By: Trey Barnett, Wildwater Ltd
Do you feel successful in your online marketing? In order to maximize your online presence in the outdoor industry, it is crucial to put your effort and information in the correct places. Bloggers are quick to mention the importance of digital influencers (modern travel writers) and YouTube, but often overlook the importance of a great foundation. Without optimizing your foundation, you cannot expect to use any of the other digital platforms to create growth for your business.
Digitally that foundation is a website, referral sites, map apps, and how they interact on a browser. While websites are an entirely different animal, referral sites, map apps and browsers work together to broadcast your presence to the potential customers.
Here are the 3 Rules of Internet Presence to use in leveraging your position on referral sites, map apps, and browsers.
- Confirm that your online information is correct and complete. Imagine arriving in the parking lot of a well-known business that has its lights on and a full parking lot. Then, arriving at the front door, the doors are locked and nobody is inside. That is the frustration that people experience when your business’s online presence is saying one thing, and you are saying another.
Action to Take: Claim your business listings online, and confirm that they are displaying the correct information. Due to the linking of referral sites and map apps, it is crucial that the correct address and map location are displayed for your business.
- Update Photos Regularly on Yelp, Google My Business and TripAdvisor. Your audience has always been visual; however, now they can see you before they arrive onsite. Use this to your advantage! Showcase the aspects of your business that you want people to see. Not everyone is blessed with the most picturesque location, so take photos of your business that complement your brand. Also, take at least one photo of your business from the road so that your customer can confirm they are at the correct location.
Action to Take: Initially post at least 5 unique photos. At least 1 photo should be of a smiling, happy employee. Of the other four, at least 2 photos should be of happy customers. After the initial photo push, make it a goal to post 1 new photo every month.
- Act on the suggestions the referral sites / map apps give you. When you sign up for the business account with TripAdvisor, Yelp, Google, etc., they will send suggestions and reminders to you. The goal of these companies is to create a better product. For them, a better product is more convenient and accurate access to the end user. In other words, if they are telling you to do something, it is to make your business more visible. Basically, it is like having the best business advisor with the most information give you personalized advise, so take it and act on it!
Action to Take: If the listing sites you are using offer a business platform, sign up for it and use it. You will receive more resources and information this way to better serve your customers.
The goal of your online presence is to create as much of a human to human connection as possible. Your customers want to feel like they are creating a connection with you before they ever arrive. In order to do that you need to create accurate, convenient information using the 3 Rules of Internet Presence. One final suggestion, if you are wanting to maximize your time, utilize the sites that meet at least two of the following three criteria: they help you find your way (map apps / sites); they help others share their opinions (referral sites); they allow customers to find you (web browser). Take the time to update your online presence this year to achieve greater success online.
About the Author:
Trey Barnett is the Marketing Manager for Wildwater, Ltd. Wildwater, the oldest outfitter in the Southeast, started on the Chattooga River in June of 1971. Jim and Jeanette Greiner pioneered the company, along with the help of their four children. Today, the company has grown beyond the family boundaries of the Chattooga River to include the Ocoee, Nantahala, Pigeon and Asheville Adventure Centers.