State of the Hunting Industry | March 2010

[private_member]MEMBERS – Please view in .pdf form – State of the Hunting Industry Report | March 2010[/private_member]

Edition 5           A Publication of Hunting Business Marketing         March 2010

Uncertain 2010 + Looming Commercial Real Estate Collapse

Introduction

Image courtesy of LancerE

Uncertainty rules the US consumer in today’s economy.

There is uncertainty in the way things are shaking up with unemployment. Millions are without jobs today and millions more are underemployed and not happy with the amount they’re making or the outlook for their financial future.

Employment and the cost of living have always been two of the biggest factors on the economy and the hunting industry is certainly affected by these two economic indicators. The outlook is not good for unemployment in the short and long-term future so it’s going to take a new level of innovation and expertise from entrepreneurs like you to succeed in the next 5, 10, 20, and 50 years.

Also looming on the immediate horizon in the impending crash of the commercial real estate bubble. Small banks are working feverously to make things work before, but their efforts appear to be on a crash course with reality.

Thousands of local and community banks are on the brink of collapse as their bets on businesses in the past 5-10 years are not panning out. Malls and offices sit vacant and without rent money coming in there is a buildup in supply while the demand for space is shrinking. Values of properties in the commercial sector will shrink and rents will likely plunge as well.

Many more jobs will be lost and things don’t look good.

The reality for businesses is that consumers are going to be prudent in their spending and it’ll take strong communication of benefits to convince people to make purchases for themselves and their families. It’s important for businesses to be open and transparent in the things they do daily to earn customer trust.

Building successful businesses is still possible and your business can grow and succeed in the future with the right outlook.

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Economic Trends

Millions of Unemployed Face Years Without Jobs

From New York Times (Feb. 2010):

Even as the American economy shows tentative signs of a rebound, the human toll of the recession continues to mount, with millions of Americans remaining out of work, out of savings and nearing the end of their unemployment benefits.

Economists fear that the nascent recovery will leave more people behind than in past recessions, failing to create jobs in sufficient numbers to absorb the record-setting ranks of the long-term unemployed.

Call them the new poor: people long accustomed to the comforts of middle-class life who are now relying on public assistance for the first time in their lives — potentially for years to come.

Yet the social safety net is already showing severe strains. Roughly 2.7 million jobless people will lose their unemployment check before the end of April unless Congress approves the Obama administration’s proposal to extend the payments, according to the Labor Department.

Here in Southern California, Jean Eisen has been without work since she lost her job selling beauty salon equipment more than two years ago. In the several months she has endured with neither a paycheck nor an unemployment check, she has relied on local food banks for her groceries.

She has learned to live without the prescription medications she is supposed to take for high blood pressure and cholesterol. She has become effusively religious — an unexpected turn for this onetime standup comic with X-rated material — finding in Christianity her only form of health insurance.

“I pray for healing,” says Ms. Eisen, 57. “When you’ve got nothing, you’ve got to go with what you know.”

Read the rest Millions of Unemployed Face Years Without Jobs

Impact on your business

Millions of Americans are unemployed and millions more are working jobs that pay less or offer fewer hours than they have been used to seeing in previous years. It’s a difficult reality for most and emergency lifelines like savings, credit cards, and family loans are running dry.

It’s a difficult climate for any business trying to get started or trying to expand. Any economy depends on a strong unemployment rate where people are able to earn a quality living while seeing their cost of living expand as business innovate and prices drop.

Without an innovative sign in the market (such as the computer and Internet revolution) there is no telling when quality employment will come back to the US.

Brookdale Center Mall Sold at Auction for Big Markdown

From Star Tribune (Feb. 2010):

Brookdale Center went on the auction block at a sheriff’s foreclosure sale Friday, netting just one bid of $12.5 million from the shopping mall’s lenders.

The bid from Brookdale Mall HH LLC was well below the $51.8 million owed on a $54.2 million mortgage by the property’s owners, Brooks Mall Properties of Coral Gables, Fla.

A representative of the lenders declined to comment on the bidding or plans for the Brooklyn Center shopping mall. Other real estate experts said the low bid could make it easier for the owners to redeem or other buyers to purchase the property.

Brooks Mall Properties had agreed to a voluntary foreclosure, so the redemption period will be two months rather than six. Representatives of the firm could not be reached for comment Friday.

The foreclosure doesn’t mean the 47-year-old mall, the second-oldest of the Twin Cities’ “Dales,” is closing.

Brookdale’s struggles began well before the retail market meltdown, and its problems have worsened since then. Sears is its sole remaining anchor. In the last couple of years Macy’s, Barnes & Noble and Mervyn’s have all closed their stores. The mall also has lost other key tenants, such as Steve & Barry’s. Almost 60 percent of its space is vacant, according to recent figures from NorthMarq.

Read the entire story Brookdale Center Mall Sold at Auction for Big Markdown

Impact on your business

On top of the worsening employment situation in the US is the looming commercial real estate bubble that has yet to face reality.

Just as the billions, if not trillions of dollars in residential real estate brought the US economy to its knees two years ago, the bubble in commercial real estate finally appears to be reaching its breaking point.

Businesses are trying all they can to make thing work with lenders, but lenders are afraid of losing out on their investments in commercial real estate from the past 5-10 years. It’s a big problem and one that has potential to be bigger than the residential real estate problem.

There is good and bad news for businesses in the commercial real estate climate. The good news is that rents and prices for office space and other commercial space will likely plummet due to the overcapacity. The bad news is that more businesses will go under and the unemployment will likely climb further, which hampers all economic recoveries.

In D.C., more evidence that commercial real estate headed for foreclosure crisis

From The Washington Post (Feb. 2010):

A mortgage crisis like the one that has devastated homeowners is enveloping the nation’s office and retail buildings, and few places are likely to be hit as hard as Washington.

The foreclosure wave is likely to swamp many smaller community banks across the country, and many well-known properties, including Washington’s Mayflower Hotel and the Boulevard at the Capital Centre in Largo, are at risk, industry analysts say.

The new round of financial pain, which some had anticipated but hoped to avoid, now seems all but certain. “There’s been an enormous bubble in commercial real estate, and it has to come down,” said Elizabeth Warren, chairman of the Congressional Oversight Panel, the watchdog created by Congress to monitor the financial bailout. “There will be significant bankruptcies among developers and significant failures among community banks.”

Unlike the largest banks, such as Citigroup and Wachovia, that got into so much trouble early on, the community banks in general fared better in the residential mortgage crisis. But their turn is coming: Not only did community banks issue a higher proportion of commercial loans, but they also have held on to them rather than sell them to other investors.

Nearly 3,000 community banks — 40 percent of the banking system — have a high proportion of commercial real estate loans relative to their capital, said Warren, whose committee issued a report on commercial real estate last week. “Every dollar they lose in commercial real estate is a dollar they can’t use for small businesses,” she said. Individuals — who saw their home values drop in the residential mortgage crisis — would not feel that kind of loss, but, Warren said, a large-scale failure would “throw sand into the gears of economic recovery.”

In Washington, the number of troubled properties has multiplied at a phenomenal rate, with the value growing from only $13 million in 2007 to $40 billion now, according to CoStar Group, a Bethesda real estate research company. The region trails only South Florida and metropolitan New York in the per capita value of commercial real estate assets in foreclosure, default or delinquency, according to the research group Real Capital Analytics.

The threat is especially acute in the District, the firm said, where the catalogue of troubled commercial real estate properties has grown tenfold since April. Moreover, the region has $7.3 billion in commercial properties that are underwater — worth less than the mortgages on them — according to CoStar.

Read the entire story In D.C., more evidence that commercial real estate headed for crisis

Impact on your business

Many people saw this coming, but the trend in the past year or two has been to ignore the problem and simply not talk about it as there were more pressing issues in the short-term.

The reality is coming close today and most have to deal with the situation.

If you’re in the business of commercial real estate lending or if your customers depend on the income generated from the industry you are likely to be affected. In fact, most in the US economy will be affected due to the large scale of the issue.

The correct thing is for the situation to correct itself as the mismanaged businesses can be liquidated and apt businesses can pick up the pieces and form a proper recovery.

That business could be yours. See opportunity in the hunting industry and do what it takes to find the things people need and want in the new economy.

Commercial Real Estate Apocalypse in 2011-2012

From Mish’s Global Trend Analysis (Feb. 2010):

Inquiring minds are digging deep into a 190 page PDF by the Congressional Oversight Panel regarding Commercial Real Estate Losses and the Risk to Financial Stability.

Executive Summary

Over the next few years, a wave of commercial real estate loan failures could threaten America’s already-weakened financial system. The Congressional Oversight Panel is deeply concerned that commercial loan losses could jeopardize the stability of many banks, particularly the nation’s mid-size and smaller banks, and that as the damage spreads beyond individual banks that it will contribute to prolonged weakness throughout the economy.

Between 2010 and 2014, about $1.4 trillion in commercial real estate loans will reach the end of their terms. Nearly half are at present “underwater” – that is, the borrower owes more than the underlying property is currently worth. Commercial property values have fallen more than 40 percent since the beginning of 2007. Increased vacancy rates, which now range from eight percent for multifamily housing to 18 percent for office buildings, and falling rents, which have declined 40 percent for office space and 33 percent for retail space, have exerted a powerful downward pressure on the value of commercial properties.

The largest commercial real estate loan losses are projected for 2011 and beyond; losses at banks alone could range as high as $200-$300 billion. The stress tests conducted last year for 19 major financial institutions examined their capital reserves only through the end of 2010.

Even more significantly, small and mid-sized banks were never subjected to any exercise comparable to the stress tests, despite the fact that small and mid-sized banks are proportionately even more exposed than their larger counterparts to commercial real estate loan losses.

A significant wave of commercial mortgage defaults would trigger economic damage that could touch the lives of nearly every American. Empty office complexes, hotels, and retail stores could lead directly to lost jobs. Foreclosures on apartment complexes could push families out of their residences, even if they had never missed a rent payment. Banks that suffer, or are afraid of suffering, commercial mortgage losses could grow even more reluctant to lend, which could in turn further reduce access to credit for more businesses and families and accelerate a negative economic cycle.

Read the entire story Commercial Real Estate Apocalypse 20011-2012

Impact on your business

The commercial real estate issue is a very big problem. If some of the banks in trouble go under it will have an immediate impact on local communities and businesses.

Businesses will fail and it will be difficult for new and existing businesses to have access to credit at the rates they once had in the past 5-10 years.

It’s important to understand what it will take to be successful in the new economy: savings and quality ideas that consumers need.

Savings is key for the new reality in America. People that have savings will protect it with their lives and will only invest in sound businesses.

Make sure your business is one of the ones built with strong fundamentals.


Industry News

Programs Aim to Attract New Hunters

From Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Feb. 2010):

Hunting is as natural to humans as eating. In fact our ancestors couldn’t do one without the other.

But while 21st century Americans display ever more gusto at the table, the food gathering is largely outsourced. Hunting has been in decline for decades.

The reasons are many, including urbanization, loss of wildlife habitat, changes in the way we spend our free time.

We are an increasingly sedentary culture, more connected to digital devices than the natural world.

The trend is reflected in many outdoor pursuits, but is especially marked in hunting.

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the number of licensed hunters in America declined about 35% from 1975 to 2006.

Even in Wisconsin, where deer hunting is considered by many as a second state religion, only about one in eight state residents bought a hunting license last year.

The downward trend is troubling to wildlife managers, who rely on funding from license sales and excise taxes, but also to advocates of the healthfulness of a lifestyle that includes hunting.

The push to stabilize or even increase hunting participation in the Badger State took center stage last weekend when the Department of Natural Resources hosted the first Wisconsin Hunting Heritage Conference.

A banner at the conference featured a quote by Theodore Roosevelt: “Those of us privileged to take to the field are entrusted by fate and circumstance to hold and nurture the hunter’s legacy.”

Read the entire story Programs Aim to Attract New Hunters

Impact on your business

It’s great to see that acquiring new hunters to the hunting industry is a priority.

Hunting is big business and acquiring new hunters is the lifeblood of businesses like yours in the hunting industry. The benefits of hunting need to be expressed to the young folks in our population. Passions need to be passed along by parents and other mentors in the hunting industry if there is to be a prosperous hunting industry in the future.

It can happen and acknowledgement is the first step.

Online Trends

5 Sure Fire Tactics to Promote a Business Blog

From Online Marketing Blog (Feb. 2010):

Relevant, Consistently Updated Content + Flawless Technical Functionality & User Experience = Perfect Blog Launch

What’s missing from the equation above? You guessed it: blog promotion.

Creating a glitch-free blog with informative content means next to nothing without attracting readers.

Start promoting your blog today with these five effective tips:

1) Involve influential industry bloggers.

By linking to popular blogs, you can gain the attention of both the influential blogger and his or her readers.

But your blog won’t be the only one to benefit. You’ll be giving the other blog a little link juice – and be paying them a compliment at the same time.

Try out a few of these ideas for leveraging other blogs:

  • Create a post around an interesting concept published by an influential blogger: Be sure to attribute the information to the blogger and link to his or her post. And don’t forget to offer additional unique insight to make the post your own.
  • Interview an influential blogger and turn it into a Q&A post: That blogger is sure to link to your post, and his or her readers are likely to visit your blog as a result. Side benefit: Including the insight of a thought leader will help position you as a thought leader as well.
  • Create a list of influential blogs: Include popular blogs from your industry, and include a link, short description and even a screenshot. Online Marketing Blog has successfully done this with its BIGLIST of online marketing blogs. Publish a blog post each week highlighting one or two new blogs to promote the list and acquire another link to the list.

Read the entire article 5 Sure Fire Tactics to Promote a Business Blog

Impact on your business

A blog is one of the best ways for businesses to acquire new customers on the Web.

A blog built around attracting, educating, and selling customers on the things your business is how people are having success. Blogs have huge SEO value as the content posted reaches customers searching for general and long-tail keywords in search engines. Once visitors reach the site they are looking to research the products they are interested in purchasing and if a blog is captivating and intriguing they will subscribe and turn into long-term customers that will prove profitable for your business.

8 Reasons You Might Not Be Getting Many Comments

From Problogger (Feb. 2010):

No matter how big their blog is, every blogger loves and wants comments. When you’re just starting out, there are few bigger thrills than writing something and having people comment and give you feedback about what you’ve written. Veteran bloggers love comments and also know that the quantity and quality of the comments says a lot about the impact of the particular post in question.

But sometimes you write something that you think is awesome and the comment thread is like a ghost town. To say that this is discouraging is to put it too lightly. Not only does it suck, but it’s enough to make you start thinking that your writing sucks, and it makes it really hard to hit write and hit publish the next time, too.

Here’s the deal, though: just because you’re not getting a lot of comments doesn’t mean that your posts suck. Here are eight reasons why you might not be getting comments – and what you can do about it.

1) Your Posts Are Too Long

While it’s hard to say that long post always get fewer comments – there are a lot of different considerations at play – as a general rule, longer posts set a bigger barrier to commenting. I write a lot of long posts, and I’ve seen this bear out time and time again.

There are two things to keep in mind when you’re writing longer posts: 1) most blog posts are short(er) and 2) your readers are busy. If they’re used to reading 500 word posts on other blogs and then hit your 3,000 word post, they’re might be a bit overwhelmed. It’s not uncommon for them to bookmark your post for reading “when they have time” and move on to the next, shorter post, only to forget to come back and read yours. (For more considerations on blog length, check out Post Length ‚Äì How Long Should a Blog Post Be?)

Some bloggers manage to thrive in the long post format, but you’ve got to understand that you’ll be going against the current if you write in that style. That’s not a bad thing – just understand that you might not get as many comments as if you wrote shorter posts.

Once your post is published, it’s probably best to leave it, though. In the future, see if you can take a long draft of a post and split it into a series or discrete post. Also try varying the tempo of your blog by following a long post with a short post and vice versa.

Red the entire post 8 Reasons You Might Not Be Getting Many Comments

Impact on your business

Interaction is something all businesses and bloggers are looking for because most understand the benefits of having a strong customer base and readership that is engaged in the things your business is doing.

Follow the steps in the article to crafting blog posts that have potential to generate a lot of comments and you’ll start seeing your readers more interactive (and thus more loyal).

Conclusions

There is a lot of uncertainty in the world today.

Consumers are looking for security in the things they do on a daily basis. They want to make decisions that ensure their family and friends are safe and secure for the future and this is leading to more prudent saving and planning in the market.

It’s a change for most business models as businesses have to be more up front with their benefits to the customers.

Having an open and honest relationship that where you are transparent with your customers is going to make you successful in the next era of the US economy.

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Hunting Business Marketing

The Story of the Giant Moose

Sometimes unexpected keywords result in big traffic

Today I decided to draft an interesting case study that may prove valuable for you and hopefully for your blog and business.

What makes it valuable?

SEO and keyword research are important for bloggers to understand. Recognizing search traffic trends in your site’s statistics can help you hone in your writing to attract more visitors and potentially customers to your site.

Let’s take a look…

Ben G. Outdoors

I approached Ben Gustafson (@BenGOutdoors) early in 2010 to discuss working on a few marketing strategies for growing his blog and site: Ben G. Outdoors.

For Ben G. Outdoors, Ben writes about his experiences in the outdoors doing various activities including hunting. He puts a great personal spin on his writing (he and his wife recently welcomed a new baby boy to the family). Ben also writes reviews for hunting products and does interviews with leaders in the hunting industry.

Ben was excited about the opportunity to take a deeper look at his marketing strategy. We discussed a few things to focus on in the initial research and one of the objectives we wanted to focus on was keyword trends and opportunities.

Unique Keyword Strategy

After digging into some of the keywords that were bringing traffic to Ben G. Outdoors, I noticed something interesting.

Ben’s post, Giant Moose, was ranking #1 in Google for the term ‘Giant Moose’.

Now, this high ranking didn’t surprise me. Ben had used the keyword in the title and the post was, while not long in content, had numerous comments and seemed to be a popular one for Ben’s readers.

At first I thought this was just an example of a blog ranking well for a long-tail keyword phrase, but after doing some deeper research I realized that the term ‘Giant Moose’ receives about 4,400 broad searches each month and 1,900 exact searches each month (Google Keyword Tool).

Please click on the images to see enlarged…

Ben G. Outdoors is receiving some good traffic each month from a post that generated some quality discussion and interaction with his readers. Potential readers that first visit Ben’s site via a search for ‘Giant Moose’ have good reason to be impressed with the discussion and if they’re interested in hunting and the outdoors it’s likely they’ll visit again or look through the archives for further relevant reading.

Opportunity for Future Posts

Ben, being the smart guy he is, realized the potential to write more posts using ‘Giant Moose’ as inspiration.

Recently, a post on a Huge Black Bear story hit the front page of Ben G. Outdoors.

This post had more content and insight from Ben in the body of the post. Comments soon flowed in just as they had with ‘Giant Moose’. Ben’s readers seem to love discussing the strange and unique stories from the hunting world.

Along with the great conversation, the great thing about ‘Huge Black Bear’ is the fact that it’s already ranking on page 1 of Google. Depending on your personalized search, Ben may rank anywhere from 3-10 or so for the term.

The term ‘Huge Black Bear’ gets about 400 broad searches each month on Google, which isn’t substantial, but it is likely the post will generate some relevant traffic to Ben’s site over the long-term.

Summary

By working together, Ben and I were able to find some great insight into what is already proving to be a valuable source of traffic for his site.

I’m sure Ben will continue to craft posts using the ‘Giant Moose’ formula and I think he’ll have great success as he has already had with ‘Huge Black Bear’.

Ben also plans to continue to write interviews, reviews and other types of posts for his blog since those are popular with readers as well.

Your Input on Keywords

What about you?

Have you had keyword success with your blog?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

SEO Reading

And for more great reading on SEO Strategy, please read: Optimize a Single Post On Your Blog for SEO

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Image courtesy of junmon603

65+ Essential Hunting Resources

Essential Hunting Websites…

The following is a list of essential online destinations hunters need to visit for the best insight, community, interaction, and experience.

Sites are represented based on the value they offer visitors, which may include things such as site quality content (updated blogs are important), user experience, uniqueness, among other factors.

Listings are open for discussion so please leave your thoughts in the comments.

Some sites may fit into more than one category, but I’ve placed them in the category I think fits best.

In the spirit of sharing, please send this article to all your hunting friends.

Let’s make this post well-known in hunting circles so these sites and resources can be known to all hunters.

Hunting Communities

HuntingNet

Mossy Oak

CamoSpace

Jesse’s Hunting

Big Game Hunt

Texas Hunting Forum

TexasHuntFish

Hunting Pennsylvania

North American Hunter

Ted Nugent

Deer Hunting Chat

Outdoors International

Hunting Articles and Stories

Outdoor Life

Field and Stream

Peterson’s Hunting

Bowhunting.net

Michael Waddell

ESPN Outdoors – Hunting

Grow the Hunt

The Hog Blog

Hunting Press Releases and News

AmmoLand

Hunting Life

How-to Hunt

Deer and Deer Hunting

Buckmasters

Hunting Video

My Outdoor TV

The Outdoor Channel

The Sportsman Channel

The Crush

The American Outdoorsman

Whitetail Tube

Hunting Retailer

Cabela’s

Gander Mountain

Bass Pro Shops

The Sportsman’s Guide

Orvis

LL Bean

Bowhunting.com

Midway USA

3 Rivers Archery

Hunting Manufacturers

Mathews Inc.

New Archery Products

Realtree

Bear Archery

Lone Wolf Stands

Danner Boots

Remington Firearms

Under Armour – Athletes Hunt

Easton Archery

Hoyt USA

Martin Archery

PSE Archery

Bowtech Archery

Browning Archery

Primos

Robinson Outdoors

Tinks

Stormy Kromer

Muzzy Products

Carbon Express

Sure-Loc

Hunting Foundations

National Shooting Sports Foundation

Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation

Boone and Crockett

Ducks Unlimited

Wild Sheep Foundation

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Image courtesy of Zach Dischner

How Influence Shapes Your Marketing Strategy

The people that influence you affect the way you perform marketing

Think of the folks in your life that most influence your decisions.

Who comes to mind?

Parents?

Older siblings?

A star athlete?

Your boss or mentor?

There are lots of people that influence the way we are, the way we lives our lives, and the decisions we make – professionally and personally. The people we look up to as role models are typically the same people who inspire us to succeed and do good in the world.

Let’s take a closer look at the impact of influencers in our marketing lives…

The Origin of Influence

While I was growing up the people that influenced my life the most were typically older brothers of friends, professional athletes, and men in my family (not my Dad in my younger years since immature kids typically don’t look to their Dad for influence).

As I grew up, the people I looked to for guidance changed to more meaningful influencers. These were people such as my Dad, business leaders I both knew and didn’t know, and a few actors and musical artists.

Looking to my Dad for personal advice and insight seems to make sense since he was very successful at being a father.

Looking to business leaders for insight into business success makes sense for me since my long-term goal is to become successful in all aspects of entrepreneurship.

The Sociology of Influence

It’s logical for people to take inspiration from those that are successful in the fields we want to be successful in ourselves.

Those that are driven to succeed in their professional lives in various fields will seek out the insight of successful people in the same industry. It’s common for influence to come from the leaders we work with at our daily jobs. These folks are successful and are usually willing to comment on their own path of success. Seek out the most articulate leaders you work with directly and ask for their continuing stories of what it takes to become successful in your chosen field. It’s likely these folks will still be driven to a higher level of success and they may even discredit the amount of success they have had up to the current point in their professional lives.

In today’s world of information, there is a easier access to the success stories and blueprints with the Web.

Business leaders often have their stories published online. Some leaders maintain their own blog where they share their insight on a regular basis.

It’s easy to find interviews with influential business leaders with a simple search. Favorites quotes from interviews and articles can often provide the inspiration to take our own success to the next level.

There are sites dedicated to finding the best of Inspirational and Motivational Quotes and using images to share their meaning: Slice Quotes.

In a connected world, influence is infinitely available.

The trick is filtering out the noise while paying attention to the people and insight that can have the most impact.

How Influence Shapes Marketing Strategy

Something I struggle with almost daily is the balance of Influence and Marketing Strategy.

I read hundreds of blogs and articles each week. I like reading about marketing strategy as it relates to direct marketing.

I work both in the direct to consumer marketing industry as well as in the business to business industry. It’s even difficult to understand the various needs and wants of each type of customers (consumers and businesses).

The insights I read from business leaders that blog do shape my marketing strategies and decisions. I look for case studies and examples of success in various industries and try to relate the stories to strategies I can utilize for my own growth as a business professional.

I think the most important thing to note about influence is that all actions should revolve around focused strategies.

I’ve done things in the past where I’ve read something insightful in a blog post from a marketing industry leader and have jumped right into implementing the strategy. Sometimes it’s worked and other times it hasn’t.

There is nothing wrong with experimenting and I think it can actually be positive. But to save time and effort, I’ve found much better and more effective (and efficient) success by always asking the question: How does this influential insight relate to the overall marketing strategy?

Having the focus on the defined marketing strategy has allowed for more growth and impact on the businesses I’m involved with.

Influence has been great for me and I continue to seek out the advice and insight of the leaders in the world. Having a focused strategy and vision has allowed me to better utilize the influences in my life.

Suggestions for Influence

Here are a few suggestions for seeking influence and using it to further your strategies and visions:

  • Seek influence from family and friends
  • Seek influence from industry leaders
  • Recognize influence from unexpected sources
  • Form strategies
  • Apply relevant insight to your business strategy

Influential People in My Life

  • Parents
  • Uncles
  • Business associates
  • Co-workers
  • Marketing leaders (typically those that blog)
  • Successful CEOs and business owners
  • Experiment

Who are the influential people in your life?

Have the people with the most influence on your life changed over time?

What to read next on Hunting Business Marketing

Successful People Guide to Success Series

The Secret Marketing Tactic of Successful Companies

The Tin Cup Success Theory

What to read next on the Web

Thoughts on the Influencer Audience

How to Influence People

What is Your Internet Strategy?

Images courtesy of Filtran and OakleyOriginals

State of the Hunting Industry Report | February 2010

[private_member]MEMBERS – Please view in .pdf form – State of the Hunting Industry Report | February 2010 [/private_member]

Edition 4           A Publication of Hunting Business Marketing        February 2010

Now is the Time to Prepare for the Fall 2010 Hunting Season

Introduction

Image courtesy of Alex E. Proimos

With a mixture of positive and negative economic news coming out daily there is volatility and uneasiness amongst businesses and consumers in the US.

The stock market is up from its lows of over a year ago, but there is still uncertainty of whether the increase is due to actual economic productivity or the result of stimulus in the market from the US Government going back to 2007 when the presidential administration and Congress sent checks out to everybody.

An entire industry in the housing sector was blown up artificially by low interest rates in the early 2000s and once the artificial demand lost its stimulus there was a crash back to reality. Since then there has been even more intervention in the markets with attempts at artificial demand and the anticipation of more exhausted demands has consumers and businesses on edge when it comes to confidence in the future.

And while there is volatility in the markets and in the confidence of consumers, there is still real demand for real products and services – both needed and wanted.

And this is where the opportunity for growth is for aspiring businesses.

[private_member]

Americans are worried about their jobs (if they still have jobs they are satisfied with) and this has had an effect on discretionary spending for the past two or so years. And while there has been a retraction in spending, that doesn’t mean that demand for wanted and needed items does not exist.

Demand for items is infinite and companies that can find ways to fill consumer demand despite the discretionary spending retraction will be able to find areas in the hunting industry that are prime for growth and expansion.

Whether it’s extending credit to consumers when they are struggling to make the purchases they have become accustomed to or if it’s finding products to sell that may be a step down in quality and cost, but still fill an emotional need, businesses that are able to connect with the new consumer pains and frustrations will be able to grow and succeed no matter what the economic outlook is.

Opportunity exists and it’s there for you to take.

Economic Trends

Watchdog: Bailouts created more risk in system

From Associate Press (Jan 2010):

The government’s response to the financial meltdown has made it more likely the United States will face a deeper crisis in the future, an independent watchdog at the Treasury Department warned.

The problems that led to the last crisis have not yet been addressed, and in some cases have grown worse, says Neil Barofsky, the special inspector general for the trouble asset relief program, or TARP. The quarterly report to Congress was released Sunday.

“Even if TARP saved our financial system from driving off a cliff back in 2008, absent meaningful reform, we are still driving on the same winding mountain road, but this time in a faster car,” Barofsky wrote.

Since Congress passed $700 billion financial bailout, the remaining institutions considered “too big to fail” have grown larger and failed to restrain the lavish pay for their executives, Barofsky wrote. He said the banks still have an incentive to take on risk because they know the government will save them rather than bring down the financial system.

Read the entire article Watchdog: Bailouts created more risk in system

Impact on your business

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that a problem caused by over extended spending and extended credit couldn’t be fixed with more extended spending and extended credit.

When the deflationary cycle of consumer and business contraction took hold in 2007-2008, the US Government stepped in and attempted to create demand by handing out borrowed money. It’s an effective tactic in the short-term, but has negative long-term consequences as the end result is simply a worse crash than what would have originally occurred.

It’s a difficult economic climate for any business owner to succeed in, but those who are determined to look for opportunity despite the political influence in the market are the ones who succeed.

When I take a step back and look at the successful business owners that I’ve come in contact with they are often void of strong political affiliation as they simply use their time worrying about that which they control rather than wasting energy on worrying about what may happen in the political happenings.

So while it’s important for research, planning, and strategizing, political and economic happenings are out of the control of businesses and the ultimate focus needs to be on understanding what’s happening in the economy and crafting strategies to succeed in spite of those happenings.

Americans Leery of Too Much Gov’t Regulation of Business

From Gallup (Feb 2010):

At a time when the debate over the optimal role of government involvement in regulating business is a prominent policy debate, new Gallup polling shows that 57% of Americans are worried that there will be too much government regulation of business, while 37% worry that there will not be enough. Half of Americans believe the government should become less involved in regulating and controlling business, with 24% saying the government should become more involved and 23% saying things are about right.

While the American public may favor some of these initiatives [of the US Administration] on an individual basis, the current results underscore the degree to which the average American in a general sense is concerned about too much government involvement in business.

Read the entire article Americans Leery of Too Much Gov’t Regulation of Business

Impact on your business

There is uneasiness among Americans when it comes to Government intervention in business and economic markets.

Consumers and business owners are unsure of how intervention will affect their personal situations, but most Americans appear to be of the feeling that intervention in the economy and the markets will have a negative long-term impact on the economy as a whole.

Understand the uneasiness and remember that’s happenings are ultimately out of your control and there are still growth opportunities despite any political agenda.

Americans Agree: Quality Jobs Remain Hard to Find

From Gallup (Jan 2010):

As the Obama administration and Congress shift their focus to the economy and jobs after the State of the Union, Gallup polling suggests they need to consider quality as well as quantity. One in 10 Americans (9%) believe now is a “good time” to find a “quality job” — a situation that has persisted over the past year, and a huge deterioration in job-market conditions from January 2007, when nearly half of Americans (48%) expressed optimism about finding a quality job.

While Americans disagree about many things — and rarely reflect an overwhelming consensus about anything concerning the economy — their views about the lack of quality jobs are a clear exception; the total lack of optimism about the prospects of finding a quality job in January 2010 is consistent across ages, incomes, genders, and regions of the country.

Read the entire article Americans Agree: Quality Jobs Remain Hard to Find

Impact on your business

Unemployment and underemployment remains one of the most important issues facing consumers and business owners in the United States today.

Official unemployment is at around 10% while underemployment is hovering around 17-18%. Still others in the economy feel they are working harder and longer today for less pay. This group of individuals obviously has a mindset that is retrenched in contraction mode while others that have quality jobs still remain uneasy about their ability to have stability in the near future.

It makes for difficult marketing, but as mentioned before – demand is infinite and consumers still demand that which they need and want. Businesses able to find ways to foster demand whether it’s through credit, lowering of standards or creative marketing will find success in today’s economy.

Gallup Economic Weekly: Self-Reported Spending Declines

From Gallup (Jan 2010):

As the Dow Jones average plunged more than 400 points last week, consumers pulled back, with self-reported spending falling 24% from the prior week and 27% from the same week a year ago. This breaks the positive early January trend that saw spending running slightly higher than last year’s comparables. At the same time, economic confidence was about the same as the prior week and Gallup’s Job Creation Index showed that hiring remained essentially unchanged.

Impact on your business

The uneasy feeling amongst consumers stems from the volatility and the questionability in the current economy. Consumers are simply questioning the viability of any sustainable growth in the economy and whether they should be able to count on future stability that could lead them to make more discretionary purchases in the short-term.

As consumer spending continues to fall or flatten over the long-term, it will be difficult for businesses to maintain their current models.

Business models will have to change and it will become essential for businesses to find ways to tap into consumers’ demand despite the new variety of barriers that exist.

Industry News

Hunting License Sales Up By 3.5 Percent in NSSF Index of States

From National Shooting Sports Foundation, Inc. (Feb 2010):

In a year when one word, “fewer,” described life in America — fewer jobs, fewer home sales, fewer purchases — hunters were responsible for generating a welcome “more” category, as hunting license sales rose by 3.5 percent in 2009 in states that make up NSSF’s Hunting License Sales Index.

The 12-state index comprises several states from four main regions of the United States. Nine of those states recorded hunting license sales increases from January through December of 2009 over the previous year, according to Southwick Associates, a research firm that monitored the license sales information.

“Many factors such as weather and the economy affect hunting license sales in any given year, but in 2009 the economy likely had a more significant effect,” said Jim Curcuruto, NSSF’s director of industry research and analysis. “While the reasons for the 3.5 percent increase are speculative, past research shows that during slowdowns in the nation’s economy it is possible that people have more time to hunt and that hunters take the opportunity to fill their freezers with nutritious, high-protein meat acquired at lower cost than if a similar amount was purchased at the supermarket.”

States participating in the NSSF License Sales Index are New York and New Jersey in the Northeast; Florida, North Carolina, Louisiana and Tennessee in the Southeast; Minnesota, Indiana, Kansas and Texas in the Midwest; and Oregon and Utah in the West. States were selected for their ability to provide license sales data on a regular basis. The geographical selections were made to offset potential variation in license sales by region. As more states are able to provide necessary data, the number of states will be increased, said Curcuruto.

Read the entire article Hunting License Sales Up By 3.5 Percent in NSSF Index of States

Impact on your business

It was a disappointing hunting season in my home state of Wisconsin so it made me happy to read this report from the NSSF.

It’s good to see that there is some growth or flattening in the hunting industry. Hunters continue to want and need the best hunting equipment and the best land access in order to fulfill their demand for the best hunting experiences and the biggest trophies.

This demand will never cease to exist. New barriers may form like uncertainty, instability, and tightening financial situations, but this simply changes the business model for hunting businesses.

Find ways to break the barriers that exist for your customers and you’ll find success.

Online Trends

What Can SEO-Savvy Blogs Do For You?

From Fathom SEO (Feb 2010):

To blog or not to blog – if that is your question, then reading this post should help you find the answer.

Creating a blog for your company is an excellent way to implement SEO strategy. Many people do not realize the important connections between successful, regularly-updated blogs and SEO rankings. TopRank Blogging recently published a survey covering the “Impact of Blogging on Search Engine Optimization.” Of the 326 participants, 87.4% “successfully increased measurable SEO objectives as a direct result of blogging” and 94% “reported seeing measurable SEO benefits from blogging within 12 months.”

Of course, all statistics need to be taken with a grain of salt, but the overall impression you get from this data is that blogging positively impacts SEO functions. The bigger question worth asking is: Why does this happen?

Those who have spent time in the industry and seen the tangible results provided by SEO-friendly blogs can attest that these information creations serve several important functions. Blogging can

Read the entire article What Can SEO-Savvy Blogs Do For You?

Impact on your business

Connecting is an important step for businesses today.

Success will come for businesses that are able to break the barriers that now exist in their customer’s life. Blogging is a great way for businesses that put together a blogging strategy that works to fill a trust void or to break down a barrier in the customer’s life.

Look for the frustrations in your customer’s life and answer those frustrations with a blog.

Conclusions

It’s a difficult economy environment for businesses and consumers today.

Uneasiness and uncertainty exist throughout the demographic spectrum and things don’t appear to be changing as far as confidence and outlook go.

Businesses will find success by finding the new barriers that exist for their customer’s and finding ways for their customer to get past the new barriers. This could be extending credit to someone who may not have the means to make purchase or it may be by connecting with customers via a blog and building a trust that makes customers feel good about making a purchase today that will benefit them.

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HBM Membership

Behind the walls of Hunting Business Marketing lies a great wealth of knowledge and opportunity for you and your business.

Here’s what comes with your membership:

1| Access to the Q&A Forum

The Q&A Forum is the best part of this deal. In the forum there is already discussion about how to succeed in the hunting industry. You’ll be able to ask any question you need an answer too and you’ll also be able to participate in the questions and discussions of other members.

Participate in discussions about:

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2-Month HBM Membership ($40 Value)

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And to top it all off…the BEST announcement yet:

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Contest

The rules are simple:

1| Sign up for the Hunting Business Marketing Newsletter

You can sign up following the link above or you can enter your name and email address into the forms at the top of every page on HBM or on the bottom of every blog post.

Yep – it’s that simple.

If you’re already signed up for the Newsletter, don’t worry – you’re already entered to win.

Entries are accepted through Sunday February 28th, 2010 with the winners announced on Monday.

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25 Tips from 25 Hunting Industry Leaders

Something I’ll do when I’m looking for inspiration and insight is to look for tips and quotes from leaders in business and industry as motivation to keep me inspired in my daily life.

Luckily, the finest minds in the hunting and outdoor industry share their insight and expertise daily through communication channels such as Twitter, Facebook, and blogs.

An effective strategy for any business is to share your valuable knowledge. It’s a great way to build your reputation as a leader in the industry.

So push aside those feelings of keeping your nuggets of useful information secret and share the wealth with your potential customers.

Here are some of my recent favorites:

1| Mark Kenyon – Wired to Hunt

“Before ever setting foot on a piece of land to go scouting, significant work should be done to maximize the effectiveness of your scouting efforts and to minimize the time that you need to be in your hunting area. The most important piece of work that you must take care of is learning the lay of the land and this is accomplished by studying maps.” – from Using Google Maps to Scout for Whitetail Deer

2| Cory Glauner – Outdoors International

“Good books are for sharing.” – from Twitter

3| Jane Keller – Team Huntress

“Some searching for something personal, some not really searching but thinking they have come along to support a friend or a relative, and some think they are there just to teach. However, one thing is for certain. After an enjoyable and unforgettable weekend, bonds will be made, and lifetime friendships forged. But most importantly, we will all have learned, in more ways than you could have ever imagined. Team Huntress is more than just a woman’s outdoor clinic.” – from Passions Found

4| Chris Burget – Bulls & Beavers

“Life is short, Live where you love and love what you do.” – from Twitter

5 | Jim Braaten – Sportsman’s Blog

“What’s with all this hype about the Apple Tablet to be announced later today? Will it replace my Etch-A-Sketch?” – from Twitter

6 | Stacey Huston – A Focus on the Wild

“Even when you think you are prepared, things can catch you by surprise.. but all you can do is go with what life gives you, and try to keep up.” – from Life Comes At You Fast…

7 | Sherry Kerr – Outdoor Media Resources

“If you’re an organization or business, why would you not follow-back those who are squarely in your target market?” – from Twitter

8 | Holly Heyser – NorCal Cazadora

“It’s late, it’s cold, I have the sniffles and I don’t care. I’m going hunting.” – from Twitter

9 | Andrew Bennett – Deneki Outdoors

“The first food source that we’ll cover is arguably the most important to our rainbows on the Lower Kanektok. It seems a little gross to us land-dwellers, but salmon flesh is protein-packed and extremely abundant.” – from Trout Food: Salmon Flesh

10 | Mark Healy – Wildlife Callers

“And, the truth is, bobcats aren’t terribly hard to call – they are terribly hard to see. I absolutely believe that most bobcats called in go unseen by the caller. Generally speaking, bobcats come slower to a call and use cover all the way in. There are always exceptions to this rule, but more often than not they will be slow and methodical about their approach. Also, if you’re serious about harvesting more bobcats, take binoculars on every stand. Once a bobcat has gotten a visual on the speaker or the bush it’s in, they will stop coming and sit down. A motionless bobcat in a bush at 30 yards is nearly impossible to see without binos.” – from Gray Fox & Bobcat Calling – What Sounds? When? How Long? How Loud?

11 | Bowhunting.com Staff – Bowhunting.com

“The pre-rut is going strong right now. Hunt scrape lines in the evenings if you can!” – from Twitter

12 | Michael Waddell – Michael Waddell Blog

“TX is a lot of fun to hunt for adults and especially kids, as a matter of fact; starting last year I use an annual trip to TX, as a hunt to work for. Mason has to get straight A’s and good conduct in order to go. Well this year Mason rocked out on the A’s in school so off to TX with went with the Flextone Game Calls crew. After 3 days of hunting, Mason connected with an old 130 inch 11 pointer, and his first Javelina with his Remington 7mm-08! He also smoked him a big doe with a crossbow. We had a blast hunting together” – from Straight A’s in School and Mason Waddell Goes to Texas

13 | Jim Crowley – Hook & Hunt Tv

“So the next thing to do is acquire permission to hunt the field your interested in. We stopped at the closest house to the field and the farmer we spoke to, did indeed own the field. So here is a tip for you. In most cases, the land owners are happy to have you hunt there. But always ask permission. Don’t give other hunters a bad name by not taking the time and respect to do this. Most of the time, the farmers wanted to talk to us, know where we were from and in general carry on a conversation with us and see how we were doing, what we saw and even offer us suggestions on who to ask and where to find them. They were all very nice and extremely accommodating. The geese are so abundant in some places that the farmers lose crops and money because of the thousands of geese that can ravage a field. Always ask permission and thank the land owner and always without exception, leave the field cleaner than you found it.” – from Canada is a Wild Goose Chase

14 | Tom Sorenson – Base Camp Legends

“I’m sure the industry in its infancy has gotten a little carried away with looks and fashions, but hopefully it will start leaning a little more to practicallity, usefulness, and comfort in the field wither its in the desert or in the mountains of Alaska. There’s a lot of ladies out there that are serious hunters and they do deserve a little more attention when it comes to their clothing needs. Seriously, I’m hoping some clothing manufacturer is able to make me apologize for this because then I’ll know we have arrived already.” – from Fashions in the Wild

15 | Quail Forever – Quail Forever

“If holding quail on your property and increasing winter survival rates is a main goal, creating food and cover within a short distance of each other should be a priority for any landowner. In the northern part of their range, quail often respond to harsh winter conditions by moving very little – trying to wait it out until better weather arrives.” – from Feed Your Next Habitat Project, Not the Quail

16 | Mike ‘Hawk’ Huston – High Country Archery

“I rode over the ridge with great expectations… before me stood the Rocky mountains, stretching toward the far horizon.. I was home!” – from Twitter

17 | Brent Traylor – Texas Sportsman’s Roadshow

“Now you didn’t hear this from me but some of the best bass fishing around is on golf course ponds. The great thing about pond fishing is you can catch fish on just about anything you throw. I usually start with a small spinner bait with one willow leaf blade and one Colorado blade and fan cast along the banks, varying my retrieve from fairly quick to a very “slow roll”. A great way to cover water and locate fish.” – from Commando Pond Fishing

18 | Brent Martell –Martell’s Outdoor Adventures

“FYI, [I have] been testing out a Konus spotting scope. 25x75x75. This scope for the money rocks. Barska 20x60x60 test=ok for price point.” – from Twitter

19 | Bob Humphrey – Peterson’s Bowhunting

“Mature bucks, meanwhile, are biding their time. They’ve been through four ruts and have learned not to waste valuable energy until the odds of being rewarded are in their favor. Then, they kick it into high gear. This behavior carries over into the post-rut. Finding a sudden shortage of receptive does, the older bucks seem to redouble their efforts, wandering farther and wider from security.” – from Is Post-Rut The Best Time To Bag A Big Buck?

20 | JoAnna Zurinsky – My Bullet Points

“Be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.” – from Twitter

21 | Tanner Feyereisen – Blaze Orange Marketing

“Working on my Mt. Lion/Cougar hunting site. i can only imagine the accidental traffic that site will get.” – from Twitter

22 | Scott Bestul – Whitetail 365

“I agree with purists who feel that a crossbow is not a bow. However, their effective range (40 yards and under, on average) and how they kill (by causing massive hemorrhaging to an animal) are virtually identical. So why create a special season for them?” – from On Crossbows During the Regular Bow Season

23 | Kimberly Hiss – FS Huntress

“This country has a great history of women hunters, and every time we step into the woods as responsible sportsmen who value habitat conservation, healthy game meat and the importance of passing it on, we do our part to advance that tradition. Good luck and good hunting.” – from Parting Words

24 | Kevin Popo – World Champion Goose Caller

“My first call is a loud single note. At a distance, you don’t hear a good clear honk; you just hear a rhythm, a sound that gets your attention. That’s all I’m trying to do with geese at first—get their attention.” – from Champion Tips

25 | Ben G. – Ben G. Outdoors

“[On Gorilla Silverback Magnum HX Tree stand] I got up in the tree and sat down and just about feel asleep when I heard a noise. I stood up and the Velcro stuck to my hunting suit making an extremely loud sound. If there was a deer it would have been gone in an instant. I can say I don’t like the Velcro on the seat I wish they would have used buttons, or magnets. With a little adjustment and making sure to unstick my hunting suit from the Velcro before standing I was able to sit and stand without much noise.” – from My New Gorilla Silverback Magnum HX Tree stand (A review of)

What to read next on Hunting Business Marketing

Inspirational Hunting Blogger Insights, Quotes, and Musings Part 1

What to read next on the Web

25 Tips from 25 PR Experts

Image courtesy of ktylerconk

Hunting Product Manufacturer Website Design Trends and Examples

With over $10 million spent on hunting equipment each year you can bet that hunting product manufacturers are constantly working to make their Websites stand out as signal amongst the noise on the Web.

Buck Knives Home Page Image

Every business is fighting for the valuable attention of hunters on the Web. Website design is important for capturing that valuable attention. And Web designers and developers are constantly working with the managers and owners of hunting product manufacturers to come up with Website elements that capture the attention of hunters, capture subscribers and potential customers to blogs and updates, and most of all – show off the products these companies manufacture the best way possible.

Let’s take a closer look at a few of the trends and examples of hunting product manufacturer Websites

Communicating the Benefits of Hunting Products

The number one goal of any product manufacturer Website is to communicate the benefits of their products to their customers – wholesalers, retailers, and the end user (hunters).

Some of the things companies are doing with their Website to showcase these product benefits include: images, videos, and effective copywriting.

Images

The first way to showcase the benefits of your business’s hunting products is to have remarkable photographer and images of the products.

Site: Lone Wolf Tree Stands

Lone Wolf Stands The Solution

Another great way to use images and photos to effectively communicate the benefits of your products is to showcase your end users using your products successfully.

Site: Bear Archery

Bear Archery Photos

Videos

Video has been gaining popularity on the Web in recent years as many Web users have upgraded to connection speeds that allow for fast video viewing.

And while amateur videos have and will continue to be popular on the Web, professional videos will stand out above the rest as professional videographers make effective videos that connect products and customers.

Businesses have a variety of video formulas available for making videos that will communicate the benefits of their products.

You can do interviews, show the products in action, or showcase the manufacturing of the products.

Site: Mathews Inc.

Mathews Inc Video Gallery

Effective Copywriting

Product descriptions can get a little on the long side.

There is definitely a place for long copywriting when it comes to effectively communicating the benefits of products.

But the truly effective copywriting comes in few words.

Site: Trophy Ridge

Trophy Ridge Product Description

Testimonial Showcase

Most hunting manufacturers will showcase client testimonials to give social acceptance credibility to the products they are selling.

It’s important for companies to showcase testimonials in a way that really highlights what the customer is saying. Companies don’t want to come off as being showy about their products or by showcasing unrealistic testimonials.

Believable, yet remarkable testimonials with effective design and showcasing are what’s best for companies.

Simple is important for design. Put the emphasis on the customer and what they have to say about the products.

Site: Cuddeback

Cuddeback Testimonials

Site: River’s Edge

River's Edge Testimonials

Corporate Blogging

Blogging is beginning to emerge as a must for hunting product manufacturers.

Maintaining a blog is the best way for hunting businesses to communicate with their audience while providing quality content for search engines. A crucial part of successful search engine optimization is to maintain a constant stream of new content for the search engines to crawl.

Web users, including hunters using the Web, also are looking for a constant stream of quality content they can digest for their entertainment and education when it relates to hunting.

Blogging will continue to be an emerging trend in hunting manufacturers as companies put together plans that allow them to utilize the opportunities that come with blogging.

Here are some examples of hunting manufacturer sites with blogs:

New Archery Products

Blog: New Archery Products Blog

New Archery Products Blog

Wildlife Callers

Blog: Wildlife Callers Blog

Wildlife Callers Blog

What to Blog About

Something companies tend to find difficult when starting a corporate blog is what to write about?

The obvious answer for most companies is to highlight the success of the end users of your products. Seek out the users of your products and share their stories of success on your blog. Blog readers love to see people like them having success doing the thing they love most – hunting. And hunters love to discover the tools that make other hunter successful.

Here is an example of New Archery Products highlighting the success of an end user getting:

Blog Post: The Blood Runner Brings Another Big Buck Down

Bloodrunner Blog Post

Potential Issues with Blogging

The biggest issue for corporate blogs is not creating an outline for the blog.

Each blog needs a focus, a goal, and an execution plan to make the blog successful in the eyes of the business and the eyes of the customers.

When plans are laid out for corporate blogs, posts are updated on regularly rather than the blog being left dormant. Also, remember to have a focus on the formula when it comes to the topics of your blogs posts. You don’t have to always highlight the success of your end user customers, but remember to keep the focus on things your blog readers and customers will find valuable.

Test different posts and find a formula that works for you.

Trends in Hunting Product Manufacturer Website Design

There are some great hunting Websites out there.

And more are being launched and re-launched every day.

Today, there are some good trends in design when it comes to hunting product manufacturing company Websites.

Big Product Images

Companies are doing a great job of highlighting their products with big, vivid images that show off the features and benefits of their products.

With people having better Web connections at home and being able to load sites faster, companies are taking advantage by putting the best images they can on their sites. This allows customers to get a good look from all angles at the products they need to make their hunting trips successful.

Site: Mathews Inc.

Mathews Big Product Image

Good Use of White Space

Successful companies and their representative Website designers and developers know the importance of using white space effectively.

Site: Danner

Danner Site Details

Appealing and Subtle Color Scheme

Color scheme is important.

It’s important to have the right colors to draw the right kind of attention to the products and the goals of the site. Too much crazy color and visitors will lose focus. Not enough effective color and the visitors will not be drawn in.

And if your products have effective color feel free to let them take the focus.

Site: Buck Knives

Buck Knives Color Scheme

What to read next on Hunting Business Marketing

50 Best Hunting Website Designs

8 Little Details That Make Big Differences on Websites

Successful Business Highlight – Smashing Magazine

What to read next on the Web

Corporate Blog Design: Trends and Examples

The Importance of Whitespace

35 Truly Dramatic Examples of Animal Photography

The Secret Marketing Tactic of Successful Companies

“Think about the wheel and how you would reinvent it.” Mathews Bow Technology

Golden Forest

A secret marketing tactic that successful companies use is to continuously update existing products while really marketing the benefits of the updated products.

The most successful companies in any industry usually have figured out the cyclical nature of their business. These companies are experts are working to develop new innovations on their existing, successful products to make them just a little better with each new selling season.

After coming up with a slight, but remarkable innovation to their existing best-seller, the truly successful companies are experts at communicating the benefits of the updated product to their customers so each customer feels like they must have the updated version. Their current model has become obsolete.

Let’s take a closer look at the secret tactic of successful companies…

Update Your Existing Products

The trick to using this tactic successfully is to figure out what your best-selling products are and then working to continuously improve the product while adding a slight (but the most valuable) addition each season.

Customers have a continuous thirst for the best products that answer their frustrations. If you have a product today that solves a customer’s frustration you have something that is valuable.

However, what is valuable to your customer today may not be tomorrow. There are always competitors working hard in their garage to create something that’s better.

The most successful companies across all industries have figured this out and work hard to create updates to their successful products and introduce them just before their peak selling season.

Companies across all industries update their current best-selling products to continually create a need with the customer. Companies in the shoe industry like New Balance are updating their athletic shoes each season to create demand for their products from their existing customers. A customer who purchased the New Balance 987 last season will have to buy the updated New Balance 988 this spring season so they have the latest update of their favorite shoe that includes additional cushioning in the insole to soften the landing.

That’s not an exact example from New Balance, but let’s takes a closer look at some actual examples of this tactic in the hunting industry…

Mathews Bows and Archery Accessories

An example of a very successful company that does this in the hunting industry is Mathews, Inc.

For nearly two decades, Matt McPherson of Mathews, Inc. has been an innovator in the archery industry. Matt’s true genius for design in archery is his ability to continually create the bows that give hunters the best chance for success in the field. Matt’s most successful business strategy, one that has worked since the inception of Mathews, Inc., is the continuous update of his existing bows.

Just as the rut comes to whitetail country every year in the fall, Mathews, Inc. released a slightly updated bow that features some breakthrough technology that revolutionizes the archery industry. And the new bows usually sport new names.

Each season, the new Mathews bow may not seem like a huge innovation, but the company does an exceptional job of marketing the slight innovations that make a big impact for the customers. Single Cam technology was one of the first innovations for Mathews. Parallel limb design came later along with perimeter-weighting and harmonic dampening. Each of these innovations has their clear benefit for the bow hunters.

While each new bow may not change much from season to season, the bow design has changed quite a bit since the 1998 version…

Mathews Bows History

New Archery Products

My first set of broadheads was a set of Thunderheads from New Archery Products.

I thought they were the best broadheads available. I had seen my favorite bow hunters on ESPN outdoors using them to harvest some of the biggest whitetails I had ever seen.

Over the years, I used Thunderheads with success. I remember when the innovation of ribbed technology came. It was a simple update to the Thunderhead (ribbed shaft), but to me it meant that I would be a much better hunter in the woods.

I had to have it.

This year Bowhunting.com showcases the updated Thunderhead from New Archery at the 2010 ATA Show.

The new feature?

Dual serrated blade.

The Thunderhead Edge.

Summary

A wise person once said, “You only have strike gold once.”

This saying is true in the sense that companies can work to come up with a truly remarkable product that hits a homerun with customers and continue adding slight upgrades to that product with each new selling season to maximize profits from the innovation.

Figure out the cyclical nature of your product industry and work to create a product that is truly remarkable and that hits home with your customers.

Once you hit that homerun, work to slightly improve that product and release it with marketing power just before each peak selling season so your customers need to have it.

Find the frustrations, solve the problems, and continue building and serving a need.

It’s a formula that successful companies use.

And it’s one you can copy.

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Image courtesy of Reinante El Pintor de Fuego

Dry Creek Goose Camp | Business Strategy

“It’s basically just me putting hunters on the birds. And people are satisfied with that.” Rick of Dry Creek Goose Camp

Dry Creek Goose Camp Hunting

Dry Creek Goose Camp

Rick Ruzzamenti (@RickyBuck) of Dry Creek Goose Camp approached me in the Summer of 2009 about doing some research for his business.

I put together a Personalized Marketing Report that included research on competition, outdoor networks, directory listings, advertising, and some thoughts on how Rick could utilize video to grow connections on his Website while building bookings for hunts.

Rick said the research in the report served as a guide for his business and Web strategies in 2009. He says that he still references the report for guidance today.

I spoke with Rick recently and he was very pleased with the 2009 season at Dry Creek Goose Camp. He has posted videos from the 2009 hunt on his site – Dry Creek Duck and Geese Hunting Videos 2009. These videos are great for showing potential clients the success they could be having at Dry Creek.

Rick said that his business model allows him to price lower than surrounding competition in Canada as he operates the camp on his own. He does a majority of the work by scouting fields and putting his client hunters in the right areas with the highest potential for seeing waterfowl and getting shot opportunities.

The hunters that come to Dry Creek are often seasoned hunters and like the freedom Rick provides them to hunt. They find more satisfaction with their hunt this way.

Rick also takes new hunters up to the camp. He said that first time hunters seem to love the wide open spaces up in Canada and always go away with a smile on their face and a head full of memories.

For more information on booking hunts with Dry Creek Goose camp – Hunt Dry Creek Duck and Goose Camp.

Rick didn’t get any business via hunting directories in 2009, but he’s hopeful that his growing online stature and great referral and repeat business will grow his client base in 2010. He’s also confident in sticking with his directory and advertising partners for the foreseeable future as they work to get conversions for Dry Creek.

Rick’s Business Buddies

Rick wanted to thank a number of people who helped make Dry Creek Goose Camp a success in 2009:

Simon’s Taxidermy

They have done taxidermy services with Rick for years and the work is done with quality and on time.

WindWhacker Decoys

These decoys allowed Rick and his client hunters to bring in some top waterfowl for harvest this season.

Kevin Gross – Hunting with the Pros

Kevin brought his great reputation and popular show to Dry Creek and had a successful hunt.

Tim Grounds – Championship Calls

Tim came up with Kevin Gross and together the two were able to harvest some great honkers. Tim is one of the best goose callers in the world.

A Great Buck for RickyBuck

Rick also wanted to thank Robert Hoague of Bowhunting.net for taking him on a great hunt in Ohio in the fall.

Read the story of the hunt – Twitter’s Rickybuck Brings In An Ohio Buck

A Successful Partnership

By many measures, it was a successful year for Rick and for Dry Creek Goose Camp.

I wish Rick the best of luck in 2010 and look forward to a continuing business relationship.

For more information on Rick and Dry Creek Goose Camp –Duck and Goose Hunting in Alberta, Canada

For more information on Marketing Reports and other HBM Services – Hunting Business Marketing Services