Part 2: Winter 2011/2012
Developing a Long Term Strategy
Seeing the power of SEO to drive traffic and sales, Bradley continued working with Panoptic to develop an integrated marketing plan for Paddle Diva. We helped her understand that building a robust and sustainable online presence means delivering something of value to your audience —and speaking from the heart, with an authentic voice. The website had some basic, built-in blogging functionality (which was eventually moved to a separate WordPress platform), and Bradley herself had already established profiles for her business on the major social networks. But she wasn’t sure how to grow her following, especially during the off-season when no one in the Northeast would be paddling or interested in reading about water sports.
Learning how to blog and use social media effectively takes time and planning; the natural impulse is to jump in and start selling and promoting. Bradley was quick to understand the difference between talking at potential customers vs. engaging them in meaningful conversations that they were likely to remember.
Working with Panoptic, Bradley decided to focus her blog around the things she was passionate about that also supported her brand identity:
- Women’s Empowerment & Celebrating the Achievements of Women
- Natural Health & Wellness
- Plastic Pollution & Ocean Conservation
Blogging around these topics provided Bradley with a way to start associating the Paddle Diva brand with people she admires, causes she supports, and organizations she wanted to align her business with, while simultaneously allowing her to showcase her expertise — or offer her informed opinion — on these subjects.
So how did all this blogging impact Paddle Diva’s business?
We can offer a variety of statistics to illustrate the increase in traffic to Paddle Diva’s website as a result of these online marketing activities – but numbers tend to bore people if they don’t focus on the bottom line. So we’ll just cut to the chase: Paddle Diva’s business doubled in the Summer of 2012.
Bradley’s steady blogging and engagement across the social networks brought something more than increased revenue – it bought her brand exposure in mainstream media, which in turn introduced Paddle Diva to new markets and opportunities. A few examples:
November 2011: Gina Bradley (far right) and her Paddle Diva crew were invited to pose for a German art book featuring the work of photographers Paolo Pellegrin and Stefan Pielow. The exposure brought new European followers to the Paddle Diva Facebook page, giving Bradley international exposure.
January 2012: Bradley is featured in the short documentary film “Mission of Mermaids,” and becomes more involved with fighting plastic pollution and local conservation issues. Bradley now regularly acts as a spokesperson and representative for the film at local film festivals and screenings, solidifying her brand’s commitment to environmental awareness.
February 2012: Bradley was asked to review the 2012 Surf Expo for Standup Journal, giving her a chance to be the authoritative voice on SUP at this annual industry convention.