All of this makes a well-known marketing must even more imperative in the modern marketplace — for today’s brands, it’s critical to ensure that customers’ online purchase journeys are as easy as possible, and to find new ways to add value to the consumer experience. To give your outdoor brand a leg up on the competition, consider these TBA Outdoors tips — divided into five major areas of digital marketing — on ways you can make the customer purchase journey as simple and hassle-free as possible for your prospective consumers:
1. Brand creative & messaging
Among the biggest keys to success in this area is research, which can be used to determine the types of messaging that are most relevant to your specific audience, along with what most resonates with its members to drive consumer interest and engagement. Some of the most effective tools to employ for creative/messaging research purposes include smaller scale sessions with focus groups or online user testing, or larger scale A/B or multivariant testing.
Once the best direction for your brand messaging and creative has been determined, be sure to keep the tone and style of your messaging consistent across all of your campaigns, assets and customer experience. Further, make sure that every ad or other marketing asset you create and deploy includes a strong call to action that makes it clear just what you’re asking your consumers to do, and drives them to actually do it.
2. Social media
A top consideration with social media, of course, is to ensure that the content your brand shares is engaging enough to grab your consumer’s attention. Among the types of social media posts that have historically driven the most engagement are content that inspires emotion, such as funny, entertaining or inspiring content; video-driven content; visually appealing content; real-time content such as live videos; giveaways and contests; and open-ended content that seeks feedback or opinions from followers. (More tips on driving engagement with your brand’s social media posts can be found in this TBA Outdoors blog article.)
Another major consideration here is one that we at TBA Outdoors have regularly preached in our blog articles and elsewhere — authenticity. This is especially critical with outdoor consumers, who tend to be particularly passionate and informed about their recreational pursuits, and can therefore sniff out inauthentic content from a mile away. So be mindful of keeping your content genuine and staying true to your brand’s persona when posting on social media. And again, when a specific action from the consumer is desired, including a strong call to action is a must.
The guiding principle here is to make it as easy as possible for customers to purchase your brand’s offerings online. You do this through an ongoing and relentless pursuit of iterative improvements to the user experience. Comprehensive testing is an important component, as it can help your brand identify and eliminate any friction along the consumers’ paths to purchase, and help make the path to conversion as short as Large-scale A/B testing can also speed up the optimization process by delivering critical feedback quickly, and providing key insights to inform your design decisions.
Additionally, it is imperative to provide an easy way for visitors to your brand’s website to find all of the information they need to make a purchase decision. This is much easier said than done. You need your website to perform well and inform every segment of your audience at every entry point, at each part of their journey, visiting from every channel. Be sure to provide all pertinent details they need to understand your brand, be educated during their shopping and research stages, and provide an uncompromising checkout experience at the point of purchase. Always provide full product descriptions and specifications within your category detail and product listings — without extending the path to purchase.
4. Email marketing
Statistics show that email marketing is still among the most effective ways to drive revenues — when it’s done right. A few of the keys to maximizing the impact of your brand’s email marketing efforts include:
- Truly understanding your current customers and what motivates them, then optimizing your messaging to appeal directly to these types of consumers (and to attract more like them)
- Working strategically and establishing goals for your campaigns so that you can evaluate the effectiveness of your efforts and optimize them moving forward
- Targeting your messaging such that you’re reaching the right consumers with the right messaging at the right time — and tailoring your messaging to each consumer group based on their current stage in the marketing funnel
- Personalizing your messaging as much as possible, and making genuine connections with your consumers
(Dive deeper into these tips for effective email marketing by reading this TBA Outdoors blog article.)
5. Paid media/content
In this area, it’s important for brands to deliberately guide the consumer through the distinct stages of the marketing funnel, using the right media tactics and messaging at each point. Does the consumer know your brand? If not, he or she is probably not going to purchase right away — and at this point, it’s all about making a great first impression with consumers and leaving a lasting memory with them. Lifestyle images, aspirational messages and video work best here.
Once consumers enter the phase of shopping where they’re considering multiple brands for the type of products/services your brand offers, let them know what sets you apart and what problem your product solves for them. Invite them to check out your website, products and services so they can start forming a deeper opinion about your brand. This stage is where you can start to move from high-level, aspirational and lifestyle messages to product-focused and benefits-oriented messages, inspiring consumers to put your brand at the forefront of their consideration process.
Once you move to conversion tactics, it’s all about the product! No videos or lifestyle messaging needed here — in this stage, it’s all about product-focused conversion.
Overall, make sure your brand is putting the right messages in the right place at the right time, which will eliminate wasted impressions with messaging that doesn’t inspire consumers to do exactly what you’re looking for them to do from based on the particular media tactic employed. Use data to optimize your creative, and test hard at the beginning of your campaigns, learning which creative assets work best, and then scaling them up!
When employed correctly, all of the marketing tactics discussed above will work together to move the consumer down the purchase funnel to online purchase. Typically, no one tactic from first impression through to conversion is singularly responsible for a majority of purchases. Consumer journeys will vary in length and number of website visits, largely depending on the product being sold and the target audience, but a sample consumer path to purchase could include many impressions and website visits before purchase. That’s why it is important to use more than last-click attribution when evaluating marketing performance.
A sample path to purchase
Consider this sample consumer journey that demonstrates the sometimes-circuitous path to purchase:
- The consumer sees a pre-roll video on YouTube that plays before product-adjacent content. While not clicking on the ad, he watches 95% of the video before hitting “skip ad.”
- The next day, while scrolling Instagram on a smartphone, the consumer sees a non-sponsored post from the same brand and relates to it. The post piques his interest — but since at work, the consumer takes no action.
- While back at home that night, he remembers the non-sponsored Instagram post and goes to Google to search for the brand, then clicks through to the website from the top non-paid listing and browses. The consumer is interested in the product, but realizes payday isn’t for another week, so he cannot buy it yet.
- The next day on Facebook, the consumer sees an ad for a giveaway for the brand and provides his email address to enter the giveaway, which also gives that brand his email for marketing purposes.
- The next day, he receives a welcome email from the brand that includes an initial offer for his first purchase.
- He also receives two more emails that week and sees both a paid ad on Facebook and another display ad, both of which tout the brand’s products, their value and a short-running sale. The email and ad continue to keep the brand top of mind for the consumer.
- On payday, the consumer opens a website browser on his desktop computer during his lunch break, directly types in the URL of the brand and makes his purchase.
Based on the example listed above, which marketing piece was most important in driving the consumer to purchase? The answer: all of them! They all worked together to move the consumer from initial brand exposure through to purchase. The consumer also used both his computer and his phone to navigate through the journey.
Could your outdoor brand use the help of a group of experienced marketing professionals to optimize your customers’ path to purchase? At TBA Outdoors, our fully integrated marketing firm boasts a team of seasoned specialists (and outdoors fanatics) who can cover all aspects of marketing — including email marketing, SEO, brand strategy, creative, social media, e-commerce, analytics, public relations and much more — all in one place. And as certified brand strategists, we can also help you with the big-picture adjustments sometimes needed put your outdoor brand on a course to long-term success.
To get started with professional guidance ranging from a simple website analysis to a comprehensive strategy tailored to boost your outdoor brand’s overall performance and identity, contact us today.