or that potential customers are abandoning.

Nobody’s signing up for our newsletter… We just aren’t getting any calls… Our site just isn’t converting enough leads…

Have you looked at your visits to leads to sales conversion rate and said any of the above?

We have many times.

As an Outdoor Inbound Marketing Agency, our number one job is to help get more people outdoors. That means more sales, more donations, and more leads for our clients.

We understand that anyone who lands on a site is a potential lead or sale waiting to happen. Sometimes, they need a little help getting there. That’s why we use content to teach, guide and nurture them along their buyer’s journey.

We see too many missed opportunities because clients assume their customer’s buyers journey is linear.

For Example: Customer lands on the website > They sign up for a coupon > They buy something.

But that’s not how the majority of visitors use a website. It is far too simplified in today’s digital world. First or second-time visitors to your site aren’t ready to buy yet, so a coupon won’t do them much good. They are still trying to figure out why they even need your product.  Or if your product will solve their problem

Visitors who are most ready to buy were probably going to purchase today and because of the coupon, you just lost an easy deal.

That’s not a great business strategy. We need a way to deliver specific content to leads at just the right time in their “Buyer’s Journey”

The first step for building out a Buyer’s Journey is mapping out the process from visit to conversion.

Instead of a straight line, your buyer’s journey is a complicated process of various touch points spread out across all your digital marketing efforts. To fully understand how your customer is interacting with your site, you need to walk in their shoes. Spend some time on your site adding things to your cart.

How did it feel?

Did you address any of their concerns or pain?

Does your content leave you wanting more?

We like to map a buyer’s journey in a graphic. This helps us understand how our visitors are interacting with different marketing efforts across all our channels. In addition, it lets us group pieces of content together for future retargeting efforts.

Once we’ve done this we are able to identify where our customers need “help” to cross hurdles and then automatically assign them a lead score based on their readiness to buy.

Higher lead scores mean more opportunities for engagement on your website and are more likely to buy. Lead scoring through HubSpot then allows us to give first-time visitors different content from buyers who are ready to purchase today. Our visitors are happier because we are able to deliver content that educated them, our clients are happier because we are able to convert more visits to leads and leads to customers, and we’re happy because it gives us many more opportunities to nurture and educate visitors at various touch points along their journey.

Finding Hidden Customers

The first time we turn on lead scoring for our clients using HubSpot we always find hidden customers who are waiting to have that final question answered before they purchase. They often just need a little nudge to get off the fence.

Lead scoring pulls those customers to the forefront and we are all able to see these missed opportunities. Once we have a handle for where they are we are able to deliver more targeted messages to their inboxes, or deliver more specific ads to them via social media, or simply pass them onto a sales team for further nurturing.

Generally speaking the more refined you can get in your message the more likely you are to find success.

Experiment and re-iterate

Evaluating each lead in this manner will help you dial in your scoring and build a robust accurate tool you can use to find hidden customers on your site.


Growth Driven Design: What’s Wrong with Traditional Web Design?

We’ve been doing traditional web design for almost 12 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.

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.

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.

Growth-Driven Design Ebook, Sage Lion Media

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 Your Business Grow

I hesitate to say traditional web design is broken, but it’s seriously flawed. Luckily there is a better way. Using our web 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 GDD process and benefits of the system to your business.

Originally Published: September 28, 2016

Updated: March 7, 2019


4 Reasons Your Nonprofit Should Have A Blog

Content marketing is dominating marketing trends and if everyone was blogging and doing it well, we’d leave you alone. However, due to shrinking budgets and overworked staff, blogging has taken a backseat for many nonprofits. Producing quality blogs and posting consistently can be taxing for a nonprofit. But what if we 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. If blogging is not a part of your content marketing strategy now is the time to consider adding it.  You can’t have a website in 2019 without a blog.

If you’d like to learn how Sage Lion Media can help you get started with an effective content marketing strategy, contact us today.

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Originally Published: February 1, 2018
Updated: March 3, 2019


Should You Hire A Marketing Agency Or An Internal Team in 2019?

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. And you’re unsure if you need a marketing agency or freelancer to help you. Continue reading…


The Perfect Recipe To A Successful Lead Nurturing Campaign

A lead nurturing campaign is a series of (ideally) automated emails that move a lead from the top of the funnel to the bottom. Automated emails are ideal because depending on the volume of email sign-ups you receive, emailing each prospect can be timely.

Hubspot has a free, automated lead gen tool we like to use for our clients.

Email marketing is an essential tool for turning qualified leads into loyal customers. For every $1 spent on email marketing, outdoor companies can expect an average $38 return. If you’re marketing to businesses like we are, 86% of professionals prefer to use email when communicating. And contrary to popular belief, 91% of consumers want to receive promotional emails.

What Is A Lead Nurturing Campaign?

Customers and leads need to be nurtured because 50% of the time, they’re not ready to buy. And when companies focus on lead nurturing, they generate 50% more sales.

Outdoor marketers can capture leads through calls-to-action that take a visitor to a landing page where they can sign up to receive an offer or fill out a form. From there, marketers can start the lead nurturing campaign.

Welcome emails, like, “Thank You For Signing Up,” generate 320% more revenue on average than other promotional emails.

Now that you recognize the value of email marketing, would you be shocked if we said, welcome emails, like, “Thank You For Signing Up,” generate 320% more revenue on average than other promotional emails? Ok, we were a little shocked by this number too but it helps us prove to our clients that lead nurturing campaigns have a huge impact on sales. And creating an email lead nurturing campaign can help turn prospects into loyal customers.

Creating A Lead Nurturing Campaign

An effective lead nurturing campaign needs 6 ingredients:

  • Segmentation
  • Timeliness
  • Strong Subject Line
  • Relevant Copy
  • Tracking
  • Exit Strategy

Segmentation

One of the main reasons lead nurturing campaigns are so successful is it’s a chance for companies to get to know their customer. The more they know about the customer, the better they can serve them. You can’t help your customer until you understand their problem. So if they’re looking for a camo jacket for hunting, you wouldn’t send them irrelevant information on rod holders for walleye fishing. Segmented campaigns have a 14% higher open rate and 100% higher click-through rate than non-segmented campaigns.

Segmented campaigns have a 14% higher open rate and 100% higher click-through rate than non-segmented campaigns.

So how can you segment if you know nothing about the customer? In the first email you send, ask! One of our clients has 2 different target markets: therapists and families seeking therapy. When they subscribe to the newsletter, we have them fill out a simple survey asking them to help us curate content that matters most to them.

Image of form with multiple questions

Timeliness

The other day I was doing some online shopping on Chaco’s website. I signed up to receive their newsletter, clicked on some shoes I liked, and then left the page. I liked the shoes I was looking at but I got a call from a client and within an hour, forgot about Chaco and the shoes. A couple hours after I left Chaco’s website I got the following email. What a nice reminder!

Ecommerce Call to Action

Lead nurturing emails need to be timely. You don’t want leads to forgot your product or service and how you can help them solve their problem. But you also don’t want to annoy them. For products, we recommend emailing once or twice a week for a set period. Services take a little more time as you need to build greater trust before someone invests money into your guide service or wilderness therapy program. But these aren’t universal benchmarks. Track and see what works best for your company.

Strong Subject Line

Leads need to open your email whether it’s a lead nurturing campaign or just a monthly newsletter. Personalized subject lines perform 29% better than non-personalized. If you can personalize it, do it. You also want to add urgency and relevancy. Avoid salesy, click-bait subject lines. And always test when you can! We love A/B testing so we can better serve our client’s customers.

Young woman typing on apple mac laptop during the day

Relevant Copy

When a lead clicks “subscribe” after reading a blog on best fly fishing rivers in Montana, the follow-up email should have something to do with fly fishing rivers in Montana. Send them an email with the best bait to catch Yellowstone cutthroat trout. If the lead filled out your survey saying they are a therapist looking for educational resources on wilderness therapy programs, send them an email about what to look for in wilderness therapy programs.

You want to show leads you care about their problem and want to help them solve it. And since these are your first emails to a lead, try not to sell them a product or service right away. Provide value and nurture the lead before you pop the question.

Tracking

All campaigns should be tracked. Especially a lead nurturing campaign. Are leads opening the emails? Clicking through? What are they clicking on? What A/B tested subject line worked better? Keeping track of the success and failures of your lead nurturing campaign helps you improve. If no one is opening your third email, switch up the subject line. If leads are only clicking on one article in the email, delete the second one.

Entrepreneur speaking and laughing with a client outside

Exit Strategy

You turned a lead into a sale, now what? Attract more leads? Sure! But when we go back to Business 101, we know that gaining new customers costs 5-25 times more than keeping an existing customer. So instead of rushing to gain more leads, follow our inbound marketing methodology and delight your current customers. Leads that turned into customers through your lead nurturing campaign are engaged with your company, so keep them engaged. If they bought a boat seat, send them an email on how to install the seat. If they booked a room at your lodge, send them an email with the best restaurants nearby. Show your current customers you are the premier outdoor company by exceeding expectations.

Creating An Effective Lead Nurturing Campaign Can Lead To More Sales

A lead nurturing campaign guides your customer further down the sales funnel through a series of “getting to know you” emails. It’s easier for outdoor companies to solve a customer’s problems when they understand what they want and need. Show your customers you care through personalized, timely, and relevant content and watch your sales grow.

If you’d like to learn how Sage Lion Media can help you get started with an effective lead nurture strategy, contact us today.

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Originally Published: August 7, 2018
Updated: March 4, 2019


Customer Retention: How Valuable Are Your Current Customers?

We talk a lot about driving more traffic to your website, converting prospects to leads, and leads to customers. But do you remember learning in Business 101 that it costs more to acquire a new customer than to keep an existing one? That’s why it’s so important to always think about customer retention.

Acquiring new customers for your outdoor business is vital for growth. We get it. But don’t forget about your current customers. They have already purchased a product or service from you. If the experience was good, they’ll likely come back.

Your current customer base can also write a review, tell their family and friends, and even defend your company from criticism. So isn’t it time to turn your customers into promoters? We think so. In this post we’ll go over:

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

The Value Of Current Customers

Business executives looking at reports and discussing next steps forward

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

  • The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70% compared to 5-20% for a prospect.
  • A customer is 27% more likely to purchase from you a second time, 45% a third time, and 54% a third time.
  • 80% of your future profits will come from 20% of your current customers.

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

Customer Retention Factors

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

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

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

Customer Retention

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

Delighting customers means:

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

Young woman looking down at laptop, smiling in a coffee shop

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

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

Put Your Current Customers First

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

If you’d like to learn how Sage Lion Media can help you get started with an effective inbound marketing strategy, contact us today.

 

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Are Meta Descriptions Hurting Traffic To Your Website?

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

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

Meta Descriptions Are Important

Those little blurbs that appear underneath your search results. Google pulls in thousands of search results for products and services so you need to stand out.

Image of Sage Lion Media's Meta description from a Google search

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

Character Length

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

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

Click-Throughs

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

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

Image of Van Life Custom Meta Description in a Google Search

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

Creating An Effective Meta Description

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

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

Stop Hurting Traffic To Your Site

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

If you’d like to learn how Sage Lion Media can help you get started with an effective content marketing strategy, contact us today.

 

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The One Tool You Need For Better Engagement At IFTD

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

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

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

Hubspot CRM

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

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

Email Notification

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

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

Build Custom Sequences

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

Meeting Calendar Scheduler

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

Interactions In One Place

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

Image of Hubspot's contact record dashboard

Convinced yet?

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

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