The outdoor and extreme sports niche is growing in popularity, especially now that traveling is more affordable. Plus, people are looking for ways to take a break from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Nonetheless, outdoor activities will require proper apparel and gear. If you are in this kind of business, you may have considered implementing digital marketing tactics for your brand.
However, we understand if you find online marketing to be cumbersome. That said, we have listed down seven practical tips on how you can promote your outdoor gear and apparel business:
1. Choose the right platform
Before anything else, you need to pick a platform where you can sell your items online. For example, you can create an eBay account so you can sell outdoor gear online immediately.
eBay has excellent integration with PayPal, so managing receipts and receiving payments is always a breeze. Moreover, create a marketplace account is the quickest way to have an online store.
But if you want to get more control and take your business to the next level, you can set up an e-commerce store. There are intuitive and user-friendly platforms like Shopify and BigCommerce that can help create an e-commerce website.
Otherwise, you can hire a digital marketing agency that specializes in e-commerce. Such agencies can create your online store and promote your business for you.
Lastly, ensure that you have the budget to work with a web developer. Otherwise, you might need to acquire relevant web development skills. Then you can create a self-hosted e-commerce site that lets you gain full control of your business.
2. Know your target market
Your customer base can range from novice people eager to know more about their new hobby to experienced hikers.
Regardless, you will have a unique opportunity to build relationships with these types of people. Hence, it is also vital that you converse and listen to your customers.
That way, you will better understand the things you are not entirely knowledgeable about. You will also be able to figure out your customers’ needs and wants.
For instance, a veteran would know what hiking poles he needs. Meanwhile, a beginner would look for a list of beginner-friendly trekking poles.
From there, you can create content or a marketing campaign that caters to these customers. For example, you can run a PPC campaign for hikers with preferred trekking poles. Meanwhile, you can produce a comparison article that lists down beginner-friendly hiking poles.
3. Choose the right outdoor gear products to sell
After setting up your online outdoor store, the next important thing you need to do is fill it with your selling products.
With so many sports or outdoor activities to pick from, it is quite tempting to stock as many products as possible. However, you will soon realize that this is almost impossible without a big team and a large budget.
A great approach is to specialize in a particular niche and then expand your product range as your business grows.
Let’s say you are an online store that focuses on hiking gear, running apparel, cycling accessories, or wetsuits. You can purchase these products in bulk on a relatively smaller budget.
This will make it easier for you to be familiar with the types of products or items you are selling. As a result, you can better advise your customers on the best product to fit their requirements.
Another pro tip is to check your competitors. Find out which of their products are selling well and consider doing the same. Doing so allows you to gain traction from the get-go while understanding your customers’ demands.
4. Be active on social media
After setting up your online store, the next thing that you need to do is to promote it. One of the best ways you can do it is through social media.
Outdoor-related topics have become more and more popular, as people are looking for the next place they can visit for their next weekend getaway.
This is where social listening could come in handy. What it does is you can chime in the right conversations.
Using our previous example, that would mean making recommendations of excellent hiking destinations. And when the conversation moves to outdoor gears, you can consider talking about the products you sell.
It is worth noting, though, not to bite more than you can chew. You may start with at least two or three social media channels rather than spreading your presence on all social media platforms.
Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are great places to build brand awareness, while YouTube is excellent for sharing product reviews. That said, you can also consider tapping influencers in your niche to spread the word out about the outdoor gear you sell.
All of these platforms are an excellent way to engage your target audience. For instance, Facebook has a useful messaging app wherein users can ask questions about a particular gear that you sell.
5. Email marketing campaign
Despite the proliferation of many messaging platforms in the market, you should not let the dust settle in your contact list. Mind you; it is easier to convince existing customers to buy from you again. And it is more affordable to retain customers than acquire new ones.
If you haven’t done so already, you can start building your email list. Although this requires a lot of time and effort, this can pay off big in the long run. Once you’ve come up with a plan, you need to show people why they chose you in the first place.
You can test out various email campaigns, from holiday, returning customers to first-time customer types of emails. You can use email to promote your best pieces of content to your audience.
6. Consider content marketing
To establish your brand as a thought-leader in the outdoor and extreme sports niche, you need to create quality content.
Do not focus too much on making the same type of content. Instead, it helps that you experiment. That way, you will know what kind of content and subject matter resonates well with your audience and target market.
There are different types of content that you can produce. Depending on your resources and marketing channels, you can do any of the following:
- Case studies
If you want to get more people to be interested in your business, you can try to reach out to an audience apart from the one you are directly targeting. For instance, you can reach out to travelers who are into hiking, as well.
7. Offer promo and discounts
Offering small incentives to your customers is the reason your customers will keep on coming back.
Here are some incentives that you can offer:
- Bundle promotion. Consider selling a complete set of hiking clothes or a complete set of ten hiking essentials in a backpack.
- Free gift. Give a freebie or two if a customer purchased a certain single-receipt amount.
- Holiday-related promo. If Valentine’s Day is coming, you might want to appeal to couples who hike by offering a “couple bundle” like a matching trekking suit.
It would be best if you also offered customers contests from time to time. This is to show your customers how much you appreciate them.
Over to You
Whether it is hiking or campaign, people will find ways to have a meaningful and reinvigorating weekend outside the city. And your outdoor gear business must be there when they look for the right gear and apparel.
And this is where implementing digital marketing can help. After all, many outdoor sports enthusiasts are using the Internet to look for what they need.
When you follow the tips listed above, you should be able to see traction in your outdoor gear business. This includes web traffic, customer engagement, conversion, and sales.
Which of the tips on this post would you like to give a try first? Let us know in the comments.
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Kate Manning is passionate about topics about entrepreneurship, science, and technology. When not at work, you’ll see her running around the neighborhood to prepare for any upcoming local marathon.