The Top 10 Twitter Landing Pages

“A twitter landing page is a page on your blog or website that is specifically written for those arriving at your blog having clicked on the link in your twitter profile.” – Darren Rowse (@Problogger) of Problogger

Airplane Landing

Darren has written what I believe to be the best argument for creating a custom Twitter landing page.

Please read: Develop a Twitter Landing Page

Marketing, thanks to the advances in connection and communication on the Web, is giving people a chance to meet on an individual level. The Web allows businesses and to move away from segmenting and toward a more individual relationship with consumers.

With a landing page you are acknowledging the specific individuals that click on the link on your Twitter profile.

Twitter Landing Page

Rather than sending individuals that visit your Website via your Twitter profile to your company’s home page or to your personal blog home page, you’re sending them to a more personalized landing page with targeted and relevant content.

By providing relevant content and information for specific visitors, you increase the chances of gaining a longtime follower.

I’ve looked through my list of followers and those I follow on Twitter to find the 10 best Twitter landing pages – surprisingly there were very few who had landing pages. I’d say (and this by no means scientific – it’s actually only a rough estimate of my own Twitter community – that less than 5% of Twitter users have Twitter landing pages).

Let’s take a look at each of the 10 best…

1| …

It turns out that not many people in my Twitter community have Twitter landing pages. And since there are relatively few Twitter landing pages I didn’t think it would be right to do a ‘Best of’ list after doing some searching.

Do you have a Twitter landing page?

If so please let me know by leaving the link to your Twitter landing page in the comments below. I’d love to include a full write-up about you and your site in this post.

Social Identities

Social Identities creates amazing images and design for businesses and individuals using social media. Custom themes, backgrounds, and other images including logos and blog graphics. Customized and stunning imagery is important for any business looking to connect with their target audience. A successful image can communicate your business message and mission to your customer in an instant.

Follow Hugh on Twitter – @HughBriss

Visit the Sites

Social Identities

Twitter Image

I like the custom theme for Barrington Gifts:

Barrington Gifts Twitter Background

View all of Hugh’s Custom Twitter Backgrounds

Facebook Pages

Custom Ning Themes

Creating Your Own Page

If you’d like, I’ll help you develop your own Twitter landing page. Just contact me (Contact Form at the bottom) and let’s get your page up. 🙂

Here are a few I found via the Problogger article and Google:

About Darren Rowse (@problogger)

Blog for Profit Twitter Landing Page

Free From Broke Twitter Landing Page

About EH Design & Consulting (@ehdesign)

Miscellaneaarts Twitter Landing Page

HBM Twitter Landing Page

Now, it wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t share my own Twitter landing page for HBM: Welcome to Hunting Business Marketing.

I named it something more generic so I could potentially use it for other social media. The posts I highlight what I think are the most valuable posts on HBM along with Twitter Related Posts.

What to read next on Hunting Business Marketing

Use Twitter to Improve Your Business

Aggregate Your Archives to Capitalize on New Popularity

Ways to Increase Traffic

What to read next on the Web

In A Connected Society, Comprehension Of Sociology Is King

Twitter Landing Page

Twitter Landing Pages, 10 Elements of a Successful Twitter Landing Page

Image courtesy of .faramarz on Flickr

What Daylong Deer Hunting Taught Me About Blogging

It’s not easy to sit in a tree for 10 hours waiting for a deer to walk by

Oris Pocket Watch

I’ve always enjoyed spending time out in the woods, in my tree stand, with a Thermos full of extra black coffee, waiting for that trophy buck to walk past.

Recently I was out in the woods on a crisp, chilly, brisk Wisconsin autumn morning and about halfway through the day I got to thinking about blogging (there is a lot of time to sit and think out in the deer woods).

A day in the woods waiting for deer to walk by is a lot like the process of starting a blog.

Let me explain in more detail…

Initial Burst of Excitement

Hunting

Usually when I get to my tree stand (about 20 to 30 minutes before sunrise – shooting time is typically about 10 minutes before sunrise) I find that the first 45 minutes to an hour of sunlight is the best time to see deer during any hunt.

I like to hunt in travel funnels so in the morning the deer are typically moving from their evening and nighttime feeding areas and heading back to their daytime bedding areas. They typically do this right around sunrise when the temperature is cool and the daylight still low.

There is often much excitement in the deer woods in the early morning. It’s fun and thrilling and I’ve harvested most of my deer during this time.

Blogging

Starting a blog follows much the same trend of an all day deer hunt.

When you start a blog for your personal passions or for your business passions you will likely become excited during the initial days and weeks of the blog as people discover your writing, leave comments, and even share your posts on sites like Facebook and Twitter.

When you first start a blog you’re also usually excited about the new undertaking and you’re telling anybody that will listen about your new blog. You’re being more active in the various communities on the Web and you’re getting people interested.

It feels great to be a blogger who has just launched a blog.

Midmorning Lull

Hunting

After the early morning rush of deer there is usually a drop off from about 9am to noon.

Things quiet down in the woods as the deer are finding their daytime bedding areas. They stick close to their beds as they chew on their cud and rest for the morning. There is never much movement during this time.

I have seen deer during this time of course. They’re usually running, being chased, or possibly looking for some acorns very close to their daytime bedding area.

This is usually the time during my daylong hunts that I take out a good marketing book and take some time to read.

Blogging

After the initial excitement of starting a blog wears off (and it typically does) there is a lull in activity – both from you and your initial readers.

The drive and excitement from you tends to wear out as your initial rush of ideas for blog posts wanes. The traffic of curious visitors can wear off as curious hunters continue searching the Web for new blogs to frequent. It’s difficult to get loyal readers especially in the first few days and weeks of blogging.

There is typically a lull period of blogging that takes place. Don’t let it discourage you. Take this time to look back on what was successful with your blog initially and work to implement new posts and activities to build on the success. The lull is a great time to study your blog and expand on your initial successes.

Midday Uptick in Activity

Hunting

Four seasons ago I spent the entire opening day and second day of the Wisconsin deer gun season in my stand. I typically like to spend the entire day in the woods, but sometimes it’s difficult to stay out from noon to 3pm as my beloved Packers are usually playing.

Well in 2005 the Packers were on their way to a less than stellar 4-12 campaign so I knew I wouldn’t miss much if I stayed in my stand during the midday.

At about 1:30pm a nice 11 point buck walked up the logging road to my stand and I was able to harvest him. It’s been the nicest buck of my hunting career. (The Packers are struggling again this season and they play at noon next week so we’ll see how things shake out).

Deer sometimes like to move around midday. It’s nothing like the morning or evening, but there is some movement – typically by bucks. I’m not exactly sure why, but I hear stories of hunters taking deer as they walk to their trucks for lunch.

Midday is not a burst of excitement, but it’s a good time to hunker down and wait patiently.

Blogging

After you start your blog and you get past the initial excitement of launch and you make it through the lull that follows there is a time when you’ll start to see your traffic begin to increase – usually at a slow, but steady rate.

This uptick in activity on your blog usually happens because you’re starting to establish your blogging voice. During your blog’s lull you took the time to analyze a few of the trends on your blog and now you’re focusing on writing the types of posts that connect with your target audience. You’re starting to build a group of loyal readers who look forward to your posts on a regular basis and when presented with the opportunity they share the news about your blog with others.

This is a slow building period for bloggers, but it’s usually enough to keep you driven as your traffic and impact continue building.

Evening Rush

Hunting

About an hour or two before sunset there is another exciting rush of deer activity in the woods. Deer will now make their way from their daytime bedding areas to their evening and nighttime feeding areas. They’re beginning to get hungry and they’re well rested from their daylong sit.

The does will make their way to the feeding areas and if the rut is in full swing the bucks will be crossing their travel routes hoping to find Miss Right.

It’s a fun time to be in the woods as there is lots of exciting activity. And this activity seems to continue right up until it’s too dark to see your own hand in front of your face.

Blogging

As your blog slowly builds a following over the initial few months and even years you’ll start to see an increase in the number of followers and visitors. As more and more people discover and spread the word about your blog you’ll begin to see exponentially increasing numbers.

It’s a fun time to be a blogger as you seem to hit your own critical mass. This is what all bloggers dream about when they start their blogs.

However, most bloggers don’t make it to this point because they get frustrated with the time it takes to reach this point.

Conclusion

Just as with hunting all day – most hunters don’t make it through an all day hunt and as a result can miss out on opportunities.

Put in the time and effort to make it all the way through your blogging cycle.

It’ll pay off over time.

What are your stories of success in the blogging world?

What stage of blogging are you in?

What to read next on Hunting Business Marketing

20 Steps to Starting Your Blog

Aggregate Your Archives

How to Write a Blog Post

What to read next on the Web

Getting Over the Blogger’s 6 Month Itch

The Flashing Christmas Light Technique for Writing Irresistible Bullet Points

Thoughts on the Influencer Audience

Are We Addicted to Giving Our Own Opinions?

image credit: wwarby

Sponsorship Case Study – Team Huntress

People look to others they trust to help them make decisions – including purchasing decisions

Team Huntress Empowering Women in the Outdoors

Increasing your business’s Web presence begins with forming trusting relationships with your customers. There is a lot of transparency on the Web and the companies that are able to build trusting relationships with customers are the ones who will succeed in the future.

One of the ways to build trust with customers is through sponsorships and becoming involved in creative ways with the people, businesses and organizations your potential customers already trust.

Due to the recent conversation in the HBM Forum on Race Car Sponsorship, I’ve wanted to write the opportunities for hunting businesses to gain exposure with new audiences through sponsorships, but I wasn’t sure how to approach the topic. Then, a short while ago, Dave Olsen of Pheasant Phun and Team Huntress contacted me and introduced the concept of Team Huntress.

After hearing what the program was about I thought it would be beneficial to look at Team Huntress and the companies who sponsor the program in case study format so you can get a better feel for the opportunity to market your business with sponsorships like the ones offered by Team Huntress.

Let’s take a look at the Team Huntress story and the opportunity for you and your business to grow through sponsorships such as the ones other hunting businesses have done with Team Huntress.

Team Huntress

Team Huntress

First, a little background (please read the entire description at the Team Huntress Website):

Team Huntress was formed as an avenue to direct and empower women on their path toward outdoor success. By providing exploration and discovery in a safe and secure environment, ladies will be aligned to boost their confidence and self esteem.

Team Huntress also offers:

* Certified Hunter Safety Program

* Instruction for proper firearm (handgun, rifle, and shotgun) and archery use

* Small class size – 18 or fewer per outing

Read the following reviews for more on Team Huntress:

The Team Huntress secret formula: Guns + Archery + Massages = Happy Women

For $995, you get the best of both worlds that outdoorswomen inhabit – archery and firearms instruction with tons of spa treatments and tons of cool gifts that you find someone has left on your bed each night (seriously, I came home last time with some great swag from Prois, RealTree, Doeville and Tanka Bar).

Revolutionary Team Huntress Outdoor Adventure Clinic

That formula – instruction, female staff and pampering – proved highly effective at the inaugural Team Huntress Outdoor Adventure Clinic at Pheasant Phun in June. Women who’d never fired a gun felt secure taking those first steps and found they really enjoyed what they were learning. By the end of the weekend, participants were abuzz about the shooting sports and the new friendships they’d formed.

Interview: Jane Keller, Team Huntress

The end of the weekend, participants were abuzz about the shooting sports and the new friendships they’d formed. Participants and instructors evolved into a close network of outdoor friends. It is the goal of Team Huntress to leave you with an “I can do anything” attitude. I have bonded with friends in the vast outdoors who will guide and support me every step of the way!!!  Team Huntress is here to help empower you for outdoor success, support and encourage you on your journey through life, and always be Your Personal Outdoor Adventure Network of Friends.

Team Huntress Outdoor Adventure Clinic

What do the ladies of Team Huntress have in store for you:

* Firearm and archery clinics

* General outdoor safety and first aid clinics

* Outdoor photography

* Wild game cooking

* ATV, GPS and nature walking

* Yoga, massages, wine tasting, star gazing and much more

Team Huntress Sponsors

Beyond the price for attending each outing, Team Huntress uses sponsorships for monetary and product needs. There are a variety of ways businesses can get involved with Team Huntress. Here are a few of the businesses that are sponsoring Team Huntress.

Doeville – Product Sponsor

Doeville

As part of the Team Huntress Outings, participants receive gifts each day. Doeville became involved as a product sponsor with Team Huntress by providing a leather hunting diary ($40 value) for each participant in the Team Huntress events.

Doeville Hunting Diary

Hunting businesses that are just starting out are often strapped for cash initially, but the need to gain exposure still remains. One of the ways to gain exposure without giving direct monetary compensation is provide product sponsorships that resonate with potential customers.

By providing a hunting diary for each participant in the Team Huntress event, Doeville was able to get their product and name in front of potential customers. Not only will the participants of the event remember Doeville for hunting apparel, jewelry, and art products for themselves, but the products at Doeville also make for excellent gifts for others.

There is opportunity for your business to provide product or service sponsorships with events and organizations that cater to your target audience. By putting your products in front of your target audience and letting them use the products in a setting where they can understand the full benefits of the product, you’re connecting with potential customers while building trusting relationships that can mean long-term business.

When considering a product sponsorship opportunity, think about the audience and who they connect with. In the example of Team Huntress, it might make sense for a hunting apparel business to outfit the event with the necessary shooting apparel while also offering an introductory offer on related hunting and shooting apparel that includes men’s, women’s, and children product lines.

Faini Designs – Sponsor a Scholarship

Faini Designs Jewelry Studio

Faini Designs became involved with Team Huntress by sponsoring a scholarship for a woman to attend the Team Huntress Event. Faini paid the cost of the outing and the participant was able to partake in the event that she may have never been able to attend without the sponsorship.

Today, as a result of Faini providing the scholarship, the participant is shooting archery nearly every day while being active in the outdoors.

Having your business attached to success stories is most importantly a wonderful way to give opportunities to those who may not otherwise be able to participate in such events as Team Huntress. Also, having your business as the sponsor in a situation like Faini is a way to build trust with your potential customers. Not only did all of the participants at the event become exposed to Faini, they now have a story to tell when they talk to their friends and family about their Team Huntress experience and the name attached to the story is Faini Designs.

Team Huntress also takes time during each event to highlight each of their sponsors and the benefit they provide for their customers. They also offer space on their Websites for sponsorships, which are year round marketing opportunities to expand your audience and build trust with your potential customers.

By attaching your business with stories that your potential customers connect with, you can begin building the trust necessary to acquire long-term, quality customers that can carry your business for a long time.

Look for opportunities to sponsor individuals who can participate in events like Team Huntress. Look for a story that can be shared by your potential audience and look for genuine businesses that can help you build trust with your potential customers.

Other Ways to Sponsor

As an outfitter, Dave Olsen knows that it’s difficult for outfitters to offer free outings for businesses who promise video time or reviews for the hunting experience. There can be lots of disappointment as expectations are not always met with such arrangements.

It’s for this reason that outfitters need to look for these opportunities to provide access to facilities and hunting property with quality and trusted organizations and businesses.

By establishing clear expectations for return on investment with trusted organization, there is a lot of opportunity to expand your audience by being a host outfitter.

Be a Host Outfitter

Hosting an event like Team Huntress provides great exposure for an outfitter who is looking to expand their audience. By hosting such an event, an outfitter can become part of the story that will be shared by all who take part in the event.

In the example of Team Huntress, Dave hosted an event at his property with Pheasant Phun Outfitters. Pheasant Phun has actually been named the most women-hunter-friendly outfitter in the United States and such recognition can mean business. Such recognitions can increase the level of trust between outfitters such as Pheasant Phun as he looks for hunters who are looking for comfort with a quality hunting experience.

Look for hunters who can provide experiences that include:

* Video

* Podcasting

* Positive, but reputable reviews

* Potential repeat customers

In a situation like Team Huntress, there may be potential for participants to return (possibly with their entire family) if their experience through Team Huntress is positive. This would be an example of building a trusting relationship that provides return for the hosting business.

Hosting an event like Team Huntress provides opportunity for outfitters to market their businesses without providing cash for advertisements and the like. However, there are risks involved with hosting events since the investment of hosting hunters without cash payments is always risky.

Be sure to perform due diligence with organizations and businesses before offering to host an event. Once you’re sure you’re working with reputable and trusting individuals, work to make their experience a story that can be shared throughout the hunting industry and watch your audience grow as you potentially gain a larger audience and more trusting customers.

Full Sponsor

A final way for a business to fully embrace the sponsorship opportunity is to become a full sponsor with an organization like Team Huntress.  Hunting businesses, especially those in the consumable arena (ammunition, targets, scent, etc.) can become involved with sponsorships and see great return on their investment.

In a situation like Team Huntress, participants are generally new to hunting or are looking to expand their knowledge of the sport and the outdoors. Through the event, participants get a lot of exposure to products like ammunition, for example. This exposure would be away for an ammunition company to build a trusting relationship with potential customers are they become familiar with the products. When the participants leave the event they will look for products from companies they can trust and are familiar with as they continue the participation with outdoor activities such as shooting.

The opportunity to become involved with organizations and events like Team Huntress can mean great reward for businesses. Look for organizations and individuals that look to build trusting relationships with their own audiences. Look for individuals that are passionate and serious about their craft. Passion is contagious and its passion that breeds the stories that customers share.

Opportunity to Reach Women in the Outdoors

When Dave contacted me he brought up an interesting point about the opportunity for businesses to reach a potentially underserved audience – women who are passionate about the outdoors, shooting sports, and hunting.

Team Huntress is filling a need for women who are looking to empower themselves and become more involved in the outdoors and activities such as shooting sports and hunting.

Is your business exploring the potential in reaching out and connecting with the eager women in the outdoor audience? Perhaps your business could be the one to fill a need like Team Huntress.

Another example of a company reaching out to build trust with the female audience is Harley-Davidson with Women Riders.

Acquiring new customers is difficult and as business owners we look to align our products with audiences and potential customers who have the highest likelihood of connection with our business. Acquiring new customers requires businesses to look at all options and there may potentially be a mutually beneficial option for your business and women in the outdoors.

Conclusion – Building Trust

There is opportunity for your business to connect with new audiences while building trusting relationships with potential customers through sponsorships.

The form of sponsorship can vary:

* Product

* Scholarship Sponsor

* Host Outfitter

* Big Sponsor

The goal of any sponsorship you consider is that the relationship with the organization and their audience should be about building trust.

Have you had experience with sponsoring events, outings, or other hunting businesses?

Please share your thoughts in the comments.

To contact Team Huntress about sponsorship opportunities:

Jane Keller Founder/Outdoor Concierge
Team Huntress
18526 398th Ave
Hitchcock, SD, 57348

Phone: 605.266.2848
Cell: 605.450.0931
Fax: 605.266.2887
Email: jane@teamhuntress.com

Related posts on Hunting Business Marketing

Successful Hunting Business Highlight – CamoFire

Successful Business Highlight – Sportsmen of North America and Magnum Hunt Club

5 Habits of Successful Hunting Business Owners on Twitter

Related posts on the Web

Shutterstock Gets Social – Digital PR Case Study

Beyond Headlines: How to Get Your Audience to Read Every Word

Starting Your Social Media Case

Please note that no monetary, product, or service has been provided to Hunting Business Marketing or me (Dayne Shuda) for the writing of this article.

Ways to Make Money with Your Website

Businesses demand results for their time and money

Money Clip

image credit: re-ality

This is a follow-up to Ways to Increase Traffic

It seems, from comments and expressed frustrations, that hunting Websites, particularly blogs, forums, galleries, etc. are struggling to find advertising revenue. This is not uncommon since most businesses are always trying to figure out how to make lots of money with a Website.

We always hear about the successful Internet entrepreneur who grew a site so fast and took in so much ad revenue and eventually sold his or her site for a comfortable sum of money. What we don’t hear about is the thousands of businesses and Websites that struggle to find revenue streams to justify the time spent on any specific Website.

Let’s take a look at making money online…

Difficulty

The truth is that the Web fosters the truest form of capitalism available anywhere in the world today. Barriers to entry are low. Anybody can work hard and find success with little unnecessary resistance. It’s truly the Wild West or the gold rush of our time.

The difficult thing for some is realizing that when barriers to entry are removed, as with the Web, finding success is going actually more difficult. However, those who do find success usually provide products and services that are the best of the current time. And usually those who are successful continue finding success through continuing learning and drive.

More than Drive

While I’m sure you have the drive to succeed on the Web, the reality of today is that most businesses are cutting back on their marketing budgets and spending on things that offer immediate payback rather than planning for long-term success. This makes things difficult for those offering advertising and branding opportunities like your site on the Web.

When things are difficult for the advertising business model it’s time to look for more unique ways to enhance your offering for advertising as well as to look for new sources of revenue.

Improve Your Offer

In the past few years there has been a great increase in the number of hunting Websites offering things like forums, galleries, profiles, etc. Some of the sites look more professional than others. Some sites do a few things well and each site offers plenty of space for hunting companies to advertise.

In the simple world of supply and demand, supply greatly outweighs demand in the online hunting industry world. There is a ton of networking hunting sites because the barrier to start a site is very low. All of these sites have ad real estate and very few offer something profitable in return for advertisers.

So what can you do to stand out?

When others are offering great supply of exactly the same thing or when things are copyable, you have to offer things that are not copyable.

What are those things?

Please read the entire post Better Than Free.

There are eight things the author of this post identifies as unique in today’s world of things that are copyable:

1| Immediacy

2| Personalization

3| Interpretation

4| Authenticity

5| Accessibility

6| Embodiment

7| Patronage

8| Findability

Think about these things and read the entire descriptions of each.

Which of the eight things can you offer through your Website for hunting companies?

Improve your offering and think of unique ways to connect with people so you can form long-term relationships that will prove profitable for both parties involved.

Other Revenue Sources (Don’t limit yourself)

Expanding on the idea that you have to improve your offer to make money, let’s take a look at other revenue sources. And don’t be afraid to limit yourself in this area. Your limits are generally only artificial barriers you put on yourself.

Beyond advertising revenue – simply selling people on the idea that a link on your site will drive traffic (it’s a good source of revenue – don’t get me wrong, but as I described above, it’s a crowded place) may not be the most creative way you can make money with your site.

Per the linked blog post above on copyable items, there are musicians today who realize that in the digital age their actual music recording is copyable and thus the old paradigm of controlling the recording of their music is not profitable for the long-term.

However, those that realize this fact are looking for other sources of revenue.

An example of this would be bands that record each individual concert and sell recorded copies of each show immediately after the show is complete. As attendees are leaving the show they have the option to purchase the exact show they just watched and listened to on a small USB port drive and they can enjoy it later on their computer or copy it to another device for listening. Bands that participate in this form of profitable business are looking at immediacy, personalization, authenticity, and in some ways embodiment, patronage, and findability.

Bands have found out that, at least for now, people will pay for a recording immediately after watching a concert even though they could probably 1| record it themselves or 2| find a recording later. However, for the reasons like immediacy and patronage mentioned above, these fans spend their money for things they perceive (subjective) valuable.

What are things you can provide hunting businesses beyond a simple space on your site (copyable – abundant availability)?

It’s difficult to process and come up with something that is truly unique on your site. Perhaps you could offer some kind of interpretation of how news in the hunting industry will affect your potential clients. You could, as part of your advertising package, offer a weekly report on how news from around the hunting industry will affect your clients. It’s a simple thought, but hopefully it will get you in the right thought process.

Can you think of any other ideas?

Summary

There are lots of ways you can make money with your Website. You can drive businesses with your Website to your outfitting business. You can sell products as a retailer, You can sell advertising along with things that aren’t copyable.

The point is that you have understand what hunting businesses need, what they find subjective value in, and you need to provide that for them in a way that makes them profitable.

While it’s easy for someone to launch a Website these days, it’s not easy to figure out how to provide value.

But those who figure out how to provide value there is great reward.

PS – And you can of course make $5 for every e-copy of HBM | The Book you sell (50% of all sales).

See ‘Join our affiliate program’.

Resources on the Web

One of the best places to start looking for ideas and strategies to make money with your Website is Problogger. Get out the Make Money Blogging guide.

Posts include:

The #1 Reason My Blogging Grew Into a Business

How 12 Experts Make Money Through Their Blogs (And How You Can Learn Their Secrets)

How One Blogger Made $3k a month by Helping People – And How He Can Help You

How to Make Money Blogging

How Bloggers Make Money from Blogs

How I Make Money Blogging

Adsense Tips for Bloggers 1

How Much Do I Earn From Blogging

Related posts on Hunting Business Marketing

Paid Advertising – Adsense vs. Facebook (forum)

Keep Your Hunting Website Simple

Sportsmen of North America and Magnum Hunt Club

50 Photos to Strike Emotion in Your Audience

Buying is an emotional experience

Whitetail Buck

image credit: Charles & Clint

Hunting businesses are always looking for ways to connect with customers and build a trust that can lead to sales. For customers and for businesses, buying (and selling) is an emotional experience. Customers want to feel positive emotion during and after their purchase especially if it’s a large purchase. Sellers or businesses also want to feel positive emotion about anything they sell to customers. Businesses don’t simply want to make money – they want to know they have provided a customer with a quality product or service with an experience and trust that will lead to a long-term business relationship (and future sales).

One of the best ways to strike emotion for your customers with your Website is to use remarkable photos.

I took a look around Flickr Creative Commons to show you…

50 Photos that will Strike Emotion in Your Audience

Don’t Get Caught Unprepared

Snow Bike

image credit: laffy4k

100% Organic Products

Wheat Field

image credit: KevinLallier

We Move Fast

Running Dog

image credit: Emery_Way

Attention to Detail

Hay Bales

image credit: pdam2

Cozy Up

Fireplace

image credit: _cck_

Smoke the Competition

Blue Smoke

image credit: Subharnab

Get Close

Mule Deer Velvet

image credit: jkirkhart35

Stay Warm and Cozy in the Cabin

Cabin Fire Wine

image credit: Steph & Adam

Plenty to Choose From

Christmas Trees

image credit: busymommy

Come Visit

Wisconsin Autumn

image credit: newagecrap

Hurry – Before They’re Gone

Mallard Ducks

image credit: mikebaird

Come Hunt With Us

Hunting Dog

image credit: agwagon2000

Cook Roast Venison Tonight With This Recipe

Venison

image credit: viZZZual.com

Restore Your Shotgun to New

Old Shotgun

image credit: GregPC

Take Your Best Shot

Photographer

image credit: Cаvin 〄

Simple. Smooth.

Whiskey Glass

image credit: Kyle May

Who’s Watching Your Back?

James Bond Gun Suit

image credit: albertopveiga

Protection

Black Widow

image credit: another_finn

Get Close

Close Pheasant

image credit: BobMacInnes

Fire a Few

Shotgun Shell

image credit: SubZeroConciousness

Bow Hunting Preparation

Bow Hunting

image credit: JxM – JohnMack.co.uk

Walk With Us

Path through Field

image credit: earlycj5

Grand

Painted Canyon

image credit: Wolfgang Staudt

Classics Never Die

Revolvers

image credit: Willie Lunchmeat

Great Sound

Guitar Strings

image credit: Mirko Macari

Striking

Striking

image credit: Aitor Escauriaza

City Park

City Park

image credit: flungabunga

Fresh

Grapes

image credit: LDCross

Get On Top of the Busy Life

Busy City

image credit: striatic

Explore the Stream in Our Backyard

Forest Stream

image credit: the_tahoe_guy

Visit the Little Cabin in the Woods

Cabin in the Woods

image credit: dbking

Stay on Your Track

Train Track

image credit: Irargerich

Get Away

Morning Canoe

image credit: molajen

Trophy of a Lifetime

Grazing Elk

image credit: virtualphotographystudio

Aggressive Bulls

Two Bull Elk

image credit: Misserion

You Can Bring Your Best Hunting Buddy or Use Ours

Black Lab

image credit: OakleyOriginals

Get Close to Big Moose

Bull Moose

image credit: Fisherga

Relax In Between Hunts

Relaxing Dog

image credit: OakleyOriginals

Cup of Coffee in the Morning

Sunset Lake

image credit: thefuturistics

Rustic Quality

Old Kitchen

image credit: Seamus Murray

Families Welcome

Family Boating Trip

image credit: OakleyOriginals

Enjoy the Chase

Coyote Chasing Mouse

image credit: Peter Rivera

We’ll Get You Close

Swimming Grizzly

image credit: Ha-Wee

Come Sit With Us

Campfire

image credit: Shot_by_Cam

You’ll Find Treasures

Old Pickup

image credit: Duchamp

Because Anything Can Happen

Train off the Tracks

image credit: aussiegall

We Have Good Notes

Journal

image credit: Amir K.

Pencil Us In

Pen and Journal

image credit: Sancho Papa

Under the Same Moon

Moon

image credit: photofarmer

Come Prepared

Over Under Shotgun

image credit: Randy Son Of Robert

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Grow Your Followers like a Country Music Singer

“You’re listening to today’s country, today’s  WAXX 104.5 FM”

On Air

image credit: curtis.kennington

The other day I was reading a blog post from Ramit Sethi (@ramit) about how guest posting has been his biggest way to gain a larger audience while increasing traffic to his Website, iwillteachyoutoberich.com. Read the entire post:

How to get 150,000 people to read your blog post in 1 week (and how I did it)

Ramit’s suggestion for getting readers to your site is to write amazing guest posts for other Websites. It’s a great way to expand your audience by reaching out to provide valuable content for others who already have a large audience.

I was thinking about this suggestion while I was riding in my truck one morning. I usually listen to the local country music radio station and just then they were interviewing a rising country music singer who said, “You’re listening to today’s best country, today’s WAXX 104.5 FM”.

After the singer said this, they station played the singer’s latest hit single and I thought to myself that doing guest spots and reaching out to the audiences of others is exactly how rising country music singers expand their audience and increase their own stature.

Let’s take a look at the strategy…

Reaching Out to Radio Audiences

One of the first things new country singers do when they’re trying to market themselves and their music to new audiences is to go on radio tours.

A radio tour can last a few weeks and the tour sees the singer going around the nation to radio stations, big and small, trying to share their new music with the disc jockeys. If the disc jockey is impressed with the singer and with the new music they may decide to play the song on the radio for his or her audience. The DJ may also decide to let his or her audience decide how the new song and artist fare by asking for feedback whether it’s by having listeners call in to share their feelings or by giving listeners the chance to share their opinion with voting versus another up and coming star and song.

It can be difficult for new artists to continually go from city to city for tiring weeks on end trying to beg radio stations execs to play their music. Plus the artist has to have an amazing song before they can even begin to think that his or her song will get radio play.

Guest posting is a great way to build your audience and the process is similar to the way rising country signers visit radio stations asking for the disc jockeys to share their music with a large audience. When you decide to write guest posts, you’re essentially asking those who have larger audiences than you if you can borrow their audience’s attention in exchange for remarkable content.

You’re going to have to give up some of your best content for two reasons:

1| You have to impress the blog owner

2| You have to impress the blog audience

Country artists would love to have people listen to their music only by purchasing a copy for themselves, but to expand their audience, artists have to provide remarkable content in exchange for access to those who have large audiences with similar interests.

It would be great if your blog or Website could get lots of traffic by people simply coming to your site directly, but the reality is that to expand your audience and reach out to that target customer, you’re going to have to reach out to other bloggers who have larger audiences and offer some of your best original content in the form of a guest post so you can access their audience.

Look to provide value to another audience and hope that you capture their attention (and the attention of the blog owner) so that they eventually become a fan of yours.

Reaching Out to More Popular Singers’ Audiences

Another way that rising singers reach out to other audiences is by touring with country music stars who have large audiences and followers.

The goal of providing opening act entertainment for large music stars is to get in front of a large audience in hopes of turning someone else’s fan into a fan of you. Rising country stars often take little pay and provide their best touring show (sometimes even turning down smaller gigs and possibly higher paying gigs) for the chance to expand their audience with their eye on a bigger prize (their own headlining tour) in the long-term.

Your goal with guest blogging is to write original content that is remarkable enough to impress the blog owner (so they will possibly talk about you in the future) and the blog’s audience (so they will look for more info on you). This will require you to, in a sense, give away some of your best posts to other blogs. It’s tough, but worth it when new readers discover you.

Country singers would love it if they could focus all of their time earning money by playing their own songs live to the audience that they already have, but the reality is that if a country singer wants to become a star they’ll have to expand their audience by touring (sometimes for very little money) with a larger star in order to get in front of a larger audience.

While you might have to temporarily give up some great content when you guest post, the benefits are great if you can get in front of a blogger’s larger audience in hopes of gaining a few new long-time readers.

Slowly Building a Following

Guest posting and working off your own site with the goal of expanding your audience is a long process and any growth you see will come over time, but it’s by far the best way (along with writing remarkable content) to grow the traffic and revenue to your hunting business site.

While you’re focusing on building a blog to complement your hunting Website, remember that it will be a slow process that will have long-term benefit for connecting with new customers who will trust you and purchase your products for a lifetime.

Summary

What’s most difficult about this strategy for blog writers is giving up some of the best content you write to other blogs and Websites.

Rising country stars understand that their fan base will drive their careers. The singer understand that they have to spend time working with those who have large audiences with the goal of turning those audience members into fans. It takes a lot of effort for seemingly little immediate return, but the long-term benefit of gaining audience members and fans slowly is important for forging a successful career.

Just as rising country singers work with radio show hosts to get their music played and just as those same rising country stars tour as opening acts, you can do guest posts and work with bloggers who have established audiences as your provide them with valuable content in hopes of attracting new fans and customers.

Give some of your best, original content to those who have large audiences.

It’s one of the best ways to grow your traffic and ultimately your revenue.

Update: I’m always looking for opportunities to write a guest post. If you’re interested please contact me. Here are a few Guest Posts I’ve Written

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10 Inspiring Country Music Videos

The George Jones Successful Career Guide

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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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Using Others to Find Motivation

Is self-motivation a myth?

Self Motivation

image credit: Hotshoe!

It seems like most people tend to believe that the most successful people have a way of self-motivating themselves to achieve more than perhaps others do in life.

I’m not sure if self-motivation is as simple as:

“Ok self, you’re going to become successful today by accomplishing this…”

I think motivation is a combination of wanting to feel self-gratification while wanting to have an effect on the lives of others.

Validation also seems to play a part in the motivation mix.

The tricky part of motivation is simply…understanding where it exactly comes from.

People, especially business owners, seem to struggle with finding the motivation to do daily tasks that fit into the plan for their vision of success. There are always days where it’s difficult to justify writing that blog post or commenting on someone else’s blog or taking the time to write a nice email to a fellow hunting blogger.

There is a trick you can use that brings the entire concept of motivation together.

Let me explain…

Gratification

One thing that motivates us in our entrepreneurial adventures is gratification (there is also security, freedom, and a few others that come into play).

Entrepreneurs want to feel good about what they have worked hard to accomplish. Business owners want the happy feeling that comes from making a hunter smile from ear to ear with joy over harvesting a trophy animal on a once in a lifetime hunt.

It makes us happy when our business positively has positive effects on our customers.

Gratification definitely plays some part in our motivation to continue providing the best products and services. It’s why you and other business owners work so hard each day to improve your business – to feel the satisfaction of making your customers feel satisfied in their purchase of your products and services.

In a sense, this motivation does not come from within each of us. It comes from the good feeling you get when your customers share their praise and thanks to you after being overly satisfied beyond their expectations with the products and services you have provided.

It has nothing to do with money and everything to do with your customer feeling like they received something of value.

It’s important to recognize the fact that gratification plays a role in your motivation.

It’s not wrong to want to feel gratification.

It’s natural for humans to want to do that which makes them feel good about themselves and helping others while expecting nothing more than gratification once and awhile is something that can lead to positive and healthy motivation.

Having an Effect

In general, we all want to have an effect in the world.

We want to people to say nice things about us at our funeral (or we at least want to think now – while we’re alive – that people will say nice things about us at our funeral).

Wanting to have a lasting effect on others in this world throughout and beyond our lives is strong motivation to do something today, tomorrow, and each day for the next 50 years that will leave a mark and positively change someone’s life for the better.

Validation

Father and Son

Original Flickr Photo: Schmelzle Family

Original Blog Post: The Schmelzle Family | Minneapolis Family Photographer

Photographer Credit: April Bodenburg | Minneapolis Family Photographer

April’s Website: AprilBodenburg.com

April’s Blog: AprilBodenburgPhotography.blogspot.com

April’s Flickr Photostream (She is amazing!)

I remember hearing something somewhere onetime (real specific I know…) that all children simply try to accomplish something in life that makes their parents proud.

It’s interesting that motivation can be that simple at times.

But it’s true.

There is nothing like the feeling when Mom or Dad tells you, “I’m proud of you.”

A parent telling you that they’re proud of you is the first validation in life that we all had. It’s often the purest form beyond hearing it from other loved ones like a spouse or child, but it always seems to go back to the first validation we had as kids with our parents.

Again, I don’t think it’s necessarily self-motivation when we’re doing something with our business partly to make our parents and other loved ones proud and that’s Ok.

Understanding that part of our motivation comes from others, especially from those we love, leads us to doing things and making decisions based on the motivation we experience as a result of using others to motivate us to do great things.

Using Others to Find Your Motivation

Motivation comes from places we likely don’t always understand or anticipate.

Motivation can come from seeing your loved one working hard to accomplish something – a painting, a marathon, a rubik’s cube or another task that’s challenging – and realizing that seeing them work, struggle and finally succeed motivates us to do something just as good and possibly better.

We see how satisfied those around us feel when they accomplish something challenging and it makes us want to accomplish something ourselves in order to feel the same way.

Understanding that self-motivation doesn’t always come from yourself (it still seems weird to write that) is a big step in understanding where you can find motivation to get your through the day, the week, or even just this hour as your work tirelessly to improve your hunting business so you can positively affect the lives of your customers is a BIG step to finding enjoyment and pride in what you do each day.

Anytime you’re stumped for motivation or if you’re ever feeling like you just need to sit back and give up for awhile, take a few minutes to reflect on the reasons you started your business in the first place:

Think about how you can use others to find your motivation to succeed and continue turning your business into something successful and impactful.

There are lots of sources for motivation and it usually doesn’t come from you.

Summary

I’m not sure that self-motivation is necessarily a myth, but it seems like most of things that motivate us to succeed in business and in life come from those around us who have the biggest impact on our lives.

Business owners seem to have a drive to succeed in finding gratification for their hard work.

Business owners look to have a positive effect on the lives of others while also finding the purest form of validation for hard work and accomplishments.

There is nothing wrong with using others to motivate you. In fact, it’s one of the best ways to find that extra drive to push yourself to do great things.

So seek out those resources around you and use others to find your motivation.

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Your Energy, Your Drive

Security is an Illusion

“Sure, some people like the security of a regular paycheck, but if recent events have taught us anything, it’s that this kind of security is an illusion.” Leo Babauta of Zen Habits on The Get-Started-Now Guide to Becoming Self-Employed

Security is an Illusion

image credit: Anonymous Account

The title of this post may suggest a negative tone, but I’d like to take the idea of security in a different direction and put a positive twist on something that is commonly viewed as negative.

The idea of security as illusion is not something we should all fear.

As an entrepreneur, understanding that no business, person, or job is secure is exciting and should continue refueling the fire and passion you have when first starting a hunting business.

Let’s take a closer look at why your understanding that security is an illusion should actually excite you…

Staying Ahead/Looking for the Next Breakthrough

I’ve always thought that the companies and business owners who were most successful were always those who never stopped looking for the next innovation that would help them better serve their audience and customers.

Even today the people I find most successful on the Web or the leaders in business are looking for the ahead at ways to improve – ways to make their business better than the competition.

One example in the hunting industry I always look to for inspiration is Mathews Bows and Archery.

In fact, Innovation is a highlight of the Mathews philosophy:

We strive to achieve the extraordinary through the continuous improvement of people, process and product.

This is a great mission statement for any company and Mathews is definitely a great example of a company that lives up to its mission by continually providing innovative archery products that seem to revolutionize the bow hunting industry every season.

It’s truly amazing for a company to continually be the leader in design, functionality, and effectiveness when it comes to a product that has been around for thousands of years.

More on Mathews Innovation:

Matt McPherson started making recurve and compound bows in the early 70’s.  Many designs and years later, Matt decided to take one of his newest innovations; the Inner Cam (patented 1985), and started McPherson Archery.  The company was sold in 1989 and in 1992 Mathews, Inc. was born.

In addition to a lifelong passion for the sport and boundless energy, Matt had one major advantage: an invention that would revolutionize the archery industry.  His design for single cam technology; the SOLOCAM®, made Mathews bows lighter, faster, quieter and powerfully accurate.  Today, McPherson is owner and CEO of the largest grossing bow manufacturer in the world.

In addition to his role as CEO, McPherson leads the research and development team and has produced 31 patented innovations  including the Harmonic Damping System™, Zebra® ZS Twist Bowstrings and the V-lock Zero Tolerance Limb Cup System.  His passionate pursuit of creative distinction and high-performance engineering inspired the company slogan, “Catch us if you can.”

There is always new competition with new innovations that take industries by storm and knock the leaders off their pedestal. This is one of the reasons why it’s necessary to make sure that you are the continuous innovator in your area of the hunting world.

Looking at Yourself

One of the difficult things it seems with our own businesses it taking a good objective look at our strengths and weaknesses especially when it comes to where we feel our business is secure and where the business is weak.

I don’t think it’s always the fault of the business owner or those involved closely with the business when it comes taking an objective look.

Take your Website for example…you probably look at your Website often and you probably have a few things you’d like changed and it’s likely those changes would be beneficial.

But it’s the things you don’t see that are often the most important for your audience – the people who will use your Website as a resource and a way to connect with you and ultimately trust you enough to purchase your product or service.

It might be worth it for others, perhaps someone who fits your customer profile, to explore your Website and provide feedback. This person will likely come across some simple things you can change to make your user experience more simple and beneficial.

This concept works for your products and services as well as other areas of your business.

Getting opinions and taking a look at yourself and your business is one of the crucial aspects of understanding that security is an illusion and that your business needs to be a continuous work in progress to avoid falling for the security trap.

Preparation

While security is something that can’t truly ever be achieved, there are things you can do (once you understand that you’re business is never secure) to prepare for the day your product or service is replaced.

I’ve always been a big fan of keeping some cold hard cash on hand or some other assets that seem to have value just in case something happens to the business.

Beyond keeping some cash on hand to pay the bills in a crunch, the most important assets you have if your competitors come up with an industry changing innovation are the relationships and connections you make by being a quality person and business to work with.

In my experience I would say that people are loyal and trusting with businesses and business owners who treat them fairly and respectfully.

This is a strong loyalty that takes time and commitment to gain from customers.

But once you have it and if you continue to honor the trust, these customers will be loyal to you and give you time to catch up and surpass your competition if you reach a point where you fall behind for a moment…and it happens to all businesses at some point.

It’s something you can prepare for and you shouldn’t be afraid of it happening.

Security is an illusion and once you understand this you can prepare for the little surprises that are not an illusion, but certainty.

Summary

Understanding that your business is not secure is an empowering realization.

Once you realize that you have to continuously work and challenge yourself and your staff to work and improve every aspect of your business you will feel the power to change the industry and shift paradigms.

Mathews archery has continued to be the leader in the bow and archery field because their make innovation and lack of security in their field the mission of the business.

Continue to take a look at all aspects of your business and don’t be afraid to ask your customers, business partners, employees, friends and family for advice and input into how you could make your products, services, and processes more user-friendly and efficient.

While there is no such thing as security, you can prepare for your future of insecurity. The most important thing you can do to prepare yourself for the day you’re caught off guard is to make the most of your current and future connections relating to your business.

Trust is hard to come by in any business field and it’s the relationships, connections, trust, and loyalty that will keep your business strong while you take time to adapt to changing innovations in your industry.

Don’t fear the fact that security is an illusion – accept it and use it as motivation to continuously improve your hunting business for the betterment of you and your customers.

Turing the idea of insecurity into a positive emotion is one step you can take right now that puts you ahead of most of your competition.

Do you have any others thoughts on security and your hunting business?

Please share in the comments and I’ll be sure to respond promptly.

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