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.


Business Lessons Learned From Climbing

Business Lessons Learned From Climbing

When I started climbing, business was the last thing on my mind. I was going to live the dirtbag climber’s life and travel the world existing only to climb peaks and rocks. I did for a while, and that was incredible. As time wore on, though, I started to crave some stability and grew tired of the financial stress of a jobless, van life existence. When I entered the business world, I quickly realized that climbing had given me a unique perspective to navigate. Here are a few crossover ideas that climbing brought to me for the business world.

Business Lessons Learned From Climbing

The risk is inherent, and foolish risk will end you

The risk is ever present in climbing. Being successful means accepting the risk and moving forward in spite of it. To leave it here would be an oversimplification of the process. A large part of the draw to climbing is learning to mitigate much of the risk while seeking the most rewarding climbs. If you climb something for the sake of taking the risk, you will get bitten and usually sooner rather than later.

Risk taking in business should be the same way. Too many flash-in-the-pan CEOs have written books and given talks espousing huge risk without discussing their efforts to mitigate that risk. You need to have your market research dialed, your business plan polished, and (most importantly concerning today’s marketplace) your marketing campaign together to get the word out about your product or service. I have seen too many businesses approach new concepts or markets with an “if you build it, they will come” attitude toward their marketing.

The willingness to venture beyond the norm is rewarded

The roadside attractions in climbing seem to have a siren call. The crowds flock to them, and the experience becomes diluted with competition to get on the route and find space on the way up. I have never found venturing out into the backcountry for a climb to be less rewarding than staying by the road. Yes, it is a lot more work to get there and in the beginning, you will ask yourself why you did not just do something easier. Once you settle into the task, you begin to notice the benefits… better views, a feeling of belonging, ownership of the area you are in.

Falling into the trap of providing product or service that is on par with the rest of your industry is understandable but unacceptable. Going beyond the norm for the quality of service and product will differentiate you from the rest. The extra effort will pay off quickly.

Technology will never replace knowledge

Climbing equipment has come a long way from the days of soft iron pitons and hobnailed boots. Modern equipment allows rank beginners to ascend pitches of rock that were unimaginable in the 50’s or 60’s. However, no matter how much the technology improves, if a climber does not know his way around the mountains, and the basics of ropework, his career is going to be a short one.

Technology has fundamentally changed every aspect of the business world. No one can deny that. What it has not done is replace the need for knowledge. Knowing your market, your product, your competition, and your customer will not ever be replaced.

Moreover, technology has not replaced the need for human interaction. People still buy from people even in the age of technology. No matter how fantastic your digital advertising campaign is, people are going to attach themselves to brands that have a unique mission and are represented by solid people.

The view from the top is amazing, but you cannot stay forever

The summit is a major motivator in climbing. Rightfully so. It is a symbol of accomplishment, and for some, it is a symbol of conquest. Stand on top, breathe in the thin air, simultaneously feel powerful and small all at the same time. It is a time to reflect on the path that was taken and take in the view of the surrounding summits. The feeling is fleeting, though, and the inevitability that you must come back down gnaws at the back of your mind. The longer you stay put on top, the more danger you face. Storms, frostbite, exhaustion, darkness, all of these await those who try to linger.

You seek to be at the top of our game in business as well. To stand at the top and see your competitors. Stagnation is a fatal flaw in business as well. Success in business depends on understanding that once you have gained the top in one area, it is time to look toward your next goal, start training, set milestones, and take the first step.

You seek to be at the top of our game in business as well. To stand at the top and see your competitors. Stagnation is a fatal flaw in business as well. Success in business depends on understanding that once you have gained the top in one area, it is time to look toward your next goal, start training, set milestones, and take the first step.


7 Tips for a Snapchat Video Marketing Campaign

Snapchat is a hot social media platform that can be used for more than just sending pictures to your friends and playing with different filters. Snapchat is an extra feature in your video campaign that will bring it to success. Here’s how:

Reply to stories to increase user engagement

With new features like swiping up to reply to a story, marketers can receive feedback from their consumers. This is a way to measure how your campaign is progressing. It’s also a way to get feedback on your campaign. New companies use Snapchat already to conduct informal contests and host polls through the Story Reply feature.

A new Snapchat tip would be to utilize the Story Reply feature to host Q&A sessions to receive audience questions and feedback. Consider common questions, recommendations, and satisfaction level mostly.

Create customized on-demand Geofilters

You can now create and publish a Geofilter for your business or private events. Can you imagine how much exposure your business would get with a customized Geofilter? Here’s how it works:

  • Design – To create a filter, go through Photoshop or Illustrator to create compatible filters.
  • Map – Pick a location where your filter will appear, then choose time and dates when you want your Geofilter to appear.
  • Buy – You have to submit your Geofilter for approval to Snapchat, and then you buy it.

Offer exclusive discounts

Providing coupons and discounts through Snapchat is highly successful. This makes it an exclusive offer because it can only be found on your businesses Snapchat. This also gives an opportunity for one-day only promotions, since Snapchat stories last for 24 hours.

Target content to select followers.

If there is a social influencer who you want to promote your business or product, you can give that person promotional codes through Snapchat. This was, that social influence can inform the pubic about the product and let them know about the promotional code as an incentive to buy the product. If have avid users of your product, you can also offer them special codes as a thank you for using the product or giving business frequently.

 Activate Snapchat stories

Create Snapchat stories so your audience can see what their favorite brand is doing. This allows your audience to see what you’re doing every day.

Build up to a special event or moment

Snapchat is an excellent platform to spread the word about an upcoming event and get people buzzing about it. Make people excited about your upcoming events, moments and launches!

Back your marketing campaign with special ads

Jump on board by making Snapchat ads. This helps you to reach the demographic who has moved from Facebook to newer social media platforms. Plus, our ad is less likely to get lost in a Snapchat feed.


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.


7 Tips To Follow Up With Convention and Trade Show Leads

So you and your team committed the time and financial resources to prepare and attend a convention or tradeshow. You met many interesting prospects that are a perfect fit for your product or service.  If you have done this before, then you know how important it is to remember every detail of that conversation to personalize your follow-up.  Unfortunately, this is something that many salespeople ignore or put off until the details have faded from memory. It is those details that allow a salesperson to personalize the subsequent exchanges following the show. Don’t you just hate those cold post-event emails with no personalized context? Read on for a few tips on how to follow up with leads.

Don't Lose Touch! How to Follow Up With Convention and Trade Show Leads

BE ORGANIZED

Gathering business cards is better than nothing, but it may not be enough of a trigger to remind you of who a future customer is and why you want to follow up with them. Before the trade show, create a Twitter list for the event, and add all of your new contacts to the list by following their Twitter account. Search for hashtags related to the show and follow people you may not have met, but would like to. Also, take pictures of the people you meet at the show (with their permission, of course) when the opportunity allows. Later, you can add the photo to your CRM, and it will help you remember who they are and what you talked about.  

FOLLOW-UP

Prepare your new contacts for future connection by telling them that you’ll follow up.  Give them a date and a time of when they can expect a call or an email from you. It could be something as simple as “When I get back to the office, I’ll make sure and get that information to you.” This will make you accountable!

SOCIAL MEDIA

Social media is a great low-pressure platform to nurture your new business relationships slowly. Say you met someone that you would like to stay connected to, but during the conversation you didn’t get a chance to set a time for follow up.  Social media is the most natural medium to keep up with that contact and continue the conversation. Going back to the Twitter list. Hopefully, you’ve already added your contacts. Send out a message saying, “It was so nice meeting you; I can’t wait to continue our conversation on XYZ!” Now they are expecting your follow-up.  

Another good low-pressure platform is LinkedIn. Invite them to connect on LinkedIn, and making sure to send a personalized invitation that includes a reminder of how you met. Also, make sure to interact with their activity on LinkedIn, Twitter and elsewhere. Share their company’s content when possible, and tag them to make them aware (and appreciative).

Facebook, on the other hand, is a bit more personal.  If you are not able to find a contact on LinkedIn or Twitter, send them an email and invite them to connect with you through your personal Facebook profile.  If they have a Facebook business page (most companies do), follow them and engage with their content on there.  Instagram is also a perfect place to nurture a relationship.  Before the event, search for applicable hashtags targeting the show or the industries as well as the businesses that will be at the event.  Follow their account, and make sure to also comment and like their content shared on the platform.  

EMAIL

Send an email a day or two after the conference.  You don’t want to wait too long.  During these events, you meet a lot of people in a short period.  So you want to make sure that your name and company are not forgotten after the show. Remind your contact how you met and mention a key highlight or two from your conversation. If you can think of anything that might help them (a tool, app, blog post, ebook, or even an article on a 3rd party periodical), make sure to pass that along.  You can even ask them about that trip they mentioned or about that school event their child was attending. The more personal you get, the closer the relationship feels. People appreciate it when you show them that you care by remembering details of your conversation.  

CALL

If a contact gave you their phone number, and you mentioned that you would be following up with a call then do it.  They are expecting you to.  If you catch them at a busy time, make sure to schedule another call before you hang up.  Also, don’t follow up first thing on Monday, give you contact some room to breathe after the show.  

IN-PERSON

If you’re in the same geographic area, and your contact is aware that you will be stopping by, visit them and drop off additional information and maybe an invitation for coffee or lunch for another day. Respect their busy schedules, but show some initiative and take advantage of your proximity if you want to connect. They will not forget that you stopped by the office.

FOLLOW-UP SOME MORE

If you tried all the above and you were not able to get a hold of someone, don’t give up that easily.  There are two possibilities:  They are uninterested in continuing the conversation at this time because of a lack of a current need for your product or service, or they are busy and could not find a chance to talk.  Make sure to create a monthly, rhythmic follow up with these contacts and remind them of you and your business.  Eventually, your business will be on their mind whenever they need your services or product.  At this point, your name and your contact info will be easy to reach, and they will turn into a customer when the time is right.


What is Marketing Automation?

What is Marketing Automation? The Top 3 Reasons You Should Be Using This Technology

Here is a scenario you may be up against if you are doing things right:

You have been working hard over the recent past to create content such as videos, blog posts, infographics, and white papers that are interesting and valuable to your future customers. You have a fan base on social media that is engaged with your posts and sharing them. You have created regular traffic to your blog posts and your email list is growing.

Further, some of these users may even be demonstrating buying cues such as looking at your pricing page and checking out your testimonials - but how would you know when that occurs and follow up at the right time? More importantly, the question remains - how do you nurture these leads into buying customers?

The answer:

Marketing Automation: a means to drive more leads, convert leads into sales, and measure ROI of individual campaigns.

1. Generate More Leads

With marketing automation software, we are able to identify anonymous visitors to our site. That means we can prospect more accurately because we know which companies are interested. We can also capture information in forms from users that are interested in staying up to date with our video content, requesting a demo, or in exchange for an infographic or white paper.

2. Drive Sales

Once that user is in our system, his use can be tracked at each subsequent visit to our website - we know when our prospects visit. Based on his visits and actions on our site, the user will be segmented into a campaign with personalized follow-up information to nurture the relationship. For example, if he shows interest in our Video Marketing for eCommerce videos, we can automatically send him information that pertains to our eCommerce content creation services.

Even more interesting is the way the system scores leads based on a number of parameters that we can set based on a client's unique business.  An example of a high profile lead in the system would be a user that visits frequently, fills out a form, clicks-through on our emails, and downloads a white paper. Once a lead meets certain parameters and is moving through the sales funnel, the follow-up approach changes to be sure to make the most of the opportunity. There is even an option for the system to alert a salesperson to make a direct call when a prospect is on the site.

3. Measure ROI

The automation software provides comprehensive analytics for each individual campaign so marketers can measure what is working best and where to allocate marketing resources. There are extensive reporting features with exportable graphs to share with your teams, allowing for firms to make better, data-driven decisions, which in turn reduces costs.


Top 5 Marketing Trends for 2016

The Top 5 Marketing Trends for 2016

As you close out your books, finalize your goals, and add finishing touches to your marketing strategy for 2016 and beyond, HARNESS presents the marketing trends you should be considering as we move into the new year.

  1. Video & Video advertising - We have been talking about video's potential for years as we develop strategies with our clients, and it appears that many marketers have started to come around to the idea of its overwhelming importance. A media-rich customer experience is now critical for differentiating and delivering a message in the digital world. More importantly, advertising venues such as Google and Facebook are giving more weight and priority to video advertising yielding 80% higher engagement than other ad media. Finally, Google now includes video in its search algorithm meaning that in order to stay relevant in results you must be using video.
  2. Moving to Mobile - We have already seen this trend in our clients' analytics for the past two years. At the lowest level, we have witnessed 60% of website traffic coming from mobile users with upwards of 80% for some clients. That is going to continue as Google is including mobile-friendliness as a metric in its search algorithm which dictates where you place in search results.
  3. Bigger Budgets for Digital Ads - Advertising spending has been increasing for the past few years, and it is projected that companies will spend $10 Billion more in 2016 than in 2015. Based on simple economics, increased demand dictates that advertising online will become more expensive so marketers will need to work even harder to optimize their keyword strategies. How much budget have you allocated for your digital ads?
  4. Digital Assistants - "Siri, find me a coffee shop nearby." As digital assistants become more and more reliable, business owners and marketers are realizing the importance of not only optimizing their websites for SEO, but also making their business details searchable by Siri and Cortana.
  5. Virtual Reality VR Video - This is no longer the realm of futurist novels and science fiction. VR video is very real and ready to be implemented for marketing purposes. Think about using virtual reality in your next video marketing project - how can you use it to better demonstrate your value propositions? HARNESS is very excited to offer VR 360 degree video as part of our video marketing services to our clients! To give you an idea of what is possible, check out this climbing video shot in VR 360:

Here is the major take-home point for 2016 marketing trends: if you are not prioritizing digital marketing, you will be left behind by your competitors. So what is the next for you in 2015? Are you going to improve your mobile experience or create an app? Have you increased your digital ad spend? Let us know in the comments.


Facebook Reactions Launch Worldwide

Facebook Reactions Launch Worldwide

Have you started noticing an abundance of emoticons today in your newsfeed? That is because Facebook has launched its "Reactions" worldwide. Adding to its Like button, Facebook now allows you to express more emotion in your quick reactions to content via Android, iOS, desktop, and mobile Web browser.

This feature has been tested since October when Zuckerberg revealed that he wanted to allow users to express more. By holding the like button, users can now add emoticons such as laughing, sad, or angry.

What does the launch of Reactions mean to marketers?

Users now have the conversation opened more broadly even with quick responses. What this implies is that we can infer more from a reaction than with a simple like. Prior to this launch, we were left with empty middle ground between a 'like' and a comment.  Many users may not take the time to comment, but a 'like' did not fully capture their sentiments toward a piece of content.

With a Reaction, we can infer that a user may want to see more of a type of post. We can, therefore, create more dynamic conversations even on content that may not warrant the energy to comment.

Product Manager Sammi Krug said, "We see this as an opportunity for businesses and publishers to better understand how people are responding to their content on Facebook. Page owners will be able to see Reactions of all kinds on their post page insights."

Time will tell if this is a passing phase or something we users actually adopt, but for now, we have cool smileys and such. Yay!