Your fishing or paddlesports brand almost certainly has a website, and if not, we should talk sooner than later. But aside from having an understanding that your company or brand “needs” a website to compete in today’s marketplace – have you truly considered what role it plays in your overall marketing ecosystem?
What is a “Marketing Ecosystem”?
Before I get too far, I should probably define exactly what I mean by “marketing ecosystem”. By definition an ecosystem is “a system, or a group of interconnected elements, formed by the interaction of a community of organisms with their environment.” A key piece that seems to be missing from this definition would be the word “interdependent”. Each element in the community is dependent on the others for the overall health of their whole.
In marketing, or more specifically digital marketing, your brand’s ecosystem is comprised of all of the elements of your marketing program including but certainly not limited to your: website, social media, ads, collateral, catalogs, email campaigns etc. The list goes on and on. But to truly create a thriving ecosystem from these elements, each component has to be carefully selected and they must work in unison to create that interdependency I spoke of.
How Your Website Fits Into the Modern Marketing Ecosystem
From our perspective – to create a truly healthy and vibrant marketing ecosystem, for your fishing or paddlesports brand, your website should be right at the center of your marketing efforts. And everything else you do (create content, ads, social media, collateral etc) should serve to drive traffic to your website.
In short, your website should be the central focus or cornerstone of your overall marketing ecosystem.
Why So Much Emphasis on Your Brand’s Website?
It’s simple. Window shopping isn’t what it used to be.
Buyers and enthusiasts “Google” (yes, it’s a verb) before they shop.
And your website not only has to be found (via organic search, paid ads, social media etc) but must leave a lasting impression on the enthusiast looking to purchase a new rod or invest in a standup paddleboard. The story you tell, the picture you “paint” and the products you showcase on your website will be compared against your competitors’ offerings.
Consider this – when enthusiasts visit your website, for a short time you have them as a captive audience. They’re almost entirely focused on your brands, your products and how you make them “feel”. Nowhere else in your marketing efforts do you have that opportunity, so you have to make the most of it.
So, How Does That Relate to the Ecosystem?
If you think of your marketing ecosystem as your website being in the center, with all of your other marketing efforts radiating outward, like the spokes of a wheel, you’ll start to get the picture. We believe that everything else you do in your marketing should work to send traffic back to your website including:
- Social media
- Email marketing
- Advertising (on and offline)
- Marketing collateral
- Trade shows
And ultimately your website should serve to send buyers to retail outlets/outfitters or directly convert to a purchase on your site (depending on how you distribute your products).
Your Website Helps to Shape Overall Brand Perception
From the design of your site (look, feel, imagery, tone) to the types of content (articles, products, video) you offer within its pages, your website helps to create an overall perception of your brand. Are you creating an image that prospective buyers or enthusiasts wish to align with and champion or are you just selling “stuff”? Brand perception is important and your website can go a long way to help create the mystique around your products you hope to project.
Just as important, your website is your opportunity to share your history and back-story, introduce pros and ambassadors that are aligned with your products and of course showcase & demonstrate your actual products. And if done properly, you can achieve this with few outside distractions.
There is No Ecosystem Without a Healthy Website
As you can probably tell, we’re pretty passionate about the importance of your brand’s website. In fact, we believe it to be the MOST important element in your overall marketing mix. Websites are complex, living-breathing organisms that need to be taken care of and nurtured. And when done properly, they help to ensure the overall health of your marketing ecosystem and brand.
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