You Can Be Successful Too

“And that means you can start today.” Ramit Sethi of I Will Teach You To Be Rich

Business Escalator

image credit: Alex E. Proimos

This post is inspired by Ramit Sethi’s blog post Success and The Shrug Effect. Please read his post entirely. It’s inspiring and the best perspective on successful people I have seen.

Ramit’s Website: iwillteachyoutoberich

I want to expand on Ramit’s post by sharing reasons why you can be successful in the hunting industry just like the successful leaders in the industry that have come before you. You don’t have to simply “shrug” off the success of the leaders in the hunting industry while thinking you can’t reach or exceed their level of success.

We’ll look at a few examples and show that each started out on paths just like you and that if you continue on your path of “doing something that interests you, stepping up, and taking a chance on the unknown” (as Ramit says), you can be successful too.

LL Bean – A Story of Failure

Website: LL Bean

One of my favorite books is L.L.Bean: The Making of an American Icon. The book was written by former LL Bean CEO and grandson of Leon Leonwood Bean (LL Bean Founder), Leon Gorman. I recommend reading this book. It’s an inspiration for any business owner. Leon Gorman takes you through the history of LL Bean (the company), which includes direct marketing and retail marketing. It discusses strategies for marketing as well as merchandising. It discusses the unique selling proposition of LL Bean as well as other interesting company information.

One of the famous stories of the initial founding of LL Bean involves the failure of the first product offered: The Main Hunting Shoe or “The Bean Boot” (still sold today).

Leon Leonwood loved hunting and fishing in the outdoors of Maine, but he had a problem keeping his feet dry. He developed his boot that put together a rubber, waterproof bottom with flexible, leather upper. It was a genius design in both functionality and simplicity.

Bean obtained a list of licensed hunters in Maine and sent out a circular promoting his new invention. Demand was high and bean sold 100 pairs of his boot. Unfortunately, the rubber on the bottom cracked on most of the pairs and 90 were sent back. Unfazed, Bean took out anther loan, repaired the boots, and sent updated versions back out to each customer.

Just like you, Leon Leonwood started out to solve a problem for hunters. He worked to create something that hadn’t been invented yet. He started from scratch, yet he basically took what was available at the time – rubber and leather – and combined them to create a functional and simple shoe for hunters.

LL Bean was just a hunter like you who took small steps to reach the heights he did with his company while he was alive. That company is still thriving today and expanding into new products and marketing efforts with each passing season.

Dick and Jim Cabela – Another Story of Failure

Website: Cabela’s

The origin of Cabela’s is a great story in testing and marketing.

According to the Cabela’s Company History, Dick Cabela took out a classified ad in the Casper, Wyoming newspaper reading: “12 hand-tied flies for $1”. He got one response. He changed the ad to read: “FREE Introductory offer! 5 hand tied Flies…25c Postage…Handling” and put it in national publications like Sports Afield. The orders came rolling in.

Today, Cabela’s is the largest outdoor outfitter in the world. It all started Dick and his wife Mary’s kitchen table as they grew their mail-order business to include other outdoor products all while using direct mailing techniques still used today like inserting catalogs with each outgoing order package. Dick’s brother Jim eventually joined the family team and the business became what it is today.

Just as you may be, Dick Cabela was an outdoorsman who started his business out of his own home with little more than a few simple ideas, marketing techniques and the support of his family.

The Cabela family found ways to become innovative with their marketing. This is how they were able to stand out apart from the many other outfitters over the past 40+ years. Hunters, Fishermen, and other outdoors enthusiasts are able to easily understand what it is Cabela’s provides and they trust Cabela’s to provide the best outfitting equipment. This trust was built through direct, retail, and online contact channels.

The Cabela’s didn’t stumble on some mysterious secret formula for success. They were regular folks just like you who saw a need in the hunting industry and kept an open mind when it came to learning how best to provide quality outfitting products for outdoorsmen.

Their innovation is what’s kept them on top for so many years.

You can do the same with your hunting business by experimenting with new things in marketing, product design, and service innovation.

Todd Graf – Online Hunting Industry Pioneer

Websites:

ToddGraf.com

Hunting Net

Bowhunting.com

Blog:

Bowhunting.com Blog

As Ramit says, “it starts earlier”.

According to Todd Graf – The Early Years, 14-year old Todd to do a job at a local pet store for free simply to prove that he had a strong work ethic. While at the pet store, Todd learned the lesson all entrepreneurs learn – there are ups and downs, but it’s important to keep rolling through as your grow slowly and consistently.

Immediately after graduating from college, Graf started his own company, ISC Solutions. At the time, the IT and online networking industry was fresh, young, and still mostly unknown to the public at large. Todd was unafraid to jump fully into the field as he was passionate about becoming a success at something new and exciting.

As Todd’s business grew, he found that he was finding less and less time to hunt – his other passion. To fill the void he started a hunting Website, which eventually became HuntingNet.com.  Hunting Net is the most popular hunting community and Website on the Web today.

Since the launch of these two successful ventures, Todd has also launched Rhino Group, a company that takes Todd’s experience and expertise in the Website design and functionality and builds top of the line Websites for businesses. Graf has also launched Bowhunting.com, which is one of my favorite Websites. Bowhunting.com also has an e-commerce business model, which to my knowledge is new for Graf. He seems unafraid of trying new things.

Sure, you could shrug off Todd’s success as simply a result of his intelligence, drive, and passion for business and hunting (Ramit’s theory), but don’t believe for a second that you aren’t capable of the same or even higher level of success.

All of Todd’s success came with small steps that he envisioned as he grew his various businesses. He worked hard each day to fulfill the wants and needs of his target customers and today he’s one of the most important figures in the online hunting industry.

There is no reason you can’t reach the same or higher level of success.

Common Themes for Your Success

A few common themes stand-out in the three examples:

1| Failure

2| Small Steps

3| Passion

4| Unknown

5| Unique Selling Propositions

The leaders in the hunting and outdoor industry mentioned above all had failures along their paths to success. I’m sure they’re still experiencing things that don’t work out as well as they hope today – despite all of the success they’ve had.

Failure is something that happens in our everyday lives and as an entrepreneur you’re going to experience a heightened level of failure as you experiment with potential unique selling propositions. Don’t be afraid to fail, but always focus on improving the life of your target customer. Always focus on adding value to their lives as hunters. Don’t aim for failure, but don’t fear it or become discouraged when it happens. Take the lesson and improve.

Each of the hunting industry leaders mentioned above took small steps to reach their current level of success. They started at various times and circumstances in their lives, but they all started somewhere and took small steps that built on each that came before to create the heights of success they have today.

There are two things successful entrepreneurs seem to have the ability to focus on – long-term visions and short-term actions. Figure out what your long-term vision is and focus on doing the small things it takes each hour of each day to ultimately reach that vision.

All successful entrepreneurs have passion for what they’re doing. Without a passion, there is no focus and drive. Make sure that what you’re doing is something you can remain passionate about.

All of the leaders in the hunting industry mentioned above took risks into the unknown. They weren’t afraid to experiment with new designs, marketing tactics or technologies. Venture into the unknown, as Ramit says, and you’ll find what others have yet to discover. Become a leader in the hunting industry by discovering something hunters don’t yet realize they need, but that they will recognize when they see it.

LL Bean, the Cabelas, and Todd Graf all created businesses that have unique selling propositions. Whether it’s innovative boots and other hunting products sold through direct channels, or innovative marketing strategies, or innovative online channels and communities and Websites – each has its own unique aspect that makes it stand apart from the competition.

Successful people take small steps to make their businesses stand out as signal in a world full of noise.

Conclusion

Today, we see the leaders in the hunting and outdoor industries as successful. I’m sure some of us “shrug” off their success and credit them with being smart, lucky, innovative, etc. But if we can see that they started out just like us, we can realize our own passion and drive and take the small steps necessary to reach the level of success we dream about.

“And that means you can start today.”

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Successful Email Campaigns

A remarkable, consistent email campaign can prove valuable for your customers and increase your site’s traffic and visitor involvement

Mailboxes

image credit OWENthatsmyname

A regular email campaign is one of the best ways to connect with your customers while also driving traffic to your site as well as driving sales of your products and services.

I’ve been paying attention to a few email campaigns in the hunting industry over the past few months and a few have stuck out as being very impactful with their design, content, and innovation.

I thought it would be beneficial to look at four of these successful campaigns and look at reasons why these particular email campaigns are successful…

My Outdoor TV

MOTV Full Email

My Outdoor TV Email

MOTV Snapshot Email

My Outdoor TV Email Snapshot

Website: MyOutdoorTV.com

Email Campaign: MOTV Minute

Example Email: Scent Free, From Head to Toe

I get at least one email from My Outdoor TV every week. They also have their daily updates that include only one link to an area on their site like Analyze the Hunt.

I enjoy receiving these emails because the content is always compelling to me as a hunter. In this example, Scent Free, From Head to Toe, there is a full article on the importance of scent control when hunting whitetail deer. The article specifically discusses rubber boots from La Crosse.

The email does a great job of showing users that if they click on certain areas of the email they will not only be taken to a page with the article content, but to a page that contains a video relating to headline topic. It’s very important to show the viewers of your email campaigns exactly what they can expect when they click on certain buttons, links, and other areas of your email. My Outdoor TV does a great job of showing a small video player preview in each of their emails.

The layout and design of the MOTV Minute emails are pleasing to the eye. There is lots of great white space. That makes it easy to read the text of the main article. The ads that are included at the right side of the image are not intrusive and they flow well with the overall design of the email. The header is easily recognizable as it has the My Outdoor TV logo with a similar background to the actual site. There are great buttons for viewers to click if they choose: “Email to a Friend”, “Web Version”, “Watch Now”, and buttons to My Outdoor TV’s other social media campaigns on Facebook My Outdoor TV and Twitter My Outdoor TV.

My Outdoor TV might try to include the tabs at the top of their Website so viewers of the emails aren’t limited to simply clicking on the buttons included in the email image. Even if the emails are full of great content, not all viewers will be interested in all of the specific stories. Including the normal tabs from the Website would give these readers more options for clicking through to the site – options they are comfortable with already.

My Outdoor TV could also include a More Videos on Whitetails section at the bottom of the email image.

My Outdoor TV does a great job with their email campaigns. It’s one I look forward to each week because of its great design and wonderful content. My Outdoor TV is a great example that you can use as inspiration for base your next email campaign.

Deer & Deer Hunting

Deer & Deer Hunting Email

Website: DeerAndDeerHunting.com

Email Campaign: Deer & Deer Hunting Newsletter

Example Email: Explore New Hunting Lands

Deer & Deer Hunting sends out their email newsletter at least once a week and sometimes multiple times each week. I like their email as well because they include so many options to click on including options from various areas on their Website.

Sections of their email include:

– New Discussions in the Forum

– New Videos

– Outfitter Highlights

– Contests

– Expert Articles (Snapshots only)

– New Photos

– Equipment Highlights

– Polls

D&DH also highlights some of the books from their immense library. It’s a great way to highlight some of your products in a way that makes sense and is relevant to your email viewers.

The D&DH emails are clean and simple in design. The design definitely focuses on the content, but the design is far from boring. The email images are clean and with all the white space, it’s clear where to click if you want to head to the site and view content.

You can definitely tell that D&DH are seasoned pros in the magazine businesses because they always have eye-catching headlines that grab attention and make you want to click through to read the full articles on the site. This is important for email campaigns because you’re ultimately trying to increase traffic on your site as well as drive customers to specific sections on your site so you can sell your relevant products and services.

D&DH does include tabs at the top of their email header, but they could even include the tabs from their site as I mentioned before with My Outdoor TV. Viewers of the email may not find what they’re looking for in the email (although there is so much great stuff in the D&DH email) and they may just want to click through to Deer & Deer Hunting Features section right away.

Deer & Deer Hunting has been one of the best hunting magazines for a long time and their success with magazines has spilled over into their email marketing efforts. They use their quality content and connect with their audience in ways that are engaging and encourage action through their email images.

Use Deer & Deer Hunting as a guide for your own email marketing efforts.

Field & Stream

Field and Stream Email

Website: FieldandStream.com

Email Campaign: Field & Stream Newsletter

Example Email: 34 Gear-Winning Reader Tips PLUS Amazing Carp Shooting Action Photos

Field & Stream truly has an email campaign that I love receiving each week. F&S send out content-filled emails that capture attention and get viewers to click through to the Website.

What I find myself clicking on most each week when the email arrives is the great photos. F&S put together great photo galleries and they don’t a great job each week of promoting them in their emails. The subject line usually has something related to the featured photo gallery – Exclusive Photos of New World Record Brown Trout. It’s very appealing to open an email with this subject line (when the email sender is recognizable like F&S).

F&S, like Deer & Deer Hunting, definitely use the skills from their magazine marketing with their emails. They have great headlines to capture attention and entice opens and clicks. They also have remarkable content in their articles and descriptions, which are where all email campaigns should start.

I also love F&S highlights their readers. They have sections on their site and in their email like Winning Reader Tips and Featured Read Trail Cam Photos as well as other featured reader photographs. Highlighted the greatest of readers or clients is a great way to get them vested in the success of your business and any campaign you try like an email campaign. If your subscribers see an email with their photo they’re going to be thrilled and likely share it with anybody they can.

F&S also finds unique ways to put in advertisements in their emails that aren’t obtrusive and flow well with the rest of the clean layout. The ads fit well, but they are noticeable so any interested reader can easily click through the ad to see if they want to become a buyer of the advertiser.

Overall, Field & Stream is a great example of a successful email campaign. They give their readers something to look forward to each week as they always have great content (especially the photos). The headlines are always intriguing and I usually click through to read the full articles after checking out the latest photos in the gallery.

I would say that once on the site the photo gallery isn’t the best. It’s hard to use and you can only comment on the entire gallery instead of individual photos. It’s still a great service provided by F&S and I’m glad they allow their readers to show their interesting outdoor photos.

I’m also glad that Field & Stream highlights their readers. It’s great for their readers and it makes for great content.

Look at Field and Stream when creating or improving your own email campaign. They lead by example in the outdoor industry.

Update: I received this email from Field & Stream today. This email (view the email online – Fall Essentials from Field and Stream Clothing) is not for their magazine site, but for their apparel store. I like how they included the header in the email image. Check out the story behind this brand reinvention. It’s very interesting:

Field & Stream Brand Launches Clothing Line that brings Everyday Casual and Weekend Play Together

Field & Stream Brand

Bowhunting.com

Bowhunting.com Email

Website: Bowhunting.com

Email Campaign: Bowhunting.com Email

Example Email: Early Season Scent Control from Bowhunting.com

I don’t receive too many emails from the great folks at Bowhunting.com, but I’ve been impressed with their email images that I have received.

Todd Graf and his staff of expert hunters, writers, photographers, and videographers have been in the online hunting business a long time. I was excited when they started Bowhunting.com because I’m a huge bow hunter myself and I knew these guys would put out the best site on the subject.

Bowhunting.com uses a basic approach with their email campaigns, but their content and products are top notch so their emails still resonate with viewers.

Right away in Early Season Scent Control they’re giving a solid discount ($5 off $50 order), which is a great incentive for viewers of the site to sign up for the email list. If there are email exclusive offers there is a great chance of getting people to sign up as a subscriber.

Bowhunting.com’s emails have segments for useful products, how-to videos and links to lots of the latest blogs that have been written by their expert staff. There are lots for subscribers to click on as they go from their inbox to the site. They also have great photography for their product images, headers, and in their blog posts. People love visuals and Bowhunitng.com does a great job of using visuals in their marketing efforts including email.

I also forgot to mention earlier that the subject line Early Season Scent Control is a wonderful example of how a company can use timely events to be more relevant to their clients and subscribers. Bowhunting.com knows their readers are in the early stage of the hunting season so their providing content and products for their readers that fit the time of the bow hunting season. It’s simple and it makes sense.

I am looking forward to lots of great things from Bowhunting.com. They have a great staff of marketers and writers. I look forward to their next email.

Summary

These four companies all have remarkable email campaigns that use great content with great email image design to capture the attention of hunters through the email channel.

Some of the recurring themes that stand out in these campaigns include:

– Photos

– Great headlines and subject lines

– Sections with highlights and features

– Highlighting subscribers

– Simple yet effective design

– Similar look to the site

– Timely content topics

All of these campaigns are unique yet they all provide remarkable content and value for subscribers.

There is a lot of potential for you and your company to take advantage of email. When it comes to marketing the power to sell products comes through gaining trust of your list of customers. By setting up your email campaign and learning how to build your list with email subscribers, you’ll be on your way to creating a great audience that you can work to create trust with so they will become long-term customers.

Best of luck with your email campaigns and feel free to share any experiences you have had with email marketing.

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Don’t Rock the Blog Title

Inspiration often strikes when you least expect

Record Jukebox

image credit Fimb

Alan Jackson is one of my all-time favorite singers and songwriters. With his music and words, he tells simple stories that pull all emotions out of listeners. Jackson tells stories of family, growing up, girls, appreciating the simple wonders in life, and all the struggles along the way that make us appreciate all the good.  After 20 years, 15 albums, 25 number one singles, and 50 million albums Alan Jackson is still playing for sold-out stadiums and recording hit music. Sometime in the late 1980s, Jackson came up with the title and main hook for one of his biggest hit singles, Don’t Rock the Jukebox.

I think it’s an apt comparison to look at the song writing process and the blog writing process. Writers for both communication mediums look for a content format, a voice, and a marketing effort to put their versions of life’s little stories into the minds of specific audiences.

I’m always fascinated by the stories behind the songs we learn to love. There always seems to be a unique story of inspiration behind the best songs. It’s usually something unexpected that occurs that sparks creativity in the songwriter and the magic takes over after that as the writer(s) format their inspiration into words and music that will connect with an audience looking for inspiration themselves.

Let’s take a look at how you can use the same technique for your blog writing…

Be Aware

In How to Write a Blog Post I discuss that it’s important to start with the title of a blog post when you set out to write a post for your audience. However, coming up with an inspiring title is often the most difficult part of writing a blog post even though it may seem like it would be the easiest.

In songwriting, it seems that some of the best songs titles or hooks, come out of single moments of inspiration – eureka moments. The idea for Don’t Rock the Jukebox came at an unexpected time for Alan Jackson, but he was able to recognize the clever lyric and put it to a good country melody.

Inspiration for your blog titles can come from any source and at any moment in time. Hanging out with friends, family or co-workers can potentially lead to some conversation that will result in a classic blog title. When you’re sitting in your tree stand watching the woodland critters runaround can spark a thought that can turn into your best blog post.

Opportunities for great blog titles happen each day in your life and the reason they often lead to the best blog posts are because your own experiences are often similar to those of your audience. And when you take a clever outlook on something that happens to you in your life it’s likely your audience will connect with your message.

Alan Jackson realized he had a clever hook with Don’t Rock the Jukebox. He also must have realized that he and his audience all shared the same outlook on music – Don’t rock the jukebox/I want to hear some Jones.

Be aware of your inspirational moments and write about your passions. This is how you’ll connect with your audience through blogging.

Let it flow

Sometimes the titles you come up with using this method of inspiration will tend to be a little strange or even on the edge of ridiculous. Don’t worry, let your supporting thoughts flow as your outline your blog post and fill in the body with content that builds on the idea you came up with when you wrote the blog title.

I think the writer’s at Copyblogger have a great knack for writing posts based on clever blog titles. Some of their titles border on ridiculous, but they know who their audience is (bloggers) and it’s for this reason that the titles usually make sense to readers while also standing out as interesting titles that readers can’t help but click on when browsing the Web for content.

I’m sure that when Alan Jackson sat down with his producer, Keith Stegall and co-writer Roger Murrah there were a few laughs shared as they thought about the clever hook they were basing a country song on. However, out of this writing session came a song that captured an emotion the audience shared and the writers and musicians were able to capture a mood that the audience wanted to hear repeatedly for many years.

When you come up with a great idea for a blog post let your imagination and creativity run. Let your thoughts flow as you get caught up in the moment of capturing inspiration with words. When artificial barriers don’t hinder your true feelings and emotions you’ll see that the points you express will connect with others who share your same worldviews and sentiments towards the topic of discussion.

Let your creativity flow as you take a seemingly ridiculous title and create a passionate blog post.

Summary

Coming up with clever, eye-catching, and relevant blog titles is no easy task.  Yet if you can learn a few tricks from writers, you can figure out ways to make sure you’re capturing all of the wonderful blog post ideas that happen around you each day.

Songwriters come up with clever song titles (or hooks) to songs at times when they least expect it, yet they’re always ready to at least jot down an idea so they can build on the idea later. Alan Jackson recognized a quality country song title with Don’t Rock the Jukebox at a moment he probably least expected. He kept the title in mind and later let the creativity flow as he sat down with his songwriting partners. The result was a catchy, classic country song that still finds relevance with audiences today.

Inspiration can strike at any moment when it comes to songwriting and blog titles. Will you be ready to capture the moment the next you’re sitting in front of your computer, hands on the keyboard when all of a sudden somebody bumps your hands and you say…

Don’t Rock the Blog Title

Bonus

I wouldn’t leave you hanging without sharing a video of the story behind the great country song Don’t Rock the Jukebox on CMT.

Alan’s tale:

We were playing this little truck stop lounge in Virginia. I took a break and walked over to the jukebox and Roger, our bass player, was over there and one of the legs was broken off the jukebox and it was wobbling around and he looked over at me and said…

Don’t Rock the Jukebox on You Tube

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I was never good in English class

Fountain Pen

image credit: L_Dan

I like to talk about starting a blog for your hunting business. Here are a few of the past posts I’ve written on blogging:

4 Ways You Can Use a Blog to Improve Your Hunting Website

20 Steps to Starting Your Hunting Business Blog

The First 4 Days of Your New Hunting Blog

A Plan for Increasing Your Web Presence: The First 3 Months

Writing a blog takes a lot of effort and continued dedication, but the benefits are numerous and the payoff can be large in terms of sales and connections in the hunting industry. The difficult things about having a successful blog are actually starting it, staying dedicated, and putting in the effort and testing it takes to find your voice.

Most likely you are not afraid of starting your own hunting business blog. You’re already an entrepreneur and have the guts to start your own hunting business so starting things is not something new to you.

What usually takes some time when starting your blog, however, is learning how to format a blog post that your audience will read, share, and connect with.

[private_member]

A Short Story

I struggled in my high school English class.

My teacher was always trying to get me to be creative and share the things I was thinking. I’m not exactly sure why I didn’t have the motivation to put forth some kind of effort in high school English, but perhaps it had something to do with the fact that I was isolated to a cement-walled classroom, we were discussing content I couldn’t connect with at the time, or that it was high school and I only had basketball, golf, and girls on my mind.

Or maybe I was just little bit lazy.

Whatever the reason – I didn’t like writing and I had little interest in expanding my writing skills. And it wasn’t until a few years later that I took an interest in creative writing.

Today, I enjoy writing about the things I love: Marketing and Hunting.

I realize, however, that simply writing about what I love differs from writing about what I love in a way that is easy for hunting business owners to digest, learn from, connection with, and share with other hunting business owners.

While writing this blog and while writing various emails, meeting summaries, and other business memos I’ve realized that the ability to connect with others via the written word requires a format that makes sense to the readers you’re trying to connect with.

Here is the outline I’ve come up with that you can use to possibly be a beginning guide for your blog posts as your work to connect with your audience.

Starting with a Title

I’ve always found that it’s easiest to start a new blog post with an idea that comes from a moment of inspiration. This moment of inspiration often turns into the title of the post. Having the title written down right away from the beginning at the top of the page also serves as a reminder of the topic of the post as I write the content.

Usually what happens is I’ll have a thought – something like:

Aggregate Your Archives to Capitalize on New Popularity (Inspired by Record Companies)

Use Others to Find Motivation

The Convenience Store Guide to Blogging

How to Create Marketing Pull by Commenting on Other Blogs

There are other times when I want to sit down and write a post and I can’t think of an idea for the title. This is usually when I’ll turn to unique resources to find that spark of inspiration. One of the best tricks of blog titles is one mentioned on the great blogging blog, Copyblogger:

The Cosmo Headline Technique for Blogging Inspiration

I thought enough of this post to include it as #3 in my post:

7 Unconventional Web Tools and Resources for Your Marketing Initiatives

Hint: It also works with Men’s Health so you don’t have to visit Cosmo’s site if you don’t want.

I’m looking at a Men’s Health magazine on the table next to be right now and I’m seeing a few potential titles for blog posts:

Men’s Health Title: Life’s Biggest Mysteries – Solved!

HBM’s Title: The Web’s Biggest Mysteries – Solved!

Your Title: Bow Hunting’s Biggest Mysteries – Solved!

Don’t tell me you can’t think of a few hunters who would see that last title and click on it right away looking to find out exactly what the answers to hunting’s biggest mysteries are.

The theory behind Men’s Health and Cosmo titles is that they are eye-catching and impactful when people are looking for content. These magazines have the best headlines and article titles in the writing business so why not use them for inspiration for your own blog posts?

Here is another one:

Men’s Health Title: 8 Lessons All Dads Should Teach

HBM’s Title: 8 Lessons All Outfitters Should Teach

Your Title: 8 Hunting Lessons All Parents Should Teach

This is an example of a list post. People love list posts and articles because they’re easy to browse for content. (For more on lists read Adam Singer’s A Guilty Pleasure of the Blogosphere and Social Media: Lists). Web readers will often scan content looking for the main points and if the article appears interesting they’ll dive deeper into the content. This is important to remember for formatting purposes, which I’ll discuss later.

One last example:

Men’s Health Title: Your Shortcut to Four-Star Meals

HBM’s Title: Your Shortcut to Four-Star Blog Posts

Your Title: Your Shortcut to 150-Class Whitetail

This is a great way to spark inspiration for blog titles and there are many more sources of ideas for blog titles.

The important thing to remember is that your posts should be aimed at being beneficial for your blogging audience. This takes focus and you’ll have to throw out some ideas that don’t fit the needs of your readers. Have a picture of a single person who you believe is your true reader and always write with the intent of providing value for them.

Let the Topic Grow From the Title

Usually when I write a blog post, I have a small vision of what I want the final product to be as it relates to the title. The topic grows and expands as I think about what the title means for you and your hunting business.

For example, when I wrote Aggregate Your Archives to Capitalize on New Popularity, I thought it was an interesting headline and that would draw attention. The vision I had was to use a technique from the recording industry as inspiration for bloggers.

Eventually the post grew to include examples, a few suggestions, and hopefully some inspiring words. The idea that started as the title grew into a complete topic with the focus of providing useful tips.

The next step was to outline the topic and vision into a simple and digestible format.

Outline

I’ve found that outlining a blog post is the best way to create focused, valuable content for readers.

Once I have a title, vision, and topic for a blog post, I outline the post with headings and subheadings before filling in any body content. I’ve found that the heading and subheading format is easy to digest for readers as opposed to large paragraphs or large blocks of copy.

The closer your blog posts are to list format the better. This is not saying that all of your posts should or should not be list posts. However, having headings and subheadings makes it easy for readers to scan the article first for the most important content (the headings). Once the reader scans the headings, they’ll decide whether or not the article is worth reading in its entirety. So it’s important to have strong thoughts to support each heading and sub-heading.

Once you have your outline prepared it’s time to fill in the blanks.

Fill in the Blanks

Filling in the blanks under your title, headings, and sub-headings is generally easy because at this point you have your mind focused on the topic you would like to communicate to your audience.

It doesn’t usually matter at this point what order you take to fill in the blanks. You can skip back and forth between headings and sub-headings depending on where you’re having the inspiration to write.

With Aggregate Your Archives to Capitalize on New Popularity, I started filling in the blanks for each of the four recording artist examples, but skipped ahead to fill in the three sub-headings under Using the Technique for your Content. Writing the text for the examples sparked some inspiration and I wanted to skip ahead and write down my thoughts before I forgot (this happens to me quite often).

Don’t worry too much about order when filling in the blanks. Make sure you give time to each area and reinforce your headings and sub-headings substantially before deciding that the arguments and suggestions you’re making are sufficient.

I like to include an intro after the title as well to lead into the blog post. This fits into the old writing cliché that a writer should tell the readers what the post is about, then provide the post, and then remind them of what they just read. So you can see that I also generally like to include a summary at the end of each post as well. This is also nice for scanners who like to skip ahead to summaries and determine if they should go back and read the entire post for more detail.

Once you’ve filled in the blanks you can edit, link, and publish the blog post.

Edit, Link, and Publish

By the time I reach the editing and linking stage of the blog post, I’m eager to get the post published and out in front of readers.

However, it’s important to read through the post you’ve just authored and edit where necessary and link to sources and related content where appropriate. This process seems like it takes a little bit to complete, but it’s well worth the effort to ensure your blog post is high quality and valuable for your readers.

When scanning through your new blog post, make sure to check and make sure that each thought is in the correct area of the post. I often move information from the intro to the body of the blog post if I feel I should only give a short summary in the intro and further, more in-depth thought underneath a corresponding heading within the body.

I like to include related articles on from Hunting Business Marketing as well as articles from other sources on the Web. Adam Singer at The Future Buzz does an excellent job of explaining the advantages of linking to other articles off your own blog and Website with Make Every Post a Link Post.

It’s also important to use the new text you’ve written as entry points for your archives. If you touch on important areas within your new blog post that relate back to previous posts, you can link to those posts using the relevant text.

For example, if I write the phrase utilize your blog archives I can link to the post Aggregate Your Archives to Capitalize on New Popularity. This way I utilize the important text within the new post as an entry to related posts from the archives. It’s a way to revitalize your archives by allowing readers who either forgot or have never seen important posts you’ve already written.

The anchor text you use for your links (internal and external) is an important consideration for optimizing not only your own content, but also the content of the sites you link. Anchor text includes all of the text (or keywords) you include in your link (external or internal). For example, Motivation – the word ‘motivation’ is the anchor text. Be sure to keep keywords (yours and those of the sites you link to) when doing your linking. The golden rule applies here. If you generously link to other bloggers and site owners with quality, keyword-targeted anchor text, it’s likely you’ll get some good karma coming your way. 🙂

For more interesting thoughts on anchor text, read: Only the First Anchor Text Counts from SEOmoz.

Once you’ve read your post, made necessary edits, and linked to relevant resources you can publish your article and begin sharing it with your audience.

Share

An important and often forgot part of writing a blog post is sharing.

After your brand new blog post is published, shiny, and new it’s time to start letting your audience know that you have a new post for them to read and enjoy and hopefully use as a valuable resource of information. Make sure your posts include automated sharing tools for social content sharing sites like Digg, Stumble Upon, Delicious, etc. Also use an RSS feed provider like Feedburner so users can subscribe to your blog posts in a reader.

I usually post on Twitter that I have a new blog post available for followers.

If you have an email newsletter or similar email contact strategy you can include your latest posts when you send an update to your subscribers.

Also make sure to mention your posts, when appropriate, on other blogs, in forums, and anywhere else in the Web where your audience is asking for the content you are writing about.

Share is an important part of ensuring your blog post is successful so don’t forget this important step.

Summary

Writing, publishing, and sharing blog posts that relate to your business’s customers is not as daunting as it may seem at first. Go through a few steps as a guide for your blog posting and you’ll fall into a groove that allows you to former more meaningful connections with your current and future customers. Blogs are also great ways to gain attention for your company’s Website.

Start with the title and let the topic form as you focus on what your readers are looking for from your blog. Outline the most important thoughts you have for the post with headings and sub-headings. Fill in the blanks with your expanding thoughts to add in-depth value for each of the headings. Edit your post for simply grammatical errors and rearrange your content so it flows well and takes the reader through a story – always tell your reader a story with your posts. Link to your archives and to relevant articles throughout the Web to expand with resources your readers will find valuable. Finally, publish your post and begin sharing it with your audience so they can enjoy your brand new blog post.

Ultimately I think it’s best to test various formats while keeping a few things in mind regarding Web users:

1| Web users like to scan

2| Web users like external and internal links to expand their reading

3| Web users like images

Finding the best format for your blog posts will take some testing so don’t be afraid to try various formats – new and old. Do what other successful bloggers do with their formats and see if it works for you. Try a few things until you find a format that is easy for you to use and valuable for your readers.

When I was in school I wasn’t a good writer because the topics we covered had no intrigue. Today I write about the things I love: Marketing and Hunting. My passion for these two things forced me to learn how to write effective blog posts in order for me to grow as a marketer and a hunter in the online world.

Discover your passion for writing by writing about what you care about – your business – and tell a story that will prove valuable for your target customers.

When you realize that writing is easy when you write about your passion, your blog will grow along with your business’s online presence (ultimately leading to more sales with new customers and expanded sales with existing customers).

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Aggregate Your Archives to Capitalize on New Popularity

The Best of Record Company Technique

Vinyl Record Long Exposure

image credit: Ivan Zuber

Have you ever noticed in the music industry that after an artists leaves a label and finds success at another label, that their previous label will release Best of… collections or Unreleased collections?

Record companies have utilized a variety of techniques to package recordings of songs with which they hold the rights. One of these techniques is the aggregating of successful content in Best of…, Essential, Previously Unreleased, etc. This technique arose from recording artists parting ways with labels and finding success elsewhere. Rather than leave recordings sitting in archives, executives saw a way to re-package their archives and use the new interest in the artist’s new recordings to sell the repackaged recordings.

It’s a simple technique you can use with your own content to draw on a spike in interest in you and your company.

Record companies have not gotten everything right with their medium, but when it comes to repackaging content, they have excelled in utilizing their archives.

Let’s take a look at a few examples of aggregating archived content in the recording industry and move onto ways you can use this technique to utilize your own archived content.

Examples of The Best of Record Company Technique

Tracy Lawrence

After going through label shifts and changes and falling off the top of the charts for nearly a decade, Tracy Lawrence made a comeback in 2006 with his own label Rocky Comfort and made it all the way to number one the week of June 23rd, 2007 with Find Out Who Your Friends Are (Released August 21st, 2006).

The album, For the Love, was released in January 2007 and saw modest success on the sales charts.

The label who controlled the rights to the songs with which Lawrence had immense success with in the ‘90s released The Very Best of Tracy Lawrence on July 10, 2007 through their subsidiary, Rhino Entertainment (two weeks after Find Out Who Your Friends Are reached the top of the country charts).

Toby Keith

After going through a nasty divorce with Mercury Nashville that saw Toby Keith verbally taunt his former record company in public, Keith found success with a new label, DreamWorks (eventually swallowed by Universal, which lead to Keith venturing out on his own with Show Dog Nashville).

At DreamWorks, Keith found new success releasing several commercially successful albums beginning in 1999 and running through 2005.

After Keith’s resurgence, his former label released 20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection in 2003 and saw the collection of Keith hits reach gold status (500,000 copies shipped to retail outlets).

Jimmy Buffett

Jimmy Buffett recorded two albums for the Barnaby label in 1970 and 1971. The first was released and sold a few hundred copies initially while the second never saw the light of day until 1976 when Buffett broke out on the ABC Dunhill record label with A White Sport Coat and a Pink Crustacean and Living & Dying in ¾ Time. His major breakthrough came in 1977 with Margaretville.

As the legend goes…the master recordings of Buffett’s second album, High Cumberland Jubilee, were lost according to the executives at Barnaby. The recordings were finally found and released after Buffett begin seeing success on his new label.

Big Kenny

You may recognize Big Kenny as one half of the duo Big & Rich.

Prior to his success with the hit making, trendsetting duo, Big Kenny was signed to Hollywood Records in 1999 in Los Angeles. While in Los Angeles, Big Kenny recorded his debut solo album, Live a Little. However, the album was repeatedly shelved and saw no initial release date.

A few years after leaving Hollywood records, Big Kenny partnered up with John Rich, formerly the bassist and occasional lead singer of the band Lonestar. The two found huge success with their debut, Horse of a Different Color.

Shortly after Big Kenny’s success with Big & Rich his solo album was released on Hollywood Records.

Using the Technique for Your Content

The lesson to learn from the techniques of the record companies is that archived content does not have to sit on the shelf and collect dust – archives can be repacked and put out once you gain attention on the Web with other content.

While you don’t have to necessarily wait for a big change like switching record labels, there are a few things you can do with the archives of, for example, your blog, if you find that a particular post gains attention or if you start seeing an uptick in traffic.

1| Related posts

If you write a blog post that catches on with readers, you could update that post with Related posts… or a new post If you liked the post ’10 Things Outfitting Clients Need for Their Trip’ You Might Also Like…

You could also include archives in your next email newsletter with the heading If you liked last week’s post, check out these related posts…

You could post a few of your archives on Twitter mentioning your new popular post.

2| Best of Series

Record companies love putting out Greatest Hits or Best of packages because it aggregates the most relevant recordings of fans’ favorite music artists. If you find that you’re getting on a roll with a few posts, put together some of your best posts and show them to your newer readers who may not have discovered your archives.

3| Personalize landing pages

Think about the places your new readers find you. One of those places might be Twitter. Each Friday you might get a few new followers as a result of your friends and peers suggesting you as a quality person to follow on Twitter. Your new followers may click on the link in your profile to find out more information about you. Why not customize a page with some of your relevant blog posts aggregated and ready for them to discover for the first time?

Here is my own example:

Welcome to Hunting Business Marketing

This type of personalized landing page is not new. I first saw the idea mentioned by Darren Rowse of Problogger:

About Darren Rowse (@problogger)

I remembered that I needed to create the page after I got a couple new people following me on Twitter who asked about archives and blog posts I could suggest they read.

Summary

Sometimes it takes a recording artist a little while to find their audience and voice in the music industry. It may even take a change of labels for an established artist to rejuvenate their career.

Smart label executives don’t simply let the quality content of the past sit on the shelf to collect dust. When a former artist finds success elsewhere they are quick to capitalize on the success by finding ways to put out archived content for the enjoyment of the artists audience – new and old.

Don’t let your archives sit on the shelf. You worked hard and put time into writing those posts and just because you didn’t have the audience when writing those posts it doesn’t mean that people don’t want to read them.

Find ways to introduce your growing audience to your archives and you’ll see that your growing audience will continue sharing your new and old posts with their friends on the Web. You’ll also see your traffic and time spent on your Website increase as your archives bring in more page views and more reading time.

Keep writing that blog content and eventually I’d love to read your Essential Blog Posts by…

Bonus Content

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No Locks No Gates

Federal Recreation Areas That Are Open for Hunting

Exclusive access to Federal Recreational Areas Open for Hunting

Bird Hunting

image credit: pocketwiley

If you have a hunting Website and feel your audience would benefit from access to information on all of the Federal Recreation Areas in the United States that are open for hunting then please share this page with them. Tell them about it on your site or blog.

Please use the following text to link to this page:

Federal Recreation Areas That Are Open For Hunting

This information is provided by Factual, provider of an innovative and open platform that allows users the ability to structure important data (like Federal Recreational Areas for Hunter) for easy access and use by Web users.

About Factual

Factual data tables can be constructed using our powerful mining, filtering, inferencing and merging tools which allow the wisdom of the web and the consensus of the community to expose good data.

Currently, data is difficult to access, expensive, inaccurate or misleading, and often outdated. People have questions, but easy-to-find, accurate answers are still hard to come by through search engines. Answers may eventually be found in an obscure source, in an offline database, or by tracking down the right person. But, generally, the information seeker is overwhelmed with too many, often contradictory, sources or too few. Today, data mining on the internet is still a headache.

How can we best access data, know and trust its source AND improve its accuracy and transparency? Factual was founded to help solve this problem.

* Open platform. We’ve built an open, collaborative platform where users can easily access, share and contribute data to be used by anyone.

* Simplicity & Flexibility. We kept the presentation of the data simple, but our interface allows viewers and users to apply various filters to make the data more useful for their specific purpose and needs.

* Data acquisition. Our methods include: capturing existing non-proprietary data, sophisticated mining and extracting techniques, content partnerships, and user and community contributions.

* Improvement. Users can improve data by using powerful data joining, merging, and mining tools.

Who Are We?

Factual was founded in 2007 by Gilad Elbaz, co-founder of Applied Semantics (AdSense), which was acquired by Google in 2003. Gil has had a lifelong passion for organizing and structuring information, and making smart tools which can better make sense of data. Along with founding engineers, Tim Chklovski and Myron Ahn, Factual was built on the idea that it would be a better world if more decisions were data-driven. So they set out to develop an open data platform and community in an effort to maximize data accuracy and availability.

Factual is a new company and they’re still testing the tables and looking for feedback. For this reason, access to the tables is limited at this time.

Please leave any feedback you have regarding the table in the comments on this post.

Thanks for trying out the new table and I hope it helps you provide value for your hunting customers! 🙂

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How to Get Subscribers for Your Email List

The secret to success is in your list

Let Me Tell You a Secret

image credit: Photo Mojo

There was a question in the forum about Email Campaign Results and Kevin of Hunting Life brought up a great point – “the hard part [of a successful campaign] is building a quality list of subscribers”.

Coming from the catalog world, I realize that the power of any successful company is their ability to build a strong list of quality customers. The power to build a list of customers who have opted into your products and services with their purchases or approval for you to contact them can make a business successful for a long time.

Building a strong subscriber base for your hunting company begins with the quality of your products and services. In order for Web users to subscribe to your email campaigns you’re going to have to gain their trust. You’re going to have to show them that you will provide valuable content within emails, whether it’s access to new information and products, exclusive promotional offers, or unique articles that relate to your business.

There are things you can do on and off your own Website that will gain the trust of your visitors and get them to sign up for your email campaign.

Let’s take a look…

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On Your Own Website

In order to build a strong subscriber base of valuable subscribers you’ll need to convert the people visiting your site. Those visitors who are coming to your site likely heard about your business via offline referral, searching a keyword phrase related to what your business does, or they followed a link from another Website (online referral of sorts).

These visitors are highly valuable as they’ve already shown an interest in what your business provides and they’ve taken the first step by visiting your site. It’s important to convert these visitors to subscribers so you can market your products and services to them via your email campaigns.

Let’s take a look at a few specific things you can do on your Website to convert visitors…

Put your sign-up in multiple places

Depending on how your Website is setup, there are many places you should be putting your email sign-up.

Here are just a few:

1| Header, right side or left side of your home page

I have seen email sign-up areas in multiple places on the home page and I’m sure all work depending on how sites test the conversion of getting subscribers. I like having the email sign-up near the top right of the home page, but I am in favor of trying it out in various places to see what works best. And what works best can change over time as well. I’ve seen it work on the left side very effectively as well. So continue testing.

For an example of the power of testing your email sign-up here is a speech by Tim Ferriss, author of The 4 Hour Workweek on how he tests various things to convert first-time visitors to long-time subscribers.

How to Build a Successful Blog [Random Findings 8:00]

2| Main pages (other than the Home page) on your site

Most Websites today have at least a few pages other than the home page such as a products/services page, a photo gallery, a blog, a contact page, possible a store, maybe product reviews, and other areas hunting businesses feel are important enough to highlight in the top navigation menu on the site.

You can take advantage of these pages by using their specific content to show a benefit to subscribe to your email campaigns. One of my favorite email campaigns is Field and Stream because they always include great headlines for awesome photos in their gallery. Field and Stream has an awesome gallery of hunting photos and they always use these photos in their emails.

You can do the same for your hunting business with your own photo gallery and you can put the call to action email campaign subscription sign-up in your photo gallery and near each photo by saying something like:

“To get updates on the latest photos in this gallery subscribe today”.

This is a powerful benefit for your visitors who are looking for amazing hunting photos. If you can show that there is a specific benefit, people will sign up because they see the value in subscribing to your email campaigns. And the best part is these people are likely to be satisfied when you actually send them updates with your email campaign that includes photos. And once that trust is there you can promote your other services and because you have the trust of the subscriber, they are likely to convert over to buyers.

Use specific calls to action on each of your site’s pages as ways to share the benefits on your site with your visitors on a deeper level via email subscription. If you have a forum, tell your users that if they subscribe you’ll share with them the hottest topics in the forum each day. If you have a page that offers your various outfitting packages, tell your visitors that if they subscribe to your email campaigns they’ll receive updates on the latest hunts you offer as well as limited time discount offers or something along those lines.

There is a lot of opportunity with specific calls to action for getting people to subscribe to your emails on your pages.

3| Blog posts

If you have a blog for your hunting business (and I suggest you do) and you have done some keyword research and you’re targeting topics that will likely attract the attention of potential customers via search, you will get some new visitors to your blog posts and your goal is to convert these people to subscribers.

One way to do this is to include a call to action at the end of your blog posts. New readers who read an entire post on your blog are likely interested in hearing more from you. After all, they made it through an entire post. This is not an easy thing for writers as Web users tend to have little patience.

Since some readers make it through an entire post, why not offer them the chance to subscribe to your email campaigns by including a benefit call to action like this:

“For the latest blog posts subscribe via email”

Don’t let your quality visitors get away without getting them to subscribe to your email campaigns.

Testing Calls to Action

As Tim Ferriss mentioned in his speech, testing is very important for getting strong conversion on your site. And this is not only true for getting new visitors to subscribe to your email campaigns, it’s important for getting new and long-time subscribers to convert as paying customers as well.

Try changing your language with your calls to action.

If the current language at the end of your blog post isn’t working:

“Sign up for blog posts via email”

Try changing it up to something new:

“Get the latest blog posts and other benefits with our email updates”

There are lots of things to test with calls to action and it takes testing to find what’s best for your specific business.

Communicate the Benefits

Earlier I touched on the importance of communicating the specific benefits readers will get from each of your site’s pages if they subscribe to your email updates (ex: photo gallery).

Here is an example of how one company, Conversion Rate Experts, shares the benefits of their email campaign with their visitors in order to convert them to subscribers.

Lots of companies do a great job of communicating the specific benefits visitors will receive if they subscribe to an email campaign.

Make sure you share the benefits of your email program with your readers and visitors and get them to convert to subscribers.

Then you’ll be able to deliver on your promises (providing them what they actually signed up for) as well as providing relevant product and service offerings.

Visit Other Websites

You’re going to get some traffic to your Website if you’re doing things like paid advertising, sharing links with other hunting Websites, paying for listing in directories, listing your business in free directories, etc, but in order to grow your own audience you’re going to have to spend some time off your site looking for other Websites that share your target audience.

There is a lot of opportunity to grow you’re the audience on your site and the size of your email list by spending time off your own Website.

Let’s take a look at a few…

Guest Posts

One of the things I enjoy doing is writing guest posts on other blogs. Here are a few examples:

Bow Hunting and Pumpkin Pie – A tragedy

How to Start and Outdoor Conservation Charity

How to Keep up with the ‘Big Boys and Girls’ on Twitter

Guest posting is a great way to introduce you and your business to someone else’s audience. And it doesn’t only benefit you it benefits the blog you’re guest posting on because you’re providing the blog owner with quality content for their site as well as providing quality content for their readers to view and discuss.

Look for other blogs and Websites that share a similar audience to the one you’re targeting for your hunting business and offer to do a guest post. Site owners and bloggers usually welcome content providers with open arms.

Here is a great how-to on guest posting from Problogger:

How to Guest Post to Promote Your Blog

Interviews

Another thing you can do to get the attention of someone else’s audience and convert them to email subscribers is to participate in interviews.

Make yourself available to be interviewed on the topics you’re the expert in – what your business provides.

Ask other site owners if they would be willing to interview you via email, phone, or video for use on their site as a way to share your expertise with their audience.

Also ask other site owners with large audiences that you would like to target if you could interview them and then allow the interviewee to share the interview on their site with their audience.

By exposing you and your business to other audiences, you’re expanding the reach of your marketing message and showing your potential customers the benefits of your business.

These are just a couple of ways you can participate off your own Website that will bring traffic to your site in ways that will likely convert people to your email list with proper calls to action. You can also do things like participate in forums, blog commenting, etc.

The possibilities are endless and only know the limit of your own creative thinking.

Always Leave a Call to Action

Now, with all of this offsite activity it’s important to remember to include calls to action so the other audiences know what they’re supposed to do now that they’re aware you and your business exist.

Make sure when you participate in discussions on other sites that you provide ways for new readers, listeners, and viewers of how they can contact you and subscribe to updates from you.

When doing guest posts, leave your Website and email subscription link so people can quickly sign-up.

When doing interviews do the same or if it’s video/audio, tell the users the address of your site and where to look for your email sign up and what they can expect when they subscribe.

The work you do off your site can go to waste without quality calls to action.

Make sure you’re converting your new audience to subscribers so you can share your quality products and services with them via your next email campaign.

Maintaining the Trust

Once you get new subscribers on your email list it’s important to deliver on the promises that you mentioned that got them to subscribe.

With email, it’s easy for people to unsubscribe to your campaigns or worse, put your emails in their spam filter.

Make sure that your emails include the content you promised like the specific benefits you may mention like:

“Subscribe for email updates that include the latest additions to the photo gallery”

Make sure everything in your emails is beneficial and valuable for your readers.

Bonus – Break Rules!

I am a fan of breaking so-called ‘rules’ or standards on the Web.

Just because I may think that the top right is the best place for your email sign-up on your home page doesn’t mean that it’s the absolute best place to put yours. Try new things that nobody else has tried. Sometimes the best way to get the attention of visitors is to catch them off guard with things that are non-standard.

I like putting the email subscription call to action at the end of my blog posts, but maybe for you it works best at the beginning.

Don’t be afraid to try new things and set your own rules with your Website. See how your visitors respond and adapt to what they’re telling you with their actions.

The beautiful thing about the Web is that it allows you to adapt quickly to the needs of your audience.

Summary

Converting visitors to email subscribers on your site is important for building long-term relationships that lead to strong sales conversions for your business on the Web.

Try a few things on your own Website like:

1| Putting your email sign-up in multiple spots

2| Testing calls to action

3| Communicating specific benefits

You’re likely to see an increase in the number of visitors you convert to subscribers on your site.

Also do some participation off your site to extend your marketing reach to other audiences.

Try things like:

1| Guest posting

2| Interviews

3| Blog commenting

Make sure to always leave strong calls to action so that your new listening audience has a way to subscribe to your email campaigns.

As your email list grows, make sure you’re following through on your promises by providing valuable content in your emails. Make sure that everything in your emails is valuable for those receiving them. It’s easy for people to unsubscribe or to put your business in the spam filter so make sure you give them a reason to open the email and click through to your Website and ultimately purchase your products and services.

The strength of your business on the Web directly relates to the quality of your subscriber base. Grow your email list with quality subscribers and you’ll see stronger sales conversions for your business.

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Successful Business Highlight – Smashing Magazine

Smashing Magazine – Blogging and Link Building Masterminds

Smashing Glass

image credit: AMagill

The folks at Smashing Magazine have the blogging game figured out. They write blog posts that are extremely valuable for their readers, audience, and customers. The posts include tips, tools, and examples that help their readers to become more knowledgeable with the craft of design.

And the best part of Smashing Magazine is that they link to other great individuals and companies.

It’s not only a great way to provide value for an audience, it’s a great way to gain attention and a few links to your site (SEO Gold).

The value in having a blog for your business is providing valuable information for you customer so you can connect and establish a strong and long-term business/customer relationship. Customers today look for companies they can trust for quality products. A blog is a way to build the trust necessary for future success on the Web.

Highlighting the success of other companies and bloggers is a strategy you can use to grow your blog’s status and impact while building relationships with bloggers, other business leaders on the Web, and most importantly your customers (this relationship leads to sales and profit).

Let’s take a closer look at the success of Smashing Magazine and a few ways you can use their success as an example when building your blog for your hunting business…

Smashing Magazine Company Brief

Smashing Magazine Logo

About Smashing Magazine

Founded in September 2006, Smashing Magazine delivers useful and innovative information to Web designers and developers. Our aim is to inform our readers about the latest trends and techniques in Web development. We try to convince you not with the quantity but with the quality of the information we present. We hope that makes us different. Smashing Magazine is, and always has been, independent.

Why I Love Smashing Magazine’s Blog Posts

I posted on Twitter one of the things I’ve learned about blogging.

Highlighting the Success of Others on Twitter

Shortly after posting my thought on Twitter, I realized that Smashing Magazine was doing a perfect job of writing articles on their blog that not only highlight the success of others, but also provide extremely valuable content for designers and Web developers.

If you have a blog for your hunting business, highlighting the success of others is a great way to provide value for your readers.

You might be asking, “Why is it advantageous to write about others? I thought it was important to highlight the success of my own business?”

While it’s important to write about the success of your own business, here are a few benefits to writing about the success of others:

1| Examples provide value for your readers, customers, and audience

2| Valuable connections with businesses and bloggers

3| Link building strategy

Valuable Examples for Readers

Writing about the success of other bloggers and companies, even in related fields, provides valuable examples of success for your readers to learn from and emulate in their own lives.

For example, if you have an outfitting business you could write an article/blog post about how the Bowhunting Blog provides the best expert hunting product reviews that include photos, objective discussion, and how-to information. You could go on to write about how one of their articles helped you with your outfitting business (if that’s actually the case).

On your outfitting blog, your readers are likely looking for your expertise in the area of hunting in which you specialize. Along with your own product reviews, highlighting quality product reviews from other sources is another great way to provide value for your readers. Quality content is a great way to gain a loyal readership (quality traffic) for your company’s blog.

Valuable Connections

A second benefit of highlighting the success of others are the connections you can make with other players in the hunting industry including business associates, bloggers, and marketers.

When you write and link to other bloggers and sites in the hunting industry, those people will usually receive notice via email or on their site that you are linking to them. People love reading nice things that are said about what they’re working hard to do with their business so it’s likely a friendship and valuable connection can be made from your first contact via your blog.

Link Building Strategy

The third benefit of highlighting the success of others with your hunting blog is that when you show other bloggers and Website owners some love they may just show you some love back – in the form of links to your site (search engines love quality links to your site. It builds your authority).

Smashing Magazine has a ton of quality links from other sites and bloggers.

The search engines like when other quality sites link to your business’s site and blog because it shows that others value you, your business, and your content. It’s social proof that you’re a reputable Website on the Internet and the search engines are more likely to put you at the top of the results page for targeted hunting keywords.

Summary

The secret to writing effective blog posts for your hunting business’s blog is to write about what others in the hunting industry (especially those on the Web) are doing that is amazing, inspiring, effective, and remarkable.

Smashing Magazine does an exceptional job at providing valuable content for their readers both using the knowledge of the writers at Smashing Magazine as well as highlighting the knowledge of others in the Web design and development industry.

Smashing Magazine’s success is proof that they understand the benefits of highlighting the success of others:

1| Examples provide value for your readers, customers, and audience

2| Valuable connections with businesses and bloggers

3| Link building strategy

If you have a blog for your hunting business or are considering a blog for your hunting business, try to use the strategy of highlighting the success of others just as Smashing Magazine does with their articles.

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