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Outdoor Email Marketing

Three Ways to Catch More Leads with Outdoor Email Marketing

By Email Marketing, Outdoor No Comments

Article first appeared in GuideFitter Journal Summer 2021

Most outdoor businesses struggle to find cost-effective ways to harness their website traffic and generate qualified leads. Many will spend hours creating newsletters only to have no one open them or read them. This work results in wasted time and money and ultimately giving up on making email marketing work.

But what if there were a better way? What if people looked forward to your emails and were compelled to open them?

According to HubSpot, a marketing software company, email generates $38 for every $1 spent, which is an astounding 3800% return on investment, making it one of the most effective marketing options available. Furthermore, over 59% of marketers say email is their most significant source of ROI. So how can you take advantage of this highly effective strategy to grow your business?

This article will introduce you to a simple strategy based on a hypothetical guide service (but can be used for product companies too) we’ve implemented numerous times with clients in the outdoor industry that will help you build brand awareness, generate and nurture leads 24/7/365 and add revenue to your bottom line.

Step 1 – Create a Clear Message based on a Story 
Any effective email marketing program should be based on a story-based framework. Psychologists have proven that story is hardwired into our brains. It’s the reason why movies can hold our attention for hours, and campfire hunting stories never get old.

Below is a framework based on a process called StoryBrand™. This framework show you how to write story into your marketing by answering the seven questions your customers are asking in a story-based order. By answering the below questions, you will have all the words you need to write and create an effective automated email program. I’ve also included example responses.

  1. What does your customer want?
    They want the fishing trip of a lifetime. 
  2. What problem does your product or service solve?
    Our guided trips give you memories that last forever.
  3. Have you positioned your service as the solution to their problem?  We understand what it’s like to want to fish the most exciting locations in North America, which is why we specialize in dream fishing trips.
  4. How do they do business with you? Or, in other words, how do they go about booking a trip with you?
    To book your dream fishing trip, pick your date, complete our questionnaire and submit deposit. 
  5. What is the call to action?
    Book Now!
  6. What does a successful fishing trip look like?
    Smiling faces of past clients with monster trout.
  7. What does it look like if they don’t choose your service?
    We make you feel at home and won’t leave you going home empty-handed.

By taking the time to answer the above questions, your business will have a more straightforward message and copy blocks to create the emails outlined below.

For more information on how to clarify your message and write your business’ story, check out this article.

Step 2 – No One Wants Your Newsletter
Once you have your story questions answered, you now need to create a way to collect email addresses. It may come as a shock to you, but prospective customers don’t want to read your newsletter. They want to know more about how you’re going to solve their problem, deliver a world-class experience, and create a lifetime of memories.

Two types of buyers show up on your website: direct and transitional.

  • Direct buyers are people who know of you, heard about you, or got referred to you and are ready to book.
  • However, transitional buyers need more information and time to understand what you offer. For this reason, we suggest creating a lead generator. A lead generator is a piece of content (ebook, video series, checklist, or guide) that warms your prospect up to the idea of doing business with you. They should find your lead generator valuable enough to give you their email address. For example, you may create an ebook that showcases the area your fishing in more detail—complete with specifications, maps, fantastic photography, and success stories. Or you may design a “What to Bring to on your Fishing Trip” checklist that gives your prospect a better idea of what to expect that smooths out any fears, concerns, or questions they may have. The idea here is to get them to say, “tell me more.” Put yourself in your prospective client’s shoes and give them something they will find both valuable and memorable.

Step 3 – Write Your Automated Email Sequence the Right Way
Once you’ve had your web developer add a form to your website for prospects to download your lead generator, you now want to keep the interest and momentum going by staying top of mind in their inbox.

The human brain needs to see your brand message 7-8 times before it can be internalized, noticed, and taken action on. Also called the Rule of 7. We live in a high-distraction world, and it’s easy for people to forget why they visited your website, so it’s your job to remind them.

At this point, you’ll want to pull out the answers to your story questions and begin using them to create your copy. Each email should be sent 2-3 days apart at 7 AM to your prospects’ time zone.

 

Outdoor Marketing Sales Funnel

The email should also include:

  • Your logo
  • Links to your social media accounts
  • Contact information
  • One button at the bottom that calls the prospect to Book Now/Buy Now
  1. Welcome Email – The welcome email is just what it sounds like. It’s your chance to thank them for downloading the lead generator and introduce them to your product or service by stating the problem you solve. You may want to welcome them to your family or give them a discount on any future bookings or sales.
  2. Add Value #1 The second email should offer helpful information. Resist the urge to sell—try to help. For example, you may want to talk about making the most of their guide trip or offering best practices when traveling with equipment.
  3. Add Value #2 – The third email should, again, add value. This time you may want to offer recipes or tips on how to stay warm and dry at altitude in October. Once again, the idea is to warm your prospect up to the idea of doing business with you.
  4. Overcome an Objection – At this point, you should see an average open rate of 50% and click-through rates around 20%. These are good indicators that your prospect is still interested in your service. This email should begin to address any friction points they may be having. Friction points consist of price, the location of your lodge, fitness level, or transportation obstacles. Address those objections and offer solutions with transparency.
  5. Problem and Solution – In this email, list the problems your guide service solves. People book guided trips for all kinds of reasons. Perhaps they’ve always dreamed of fishing the Miracle Mile in Wyoming. Maybe they are taking their son or daughter for their first fishing trip. Or they are looking to create some lifelong memories with their friends. Address these problems and what the customer wants—and tell them how you solved them with past clients.
  6. Deliver a Paradigm Shift – A paradigm shift means your prospective customer thought one way about your guide service but now thinks differently. For example, they may have considered all guide services are the same—when in fact your guide service offers much more. If your service or product is different, explain why that is.
  7. Customer Testimonial/Success Story – Next is the email that tells what your customer’s life looked like before they booked a trip with you and how their life has changed after their trip. Ask for your clients to provide their stories and highlight them in this email.
  8. Close with a Sales Letter – Finally, if they haven’t booked with you but are still opening your emails – offer a time-sensitive incentive like 10% off if you book with us by the end of the month. Ask for the sale with a clear call to action: Book Now! If they open the email, reach out personally to close the sale.

The above sequence gives you almost a month of automated emails. It can be used as a baseline strategy to help you create your email automation program. Once you get these emails set up in your email program, begin testing subject headlines and content to see if you can improve open rates, click-through rates, and bookings.

Your lead generator can also double as an advertisement on social media or other platforms. Use it at trade shows and local events to generate leads.

In conclusion, the above gives you a simple strategy for creating an effective lead generation and automated email workflow. Start by clarifying your message through story-based elements. Create a valuable lead generator in the form of an ebook, checklist, video series, or guide that your prospects will exchange their email address for. Then create a series of eight emails that nurture your prospective leads that keep your guide service top of mind, which incentivizes them to book. Don’t worry about doing it perfectly right away. Like anything, it takes time to get it right. Just by having this strategy in place, you’ll begin to see results that grows your business.

 


Joshua Claflin StoryBrand GuideJosh Claflin StoryBrand GuideJosh Claflin, President of Garrison Everest, specializes in helping business and marketing leaders in the outdoor, hunting, adventure and shooting sports industries create clear messaging and digital marketing programs that grow business.

 

 

ecommerce email marketing outdoor

How To Get The Most Out of Your Outdoor E-commerce Email Marketing

By Email Marketing, Outdoor

Running an online store means zero in-person customer interaction — and this poses a big challenge when you want to build meaningful relationships with your customers in the outdoor industry. This is why email marketing makes a great channel for e-commerce. Outdoor e-commerce email marketing is about building relationships through regular communication and engagement. And it’s exactly what online businesses need to thrive.

There are various ways to generate sales for an e-commerce business. But since email marketing accounts for roughly 23% of total sales, it doesn’t take much convincing for online retailers to start harnessing its potential.

Email use is on a steady ascent among consumers and in today’s business world. Around 205 billion emails are sent and received every day — a figure that’s expected to grow at an average annual rate of 3% over the next four years. By the end of 2019, this number may reach 246 billion. It’s enough proof that email isn’t going anywhere.

Email Marketing: The Key to E-commerce Success

Smart online retailers know that email marketing is one of the most reliable and profitable marketing channels. But to make it work for your business, you have to build an email list first. Having an email list keeps you in the competition. It’s a business asset that no one can take away from you. Online stores rely on website traffic, particularly from repeat visitors, to drive sales. Your email list and campaigns help retain more of that traffic by providing an incentive to return — discounts, new products, valuable content, etc. — and communicating it on a regular basis.

Benefits of Email Marketing for E-Commerce

Before we discuss how you can make the most out of e-commerce email marketing, let’s first have a look at the key benefits email marketing brings to your online business.

  • Email can be a powerful tool for customer acquisition. It’s actually 40 times more effective at acquiring new customers than Facebook or Twitter. With email, you get to take the conversation about your business, products, and services to your customer’s most personal online space: their inbox.
  • Email is more effective in driving traffic and sales. Having an email list allows you to reach your customers in various ways. You can leverage email campaigns to increase website traffic and enhance subscriber engagement in much deeper ways.
  • Email helps build relationships with both existing and new customers. Social and search are great ways to get discovered online, but email is the best way to maintain and strengthen that relationship over time. In fact, 60% of online consumers prefer to buy new products from brands they’re familiar with.

Integrating email marketing in e-commerce requires time and attention to be successful. Here are some e-commerce email marketing tips to help you deliver better customer value and build stronger relationships.

  1. Segment your email list for better engagement.

outdoor email segmentationWith the clutter going on in everyone’s inbox, the last thing you’d want to send is a one-size-fits-all email. Your emails need to be relevant to the recipient for it to get the latter’s interest and possibly drive a conversion.

One surefire way to make your subscribers feel happy and valued — which could eventually make them purchase — is by sending emails with content tailored to them. You can do this by segmenting your email list into groups with similar needs or interests.

Creating emails based on specific criteria using segmentation helps increase engagement and conversion. In the Garmin Example, they ask you as soon as you sign up what you’d like to get updates on. 

  1. Nurture your email list and provide value to subscribers.

Having loyal customers is one of the main reasons a business survives. Fostering relationships with these customers is vital to keep them coming back to your business. To do this, you have to regularly provide value to your subscribers through discounts, loyalty programs or good content.

Including a healthy amount of nurturing emails along with promotional emails is important in outdoor e-commerce email marketing, especially since not every subscriber is ready to purchase. On the other hand, creating loyalty programs further cultivate customer relationships and drive them back to your business.

Nurture your leads by delivering relevant content, interesting news, and product updates. This will keep your subscribers interested in your brand. Sending valuable, content-rich emails to your subscribers early on can make them more likely to open your promotional emails in the future, which can lead to better engagement, click-throughs, and conversion.

In the example below, Northface welcomes their subscribers and lets them know more about their brand in a subtle, amusing way.Outdoor Email Marketing

 

  1. Follow the anatomy of a good email

    Standing out in your subscriber’s inbox is one challenge you have to overcome. The good news is that you can actually do it when you know how to craft your email in a way that would entice your readers and inspire an action. Below are key elements you need to consider in your emails.

    • Subject line. The first step in grabbing their attention is by coming up with a compelling subject line. Since it’s the first true contact point of email marketing, your subject line needs to entice the recipient to open your email. Create irresistible subject lines to increase your open rates. 

    email marketingstatistics

    • Body content. The main rule when it comes to your email content is to keep it short and make it visually appealing. Ensure that the reader knows right away how they can benefit from your message.
    • Call-to-action. After your subscriber opens your email, the next thing you’d want is to inspire an action. Focus on a primary action that you want the recipient to take. Use action words in your call-to-action and make it visible in the email.
    • Format. Mobile opens accounted for 46% of all email opens. This shows that more email recipients are opening their emails on mobile devices. With this in mind, you have to optimize mobile in your emails. Make sure the emails you send are responsive to the size of the screen they’re displayed on.

     

  2. Optimize transactional emails.

Being an online business means you get to send a lot of transactional emails. Consumers interact with these emails — password resets, login details, order confirmation, shipping notifications, shopping cart abandonment, etc. — on an almost, if not daily basis. In fact, transactional emails get 8x more opens and clicks than any other type of email and generate 6x more revenue.

While it may seem easier to send out default transactional emails, getting creative with it can be more effective in making your customers come back to your store for a repeat purchase. A transactional email offers high levels of relevance, and when optimized properly, can drive additional sales and revenue in the process.

Create a consistent brand experience for your prospects and customers in your transactional emails. You can use the same branding with your website or marketing emails, include special offers to entice customers to make another purchase, or give product recommendations that your customer might need.

Warby Parker came up with a clean design in line with their branding in this transactional email.

  1. Ensuring email deliverability

Ensuring email deliverability is another important factor that determines the success of your email marketing. After all, what’s the use of sending beautiful, optimized emails when they don’t even reach your subscriber’s inbox?

The thing is, getting those emails to the inbox isn’t always easy. Email deliverability issues, such as high bounces, flagging spam filters, and low engagement, can be present. With 20% of emails not reaching the inbox, there’s a chance marketers are missing out on potential revenue and the opportunity to build a strong relationship with subscribers.

To ensure email deliverability, you have to take actionable steps that will help your emails reach the intended recipients. Start off by better positioning your campaigns to reach the inbox. Follow key steps to avoid being marked as spam. Improve reputation score and check feedback loops. Send re-engagement campaigns to subscribers who haven’t opened an email in over 12 months. These are just some of the many ways you can improve email deliverability.

Here’s a great re-engagement email to get a subscriber back to the site.

re-engagement email marketing

Wrap Up

Email marketing can help take your Outdoor e-commerce business to greater heights as it helps your brand engage with customers and build lasting relationships with them. E-commerce email marketing is both a science and an art. It entails sending relevant emails to the right audience at the right time. The strategies you employ in your e-commerce email marketing will define the success of your campaign. The first thing you need to do is understand how email marketing helps your online business, then follow tried-and-true ways to let you get the most out of e-commerce email marketing.

 


Brand Development Inbound Marketing Consultant

Josh Claflin, Principal at Garrison Everest, helps companies who are struggling to develop clear brand messaging and increase revenue through online channels.