Climbing Gym Marketing: Improving Your Inbound Marketing

One of the biggest problems in climbing gym marketing is that their social media efforts do not bring them the results they expect. They take beautiful, interesting pictures for Instagram and Pinterest, but don't get traffic to the gym. This does not mean that the pictures are bad, it just means you need to make minor tweaks to your posts. Here is how:

Improve-climbing-gym-marketing

Write Good Descriptions

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but no one will find your picture without a description. If you are using social media solely for climbing gym marketing, your post needs to be keyword rich, but engaging. Don't just post a bunch of hashtags or keyword phrases, either. Write an interesting comment and include a strong call to action with every post.

Reply to Comments

It's not what you say, but how you say it. Once people find your pictures and comment on them, you need to take a moment to convince them to take the next step. This should be done naturally and uniquely. For example, don't write "Thanks for the like, visit us in person to see more." Instead, try something more personal, "Tammy, I'm glad you like the technique we are using. If you contact us, we can show you how to do it at the gym."

Include Links

Not everyone will want to pick up a phone to contact you. If you have a website, take advantage of it. Include a link to every picture. This will allow people to easily gather more information about you as a climbing gym, making them more prone to buy.

While taking one-of-a-kind photos or videos for social media is a great first step, it takes an effort to make the perfect inbound marketing campaign. To learn more techniques that can help your climbing gym grow, contact us today.


Climbing Gym Marketing: How to Get Climbers Offline and Into Your Gym

Climbing Gym Marketing and social media marketing is easy, right?  Put up a Facebook page, pin a few items on Pinterest, or put pictures of your facility on Instagram, and anyone who sees your social media presence will come right in. While social media marketing isn't quite that easy, it is a relatively simple way to create an opportunity to interact with potential members. It's the personal interaction that will ultimately get your online followers off the internet and into your climbing gym. Here are a few ways you can use social media to convert followers into loyal members.

female rock climber climbs on a rocky wall

Pin it to Win it

If you have a Pinterest site with followers, your pins are being "liked" and repinned, you might be wondering how to turn this into more members for your facility. Try a "pin it to win it" contest. Pinterest contests are a great way to get potential members to interact with your pins, and make the decision to join your gym.

Facebook Challenge Groups

Challenge groups on Facebook have become really popular, and they are a great way to get and keep people engaged for a predetermined time period. Offer a 30-day climbing challenge to encourage people to come into your gym to complete challenge tasks. You can assign point values for tasks, and the points go towards entries to win prizes.

Cross Promote On Instagram

Instagram is a great way to showcase your gym and its features, as well as show how much fun members are having while there. It's also a great way to team up with other local businesses to generate more traffic for everyone, and increase your membership. By joining forces with other businesses, you are getting your gym noticed by people who are already spending money elsewhere. Cross promote with a local sporting goods stores, health food markets, yoga studios, or massage parlors to catch the interest of people who are already interested in health and fitness, and may be more likely to take action, and join your gym.

Social media marketing offers limitless opportunity when it comes to being creative in your marketing. Contact us for more ways to use it to build your business.


Climbing Gym Marketing: Giving Incentive for Customers to Come in and Come Back

It's easy to get people excited about the idea of climbing, but getting those excited people in the door of your gym is another story. How do you take someone who might be interested and actually convince them to come in? How do you get the person who came in for a group outing or party to return?

Marketing Climbing Gym

Social media is a key of course to getting the word out about your gym. Definitely have an active presence online. An active presence doesn't just involve posting those great photos of your climbing walls. It's important to respond to people who reference your business. Be sure to comment on location-tagged pictures and thank people for coming in. Interacting with customers can go a long way towards loyalty by showing that there are people behind your business, people who truly appreciate loyal customers. Your responses can also include special offers if they choose to come back. A response to a great photo tagged at your gym might read: "Great pic! Thanks so much for coming in today! Here's a link to a coupon for $5 off your next visit!"
Online contests are a fun way to take people's competitive nature and turn that into a marketing opportunity. A photo contest will not only bring customers into the gym to take the necessary photo, but a great prize for the winner will encourage lots of entries.

It's also a great idea to reward repeat and return guests. Advertise blocks of passes at a reduced rate. These blocks guarantee a number of paid visits and the customer gets a discount, so it's a great situation for all involved. Consider also automatically entering climbers in a monthly drawing for a free private lesson. Repeat visits would give them a greater chance of winning, and if they do win that private lesson they'll definitely be back to practice their new skills.

For more ideas on building your customer base contact us or check out our blog.


4 Outdoor Brands To Inspire Your Inbound Marketing Strategies

3 Outdoor Brands To Inspire Your Inbound Marketing Strategies

The most successful companies today aren't creating siloed marketing strategies. They're combining inbound and outbound marketing to get the best of both worlds. This one-two punch gets your business in front of your target audience and then earns their full attention by providing them with the valuable information they want. Inbound marketing is especially important for niche areas, like the outdoor sports industry, which is packed with enthusiasts and experts. These customers frequently make purchase decisions based on a first-hand experience and trusted advice from other practitioners. They're loyal customers who are unlikely to be sold by advertising alone.
To support marketing dollars going toward paid ads and print promotions, forward-thinking companies are also providing their target audiences with valuable information to educate and inspire. That way, customers feel more confident buying from brands they can trust after performing their own due diligence. Here are three examples of brands that are embracing inbound strategies to offer buyers more value and stay ahead of the competition:

Therm-a-Rest - Engages Enthusiasts with Social Media

Therm-a-Rest has a healthy mix of written and visual assets on its website to offer a behind-the-scenes look at its camping mattress technology. In addition, it has strong social media presences on Twitter and Instagram that go a step further to engage its audience. How? The company posts pictures of rustic campsites and tents perched alongside striking landscapes. It offers camping tips and asks followers to write in with their favorite destinations.

http://www.cascadedesigns.com/therm-a-rest/blog/rickshaw-south-dispatch-3-no-fools-errand/

These kinds of posts establish Therm-a-Rest as an authority in outdoor adventures, but also give customers a reason to follow the brand organically. Prospects and customers want to be a part of the conversation and they want to stay connected with the company.

BioLite Energy - Content for Every Stage of the Sales Funnel

BioLite Energy is a newcomer to the outdoors scene. It's a startup that produces wood-fired stoves for biofuel and off-the-grid cooking. The company has a mature marketing plan, however, and a blog that's rich with content to addresses readers at every stage of the sales funnel.

  • Traffic: 5 Reasons to explore your own backyard
  • Engagement: What's your food philosophy?
  • Lead Generation: Inside the Technology
  • Conversion: A wildlife Biologist Puts the SolarPanel 5+ To the Test
  • Loyalty: Backpacking in the Moravia Woods with BioLite (A user story)

This is how inbound marketing works. You grab readers' attention with general-interest material and then follow up with educational pieces that show how products work and why they're the right solution.

Patagonia - Storytelling to Inspire Loyalty

In the past couple of years, the outdoor clothing company has gained attention for its serious approach to sustainability. It all started with a full-page ad placed in The New York Times on Black Friday. The Worn Wear program asked customers not to replace used Patagonia gear with new items, and instead, promised free repairs in order to extend their lives. To support this campaign and recognize patrons equally dedicated to wasting less and getting outside more, Patagonia now publishes stories that follow them on their adventures. It's an inspiring series that puts the customer in the spotlight, and it also establishes a narrative where the brand can easily talk about its focus on high-quality materials and environmentally friendly practices. Altogether, these messages generate a lot of interest in the brand and foster hard-core loyalty among users.

It's an inspiring series that puts the customer in the spotlight, and it also establishes a narrative where the brand can easily talk about its focus on high-quality materials and environmentally friendly practices. Altogether, these messages generate a lot of interest in the brand and foster hard-core loyalty among users. To be successful in a marketplace where consumers research first and buy later, companies can't afford to leave marketing opportunities on the table. Inbound strategies give businesses the chance to nurture prospects with the right information at the right time - until they're ready to make an educated decision about what to purchase.

Are you ready to take your marketing to the next level? Contact us to learn more about the best-in-class strategies we build for our clients to harness the power of both outbound and inbound marketing.


Inbound Marketing & Why It’s Essential In Your Strategy

Wouldn’t you agree that it is better to attract qualified, ideal prospects to your sales funnel rather than attempt to promote your business to everyone, creating “hit and miss” results? Alternatively, that it is advantageous to embrace an inbound marketing strategy that connects with, engages your audience, and builds long-term customer relationships versus just focusing on getting the sale?

Absolutely! You see, there is an entire methodology that not only brings potential customers to you but keeps them coming back for more! This approach has resolved multiple issues for businesses like time wasted on unqualified leads, little website traffic, and low lead conversions. The more efficient way to promoting your business is through inbound marketing!

This strategy has shown to be the best way to do business online. 3 out of 4 marketers across the globe prioritize an inbound approach to marketing (Source: Hubspot). Studies consistently reveal that inbound marketing successfully increases traffic, lead generation, sales and repeat business for brands who leverage this tactic.

What Exactly is Inbound Marketing?

The inbound marketing concept centers around creating and sharing valuable content that solves problems and answers questions for your ideal customer (or buyer persona). It naturally draws prospects in through education. Because of this noninvasive, selfless approach, prospects are instantly attracted to your brand and see you as the expert in your niche.

There are four key components to a powerful inbound marketing strategy. It includes:

  • Attract: Driving quality traffic to your content via blog posts, social media, SEO strategies, video marketing, etc.
  • Convert: Turning website visitors into leads through your lead offers; you giving visitors something valuable in exchange for their contact information
  • Close: Transforming leads into customers by using closing tools like email marketing and marketing automation to help seal the deal
  • Delight: Creating happy customers and loyal, raving fans of your brand, converting into repeat business. The major benefit to inbound marketing is the process of nurturing a “stranger” into an eventual promoter of your business.

Why It is Essential in Your Marketing Strategy

Inbound marketing, when done right, positions your business for long-term success. Consumers are fed up with overwhelming advertisements, yet they are always online seeking solutions to their problems. Search is the #1 source for content traffic generation, and it is the preferred choice for looking up information. Inbound marketing positions you to be found by your target audience when they are searching for you, making it essential for your business in 2016!

If your business is ready to start leveraging inbound marketing tactics to begin attracting qualified prospects into your sales funnel, contact us to request a free consultation. We are certified to help!

3 steps to creating great marketing content


3 STEPS TO CREATING GREAT MARKETING CONTENT

Content Marketing integrates very well with Social Media marketing and SEO (Search Engine Optimization).  Here is what you need to do before you start creating content:

Identify Your Audience

To do that, you have to:

  • Select your niche: This is a particular group of people who are interested in the topic you write about.
  • Refine your niche - for example, "fitness enthusiasts" is a niche, but it is relatively broad. "Mountain sports enthusiasts" is a more targeted niche and would make a more precise target.
  • Dig down! Micro-niche is a subset of your chosen niche. For example, "Sports climbers" or "ice climbers" are micro-niches in the "mountain sports enthusiasts" niche.

Conduct Research

That being said, you need to spend a good amount of time to get an idea of what the trending topics are.  Platforms such as Buzzsumo, Reddit, Feedly are excellent resources to gain insight of what’s trending in today’s market.

Decide On Your Content

What do you think your customers will be more interested in - a blog post, videos, podcasts, newsletter, reports, white papers, tutorials, infographics?   Different types of content work better on certain platforms versus others.  For example, if you decide to create a video, you have to keep your distribution method in mind.  Each platform has specific requirements technically, aesthetically, and within the expectations of your viewer.

Your prospects will consume media in any method THEY choose.

Just because you choose to utilize a white paper does not mean that your particular prospect engages with that type of content.  You must be sure to cater to all types of content consumption across all platforms.

Strategize, execute, manage, and analyze your content.

Timing is everything in today's digital market, and optimal sharing time is different from one channel to the other.  The only way to perfect your content sharing timing is to analyze your social media data and find out when your audience is most engaged.  


A Brief Guide Using Facebook for Business

Facebook is the ubiquitous king of social networking, universally accepted into nearly all of our lives.  Scanning a user’s timeline reveals stories of relationships, birthdays, wins and losses and connects us in a way never thought possible prior to its invention. As such, Facebook is often used as a Social Media home base for many businesses because of the profound marketing insights the networks provides.

facebook_for_business

Facebook is used for a congregation, conversation, and publication with users engaging with brands that they feel a social connection to rather than those that simply sell toa them.  The Facebook newsfeed algorithm gives preferential treatment to brands that receive significant interaction with their posts, which makes it hard for new businesses to gain any impressions or interaction when their fan base is small.  

In order to solve this issue, Facebook introduced several tools for business to utilize in order to increase their exposure on the platform:

Facebook for Business is an excellent resource to how to advertise on Facebook and grow your sales with Facebook Advertising.  For example, A boosted post is a post from your business page that can reach a larger audience for a fee based on the amount of exposure needed to reach your target.

Facebook Page Insights provides comprehensive analytics of your business page.  By analyzing this data you are able to hone your content based on your audience demographics, the content they engage with most, and the optimal times to share. Ignoring these analytics is most certainly to your detriment. For instance, we noticed that our clients that utilize video were receiving 80% higher engagement.

Facebook Studio is a tool that exhibits the most successful marketing campaigns on Facebook. Each year, the most successful campaigns get recognized by Facebook and this resource can be used for marketing inspiration for your campaigns. See what works and how you can adapt such ideas to your unique marketing goals.

That leads us to Facebook advertising tools:

Facebook Ads are advertising that can be targeted to users based on location, demographics, behavior, and interests. The purpose of these ads can be to grow your fan base, drive traffic to your website, increase a specific conversion (which can even be tracked with a piece of code) or download your app.  Whatever your call to action might be, Facebook offers template-based campaigns that marketers will certainly find useful.

With that in mind, social is one aspect of a successful campaign that must be part of a larger marketing effort in order to generate any measurable results.  HARNESS works with our clients to develop an overall marketing strategy based on their unique goals by identifying value propositions, designing a campaign catered to their audience, and drawing on a variety of tools including those mentioned above.


The Anatomy of a Landing Page

Traffic acquisition is only half of the marketing equation.  In addition to bringing visitors to your website, you need to keep them there. Not only that, you need to transform them from interested prospects into customers. Your marketing needs to move that relationship forward at each touch point.  Conversion optimization is the process of transforming new website visitors into paying customers — and first-time customers into repeat buyers. A landing page is a single web page that appears after a user clicks on an advertisement. These can be used to capture leads, communicate information, or generate website sign-ups.

Here are 9 aspects of the anatomy of a landing page:

landing_page_anatomy

  • A consistent message between ad headline and landing page headline. For example, if someone searched for “Marketing Tools,” your landing page has a far better chance of converting if the headline mentions “Marketing Tools.”
  • The secondary headline leads to the content. This section needs to compel the user to continue reading. Short, sweet and to-the-point, it should give a clear reason that speaks to the user’s pain point.
  • Perfect grammar. This goes without saying.
  • Trust signals. Testimonials, security seals and other badges that show that the user will have a secure, satisfactory shopping experience
  • Strong call-to-action. Download, Free, Get, Create and other options have been shown to perform better than weaker words like “Try.” Stronger language and active verbs compel people to take action
  • Buttons that stand out. The button needs to be able to catch the user’s eye, so make it distinctively different than the rest of the color scheme on your page.
  • A lack of links. Keeping users on the landing page and moving them through to the call-to-action should be your primary goal. Linking out to other sites or other pages of your own site that aren’t tied into the landing page can distract the user from taking the action you want them to take.
  • Images and video that relate to the content. Adding images and video that give customers a quick understanding of the product/service or explain the basics can all bolster the message.
  • Fit the message within the first third of the page. This is known as “above the fold” and greatly increases the chance that visitors will take action since they don’t have to scroll.

Clear, concise information drives users to take action is the take-home message here.  A single call-to-action on landing pages allow you to gather information or generate conversions with the highest impact across all of you digital outlets.


Video Marketing and Marketing Automation

Making sense of marketing: focus on the basics of communication.

When companies begin to consider the process of creating and nurturing new business relationships, they are often bombarded with endless offerings from various software providers, agencies, and other outlets that throw around jargon such as CRM, automation, CPA, CAC - the list goes on and on. The truth is, however, business remains relatively simple when you remember one basic thing - people still buy from people even in our technology-driven culture. 

People buy from people.

Whether you are focused on a digital campaign or outside sales, there are individual humans at each company that are making the decisions about which products and services will best solve their problems.  You simply need to figure out the best way to reach those individuals and let them get to know you as a fellow human.  What makes you special and how should you communicate that in the most efficient and effective manner?

If you are marketing to a large list of prospects, it can be daunting to consider how to go about developing and nurturing relationships with each person at the end of each email address.  However, there are tools that allow you to do that in a way that is still very human with one-to-one communication.  Which tools you ask? The answer: marketing automation combined with video.

The importance of results-driven video

Video marketing has an immeasurable impact on marketing initiatives. In fact, Forbes named it #1 of the Top 7 Online Marketing Trends that Will Dominate 2016. A few of the numerous major benefits of video are:of

  • SEO - Having unique video on your site makes it 50x more likely to appear on top of Google search results
  • Email Marketing - Click-through rates increased as much as 300%
  • Conversions - Prospects that watch video on your site are 64% more likely to make a purchase

If you are not already convinced that the critical nature of video playing a key role in your marketing efforts, be sure to watch the video above.

What is marketing automation?

The power of marketing automation is rooted in an ability to tailor a specific solution for a business based on the business’s unique sales model, marketing funnel, products and/or services sold and the unique behaviors of each lead.  Automation allows companies to optimize and grow their business through nurturing leads from initial awareness through all stages of the sales funnel at substantially reduced marketing costs.  According to Forrester Research, companies that utilize this technology are able to generate 50% more qualified leads at a 33% reduced cost - that is certainly worth noting.

As we have mentioned in other articles such as Email Marketing Refined, email is still a very viable marketing channel if utilized properly.  This is important to realize because email plays a vital role in marketing automation especially when combined with video.  By utilizing results-driven videos, we have seen our clients increase their click-through rates in email marketing by as much as 300%! We try to use video in nearly every email campaign - it just works.

Where do you start? At the finish Line!

So now that you have decided to utilize marketing automation with video, where do you begin? The answer: start at your goal and work your way back. Are you hoping to generate new leads, increase traffic to your site, or increase conversions on your e-commerce platform? Once you identify your ideal result, you can establish the metrics needed to reach that target.

One simple example of these metrics would be to use video analytics such as engagement rate or rewatches in order to score your leads and segment your list.  In doing so, you can send subsequent touch points to each list based on their engagement levels.  For instance, if a person watched 100% of the video, then they are exhibiting deeper interest than a person who bounced after 30 seconds.  These individuals should receive different marketing materials to nurture the respective relationships.

We like to use video heat maps to see areas where individuals watch, rewind, fast-forward, and rewatch to segment our targets.  If a person rewatches an area of the video that is focused on a particular product or service, we can automatically send them subsequent emails that focus on that service.

An example: one of our clients manufactures a men's luxury clothing line.  We sent out a video promoting a new Autumn clothing collection. We created a follow-up touch points around each of the products highlighted in the video in advance of sending the first video campaign.  That way, if a user watched or rewatched a section of the video that highlighted a type of pants, we had an automated workflow to send follow up emails illustrating additional features, advantages, and benefits of those products.  

Using video to create new leads

Video can also be used to create new leads by utilizing a signup form inside the video player to capture email addresses of viewers. If users are interested and want to keep in contact, they can provide contact info, which is then synced with our customer relationship management software as a new account. From there, we are able to cultivate the relationship over time with appropriate materials.

Nurturing with video: awareness, consideration, & decision stages

How do you nurture that new relationship with video? We build our video marketing campaigns over time to cater to each step of the funnel as the individual continues to search for a solution to his or her problem or need.  From broad awareness style videos to more precise videos highlighting an individual value proposition, we walk buyers through the sales funnel from awareness to decision and then later with after-sale service videos.

Further, our automation software will allow us to place the individual accounts into a visual funnel so we know precisely where each buyer is in that process. Most leads fall into the awareness or consideration stage, and may stay there for a short time or longer depending on your particular sales cycle.  The important part is knowing where they are on that journey so that you can send them timely, relevant information to assist them in making the best decision possible.

Awareness

In the awareness stage, we send our leads more broad educational content about the features advantages and benefits of our services.  Who we are, what we do, how we do it, and what makes us so special compared to others. Those are the basics to build that awareness and establish credibility.

Consideration

Once a buyer moves into the consideration stage, we work to build a deeper relationship with them.  Let them get to know you a bit. This still stays high-level, but gives them more depth into how we can help them solve their problem by answering questions they have about our solutions.

Decision

In the decision stage, we like to leverage the selling power of our current clients by letting them speak for us.  We like to use testimonials and case studies to really paint a picture for our prospects and allow them to see how our relationship will take shape if they work with us.

Scoring leads

Another important aspect is lead scoring, which is another way for us to identify the quality of the lead and their position in the buyer’s journey. A quick example - we assign 20 points to a lead that fills out the form on our site to receive our emails.  We give 50 points to someone that watches our first video in our video marketing series.  We assign 50 points for each subsequent video they watch in the series.  If someone completes all of the videos, we consider them to be in the decision stage and market to them differently than we would a brand new subscriber.

Bring it all together

Another important aspect is lead scoring, which is another way for us to identify the quality of the lead and their position in the buyer’s journey. A quick example - we assign 20 points to a lead that fills out the form on our site to receive our emails.  We give 50 points to someone that watches our first video in our video marketing series.  We assign 50 points for each subsequent video they watch in the series.  If someone completes all of the videos, we consider them to be in the decision stage and market to them differently than we would a brand new subscriber.

Marketing automation has been around for a few years.  As mentioned above, it can have a profound impact on generating and building relationships. Internet video has been around for several years as well and has become critical for any successful marketing campaign.  By combining these two technologies, we are able to help our clients build substantially deeper relationships that allow us to anticipate needs and create recurring revenue from repeat buyers.


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Is Email Marketing Still Relevant?

The rapid growth of technology, especially in the digital world, might make it seem like email is on its way out. So, let’s make sure one thing is clear: email is still an essential part of marketing. First, let's address some of the misconceptions people have about email marketing. Many people believe that Email marketing means SPAM. True! The majority of all emails sent are marked as spam, with some sent from marketers like you and me. This happens because some marketers purchases lists and send endless email blasts to people who don't want to hear from them.

People also believe that email marketing is old school. Well, email has been around forever, and people have started to wonder if an email marketing campaign is still effective. Is email like banner ads? Haven’t people learned to tune email out? Let's address the first concern that comes to mind: Is email still effective? Yes! Here are 6 reasons why:

  1. More than 4.3 billion email accounts are active today. That’s a significant number of people using email on a daily basis, and no other marketing channel has been adopted as universally as email did.
  2.  An overwhelming 95% of online consumers use email. 91% of them report that they check their email at least once a day; Which indicates that email is still a viable channel. Since emails stay in your inbox unless you delete them, it has a longer lifespan than other marketing channels like social media.
  3. Email is a channel that you OWN. Google and Facebook often change the way they index search results and display content, but you’ll always have a 1:1 relationship with the people that open your emails.
  4. 77% of consumers prefer email for marketing communications. Contact people where they want to be reached.
  5. Email is personalized. You can create a highly targeted, contextual message that’s unique to the individual who receives it.

We will still use email because it has an ROI of 4300%. For every $1 you spend, you get $43 of returns. It doesn't better than that! According to the Direct Marketing Association, 76% of marketers say they use email more than they did three years ago. SO how can email marketing help you grow your business? The best part about email is its flexibility. When considering the inbound methodology, email is primarily used to close leads into clients; it can also be used to delight your customers as well and continue the post-purchase customer service. The primary purpose of email marketing is to nurture your leads into clients. Nurturing is all about sending the right content to the right audience at the right time and using the right channel. Send your leads content that will help them do their job better, and they’ll be more willing to speaking to your sales team down the road.

Providing your leads with helpful, relevant content helps you build a relationship. It allows you to position yourself as an expert, ready to help them with their challenges. Inbound is all about the mixture of context and content. If you do it well, your leads will be more likely to interact with you.

TIP: Businesses that implement an inbound strategy recognize that the point of purchase is only the beginning of their relationship with a customer. They use emails to delight people who have already bought their product or service on an ongoing basis. It can be as simple as the occasional check in, or perhaps sending helpful resources and special customer-only content. Attention and care are keys to delight because a happy customer will be your biggest advocate!

Email marketing is also a cost-effective way to nurture the relationship with your customers or prospects. You can strengthen the relationships by upselling new products, or send relevant information ( for example: how to care for your new tool). Customers are less likely to stop using your goods or services if you disappear from their minds.