They say, marketing makes up 50% of a successful business. You can be the ultimate expert in your niche and your reviews can be raving - but if you don’t tell anyone about it, you’ll quickly run out of happy guests.

In this post, we are taking a look at leading marketing trends for 2023, particularly as it applies to outdoor activity providers, nature-based tourism businesses and others who are interested in sustainable life, business and marketing.

Social media marketing

With platforms like TikTok on the rise and Instagram focussing more on Reels than anything else, short video content is dominating the social media landscape.

When creating content for social media it pays off to focus on short video content. The good news is that it’s not all about professionally produced campaigns. Authentic and spontaneous video content can achieve just the same results.

Top tip: Record videos for social media in portrait format.

What’s important is that social media videos make use of strong visuals and simple messages. They have to be able to grab people’s attention in a split second - that’s all you have until they scroll further.

A great way to do this, is by using teasers. For example, combine a striking visual with short text that gives people a taste of what the post is about and directs people to the caption, where you can provide more information.

Top tip: Spend time on social media to look at other people’s Reels, TikToks etc. It’s a good way to find out what kind of content you’d like to create, what works and what doesn’t.

Social media isn’t a one-way sales channel - it’s a place to build relationships. Focus on telling your story (or the story of your business). Be personable, show your staff member, give followers an insight into your business day.

And finally, keep in mind that quantity isn’t everything. Social media platforms reward super-frequent posting and you should definitely stay active, even throughout your busy season, but it’s just as important to share content that reflects the quality of your business with integrity. Sometimes less is more.

Top tip: Don’t be afraid of re-posting content you created in the past, re-sharing Reels with different music, or re-using captions for seasonal events.


Website Content

Our top advice for marketing-friendly website content is to pay attention to how your website shows up in related search results.

Blog posts are a fantastic way to create additional content that can be useful and expose your business website to a wider audience who is interested in related topics.

Before you write blog posts though, learn the basics about SEO and keyword research, so that the effort you put into this content strategy is time well spent.

Top tip: Write blog posts that answer questions people might have about topics that are relevant to your business.


Email Marketing

While social media is a big part of any business’ public-facing marketing strategy, email marketing makes use of a direct connection between you and your (potential) customers.

Email marketing is not dependent on algorithms or optimal publishing times. Your emails land straight in people’s inboxes and allow them to engage with them on their schedule. Emails are a very personal way of communicating with your customers, even if you send the same email to everyone.

An important step to improve your email marketing is to segment your list and use tags so you know who’s a first-time or repeat customer, when they booked with you, where they are from, what type of activity they’re interested in etc. If you already have a list, you will most likely have to do it manually. It takes time but it means you can better target your email communication to relevant subscriber segments.

Top tip: Grow your email list by offering freebies to download (itinerary, safety guide, location guide, gear list etc.), by creating a wait list for launch dates or upcoming specific products, or simply by offering a small benefit to newsletter subscribers.

B2B Marketing

If you’re already a member of Wild Scotland, you should make use of the wide network of aligned businesses all over Scotland. Why not join forces and support each other’s marketing efforts?

You could reach out to similar businesses to yours in other regions - their audience might already be interested in the type of activity you offer. Or you can partner with different businesses in your local area - their audience is already interested in your region.

Consider cross-promoting each other’s businesses via your newsletters or social media. Include a discount code or special offer to entice their audience to get to know you.

Top tip: If you’re not a Wild Scotland member yet, find out more about joining here.
Podcasting. Just like short video content, podcasting are dominating the marketing landscape of 2023.

Podcasts present a growing advertising market and can be a fantastic marketing tool for small businesses. Like blog posts, podcast episodes have a long lifespan - they are SEO-friendly and searchable, and hosts build up a strong connection of trust with their audiences.

You don’t necessarily have to create your own podcast - instead try to get your name out there on existing shows.

  1. You can do this in two ways:
    By being a guest on other people’s podcasts. Try to find shows that focus on travel, wildlife, outdoor sports, unconventional lifestyles or businesses, and pitch yourself as a guest. Many shows welcome guest pitches and contacts are easy to find.
  2. By advertising on podcasts that fit your niche.

Using AI for Content Creation

2023 is the year of using artificial intelligence writers for content creation and marketing support.

While tools such as ChatGPT or are by no means perfect writers (just yet), these tools (free or premium versions are available) can help you overcome writer’s block and get words on the page.

By no means are these technologies at the point where you can simply copy, paste and publish content created by an AI writer. There are still many factual errors found in AI content, but they can be a great help to get you started.

Top tip: Test an AI writer for your next social media caption!

Working with a Marketing Plan

Our final tip for marketing in 2023 is to plan ahead. Set yourself achievable marketing goals throughout the year, considering the seasonality of tourism, your business, your experiences, wildlife, visitors etc.

It pays off to set aside a few hours a month for forward planning. It will also help you beat writer’s block as you’ll already have a plan for what kind of content to create when.

We are trialling a new marketing calendar for Wild Scotland members to help you identify relevant awareness dates. Find out more about joining here.