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Outdoor

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Outdoor Wire: Garrison Everest now offering certified StoryBrand messaging services

By Firearms Marketing, Outdoor

Nashville, Tennessee — Standing out in the competitive outdoor, shooting sports and defense marketplace can be difficult—if not impossible. Everyone says and does the same things that hinder the best products and services from reaching their potential. And with more distractions from smartphones, emails and advertisements, having a clear and concise message is more important than ever.

Garrison Everest is pleased to announce its StoryBrand certification and that it is now offering this proven framework to the outdoor and firearms industry. The StoryBrand framework is based on New York Times best-selling author Donald Miller’s Building a StoryBrand, Clarify Your Message so Customers will Listen. Its framework is built around the power of storytelling that is applied to marketing to help brands communicate more clearly in the age of distraction. StoryBrand helps outdoor, firearms and defense brands do the following:

  • Answer the seven universal story points all humans respond to
  • Understand the real reason customers make purchases
  • Learn to simplify a brand message so people understand and act on it
  • Learn to create the most effective messaging for websites, advertising, email and social media

Thousands of businesses have trusted StoryBrand to help them clarify their message, revolutionize their marketing, and grow their businesses. It has been used in major motion pictures, award-winning websites and ad campaigns.

“I see many brands not communicating clearly as I look across the industry. Confusing messaging is stymieing their growth and perhaps the growth of our industry. StoryBrand helps you clarify your message so customers will listen,” says Josh Claflin, president of Garrison Everest.

Garrison Everest is offering a Webinar: How to Stand Out In the Marketplace with StoryBrand on Tuesday, September 10, 2019 at 1PM (Central Time Zone). Seats are limited and will fill up fast. Save your seat at: https://www.garrisoneverest.com/storybrand-webinar

About Garrison Everest

Do you struggle to stand out in the marketplace? Whether you’re just starting out or looking to take your product or service to the next level, get the guidance, expertise and assurance you need to maximize your marketing dollars, rise above the marketplace noise and beat your competition. Garrison Everest offers several marketing solutions to help you stand out, attract new customers and grow your business. Schedule a call at www.garrisoneverest.com

About StoryBrand

StoryBrand helps brands clarify their message so that customers listen. The StoryBrand framework, which is trusted by over 10,000 organizations, will help you confidently create websites and emails that actually work, without spending a fortune on marketing that doesn’t. Learn more at www.storybrand.com

 


Joshua Claflin StoryBrand GuideJosh Claflin StoryBrand GuideJosh Claflin, President at Garrison Everest and StoryBrand Certified Guide, helps companies who are struggling to stand out in the crowded marketplace and attract new customers. 

 

How Firearms Companies Can Outthink Their Competition With Inbound Marketing

By Firearms Marketing, Outdoor

For most emerging firearms and outdoor sports companies growing market share comes down to a matter of numbers.

You know your product is good because you’ve gone to great lengths to make it durable, reliable and functional (which is an absolute must in this industry).  You’ve received positive feedback from your customers, signed some solid purchase orders, your website, packaging and brand look great—but you just can’t seem to grow in the way or as fast as you’d like.

Smaller firearms, and outdoor sports manufacturers struggle to take their businesses to the next level because of the expensive barrier of entry to print advertising, T.V and trade shows.

Market industry leaders—or the goliaths—enjoy market dominance and the bulk of the market because of years of brand building. Their massive marketing budgets are hard to beat, making it seemingly impossible for the David’s or the emerging companies to compete against.

However, as some us well know—to bag the beast—you must outthink the beast.

If you haven’t noticed lately, magazine subscriptions are in decline (Source: Folio) and everything seems to be migrating online. Your customers are going to the internet first to research products. Look at some of these revealing statistics:

  • 61% of global Internet users research products online. (Source: Interconnected World: Shopping and Personal Finance)
  • 93% of online shoppers begin by using a search engine. (Source: Hubspot)
  • 90% of the purchase lifecycle is over before a customer decides to buy (Source: iMedia)
  • 65% of U.S. shoppers research products and services on a computer and make a purchase in-store (Source: Cisco)

… and these numbers are on the rise.

In this article, I give you 6 points about how you can “outthink” your competition in the firearms, shooting or outdoor sports business by looking at an online strategy first—versus investing more in trade show, TV or print.

1. What is inbound marketing?

Since 2006, inbound marketing has been an effective marketing method for doing business online. Sometimes called “digital” or “content marketing,” “inbound” is the opposite of “outbound marketing.” Where outbound is buying print ads, placing a TV spot and praying for customers; inbound marketing focuses on creating quality content that pulls people toward your company and product, where they naturally want to be. By aligning the content you publish with your customer’s interests and by solving their problems and answering their most burning questions about: “What AR-15 should I buy? What do I need in an optic? Or what kind of recoil pad is the best? — you naturally attract website visitors—or inbound traffic—that you can convert to customers and turn them into promoters of your brand. (Source: Hubspot)

An inbound approach also lends credibility and trust to your dealers by enabling them to reference great information off your website when their customers are asking for recommendations on what to buy or how your product works.

2. Why inbound marketing now?

Consumer behavior has shifted over the years. The days of “push” advertising and “salesy” tactics have lost their effectiveness. If you think about it, you yourself skip television commercials when watching your favorite show on the Sportsman Channel, ignore flashing online ads when surfing GunsandAmmo.com, hang up on cold callers, tune out radio ads that you have no interest in and throw the direct mail in the trash. Years of being bombarded with this “intrusive” form of advertising has changed the way consumers prefer to get information about the products they want to buy. Inbound turns outbound on its head. Instead of constantly pushing your message on your customers, you attract them to your website through your content.

Inbound marketing has been proven to generate 54% more leads than traditional paid marketing and saves you $20K on average a year over outbound marketing.

 

3. Content is the secret sauce

Content can be a blog, video, checklist, ebook, whitepaper or a download that attempts to solve your customer’s problems in a relevant way. Blogging is the best way to get started. Did you know that if you’re not creating content on a regular basis, Google will drop your search engine rankings?

For a good example of a blog, take a look at Beretta’s blog.

4. What am I going to write about?

Everyone is an expert in something. If writing isn’t your forte, you can always hire someone to help you out. There are hundreds of industry writers looking for work. Start by forming a list of questions that you hear most from your customers or dealers. Take that list and form it into a series of blog posts. In time, you’ll have more than enough to write about.

Most companies in this industry who blog—are blogging mostly for self-promotional purposes. Shooters, firearms, and outdoor enthusiasts don’t want to hear how great you are—they want to hear how you can help them. In the process, you’ll earn their respect, trust and ultimately their wallet.

5. Online marketing is not about Facebook and Instagram likes

There are plenty of manufacturers who have thousands of followers and likes on their Facebook/Instagram page. However, those likes don’t necessarily translate into website traffic and sales—especially now that less than 1% of your posts are ever seen by your followers. It is important to show “social proof” but Facebook likes alone does not mean you have an online marketing strategy. And with more and more anti-gun sentiment on social media, investing in Facebook is getting risky.

6. Get there first

Today, there are only a few companies in the hunting, firearm and outdoor sports industry doing inbound marketing. From working in multiple industries and in the firearms/outdoor industry with a very well known brand—that the world, in general, is moving more and more online. The companies who start now will have a huge advantage down the road. By owning the online space in your category—be it knives, firearms, tactical rifles, safes, optics, suppressors, EDC etc.—you will gain significant advantage over your competitors.

 

FREE EBOOK: THE ESSENTIAL STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE TO INBOUND MARKETING FOR THE FIREARMS INDUSTRY

In this comprehensive guide, you will learn the 6 essential steps to internet marketing success.

1. Optimizing Your Website
2. Creating Content
3. Implementing a Social Strategy
4. Converting Visitors into Leads
5. Nurturing Leads into Customers
6. Analyzing & Refining Data

Download Now

Joshua Claflin StoryBrand GuideJosh Claflin StoryBrand GuideJosh Claflin, President at Garrison Everest and StoryBrand Certified Guide, helps companies who are struggling to stand out in the crowded marketplace and attract new customers. 

Outdoor Marketing StoryBrand

To Stand Out In The Outdoor Marketplace, Make Your Customer The Hero, Not Your Brand

By Outdoor

Standing out in the ultra-competitive outdoor, hunting and firearms industry is really difficult—if not impossible. The imagery is getting better. The copy is more persuasive. The products are more durable and it seems like every brand claims the same thing:

  • We Make the World’s_____.
  • We’re the Superior ______.
  • We’re #1 in _____.
  • The Worlds’ Most_____.
  • The Ultimate _____.

Does the above list sound familiar? A quick look through any outdoor, hunting or firearms magazine and you’ll see what I mean.

There’s nothing wrong with claiming to be the best—if you’re a brand who really is the market leader – MagPul (Mags), Sig (Pistols), Ruger (10/22), Remington (700)—you earned it. But for brands less well known, making such claims can be down-right dishonest.  The truth is, if you’re a relative unknown brand making the claim that you’re “the best,” you’re wasting money on marketing and your customers don’t believe you anyway. False claims have caused a backlash in other industries as well as our own.

People have great distrust in brands (and companies) these days (Source: Forbes). It’s been documented that your prospective customers will check out 11 pieces (social media, reviews, blogs, websites, ads, forum review and articles) of content before deciding to hand over their hard-earned money because they are afraid of being cheated or taken of advantage of. When was the last time you bought something for first time over $250 without doing any research online?

To combat this “me-too,” and “I’m the best” mentality, marketers and business owners need to find other ways to get their customer’s attention and break out in the marketplace—and the way to effectively accomplish this is by putting in the time to think through their messaging —a good way to do this is through the power of story.

Story has been around since creation. Story has been hard-wired into our brain as a sense-making device. It helps us understand our environment, situations and how to achieve our goals. Stories engage our imaginations and hold our attention for hours on end. Think about the last great movie you saw. Movies like Jason Bourne, Days of Thunder, Star Wars and Saving Private Ryan are all incredibly captivating.

The same methods used in the movies can also apply to your outdoor, hunting, defense or firearms business.

In the following, I’m going to explain how to write story into your marketing, make your customer the hero and stand out in the marketplace to attract more customers. This process if called StoryBrand.

1. A Character

Make your customer the hero, not your brand.

Every great story starts with a hero. The hero in your business is your customer. As humans, we all want to become something better: better hunters, better shooters, more fit, smarter and more wealthy. We also have personality and character traits like age, income, values, beliefs and interests. Define your customer as the hero in your ads, emails, website copy, and sales letter. Once you start defining what your customer wants, they start paying attention.

Q: How can you make your customer the hero?

Brands that participate in the transformation of their customers win in the marketplace. (Source: StoryBrand)

StoryBrand for the Outdoor Industry

2. Has a Problem

Every hero in every story has a problem that must be solved. Without a problem to be addressed (a bomb to diffuse, a girl to rescue or a disaster to prevent) the story would fall flat and you lose your audience’s interest. It’s up to you to identify what the problem is and how the hero will overcome this problem.

Q: What problem does your product or service solve?

A story gets interesting when the conflict is defined. (Source: StoryBrand)

3. Meets a Guide Who Understands Them

No hero can solve the problem on their own. They can try, but it won’t be as successful nor as exciting. Luke Skywalker had Ben Kenobi, Cole Trickle had Harry Hogge, and Neo had Morpheus.

This is how your brand plays the guide:

  1. First, you must show Empathy. Empathy means to relate. How can you empathize with your customer’s problem?
  2. Second is Authority. Heroes look to guides who have gone before them. If you haven’t gone where your customer wants to go, how can you be the guide?  How have you solved the same problem your customer is trying to solve? This must be communicated clearly to establish trust.

Never position yourself as the hero in your brand’s story. (Source: StoryBrand)

4. Who gives them a Plan

At this point in the story, your customers find themselves at risk. This is the point where most customers will bounce off your website or find themselves confused about what you offer. The purpose of giving them a plan is to break down the steps on what it takes to work with or buy from you. The plan eases any friction points in the buying process and helps your customer move forward.

Q: What are the steps your customer must take to work with you?

A plan alleviates confusion or hesitancy about the next step. (Source: StoryBrand)

5. And Calls them to Action

No story can proceed until the hero is called to action. Your customer will not take action unless they are challenged. You must call them to do something.

  • Buy Now
  • Schedule A Call
  • Sign Up
  • Find A Dealer

are all clear call to actions. This language must be repeated over and over again to make it clear what it is you want your customer to do.

Q: Do you have a clear call to action on your website?

If we don’t have the confidence to ask people to buy from us, they assume our product won’t solve their problem. (Source: StoryBrand)

6. That Helps Them Avoid Failure

Two forces motivate people: avoiding failure and experiencing success. Every human being is trying to avoid a tragic ending. Your customer must know how you will help them be successful.

Q: How will your product or service help your customer avoid failure.

Human beings are sometimes more motivated to avoid a loss than achieve gain. (Source: StoryBrand)

7. Or Ends in Success

As the guide, you must cast the vision of what success looks like if your customer uses your product or services.

Communicate through words and images that your product or service solves your customers’ problems. (Source: StoryBrand)

By understanding these seven principles, you will be able to

  • Stop wasting money on ineffective marketing
  • Get and keep your customers attention
  • Cut through the marketplace clutter of me-too products
  • Attract more customers

StoryBrand Outdoor Marketing

By taking the time to clarify your message and figure out these aspects of your story, you will be able to transform your marketing, attract new customers and stand out in the crowded marketplace.

If you’d like to check out the book StoryBrand or learn more about the process yourself you can:

You can also schedule a call with me, and get a clear plan on how stand out in the crowded outdoor, hunting, defense and firearms marketplace.

 

5-Keys-To-Stand-Out-and-Attract-New-Customers

5 KEYS ON HOW TO STAND OUT IN A COMPETITIVE MARKETPLACE

Is your brand getting noticed?
In this ebook, we’ll give you 5 keys for 2019 that will help you differentiate and grow your business. We’ll share why it’s important to have a clear brand message, how to build a website that works, a simple marketing plan, how to gather testimonials the right way and a few marketing tactics that offer the biggest bang for your buck.

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Josh Claflin StoryBrand GuideJoshua Claflin StoryBrand GuideJosh Claflin, President at Garrison Everest and StoryBrand Certified Guide, helps companies who are struggling to stand out in the crowded marketplace and attract new customers. 

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.