Question :
Need help on marketing.  I run a small Paddleboard and kayak hire business in Nelson and I am struggling to spread the word outside the region.  We are well known and get great local support, probably due to our location, but really need the heads up on how we can get word out to a wider audience.  It would be good to get help and advice about Creating and managing social posting, navigation of google ads and the benefits and costs of google full stop! You probably guessed I am crap at this kind of thing, and just don’t have the kind of money most of the tech outfits are asking for.i look forward to hearing from someone with the patience of a saint.nga mihi nuiToby

Question submitted 16/08/20 @ 10:42pm
Industry: Digital & Online Marketing
  • Up

    Kia ora Toby,

    It’s probably worth making some time to look at a concentrated marketing plan.

    First off do you have any information coming through that tells you where your current customers are coming from? If not make that part of your process so you can track that part of information. With the “how did you hear about us question? ” while they fill in your forms.

    Secondly your going to need to figure out which channels your marketing in, Facebook, Google ads, Instagram and start being consistent. This means dedicating time to this process. Which means posting at the Same time and in the same digital spaces. Facebook has a whole lot of tools but you might want to also at a third party app like hootesuite where you can schedule your posts in advance and automate this.

    A programme like Hootesuite will push your posts out to the different channels ie Facebook, YouTube, Instagram so you only have yo do the post once. It’ll save you time and money and there are good tutorials on the app to walk you through step by step.

    Try starting with this, you’ll need to be constant for at least 3 months to track the data and see what’s working but it’s up to you how long you make this cycle it needs to be long enough so it has time to work and for you yo have a read out of the Data. Then you can change it depending on where your getting the most hits and zero in on the market with focused campaigns.

    Start with this and see how you go.

    Nga mihi


    Kia Ora Toby

    I Want to reinforce what Nikora said – you really need to get a fix on where your customers have come from and who they are. This will give you the basis to do some effective marketing. Here’s a few basic steps you can take to get going with minimum cost and expertise.


    1. Do you have a database of previous customers, I would imagine you’d need them to sign some kind of waiver and provide details before hiring from you. If so, get that info into a spreadsheet so you can grow and manage it easily. Once you’ve done that you can do a couple of simple things….


    2. Create an email newsletter and in it offer those existing customers a really good deal to come back and hire again but make that offer subject to following your existing social accounts so you can start to build up your following and engagement in those channels. As part of that email you should also run a quick survey so you can understand who your customers are and where they come from, you should also ask what sort of activities they like engaging in, and the sorts of things they did before and after they visited you. This info will not only enable you to target specific regions with your FB ads but also identify opportunities for you to partner with other operators that are part of the customers journey to do some cooperative marketing.


    3. Incentivise your existing database to share your business with there friends, even offer existing customers a free hire if one of their friends hires from you.


    4. Once you’ve got your database sorted and you understand where your customers come from and the things they like doing you’re ready to do some basic Facebook ads. Use the data you’ve collected based on age, gender, location and interests to set up a Facebook ad campaign. Make sure to use awesome images of people having fun paddle boarding and kayaking and Makes sure as part of this process that you set up a Facebook Pixel(There are plenty of YouTube videos that can show you how) and have the person who helps you with your website install that onto to your site. This will help you target those people that visit your site from your Facebook ad in the future.


    5. I’d also recommend you set up a page on your website especially for people coming from your Facebook ad. This will give you a clear idea of how well the ad is working, This is the page you install your pixel on. On that page have a offer they can’t refuse like a free 15min clinic before they go out based on their experience level to really drive sales and then have an up sell offer ready for once they come off the water, like a paid 30min lesson or a deal on future hires in the next 48hrs (if they get bitten by the paddling bug you want make sure you’re in a position to take advantage.


    6. Finally a quick word on content for your social accounts. For a business like yours I’d suggest you focus on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram. The content you create should be all about SUP and Kayaking and range from tips on how to become a better paddler, through to epic paddling adventures you go. Don’t worry about using content to sell, just make it as epic as possible and start and finish each piece of content with a link to your website. The rest will take care of itself if you do that consistently, and by consistently I mean commit to doing it regularly for 12mths before you think about measuring any return. It actually takes along time to build a really good following on social so you need to be committed for the long haul.


    Do the things I’ve outlined above and you’re covering all the basics and give yourself the best shot of succeeding, and none of what I’ve suggested is expensive, it just takes time and effort. All the best!


    Kia Ora Toby,
    Agree with the above.
    It may also be helpful at this stage to register with teh Regional Business Partner network, this is a government fund set up to help businesses exactly like yours. You can get some assistance fully funded, more information can be found here:
    Once registered it takes a couple of weeks to be allocated the budget. In teh meantine you can search for approved suppliers on their website’s marketplace. You can speak to a bunch and see which is teh best fit for you.
    Keep well


    Kia ora Toby

    Some great advice above.

    One extra tip is to consider adding a blog to your website with helpful articles on topics related to what people might be searching for that are coming to the area.

    Just this weekend my wife and I were exploring options for walking the Abel Tasman or Queen Charlotte tracks. We’ll be passing through Nelson and its worth thinking about the types of things we might be searching for as we plan the trip E.g. Half day activities near Nelson. You can also think laterally about topics e.g. Best ways to get to Anakiwa from Nelson. You’d simply provide some independent advice on the local options and then add a little blurb at the end, “by the way, check our great paddle board and kayak trips around Nelson”.

    Targeting the team building market could be an option too. We took our team kayaking in Raglan which was great. Your related blog topics could be around “outdoor team building activities in Nelson”.

    We started our own blogging journey properly back in 2013 and the articles still deliver results for us and here is a relevant one for you albeit a little old: https://www.rocketspark.com/blog/post/206/Why-you-should-bother-with-blogs/

    I hope that helps.

    Kind regards



    Kia Ora Toby,
    Some great advice above already, and definitely check out the funding from regional business partner network mentioned above.
    Also are you in touch with your regional tourism office at NelsonTasmanNZ ? If not I recommend contacting Hannah Norton hannah.norton@nelsontasman.nz and having a chat with her and see how they might help. Hannah used to work with me and she is great and will have a range of free advice for you and she is just down the road.
    I can also recommend a local digital marketing company Shifton who do a lot of work in the tourism marketing space, they are based up in Motueka.. get in touch with Johny O’Donnell johny@shifton.co and see what he can do..

    And don’t forget to list your product on this massive FB page for free Chooice
    Best of luck with it all. Jason


    Hi There

    There are many options in terms of marketing. I agree with what everyone above has said but I want to offer a couple of different ideas as well.

    A big thing nowadays is people want social proof and want to see reviews. TripAdvisor is a great tool where you can get customers to review their experience. You can then use these reviews on your social media by creating an Instagram Highlight specifically for reviews.

    From working at a hotel and my experience, when people are on holiday, they research and find what is best out there. By having a great social media presence along with great reviews, you are bound to attract more customers. With your social media, for example, I would recommend using customer photos that they have submitted as well as including locations they could paddleboard or kayak and the views and experiences they can have when using your equipment. As you said you have great local support as a result of the location you are in. Use your location to your advantage when using captions on your social media.

    I think having a deal or offer that someone can’t refuse is also key. For example, you could do Hire for 2hrs and get your 3rd Hour half price (or free dependent on what you want to do). This means that people are likely to go to you rather than a competitor because you are offering a discount that a customer can’t refuse.

    Although Facebook Advertising and Google Advertising is great and very budget-friendly, to start with I would recommend making sure your SEO is all set up. This is your Search Engine Optimisation which improves your ranking on Google when people search on google. Here is a link with a bit more information about it:


    I have lots of experience with running Social Media and setting up Social Media/Marketing Plans for businesses. If you wanted any more help or had more questions, don’t hesitate to reach out annabellelindberg30@gmail.com

    Hope this helps 🙂

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