Integrating Offline and Online Branding

Are there offline opportunities to explore when promoting your hunting business?

Jack Daniels Nascar

Image courtesy of pocketwiley

These days there is a lot of focus going towards branding and growing a business via online methods: PPC, Affiliates, SEO, Blogger Outreach, Social Channels (Twitter, Facebook, etc.), and many others. These methods all make great sense. The Internet has allowed people and business to connect and communicate in ways that have added value to relationships. Information is spread with little barrier. People are more connected and better educated. The Internet has been good for both business and consumer.

But are offline branding strategies being overlooked when it comes to marketing?

Offline Branding

Creating offline branding strategies can be a great way to enhance your online strategies or the offline branding you work towards can do fine on its own.

The world is moving toward a more connected, more online way of business. Smart business folks will want to stay on the cutting edge of information when it comes to new, online ways of connecting with customers and building trust.

However, there are still ways to connect and acquire customers offline that provide more return on investment than the current online methods.

An example of offline branding that reaches to a specific audience is the Native Hunt Racecar Sponsorship effort.

The Native Hunt Team is focusing on building awareness for their brand of outfitting while building business relationships that can lead to acquiring new customers while building trust to maintain their current customers. Native Hunt realizes that there is a significant portion of their target audience that is responding more to offline branding than to online. Native Hunt does a good job of integrating the two (their website URL on the car), but more on that below.

Some other examples of offline branding that may work for your business include:

  • Catalogs
  • Package Inserts
  • Postcards
  • TV
  • Radio
  • Fliers or other Printed Handouts

Industry Shows (These are still huge and great for connecting with customers and businesses)

Online Branding

The Web has allowed companies to do great things in their branding efforts with consumers.

Larger companies and companies focused on growth have ventured into many of the paid opportunities available on the Web. Services like Google AdWords offers targeted paid advertising that offers high return on investment. Companies looking for a variety of results (sales, branding, awareness, etc.) can find success with the paid branding opportunities available online.

Sponsorships, contest participation, and product reviews are just a few of the other ways companies have successfully taken advantage of the online branding opportunities. With the increase in available communication channels such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc., there are an ever increasing number of resources available for increasing branding online.

Integrating Offline and Online Branding

When it comes to branding, companies often separate online and offline activities. This is usually a mistake since there is more benefit and return to be had by those that plan and integrate all branding initiatives.

Back to the Native Hunt example mentioned above. Native Hunt used their resources to sponsor a racecar. This was a great way to share the branding message of Native Hunt: Guided Hunts & Wildlife Tours. However, Native Hunt didn’t stop at simply including their logo and brand message. Native Hunt included their Website URL. This is an often used method for businesses that have more information and chances for engagement on their Website to increase the awareness of the Website.

Being seen more frequently today are TV ads for Twitter and Facebook pages. Large and small companies are going to where their customers are and building networks of followers. With these followers, companies are increasing the value of the connection and increasing sales. Companies are understanding that to penetrate an existing audience like the one on Facebook, they need to increase their clout on their Facebook page by gaining followers and then work to move those followers off the site to purchase (perhaps in the future customers will be able to purchase right on Facebook).

Integrating isn’t just for large companies.

Companies of all sizes can integrate their branding activities to increase awareness of communication channels. You can even integrate offline efforts with other offline efforts (postcard and catalog) and online with online (Facebook with Email).

If you have fans on Facebook, try to capture their attention for an email newsletter. Perhaps the email newsletter is a better driver for sales at your business. Most folks are apt to use email and once you have a fan captured on Facebook you want to continue adding value to their lives via your Facebook page while working to convert that fan to a customer via your channels that convert well.

Summary

Integrating is an important part of a successful company.

Find where you customers are spending their time, work to capture their attention on those channels by adding value, and then capture their attention via high converting channels. By increasing your clout across all communication channels – offline and online – you can increase the brand awareness for your company while increasing sales.

What are your thoughts on branding and integration?

Have you done anything of this sort with your company already? Please share in the comments.

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The Beautiful Outdoors: 50 Amazing Photos

Inspiring outdoor imagery shared through the amazing Flickr Creative Commons Collection

Farm Rolling Hills

Courtesy of Nicholas_T

I came across an amazing post on Smashing Magazine, The Beauty of India: 50 Amazing Photos. The images are truly amazing.

I realized I haven’t done a collection of images from Flickr in some time and thought it would be fun to do another.

I like to use Flickr for just about every post on HBM. I feel that images add some depth to the experience with each post. And you know I love hunting pictures.

Here are the previous collections from the Flickr Creative Commons Series on HBM:

I chose images from the outdoors. Even though most of us realize the beauty in the outdoors already, I thought it would be great to collect some of the fine examples from the best photographers in the business.

These images are from fields, streams, and woods.

Hopefully these images can inspire you today…

Fields

Abandoned Barn in a Field

Abandoned Barn in a Field

Courtesy of Robb North

Spring Sunset Magic

Spring Sunset Magic

Courtesy of See1,Do1,Teach1

Coming Home to the Farm

Farm Road Field

Courtesy of Jody McNary Photography

Jody McNary Photography

Little Road to the Farm

Little Road to the Farm

Courtesy of tipiro

Green and Gold Farm Field

Green and Gold Farm Field

Courtesy of tipiro

Auto Graveyard

Auto Graveyard

Courtesy of seanmcgrath

Tulip Field and Hot Air Balloons

Tulip Field and Hot Air Balloons

Courtesy of jesse.milan

White Horse

White Horse Field

Courtesy of Wolfgang Staudt

Rusty Barn in Autumn

Rusty Barn in Autumn

Courtesy of jsorbieus

Cactus Field

Cactus Field

Courtesy of kevindooley

Yellow and Pink Flowers

Yellow and Pink Flowers

Courtesy of Per Ola Wiberg

Hay Bales Harvest Time

Hay Bales Harvest Time

Courtesy of pdam2

Old Farm and Truck

Old Farm and Truck

Courtesy of Grantsviews

Vintage Fence

Fencing Materials

Courtesy of Robb North

Bikes and Farm Fields

Bikes and Farm Fields

Courtesy of ClickFlashPhotos / Nicki Varkevissor

Lilac Tree

Courtesy of Robb North

Blue Flower Field

Blue Flower Field

Courtesy of Per Ola Wiberg

Streams

Backyard Stream

Backyard Stream

Courtesy of bslmmr

Stepping Stone Bridge

Stepping Stone Bridge

Courtesy of Johan J.Ingles-Le Nobel

Gray Sky Stream

Gray Sky Stream

Courtesy of Richard0

Mexico Waterfall

Mexico Waterfall

Courtesy of zoutedrop

Hidden Falls

Hidden Falls

Courtesy of Nicholas_T

Shallow Stream and Falls

Small Stream After Rain

Courtesy of NeilsPhotography

Chirkhuwaa Khola at Baaluwani

Chirkhuwaa Khola

Courtesy of ` TheDreamSky 꿈꾸는 하늘

Winter Stream

Winter Stream

Courtesy of Nicholas_T

Forest Waterfall

Forest Waterfall

Courtesy of Nicholas_T

Cold Winter Stream

Cold Winter Stream

Courtesy of nagillum

Stream Under Bridge

Stream Under Bridge

Courtesy of paul (dex) busy @ work

Light Shining on Stream

Light Shining on Stream

Courtesy of eye of einstein

Shaky Bridge

Shaky Bridge

Courtesy of Nicholas_T

Vintage Dry Creek

Vintage Dry Creek

Courtesy of Robb North

Canada Mountain Stream

Canada Mountain Stream

Courtesy of *~Dawn~*

Woods

Rusty Car in the Woods

Rusty Car in the Woods

Courtesy of Nicholas_T

Forest Ablaze

Forest Ablaze

Courtesy of Nicholas_T

Sun Shining in the Forest

Sun Shining in the Forest

Courtesy of josef.stuefer

Green Glow Forest

Green Glow Forest

Courtesy of mindfulness

Rolling Hills and Trees

Rolling Trees

Courtesy of Nicholas_T

Falling Leaf

Falling Leaf

Courtesy of Memotion

Golden Autumn

Golden Autumn

Courtesy of Reinante El Pintor de Fuego

Narrow Road Through the Woods

Narrow Road in the Woods

Courtesy of Per Ola Wiberg

Abstract Woods

Abstract Woods

Courtesy of Reinante El Pintor de Fuego

Bright Green

Bright Green Forest

Courtesy of tipiro

Rock Path Golden Forest

Courtesy of Nicholas_T

Deer in the Woods

Deer in the Woods

Courtesy of Nicholas_T

Shadowy Path

Shadowy Path

Courtesy of GotMeAMuse

Snowy Forest

Snowy Forest

Courtesy of Vince Algoni

Autumn Morning

Autumn Morning

Courtesy of bslmmr

Colorful Woods

Colorful Woods

Courtesy of Problemkind

Repeating Forest

Repeating Forest

Courtesy of Wolfgang Staudt

Old Tree

Old Tree

Courtesy of gumuz

The Hunter

The Hunter

Courtesy of MysticMoon14

10 Free Tips to Grow Your Blog

10 action steps for growing your blog right away

Great folks in the outdoor industry contact me regularly usually to say hello and sometimes to discuss blogging and business strategy. Some of these folks – being the savvy business folks they are – usually like to find some simple things they’re simply overlooking.

Most folks that inquire about information ask for pricing on the Hunting Business Marketing Services. I share the prices for the various services up front and then give a few tips on the subject specifically referred to in the inquiry. Most folks like the free tip and advice and it hopefully helps them with their current strategies.

For folks interesting in something more detailed and specific to their needs, we move onto specific strategies and planning with the paid services offered such as Marketing Consulting, SEO, and Copywriting.

In terms of blogging, I usually share some basic things as advice up front with folks. These can often be the most helpful for those in the beginning stages of blogging.

Since I repeat these tips often I thought it would make sense to share them in a post (head slap moment).

Here are 10 Free Tips to Grow Your Blog…

1| Guest Post

Guest posting is the number one way for bloggers to grow their audience and increase traffic (after writing your own great content of course). Writing guest posts puts you in front of audiences that are already established readers of the blogs. By offering to write guest posts on popular blogs you’re providing the blog editors with quality content and in return you get exposure and increase traffic for your site or blog.

Start seeking out blogs in your niche and outside of your niche and offer to write guest posts. Make sure the people that visit your blog can subscribe to your posts so you capture them as readers.

2| Determine Goals

When starting a blog as a stand-alone entity or when adding a blog to your existing site, it’s important to determine the goals up front. While there is always going to be a point where you have to just let go and go for it, you want to make sure that the focus of the blog aligns with the goals of the business.

For example, are you starting a blog with the goal of gaining attention of major publications for a potential job?

Are you starting a blog as a way to drive traffic and interest for your e-commerce store?

Determine the goals for your blog and create content with that goal as the focus.

3| Read Other Blogs

Reading other blogs is a great way to gain inspiration for your own writing. It’s also important for finding great content to build on and to link to with your own posts. Reading other blogs will allow you to determine the type of content that you enjoy and the content your readers enjoy. Also, read the comments to see how people react to certain kinds of posts. Try to copy successful patterns for your own posts.

4| Comment and Post

When you are reading blog posts and forum posts, be sure to leave your insight by commenting and posting. As a blog owner, you’ll realize that receiving a comment is a great reward. Comments validate the content a writer is writing and lets them know they’re connecting with readers.

Commenting and sharing your thoughts off your site is another way to build your audience through exposure just like guest posting.

5| Write Catchy Headlines

Headlines are the first thing potential readers see regarding the content on your site. Write your headlines after your write your content and make sure you address the interests and desires of the people you’re targeting.

You can come up with ideas for posts (which can be seen as a headline), but be sure to adjust the headline accordingly once you’ve written the post.

A great way to come up with ideas for headlines is The Cosmo Guide to Writing Effective Headlines.

6| Post Regularly

Writing your posts regularly is good for two reasons:

1) Your readers crave consistency just like they crave the news every night.

2) Search engines crave consistency as well. They will crawl your site more and increase your authority the more often you post quality content.

7| Structure Your Blog Posts

Your readers (and search engines) will love your content more if you make your posts easy to read and easy to scan.

Use headings, lists, bolding, and other structure methods when writing your posts so the content is easily digestible for readers and search engines.

8| Link to Other Sites

A way that gains attention from other bloggers in a positive way is to use your site and blog to link to the quality posts of others. Just as receiving comments on a site is rewarding for blog writers, receiving links and mentions on other blogs is validation for their hard work.

Don’t expect it in return, but most times when you link to other blogs you’ll find the other folks visiting your site to check you out and in wonderful cases even sharing your content and linking to you when appropriate.

9| Link to Your Own Content

When writing posts (and I forget this discipline sometimes) remember to link to your own content using relevant anchor text. Search engines use your internal links to determine your important content and your readers follow the links as they look to digest more of your insight.

Ex: Hunting Pictures, Hunting Resources, and Web Conversion Tips

10| Ad Revenue is Tough

When starting blogs folks will often look at ad revenue and affiliate revenue for ways to make money to support their work. This is a tough road to take since it requires a lot of traffic to generate enough revenue to make the effort worthwhile.

Something I often suggest for outdoor bloggers is to focus on writing quality material while making connections in the hunting industry that can lead to writing jobs with major publications.

Show that you’re an expert in your field and others will take notice and seek out your insight. Some will be willing to pay you for content.

With the focus on your content, you can also take advantages of other opportunities for revenue that may come about besides ads and affiliates.

Summary

These 10 tips are the ones I share the most often with folks asking about blogging. They’re very basic, but I think most find them useful nonetheless.

I hope they will help you.

What other tips can you add to the list?

Please share your thoughts in the comments (See Tip #4).

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The Best Hunting Picture Galleries

Hunters view thousands of hunting pictures on the Web…every day

The competition for the attention of hunters is heating up online and some folks are using quality hunting picture galleries to attract attention away from the competition.

My personal favorites tend to be the galleries that are easy on the eyes, easy to navigate and the ones that have the best photos of trophy game. My favorite type of hunting is bowhunting for whitetails so I always love seeing great photos related to this hunting niche.

Here are the best hunting picture galleries…

Field & Stream

Site: Field & Stream

Gallery: Field & Stream Photos

Overview

The Field & Stream Photo Gallery is one of the most popular galleries on the Web. F&S has the best selection of lists and collections of hunting pictures on the Web. People love lists and that includes hunters. The F&S ‘Best of’ collections make for great photo viewing. To increase involvement with their target audience, the team at F&S also encourage users to submit their best photos. F&S then takes the time to highlight the user photos in ways that make the users the stars. This is a great way to highlight the success of others and give them a vested interest in the gallery. I also like the mix of professional photos as well.

For more see Critique of the Field and Stream Photo Gallery

Petersen’s Hunting

Site: Petersen’s Hunting

Gallery: Petersen’s Hunting Trophy Room

Overview

The Petersen’s Hunting gallery is entirely user-submitted. On the photo gallery home page visitors have the option to view the highlighted photos, the most recent photos, the most popular photos, and users can view photos by collection and category. Giving visitors options when it comes to viewing segments of your photo gallery is important. Some visitors will want to search for specific types of photos. To satisfy these visitors you’ll want to offer a way to search the photos. Other visitors will want to discover new photos that meet their interests. This is where the categories are helpful (ex: I like whitetails. I can click on the whitetail section).

Duck’s Unlimited

Site: Duck’s Unlimited

Gallery: Duck’s Unlimited Photo Gallery

Widget: Duck’s Unlimited Member Photo of the Day Widget

Overview

Ducks Unlimited is a gallery I’ve only recently discovered and I’m glad I did. The user photos in this gallery are spectacular. DU members are allowed to submit photos and it’s apparent that some of the members are professional photographers. And that makes for some inspirational and breath-taking photographs of wildlife (ducks and waterfowl).

Something that sets the DU gallery apart from some of the others is their embeddable widget. Check it out and if you want to see the daily photos on your Website or blog you can. Widgets are great for increasing your audience and search engines love the links they create back to the site.

Bowhunting.com

Site: Bowhunting.com

Gallery: Bowhunting.com Photos

Overview

It’s no secret that Bowhunting.com is one of my favorite hunting sites. I’ve written about them and included them in collections before (5 Hidden Treasures on the Web, The Top 50 Blog Posts of 2009, 25 Tips from 25 Hunting Industry Leaders). The team at Bowhunting.com are experts at hunting and sharing their insight and knowledge through their videos, photos, and blog posts. There is a great mix of trail cam photos, harvest trophies, and general photography for hunting product reviews and more. The photo gallery is easy to navigate and the photos are of high quality.

Bowhunting.com is one of the galleries that offers visitors the opportunity to comment on individual photos. Something Field & Stream doesn’t have yet (you can comment on the entire collection or gallery only). Some also offer visitors the chance to rate photos like Ducks Unlimited and others.

Buckmasters

Site: Buckmasters

Gallery: Buckmasters Trophy Gallery

Overview

The Buckmasters Trophy Gallery is not the best of the bunch, but they have a ton of great user photographs due to the company’s popularity. I’m not sure if it was just me, but this gallery took awhile to load and the auto-play music was a bit annoying (not the music, but the fact that it was playing automatically. See more Video on Your Website). It’s a cumbersome gallery, but it has good photos and it’s a well known brand.

Lone Wolf

Site: Lone Wolf Portable Treestands

Gallery: Lone Wolf Trophy Gallery

Overview

Lone Wolf is a bit of a sleeper in this collection. I’m a huge fan of the design of the Lone Wolf site so it’s no surprise that I’d like their photo gallery. I also think it’s important to show that hunting product manufacturers can have successful photo galleries (as well as any hunting industry company). Users submit photos and while some aren’t the best the scrolling is easy and the thumbnail setup is simple.

CamoSpace

Site: CamoSpace

Gallery: CamoSpace Gallery

Overview

CamoSpace seems to be one of the few social networking hunting sites that has actually had some success. They have partnered with some big companies and some big folks that are famous for more than just hunting (Luke Bryan – great music). It’s a formula that has worked for growing the membership on the site. The photo gallery is 100% user-submitted. That format can lead to some noise (see the trucks), but there are still a ton of photos in the gallery and many of them are great…even if they are a little difficult to find.

ESPN Outdoors Hunting

Site: ESPN Outdoors Hunting

Gallery: Hunting Photo Galleries

Overview

It isn’t the prettiest and it isn’t the easiest to use, but ESPN makes the list because the brand is huge and the hunting shows on the channel are popular. Plus I loved the shows on ESPN Outdoors on Saturday morning when I was growing up.

Big Grass Outfitters

Site: Big Grass Outfitters

Gallery: Big Grass Outfitters Trophy Gallery

Overview

It’s important for outfitters to have galleries as part of their informational sites. Potential customers want visual proof of success. And past customers can be the best referral service when they push their friends to go on the site and view their photos.

Heartland Lodge

Site: Heartland Lodge

Gallery: Heartland Lodge Photo Gallery

Overview

One of the best looking sites in the hunting industry, Heartland Lodge makes great use of a photo gallery to show their potential customers the wonders they have to offer. I love that they use existing technology in Picasa to power their photo gallery. Remember that you don’t always have to work hard to develop your own style of gallery. Use galleries that already exist.

The categories in the gallery are great, but the titles of each photo are another story…

Gander Mountain

Site: Gander Mountain

Gallery: Gander Mountain Braggin’ Board

Overview

I grew up near a Gander Mountain (no Cabela’s nearby and I didn’t use the Web at the time) and I loved checking out the physical cork braggin’ board in store. Customers were always putting their trophies on the board and I loved looking at them all. Those Polaroids were great. With this gallery, Gander Mountain has brought that experience to the Web.

Greenwood Springs Plantation

Site: Greenwood Springs Plantation

Gallery: Greenwood Springs Plantation Photos

Overview

I came across this site toward the end of this post but I just had to include it. It’s a beautiful design and I love that they use Flickr for their photo gallery. The photos could be titled, tagged and included in Creative Commons on Flickr, but it’s a great use of a great photo gallery tool.

Elements of a Quality Gallery

As I browsed the Web in search of the best hunting galleries, I noted a few elements that should be standard on all folks considering a photo gallery for their site:

1) Multi-size Options

With image size, there is a battle between load time of the page and the quality and size of the image you want to load for your viewer’s viewing pleasure. Most sites offer an initial smaller version of images for scrolling and initial viewing, but offer visitors the option to zoom in or enlarge the photo, usually in some kind of pop-up. I think it’s a good compromise. Allow visitors the pleasure of a fast loading page with smaller images and if they have the capacity, they can zoom in or enlarge the photo.

2) Thumbnail Options

Something I’m in favor of when it comes to galleries are thumbnail viewing options. Popular photo gallery sites like Flickr (Flickr Hunting) offer thumbnail viewing so users can see multiple photos at once while being able to choose the ones they want to view in more detail.

3) Easy Scrolling

An important feature of galleries is the ability to scroll from photo to photo. Once a user has chosen a particular gallery to view they want to be able to scroll from photo to photo quickly and easily.

4) Proper Tagging and Titling

Giving the proper title and the appropriate tag to each photo in your gallery is important for your visitors so they understand what they’re viewing. Tagging and titling photos and galleries properly is also important for optimizing your gallery for search engines.

5) Sharing Abilities

Giving visitors the ability to share and bookmark the photos in a gallery is extremely important for the growth of your site’s traffic and audience. Build in the word of mouth aspects of a gallery and make sure the photos are worth talking about people will spread the word.

Bonus Element

Calls to action are important for any site that is aimed at selling something to visitors. With a bit of programming and planning, sites could take advantage of internal linking to sell relevant products to customers that are viewing the photos in galleries. For example, a company could ask users to submit the equipment used to harvest a trophy. List and link the equipment on the photo to the product pages and you have potential sales. A site like Gander Mountain could do this.

Your Favorite Hunting Picture Galleries

Did I miss your favorite gallery? Please share in the comments.

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Ecommerce Search – Pay Attention to Your Audience

Your audience will tell you what they want

Binoculars

Last month Google came out with a new service for businesses with current or future plans for expanding ecommerce presence.

Google Commerce Search

Google has a great way to approach new products. They test new products by allowing limited membership to their new programs and products while they work out the kinks and learn from the group of users who test the new products and services.

Google Commerce was rolled out with Birkenstock and it seems to be a big step for companies with a focus on ecommerce. The step may not be directly related to Google Commerce Search, but the trend that Google Commerce Search addresses is certainly important for businesses with an ecommerce presence as well as for companies with any Web presence.

Let me explain…

Search and Ecommerce

In Google’s Commerce Search video they mention an amazing statistic:

Web site visitors spend an average of 8 seconds on a site before deciding whether to stay. And 70% of online shoppers use search to make this decision.

It seems that the Web and ecommerce has honed in the consumer’s focus of searching for products. Or perhaps consumers have always used search in some form to discover the things they are looking for.

Whether it’s a catalog or a Website, the designer can make suggestions with headings in navigation or in a table of contents, but consumers will still page through a catalog or page through a Website to discovery products on their own.

I’ve been noticing an increased emphasis on search and specifically on the importance of the search bar design on many popular ecommerce sites.

LL Bean

Visit the site – LL Bean

LL Bean now features their search bar directly right in the middle of their home page. The search bar is also highlighted with a color (a shade of LL Bean green) and the text ‘Enter item # or keyword’ is prominently displayed.

LL Bean Search Bar

LL Bean has obviously been doing some testing of their own and has discovered that their customers are using the search bar to discover, find and purchase the products available on the site.

It’s a great example of a company paying attention to their audience and using Website design and functionality to add value to their customers.

Here are a couple other examples…

Zappos

Visit the site – Zappos and Zappos Zeta

Zappos Search Bar

Zeta Zappos Search Bar

The search bar on Zappos’s test site, Zeta, has the search bar with a color background to highlight the search functionality even more.

Bowhunting.com

Visit the site – Bowhunting.com

Bowhunting Search Bar

The search here is not in the typical upper right hand side of the page. It’s toward the upper middle area and the company is using Google to provide their search functionality.

These companies realized what their visitors wanted – search functionality – and fostered their Website design around those expressed needs.

Your customer may be expressing different needs for your Website and business. You just have to figure out what they are asking.

Listen to Your Audience

A key to success on the Web for any company is to pay attention and listen to your audience.

Successful marketing driven companies in any contact channel have always been exceptional with testing various initiatives while listening to the feedback their customers provide to the testing. Google has made their mark on the Web by following the principle of testing and rolling out products that their audience responds to with the most long-term excitement. There will always be misses along the way, but the testing and listening strategy is a strong strategy for any company.

Testing at times can seem difficult and time consuming and to setup formal tests it can take time, but is often worth the effort to see the results.

Often times though you’ll find that you can listen and pay attention to your audience without setting up a formal test.

For example, I’ve noticed on the Hunting Business Marketing blog that the types of posts that get shared the most are posts that highlight the success of others. These are usually list posts such as 50 Best Hunting Website Designs. However, posts with more in depth commentary such as Successful Business Highlight – Smashing Magazine are also successful.

I didn’t setup a test for types of posts, but I like to try writing posts of varying style while paying attention to what readers are responding to the most. It seems to be a great way to learn and grow as a writer and as a business owner.

Paying attention and listening to your audience is the key to testing and finding the needs of your customer. Successful companies are able to recognize these needs and address them with improvements to their value chain.

Summary

Companies involved in ecommerce have been alerted to a growing trend in Web consumer need – search.

Google has offered their own search for companies with an ecommerce focus with Google Commerce Search.

Successful companies always test and pay attention and listen to what their audience is telling them. Companies with long-term success are able to not only listen to their audience, but are also able to try new things that successfully address the expressed needs of their audience.

Setting up formal tests and even doing a little in depth analysis of your Website are great ways to listen to what your audience is saying. If you notice an area of expressed need that you can address then roll it out and see how your audience reacts. If it’s positive then great. If the response is so-so then try something new.

The key is to pay attention and continue adding value to your connection with your audience.

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