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Aug 12

Smart Strategies for Growing Your Outdoor Business

Posted on August 12, 2021 at 4:35 PM by Public Affairs

KayakingFrom hiking to watersports to birdwatching, there are countless ways to enjoy the great outdoors. People of all ages and walks of life participate in nature-based activities, which means there's a broad market for products and services that support those activities. If you're building an outdoor business, you need to resonate with your target customers' love of nature — and stand out from the crowd of competitors.

Growing an outdoor business is challenging, especially when there are well-known brands in the market. The right mix of smart strategies boosts your reputation and gets your customers excited to make you part of their outdoor adventures. Here are some robust tactics you can use to develop your outdoor business!

Create a Value-Driven Blog for Your Outdoor Business

Your target audience likely comprises people who are continually learning and discovering more about their favorite outdoor activities. Why not share your expertise with them? By publishing helpful blog articles on your outdoor brand's website, you achieve three main benefits:

  • You demonstrate that your brand is an authority in your niche.
  • You create content that appears in search results, attracting traffic to your site. 
  • You inspire people to continue pursuing their outdoor activities — and rely on you as a valuable source of information and products! 

Start by creating several pillar posts that tie into your main offerings. Think about what type of content your ideal customers would love to see. Then, reverse-engineer their interests into blog topics. Your goal is two-fold: (a) capture organic traffic based on their interests and (b) provide value to those who arrive on your site through another route. At the end of each blog article, direct them to your relevant solution. 

For example, if your outdoor brand sells camping gear, you could have blogs about "what to pack for a camping trip," "how to keep your camping supplies dry," "easy ways to start a campfire," etc. Consider who will be searching for each topic. For example, beginner-level campers are more likely to search for that first topic than experienced campers, so don't link that blog to advanced camping supplies. Think of your blogs as a way to nurture your leads toward a purchase that will solve their problem!

Lead with a Good Story

Great storytelling isn't just for the campfire. By crafting a marketing strategy that revolves around stories, you give your audience something they can relate to. People generally don't like to see "sales-y" content. They want inspiration, advice, wisdom, and helpful tips. As an outdoor brand, you have the opportunity to tap into their passions and hobbies with your marketing. This generates trust, boosts engagement, and motivates your customers to do business with you. Plus, it's ideal for growing your social media following! 

Story-driven marketing can include:

  • User-generated content, e.g. photos or videos of your customers using your products
  • Highlights of how your brand supports certain activities or values
  • Behind-the-scenes content about your brand, founders' stories, etc.

Let story-powered content dominate your digital marketing efforts, from social media to email campaigns to earned media (such as news articles about your brand). You can even weave the story approach into your pay-per-click (PPC) advertising: try creating a video showcasing a special use of your products, then drive traffic to it with paid search campaigns. 

Help Your Customers Visualize Their Desires

If there's one industry that relies upon and benefits from powerful imagery, it's the outdoor lifestyle space. Strong visuals inspire your audience to overcome their objections and go on that adventure into the wild.

Imagine that you are an aspiring kayaker. You have no idea what type of kayak to buy or what supplies you'll need. You do a Google search and land on a paddle craft outfitters' website. However, there is little on the site except for text, some stock images, and product pages with small, grainy photos. You have no sense of which product to buy, and now you're thinking about safety issues, whether or not your car can transport the kayak and all sorts of potential problems. You end up abandoning the idea.

Now imagine that you land on a website full of lush imagery depicting confident kayakers. Each product page has multiple real-world photos of the kayaks and equipment, and there's even a blog with introductory guidance. You begin to visualize yourself on the water, paddling comfortably and enjoying the scenery. This brand has captured your attention and made you feel like kayaking is worth your while. So, you place an order and plan your first kayaking trip.

All businesses should occupy the dual role of "problem solver" and "dream enabler" for their target audience. No one wants to spend money for the sake of spending money. They want to achieve their goals, fulfill their passions, and enjoy their lives. As an outdoor business, your brand's look-and-feel, key messaging, and overall customer experience should all affirm your role in your customers' buying journeys.

Wrapping Up

Smart business growth strategies revolve around understanding your audience and helping them feel confident in their interests. As they grow, so do you! This is especially true in the outdoor space, where people need guidance as they pursue new hobbies and enhance their lifestyles.

If you're building an outdoor business in the Farmington area, feel free to reach out to the Outdoor Recreation Industry Initiative (ORII). We are eager to support our outdoor economy, and that means helping outdoor brands connect with the resources and audiences they need to thrive. Boost your business's growth and create jobs and tourism opportunities — reach out to ORII to learn more about our programs.