In the digital age, businesses must embrace the internet as one of the best ways to handle their marketing efforts. This is even true for camping industry companies, since so many outdoor enthusiasts are going online to find the best products for their next adventure — or to find the next adventure itself. For this reason, online marketing for camping industry businesses is a must.
Some of the industry’s most successful companies have used customized digital strategies for camping businesses to achieve success, and so can yours. If you’re ready to start boosting brand presence in the camping sector and grow your business, then it’s time to start the grand adventure of effective marketing for the camping industry!
The Campfire of Digital Marketing in the Camping World
Did you know that digital marketing is just like camping? Well, sort of. There’s groundwork to prepare, basic tools to use, knowledge to gain from those more experienced than you, and exciting moments that you’ll remember forever. There are even peaceful times of reflection, when you can look back and see what you did right and what you’d do differently next time around.
And like camping, there are some challenges you need to be ready to overcome before embarking on your journey to find the perfect spot to pitch your tent. Here are some examples:
- Location: Ask yourself these questions. Are you looking to reach a local or national market? Where do your customers live? Do you sell camping products, or do you sell an experience that requires customers to come to you?
- Knowing your target audience: Speaking of your customers, you need to have an accurate understanding of who they are to best market to them. See the next section under “Create a Buyer Persona” to learn more about this!
- Seasonality: There’s no denying that the seasons drastically affect the camping industry, depending on your campground’s location or the climate where your customers plan on doing their camping with your products. Understand how the seasons affect your demand, so you can approach your marketing efforts with the highest chance for success.
- Understanding your competition: Part of effective marketing for camping industry businesses involves knowing what other companies you’ll be competing with. This can be a challenge, as some of your competitors may be established brands. But take heart — you will carve your own niche if you approach marketing the right way!
- Getting your branding right: Strong, professional, and cohesive branding is essential to establish a name for your camping industry company online. Some of the most successful businesses in the camping and outdoor industries have instantly recognizable logos and brand voices. Your goal should be to do the same, but in your own, unique way.
Once you understand these challenges, you’ll be in better shape to start laying the groundwork for your camping company’s social media strategy!
Pioneering the Perfect Digital Trail for Camping Brands
Online marketing for the camping industry involves building a robust digital marketing strategy. This strategy will guide your decision making process throughout your campaign and ensure you’re taking a holistic approach, rather than guessing and hoping you’re taking the right next step. Think of it like a trail map — without it, you’d be wandering in the woods.
Here are seven steps to a strong digital marketing strategy that can help you get to where you want to go on your digital trail!
1. Create a Buyer Persona
A buyer persona is a fictional character that represents the real people that make up your target audience. You’ll essentially be marketing to this buyer persona under the assumption that your efforts will click with your actual audience as a result. That’s why it’s so important to ensure the buyer persona you create is as accurate as possible. You can also create multiple buyer personas, if that’s what your company needs.
If you have existing clients, use them as the initial framework for creating your company’s buyer persona. If you lack this information, there are ways you can get it by utilizing surveys, email responses, social media, and more.
2. Build and Optimize Your Website
Your website is like a billboard that lets people online know your business exists. The major difference is that a website serves so many more functions than a billboard. For this reason, your website needs to be the best it can be through a process called “optimization.”
Here are some of the characteristics found in a fully optimized website:
- Easily found on Google (more on this later)
- Fast loading times
- No broken links
- Visually attractive
- Easy for visitors to know what to do next (make a purchase, contact you, or learn more)
- A pleasure to use on all device types, from home computers to the smallest smartphones
By optimizing your website, users will stay on your website longer. This can go a long way toward achieving a higher conversion rate.
3. Include High-Quality Written Content
Your website needs high-quality written content. Today’s buyers do a lot of their own research online before making a purchase, and a big part of that research includes blogs and educational guides directly from the brands they’re considering buying from. Having educational (and entertaining) resources available to your target audience plays a key role in turning your business into an industry authority.
Make sure all your brand’s written content is free from typos and errors and that any information included is accurate. This is true for your digital and physical marketing efforts alike, whether you’re putting out a new blog post or creating a physical product catalog.
4. Produce Excellent Visual Content
Visual and written content go hand-in-hand, especially for today’s consumers. In the past, people might have been content reading a text-only advertisement in the local newspaper. Today, people are looking for engaging visual content to inspire their imagination. This is especially true for camping industry businesses whose customers are looking to see more about the products or services they’re considering in the form of pictures and videos.
A main part of your camping industry marketing strategy should involve producing professional, high-quality, and engaging visual content. You can then use this content wherever you please, including product listings, educational videos, social media posts, and more.
5. Get on Social Media
With billions of people around the world on social media, it’s time that you got your camping industry business on social media, too. And if you already have social media accounts but aren’t seeing the results you’re looking for, then it’s time to start doing social media the right way.
Social media is one of the best ways to connect with your existing customers and potential buyers alike. Many buyers today follow their favorite brands on social media as a way to get to know them while also keeping up-to-date on product and service announcements. Today’s buyers want to feel like they’re a part of the brands they invest in, so you need a social media account more than ever to achieve that brand-consumer relationship.
6. Utilize Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the process of using best-practices to organically get your website to rank higher on Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs) when users search for keywords relevant to your business. Your goal should be to rank as highly as possible using organic SEO strategies for camping gear sales, or whatever part of the camping industry you’re a part of. This increases your credibility in the eyes of any camping enthusiast who finds your business during their quest for the perfect product, service, or experience.
By utilizing SEO-optimized content, building strong internal links, and optimizing your site for the right keywords, you can start climbing the ranks of Google’s SERPs!
7. Use Paid Advertising
Paid ads will reach a wider audience than you may be able to reach organically on social media, so it’s important to use them wisely throughout your busy and quieter seasons.
Make sure that any paid ad you create is set to reach people in line with your ideal buyer persona and target audience as a whole. Also, be sure to avoid any typos, and only use high-quality pictures and videos that will cause people to stop scrolling to see what you’re showcasing.
Engaging the Modern Camper: Connecting With Outdoor Enthusiasts Online
Camping is often a social experience for people around the world. It involves making memories with family and friends while enjoying the great outdoors and being rejuvenated by nature. Camping trips may include exciting moments that stimulate the senses and get the heart pumping, but they can also include restorative moments of peace and tranquility. And at the center of it all is a deep sense of community that camping enthusiasts love sharing with each other.
To make an impact in the camping industry, your camping business needs to participate in that sense of community. This is what it means to engage the modern camper, and there are plenty of digital tools at your disposal to help you achieve it, like the following:
Most of today’s most recognizable and reputable firearms ecommerce businesses have achieved their household name status in part because of their branding. Branding is an important piece of the puzzle that you’ll want to be sure your business has locked down early in your digital marketing strategy.
- Email marketing: Rather than waiting for your target audience to come to you, you can greet them directly in their inbox with email marketing. Use your emails to convey information, ask questions, offer exclusive deals, promote products, and more.
- Partnering with influencers: Influencers are people on social media who have a large following that they have some degree of influence over in terms of what they buy, the views they hold, or the kinds of lifestyle choices they make. By partnering with the right influencers to review your products or services, you can reach more people than you otherwise would — and reach them in a way that can more easily influence their buying decisions.
- Joining Facebook groups: Facebook groups are great for connecting with like-minded camping enthusiasts. Use your activity in Facebook groups to show that you’re invested in the camping community for more than a simple profit. This can greatly increase consumer confidence in your brand.
- Getting plenty of good reviews: Positive reviews are another key to increasing people’s confidence in the products and services you offer. Try asking existing customers to leave reviews online, occasionally offering small incentives if your target audience needs a little encouragement to get typing.
- Attending in-person events: You can use in-person events to connect with your target audience while encouraging them to connect with you online. These events are a great opportunity to provide QR codes that take people directly to your social media profiles and website to help you increase your impact with camping enthusiasts online.
Connecting with camping enthusiasts through marketing is essential if you want to grow your brand and show that you deserve your place in the camping industry.
Case Studies: Camping Brands Excelling in Digital Marketing
Today’s top brands have used digital marketing to become household names for camping enthusiasts. Here are some examples of top camping industry businesses that took risks and used digital marketing in smart, new ways to achieve success:
- Patagonia: Successful marketing involves a call-to-action, which encourages potential buyers to take the next step toward a sale. Patagonia did the opposite in their 2011 ads that said “Don’t Buy This Jacket” because the environmental impact of making the jackets would be too high. This led to a massive increase in sales that holiday season, as Patagonia solidified themselves as the definition of an environmentally friendly outdoor apparel company.
- REI: Sometimes risks can pay off, and that’s exactly what happened with REI. They decided to opt out of Black Friday 2015 with the #optoutside campaign, encouraging buyers to spend time outside instead of in retail stores. The result was a huge social media boost and a cascade of creativity awards.
- Moosejaw: Moosejaw breaks the mold of what it means to send a “proper” marketing email. Rather than staying professional and being careful not to overwhelm their readers, Moosejaw has crafted a unique voice and playful style with their marketing emails. They’ve even been known to link their “unsubscribe” button to a picture of a giraffe instead of actually unsubscribing people. This playfulness gets people excited to open their emails on a regular basis.
- Yeti: Yeti coolers and thermoses are a staple for many camping enthusiasts, and one of the reasons Yeti achieved that status is through the power of video. Yeti uses videos everywhere and anytime they can, showing people what it’s like to own a Yeti product, rather than telling them. And with how common the Yeti name is today, their efforts have seemed to pay off.
Mapping the Future of Marketing in the Camping Industry With The Coutts Agency?
Are you ready to start your own adventure in online marketing for the camping industry? At The Coutts Agency, we’re avid outdoors enthusiasts that relish the opportunity to camp whenever we can and specialize in marketing for outdoors businesses like yours. We know what camping enthusiasts are looking for online, where they’re looking, and how to best reach them.
You deserve the best chance at success for your marketing investment, and we’re ready to help you achieve that level of success. Fill out the form below to get in touch with us, and let’s get started!