It’s no secret that the Franklin, TN digital agency where I work has a number of clients in the outdoor industry. We’ve got a few clients who (shameless plug!) sell hunting broadheads, hunting blinds or have an online hunting show so we have had our hands full with marketing in this unique niche. What’s interesting is that in comparison to many other niches and industries there’s very little written about using online marketing tactics for outdoor sites and clients.
This could be due to the nature of the industry with it’s very outdated sites and an older demographic with a smaller budget who aren’t at the cutting edge of marketing or it could just be SEOs and marketers in this niche not sharing what they know for fear of it being used by a competitor. I’ve always felt that it’s better to share ideas, even if they do get seen by competitors, because it spawns innovation. So here’s a stab at sharing some resources and examples that might help if you have a site or client that sells hunting gear, hiking gear or is part of the “great outdoors”.
Thoughts on The Outdoor Industry
“I think the outdoor industry is a good example of the two extremes when it comes to marketing online. There are some terrible efforts in both inbound marketing and social, and then there are exemplary examples where you strive to build something of such high quality (like REI). A couple of helpful articles discussing how REI is killing it I’ve noticed that many of the smaller outdoor industry companies (speaking mostly to the climbing and backpacking communities) do really well with social media, but don’t focus on other aspects like site optimization, SEO, etc. They tend to be very active on social media, responding to customers and building some really solid relationships with influencers.” – Alex Ramadan
“I don’t work in that niche specifically but from an outreach perspective have found lots of related sites in that niche very receptive to working with outreach consultants. Survival sites, gun sites etc etc – lots of fans that are very eager for good content so the ‘links’ part of your SEO shouldn’t prove too difficult.” Steve Brownlie of Wait.co.uk
“With some creativity in adapting them, good content ideas can be applied to a lot of industries. If you’re finding that design in this industry is poor, how well do you think a well-designed infographic covering hunting seasons across the country would do? Need another one? What are differences between countries when it comes to hunting, as far as game, licenses/permits, weapons allowed, etc? The value of any resource comes down more to the execution than the topic, but the REI links boil down to: make detailed video covering a specific topic in your industry, write an article surrounding it, link to relevant products on your website. That’s the same thing Moz does for Whiteboard Friday, so it’s not some secret tactic no other industry has never discovered, it’s just an evergreen one that’s been adapted to address a specific audience as far as the content.” – Signature 9
Case Studies and Sites Worth Considering
- Gary Herbert’s New Zealand Hunting
- Montana Decoy Turkey Guide Case Study
- How Best Made Co. produces amazing travel content by living the brand
- Kershaw Knives (recommended by Caddis graphic designer and musician Evan Mchugh)
- It’s clear that there’s one big player in the outdoor arena who is doing things right, and that’s REI. Here’s a couple of blog posts on just how they’re doing that: Large Scale eCommerce SEO and How REI outranks Wikipedia.
- You should also check out these posts by Anthony Pensabene that have a distinct slant towards the outdoor niche: Minding Language, Preference, And Intent When Targeting A Market and Using Search Operators to Find Engagement, Content, & PR Opportunities
- Case study on MEC How to Search-Optimize Your App in iTunes shared by Aaron Bradley
Sharing is Caring: What About You?
How about you dear reader? Do you have any examples to share or case study posts to consider? I don’t mind a if they’re your client or not, really just want to get a good sampling of useful examples.