Social Media Strategy – Levenger

Levenger mastered the social media game before social media became a buzzword

Levenger Pen and Paper

Today I received my email notification about the new blog post by Levenger CEO Steve Leveen. The post was a great list post of gift ideas for the holiday season – all available from Levenger.

I clicked on a few of the items I thought were interesting and eventually made my way to the customer reviews and comments… Shirt Pocket Briefcase®

Levenger Shirt Pocket Briefcase

After reading a few comments and watching a few of the video reviews customers have submitted to the Levenger site I realized something – Levenger understood the most important rule – connecting – of social media a long time ago.

Since their inception, Levenger has worked to form long-term connections with each of their passionate customers. The passion and connection he company and its customers share is what leads to amazing results in what is today referred to as online social media.

Levenger’s customers love giving feedback on the products they purchase. Customers even take the time to add photos to their customer reviews. Some of the most dedicated customers even take the time to create video reviews.

It isn’t only on their site that Levenger is having an impact. On the popular connecting site, Twitter, Levenger’s customers rave about their new Levenger products. They rave about the way they are treated by the company and how happy they are with their purchases.

This is a situation most companies dream about and strive for.

So how was Levenger able to accomplish such social media success?

Let’s take a closer look…

Connections

On November 2, 1995, Mrs. Kathryn Bricker of Sarasota, Florida, called to order a Slim Shirt Pocket Briefcase. She was our one-millionth order.

Stories such as this are plentiful in the history of Levenger. The people in the company believe that they are forming respectful relationships with customers rather than simply selling products for serious readers.

For Levenger, the business grew out of the connection and understanding they share with their customers – serious readers and writers.

Since the inception of Levenger in the mid-eighties, through the nineties, and through today, Levenger has used the available tools and channels to connect with their customer. They’ve accepted the Web even when others may see their products as being ancient in relation to digital.

As the digital age came, so did the age of connection and accessibility.

Rather than reject the new technology, Levenger understood the need to enhance their connection with their most passionate customers by continuing to provide the best tools for serious readers while using emerging communication tools to enhance the customers-business relationship.

Social media strategy begins with a connection. A business that focuses on building long-term, valuable connections with individuals will naturally understand social media – no matter what the latest technology is.

As long as there is acceptance and yearning for enhancements in connection, companies will find success.

Telling a Story

Levenger, like many companies, tells a story.

They form a connection with their customers by telling compelling stories. The major difference, however, with Levenger is that they focus on the stories of their customers.

It seems like a simple concept, but most business are quick to tell their own story. Telling your own story is important, but highlighting the stories ahead of your own is more powerful than putting yourself and your business as the main focus.

Levenger benefits from being genuinely interested and enthused to share the stories of how customers use Levenger products to do remarkable things.

What are the stories your customers can tell?

How can you highlight those stories in a way that connects with others who share the same passions?

Target Audience

Something Levenger has always focused on is their core target customer.

Levenger found a group of passionate readers and writers that enjoy their tools for writing and read more than anything else in life (when it comes to disposable income). Levenger uses their customers’ passion to guide the decision to create innovative products that satisfy the dedicated reader/writer’s needs and wants.

Levenger Tweet

As I mentioned in 2010 | The New Normal Hunting Economy, consumers revert to what they are most passionate about when their disposable income decreases. It isn’t that consumers don’t want more things, their ability to supply their demand is limited.

In today’s economy, successful businesses use their connections with their passionate customers to learn and grow while continuing to satisfy existing customers while continuing to attract other passionate individuals. It likely won’t lead to extreme short-term growth,  but it can lead to sustained growth.

Levenger seems to be succeeding at this growth strategy.

Long-Term Strategy

Connecting is a long-term strategy – not a short-term tactic.

From their inception, Levenger has been working to make connections with passionate readers and writers. As a result of this company mission they have always been able to find success with the changing social communication tools.

I often see posts today on Twitter or Facebook. These posts often have tips and tricks for finding success. My favorite posts on technology tools like Twitter and Facebook, however, are the posts that discuss the communication and connecting benefits that the tools provide while looking at connecting and communication in a larger perspective.

Companies that succeed with social media today do so because of their long-term outlook and strategy. Successful companies approach social media tools by looking for the long-term advantages of the tool as a way to add value to their business-customer connection.

Levenger gains long-term customers one at a time.

As a result, they are successful with social media today.

Summary

If I haven’t said it enough, social media is a long-term strategy.

A business can try short-term tactics for connecting, but a long-term strategy of working to build connections with a passionate target audience is the best route for sustainable success.

Levenger has set out to provide the best products for passionate readers and writers since its very beginning. There have been periods of growth in demand from others who may not be the most passionate about their products, but sustained growth over a long period is possible at Levenger because they look to acquire passionate customers one at a time.

Focus on your customer’s story and giving is the key to success for sustainable success in social media.

Short-term focused strategies can be successful…in the short-term.

But to stay up-to-date with the latest communication tools, it’s best to start a long-term connection strategy today to prepare for tomorrow.

How is your company working to build connections with passionate individuals?

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5 Business Mistakes You Can Learn From

Learn from the mistakes of others to find success

Rainbow

Image courtesy of Nicholas_T

What is arguably the most crucial key to success is to learn from your mistakes as you test and innovate with strategies that aim to improve the connection you and your business have with your customers.

While it’s to your advantage to be aware of your own mistakes, it’s also important to be aware of the things your competitors and other businesses are doing on the Web that lead to testing mistakes.

Now, the way I use the word ‘mistakes’ in this article should be put in the context of performing tests with your business with the ‘mistakes’ being unanticipated outcomes.

Let’s take a closer look at how you can from business mistakes…

1| Failure to Address Customer Concerns in Comments

Singing

Image courtesy of Solitaire Miles

Say you have a strategy to read quality articles about your industry. There is much to learn from the articles themselves, but one unanticipated outcome of quality articles is found in the comments.

Your customers are likely expressing their frustrations in the comments of quality articles and blog posts throughout the Web on your competitors’ sites.

Are the competitors addressing these customer frustrations?

If not, perhaps you could leave a comment (not spammy, but helpful) or better yet you could see how to potentially get in contact with the commenter/customer.

2| Full Contest Participation

Silence

Image courtesy of circo de invierno ⑲ ~

Sometimes companies will run really great contests. Usually the contest will offer free merchandise the company is selling or services the company provides for businesses.

If the company is well-known they will likely have lots of fans who are also influencers on the Web. These folks will likely take the great news of the company’s contest and often share the news with their networks. Tools used to spread the news include, but are not limited to: blog posts, Twitter, Delicious, Digg, etc.

Company’s usually expect their followers and customers to share the news of contests with their friends on networks, but an unanticipated outcome to contests can be when a company’s followers also write blog posts about certain events.

Opportunistic companies will listen to their followers who are also influencers on the Web, especially bloggers, and reach out to make a valuable connection. A company that has strong relationships with bloggers will be at an advantage not only for spread the word on valuable company doings, but will also be put in position to acquire quality links – key for strong search traffic.

3| Responding on Twitter

Yawning Lion

Image courtesy of Reinante El Pintor de Fuego

Many companies are starting to use Twitter.

Many companies are also trying different things to build their presence on the communication medium. A few of the great companies I follow on Twitter sparingly use the medium. There is of course nothing wrong with using Twitter to occasionally share a quality link or to engage in a contest.

Something I also see on Twitter that occasionally bothers me is when companies receive @replies (from me sometimes) and don’t reply to the @replies. I also see companies being talked about on Twitter and the companies aren’t responding or acknowledging the chatter about them on Twitter or related communications mediums.

The good news is that companies are experimenting with technologies like Twitter. The smart companies will take advantage of the unanticipated outcome of Twitter – word of mouth – and interact with their followers.

4| Utilizing Reviews/Testimonials

Fire Flower

Image courtesy of Reinante El Pintor de Fuego

Customer reviews are becoming essential for any company doing business online. Reviews have always been a huge part of sales and the Web is making it easier for companies to receive and utilize awesome reviews and testimonials.

An unanticipated outcome of increasing your presence on the Web is that you now have to utilize testimonials on your Website and in other areas to stay competitive. The online world is looking for social proof and properly using testimonials is essential.

5| Showcasing the Amazingness of Customers

Goose Landing

Image courtesy of pheanix300

Another unexpected outcome of increasing your participation on the Web is the fact that you’re going to have more influence and get more dedicated customers and followers the more you highlight the amazingness of your customers and followers rather than yourself and your company.

If you write blog posts or if you share links on Twitter, highlight the things your customers and followers do that is amazing and noteworthy. Web users and influencers love reading about great things people like themselves do both on and off the Web.

You can use your authority voice to share stories of success.

One last thing – by sharing the success stories of your customers, they will have stock in your blog and will share their story with their network. It’s a great way for spreading the good word about your Web presence.

The Real Lesson

It’s important to learn from your own mistakes since you have a front row seat to the humility you put on yourself through endless testing and innovation as your work to find your formula for success.

I try to learn from my mistakes while also staying aware of the mistakes others make with their own testing. It seems to work best as long as one works to continually shoring up lessons learned from past mistakes so as not to repeat them while always working to find new ways to innovate, which will lead to new mistakes.

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50 Viral Videos (and how they spread)

This post was inspired by Adam Singer of The Future Buzz and TopRank Online Marketing. Adam’s original post 50 Viral Images (and how they spread) was a big hit and so was his follow up 50 Viral Images Part Two. Adam is one of the best sources for marketing knowledge. He’s had multiple success with successful companies in developing long-term marketing strategies.

Get your popcorn ready…

Old Film

Along with the inspiration from Adam, I was inspired to write this post also by questions from leaders in the hunting industry concerning the importance of online video for hunting business marketing strategy. It seems most people always inquire about viral videos because of the appeal of having a target audience share a piece of video content across many channels with friends, family, and peers.

As I wrote in The Impact of Online Video in the Hunting Industry:

Creating video that is shared amongst your target audience is an obvious goal for any online video strategy.

Often when we think of viral video the first things that come to mind are guys performing crazy stunts on You Tube or babies being caught saying funny things. It’s mostly America’s Funniest Home Video-type stuff.

But to create focused viral video there is a formula you should take so the results of your video going viral have the highest potential for actual return on your invested time and money.

The formula is from 3 Viral Video Ideas:

(Clever Entertainment) + (Sharability) + (Target Audience) + (Product/Service/Personal Brand Tie-in) – (Push-Marketing) = (Successful Viral Video)

As you’ll see, some of these videos have all the successful elements of the viral video formula while others are missing some of the pieces.

Let’s take a look at 50 viral videos…

Multitek North America 2040 XP2 Firewood Processor

Visit the site – Multitek North America Firewood Processors

Lion Attacking Hunters on Safari

World Elk Calling Competition

Visit the site – Hunting Life

Roe Deer Butchering Part 3 – The Hunting Life

Visit the site – The Hunting Life

P&Y Illinois Buck Hunt

Visit the site – Bowhunting.com

Carbon Express F15 Dual Blade Broadhead

Visit the site – Carbon Express

Bowhunting Ducks

Visit the site – Landslide Productions

New Mexico Bull Elk Bow Hunt

Horse & Buggy Elk Hunt

Visit the site – Two Wheel’n After Elk – Base Camp Legends

Horse & Buggy Elk Hunt from Sue Sorenson on Vimeo.

Awesome Whitetail Deer Fight

Visit the site – Stone Ledge Texas

Broadhead Test

Monster Whitetails with Double Bull Archery

Visit the site – LiveHunt.com

HuntingClub.com – Brock Lesnar Hunting Whitetail Buck

Visit the site – North American Hunting Club

New World Record Whitetail

Bow Hunting Whitetails: The Triple Beam Buck

Visit the site – Mannion Outdoors

Trophy Mule Deer Hunting

Visit the site – Carlmann Outfitting

Mulies Gone Wild Vol. 3

Visit the site – MossBack Productions Guides & Outfitters

Texas Hog Hunting

Visit the site – Texas Hunt Fish

Gun Cleaning – Properly cleaning barrels on a shotgun

Visit the site – Midway USA

BowTech Destroyer and David Blanton

Visit the sites – Realtree Outdoors and BowTech Archery

Hoyt Web Clips – Draw Length Myths

Visit the site – Hoyt Archery

Buckmasters Jackie Bushman Video Mixup

Visit the site – Buckmasters

“The one that I was on was bigger.”

Moose Hunting – Female Moose Tastes Broadhead

Alaska Moose Hunting with Clearwater Alaska Outfitters

Visit the site – Clearwater Alaska Outfitters

Wolves vs. Grizzly Bears

Visit the site – National Geographic

Ten Point Bowkill

Visit the site – Parson’s Outdoors

Deer Hunting VS-1 Whitetail Deer Scents

Visit the site – Whitetail Shopping

Drop Tine Whitetail Hunt – Saskatchewan Outdoors

Visit the site – Saskatchewan Outdoors

A 13-Foot-Long Shotgun – Clay Target Clip

Visit the site – Field & Stream

A 13-Foot-Long Shotgun – Loading Clip

Visit the site – Field & Stream

Deer Calling Tips: Tending Grunt Sequence

Visit the site – Field & Stream and Deer Doctor

Bow Hunting Boone & Crockett Whitetail Bucks

Visit the site – Hawg-N-Sons

Legendary Whitetails Monster Buck Mel Johnson

Visit the site – Deer Gear

Dan Miller Buck

Whitetail Big Bucks Only

Visit the site – Wild Whitetail

Deer Gets Revenge on Hunter

The Sasquatch Buck

Heart Attack Bucks

Visit the site – Saskatchewan Outdoors

Monster Buck in City – Des Moines, IA

Visit the site – Zach Wildlife Art

Hal and Len Go Huntin’ Giant Whitetails Part 3

Legendary Whitetails Monster Buck Mossy Horns

Visit the site – Deer Gear

Whitetail Freaks – One of the Biggest Deer in the World

Visit the site – Deer Gear

Locked Bucks – Whitetail Deer

Elk Kill Bow Hunting 35 Yards

Bow Hunting Wild Boar

Bow Hunting for Squirrels

Visit the site – Garzilla Guide Service

Deer Hunting – Bow Hunt 9 Point Buck

Visit the site – Hunting Footage

Bowhunting Pheasants

Visit the site – Parson’s Outdoors

Blacktail Bucks HawkeyeBilt Archery Bowhunting Oregon Deer

Visit the site – HawkeyeBilt

Bowhunting in Kentucky

Visit the site – Lost River Game Calls

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The Sports Agent Guide to Marketing

“The key to this business is – personal relationships.” ~ Jerry Maguire

Sports Agent

We’ve all probably seen the movie Jerry Maguire. We know the scene where Jerry is trying to convince his client, Rod Tidwell (Cuba Gooding Jr. in his Oscar winning role), that he should stay with Jerry as his professional agent and representative.

It’s the classic and endlessly quotable Show Me the Money scene:

Rod is looking out for the best interest of his family. He feels he’s sacrificed his body and his livelihood for the team he plays for and he wants to be fairly compensated. Jerry, who found out that he’s being fired due to a recent conscious moment about his profession, is trying to save his own livelihood by retaining some of his professional sports clients.

The phone call lasts for a few minutes and Jerry loses all of his clients, but he retains Rod. This is a key moment in the movie because from this moment forward, Jerry is entirely focused on doing what it takes to please his client and to make things right for both parties.

He creates a win-win situation for both himself and his client, Rod Tidwell. He accomplishes this by highlighting the successes of his client.

Let’s take a look at how sports agents highlight the successes of their clients to find their own success while attempting to create situations where all parties (including fans and management) can feel like winners…

Everybody wants to feel the love

Sports players are often portrayed as divas or self-serving as they sometimes seek to get the most money out of their situation as possible. But in reality, aren’t we all trying to do the same? It may not always be about the money – it could be about security, availability or anything that makes us feel good in life.

Our lives are all short and we all want to feel the love. We want to feel loved by our family, our friends, our professional peers and ourselves. We all look to surround ourselves with people who will serve our best interests. Generally we seek to surround ourselves with people who make us feel good and complement our lives in a way that drives us to our ultimate goal of happiness.

When it comes to business, your clients are looking to surround themselves with someone who will make them feel the love. Your customers want to feel like somebody else cares about their well-being. They don’t even care if you are doing exactly the same. They actually want to see that you’re driven to find success and happiness in your own life. This would be proof that you’re aware of the keys to happiness.

Show your customers the love.

If you sell advertising space on your blog or Website, give your customers extra exposure by talking about the success of a particular ad in a blog post. Talk about how great they are to work with in a tweet.

Feed your customers’ ego.

If your outfitting customer shoots a trophy, be sure to submit the trophy photos to the major hunting photo sharing sites. Be sure to highlight their trophy on Twitter. Be sure to add their photo to a major spot on your site.

Show your customers the love by highlighting their success.

By highlighting the success of you customers, you’ll help them find their happiness in life and help yourself find your own profit and happiness as well.

It’s not about you

Two examples of sports agents (I’m sure there are more) that understand that their business is not about them are Drew Rosenhaus and Jack Bechta.

If you follow @RosenhausSports and @jackbechta on Twitter you’ll realize that these two businessman love highlighting their clients. They love telling the world about the successes of their clients.

Drew Rosenhaus Twitter

Jack Bechta Twitter

These agents could focus on their business and themselves with tweets about how they got their clients big contracts, but instead they congratulate their clients for the work the client did to get a contract or a playing honor.

Professional sports athletes have their best interest at heart when they play the sports they love. They realize that their team’s success is their success. They also are fighting for security in their own lives. They want to be as successful as they can be. They look to surround themselves with people who believe them and who will help them achieve greatness.

When sports agents show that they put their client’s first it proves to other current and potential clients that the agent is willing to do all that it takes to make the player successful.

What are you doing to show your customers that you understand that it’s not about you?

A way to highlight the success of your customers is to write a blog post about a successful project or a successful hunt. You could write about the success a client had while using your product. Say for example that you make tree stands. Ask your customers to share their stories of success. Then write a post about that success. You don’t even have to say that your tree stand was used. Simply highlight the customer. Other customers will see where your focus is and be drawn to you.

It’s not about you.

Summary

Sports agents sometimes get a bad rap. Fans often see all of the drama that surrounds professional sports, but from circus acts that go on throughout sports seasons there is something to be learned about the relationships between a sports agent their client.

Successful sports agents realize that everybody wants to feel the love. People want to know that those around them support their dreams. We all want to know that someone else cares about our success and our happiness. It feels good to be recognized for our achievements.

Customers of all businesses look for partners that understand it isn’t about the business at all. Customers are smart enough to choose to work with businesses that not only work at all costs to achieve strategic long-term goals, but choose to highlight the client’s achievements. Because in the end they are the client’s achievements, not the business’s.

Bonus

Here are a few extra clips from Jerry Maguire.

Enjoy.

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5 Hidden Treasures on the Web

Don’t let your remarkable content go unnoticed

Gold

Recently I have been browsing the Web and finding a few things I’m surprised I haven’t noticed before. I spend a lot of time surfing the Web – especially hunting Websites and there are times I’m pleasantly surprised by the things I find. However, these five things below are areas of the Web I feel are under-appreciated by the hunting community.

The following five hidden treasures on the Web need to be more visited.

Let’s take a deeper look at each of the five hidden treasures on the Web and why hunters need to be aware of the opportunities these resources provide…

1| Cabela’s Outdoor Info

Cabela's Logo

Please visit Outdoor Info

I first found Cabela’s Outdoor Info section when I was searching for information on taking quality trophy photographs – I found this amazing article Two Shot Trophies. I was a bit surprised by the information available under the Outdoor Info section at Cabela’s. I was surprised I had never noticed the third button in the top nav on their site before. Had you noticed it?

Cabela’s calls their Outdoor Info section – Information for Serious Outdoorsmen and they mean it. There are a ton of great articles here for their customer base to digest. You could spend days in this section reading and learning about how to be the best outdoorsman in the world.

And because the articles are sponsored by Cabela’s and written by a first-rate team of experts, you know you’re getting the best information available.

I’m just not sure why Cabala’s hasn’t marketed this section of their site more…

Cabela's Outdoor Info

Cabela’s is moving into an area I see as essential or online retailers in the future – they’re teaching their customers how to hunt and then they’re providing the best equipment that hunters need to execute the things they have learned through the Outdoor Info section.

There are so many opportunities for Cabela’s to market the content they provide in the Outdoor Info section. I can’t wait until they start taking advantage of the remarkable content they have already written.

2| Bowhunting.com’s Bowhunting Knowledge

Bowhunting.com Logo

Please visit Bowhunting Knowledge

Bowhunting.com is one of my favorite hunting sites on the Web. I love the approach they’re taking with online retail.

Bowhunting.com is using blogs, videos, and photography to form connections with hunters on the Web and as a result of the formed relationships; they’re providing the necessary equipment and accessories bow hunters need to execute successful hunts.

One of the things that does confuse about Bowhunting.com, however, is the Bowhunting Knowledge section.

I’m not confused by the fact that the section exists. In fact, I love that the section exists and I love that the experts at Bowhunting.com are the ones provide the remarkable content. There are tons of great tutorials, including photos and videos that bow hunters can use to learn and make their next hunt successful.

Bowhunting.com Bowhunting Knowledge

I’m confused that Bowhunting.com isn’t putting a higher priority on the Bowhunting Knowledge section. I’m a subscriber to Bowhunting.com’s email program and I have either not received an email about the Bowhunting Knowledge section or I have not noticed the mention of the section in an email.

The team at Bowhunting.com does an excellent job of highlighting their remarkable photography, blog and trophy hunts. Their videos of trophy hunts are top notch. I love the video of Todd’s monster 192” Buck.

These videos are a great way to drive traffic to the site and drive sales revenue.

I’d like to see Bowhunting.com really take advantage of their Bowhunting Knowledge section and use it to grow their connections with their followers and really educate hunters on the Web while providing access, through their store, the equipment and accessories hunters need to best execute trophy hunts.

3| Deer & Deer Hunting Online Courses

Deer & Deer Hunting Logo

Please visit Online Hunting Courses

Did you know that Deer & Deer Hunting put on Webinars and video course sections for hunters on their Website?

Deer & Deer Hunting Online Courses

To D&DH’s credit, I’ve actually received more than a few emails (I subscribe to their newsletter and you should too) on their online courses. The most recent highlight was for the Lunar Rut Predictions from their expert Whitetail Writer Charles Alsheimer.

I love that D&DH give a great preview to this video course. Charles Alsheimer answers a great question about killing does before or after the rut. Check out the preview video on Rut Hunting.

Deer & Deer Hunting is doing great things with their online courses. They’re marketing the courses through their email campaigns and on their site. They’re also marketing the courses on Twitter, Facebook and other social media.

It’s great to see a media company transition from print to the Web to increase their connection with their customers.

I’m looking forward to more courses from Deer & Deer Hunting.

4| Field & Stream Answers

Field & Stream Logo

Please visit Field & Stream’s Answers

I just found Field & Stream Answers the other day when I was looking at their site. I love Field & Stream’s email newsletter especially their great reader-submitted photos.

Hunters on the Web love looking at remarkable hunting photography and Field & Stream has some of the best photos available. And the great thing is they combine photos from their own team of expert outdoor photographers along with reader submitted photos.

But as much as I love the photos, I really love the F&S Answer section.

Field & Stream Answers

The Answer section is like a forum of sorts. Visitors to the site can ask and answer questions. I haven’t had a chance to look through too many of the answers, but I’m sure a few of the F&S writers have answered a few of the questions.

I haven’t seen any mention of the Answers section mentioned in F&S Newsletters and I haven’t seen too much promotion for the section on any other areas of the site or print magazine.

There are some great answers from readers and I think F&S can use Answers as a way to enhance their connection with their readers. Hunters are on the Web looking for ways to connect on a more meaningful level with outdoor companies. Answers is a great way for readers to get real value from a quality outdoor company (the photos are great also).

It’d be a great way to drive sales for the new Field & Stream Brand.

5| Wudyaget Custom Field Portraits

Wudyaget.com Logo

Please visit Wudyaget.com

I love remarkable hunting photographs on the Web. And I love when entrepreneurs take advantage of an opportunity. Matt Walters has taken advantage of an opportunity with Wudyaget Custom Field Portraits.

Matt takes ordinary pictures of extraordinary trophies and turns them into conversation pieces. Take a look at some of his great example portraits.

Wudyaget.com Custom Field Portraits

If you haven’t known about Matt’s service, here is your chance to take your trophy photos from years past and turn them into lasting memories.

Or perhaps if you’re lucky enough to harvest a trophy this season, give Matt a call to make the memory last a lifetime.

Conclusion

There are lots of great things on the Web. However, some of the hidden treasures go unnoticed as they remain hidden among the many great things on the Web.

These are only five of the great hidden treasures on the Web. I feel that all five should be getting much more attention from hunters than they are currently getting.

Companies can gauge their various services and products with their customers to see what their customers respond too. It takes some time and testing to find what connects with customers. I hope these five hidden treasures find their way to the marketing priority of their respective companies so hunters on the Web can take full advantage.

Do you know of any other hidden treasures on the Web?

Share them in the comments below.

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image credit: Mykl Roventine

What do Chris Burget and Garth Brooks have in Common?

People follow leaders that interpret the world

Garth Brooks in Concert

Garth Brooks interprets the world for hard working Americans. Garth is arguably the most followed American entertainer in the past century. He entertained the world with his songs about love, work, good times, sad times, and life in general. And he interpreted the world and everyday occurrences in a way that his followers connected with and could relate to. Garth is a resource of interpretation and he has millions of followers and millions of people have purchases his recordings as a way to connect with Garth and his interpretations on the occurrences that affect their lives.

Chris Burget is the founder of Bulls & Beavers – The Premier Online Resource for Outdoor Enthusiasts. Chris also happens to be one of the most followed outdoor enthusiasts on Twitter. Follow him @BullsandBeavers. Check out how many lists people have included him on in their Twitter Lists. Notice all of the ‘Outdoors’, ‘Fishing’, and ‘Hunting’ lists.

Why does Chris have so many followers on Twitter?

Just as Garth has many followers, Chris is one of the most followed and respected outdoorsmen today because he interprets the world in a way that other outdoor enthusiasts, hunters, and anglers connect with. Chris

Let’s take a look at a few ways Chris is like Garth Brooks. Hopefully you can take some inspiration from a few of the similarities and grow your followers like Garth Brooks and Chris Burget have.

Interpretation

Interpretation is one of the 8 categories of intangible value that we buy when we pay for something that could be free.

Everybody, including ourselves, is always trying to figure out our own place in the world. We always question why certain things happen or why the occurrences in the world occur. We are all looking for answers to our questions regarding everything we observe in our daily lives.

We are all looking for others to interpret occurrences in the world that affect us.

One of my favorite Garth Brooks songs is Standing Outside the Fire. In the song, which Brooks co-wrote, Brooks sings about taking chances in life and the difficulty most of us have with wanting taking risk in our lives yet also wanting some form of security.

I guess it’s probably my entrepreneurial spirit that connects me with the song, but the fact is that I connect with the song. And so did millions of other people. Some for the same reason. Some probably connected with it simply because it has a great melody.

Either way, people connected with the way Garth interpreted the risk-reward feeling we all typically have. He took that feeling and gave us a way to think about it deeper and potentially make a decision based on that interpretation. Ok, perhaps the songs didn’t cause people to make risk-reward decisions, but Garth was able to get people drawn to him by giving his interpretation of the issue.

Chris, like Garth, takes difficult issues for hunters, anglers, and outdoorsmen and addresses them directly with his interpretation of the issue.

For example, please read – Hunting & Fishing is a Multi-Billion Dollar Corporation.

In the article, Chris writes his feelings on why hunting is important for the traditions in the United States as well as for economic impact. The difficulty of defending the tradition of hunting and fishing is something hunters, anglers and outdoorsmen deal with on a regular basis. When a leader in the outdoor world can put together an effective argument in favor of the outdoorsmen it’s impactful. Chris did that with his interpretation of the issue. I especially like the final paragraph:

As I sit here and think about my personal life as a hunter, angler and entrepreneur, my thoughts revolve around both the passionate side of hunting, fishing and the business side. Socially, culturally, and economically, hunting and fishing is part of who we are and contains all the good ingredients of what we need to be in the future.

Chris was not afraid to take the issue head on and give his interpretation of the issue. As a result of taking this approach and providing an interpretation, Chris was able to answer questions for other outdoorsmen who are likely going to become followers as he leads their thought and arguments for their worldviews.

People look for leaders in their daily lives for interpretation on the issues that directly affect their lives. Chris, like Garth Brooks, is one of those leaders.

Connection

There is no doubt that Garth Brooks connected with millions of people. His mark of 120+ million records sold (and counting) in less than two decades speaks for itself. In short – people listen to what Garth has to say.

People connected not only with Garth’s interpretation of the world as mentioned above, they connected with the passion he brought with his interpretation.

People can tell almost instantly when someone is genuine in what they say and feel. People understand that Garth is passionate about the things that he sings about in his songs. He feels what he’s singing about and people are drawn to passionate people. They want to share that passion for life and the occurrences that affect their lives.

People know that Chris Burget is passionate about the outdoors. They know he is passionate about the things he writes about on Bulls & Beavers. They know he is passionate about the links he shares on Twitter. They know he is passionate about the comments he posts on Twitter.

Take a look at this snapshot of his Twitter Stream:

Bulls and Beavers Twitter Stream

There is a quote about anger. There are retweets about Cabela’s and a shooting incident. These are things that impact people’s lives and Chris provides his thoughts on the subjects whether they’re his own or thoughts he agrees with.

If you follow Chris on Twitter you find this is what his Twitter Stream is like all the time. He is remarkably consistent with bringing information to Twitter that affects people. This is the reason he has so many followers. People like what he has to say.

People like what Chris has to say because they’re looking to connect with someone who isn’t afraid to share their feelings on the topics they’re passionate about.

People can tell that Chris is passionate and they connect with him because they want to share that passion for the things they care about.

Conclusion

I’m not sure if Chris Burget has ever been compared to Garth Brooks before, but they do have much in common.

Two of the things Chris has in common with one of the biggest entertainers of all time are interpretation and connection.

Both Garth and Chris have a willingness to share their interpretation with those who share the same worldviews. They are willing to take on the occurrences in the lives of themselves and others and provide an interpretation that helps people cope, understand and live their lives. Not everybody can provide this interpretation and that is the reason both Garth and Chris have so many followers. They both excel and helping others interpret the world.

Garth and Chris are also both passionate about the topics they interpret. Garth is passionate about the topics he sings about whether that be love, love lost, long working hours, domestic difficulties, risk-reward, etc. People share his same feelings on the world and once they realize Garth is passionate about the topics they look to connect with him.

It’s obvious that Chris is passionate about the outdoors. Follow his tweets to get a glimpse of his dedication to the outdoors. Chris takes on the difficult issues in the outdoor world and provides answers to the questions every other outdoorsman is asking. He does it with a passion that draws others to him.

What are some things you’re doing right now to connect with your target followers?

Is your company doing anything to form a deeper connection with your customers that draws in their complete attention?

If you aren’t, somebody else, like Chris, will find a way to connect instead.

What to Read Next…

Grow Your Followers Like a Country Music Singer

10 Inspiring Country Music Videos for Hunting Businesses

What Do Chris Brogan and Michael Caine Have In Common?

Use Bounce Back Offers to Get Repeat and New Business

Thank you for your order. Please take 15% off your next purchase.

Levenger Sketch Book

A major form of revenue for businesses is the bounce back offer. Many companies today are using this strategy to build stronger repeat business with customers who have recently purchased. For example, the other week I purchases a holiday gift for a loved one (don’t tell) from Levenger and in the box was a printed sheet offering me 15% off on my next purchase.

I wasn’t insulted by the offer and felt quite good about receiving the great item I had purchased as well as a valuable offer for my next purchase. And believe me – there is plenty more I’d like to purchase.

I’m sure this is the case with your current customers as well.

Let’s take a deeper look at the impact a bounce back offer can have for your business… [private_member]

Loyalty

In today’s economy, customers are looking for businesses that offer value and quality. This includes quality products and services at competitive prices. Customers are also willing to pay a little more for a higher quality product or service if they know the product will have lasting quality as well as purchase services they know will having lasting impact on their personal enjoyment or advancement.

In short – customers are looking to be loyal to quality businesses they can trust to provide value to their lives.

A way businesses can offer value is by showing their appreciation for each customer’s loyalty. In return, a strong bounce back offer is essential to show your customers that you want their businesses again. It shows that you’re not just after one sale. It shows that you are willing to offer value for their next buying decision.

There are many ways to offer value with a bounce back offer and it doesn’t always need to be an offer (although many consumers are looking for this today). A couple ideas that come to me off the top of my head for, say, a waterfowl outfitter include:

Sending a follow-up email (or print mail package) to clients with pictures, thank you letter, sticker, and an offer to hunt again next season (with up to five friends) for 20% off this year’s rate

Since most hunting seasons take place in the fall, send a follow-up email or print mail packages to your customers from this season giving them a discount on next year’s hunt as well as an offer to allow them to give a hunting package as a gift

Send an exclusive, preferred customer, email to your clients from this past season (and other seasons) for an exclusive, first chance offer on a new hunting package you have in store for next season (customers love when they get first dibs on something special)

Send an email to this season’s hunters thanking them for their business and offer them 20% off next season’s hunt if they purchase before the end of the year

Build loyalty and long-term relationships with your customers this season by sending them something valuable as a bounce back offer when you thank them for their purchase with you this season.

New Products and Services

In one of the examples above, I mentioned that you can market your new products and services in bounce back offers to your existing clients.

If you have done some research for new products and services your business can provide, one of the logical places to begin marketing that new item is to your existing clients. By sending them a valuable bounce back offer that introduces your new product or service, you’re likely getting your new item in front of them when they’re at their peak excitement of their original purchase. Chances are high that they’ll be satisfied with their original purchase that they’ll feel good about purchasing more from your trusted company.

For example, think of getting a new tree stand in the mail from Cabela’s and being so happy with finally being able to touch the product that you almost miss the offer in the package for 10% off your next order for new tree stand attachments and accessories. You think, “I love this tree stand. Do I want to buy the hand rail attachment so I can steady my aim when that trophy buck walks by? Yes I do!”

Are you offering new products and services in the future? Think of using bounce back offers to introduce these items to your existing customers at a time when they are likely to feel emotionally connected to your trusted company.

Partnerships

Bounce back offers can also work for companies willing to work together to market their products to each other’s customers.

Lots of companies offer package insert programs so other retailers can insert printed offers into the outgoing packages. Some companies have taken this strategy to the Web with transactional emails they send to their customers.

Are you an outfitter looking for a way to expand your reach next season?

Try testing a few email ads on the transactional emails or a printed item in another company’s outgoing packages.

You could try asking a gun shop for an opportunity to exchange bounce back offers to each other’s customers. You could offer a 10% discount to their customers who purchase new shotguns or hunting rifles.

“With your order of your new Remington 870 Shotgun, take advantage of 10% off guided, guaranteed waterfowl hunting in Wisconsin”

There are lots of ways to take advantage of bounce back partnerships.

Conclusion

Bounce back offers have been around for a long time because it’s a strategy that works for businesses.

Think about ways you can offer value to your existing customers at a time they feel emotionally connected to your business – as they’re receiving your product or service or just after they have received the product or service.

Can you think of any other ways you could take advantage of bounce back offers?

Please share your ideas in the comments below.

[/private_member]

Related posts on Hunting Business Marketing

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How to Use Current Events to Trigger Buying Emotion

Sponsorship Case Study – Team Huntress

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image credit: BitchBuzz

10 Remarkable Hunting Business Blogs

The number one thing that makes a hunting business blog remarkable is – Visitor Engagement

Duck Hunt

Business owners, marketers, and managers are realizing the impact of maintaining a corporate blog on their Website to complement their businesses.

Blogs have many benefits including better segmenting and individual targeting through analytics, opportunities to link to products and content pages within your site, etc. However, the most important benefit a blog for your business offers a more valuable connection between your customers and your business.

Today, consumers are looking for more meaningful relationships with the companies with which they purchase their necessities and little extras from.

Let’s take a look at some of the best hunting business blogs. Hopefully these examples will provide some inspiration for your own hunting business blog.

1| Bowhunting.com

Bowhunting.com Blog

Website: Bowhunting.com

Blog: Bowhunting.com Blog

Twitter: @Bowhunting1

Today the Bowhunting.com Blog became my favorite hunting business blog on the Web (at present).

Their team sent out a great email that included info on a great hunt by the owner Todd Graf. The email included the normal offers for great bow hunting gear along with a promo code to use on the site. They’re also offering a free DVD with 16 bow hunts to any customer that makes a purchase for the next few months.

But what made the email really stand out in my inbox today was the subject line, photography, and lede into the story of the 192” monster whitetail. (See My Favorite Post)

Let’s dive deeper into the Bowhunting.com blog as well as the business…

Blog

Bowhunting.com has a team of experts that write remarkable blog posts covering all of the angles that bow hunters care about. The team at Bowhunting.com includes folks that are experienced at both cutting edge online media and connection as well as at their passion – bow hunting.

There are always great photos, videos, and commentary in every post and all the posts always seem to cover the most relevant topics for bow hunters.

If you are a bow hunter and want to learn more about how to harvest your own monster buck this season, head over to the Bowhunting.com Blog.

Business

Bowhunting.com takes a unique approach to the online business world by successfully blending their bow hunting knowledge expertise with their merchandizing and retailing expertise. It kind of reminds me of what the expert team at 37 Signals discusses on what chefs do…

For more, see: What’s Your Cookbook?

Chefs teach their followers how to cook. They give away recipes with their TV shows and online blogs and other forms of media. Once the chef builds up a level of trust with his or her audience, they are able to successful sell cooking related products and services to their followers.

Bowhunting.com has successfully created trust by becoming one of the top bow hunting resources in the world. Their team has built up a trust and is now providing products and services to their followers based on this trust.

It’s a win-win situation.

For your entire bow hunting needs, check out the Bowhunting.com Store

My Favorite Post

Huge Monster Buck 192”: A Two Year Adventure

(Actually found in the Bowhunting.com Gallery under Videos)

Bowhunting.com Owner Todd Graf relives the chase for the monster buck he first started hunting back in 2007! This buck is surely a must see!

Watch the video!

2| Hunting Life

Hunting Life Blog

Website: HuntingLife.com

Blog: HuntingLife.com/Blog

Twitter: @HuntingLife

Hunting Life is a great resource for hunters and conservationists. They are a leader on the Web in providing resources and information on many types of hunting and many ways individuals can get involved in conservation around the world.

Blog

The Hunting Life Blog is a great resource for up-to-the-minute information on the latest occurrences in the world that affect hunters and conservationists. Kevin Paulson and his team of experts work hard to provide only the best information for their followers and subscribers. The team at Hunting Life post regularly and the content is always top notch.

The concept of the Hunting Life Blog is simple – provide information that hunters and conservationists value and provide it so they can make the world better for hunting – today and for future generations.

Business

Hunting Life is becoming one of the best resources for sponsoring quality hunting and outdoor products and services.

Hunting Life offers a quality directory of hunting and fishing outfitters including Dry Creek Goose Camp. Along with the directory, the team at Hunting Life allows hunting businesses to sponsor their site and their podcasts, including the upcoming Hunting Life Show. (For more on sponsorships, see Sponsorship Case Study – Team Huntress)

With their proven dedication over many years, the team at Hunting Life will surely be successful in the future.

My Favorite Post

Back to the Basics by Mitch Strobl

In today’s hunting world, it is easy to get caught up in the “new and improved” equipment that will get you that big buck of the lifetime. Sure all of this stuff is great, and chances are if you use it correctly, it will be to your advantage in the woods. A few specific items that have taken over the industry are scent control clothing and accessories.

Read the entire post…

3| Field & Stream – Whitetail 365

Field and Stream Blog

Website: FieldandStream.com

Blog: FieldandStream.com/blogs/whitetail-365

Twitter: @FieldandStream

Field & Stream has long been one of my favorite hunting magazines. Recently I took a short vacation to Seattle and my reading material on the 3 hour flight was the latest Field & Stream that included articles on how to hunt the upcoming whitetail rut.

To complement their print magazine, Field & Stream has created one of the better hunting resource Websites available for hunters. They also have a successful email newsletter that provides weekly updates to their blog posts and photo galleries.

Let’s take a look at a few more details…

Blog

Scott Bestul is one of the best hunting writers on the Web. I particularly favor his blog because I’m a whitetail fanatic. Bestul provides regular commentary on all things related to whitetail hunting. He posts videos, photos, and interesting stories from all around the whitetail world.

Business

Field & Stream is one of the oldest outdoor magazines in the US. They’ve been around for so many years because they continually provide the best content. Hunters and anglers look for the best how-to resources and stories year-round to whet their appetites.

Field & Stream will continue their multi-channel success of subscriptions and sponsorships as long as they continue providing the best content for hunters and anglers. I have no doubt they will.

PS – They’ve also recently branched out into retail and manufacturing.

See Field & Stream Brand

My Favorite Post

Every Followed a Buck for Multiple Seasons?

For many of us, the day we kill a buck marks the very first time we’ve ever seen him. I have waged a few campaigns against individual deer that lasted the better part of one season, and were sometimes marked by multiple encounters.

Read the entire post…

4| Realtree – Blanton’s Blog

Blanton's Blog

Website: Realtree.com

Blog: Realtree.com/Blanton

David Blanton has been one of my favorite hunters to watch on TV over the years. I’ve enjoyed his honest approach to educating hunters, especially younger hunters, on the ways of the woods. He hasn’t always been the most accurate shot (I remember him missing nice bucks many times), but he’s always honest in his assessment of situations and it’s easy to get caught up in his passion for whitetails and other game.

Let’s take a look at his blog and the company he represents…

Blog

David Blanton writes about all of the things he does in his life that relate to hunting…and that’s quite a bit. He regularly posts, which is always nice for building faithful readers. Blanton includes a nice mix of video in his blogging, which provides a nice change of pace for visitors to his blog. The video is also one of his specialties from his many hunting videos. Blanton also adds a personal touch to his posts that allow readers to connect. This is a strong quality that some bloggers can miss.

Business

Realtree is a well-known business in the hunting industry. For many years the company has been a leader in providing the best camouflage apparel and accessories for hunters. I have owned many items that were cast in Realtree camo so as to hide me from wily bucks. By using blogs to complement their business along with their other social media activity, Realtree has been a leader in media on the Web and for this reason they continue to have one of the strongest followings and trusting client-base in the industry today.

My Favorite Post

His Last Turkey – In Honor of Kyle McFeely

During the first weekend of August I was working at the Cabela’s in Wheeling, WVA laughing and having and big time with a bunch of awesome hunters and thanking everyone for their support of Realtree. It was a great time and I was very honored to meet many wonderful people. But no one influenced me more than Steve and Sally McFeely of Grove City, PA.

Read the rest…

5| Peterson’s Bowhunting

Stuck in the Rut

Website: Peterson’s Bowhunting

Blog: Stuck in the Rut

Peterson’s is another hunting magazine that has been around for a long time. They continually provide some of the best how-to content for hunters of all kinds.

I’ve always favored bow hunting so I always seem to pick up the latest copy of Peterson’s Bowhunting each season. I usually look for info from the experts on how to get close to a big buck. Lots of the info included in the pages of Peterson’s has helped me actually have success over my hunting years.

Let’s take a look at a few details of their blog and business…

Blog

I like Stuck in the Rut for its focus on the content. There is not a lot of distractions as the blog uses lots of white space to offset the main stories, articles, and posts. For most blogs, the content should always be the most important element on the page and Peterson’s does a great job of this.

Beyond design, Stuck in the Rut provides great commentary, just like the print magazine and Website, for hunters looking to learn more about how to hunt. By continuing to fulfill the needs of hunters, Peterson’s has successfully moved into the blogging world from their reign over the print world.

Business

Peterson’s has long been a leader in the hunting magazine industry. With their move into Websites, blogs, and social media, they have successfully found a way to increase their subscriber base and sponsorship opportunity. Customers in the new economy are going to look for companies they can trust. Peterson’s has a strong trust built up with its followers and they can leverage this trust to entice quality companies to sponsor their online material for the benefit of customers.

My Favorite Post

Colorado P&Y Taken from the Ground

I over slept Sunday morning and was darn lucky that I didn’t get a speeding ticket on the way to my Eastern Colorado hunting area.  I like to be in my stand by nautical twilight (when the center of the sun is geometrically 12 degrees below the horizon and general outlines of ground objects begin to be distinguishable). Today though, the sun was rising as I franticly donned my gear on the tailgate of my truck.

Read the entire post…

6| Buckmasters

Buck Bloggers

Website: Buckmasters.com

Blog: Buck Bloggers

7| Deer and Deer Hunting

The Rub Line

Website: DeerandDeerHunting.com

Blog: The Rub Line

8| Realtree – T-Bone’s Blog

T Bone's Blog

Website: Realtree.com

Blog: Realtree.com/TBone

9| Schnee’s

Schnee's Blog

Website: Schnees.com

Blog: Schnee’s Blog

10| Native Hunt

Native Hunt Blog

Website: NativeHunt.com

Blog: NativeHuntBlog.com

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The Top Hunting Blogs Part 2

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Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

image credit: thelastminute

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

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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.

How to Choose a Hunting Business Directory

What do you want your potential clients to see?

Yellow Pages

image credit: How can I recycle this

Looking for an online hunting business directory is something each business owner or manager does when they’re looking for a way to market their business on the Web. One of the ways to grow your own audience is to pay to borrow the attention of someone else’s. For more see Grow Your Followers Like a Country Music Singer.

Online hunting directories are like the hard copy of the yellow page ad book you may still receive on your door step every year. However, most online hunting business directories offer much more quality exposure and branding for quite a bit less money than your average yellow page classified.

Finding the correct online hunting business directory is essential to increasing your exposure, traffic, and sales. Let’s take a look at ways you can ensure you choose the right directory listing for your business…

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The Basics

Every site should have some basic features that make it stand out and catch the eye of the hunters who are visiting the site for information on hunting businesses. The authority of the directory rests solely in the hands of its visitors. The great thing about the Web is that the people ultimately decide the Websites that are most important.

Follow hunters on the Web and you’ll find the best hunting directories for your business. Here are a few things to help you follow the hunters on the Web…

Size of the Directory’s Audience

The reason you’re looking for an online hunting business directory is to expand your audience and increase your quality customers. One of the things you want is the opportunity to expand your business brand to the largest and most relevant audience on the Web. (More on relevancy in the next section).

There is a simple way to determine the size of the audiences on the hunting directories you’re researching.

Let’s take a look at the popular term ‘hunting outfitter’. A quick trip over to use the Google Keyword Tool gives some info into the traffic and competition for the term.

Hunting Outfitter Keyword Research

As you can see, it’s a popular term. So the sites that rank high for this term should have some quality traffic they pass to the businesses who list in their directories.

After doing a quick Google search for ‘hunting outfitter’ I saw these results (your results may vary slightly – Google personalizes your results):

Hunting Outfitter Google Results

Now, you can visit Compete.com and compare the unique visitors to the top few sites.

It seems that HuntingNet is in a league of its own yet the site specializes in many more things than just being the best directory. It’s good to have lots of traffic yet it can also be good to find a directory that specializes only in converting sales for outfitters in its listings, which may include having fewer features in order to focus on the directory. It’s a trade off and it’s something to consider for your business.

Target Market

Another consideration when choosing your hunting business directory is your target market the audience of each particular directory. You want the audience of the directory to match yours as closely as possible so the traffic your listing drives will have a high likelihood of converting to an eventual sale.

One tool you can use is Quantcast. As you can see here on the profile for HuntingOutfitters.com, since the data and traffic for the site are relatively small, Quantcast provides estimates of relevant audience information.

HuntingOutfitters.com Demographics

For sites with a slightly larger audience and traffic there is more information on visitors. Use tools such as Quantcast to verify that the audience you’re chasing is in tune with the audience and customer you’re targeting.

Design and Functionality

Something that can often overlooked when considering choosing a directory to list your hunting business is look, feel and ease of functionality.

How do you want your business and brand to appear to first time viewers? As you expand your Web presence to new audiences, the directories you list your business on will be partly considered by the hunter who is searching for a quality hunting business.

Make sure the look, feel, and ease of functionality are in tune with your business brand.

The Directory’s Own Success

Earlier we looked at the search engine result page (SERP) for the keyword ‘hunting outfitter’. The directories that were listed near the top are the directories that Google found most relevant for the search term.

Consider the relevance and authority of the directories you are looking to list your business with. Think about a few of the keywords your potential clients will search for when looking for directories to find your business and see what directories Google and its clients (most Web users) find relevant.

Essential Features Only

I’m a big fan of sites that are simple with a lack of features beyond those that are most valuable. One of my favorite sites is Zen Habits. Very simple, effective, and valuable.

In the following video, Kevin Rose, founder of Digg discusses some of the things that he finds essential for attracting large audiences on the Web. One of the points he discusses is that when he was growing Digg he would test features and listen and watch users’ reactions. He would then determine what features were actually beneficial and what features should be removed. He didn’t fall in love with features and he was willing to let go. He kept it simple.

Taking your Site from One to One Million Users by Kevin Rose from Carsonified on Vimeo.

In this talk from FOWA London (http://bit.ly/fowa-london-09) Kevin shares the secrets to digg.com and wefollow.com explosive user growth. He covers nine unique strategies that turn passive users into passionate advocates.

You’ll learn:

1. How to encourage users to tweet about your app

2. The concept of “The Circle of Life” in web apps and how it affects you

3. Growing your userbase: What worked and what didn’t for digg, WeFollow and Pownce

4. And more …

Look for hunting business directories that keep things simple and focus only on features that are beneficial for converting sales for your business.

Scalable

Some directories offer features that allow hunting businesses to create their own Web page within the directory. Some of the directories offer varying levels of interaction with their site. These levels may range from a simple text link to your actual Website to a full-blown Web page with photo galleries, contact forms, coupons, etc.

Depending on how far into your Web presence initiative you are, you may want to look for a directory that offers some options that allow you to scale your involvement with them. For example, you may want to only list your basic description, contact information and logo in the initial listing. This way you can test out the directory for minimal monetary investment. If the initial investment proves profitable, you can work with the directory to scale your involvement to potentially increase your exposure on their site and with their audience including their search traffic.

Most directories will work with you to make sure they create the best package for your specific business.

Summary

Choosing a hunting business directory is one of the first places hunting businesses look when they want to expand their Web presence. It’s a smart place to look as expanding into other established audiences is vital to growing your business.

Look for the basics when doing your due diligence before you start inquiring about the specific services a directory can offer your business. Use the available free tools to determine the amount and quality of traffic each directory has and make sure you give your business and the directory listing the best chance for success.

Look for a directory that focuses only on the features that are essential for converting sales for you. Don’t let yourself get caught up in features that may be useless and potentially distracting when it comes to getting customers to contact you eager to purchase your services and products.

Lastly, look for directories that offer ways for you to try out their services in a way that has little risk of monetary investment on your end. Look for directories that offer opportunities to scale your involvement.

Find the right directory can mean quality sales for your hunting business. Doing a little bit of research today can mean more money in your pocket with more sales and less expense tomorrow. Take some time to do the research and you’ll appreciate the work later when you’re bringing in more business on the Web.

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