5 Emerging Marketing Trends For 2017

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

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

Data Will Drive Design

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

growth driven design hot jar heat map

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

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

Live Social Media Streaming

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

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

Nothing is more right now than Live Video.

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

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

The Platform-Agnostic Experience

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

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

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

Big Push For Conversion Rate Optimization

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

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

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

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

Video Will Eat The Internet

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

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

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

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

Hopefully, these 5 emerging marketing trends for 2017 will help you prepare for 2017.

If you’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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Upcoming Video Trends

How are you utilizing 2016’s upcoming video trends for your business?

Trends for online video have changed drastically in 2016. Facebook now has Live video streams, Wistia now offers in video calls to action, and Instagram has incorporated Stories. Here we will take a look at all of the upcoming video trends and how they will affect your marketing strategy for 2017.

Facebook Live Video is here and it’s not going away anytime soon

Earlier this year, Facebook launched its Live Video feature. After endorsing celebrity ambassadors with a bankroll of $50 million, the new feature has caught like wild fire. Facebook Live is a great way for users to interact with their audience by inviting them real-time into the activities of their daily lives. In our recent post about Facebook Live, we give you insight on how to leverage this powerful tool for your business but creating personalized video campaigns for your audience.

Wistia embeds calls to action inside videos

While most video players give you specific stats on user engagement, search queries, play counts and visits, Wistia is one of the only services that allows for your video to ask for conversions directly in the video. Have you ever wanted to ask your user to do something before or after a video? Well, now you can. With Wistia you can build your email list by collecting a user’s email before they start the video. If your nonprofit organization survives on donations, be sure to incorporate a button for people to donate immediately to ensure you don’t lose them while they look for the proper avenue to donate through.  Wistia is a powerful tool to make your videos work for you. Check out this Video we produced for Niece equipment that uses Wistia to drive traffic to their ecommerce store.

Instagram incorporates stories

Let’s start by heading off the question as to what a “story” is. Stories are a way for users to share highlights of their day in chronological order. Since a Story only lasts for 24 hours, you don’t have the same algorithm penalties when you over post. With normal posts, you can be penalized for over sharing by posting too much throughout a day. If you have the urge to share your day to day business operations with your audience, Stories is a great way to engage with your audience and let them follow your story on their own accord. Instagram stories can be a great way of offering flash sales to your Instagram audience by introducing specials through your short videos. After the 24 hours passes thats it, sales over.

Facebook now has over 8 billion video views per day.

With a lot of these video features just coming out in the last half of 2016, next year’s upcoming video trends will be heavily influenced by how well these features are perceived by end users. Adding these new video features will only prove to help your business’s online marketing strategy and prepare you for any future technologies that will come out. Ultimately, video plays an important role in media consumption in today’s social media presence. Are you doing everything you could be to make sure you stay on top of these upcoming video trends?

3 Benefits of Growth Driven Design

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

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

3 benefits of growth driven design

Minimize the risk of launching a new website

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

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

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

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

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

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

3 benefits of growth driven design

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

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

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

Makes your business stronger

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

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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Selling Products on Facebook Live For Your Outdoor Business

With the introduction of Facebook Live streams, all sorts of marketing opportunities have become available to businesses to get in front of our audiences. With that said, there are several ways we can utilize this feature to begin selling products on Facebook live. Whether you’re a local Fly shop selling products to anglers or a travel destination selling experiences, Facebook Live can be a great way to create personal connections with your clients and potential clients. Moving into 2017, let’s review some of the current trends for 2016.

Facebook live exampleFacebook Users Spend 3x More Time Watching A Video

Since users are spending more time watching these live videos, live videos have gotten a boost in Facebook’s algorithm. Ultimately that means if you want to reach more users with a quick important or personalized message, then utilizing Facebook Live might be the way to go. Using this feature, informing your audience of which products are on sale and giving them a quick video demonstration will reach more of your audience than a simple unboosted post. This increases your audience outreach without incurring any additional cost to you. Facebook videos have a 135% greater organic reach than any other type of posted content.

In 2015, Facebook Video Posts Have Increased By 94%

Although 2016 isn’t over yet, we can expect similar stats, if not greater, with the launch of Facebook Live Video. With an average of 8 billion video views a day, video is a great opportunity to reach new audiences outside of your local reach. If you run an online E-commerce store, then consider giving product demonstrations over Facebook Live to help convert potential customers into happy customers.

85% of Facebook Videos Are Being Viewed Without Sound

When creating a meaningful marketing campaign, understanding how your audience will interact with your assets is an integral part of creating an effective strategy. Facebook has found that by simply adding captions to your video, increases consumer retention time by 12%. So before you sit down and hit the live button, think about what happens to your video when you’re done with your live broadcast. When completing your live video, Facebook uploads the feed to your wall and videos section so consumers can still watch them later.

What If You’re Not Selling Products on Facebook Live?

Thats ok! Let’s say you own a local Fly Shop and this weekend you have a celebrity fly tyer coming in. On the day of the event, you could provide value to your clients by possible recording a snippet of the presentation on Facebook Live. While it might not have any immediate benefits. Another possible use of Facebook Live is to share Guide Trip experiences with your audience. This would be a great way to really illustrate what kind of experience people will be getting when they chose to book a guided trip through your shop.


Creating a Micro Brand (or Site) Around Your Holiday Campaign

With all things in life, do things deliberately and with a purpose. This includes your Black Friday campaign. Creating a Micro Brand around your holiday specials could be your ticket to standing out from your competition.

Develop a Micro Brand Around Your Specials

Brand awareness is very important to creating a solid marketing strategy for your business, so why not create a micro brand for your holiday specials? 80% of consumers will evaluate a product or service based on social media accounts they follow. Your social media account is a great place to start to evaluate what you want your holiday message to be. REI Created a campaign last year that caught like wildfire. The #optoutside campaign encouraged people to forego the hustle and bustle of shopping on Black Friday and spend it with loved ones outside doing the things you love together. Sure, it didn’t exactly inspire people to save big by purchasing today, but what it did instead was much more valuable. It built a level of Brand Awareness that resonates through its audiences today by reinforcing the trust that the company has worked so hard to establish. A people-first, shopping-second approach.

By selling to people’s emotions rather than their wallet, your marketing will be far more effective than other buzz words like, Sale, Free, Bonus.

Create Your Story With Emotion

While its true that people like being sold to, in some aspects, I’m not saying take the approach of a used car salesman. If a customer is in a fly shop, then the chances are they know exactly why they are there and what products they, in fact, do need. With this in mind, the buying process is an emotional one and it’s your job to speak to that emotion. Ever wonder why most ad campaigns use words like: consequence, lose, reward, valuable, competition, best in class, image, respect, mistake or avoid? Depending on the tone of the ad campaign, these keywords appeal to our emotions. By selling to people’s emotions rather than their wallet, your marketing will be far more effective than other buzzwords like Sale, Free, Bonus.

Costa Micro BrandDevelop a Color Scheme For Your Holiday Story.

Yes, this one might sound like a such a simple concept but it is an opportunity that is often overlooked. Nearly 80% of your brand recognition comes from a consistent color palette. This is important for two different reasons. Black Friday in itself is often branded black by other companies and has become the status quo for the gift buying season. While this in itself is beneficial because it creates a unanimous brand that everyone readily recognizes. Even with this benefit, do you really want to follow what others are doing? Creating a campaign that is different from the herd might just be the key to separating you from your competition. Costa does a great job of resounding their story through the use of blues and greens in their Instagram palette that is identifiable with their target audience

3 Reasons For Creating a Black Friday Content Calendar

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

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

The Basics

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

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

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

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

3 Helpful Tools to Use For Your Content Calendar

Google Calendar

One of our favorite ways to organize our content is within the Google Calendar.

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

content calendar

Oldschool Paper Calendar

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

Paper calendar

HubSpot Publishing Calendar

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

HubSpot publishing calendar

Ready to create a plan for Black Friday?

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

 black friday marketing strategy

Putting Your Best Photos Forward for Black Friday

Moving into this Black Friday, traffic to your site will increase over the next few months exponentially. People have become conditioned to start their search for good deals on products they want, gifts for loved ones, and new product launches around this time of year.

First impressions

Good website imagery can make or break your e-commerce sales no matter how well written your story is. Often the quickest way to help the user’s experience on your site is through the use of high quality images. So how exactly do you increase your online sales while using high quality images?


On the Homepage, large image sliders are a great way to capture the attention of your visitors who are visiting your site from an indirect traffic source. I.e. an organic Google Search. These sliders are often used to direct traffic to specific landing pages or products. This key area is often your sites most prominent visual element so the best of the best photos should go here.

Example of a slider with a call to action Example of a slider with a call to action

Utilizing Featured Images

Another area that is frequently overlooked is the featured image. Most content management systems have this functionality built directly into the site so the lack of use is inexcusable. Featured images set the tone for your story. 34% of marketers selected visual assets as their most important content, behind blogging (45%) and before videos (19%). If you are selling guided trips, do you want to show your potential clients the above average brown that was snapped with the guides phone (this is okay for social media posts) or a high definition image that captures the emotion of your client catching the area’s “Lodge Monster”. Use your blogs to sell experiences over things.

What are Look-books and why you should be using them

An upcoming trend in the online industry is creating look-books for products. A look-book is a series of images compiled to showcase a product and the lifestyle it fits. Not every angler fishes the same and utilizing a look-book can really speak to these individual audiences.  An angler from Colorado who enjoys their weekends going on backpacking adventures fishing for Cutthroat Trout out of high country lakes is more likely to react to imagery that speaks to this lifestyle over exotic trips to the Bahamas for bonefish. Visual content is 40x more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content, so make sure you are speaking to the right audiences.

Patagonia’s fly fishing section has effectively combined a quality look-book with a converting landing page. Check it out here.

When deciding which audiences to speak to, your ad campaigns will practically write themselves. But they won’t dress themselves. Researchers found that colored visuals increase people’s willingness to read a piece of content by 80%. Once you’ve determined which audience you want to target for the holiday season, the imagry for your upcoming ad campaigns will determine how well your audience will receive your social ads.

Adverts must always follow the 3 Bs. Big, Bold, and Beautiful.

The holiday season is the most competitive for ad space on the bigger social sites like Facebook. Knowing your audience and planning ahead to acquire assets in time for your advertisements will put you ahead of your competitors who treated their marketing like an afterthought. Your advertisements should appeal to emotion. Appealing to the human senses is an important factor in the buying decision. People who are engaged in the pleasure and excitement of purchasing a new product are more likely to follow through with the checkout process than the people who are shopping for the dutiful acquisition of life’s necessities.

The TL;DR (Too Long Didn’t Read)

While there might be several areas on your site that need your immediate attention, your websites visual elements shouldn’t take a back seat to everything else. The use of good imagery is key to your brand’s creditability and recognition. When shoppers are on your site, they will be more inclined to make buying decisions if they emotionally resonate with your product’s story. We have provided a quick guide to help you get through this Black Friday ahead of the game and ahead of your competition. Click the image below to download your copy today.

 black friday marketing strategy

Selling Experience As Gifts This Holiday Season

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

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

Selling Experience As Gifts

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

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

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

Outdoor Experience Gift Ideas


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

Gear demo days with purchase.

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

Training Classes

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

Selling Experiences: The Bottom Line

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

 black friday marketing strategy

The New Mavic Looks Like The Ultimate Backcountry Drone

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tech Specs:

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

Key Features:

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