The Importance of Frequency for Blogs

BloggingRecently I’ve been experimenting with a new Website: Country Music Life.

You can see more about the transition from HBM to CML with HBM Introduces Country Music Life.

Over the first three and half months of working on CML I’ve noticed some interesting things. I thought I’d share some of the findings so you can take them and perhaps use them in your own blogging.

Some of the things I’ve learned that I didn’t really know or understand prior to working on CML include:

  • The importance of post frequency
  • The importance of linking out
  • The balance of traffic sources

I’ll also throw in a few other tips from CML. Let’s take a look…

Frequency Blog Posting

On HBM and previously on DayneShuda.com I would try to get about 5 posts on the blog each week. This took a lot of time since it took me a good two hours or sometimes more to research, write, and link each blog post. For HBM I like to have posts at or above about 1,000 words.

This frequency served HBM well. Traffic continued to grow and there was a good amount of search traffic coming to the site each day.

With CML I’ve been trying to post about 10 times per week. Sometimes I’m able to get more posts up and sometimes a bit less, but overall I think it averages out to about 10 per week. The posts I write for CML are a bit different however. I like to write Featured posts or ‘snack’ posts along with more in depth Heading posts.

Featured Posts

Featured posts are about 300 to 500 words long. I usually look for country music news like a new song, album or some interesting tidbits on today’s hottest country artists. I’ll link to the news stories and provide my own thoughts.

This format allows me to post more frequently and the result has been big search traffic on a few terms like ‘come back song darius rucker‘.

Heading Posts

Heading posts are where I’m able to get a bit more in depth than just interpreting country music news. For these posts I like to write list posts that cover some high trafficked search terms like ‘sad country songs’ or ‘country wedding songs’. I’ll compile a list of about 50 songs to fit each category and write a bit about each.

Higher Frequency

This posting strategy has been great for increasing traffic. The traffic at CML is already five times higher than traffic ever has been for HBM. I credit this to demand in the niche (marketing vs. country music) as well as post frequency.

If you’re able to I recommend a blog posting strategy that allows for higher frequency posting. The more posts you can write that are still quality will increase your traffic. You’ll have more content for the search engines to rank and you’ll also give people a reason to come back to your site more.

Linking Out To Other Blogs

Just as I do with HBM I link to other blogs with CML. For each of the Featured posts on CML I like to link to about 2-5 blog posts about the same subject. This has led to some good traffic from pingbacks on other blogs. Linking out also allows you to get introduced in a way to other bloggers. Editors of sites and blogs love getting links. It means traffic and anchor text for them along with some respect from newcomers in the industry.

I recommend linking out as much as you can. It’s beneficial for you on multiple levels.

Balance of Traffic Sources

One thing I’m currently monitoring for CML is the source of the traffic. Currently I have a high percentage of traffic coming from natural search via Google. While this is good I don’t want to have all my eggs in one basket. Google has bee known to cut traffic instantly for even popular blogs.

I’m working to get traffic from other sources:

  • Referring blogs
  • Pingbacks
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Email newsletter

It’s important to diversify your site’s traffic. Don’t let it be the end of the world if one traffic source disappears completely. Right now I’m treading on thin ice with the way my traffic sources are spread out.

Summary

It’s been great working on a new site. I’ll try to keep up with HBM as it’s still one of my babies. I’m on the one post per month frequency right now and it’ll probably stay that way. There is still a bunch of stuff in the archives if you’re new to the site so be sure to check things out.

I’ll try to write mostly about what I see in the blogging world and interpret how it affects the hunting industry.

So stay tuned.

And if you’re interesting in country music please sign up for the CML Newsletter.

Bonus – Lists Are Still Big

I’ve continued to see the impact lists can have on a blog. My goal for CML is to interpret country music news with the Featured posts while providing more in depth articles with the Heading posts. These Heading posts frequently including lists of country songs country fans search for and find enjoyable.

Here are a couple examples:

So if you haven’t already made lists a part of your blog be sure to experiment with a few. They can lead to an increase in traffic and page views.

What to read next on the Web

11 Ways you Can Maximize Keyword Exposure without Sacrificing your Content

How to Create Effective Calls to Action

Five Outdated SEO Tips: How Not to Optimize Your Website

What to read next on HBM

The Convenience Store Guide to Blogging

How to Connect With Bloggers

10 Ways to Create Stunning Blog Posts

Multiple Computer Screens image courtesy of totalAldo

Interested in a Corporate Blog, but don’t have the time?

Let HBM write posts and manage your corporate blog.

HBM Blogging Services

State of the Hunting Industry | March 2010

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

Edition 5           A Publication of Hunting Business Marketing         March 2010

Uncertain 2010 + Looming Commercial Real Estate Collapse

Introduction

Image courtesy of LancerE

Uncertainty rules the US consumer in today’s economy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[private_member]

Economic Trends

Millions of Unemployed Face Years Without Jobs

From New York Times (Feb. 2010):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read the rest Millions of Unemployed Face Years Without Jobs

Impact on your business

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

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

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

Brookdale Center Mall Sold at Auction for Big Markdown

From Star Tribune (Feb. 2010):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Impact on your business

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

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

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

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

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

From The Washington Post (Feb. 2010):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Impact on your business

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

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

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

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

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

Commercial Real Estate Apocalypse in 2011-2012

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

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

Executive Summary

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

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

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

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

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

Read the entire story Commercial Real Estate Apocalypse 20011-2012

Impact on your business

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

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

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

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

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


Industry News

Programs Aim to Attract New Hunters

From Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Feb. 2010):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read the entire story Programs Aim to Attract New Hunters

Impact on your business

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

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

It can happen and acknowledgement is the first step.

Online Trends

5 Sure Fire Tactics to Promote a Business Blog

From Online Marketing Blog (Feb. 2010):

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

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

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

Start promoting your blog today with these five effective tips:

1) Involve influential industry bloggers.

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

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

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

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

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

Impact on your business

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

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

8 Reasons You Might Not Be Getting Many Comments

From Problogger (Feb. 2010):

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

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

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

1) Your Posts Are Too Long

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

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

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

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

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

Impact on your business

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

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

Conclusions

There is a lot of uncertainty in the world today.

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

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

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

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Dry Creek Goose Camp | Business Strategy

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

Dry Creek Goose Camp Hunting

Dry Creek Goose Camp

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rick’s Business Buddies

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

Simon’s Taxidermy

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

WindWhacker Decoys

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

Kevin Gross – Hunting with the Pros

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

Tim Grounds – Championship Calls

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

A Great Buck for RickyBuck

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

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

A Successful Partnership

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

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

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

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

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.

[private_member]

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!

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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]

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Hunting Business Marketing

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.

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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]

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Hunting Business Marketing

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…

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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?

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How Small Hunting Businesses Can Beat the Big Competition

A hunting business’s most valuable resources are bloggers

Big vs. Small

image credit: Marina Cast.

On that previous post, Adam Singer (@AdamSinger) asked the question:

I used to subscribe to Cabela’s, they have to be doing some outreach to bloggers? I’m not sure but it seems like that’s a huge opportunity for a company like them.

I was thinking about how small hunting businesses could break into the hunting industry and it struck me that one of the best ways for small hunting companies to stand-out on the Web was to take advantage of the biggest resource on the Web – hunting bloggers.

There are many great hunting bloggers on the Web and it seems like they are being neglected by the bigger companies in the hunting industry.

And I’m not sure exactly why.

I think some of it might be fear of the unknown. I think some of it might be that larger companies aren’t able to adapt to the ever-changing landscape of the Web.

But whatever it is, these large hunting businesses are leaving the door open for their smaller competitors to gain a huge advantage on the Web.

Opportunity, Advantages and Benefits

The fact that there are tons of quality hunting bloggers available for individuals and businesses to connect with on the Web should make marketers at hunting businesses jump for joy. It seems, however, that businesses are shying away from taking the time (and it doesn’t always take a lot of time; just honesty and consideration) to connect with these bloggers.

The Outdoor Blogger Summit has a huge list of remarkable outdoor bloggers.

The Outdoor Bloggers Summit is just one sample of the number of hunting bloggers available to hunting businesses as connections to audiences on the Web.

The opportunity is there for hunting businesses (especially small hunting businesses) to make meaningful, win-win connections with bloggers.

Small hunting businesses have the advantage of adjusting to the fast-changing pace of the Web.

In larger businesses, there are more barriers to break through for marketers. Small hunting businesses are often run by only a few people and (depending on the atmosphere) there may be more leeway for experimenting.

It’s no secret that links are one of the most important factors to building a strong Web presence.

To gain attention on the Web and to get relevant traffic to your hunting business Website you need to get quality links. And hunting bloggers are one of the best link resources on the Web.

Search engines love quality links with quality anchor text.

Along with attracting links, the connections you can make with hunting bloggers will prove valuable in both measureable and immeasurable ways as your business grows.

Take advantage of your business’s opportunity to connect with hunting bloggers on the Web and you’ll make connections that will benefit your business in the long-term and benefit your business’s Web presence as well.

Ideas for Connecting with Bloggers

I’m sure that you can come up with some great ideas for connecting with hunting bloggers. You have probably already thought of at least one way you can provide value to hunting bloggers and you business with win-win marketing and buzz ideas.

Here are a few of the ideas I was able to scrounge up off the top of my head. I hope they will spur a few more great ideas for you and your hunting business.

And don’t be shy about sharing your thoughts in the comments.

To start out, here is one of my favorite examples of how small businesses can connect with bloggers A Case Study in Building Buzz in the Blogosphere: Joffrey’s Coffee & Tea Company.

With this idea in mind, I think that a custom hunting photo company could take the opportunity to connect with bloggers.

It’s important to remember that Joffrey’s did not expect to get links from bloggers. They provided the service and free product as a way to better connect with their target audience.

This is a crucial point and one worth repeating – don’t expect favors from your audience. Always have their best interests as your number one priority.

One thing, as a blogger, that I always like is when a business owner reaches out to me as a resource. I have always looked up to CEOs and business executives. They’re successful in the hunting industry and hunters see them as influencers. One of the best (and most simple) ways for hunting businesses to connect with bloggers is to simply be available for connection.

As a hunting business, make yourself available for connection by putting an email address, or contact form on your company’s Website. Create a Twitter account. Write a blog and connect with your customers in the comments.

Being available seems like a no-brainer for connecting with bloggers, but most large businesses (most, not all) seem to ignore the simple fact. This is where you can take advantage.

For a good example of a CEO being available in every way for bloggers, check out Cory Glauner (@gothunts).

Also check out Sherry of Outdoor Media Resources and Kevin from Hunting Life. There are so many that I could go on forever.

These are just a couple examples of the simple ways you can connect with hunting bloggers. I’m sure you can come up with many more great ideas.

I’ll try to come up with more as well and I’ll share them here.

Summary

You have the opportunity to grow your hunting business on the Web by connecting with hunting bloggers.

I not only think that hunting bloggers are the most important resource for hunting business on the Web, I think bloggers are the most underutilized resource available to hunting businesses.

For this reason, I see great opportunity for hunting businesses (especially small hunting businesses) to take advantage of the opportunity and gain ground on the big competition.

You have the opportunity to beat your bigger competition with the Web. Don’t let this chance pass you by.

And don’t forget to read Adam Singer’s This is How You Pitch a Blogger.

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5 Habits of Successful Hunting Business Owners on Twitter

This post is inspired by 5 Habits of Successful Executives on Twitter by Bruce Philp (@brandcowboy) of BrandCowboy.com on Mashable.com (@mashable).

Twitter is about making connections.

Connecting With Twitter

image credit: box of lettuce

If you’re the CEO of a hunting business I suggest the article above for reading on how some CEOs successfully use Twitter to make connections with their customers as themselves and on behalf of their businesses.

There is a crucial point in the previous sentence worth repeating:

“…make connections with their customers both as themselves and on behalf businesses.”

Smart CEOs know how to separate themselves from their company. They know when it’s important to be the face of the company and when it’s important to let the employees or the product or the service or in other words the brand be the face of the company.

Twitter is about making connections both as yourself and as the brand of your business.

It’s important to remember that all of your Tweets and actions on Twitter (and anywhere) should be about adding value for your customer.

With that in mind, I thought I would highlight a few of the remarkable hunting business owners who have done a great job using Twitter to make connections and add value with and for their customer.

Also, you can follow me on Twitter @DayneShuda.

1. Highlight other people (including your customers)

One of the best things you can do to add value for your current or potential customers or for your peers in the hunting industry is to highlight them and talk about how great they are.

Your clients will appreciate the kind gesture if you tweet about them. Your followers will see your tweet and possible follow your client. There is also the chance someone may find your client and become their customer.

Your own potential clients will also want to connect with you because you’re the kind of person/business who takes the time to recognize their remarkable clients. (See @RosenhausSports for an example of this).

Here, Sherry does a wonderful job of raving about highlighting Alan Clemons (@BigAlFishes).

Sherry Kerr Outdoor Media Resources

Tweeter: Sherry Kerr (@SherryinAL)

Hunting Business: Outdoor Media Resources

2. People love pictures, images, and video

Whether it’s offline or on the Web, it’s a simple fact that people love pictures, images, and video.

People are visual and adding just a little something more to your tweets can make you and your hunting business stand out.

For any hunting business, visuals and video are great ways to enhance the connections you make with your clients.

Check out the tweet from Mike Bishop of Windy Hill Outfitters.

Mike Bishop Windy Hill Outfitters

Tweeter: Mike Bishop (@WHOutfitters)

Hunting Business: Windy Hill Outfitters

3. You can get personal

As with any aspect of your hunting business, it’s alright to be an actual human being (with feelings, emotions, and regard for your client’s well-being).

People connect with people and your clients and potential clients are looking to connect with you and the other people in your business. This can get tricky since you want to have a nice balance of personal branding while making sure you keep the focus on your business where appropriate.

Kendall Card Camofire

Tweeter: Kendall Card (@CamoFire)

Hunting Business: Camofire.com

4. Respond and answer questions

Interacting with your followers on Twitter is one of the simplest yet most effective ways to make meaningful connections.

When you’re on Twitter, make sure you answer questions (even if not asked of you directly) for others on Twitter. People really respond strongly when someone (especially a business owner) reaches out to help them (with no strings attached).

Andrew Bennet Deneki Outdoors

Tweeter: Andrew Bennett (@deneki)

Hunting Business: Deneki Outdoors

5. Encourage others

Sometimes your customers just need a little encouragement for them to do remarkable things.

If you can offer just a bit of encouragement to others you can change the way they feel about themselves. People like to feel encouraged in life about their ideas and thoughts. When you reassure people and even offer your own advice you can make some valuable connections with hunters.

Take the simple steps to make the day of others while you’re using Twitter (and while interacting anywhere regarding life and business) and you’ll benefit from the valuable connections you’ll make.

Ben Gustafson Ben G Outdoors

Tweeter: Ben Gustafson (@BenGOutdoors)

Hunting Business: Ben G. Outdoors

Bonus – 6. Giveaways never hurt

People love to win stuff.

If your business has the opportunity to offers giveaways you can generate some faithful followers on Twitter.

You can also share the giveaways that other businesses are offering.

While offering giveaways is great for you own business, you will also be seen as a valuable Tweeter if you share valuable information in your Tweets like the giveaways of others.

Businesses love when you share their giveaways also. It’s another great way to make connections with peers in the hunting industry as well as with hunters (and potential clients).

Kevin Paulson of Hunting Life on Twitter

Tweeter: Kevin Paulson (@HuntingLife)

Hunting Business: Hunting Life

Bonus #2 – 7. Excitement and passion are contagious

People love being around people who are passionate about anything, but they especially love being around people who share their same passions.

Don’t afraid to share your excitement and passion on Twitter.

Share your experiences on Twitter and hunters will be drawn to you and want to connect with you and your business.

Jason FLW Magazine

Tweeter: Jason (@FLW_Magazine)

Hunting Business: FLW Outdoors

Summary

It’s often the simplest gestures that make lead to the best connections on the Web. You don’t have to do something complicated to properly use Twitter. Focus on adding value to the lives of others by being meaningful, valuable, simple, and remarkable on Twitter (and other social media) and you’ll have success that may lead to increased business.

Check out previous posts related to Twitter:

What is the Point of Twitter?

Use Twitter to Improve Your Hunting Business

10 People All Hunters Should Follow on Twitter

Related posts on Hunting Business Marketing

5 Examples of Hunting Businesses that Get It

Reviews of Remarkable Hunting Blog Posts

The Top Hunting Blogs: Part 1

Related posts on the Web

10 Twitter Tools to Organize Your Tweeps

Top 5 Twitter Related Trends to Watch

Twitter Spam: 3 Ways Scammers are Filling Twitter With Junk

How to Do It All – The Time Management Question

“I figure there are 24 hours in a day: 8 for family, 8 for sleep, and 8 for work,” Clint Black.

Clint Black in Concert

image credit: jvh33

When I look at problems or frustrations people (including myself) are having I try to look for the common sense or simple solution.

Too often we search for solutions to our problems by looking for complex answers.

Cory from Outdoors International asked about the problem of Time Management [from the post What are your Questions?].

Time management is something all of us can relate to. It doesn’t matter if you’re a full time parent, a kid in school, or a hunting business owner – everybody is busy doing something and managing time is a struggle as we all work to fit everything we want to accomplish or experience into our short days, weeks, years, and ultimately years.

So for a possible solution I’d like to take a common sense approach to my thinking regarding Time Management.

Priorities

The fact that we all need to prioritize our daily activities has been beaten to death into our brains our entire lives. To say the very least…prioritizing has become cliché.

But as is usually true with clichés – they’re usually true and simple fact.

Do you have a mental picture of what is most important in your life?

Does your priority list begin with your significant other, your kids, your parents, yourself, your work, or anything else?

There is no right answer for everyone, but there is a right answer for you. The trick is that only you can correctly answer the question for yourself.

Create your own priority list. It doesn’t have to be long. Try to create the list so that each of the lower priorities builds value for the priorities above it.

For example, if family is your number one priority, you are your second and work is your third, your work should provide value to you and your family. Everything you do when you work should add value to your own life and happiness, which should add value for your family.

It’s a simple concept and once you have you have an understanding of what really makes you happy it will be easier to make decisions only as they affect your top priorities.

Complete Understanding of Tasks

I’d like to go back to the Clint Black quote about time management:

“I figure there are 24 hours in a day: 8 for family, 8 for sleep, and 8 for work.”

His philosophy seems fairly simple and I think managing your time can be this simple. You just need to have an understanding of what makes for a valuable task. What I mean by “valuable task” is that you should understand how everything you do throughout the day affects your priority list and where it fits in your day and whether each task is truly valuable or not.

Side Note: Clint Black’s 8/8/8 rule is not universal. Your life may include similar priorities or completely different priorities. Your life may also require a different ratio. The point is to understand your own ratio and make sure you understand how your daily tasks affect your life and happiness.

8 Hours for Family

One memory I have from my childhood is sitting in the living room and looking out the window waiting for my Dad to come home. He was a commercial airline pilot and he often left for a trip on Sunday night and would come home later in the week – usually later on in the week.

As soon as he would come through the door I’d give him a big hug and then (as most young sons do) I’d beg him to play catch or shoot baskets or play an inside game of some kind.

I’m not sure where he got the energy, but he was always willing to put his things down, kiss my Mom hello and then spend an hour or two with me and my younger brother before we would fall asleep.

This story is a reflection of my Dad’s priority list. When I was growing up, his family was on the top of his list (it’s important to remember that priority lists will change throughout your life).

His days didn’t fit the perfect 8/8/8 ratio. However, throughout the weeks and months he would spend just as much time with his family (and sleeping) as he did with his job.

His tasks that related to my family may have included things like tossing a football around with me and my brother, cleaning up around the house, mowing the lawn, having a nice dinner with my Mom and his two boys.

The tasks for family may seem ordinary and sometimes wasteful, but I hope you understand the importance of tossing a football to your son or daughter. It’s something valuable for their lives (and hopefully yours as well).

Understand the tasks that truly add value to your family’s lives and focus on making the most of the time you have with them.

8 Hours for Sleep

There is not much to say for this period of time. We all need to sleep – some of us more than others. Lately I’ve been doing well and feeling healthy with about 6 hours a night. I’m sure this will change with time and I’ll get back to the normal 8 hours.

Spend your days getting things accomplished as they relate to your priority list and you’ll rest easy with a feeling of ease and success each night.

8 Hours for Work

For most of us work is something we do to earn a living so we can enjoy live ourselves and provide for our family. For most it is really nothing more than this. And this is fine. It might not be fulfilling as some see, but the fruits of working hard at a job so you can spend quality time away from work can be very beneficial and lead to happiness.

For some of the luckier (or more motivated) ones, a job or work is simply an extension of our passions in life. These people find fulfillment in accomplishing great things through their work and passion.

I consider myself one of the lucky ones.

I enjoy many things in life and a few of those include marketing, the Web, hunting, and writing.

With the job at Mason and this blog I am able to enjoy these passions. While I do consider both to be work, I also consider them to be part of the legacy I’m building for myself. I work to continuously build my knowledge of the world around me and my work encourages and challenges me to continually learn and innovate with new ideas.

Each day I look at the tasks I want to accomplish as they relate to my work and I try to make sure each is something that is adding to my (hopefully) expanding knowledge base.

Most Important First

After you have your overall Life Priority List setup, you’ll also have your daily to-do list. It doesn’t have to be written down (although it can be – I use lots of sticky notes). Mental lists work just as well.

The simple thing to remember is to always start your day with your most important tasks.

It doesn’t matter if these tasks are simply or difficult. Determine what is most important for you to accomplish today as it relates to your live priority list and focus on finishing them completely and competently.

There really is nothing more to say about it. Work on your most important tasks until they are complete each day. Clear out all distractions and you’ll find yourself getting more things done. More importantly, when you accomplish the big things on your task list, you’ll sleep better knowing you had a successful day.

For more on this concept, see Purpose to your Day: Most Important Task (MIT).

Bonus Time

Now, if you go through the process of developing a priority list of what is most important to you in your overall life as well as creating daily task lists, you will find yourself with some bonus time.

As a quick example, in high school I had a job at a local country club. I started by working in the bag room, cleaning the golf members’ clubs and eventually moved to the pro shop. A few of the club members would comment to my boss, the club pro, that I always seemed to be standing around looking for something to do. It’s a simple observation and as most of the club members were successful professionals they had a right to question my idleness. The thing was (and my boss even told this to a few of the members) was that I always tried to get daily tasks done during times when the pro shop was busy (usually early morning after the regulars teed off). I did the most important tasks thoroughly and efficiently when everyone else was busy as well. This way I had time to converse with the members and tend to their needs when they came back from their rounds.

Now, the trick I’ve tried to learn over the years is how to fill the “Bonus Time” that comes with efficient use of early day time.

When you truly get through your tasks for the day as they relate to one of the priorities on your list, you can simply move on to something that makes you happy and adds value to the aspect of another one of your priorities.

Did you get your daily work tasks done earlier in the morning than you thought? Why not surprise your kids and take them out of school for an early brunch. Or why not surprise your wife by taking her flowers.

When you finish your tasks (and you will) take some time to focus on the things that make you happy. Don’t waste it with meaningless things. Do things that truly impact your life and more importantly, the lives of your friends, family and those around you.

Understand Waste and Eliminate

Our lives sometimes seem like we’re moving from one task to the next without any time to sit and think about if what we’re doing is getting us closer to accomplishing our goals for life.

The truth is that our lives are usually full of wasted moments.

It’s sometimes tricky to understand which moments are important and which are wasteful because it’s unique for each individual including you.

A simple example from my own life was TV. I canceled my TV when I caught myself watching TV shows for no reason at all. Sure they seemingly fulfilled the entertainment aspect of my life, but now that I have canceled cable I find myself focusing on tasks more appropriate for my priorities.

Do you have waste you can eliminate?

Summary

Time management is an issue for many professionals. It’s difficult focusing on what is truly important at work as well as what is important in ourselves as well as for our families.

Create your own priority list. Develop mental or physical daily tasks starting with the most important first. Use your bonus time effectively.

You’ll find yourself sleeping better at night knowing you’ve had a fulfilling day when you are accomplishing things that meet your vision for life.

It’s a wonderful feeling when you can go to bed with a smile each night.

Side Note: I have to say that many of my recent thoughts on life and productivity come from the blog Zen Habits and Leo Babauta’s book The Power of Less.

Also: If you have a question you would like answered please use the comment section on What are Your Questions? I can’t wait to hear from you.

Related posts on Hunting Business Marketing

Applying The Power of Less to Your Hunting Business

A Story of Focus: My Rubik’s Cube Weekend

How to Avoid Letting Yourself be Blinded by Complacency and Hope

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Ask the Readers: How to Let Go of Control

How to Actually Execute Your To-Do List: or, Why Writing It Down Doesn’t Actually Get It Done

Handbook for Life: 52 Tips for Happiness and Productivity

5 Things You May Not Know About Hunting Websites

Usually on the Web we get caught up repeating the same routine over and over.

Vintage Cowboy on a Horse

image credit: freeparking

I often find myself visiting the same blogs each day. I find myself listening to the same playlist on Imeem over and over again. And sometimes I get into funks where I don’t visit more than 20 or so Websites for several days.

This is when I like to go to sites like Alltop to find new and interesting blogs. It’s always worthwhile to get new perspective on life, happiness, and success.

It seems that just as I think I have something figured out about the Web I realize just how much I have to learn.

One of the really cool things about people’s willingness to share and connect on the Web is that you always have the ability to learn and experience new ideas and insight.

This environment is great for your spirit and great for your business (if you’re willing to accept new thoughts into your world).

I frequently come across surprises on the Web that give me a new perspective on what it is that makes people happy and successful on the Web.

I thought I’d share a few things I’ve found out about hunting Websites that surprised me (and might surprise you).

1) The ‘General Topics’ section of hunting forums is always the most popular

I’m not sure why exactly the ‘General Topics’ section of hunting forums are always the most popular. I guess it’s probably because this area acts as a way for unsure contributors to gather their thoughts on hunting ‘in general’.

Some forum moderators often redirect some conversations to more relevant sections. This seems to work somewhat, but can be irritating if the conversation is active and the people contributing come back one day to find their conversation has moved to another page on the site.

One thing to learn from this phenomenon is to think of your forum as a living content aggregator. Continually encourage your visitors to create new topics for discussion. Allow them to create their own forum topics. Give up some of your control and your visitors might be able to organize your forum better than you think.

Be available for questions. Your visitors probably won’t understand how to use a forum as well as they want and they’ll look to your (the site editor) for guidance.

Give your visitors some credit and let them create and organize your forum for you (and more importantly for themselves).

2) If visitors can’t figure out a feature (no matter how useful it is), they won’t use it

I’ve written about website features before.

You may be able to create the greatest feature for hunters in the world, but if they can’t figure out how to use it or if it takes too long to use, they simply won’t use it.

Your features will be ignored if you don’t make it easy enough for a five (or seventy five) year old to use. And it has to be pretty easy for some seventy five year olds to figure out.

Twitter is popular because it’s relatively easy to use. Even brand new people to Twitter can figure out how to type “I’m on Twitter!” in the text box at the top of their new profile.

A few years ago the concept of sharing content on the Web wasn’t new, but it wasn’t easy enough for most people to use. Today, Share This, Bookmark, Retweet, and Email buttons are easy enough for even the newest Web users to figure out.

Make your features simple and easy to use.

3) Visitors don’t like music or sound when they open a new page

I’ll keep this one short: people don’t like to be surprised by loud music and unexpected sound when they visit your Web pages.

If you must have video and music on your Website (which I do recommend and life) make sure it doesn’t automatically start when visitors come to your site. Allow users to opt-in to the music, sound or video by clicking play.

Let them create the interaction.

You can provide the content for interaction, but allow them to trust you with their attention.

4) Flashy content may gain traffic and attention, but quality content attracts loyal readers

One thing I’ve noticed is that hunting sites don’t get a lot of attention on sharing sites like Digg, Reddit or even YouTube.  Well, sometimes hunting videos get attention on YouTube (like this one of a lion attacking a hunter…yikes!).

I feel being ignored by these sites is more of a blessing for hunters than a curse.

While hunting content may not be viral in nature if it’s presented without purpose, it can provoke deeper thought and interaction, which is what leads to quality connections and relationships with hunters on the Web.

Your Mom and Dad have probably always told you that the more you put into something the more you’ll get out. It’s one of the oldest clichés out there, but it’s common for a reason – it’s true.

If you want deep interaction from people, you’re going to have to put deep thought and passion into your work on the Web.

Don’t be fooled by fleeting traffic from sites like Digg and Reddit (although they do have their place).

Don’t be afraid to lose yourself in your work. Don’t be afraid to open up. People love to connect with the emotions of others.

Give yourself to your work and watch others respond with an equal amount of passion.

5) Site owners and site visitors often have separate views of what a site is

What a site owner thinks their site represents and what the site’s visitors think the site represents can be completely different.

The site’s visitors are the ones who are usually correct in their perception. They’re the ones who use the site to perform a function they deem necessary.

Give people an atmosphere where they can experiment and figure out what they want to define your site as. Let your users decide what they want. Then give them what they want and continue improving your product, content and service.

Related posts on the Web

Deer Passion -Quote of the Week for March 20th, 2009

What Should Corporations Do With Their Blogs

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20 Steps to Starting Your Hunting Business Blog/Website

How to Avoid Letting Yourself be Blinded by Complacency and Hope

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