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?
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.
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:
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.
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.
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!”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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:
Win some sort of power or position/status.
Be unified with somebody or something that makes them whole
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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:
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?
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.
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!
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:
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!
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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
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.
Originally Published: February 1, 2018 Updated: March 3, 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…