State of the Hunting Industry Report | February 2010

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Edition 4           A Publication of Hunting Business Marketing        February 2010

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

Introduction

Image courtesy of Alex E. Proimos

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Economic Trends

Watchdog: Bailouts created more risk in system

From Associate Press (Jan 2010):

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

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

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

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

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

Impact on your business

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

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

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

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

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

Americans Leery of Too Much Gov’t Regulation of Business

From Gallup (Feb 2010):

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

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

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

Impact on your business

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

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

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

Americans Agree: Quality Jobs Remain Hard to Find

From Gallup (Jan 2010):

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

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

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

Impact on your business

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

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

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

Gallup Economic Weekly: Self-Reported Spending Declines

From Gallup (Jan 2010):

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

Impact on your business

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

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

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

Industry News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Impact on your business

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

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

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

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

Online Trends

What Can SEO-Savvy Blogs Do For You?

From Fathom SEO (Feb 2010):

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

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

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

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

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

Impact on your business

Connecting is an important step for businesses today.

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

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

Conclusions

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

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

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

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Hunting Business Marketing

How Will Your Customers Discover You?

The underserved rarely speak up – they usually just leave

Guitar

Today I was driving in my pickup when a Taylor Swift song came on. I hit my preset button to change to another local country station and another Taylor Swift song came on. I hit one more preset, this time for local pop station, and yet another Taylor Swift song came on. I finally had to turn on the CD I had in the player (Diamond Rio – 16 Biggest Hits).

Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift

Now, I happen to respect Taylor Swift as a singer and songwriter. As a marketer, I can appreciate the work she puts into not only creating songs that her audience loves, but also the work she puts into marketing her brand so that she can grow a large audience.

However, as a young male, I can’t particularly relate to the topics Taylor Swift sings about. Nor do I relate to the melodies she writes.

Who is serving me today in country music?

Uninterested Customers Change the Channel

Your customers are out in the world right now not even realizing that you exist.

When people are listening to the radio and they consistently hear music they simply don’t like they will just change the channel.  People won’t complain or make a fuss. They simply change the channel in an effort to find something that satisfies their desires to feel emotions – to connect with singers, lyrics, and melodies.

Just as people change the channel on the radio, your potential customers are searching for the right way to connect with a business such as yours so they can answer their questions and have their problems solved. They may not even know that they’re looking. We don’t give much thought to what we’re doing when we change the channel. Often we look for certain stations that have played some quality music in the past, but we rely on the disc jockeys to bring us new music that will satisfy us.

Who are the disc jockeys that can take your story to your customers?

Marketing is the art of connecting your business with the customers who don’t even realize that you exist. All great markets have a knack for finding target customers, but there is also an area of marketing that requires the art of discovery.

Discovery

Some of the biggest jockeys in charge of spreading the word about quality businesses on the Web are bloggers.

Bloggers are a business’s most valuable resource for spreading the word on the Web. Bloggers have audiences that rely on them to bring quality information and perspective consistently. Over time, bloggers build their loyal audience and look for sources of consistent information and content to provide that audience.

Businesses that come forward with fresh perspective that adds value to a blogger’s audience is an extremely valuable resource.

It’s important for businesses to seek out the influential bloggers in their niches as well as in niches where they may not expect to find their target customer.

Many businesses today are discovered in blog posts as bloggers review products and services and give trusted information to their audiences. People read blogs to learn and to be entertained, but most importantly, people read blogs as a way to discover something that satisfies their needs – needs they may have not even known they needed satisfied.

Bloggers are like disc jockeys in a way because they are trusted by their audience to bring new and exciting content that satisfies needs. Bloggers are important for businesses and customers alike.

Find the bloggers that are influential both in your niche and in related niches and allow them to tell your story. Give them all the resources they need to effectively allow their audience to discover and connect with your business.

Summary

The other day I heard a song on the radio that caught my ear.

I was on my way to work, riding in my pickup when a smooth country song with a sweet, rolling melody came across the radio waves. I’m a Little More Country Than That was the name of the song and it instantly made me wonder who the singer was.

I found out that the song was by Easton Corbin. He’s a newcomer in the country music world. He has smoothness in his delivery that I haven’t heard since George Strait (one of my all time favorite singers).

Without the discovery nature of radio today I may have never heard I’m a Little More Country Than That.

Easton Corbin
Easton Corbin

Marketing is about making connections with others in the world. The goal of any business is to take its products and services to those who need or want them. It can be difficult to find your customers and while targeting continues to improve, discovery will always play a huge role in the nature of connecting business with customer.

I don’t fit Taylor Swift’s target audience, but because the radio station played a variety of good country music along with hers I was able to discover Easton Corbin.

It can be difficult to find people that want and need your products and services. Take your story to the voices in the industry and allow them to take your story to those who can discover you and become your customers.

Easton Corbin – I’m a Little More Country Than That


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Image courtesy of Wouter de Bruijin

2010 | The New Normal Hunting Economy

Spending habits have changed – how will it affect your business?

Gears

The past 18 months (2008-2009) has yielded a steep drop in consumer spending.

Gallup is one of the best resources on the state of business in the United States and they recently released a report on the spending habits of consumers in the US:

Upper-Income Spending Reverts to New Normal

Please read entire article. It’s well worth the 5 minutes…

Consumer Spending by Income 2008-2009

In a sign that the new normal in consumer spending continues unabated, upper-income Americans’ self-reported average daily spending in stores, restaurants, gas stations, and online fell 14% in November, reverting to its relatively tight ($107 to $121) pre-October 2009 average monthly range. Middle- and lower-income consumer discretionary spending increased by 7% last month but remained in its tight 2009 average monthly range of $52 to $61. Still, consumer spending by both income groups continues to trail year-ago levels by 20%, even as those comparables have gotten easier to match — possibly dashing hopes that upscale retailers and big-ticket-item sales will do better this year.

Fall 2008 was a difficult season for businesses that became depending on the level of spending (including credit spending) taking place in the bubble economy of 2002-2007. All of 2009 hasn’t been much better and Fall 2009 seems to have been flat or below 2008.

Looking ahead to 2010, there are signs of a flattening or worsening economy and the impact this may have on the hunting industry may be great. There is a potential threat of increasing license fees and taxes on hunting related items as many states scramble to make up for lost income revenue. Consumers are also cutting back their spending to pay down debt and save for an uncertain future.

That isn’t to say there is nothing you can’t do to prepare for your own prosperous 2010.

Let’s take a deeper look at the new normal economy for 2010, the impact it will have on your business and the hunting industry, and things you can do now to position yourself for success…

The New Normal Hunting Economy

The current state of the US economy has two realities:

1| 2002-2007 was a false boom economy where business and spending took place that wouldn’t have occurred in a normal market

2| 2009 and beyond will see consumers saving the money they are still able to earn while using it to pay off debt they incurred in 2002-2007 and/or to save for an uncertain future

For hunting businesses, money is tight for individuals and for businesses that have seemingly had money to spend on what may have been nice-to-have activities such as hunting in the past 5-6 years. In 2009, consumers cut back on their discretionary spending including items that may include guided hunting trips, a new bow, or a new camo suit. Some of these items have lost their appeal as customers became uncomfortable with their debt situation, especially as it related to the deflating of the housing and building sector.

While 2008 and 2009 were difficult for the hunting industry, there is hope for companies that are willing to take a step back, look for an understanding of the new normal hunting economy, and take action to provide targeted hunting customers with valuable products and services as they continue to pursue their passions in the outdoors.

5 Things You Can Do in 2010

2010 appears to bring a year of uncertainty for businesses as they try to figure out the best way to serve the needs and wants of consumers in the new normal economy. It’s often said that the more consumers save and pay down debt the worse the economy will be. While this may be true for the short-term, it’s best for the economy as a whole and for individual businesses if consumers pay down debt and save for long-term prosperity.

In 2010, consumers will still look to spend on leisure, especially for the things they value most as enjoyment. Hunters that are extremely passionate about hunting and the outdoors will still spend their hard-earned money on trips, gear, and knowledge.

The key to the new normal economy is for businesses to understand that the most passionate customers will be the ones spending their money and they will want the highest quality product and service that serves their hunting needs in the long-term.

1| Reassess Costs

After a false boom period like there was in the US economy from 2002-2007, it’s best to use the correction period to reassess investments made during the boom and make sure that investment is going to true growth areas of the business rather than into areas of false growth.

Like a local business that sees false growth when the circus comes to town, businesses today have to understand that there was a lot of demand in the economy (2002-2007) that was based on an abnormal appetite for debt. As this appetite for debt restructures, businesses need to assess costs and determine where to invest and divest.

2| Analyze Existing Customers

Along with assessing current costs comes the importance of analyzing where your company’s most passionate demand originates.

Some customers you may have acquired during years past may have been your customers due only to false demand for your products and services.

However, you also likely acquired some customers who are extremely passionate about you, your business, and the products and services you provide. It’s these customers that you will want to focus your attention on in 2010.

What will best serve your most passionate customers?

How do you acquire more passionate customers in 2010?

3| Improve Customers-Business Connection

After determining your most passionate customers it’s time to work on improving the connection you and your business have with that customer.

Today there are many ways to increase the value in the connection you have with your passionate customer. These ways include long-term strategies such as email newsletters, blogging, video, and sharing information that improves the value of the product and service you provide your customer.

Improving the value of the customer-business connection is a long-term process with little things you can do each day to work toward a successful customer connection strategy.

What are you doing today that will grow your connection over time with your passionate customers?

4| Improve Your Weaknesses/Improve Your Strengths

As mentioned above, a correction is the perfect time for you to assess your costs, customers and ultimately your strengths and weaknesses.

Now is the time to improve on your weaknesses and on your strengths so you can best compete for your most passionate customers. As is evident today, consumers are pickier with their decisions. To retain your most passionate customers and to acquire new customers you’re going to have to improve the areas of your businesses that are behind your competitors as well as on the areas you excel. This will ensure that you stay ahead of the competition and provide the most value for passionate customers.

5| Expand

After all the assessing and reassessing of your company and customer is in place, it’s time to look for areas of opportunity to expand.

A business that is growing is succeeding and companies that remain complacent with their current state of affairs will soon be left in the dust as competitors expand and improve their products and services.

Where are areas that you can expand?

Are there products you can offer that allow you to use your current set of expertise to provide value to your passionate customers?

Summary

Successful hunting businesses will have no problem adjusting to the new normal hunting economy. In periods of correction the businesses that best provide quality and customer service will survive as consumers reassess their spending and look for quality in all they work for.

Periods of correction in a productive and consumer economy are exactly that – a correction. As consumers correct their saving and spending habits, businesses must do the same and assess priorities as it relates to offering the most value to consumers.

In 2010, the best strategy for businesses will be to focus on the needs of their most passionate customers. Providing the most value through products and services will ensure lasting connections that will lead to long-term satisfaction for the customer and profit for the business.

What has your company been doing to prepare for the new normal hunting economy?

What have you been doing to prepare for 2010?

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Note: State of the Hunting Industry Reports are available to all HBM Members

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Image courtesy of ralphbijker

State of the Hunting Industry Report | December 2009

[private_member]MEMBERS – Please view in .pdf form – State of the Hunting Industry | December 2009 [/private_member]

Understand how the state of the economy is affecting the hunting industry

Edition 2          A Publication of Hunting Business Marketing           December 2009

Opportunities for companies expanding focus on the Web

Housing

Image courtesy of woodleywonderworks

Introduction

The holiday season is important for the US economy. Each holiday season brings families out to retail and online stores to spend the money they have saved on items for their family and friends.

When it comes to hunters, places like Gander Mountain, LL Bean, Orvis, and of course Cabela’s are favorites. Friends and families of hunters frequent these stores looking for the perfect gifts for their beloved hunters.

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The holiday season usually falls right in the middle to end of the fall hunting season so hunters’ appetites are whet for the latest gear for their hunting adventures. This makes it easy to know exactly what equipment will be needed for next season’s hunt. Hunters are in the prime of their fall hunting season so they know what is making them struggle and they know what gear they’ll need to better their chances next season.

Hunting businesses depend on the holiday demand season for much of their sales each year. Businesses, large and small, depend on the year-round saving and holiday spending to provide the sales and cash that hold them over until the late summer and following holiday season.

With Holiday 2008 being an extremely frugal one for families, hunting businesses struggled and some had to cease operations as cash ran out.

As you can expect, the 2009 holiday season is extremely competitive for all hunting businesses as they struggle for the attention of hunters and their loved ones. The struggle to gain attention, trust, and eventually sales forces margins to come down in an effort to tilt hunting customers in favor of purchasing gear and services.

With the deflation of the US Credit and Debt Economy (2001-2008), there is now a more frugal aspect to deal with for hunting businesses. The businesses that have been able to survive to the 2009 holiday season will continue to have to fight for every sale and every hard-earned dollar that the American Hunting Consumer is willing to spend.

The new reality of the hunting economy is a frugal consumer that does more research on products, equipment, gear, outfitting services, etc. as they want to get the most return for their dollars.

Successful hunting businesses will want to focus on every detail of the purchasing cycle while working to establishing trust with consumers as an individual level.

The Web will play a crucial role in building trust with consumers as communication barriers are broken down and business leaders can interact and help consumers with their problems and questions on an individual level. Use the Web and its technologies throughout 2010 to begin building trust for the 2010 Holiday Season.

Economic Trends

Lack of Money/Wages Top Family Financial Problem in U.S.

From Gallup (Nov. 2009):

When asked in an open-ended question to name the most important financial problem facing their families today, one in six Americans (17%) say low wages and a lack of money. Healthcare costs are next, at 14%. While the mentions of healthcare might be attributed to its prominence in the news, the issue of low wages may reflect another aspect of the job crisis in America today.

Read the entire article Lack of Money/Wages Top Family Financial Problems in U.S.

Impact on your business

With consumers having little confidence in their income, there is a realigning of priorities with any disposable income. Today, consumers are using the extra money they have to pay off debt from the Deb and Credit Economy days of 2001-2008 and to save for future rainy days.

The best thing for business owners to do is recognize the new frugal reality in the American Economy and foster to the needs of the mindset of consumers.

Starting a blog right now is a great way to begin building the trust with your consumers heading into 2010. Do a little research on keywords and interests in your particular niche in the hunting industry and begin building trust with your customers.


Economic Indicators

Christmas Shopping Forecast Reverts to Record 2008 Lows

From Gallup (Nov. 2009):

Americans’ estimate of the total amount they will spend on Christmas gifts this year has fallen precipitously over the past month, sending the figure back to last year’s record lows. Americans’ average Christmas spending prediction is now $638. This nearly matches the $616 recorded in November 2008, amid one of the worst holiday retail seasons in recent memory.

Read the entire article Christmas Spending Forecast Reverts to Record 2008 Lows

Impact on your business

The Gallup poll represents the changing US consumer economy as families are spending less this year and in coming years on gifts for loved ones over the holiday season.

Businesses can also expect that people will spend their money with more thought and consideration as they do their due diligence to make sure the gifts they are buying with their money provide the most joy and return for the gift recipients.

Address this extra due diligence by providing your customers with the knowledge they need in order to feel like they are making the best purchase this holiday season and into 2010. Blogs, videos, and guest articles discussing products and doing product reviews are great ways to build a trust and comfort with consumers that will allow them to feel like your business in the place where they can expect quality and good return.

Hunting Industry News

Hunt for the Hungry grapples with tough economy, declining deer harvest

From Post Crescent (Nov. 2009):

With the number of families seeking help from food pantries in times of a poor economy and high unemployment, the 10th anniversary of the Hunt for the Hungry takes on even more significance, organizers said.

The increased need for the food pantries also comes at a time when the state Department of Natural Resources said the deer harvest from the opening weekend of the gun season was down 25 percent from last year.

Monica Clare, director of operations for St. Joseph Food Program in Menasha, said her pantry got about 900 pounds of ground venison from the program last year, enough to give nearly each of the 1,000 families a week served by the pantry a pound of meat.

That’s an important commodity because otherwise the pantry gives meat to clients only once a month, she said.

“We don’t get very much donated meat anymore,” although one donor does give the pantry turkeys to distribute at Thanksgiving, she said.

Read the entire article Hunt for the Hungry grapples with tough economy, declining deer harvest

Impact on your business

One of the difficult things about the new frugality in the US economy is that consumers and businesses need to cut back on their charitable giving to account for themselves. It’s not that businesses and individuals do not want to help others; it’s just that when things get tight some difficult expense cuts need to be made.

If it’s possible, continue donation your time and money to quality charities and conservation organizations. As mentioned above, in the new consumer economy people are looking to build trust with companies. A great way to establish this trust is to show that you and your business care about others by cutting back in other areas while still providing support for quality causes.

Giving back to charity and other causes may not have immediate return toward your bottom line, but the impact is seen in the long-run as trust is established with consumers who become long-term customers.

Hunting season a bonanza for many area businesses

From the Marietta Times (Nov. 2009):

You can buy anything from camoflauged gloves to pink guns at the Southeastern Trading Post in Waterford.

“We have four daughters, so we sell some pink shotguns and rifles that are designed to help get girls interested in hunting,” explained trading post owner Ted Offenberger who opened the store three years ago.

“Business is up this year, and we’ve been busy since before bow season began in September,” he said. “We expanded our inventory and sold a lot more bows this year than last. But we’re also expanding our gun inventory a little.”

Read the entire article Hunting season a bonanza for many area businesses

Impact on your hunting business

An example of a way businesses have been able to adapt to the new consumer economy is to do research and expand product and service offerings.

Consumers will still spend their money on things they need and things they want, but they’ll want to spend it with companies they trust. If you can establish a trusting relationship with your customers you’ll be able to expand into new products and services and grow in the new economic environment.
Hunting Industry Trends

New Year and New Websites for Hunting Businesses

Something to look for heading into the New Year is for businesses to begin making changes to their storefront or to their Website as they look for ways to make the relationship with their customers more valuable. Even simple changes to design and functionality can make for added value to your customer as they become more trusting of your business.

Please see 50 Best Hunting Website Designs for examples of quality hunting Website design.

Conclusions

The state of the new hunting industry centers on trust as consumers are looking for companies that are truthful in their marketing and effective with their products and services. Businesses that focus on ways to build a long-term trusting relationship with customers on an individual level will not only find success, but will find opportunities to grow and expand.

Copyright Notice

This publication is NOT copyrighted by Hunting Business Marketing. All contents are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States. Please share the contents of this report via any channel you prefer with any hunting businesses owners you know who would benefit from receiving a copy. Please provide attribution to Hunting Business Marketing.

Thank you for your support!

Subscriptions and Enquiries
Hunting Business Marketing
Email: dayneshuda@gmail.com
Website: www.huntingbusinessmarketing.com

DISCLAIMER: The information, tools and material presented herein are provided for informational purposes only and are not to be used or considered as an offer or a solicitation to sell or an offer or solicitation to buy or subscribe for securities, investment products or other financial instruments, nor to constitute any advice or recommendation with respect to such securities, investment products or other financial instruments. This research report is prepared for general circulation. It does not have regard to the specific investment objectives, financial situation and the particular needs of any specific person who may receive this report. You should independently evaluate particular business decisions before making any moves or changes in relation to any content mentioned in this report. [/private_member]

Purchase Now | $10

Add to Cart

December 2009 Edition $10

Created by Dayne Shuda

Hunting Business Marketing

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?

State of the Hunting Industry Report | November 2009

[private_member]MEMBERS – Please view in .pdf form – State of the Hunting Industry | November 2009 [/private_member]

Understand how the state of the economy is affecting the hunting industry

Edition 1           A Publication of Hunting Business Marketing        November 2009

Opportunities for companies expanding focus on the Web

Elk Mount

image credit: blhphotography

Introduction

The past 12+ months have been difficult for the entire world economy including businesses in the hunting industry. Hunting business owners have seen decreases in revenue and profit across the board and many have had to cut their staff or go out of business completely.

As companies have cut back on their discretionary spending, outfitters have seen their rate of corporate bookings drop dramatically from just a couple seasons ago. Like corporations, individual hunters have cut back on their discretionary spending. This has meant that a hunter may have passed on purchasing a new bow or a new tree stand this year in favor of saving money to pay off debt or to save for another rainy day.

[private_member]

Times have been tough as consumers retrench and get their spending in line with a more sustainable economy. Hunting businesses have had to admit to this change in consumer mindset.

But while sales have been difficult to come by over the past year, there are opportunities for companies that are determined to expand their focus on the Web.

The businesses that have been able to weather the drop in spending are looking for ways to expand their customer base by focusing on what hunter want and need to fulfill their passions. Quality hunting businesses will always have the benefit of providing products and experiences that play into the passions of hunters. While a hunter may cut back on spending on big spending items, they may look for new parts so they can fix up their major hunting equipment.

Also, there is opportunity for quality hunting businesses to step into vacant spots left by businesses that have gone by the wayside. Hunters will still look for companies they can trust to provide for them. A business that can successfully move into new product and service offerings can expand their own business while the overall economy flattens.

Part of the opportunity for hunting businesses lies with online marketing – businesses that are able to successfully find ways to connect with consumers through online contact methods will find that they are able to build a trust that will provide long-term customers.

Is your business looking to expand its focus on the Web? If you’re not, your competitors probably are and they’ll be there to scoop up the void left by struggling businesses.

The Web

The Web is the opportunity is for businesses expand. Businesses that seem to have weathered the economic downfall the best in the past 12+ months seem to be the companies that build trust with their customers.

Connection channels such as blogs, forums, contests, video, photo galleries, and other forms of connection with customers are ways successful companies have been able to maintain their loyal customers while other businesses have lost their sales due to lack of commitment to their customers.

What is your business doing online today that will create trust between you and your customers that will lead to growth in the future?

A Look Forward

Let’s look at a few economic articles and see how the happenings today will affect your business tomorrow…

Economic Trends

Upper-Income Consumers Pull Back Their Spending

From Gallup (Sept. 18, 2009):

Despite a $2 trillion increase in U.S. household wealth last quarter, upper-income Americans’ self-reported average daily spending in stores, restaurants, gas stations, and online is down 37% in the first half of September from September of a year ago. This decline — which is worse than the 28% decline in spending among middle- and lower-income Americans, and is worse than the August upper-income decline — is not good news, especially for upscale retailers and big-ticket-item sales.

Consumer Spending Sept. 2009

Continue reading the full article Upper-Income Consumers Pull Back Their Spending

Impact on your business

With many outfitting customers being upper-income consumers as well as upper-income businesses who purchase group outfitting packages, the fact that this group of individuals are not spending more this fall hunting season may prove for a difficult sales season for hunting businesses.

The importance of creating trusting relationships with your customers is even more important during slower economic times as customers put more focus on their overall spending. Customers will look to do business with companies who offer trust along with quality products and services.

Today might be an opportunity to work on providing an email newsletter campaign that keeps you in touch with your customers on a regular basis. Include things like related articles written by your team, new photos from this season’s hunts, etc. Try doing things that let your customers know you care about them and their spending money.

Economic Indicators

Americans See Little Hope of Finding a Quality Job

From Gallup (Oct. 2009):

Gallup finds 10% of Americans feeling that now is a “good time” to find a quality job, reflecting no improvement since February, and less than the 33% who held similar views as the recession began in January 2008 and the 14% recorded as the financial crisis hit the economy in full force last October.

Finding a Job

Read the entire article Americans See Little Hope of Finding a Quality Job

Impact on your business

Jobs drive savings in any economy and savings drive spending.

If your company depends on hunters spending having and spending discretionary income then unemployment is a key economic indicator for your business growth in the future. Watch the unemployment rate and look for news articles that indicate that companies continue to cut back and not hire or for any reverses in the current employment trends. This will be a good indicator for your corporate and individual consumer growth.

But as with anything, there are advantages available for those who are observant…

For an interesting trend please read Consumers Spend More on Weekends, Payday Weeks

Hunting Industry News

Direct Strong For Cabela’s Despite Cutbacks (Web traffic up 14.9%)

From Direct Magazine (Oct. 2009):

Cabela’s Inc., generated $624.3 million in revenue during its most recent third quarter, up from $611.8 million a year ago. The company’s net income jumped from $9.7 million to $18.8 million between the quarters. The most recent quarter ended Sept. 26.

During an earnings call, CEO Tommy Millner said the company would not be as aggressive in reducing catalog pages as it was in 2009. But it is going to continue to shift spending from paper catalogs to electronic channels. Traffic to the company’s Web site jumped 14.9%, Millner said, and he does not anticipate this slacking anytime soon.

Continue reading Direct Strong For Cabela’s Despite Cutbacks

Impact on your business

Cabela’s has long been one of the best run companies in the hunting industry. They provide quality products and services to hunters and those hunters continue to use their discretionary income to make hunting-related purchases from Cabela’s because Cabela’s has built up a trust.

Over the past year it seems that Cabela’s has reorganized its business for the future of consumer spending, which will see consumers reorganizing their own spending habits. As consumers begin to save again, they’ll only use financial services for big purchases from companies they trust (Cabela’s). These customers will also spend wisely on products of high quality that will last longer rather than looking for the lowest cost, lowest quality, and lowest lifetime.

The future will be about quality. The companies that provide quality products and services through trusting connections with consumers will thrive in the new hunting industry paradigm.

Hunting Industry Trends

Will the Economy Hurt Whitetail Deer Hunting This Year?

From HuntsWhitetail.com (2009):

There’s one very big money-saving benefit to hunting whitetail deer, though.

Spending too much on food these days? The whitetail deer hunting season might be just the solution you’re looking for. Deer is a great addition to the diet and is healthy and tasty.

The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department isn’t sure, but Randy Curtis did tell Fox44.net that “more people may hunt this fall to save money on groceries.”

Sure, saving money on our families’ food probably isn’t the primary reason we hunt, but if it gives us another reason to get out in the fields this year and bag ourselves a nice deer, I’ll take it.

Continue reading the full article Will the Economy Hurt Whitetail Deer Hunting This Year?

Impact on your business

While hunters may look to the woods for food during the economic downturn, hunting is still an expensive passion. The article above does a great job of exploring both sides of the argument. Hunters who have lost their jobs as unemployment continues to rise will have to cut back in some places in order to get by with only what they need and a little bit of what they love.

Where will hunting fall in the list of priorities for your customers?

Notes from Kevin Paulson of Hunting Life (2009):

“I think the state of the Hunting Industry has been filled with a year of ups and downs right along with the economy.  This has been a year of strong cut backs for many hunters who just have not had the money to spend.  Those hunters are still hunting but they are hunting much closer to home for the most part. Outfitters and lodges have seen a dramatic drop in the number of calls coming from new hunters.”

“Dedicated hunters are still pursuing their passions of hunting and conservation. Corporate bookings are almost non-existent this year, but there are still companies offering them to select customers.”

“Most hunters this year have kept to purchases that are essential versus the wants that most hunters have.  This year I kept my bow instead of upgrading and spent a few extra dollars for really nice arrows.  As well this year, I have worked with a lot of individual companies purchasing items direct versus using the big box stores because I knew I was helping out a small manufacturer versus big business.”

For more from Kevin Paulson and Hunting Life check out Twitter @HuntingLife and Facebook.

Conclusions

Times are tough in the hunting industry, but there is always opportunity. (For one last story on opportunity, see Surrounded by Job Losses, Montana’s Firearms Industry Thrives).

Unemployment will likely remain flat or even continue falling as companies cut back to remain profitable. Until something comes up in the future that will drive jobs again, consumer spending will remain at reasonable levels. It’s unlikely we’ll see the outrageous consumer spending of 2002-2007 every again.

While these boom times are gone, there is still great opportunity for hunting businesses to expand and grow.

Consumers, including hunters, are going to look for companies they can trust to provide the best quality products and services. While consumers will remain cost-conscious with their spending, they’ll be more long-term focused, which means that spending a little more today is all right as long as the product or service is the most beneficial option for the long-term.

There is also great opportunity for hunting businesses on the Web.

Customers are looking for the businesses that are willing to reach out and connect on a meaningful and valuable level and the place they’re looking is online. Start a blog, become active in online communities and on your own Website. Engage your customers and look to provide value to their hunting passion.

The companies that provide long-term value for customers will find success in the future hunting industry.

Copyright Notice

This publication is NOT copyrighted by Hunting Business Marketing. All contents are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States. Please share the contents of this report via any channel you prefer with any hunting businesses owners you know who would benefit from receiving a copy. Please provide attribution to Hunting Business Marketing.

Thank you for your support!

Subscriptions and Enquiries
Hunting Business Marketing
Email: dayneshuda@gmail.com
Website: www.huntingbusinessmarketing.com

DISCLAIMER: The information, tools and material presented herein are provided for informational purposes only and are not to be used or considered as an offer or a solicitation to sell or an offer or solicitation to buy or subscribe for securities, investment products or other financial instruments, nor to constitute any advice or recommendation with respect to such securities, investment products or other financial instruments. This research report is prepared for general circulation. It does not have regard to the specific investment objectives, financial situation and the particular needs of any specific person who may receive this report. You should independently evaluate particular business decisions before making any moves or changes in relation to any content mentioned in this report. [/private_member]

Purchase Now | $10

Add to Cart

November 2009 Edition $10

Created by Dayne Shuda

Hunting Business Marketing

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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Opportunity for Hunting Product Manufacturers

Can a Trend in Home Furnishing Mean Opportunity for the Hunting Industry?

Multi-Generational

image credit: Roy Montgomery

An article on a recent trend in the home furnishings industry sparked some thought on a potential opportunity for manufacturing companies in the hunting industry.

Even in today’s difficult economic times there seem to be opportunities for entrepreneurs to expand their product and service offerings to fulfill the needs of audiences throughout the US and the World – this includes businesses like yours in the hunting industry.

If you read the news or if you know someone in a business or profession involved with the housing industry you know that that particular sector of the economy has been struggling of late compared to the prior five years or so. Whatever the reason for collapse in demand for housing in the US (and we all have our arguments about the US economic collapse), it’s generally understood that opportunity for growth as a housing industry business is not looking good.

However, the article I read today proved that there is always opportunity where most see demise.

Let’s take a closer look at that article and discuss a potential opportunity for your business…

[private_member]

Trend in Home Furnishings

The article I read was:

Multi-Generational Design The Hot Trend at home.

Multi-generational design is one of today’s fastest growing trends in the housing industry. As more and more people understand the benefits that smart planning affords to those of all age groups and abilities, a demand is being generated for products that combine style, safety, beauty and comfort with practicality and versatility. In fact, it’s what good, smart design should be.

Please read the entire article. It is a quick read and is well worth it.

What I liked most about the article was its positive outlook as the author described a genuine opportunity for home industry businesses to capture a growing trend. It’s always important to look past the difficult news put in front of us each day and sees the opportunity to provide quality products and services for customers willing to pay a fair price for things they need to improve their lives whether it’s through necessity, escape, or other enjoyment.

Just because the housing market may never again reach the peaks of 2003-2005 in the US it doesn’t mean there aren’t opportunities for businesses in the housing industry.

The article mentioned above looks into the growing trend of multi-generational homes and the article looks specifically at the potential for companies to design products that are not only beautiful, but functional for extended families and households.

One example of a product the article mentions as being functional for family members of all ages includes simple and elegantly designed hand-held shower heads. This product makes it easier for people to clean their body while also making it easier to clean hair.

It’s important to remember that just because the paradigm that the US consumer was used to in the past may be changing, but it’s not always a negative situation. Changing times always provide opportunities for innovators to create products to fill new voids and needs in any marketing.

And there may be a new opportunity in the hunting industry as well.

Opportunity for Hunting Product Manufacturers

After reading this article about making products for the home that are functional for customers of all ages I thought about a few products in the hunting industry.

Specifically I was thinking about tree stands (because I have just put a few up this year for some bow hunting). Each year I struggle to put up my hang-on stands so I can get close to some nice whitetail deer. The stands I use are heavy and difficult to hoist up to the spot on the tree I see fit for hunting. I use hang-on stands and hang-on ladder steps that have straps that go around the tree and cinch. Each time I move a stand or put one up each fall I end up being exhausted from all of the work that goes into the process. Not to mention the fact that I have to do some tightrope-worthy work to get the stand up to the spot on the tree.

It’s a little dangerous and while I consider myself to be in good shape, I believe the process is too difficult and I’m sure others feel the same way.

There has to be a better way to accommodate tree stands so hunters can get keep the mobility of a hang-on tree stand while being able to easily hang and take down the stand.

Would it be possible to create a tree stand that was easy for hunters of all generations (child, parent, grandparent, man, or woman) to hang and take down each time they wanted to increase their chances of hunting a trophy?

Is there a way to create a tree stand that used a pulley system where the hunter could connect a smaller piece to the tree, climb back to the ground, and use a pulley system to pull the hang-on stand into place?

After doing a quick search, I found this video from Pine Ridge Archery where they actually do have a pulley system. Would it be possible even for them to take this a step further and allow for the tree to somehow snap into place when pulled up to the base on the tree?

I’m not sure, but perhaps it’s an opportunity.

The article mentioned above discusses the increase in multi-generational homes, but there is an opportunity for hunting product manufacturers to take the same approach with product design. Focus on functionality that is simple and functional rather than complex.

It’s not easy to create simple products, but with a focus on making products that are functional and useful for all ages it can open up new creative thought.

Summary

Because customer needs change in the market there are opportunities for advantageous businesses to step up and create products that meet the new demand.

While the housing and related industries are probably not going to see the same peaks as they did a few short years ago, people will still live in homes and they’ll still want to create a comfortable and functional place to live for their families. This is the opportunity the author of the article mentioned above addresses by describing the increase in demand for multi-generational products that are elegant in design and functional and useful for all generations.

There may be the same opportunities in the hunting industry for hunting product manufacturers to create products that are functional and useful for all generations of hunters.

What do you think?

Any product ideas that could benefit multi-generations of hunters?

[/private_member]

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40 Quick Tips and Ideas for Growing Your Hunting Business

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How to Write a Blog Post

I was never good in English class

Fountain Pen

image credit: L_Dan

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

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

20 Steps to Starting Your Hunting Business Blog

The First 4 Days of Your New Hunting Blog

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

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

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

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

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A Short Story

I struggled in my high school English class.

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

Or maybe I was just little bit lazy.

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

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

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

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

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

Starting with a Title

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

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

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

Use Others to Find Motivation

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

The Cosmo Headline Technique for Blogging Inspiration

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

7 Unconventional Web Tools and Resources for Your Marketing Initiatives

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here is another one:

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

HBM’s Title: 8 Lessons All Outfitters Should Teach

Your Title: 8 Hunting Lessons All Parents Should Teach

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

One last example:

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

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

Your Title: Your Shortcut to 150-Class Whitetail

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

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

Let the Topic Grow From the Title

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

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

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

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

Outline

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

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

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

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

Fill in the Blanks

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

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

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

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

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

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

Edit, Link, and Publish

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Share

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

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

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

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

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

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

Summary

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

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

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

1| Web users like to scan

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

3| Web users like images

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

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

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

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

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Red Light! Something Different, Second Chances and Persistence

On a Sunday in the sunshine at a red light

Bright Red Light

image credit: shikeroku

I heard a new song on the radio a short while ago as I was driving home. The first thing that caught my attention was the melody. Then I started listening to the lyrics and they really stuck out to me as unique.

The song was Red Light and I wasn’t sure exactly who the artist was.

Being the inquisitive person that I am, I went home and immediately looked up the song and found that the artist was David Nail.

Now, two things stood out about this song and David Nail and the interesting thing is that both of these things relate to entrepreneurship and blogging:

  1. Going against common beliefs and understandings
  2. Persistence

Let’s dig deeper into how they relate…

Go against common beliefs and understandings

David Nail

Red Light is interesting and turns every country music song cliché on its head.

If you listen to the lyrics of the song you’ll realize that the storyteller, in this case David Nail, is talking about his girlfriend breaking up with him.

The interesting thing is that he realizes that he didn’t think it would be sunny and nice outside when it happened. He always assumed that when someone breaks up with you that it’s raining or dark or any of the other visions we all get when we listen to breakup songs.

He also notices that others’ lives are seemingly happy around him while his life is coming crashing down and changing as he knows it.

I like this song number one because it has a great rolling melody, but I’ve been listening to it over and over again lately because I love how the song’s story puts a new twist on our thoughts about breakups and yet the lyrics still make sense.

It’s always important when you do something different that it still makes sense to people.

I hope this song will be a big hit for David Nail. I think he’s found a good song here that stood out to listeners on the radio and other channels of communication on the Web and people are connecting with the message and the new twist on something that affects us all.

You

An important thing to remember whether you’re launching a new hunting business, a new product, a new service or if you’re just trying to increase your presence on the Web is that you have to stand out a little bit so your audience will notice.

Sometimes to stand out you can do something that completely turns your audience’s current understanding on its head.

That’s how the best ideas and innovations often come to be – people come up with things that seem completely new, but make perfect sense.

It could be something as easy as writing about a topic for your hunting business on your blog and taking a new direction with the post.

There are lots of ways you can do things completely new and different that will stand out for your audience.

If you’d like, you can share your ideas for doing things different in the comments.

Persistence


David Nail

Another thing I thought about after I figured out that David Nail was the singer of Red Light was the fact that I remembered him from a few years ago.

For a few summers I worked at the Wausau Country Club in Wausau, Wisconsin and I remember working in the bag room listening to the radio in the summer of 2002 and a new song came on the radio called Memphis. I remember it was brand new and I think the disc jockey was actually doing one of those song versus song deals where people call in and vote for their favorite.

I remember hearing Memphis that day and thinking it was a pretty good song, but after that I never really heard it again (it must have lost that day).

Well here we are seven years later (an eternity in the music business) and David Nail got a second change on a major record label to fulfill his dream of being a country star.

It’s a neat story of persistence.

I’m sure most people would have given up somewhere along the line in those seven years, given up on their dreams after the initial shot at the big time didn’t pan out. It would be easy to lose confidence, go back home and take up a simple job and live until you die.

Maybe it’s because David Nail really loves singing and playing music, maybe music is all he really knows how to do, or maybe it’s a combination of both.

Well I’m glad he stuck with his dream and I hope it works out for him because I as an entrepreneur I can relate to his struggles and persistence.

You

It’s always a struggle with most things in life worth achieving.

Things usually don’t work out the first time or even subsequent times. It’s often those determined (or crazy) enough to stick it out trying to reach their goals that find ultimate success and happiness.

When you’re trying new things to stand out on the Web you’re going to hit road blocks and things are going to happen that might break your confidence a little.

Don’t worry about it too much. Things are always up and down in business and on the Web and just because something doesn’t work out as you plan today doesn’t mean you won’t find success in the future.

Summary

I was happy to hear David Nail back on the radio with Red Light.

The song stood out among the other noise on the radio because it took a different approach to a subject that affects us all at some point in our lives.

It was also good to hear David on the radio too because it was seven years ago since I had last heard about him.

He was able to keep persistent and make his dream come true and while Red Light is still climbing the charts I hope it launches him into superstardom.

You too can succeed by learning from the route that David took to find his niche for success in country music.

Find your niche and stand out by doing things just a little different than everybody else and stick with it until you start gaining traction.

And best of luck.

The Song – Red Light

I’d embed the actual video here, but Universal Music Group doesn’t want me to share their artists’ music with my readers so here is Red Light by David Nail on YouTube.

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