I mentioned in my last blog post that I’ve been very fortunate to have the clients I do. Without them, I could not have started Sparrow Creative Studios, and the client I have been dying to talk about first is PlainsCraft Covered Wagons. Dennis and Donna Steinman first approached me in 2019 to help market covered wagons. And yes, I mean Oregon Trail-style covered wagons. I was blown away, because why on earth would anyone need to market covered wagons in this century?
The Steinmans are long-time entrepreneurs, so frankly, nothing they talk about should shock me at this point. Dennis explained that he was starting his own glamping business and that he needed marketing help. Naturally, I asked a lot of questions. “What is glamping?” “Covered wagons? What?” He gracefully answered my questions and as it turns out, the concept is pretty brilliant and so much fun.
What is glamping and why wagons?
PlainsCraft wagons are built for glamping, a type of luxury camping that’s just been gaining ground in the past handful of years. Covered wagons, he told me, were just one type of glamping accommodation out of a wide selection of tents, yurts, cabins, pods, and just about anything else you can throw a bed into. He brought me on early to help launch the business. Since its humble beginnings, we’ve grown it into a profitable company that’s enabling other small businesses across Kansas and even North America. (We just sent our first international wagons into Canada a couple of weeks ago and have the State of Kansas and the Department of Commerce to thank for their help. Contact me if you’d like to learn more.)
How did we grow the company?
First of all, it’s kind of easy to sell a product — even a covered wagon — when you’re passionate about it. Because I know Dennis and Donna and how they work as business owners, I started by developing a line that drove our communications and marketing: Let’s build something together. I wrote this line as a way to explain how Dennis brings solutions to the table, and to explain the lengths they go to ensure their customers are thrilled with the product and the entire process.
We also decided to work directly with an upgraded version HubSpot, which is a full-service inbound marketing, sales, and customer service software that has empowered us to use data and their distinct tools to find success. They have a group of brilliant consultants who showed me how use the software in ways that would help us be efficient, smart, and effective at marketing our wagons. Through HubSpot, we’re able to analyze where our customers are coming from, how long it takes to close a sale, and we can track leads in a way that ensures nobody drops off our communication list. It’s leading to massive growth on our end and we’re now around halfway toward our sales goals for 2021 and we’re not through Q2 yet.
How did we adapt through Covid?
An in-person view of wagon is breathtaking. As we worked to sell covered wagons without attending in-person events, we knew we’d have to get innovative. That’s why we developed a video that could sell the vision of the brand. It resonated with our target customers, and we met our sales goal in a Covid-year. We then immediately started 2021 with multiple sales.
How we’ve moved forward
We prepped for 2021 by finalizing our brochure and beefing up content on our website. PlainsCraft is now large enough that we can start to provide insights into where the covered wagons are heading. We’ve partnered with influencers HoneyTrek and we’re starting to gather data about how the wagons will perform. All of these strategies have helped PlainsCraft get noticed by potential buyers and have convinced them to add glamping — and specifically, covered wagons — to their establishments.
If you’d have told me 10 years ago I’d be launching my own small business by marketing covered wagons, I definitely would have told you you’re crazy. Yet here I am, and I love what I do.
Feel free to get in touch if you’d like to discuss ways we can help your brand flourish like it’s a covered wagon in 2021.