Finding Successful Patterns

Have you ever wondered what analysis successful folks do to reach the heights they do?

Lots of hard work, some talent, and usually a successful formula are involved in the process.

For example, Will Smith made the comment that he and his manager sat down in the early nineties and compiled the most financially successful movies of all time. The two then pulled out the similarities each of the top ten movies had…

From the AALBC Will Smith Interview

I’m a student of the patterns of the universe. If I can figure out how something is seemingly risky, but I have the numbers on my side, I get really comfortable taking a leap. When I first came to Hollywood, I said to my manager, James Lassiter, I want to be the biggest movie star in the world! He said, Okay, we should probably figure out what they do, and plot a course. So, he went and got the top ten movies of all time. We watched them to try to figure out what were the patterns. And ten out of ten of them were special effects movies. Nine out of ten were special effects movies with creatures. And eight out of ten were special effects movies with creatures and a love story. So, Independence Day was not really a hard call to make when you look at the numbers. Therefore, I Am Legend, in concept, is not a hard call to make.

You can pull these patterns out of just about any situation. Here are two examples:

1) Headlines and Lists (#5)

2) Viral Videos

It’s smart for anyone to pull patterns and successful formulas out of situations as a way to decipher what makes others successful. Now, it’s important to remember that Will Smith is not successful simply because he figured out the pattern for Hollywood blockbusters. Will Smith is successful because he works hard at his chosen craft and he puts his stamp on a successful formula for big, money making movies.

You can emulate Will Smith’s smart strategy to find your own success in the hunting industry. Let’s take a look at some examples that hopefully will paint a better picture of finding successful patterns

The Top Hunting Blog Posts

Last spring I worked on a series of posts where I dug into a few reasons why some of the top posts written by hunting bloggers were successful: Reviews of Remarkable Blog Posts.

A few things that stood out about the successful posts included:

  • Unique, but seemingly familiar topics
  • Short(ish) titles
  • Useful (don’t discount this) tips
  • Genuine and consistent voice
  • Personal stories
  • Detail (can decrease comments and interaction)
  • Knowledge seeking questions (can increase comments and interaction)

Most of the hunting bloggers that contributed to the series used some of their most trafficked posts. It was interesting to dissect each one while trying to figure out the patterns that made each successful.

While there is certainly more than one way to write a hunting blog post, there are a few patterns to follow to ensure that the online hunting community takes interest.

The Top Hunting Companies

Taking a quick look at a few of the top hunting companies, it’s useful to pull out a few patterns. I’ve picked a few companies that are my favorites so there is subjectivity in the list, but the success appears to be there at least for the present time.

Consumer Hunting Businesses

There are tons of others that qualify, but let’s look at these for now. Please share your thoughts in the comments on others.

Patterns

  • Trust (not built overnight)
  • Operationally efficient
  • Industry leading innovation
  • Respect for tradition
  • Update existing products

Obviously there is more to operating a successful company that this short list, but each of the successful companies mentioned above have been around for many years and have been leaders in their respective niches in the hunting industry. A couple have gone through rough patches (Gander Mountain), but the brands are trusted and well-respected by customers and competitors.

One interesting thing is that each of these companies is profitable in large part because of their operations and efficiency. For new players to take over, the new guys will have to find other aspects of the business model to be better at because it’ll be near impossible to beat these companies on operations.

The Top Selling Hunting Products

Companies will put the most emphasis on the products that have sold the best in the past or that they expect to sell the best in the future. Knowing this we can look at a few of the products that have been around for some time and are still finding their way to the front of the marketing initiatives.

Top Hunting Products

  • Remington 870 (over 10 million sold)
  • Stormy Kromer Hat
  • Tink’s® #69 Doe-In-Rut® Buck Lure
  • Winchester® USA Centerfire 44 Rem Mag Handgun Ammunition
  • Gander Mountain Basic 15′ Ladder Treestand

Patterns

  • Simple design
  • Practical solution to common problem
  • Brand authority

The products above are simple in design, but practical in use. They were innovative when initially introduced and they still serve the customer the best for the problem each solves. Until something comes along to replace them customers are satisfied with purchasing the products they trust to get the job done.

Country Songs

Here’s a fun one for the country music fans (and I know there are a few reading the blog).

I initially thought of gathering some number one songs from the charts in the past 50 years or so, but then I thought it would make more sense to find the songs that may or may not have reached the pinnacle of the charts, but most importantly still get played on the radio regularly.

Top Country Songs

  • Queen of My Double Wide Trailer Singer: Sammy Kershaw Writer: Dennis Linde Chart Peak: #7
  • Life’s a Dance Singer: John Michael Montgomery Writers: Allen Shamblin, Steve Seskin Chart Peak: #4
  • Amarillo By Morning Singer: George Strait Writers: Paul Fraser, Terry Stafford Chart Peak: #4
  • Every Once and a While Band: Blackhawk Writers: Mark Bright, Tim DuBois, John Hurley Chart Peak: #2
  • Maybe It Was Memphis Singer: Pam Tillis Writers: Paul Worley, Ed Seay Chart Peak: #3

For the man who has over 50 number one hits, it’s quite the interesting bit of trivia that one of George Strait’s most lasting songs is a song that peaked at #4.

And for a band like Blackhawk, a multi-platinum selling band in the ’90s, to have never had a number one hit is quite amazing. They have so many memorable songs it was hard to pick only one. (They did have Canadian Country Music numbers ones).

And Pam Tills, one of my all time favorite artists let alone female artists. The first song of hers I can remember was Maybe It Was Memphis and it’s still the one I hear today on the radio the most. Just a great tune with passion in the vocals.

Patterns

  • Catchy, Sing-along melodies and hooks
  • Unique vocals, memorable voices
  • Familiar, but seemingly not cliched lyrics
  • Emotional, sincere vocal styling

The patterns for successful songwriter and singing seem obvious once you dissect the endearing songs, but it’s still difficult to sit down and pour out the emotion it takes to write a quality song.

When I say that the vocal styling is emotional and sincere it doesn’t mean that it has to be sad. Emotion takes lots of forms and the best songs seem to be the most sincere. When the artists can put themselves into a place emotionally, mentally that connects with the song and with the listener – that’s when the magic happens.

Emotion can come from a fun place as well. Dennis Linde had to be cracking up when he wrote most of his songs (Bubba Shot the Jukebox, It Sure Is Monday, John Deere Green, Queen of My Double Wide Trailer) and that fun emotion connected with fans.

Your Spin on Things

Before closing this post I think it’s important to emphasize that no matter what patterns you pick up on in your profession, it’s important to remember that hard work and effort are still necessary for success. It’s difficult to copy exactly what others are doing. Success reaches this way will be difficult to sustain. By taking patterns from the success of others and putting unique style and voice to the process you’ll create your own little niche in the industry.

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Images courtesy of jenny downing and Renee V and chefranden

Lessons From Crazy Heart

It’s funny I’ve fallin’/Feels like flyin’/for a little while

Note: This post contains some spoiler content…

A few weeks before I went to the theater to see Crazy Heart I saw the trailer. I instantly became interested in the story of the movie. The setting of country music instantly attracted me. I was also intrigued by the soundtrack – it had a ’70s outlaw country music vibe. I’ve always been a fan of Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Steve Earle and others.

After seeing the movie I have to say that it is everything and more than I built it up to be.

It’s a great story for viewers to connect with. Music fans can connect with the outlaw country music. The themes of the songs on the soundtracks cross musical boundaries (I think it was Willie Nelson who said, “There are only two kinds of music: Good and Bad.”). The story of a hardened outlaw singer and songwriter connects well with young and old alike.

The best part of the movie and the biggest lesson I was able to pull out was how the story related to entrepreneurship and life in general. The setting and circumstances may vary in detail, but the ups and downs and unexpected turns are what connects us all as humans.

Let’s take a closer look at the Lessons from Crazy Heart

The Ups and Downs of Life and Business

Crazy Heart opens up with the sight of Bad Blake traveling the American Southwest in his ’78 Chevy Suburban. He’s getting by day-to-day living on the cash he makes playing at small bars and even bowling alleys. His devoted fans remember his hits from 30 or so years ago and come to see him stumble through drunken performances to get a taste of nostalgia.

Bad’s his own business. He sells what his fans are still willing to buy and he puts on the best show he knows how.  He is able to get by in life by drinking and treating his body like a dumpster. He has the perception that his fans want a hard-drinking, fun-loving outlaw and that’s exactly what he gives them. It pays enough to just get by, but the business model doesn’t pay nearly as good as it once did.

Just as Bad found in the movie, most businesses find  that the typical model has a lifespan. Businesses reach a peak of profitability and then ride out the lifespan as long as they can. If the concept doesn’t change much profits will slowly diminish. New models will come along and slowly the demand for products wears off.

The successful businesses are those that adapt to change and have a progressive nature.

Bad knows that his old business model of touring is what pays his bills. He just doesn’t know how to reignite the excitement in himself and his music to get more people to come to his shows. He also doesn’t know how to broaden his audience and expand his fan base.

There are two interesting points in the movie where Bad discusses songwriting.

The first has Bad talking with his agent about new albums and new songs. The agent wants Bad to write some new material (update his business model) while Bad wants to remix his old hits and repackage them for fans to purchase (old business model).

Bad and his agent both have the feeling that Bad’s career is going nowhere. They both work hard to make a few of the remaining bucks Bad is worth. They keep fighting and hoping for some inspiration to strike and one day it does.

Bad’s agent is able to work with rising star and former Bad disciple, Tommy Sweet. Tommy learned how to play, sing and entertain from Bad and now is seeing his own success. Tommy gets Bad to open up for him at one of his shows. Just before the show the two have a chat about business and Bad is eager to get together to record duets on his old songs. Tommy says he loves working with Bad, but that such an album is not in high demand.

Tommy offers Bad the opportunity to write songs for his upcoming solo release. Bad brushes off the idea and the two go about their way.

Eventually Bad is able to find inspiration (love interest) and writes a great song. This song reignites his star and he finds a new business that he can sell. Over the next 18 months or so Tommy takes the song to the tops of the charts and Bad is bad in demand as an entertainer. His old music is finding new ears and new folks are coming to his shows as a result of the new song.

All businesses that expect to continually succeed need to be progressive in nature. Business leaders can work a successful formula to death, but to expect to have it ride a peak forever is signing a death certificate for the business.

People involved with kick and scream at the suggestion of change, but for the sake of continual growth and prosperity it’s necessary to find new models and new products that consumers demand.

The Impact of a Soundtrack

Lead actor Jeff Bridges credits Ryan Bingham with saving Crazy Heart. The importance of soundtrack in movies is understood by all involved. For this movie, Ryan Bingham was able to take the script and capture the mood in the song The Weary Kind.

The song became the theme during production. The mood of the song is perfect for setting viewers up to understand the life of the lead character.

The songs in the movie parallel the life and business model Bad Blake follows. The songs he wrote that made him an outlaw country music star take him through ups and downs and as we first see him the songs are finding their last bit of interest with Bad playing them in broken down venues.

Then Bad finds inspiration and pens The Weary Kind and interest is renewed in the entertainer.

The soundtrack of Crazy Heart sets the tone for the movie. As a viewer, I was captured by the authentic sound of the “classic” Bad Blake songs. I was also swallowed up by The Weary Kind as the song connected me with the story of Bad Blake.

Credit goes to T. Bone Burnett, Ryan Bingham, and Stephen Bruton for putting together the Crazy Heart soundtrack.

Summary

Crazy Heart, the story of Bad Blake, parallels the life of a business.

Business models go through their life cycles and it’s important for business leaders to be progressive focused. People involved with the business will want things to remain the same, but without change there cannot be growth.

Successful leaders push through the resistance and change their models to give consumers something they demand.

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You Can Succeed At Everything (Vince Gill proves it)

How can you fault a guy with mainstream marketability who’s also a talented session guitar player, songwriter, and the owner of one of Nashville’s best voices? Johnny Loftus – All Music

If you’ve listened to country music in the past 20+ years it’s likely you’ve heard the unmistakable buttery soft voice of Vince Gill.

Vince Gill has been one of favorite artists for as long as I can remember. When one of his songs comes on the radio I will usually reach for the knob to turn up the volume.

His collection of hit singles and excellent album cuts cross the entire spectrum of human emotion:

Hopeless RomanticismWhen Love Finds You, Let’s Make Sure We Kiss Goodnight, Feels Like Love

Relationship IssuesDon’t Let Our Love Start Slippin’ Away, A Little More Love, I Still Believe in You

Family and DeathGo Rest High on that Mountain

Love and LossTryin’ To Get Over You

Fun and ForgivenessOne More Last Chance

The amazing thing about Vince’s success is his ability to perform multiple tasks at an extremely high level.

Vince Gill is one of the best at:

1| Singing

2| Playing Guitar

3| Writing Songs

The combinations of his talents lead to some of the best songs in country music history.

It takes successful multitasking to become a successful artist. And if you’re a business owner, marketer, or manager you are an artist. The decisions you make, the people you work with, the skills you use to drive your business to success are what make you and artist.

Let’s take a closer look at Vince Gill, his ability to multitask and how it can make you a great business leader…

Multitasking and Artistry

Vince Gill had a vision for his life. He knew he loved music and he knew what it would take to have success in the country music industry. He honed his skills as a singer, guitar player, and eventually a songwriter. It was a combination of these skills that lead to his emergence as a country music superstar in the ‘90s.

He started out early as a session guitarist and background vocalist for album work and backing band work for touring artists including Ricky Skaggs and Rodney Crowell.

Gill eventually joined the Pure Prairie League in the late ‘70s for an album and sang on the group’s biggest hit Let Me Love You Tonight.

His success and talent eventually led him to solo success. He released three albums from 1984 to 1988 that featured a few successful singles, but it wasn’t until the dawn of the ‘90s and the 1989 album When I Call Your Name that Gill found star success.

And ‘91’s I Still Believe In You catapulted Gill into superstar status when the album went multiplatinum with five hit singles.

Gill had found his niche in the music industry.

His blend of smooth, easy listening vocals together with crafty melodies and meaningful lyrics were a successful formula that lead to multiple classic hits that will last generations.

Without his ability to multitask, Gill likely wouldn’t have been able to reach the longevity he has had as an artist.

Many artists are successful at singing, songwriting, and playing and some even have a brief shot at superstardom. However, the star seems to fade on those who are great at one thing.

The truly successful artists, the ones that have the uncanny ability to work at multiple tasks to broaden their expertise are the ones that find ways to succeed and inspire awe among people for a lifetime.

Vince Gill is one of those special artists that has the self want to succeed and continually improve in his craft. Music is his art and he seems to do whatever it takes to expand his understanding of the things that make great music.

And to top it all off, Vince Gill was a great host of the CMAs for many years. His charm and wit made him a great host for the millions of country music fans that watched the awards each year.

Even with all of his talent and ability, Vince Gill seems to be one of the most genuine people in the world. He remains humble even with all of his accomplishment. He often sings background vocals for up and coming artists. He credits the great artists that came before him and sang on his first records as his reason for continuing to sing background vocals.

Vince Gill is an artist. His ability to multitask and continually improve at his art make him great. And I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of great songs from Vince Gill.

Business Artist

In today’s world of uncertainty and insecurity, it’s important for everyone to have multiple skills in the workplace.

If you work for a boss, make sure you have an understanding of what her expectations are of the job you’re performing…then go beyond those expectations. Figure out the social nature of your boss and learn the things that make her excited about the work you’re doing.

Look for tasks that are lacking at your company and fill the need without being asked by anybody. Make sure to get your expected tasks finished, but once those are done as best as they can be move on to multitasking. Want to learn. Want to continuously improve.

If you’re expanding your own company you’re going to have to push past your expectations.

As a business leader, you already understand the importance of multitasking. Now, the key is going to have to be understanding the art of cutting back on the tasks that have no chance of paying off. Ever. Cut back on tasks (even if you have a lot invested in them) if there are signs of no hope. Move on to tasks that show more promise and become an expert.

Just as Vince Gill worked for many years without real success, it may take you some time to find the formula that takes you to superstardom of the business world.

Multitasking pays off and Vince Gill is living proof.

Summary

Vince Gill is a great success story.

It’s a testament to the art of multitasking and continuous improvement that he and other artists were able to achieve long-term success.

Multitasking is a necessity for success. It’s important to continually focus on the skills that will allow you to achieve your visions for success. You’ll need to leave a few things beyond even if you’ve invested a lot of time in them, but it’ll be worth it as it’ll free up time for you to focus on the things that are paying off as well as leaving time for the things you can learn that will add to your success.

Vince Gill is a talented singer, guitar player, and songwriter.

It’s almost unheard of in music. Other artists may not have that exact combination, but if they’re successful they likely have their own combination of multitasking skills that make them great.

What is something you could learn today that will add to your success tomorrow?

Bonus

What to read next on Hunting Business Marketing

As I was writing this I was reminded of George Strait and how he is typically known for being a great country singer. He doesn’t write many of the songs he records (he released a single he co-wrote in 2009 – his first in nearly 30 years), but he is a talented singer, actor, and he has an uncanny ability to pick hit singles.

The George Strait Guide to Lifelong Success

The George Jones Successful Career Guide

The Merle Haggard Guide to Everlasting Success

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State of the Hunting Industry Report | February 2010

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

Edition 4           A Publication of Hunting Business Marketing        February 2010

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

Introduction

Image courtesy of Alex E. Proimos

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

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

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

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

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

[private_member]

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

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

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

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

Economic Trends

Watchdog: Bailouts created more risk in system

From Associate Press (Jan 2010):

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

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

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

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

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

Impact on your business

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

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

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

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

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

Americans Leery of Too Much Gov’t Regulation of Business

From Gallup (Feb 2010):

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

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

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

Impact on your business

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

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

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

Americans Agree: Quality Jobs Remain Hard to Find

From Gallup (Jan 2010):

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

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

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

Impact on your business

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

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

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

Gallup Economic Weekly: Self-Reported Spending Declines

From Gallup (Jan 2010):

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

Impact on your business

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

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

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

Industry News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Impact on your business

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

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

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

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

Online Trends

What Can SEO-Savvy Blogs Do For You?

From Fathom SEO (Feb 2010):

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

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

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

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

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

Impact on your business

Connecting is an important step for businesses today.

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

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

Conclusions

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

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

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

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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25 Tips from 25 Hunting Industry Leaders

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

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

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

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

Here are some of my recent favorites:

1| Mark Kenyon – Wired to Hunt

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

2| Cory Glauner – Outdoors International

“Good books are for sharing.” – from Twitter

3| Jane Keller – Team Huntress

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

4| Chris Burget – Bulls & Beavers

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

5 | Jim Braaten – Sportsman’s Blog

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

6 | Stacey Huston – A Focus on the Wild

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

7 | Sherry Kerr – Outdoor Media Resources

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

8 | Holly Heyser – NorCal Cazadora

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

9 | Andrew Bennett – Deneki Outdoors

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

10 | Mark Healy – Wildlife Callers

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

11 | Bowhunting.com Staff – Bowhunting.com

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

12 | Michael Waddell – Michael Waddell Blog

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

13 | Jim Crowley – Hook & Hunt Tv

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

14 | Tom Sorenson – Base Camp Legends

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

15 | Quail Forever – Quail Forever

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

16 | Mike ‘Hawk’ Huston – High Country Archery

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

17 | Brent Traylor – Texas Sportsman’s Roadshow

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

18 | Brent Martell –Martell’s Outdoor Adventures

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

19 | Bob Humphrey – Peterson’s Bowhunting

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

20 | JoAnna Zurinsky – My Bullet Points

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

21 | Tanner Feyereisen – Blaze Orange Marketing

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

22 | Scott Bestul – Whitetail 365

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

23 | Kimberly Hiss – FS Huntress

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

24 | Kevin Popo – World Champion Goose Caller

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

25 | Ben G. – Ben G. Outdoors

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

What to read next on Hunting Business Marketing

Inspirational Hunting Blogger Insights, Quotes, and Musings Part 1

What to read next on the Web

25 Tips from 25 PR Experts

Image courtesy of ktylerconk

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 | January 2010

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

Edition 3           A Publication of Hunting Business Marketing        January 2010

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

Introduction

2010 will be an interesting year for the US economy.

Berries

Image courtesy of ellienvanhoutte

Consumers and businesses are still reeling from the recession and wondering if the so-called recovery will continue and lead to sustained growth. It seems that ‘recovery’ for most businesses is defined as slowing the drop in business that occurred in 2008.

So while businesses have been able to flatten their trend in the past few months and consumers have been able to save more in the short-term while increasing their spending of late, there is still an uneasy feeling among most Americans going into the new decade.

The hunting industry is no different.

[private_member]

In some states like Wisconsin, hunters are feeling the poor effects of a slow hunting season. Not only are hunters reeling from the poor economic conditions of the past year, but they are feeling let down by the state of the hunting situation this past fall.

While it seems there isn’t much to look forward to in the hunting industry there are bright areas and even some opportunity to build your business’s value to set yourself up for success in 2010.

Value is going to be a big term in 2010.

Consumers are looking for value in every purchase they make. Value doesn’t always mean the lowest price, but it does mean the most for a given amount of money for a quality product or service. Customers are paying attention to the true competitive advantages businesses are offering.

So while your business may not be able to match the prices of your competition due to operational restraints, you may be able to compete through value-added services such as trusted customer service or via an informational blog on your Website.

Now is also the time to think about making changes to your Website and overall Web presence before the summer and fall hunting spending seasons kick off.

Align your goals for the upcoming year and begin implementing your strategies today so you’re prepared for a successful season.

Economic Trends

How The Recession Has Changed U.S. Consumer Behavior

From Forbes (Jan. 2010):

While the downturn has certainly changed the economic landscape, it may also have fundamentally altered the behavior of numerous U.S. consumers, who are now learning to live without expensive products. Many companies with strong premium brands are anticipating a rapid rebound in consumer behavior–a return to normality, as after previous recessions. They are likely to be disappointed.

New McKinsey research found that, in any given category, an average of 18% of consumer-packaged-goods consumers bought lower-priced brands in the past two years. Of the consumers who switched to cheaper products, 46% said they performed better than expected, and the large majority of these consumers said the performance of such products was much better than expected. As a result, 34% of the switchers said they no longer preferred higher-priced products, and an additional 41% said that while they preferred the premium brand, it “was not worth the money.”

For companies attempting to address the change in consumer behavior, understanding the economic theory that explains why it is now shifting can help to inform decision making. Textbook theory posits that changes in the relationship between how much consumers are willing to pay, on the one hand, and their perception of the value they are receiving, on the other, underpins behavioral changes. As the exhibit shows, if consumers perceive enough value in a premium-brand product (Product A), they will favor it over the product of a more basic brand (Product B), despite the premium product’s higher price. In a recession, though, consumers become less willing to pay more–the slope of the demand line flattens, and the preferences of some consumers begin to shift from Product A to Product B.

Read the entire article How The Recession Has Changed U.S. Consumer Behavior

Impact on your business

Consumer sentiment has definitely changed in the past 18 months. Consumers are looking for value with all of their purchases – both necessary and for enjoyment. The important thing to remember is that consumers are not simply looking for the lowest priced item in any competitive market. Consumers are looking for the best value at any level of the price chain as it makes sense for their purchasing ability. Consumers are willing to spend more money today on an item they know will last long and provide value for the longer-term.

In your marketing efforts in 2010, work to show your customers the value in the purchases they make from your business. Don’t worry about the prices your charge if they are higher than your competition. Focus your email and Website copy instead on the value for your customer.

What will make your customer feel good about their purchase?

Marketers: Expect A Return To Core Brand Value–And Values–In 2010

From Forbes (Jan. 2009):

Consumers want brands with four ”goods”: Good taste, good for health, good for the wallet and good for the planet.

Call it 2010. Call it twenty-ten, or even 2K10. No matter how you refer to the last year of the first decade of the 21st Century, everyone in the marketing is wondering what the past few sobering years will mean for brands and consumer behavior.

It doesn’t take a seer, or even a branding professional, to declare that consumers will continue to demand value, no matter which direction the economy goes. Consumers have learned–some the hard way–that financial discipline is a must. They will also demand that the values practiced by the companies with which they choose to do business are good and honest and trustworthy. And lest any company thinks it can put one over on anyone, a text, a blog, a YouTube video or a Tweet will quickly prove otherwise.

While I’m on online trends, I believe we’ll see a survival-of-the-strongest scenario in social media sites. The only bet I’m willing to make is the continuing growth and popularity of Google  ( GOOG –  news  –  people ) and Twitter. My sense is that before the end of the next year we’ll see some jump-balls between a number of other well-known social networks. People are busy. Consumers will become more selective, looking for digital brands that offer unparalleled usefulness and connectivity, along with rich content and multiple relevant applications. On the business side, I expect that more and more companies will rely on social technology to encourage collaboration between employees, and collaboration with customers. And they’ll turn to sites and applications that provide them the same usefulness and efficiency.

Read the entire article Marketers: Expect A Return To Core Brand Value–And Values–In 2010

Impact on your business

While financial discipline is a must for consumers and businesses, the mindset of consumers is always to consume within their own comfortable levels of risk. The triggers for emotional rationalization will change in 2010 as consumers look for different reasons to make purchases for items they need and want.

Consumers are saving their money more while still looking for ways to make life enjoyable. While consumers tighten their belts on some of the big purchases and look to cut back on some debt, they’re still looking to make purchases where they perceive there is value.

This added value will likely come in the form of a sacrifice by your business. It may mean that you’ll have to discount a price on a guided hunting trip or that you’ll have to find a way to manufacture your hunting products more cost effectively while making your customer feel like they are getting great value for their money.

Industry News

Tourism Industry Still Dealing With Cautious Consumers

From Gallup (Dec. 2009):

While half of Americans foresee no change in their travel spending in 2010 compared to 2009, a larger proportion plan to spend less in the coming year than say they will spend more. That deficit is particularly high relative to air travel and hotel stays. However, even the percentage of Americans saying they will spend less on vacations in general exceeds those saying they will spend more by a slight margin, 27% vs. 22%.

In addition to broad changes in vacation spending, nearly 3 out of 10 Americans — 29% — plan to spend less on airline flights specifically in 2010 than they did in 2009, while 16% say they will spend more, and about half say they will spend about the same. The same pattern is seen for hotel stays, with 30% planning to spend less and 16% planning to spend more.

Read the entire article Tourism Industry Still Dealing With Cautious Consumers

Impact on your business

Travel and tourism mirrors the hunting industry. Hunters often travel many hours to their hunting camps each year or travel around the country and world for a chance to take a guided hunt at trophy game.

It’s good to see that Americans are looking to continue spend money on travel and leisure in the coming years. It’s not unexpected that Americans are looking to spend less – they’re looking for trips and vacations that offer value. People want to have a good experience for the money.

If your hunting business can perceive value, you can attract these consumers.

Web Design Trends

Web Design Trends for 2010

From Web Design Ledger (Nov. 2009):

1| Oversized Logos/Headers

2| Sketch/Hand-drawn Design

3| Slab Typefaces

4| Typography

5| One Page Layouts

6| Huge Images

7| Change of Perspective

8| Interactive/Intuitive Design

9| Modal Boxes

10| Minimalism

11| Oversized Footer

12| Retro

13| Intro Boxes

14| Magazine Layouts

Read the entire article Web Design Trends for 2010

Impact on your business

If you’re thinking about redeveloping your hunting business Website for the 2010 hunting season then now is the time to start the process.

The process for a redevelopment takes a few months to implement and you’ll want to have all the bugs worked out in plenty of time for the summer spending season when hunters are spending money in anticipation of the fall hunting season. You’ll also want to be prepared for the spending in the fall as hunters purchase the gear they will need for their hunting strategies.

For more, please see 50 Best Hunting Website Designs for examples of quality hunting Website design.

Conclusions

Today’s customers are looking for trust around every corner.

In 2010, you’ll want to show the emotional value that will allow consumers to rationalize purchasing your products and services. Will your business leave your customer feeling positive about their purchase today and for the long-term?

Consumers are saving and changing their spending habits, but their desire to consume remains. Communicate with your customers today and earn their trust as a valuable resource and they’ll reward you with their hard-saved dollars.

It’s a new consumer market, but the dollars are still out there to be had.

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

The Top 50 Hunting Blog Posts of 2009

Did you read these posts in 2009?

Happy Puppy

In the spirit of giving this Christmas season, I thought it would be appropriate to share with you some links to hunting blog posts…

As 2009 ends, I thought I’d list the Top 50 Hunting Blog Posts from the past year. These posts were all successful in attracting readers and comments while adding value to the online hunting world.

Enjoy.

These are in no particular order

1| Bowhunting.com

Website: Bowhunting.com

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: Huge Monster 192”: A Two Year Adventure

2| Bowhunting.com

Website: Bowhunting.com

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: Fixed Blade vs. Mechanical Broadheads – The Great Debate

3| Bowhunting.com

Website: Bowhunting.com

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: Bowhunting Success in Illinois – The Creek Buck

4| Whitetail 365

Website: Whitetail 365

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: Whitetail Are Tougher Than You Think

5| Whitetail 365

Website: Whitetail 365

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: Portable No-Trespassing Signs?

6| FS Huntress

Website: Field Notes

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: Hunters Who Happen to Be Women

7| FS Huntress

Website: FS Huntress

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: Q&A, Angela Wilson, Taxidermist

8| Field Notes

Website: Field Notes

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: Environmentalists on Hunters

9| Outdoors International

Website: Outdoors International

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: Building Trail, Fishing & Wolves

10| Base Camp Legends

Website: Base Camp Legends

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: Idaho Archery Bull

11| Cabela’s – Outdoor Info

Website: Cabelas – Outdoor Info

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: Hunting Techniques – Stand Hunting

12| Team Huntress

Website: Team Huntress

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: Stick to Your Guns

13| A Blessed Crazy Life

Website: A Blessed Crazy Life

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: A Boy’s First Deer

14| Ben G. Outdoors

Website: Ben G. Outdoors

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: Trout Fishing Part 5 (Final)

15| Desert Rat

Website: Desert Rat

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: Desert Rat Talks With Laura Francese

16| Doubletough Outdoors

Website: Doubletough Outdoors

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: Got Hunts? Bet Your Boar He Does

17| Grow the Hunt

Website: Grow the Hunt

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: Making Summer Successful

18| Muskoka Outdoors

Website: Muskoka Outdoors

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: Coyote Closely

19| NorCal Cazadora

Website: NorCal Cazadora

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: Woot! I got my first woodie today!

20| Native Hunt Blog

Website: Native Hunt Blog

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: The Trophy at the Table – More Than a Mount

21| The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles

Website: The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: Instincts and Hunting

22| Outdoors With Othmar Vohringer

Website: Outdoors With Othmar Vohringer

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: The Pink Wave

23| Outdoor Freaks

Website: Outdoor Freaks

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: A Summer on the Porch

24| Wild Ed’s Texas Outdoors

Website: Wild Ed’s Texas Outdoors

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: European Skull Mounts the Texas Way

25| Wildlife Callers

Website: Wildlife Callers

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: Scouting + Calling = Wildlife Photography Results

26| Michael Waddell

Website: Michael Waddell

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: Sounds, Smells, and Feelings That Make Me Feel Great

27| David Blanton

Website: David Blanton

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: A Crazy Turkey Hunt

28| High Country Archer

Website: High Country Archer

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: Stacey Scores

29| The Hunter’s Wife

Website: The Hunter’s Wife

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: Chris Brogan’s Failed Attempt at Bowhunting

30| The Hunter’s Wife

Website: The Hunter’s Wife

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: My 6 Point Whitetail Deer

31| Whitetail Woods

Website: Whitetail Woods

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: A Muzzleloading hunt to Remember

32| Hunting Life

Website: Hunting Life

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: Is High Fence Hunting Offensive?

33| Hunting Life

Website: Hunting Life

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: Another Tactic for the Rut, Hunt the Does

34| Wired to Hunt

Website: Wired to Hunt

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: How to Become a Hunting Guide

35| Wired to Hunt

Website: Wired to Hunt

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: Jumping the String

36| Deer Hunting Big Bucks

Website: Deer Hunting Big Bucks

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: Scent Control, Wind Direction, and Better Deer Hunting

37| Deer Hunting Big Bucks

Website: Deer Hunting Big Bucks

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: Deer Hunting With Dogs

38| Winded Bowhunter

Website: Winded Bowhunter

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: Turkey Rappers

39| Live Hunt

Website: Live Hunt

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: Bull Down!

40| Jake’s Outdoors

Website: Jake’s Outdoors

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: Starting Them Young…

41| Hunting With Mike

Website: Hunting With Mike

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: Nature and Little Girls

42| Moose Droppings

Website: Moose Droppings

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: Tundra Swan Hunt in Washington County

43| My Hunting Buddies

Website: My Hunting Buddies

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: HEVI*SHOT® Product Review

44| Deer Passion

Website: Deer Passion

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: What Do You Dislike About the Outdoors

45| Long Ridge Deer Camp

Website: Long Ridge Deer Camp

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: Almost Muzzle Loading Season, and How NOT to Book an Out of State Hunt…

46| Simply Outdoors

Website: Simply Outdoors

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: Hunting Can Be a Cure

47| The Maine Outdoorsman

Website: The Maine Outdoorsman Blog

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: Mr. President’s NEW Waders

48| The Deer Tree

Website: The Deer Tree

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: My 2009 Gear Wish List

49| LowCountry Hunting

Website: LowCountry Hunting

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: Lowcountry Rut Cranks Up

50| Rob’s Hunting Journal

Website: Rob’s Hunting Journal

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: First Day of Fall Pheasant Wreath

Please feel free to share your top posts in the comments.

What to read next on Hunting Business Marketing

Hunting Blog Post Title Ideas Part 1

Reviews of Remarkable Hunting Blog Posts

The Top Hunting Blogs Part 2

What to read next on the Web

The Top 50 SEO Posts of the Year – 2009 Edition

10 Reasons Your Small Business Should Have a Blog

45 Blog Post Ideas That Always Generate Buzz

Image courtesy of Emery_Way

5 Business Mistakes You Can Learn From

Learn from the mistakes of others to find success

Rainbow

Image courtesy of Nicholas_T

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

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

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

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

1| Failure to Address Customer Concerns in Comments

Singing

Image courtesy of Solitaire Miles

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

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

Are the competitors addressing these customer frustrations?

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

2| Full Contest Participation

Silence

Image courtesy of circo de invierno ⑲ ~

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

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

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

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

3| Responding on Twitter

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Many companies are starting to use Twitter.

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

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

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

4| Utilizing Reviews/Testimonials

Fire Flower

Image courtesy of Reinante El Pintor de Fuego

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

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

5| Showcasing the Amazingness of Customers

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

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

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

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

The Real Lesson

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

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

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Use Bounce Back Offers to Get Repeat and New Business

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

Levenger Sketch Book

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

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

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

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

Loyalty

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New Products and Services

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

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

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

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

Partnerships

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

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

Please share your ideas in the comments below.

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