Trophy Score | Business Review

Trophy Score for the iPhone by Anchorpoint

Two Whitetail Does

Chip of Anchorpoint contacted me about an iPhone app that he and his business have created for trophy hunters. He introduced me to Trophy Score – an application that takes you through a step-by-step process for scoring your hunting trophies.

I thought it would be valuable to go through the app while taking a look at Anchorpoint as a business and look for ways Chip and his team could possibly market their business.

Chip sent me a coupon (Trophy Score App is $4.99) and I was on my way.

I didn’t ask Chip for any direction up front as I wanted to go through the Trophy Score process as the simpleton that I am.

Let’s get into it…

Trophy Score

Anchorpoint Outdoors

After getting the info from Chip for Trophy Score, I went to my significant other for some assistance. Using her iPhone, she quickly loaded up Trophy Score and handed over the phone for me to play with.

I went to the living room by my trophy whitetail buck (it’s a trophy in my eyes) and began working with Trophy Score to score my buck.

Dayne Shuda Buck

It took me about 45 to 60 minutes to get through scoring my buck.

Trophy Score was extremely simple to use. There are easy help directions for each section of the scoring procedure. It was easy to enter in my measurements. The 1/8 button made it even simpler and faster.

And at the end Trophy Score calculated my score and it came out to 117 4/8. I was extremely proud.

Trophy Score

I would give Trophy Score 9/10 for simplicity and ease of use.

It’s truly a great product for hunting enthusiasts.

Anchorpoint Marketing Suggestions

Trophy Score and Trophy Score Fishing

Now let’s get into the business and marketing areas of Anchorpoint and their original product, Trophy Score.

I think Anchorpoint has a great product in Trophy Score. It’s simple, which is one of the things I value highly. It’s easy to use and straightforward in its purpose.

The next step for success for Anchorpoint is effective marketing.

By reaching out to bloggers, Anchorpoint is taking a very important step in marketing their product. Anchorpoint reached out to me and offered me something of value – their app, which was valuable to me because I’m a diehard hunter who has never been able to score his trophy plus they gave me access to the app free of charge.

In return, Anchorpoint is getting a mention on a blog with similar audience – hunters and hunting business owners.

Continue on this path of reaching out to bloggers while offering not only free app access, but also by offering advice on scoring trophy game and other areas of expertise.

The team at Anchorpoint could write guest posts on hunting blogs that focus on scoring trophy game – the process, the records, the history of the record organizations (Boone & Crockett, Pope & Young, etc.), the story of record animals and the hunters who have harvested them.

I would also get in contact with influencers in the hunting industry that have online influence and technology influence and offer them something of value.

Focus on the things that allow those who you contact to share their experience with you on a blog or in a forum or in an email newsletter. You don’t have to expect that everybody does a blog post review on Trophy Score – some will because they want to return the value, but all may not.

Even focus on getting in touch with outdoor bloggers who are rising in the online hunting industry as they are hungry to get good content and eager to connect with influential leaders in hunting business.

Focus on reaching out and offering value first and the rest should fall into place including links, write-ups, recommendations, etc.

Summary

Anchorpoint has a great product in Trophy Score. I was impressed with how easy it was to use and how simple yet eye-pleasing the app was. It’s a great product with great potential as tech-savvy hunters catch on with the advantages of mobile and online applications especially when it comes to scoring a trophy and sharing the score with peers.

Anchorpoint as a business is also doing things well to market Trophy Score. They reached out to me and offered something of value (access to Trophy Score). In return I wrote about the business and the product as I experienced it. I was very satisfied to figure out the score of my personal trophy and passionate people like to share news online.

The more Anchorpoint focuses on reaching out to influencers and up-and-coming bloggers and hunters on the Web the more success they will find over the long-term with marketing Trophy Score.

What to read next on Hunting Business Marketing

Successful Business Highlight – Smashing Magazine

What to Chris Burget and Garth Brooks Have in Common

Social Media Strategy – Levenger

What to read next on the Web

This is How You Pitch a Blogger

How to Create Successful Product Websites that People Love

You Can Make Money Online Doing Anything You Want

Image courtesy of FreeWine

Ways to Make Money with Your Website

Businesses demand results for their time and money

Money Clip

image credit: re-ality

This is a follow-up to Ways to Increase Traffic

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

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

Let’s take a look at making money online…

Difficulty

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

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

More than Drive

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

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

Improve Your Offer

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

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

So what can you do to stand out?

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

What are those things?

Please read the entire post Better Than Free.

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

1| Immediacy

2| Personalization

3| Interpretation

4| Authenticity

5| Accessibility

6| Embodiment

7| Patronage

8| Findability

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

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

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

Other Revenue Sources (Don’t limit yourself)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Can you think of any other ideas?

Summary

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

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

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

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

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

See ‘Join our affiliate program’.

Resources on the Web

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

Posts include:

The #1 Reason My Blogging Grew Into a Business

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

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

How to Make Money Blogging

How Bloggers Make Money from Blogs

How I Make Money Blogging

Adsense Tips for Bloggers 1

How Much Do I Earn From Blogging

Related posts on Hunting Business Marketing

Paid Advertising – Adsense vs. Facebook (forum)

Keep Your Hunting Website Simple

Sportsmen of North America and Magnum Hunt Club

Ways to Increase Traffic

It’s the number one question for Website owners and managers

Long Exposure Traffic

image credit: Nelson D.

Part of the process for Comment and Receive a Copy of Hunting Business Marketing | The Book was to leave your frustration in the comments. The comments you left were great and I think we’re going to get some great blog posts as a result.

First, a big thanks to those who commented:

Ben G of Ben G Outdoors

JoAnna Zurinsky of My Bullet Points

Marc Reindell of Wildlife Callers

Scott Solar of Shotgunner.la

Willie of Outdoor Freaks

Native of Native Hunt (HBM Member)

Terri Lee of Camp Wild Girls

Rudy Hassall of Winded Bowhunter

There were two themes concerning frustrations in the comments:

1| Increase traffic, gain more followers, gain more subscribers, etc

2| Making money with a blog or Website

Let’s address these two frustrations with a two-part series starting with increasing traffic.

Stay tuned for the follow up…

Ways to Increase Traffic to Your Website

This is definitely the most asked question of any business owner looking to expand their Web presence. Getting traffic (and quality traffic) to your Website is something that will drive revenue for your business and expand your Web presence, which means connections that can turn into long-term business partnerships.

My view for getting traffic has been that there are generally two ways for most Websites and businesses to acquire visitors:

1| Save time and pay with money

2| Save money and pay with time

The exceptions to these rules are the sites that find a way to really connect and capture the attention of a wide variety of Web users who become passionate about what the site is doing and promote it on their own simply through their passion.

Even those sites take a lot of time (and potentially money) to setup their success…and even then nothing is guaranteed.

It’s probably not what you wanted to hear, but it’s the truth. And it’s not a bad thing. There is a lot of opportunities to grow your site’s traffic. Some take lots of effort and time. Some take money. Some take little effort, little time, and no money.

Let’s take a look at a few things you can do to increase visitors (and quality visitors to your site)…

Before you start, check out the previous HBM articles tagged: Traffic

Spending Time

Depending on how much time you have to commit to your Web presence, there are lots of things that you can do today and continue doing for months and years that will grow your following.

Here is a list of a few of the ways:

Write Remarkable Content

It’s something that we all generally get tired of hearing, but sharing remarkable content is really what makes an impact on the Web. People on the Web like things that are interesting and make their lives more interesting or in other words they like things that make their lives more valuable – to them and to others in their lives. There’s a reason why Justin from @ShitMyDadSays (my apologies for the bad language) has over half a million followers on Twitter – his Dad says interesting things. It’s really that simple yet it’s really difficult to be interesting. But if you can be remarkable and interesting you’ll make an impact on the Web. Focus on what is interesting to your target visitors.

Comment on Other Blogs

One of the ways I’ve been able to generate some quality traffic is by commenting on other blogs. This can take some time as you learn what sites share your same target audience. It also takes time to actually read through hundreds of posts while you settle on just a few that will potentially be worth your time. Comment on those posts that have the most potential to return traffic to your site. Add value to the post you comment on – don’t waste their time.

For more see: How to Create Marketing Pull by Commenting on Other Blogs

Participate in Forums

Just like blog posting, participating in forums takes time, but can lead to lots of traffic for your Website. Just as with a blog, you get to leave your URL so those who find your comments in the forum interesting can find their way to your site by clicking on your username and finding your other remarkable content. It takes time, but it’s worth it if you target the correct forums.

For more see: How to Properly Use Forums

Internal Linking

One of the things that takes some time, but really is worth the time investment is internal linking. If you’ve been reading this post you’ve probably noticed that I’ve linked to a few posts as well as other areas on HBM. It’s not only a way to provide value to visitors by expanding on thoughts, but it increases page views and time spent on site per user.

External Linking

If you read the blog posts on HBM you’ll also notice that I link to at least three posts not on HBM. I also occasionally link to sites and posts throughout my own posts. This has been a great way to increase the traffic to my site for two reasons:

1| When you link to other blogs and sites the owner each particular blog and site often gets a notice of your link and they are often curious about who is linking to them. They check out your site and you have a potential reader

2| Most blogs have pingbacks or trackbacks. These blogs allow their readers to view who is linking to their post (it shows how popular their post is) and those readers have the option to click on your link. More traffic.

Link to posts that are relevant off your own site and start making valuable connections.

For more see: Make Every Post a Link Post

Guest Posting

New bloggers need to consider guest posting as a way to drive traffic. Most successful bloggers find their most growth as a result of guest posting. While it seems that you’d be giving away great content to other sites when you guest post, you’re actually borrowing the attention of other bloggers and interjecting your knowledge and interesting character to potential readers of your blog. Provide valuable content to other blogs and look to expand your audience.

For more see: Grow Your Followers like a Country Music Singer

Spending Money

Businesses that have sufficient budgets to gain quality traffic have many options for making an impact on the Web. Most programs on the Web that require payment can still stay within a smaller budget. The impact generally increases exponentially the more you are able to spend and reinvest as you gain sales.

Here are a few of the best ways to utilize your budget:

Ad Words

When it comes to advertising and getting quality return for your dollar, Google is always a good bet. Many businesses, in many areas of industry, have had success driving traffic and sales via Google AdWords. The program is very simple and has the biggest company and smartest individuals working to increase its effectiveness. You can spend as little or as much as you want.

Facebook Advertising

I’ve found success with Facebook Advertising. The technology has gotten more useful over time and I think they’re going in great directions with mining all of their immense user data. I found more success for driving traffic for a membership site similar to Facebook (free membership) than I have for driving sales or anything paid. Perhaps you will find more success.

For more see: How to Use Facebook Advertising (Subscribers Only – Join for $20)

StumbleUpon Advertising

I have never actually used StumbleUpon Advertising, but based on the success I’ve had with natural traffic via StumbleUpon (see below) I’m guessing it’s pretty impactful and beneficial. Check it out and let us know if you have success driving revenue and profit for your business.

Affiliates

There are many sites on the Web that are dedicated to driving traffic and driving sales for businesses that sell things via the Web. If you have something to sell, look into the technology available to develop an affiliate program (Commission Junction is one). It’s a good way to give up a little margin in return for more unit sales.

SEO Provider/Service

Sometimes paying to learn can be most beneficial for your specific business. It takes a certain person who is willing to take both the time and monetary investment to go out and participate in learning atmospheres. There are many SEO providers/services out there who will work for you to not only do your Paid Advertising and Natural Traffic for you, but they’ll teach you techniques that will benefit you in the long-term. Consider these as options if you’re willing to spend both time and money for long-term gain.

Contests

People are always looking for deals. If you have access to prizes, try a few contests as ways to get followers, sales, email addresses, etc.

Simple Changes

Some good news for you – there are things you can do to potentially increase your traffic right now that will potentially impact the number of people visiting your site, increase the time those individuals spend on your site, and increase the number of pages those individuals view per visit.

Here are a few of the simple things you can do now to increase your traffic:

Stumble Upon

One of the things I’ve had success with for one-off traffic is StumbleUpon. The traffic I’ve received from StumbleUpon has generally come fast once a page on the site has been stumbled and that traffic has lasted anywhere from about an hour up to about 24 hours. StumbleUpon and its users are very effective at choosing the best content on the Web per my observation. It’s generally my higher quality content that gets stumbled and also receives the most visits after being stumbled. I have also noticed that photos are something the users of StumbleUpon like to see. Almost all of the posts in the Flickr Creative Commons Series have had success with getting traffic via StumbleUpon.

For more details, please read: A Comprehensive Guide to StumbleUpon

Twitter

I use Twitter as a way to drive contests, traffic to posts, and other things. I also use Twitter to share the content of others. I try to share others’ content more than my own so I’m not spamming too much. Twitter takes some time and effort, but the return I’ve seen in connections alone would be well worth the investment. The monetary return I’ve seen has been an added bonus.

Join Twitter and look to make connections by adding value any way you can.

Improve Your Titles

Titles are important to driving traffic to your blog and site. The Cosmo Headline Strategy is a great way to write remarkable and eye-catching titles for your posts. Usually, someone’s first introduction to your site is a title on a search engine result or a title on someone’s site. Consider the things that will entice people to click while remembering that the title still has to be truthful in what your post will provide.

Write Content that Visitors can Scan

Web users love to scan content. There is so much content on the Web that people need to scan most of it before they decide if they will read your arguments on topics. Use headlines, sections and call-outs to make your content easy for people to scan. If your write strong lists and strong headings you’ll get people to stop and pay attention.

For more see: 42 Marketing Lists from The Future Buzz

Highlight Others

One of the most successful ways I’ve been able to make connections on the Web and thus drive traffic has been highlighting the success of others. When you participate in social media like Twitter or when you’re writing content for a blog post, write about how amazing and remarkable others are. Write about the folks who may be wanting for some attention and who are looking to make connections. Feed their appetites and see your traffic increase as the conversation about you spreads.

For more see: Highlight Others

More Resources on the Web

New Bloggers: Need Traffic?

25 Ways to Build Your Community

Ad Swaps: A Smart and Easy Way to Get Free Traffic

Related posts on Hunting Business Marketing

5 Simple Ways to Increase Traffic on Your Website

How to Drive Visitors Deep Into Your Website

The NFL Guide to Website Traffic

Related posts on the Web

Three simple actions that doubled my website traffic in 30 days

How to Find Readers for Your Blog

How I’d Promote My Blog If I Were Starting Out Again

The Sports Bottom Line Ticker Strategy

ESPN knows how to keep your interest

Multiple Computer Screens

image credit: totalAldo

I’m not sure if ESPN was the originator, but the world’s most popular sports news network knows how to keep their viewers’ attention even when their current segment isn’t that interesting.

The bottom line sports ticker was a great way to keep viewers’ attention with updates even if a particular set of the audience isn’t interested in the main story being addressed by the sportscasters.

The strategy worked well with sports fans as most only want updates on their team. If the main story being headlined had to do with anything other than some viewers’ team, those viewers were likely to look to other sources for updates on how their team was doing. With the sports ticker, those fans could stay tuned to a particular staying waiting for their teams’ update and score to scroll across the bottom. It was a great way for sports stations to keep viewers by providing a value-adding service.

Online Websites are starting to take notice to the bottom line sports ticker of TV stations like ESPN by broadcasting updates and promoting other content with a ticker or some kind of update section while the main content is still being headlined.

Let’s take a look at a few of the sites that are taking advantage of the ticker update and look at a few ways you can take advantage of the ticker strategy for your own blog or Website.

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One Site Using the Ticker

Some Websites understand that keeping the attention of visitors is important to driving revenue. As a result, these sites are using strategies to that add value to what a visitor may value even when the interests vary from person to person.

National Football Post

The National Football Post entered a competitive arena when they started providing expert commentary and news updates for NFL fans on the Web.

The site has had impressive growth since its launch due in large part to their unique expert commentary from various experts and view points in the world of the NFL:

* Player Perspective – Matt Bowen – Former NFL Safety

* Executive Perspective – Michael Lombardi – Player Personnel

* Executive Perspective – Andrew Brandt – Contract Negotiator and Salary Cap Expert

* Agent Perspective – Jack Bechta – NFL Player Agent

About a year after the site launched they did design overall and introduced their version of the update ticker.

National Football Post Ticker

The bottom line ticker of the National Football Post scrolls through the news updates that the site updates regularly with news from around the NFL. The ticker is always at the bottom of every viewer’s screen (unless the viewer closes the large version of the ticker). As I mentioned before, NFP provides expert articles and podcasts for NFL fans and these articles are their main attraction. For an example read:

The High Cost of Concussions

However, certain NFL fans are going to visit the site looking for news related to their team. While the biggest news of the day is usually covered in the headline section of the site and while other important news is highlighted to the right of the page under Hot News & Rumors there are still updates that certain viewers want to see.

This is where the National Football Post implements their bottom screen ticker. Fans can come to the NFP, read their articles while watching the bottom ticker for news updates on their favorite team.

Ways to Take Advantage

Every blog and Website can become a source of news and updates by shaping their own form of the bottom line ticker.

The ticker doesn’t have to be at the bottom of the Web page and it doesn’t have to be as up-to-the-minute as the ESPN ticker. What your site’s version of the ticker has to provide is short snapshots of content that your viewers will find valuable.

One of the easiest ways to do this is to use embed the Twitter Widget on your site. If you regularly provide valuable updates via your Twitter feed, you can embed your update widget on your site. This way, while your visitors are reading your headline content, they can see what your last few Twitter updates have been. Perhaps the main article just isn’t of interest to them as they get deeper into the article (it happens and it’s alright), but they see that you’ve highlighted an article from your archives on Twitter and their interest is again piqued. Perhaps they’ll click on the link from the embedded Twitter feed and go to the archive.

There are lots of ways to highlight content on your site while your readers are reading your current content. You could have an area to the side of your blog posts that continually scrolls through your archives, popular posts, most commented posts, etc. You could have a bottom line ticker like the National Football Post has, but yours could scroll through the best comments on your site. This would be a great way to highlight your readers.

The only limit to what you can do is your own imagination.

Summary

The benefit of using something like a bottom line ticker is to provide value to your visitors when they may not be interested in the current content you’re highlighting on your site.

ESPN has used their bottom line ticker to provide updates, including scoring updates, to their viewers so that viewers don’t change the channel when all they want is an update on their favorite team.

The National Football Post has taken this cue from ESPN and implemented their own version of the bottom ticker on their page. The NFP version provides hot news and rumors from around the NFL so that while visitors are reading the in-depth articles written by the expert staff they can still stay updated on what’s happening around the NFL including news about their favorite teams.

You can use the bottom line ticker strategy for your own site. Visitors won’t always be interested in your current highlighted content, but don’t lose their interest completely. Highlight your content in other ways to keep their attention.

Keeping interest will lead to growth with your site while providing value to your visitors.

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Related posts on Hunting Business Marketing

The NFL Guide to Website Traffic

3 Mistakes You Should Avoid on the Web

The Convenience Store Guide to Blogging

Related posts on the Web

The Reasons Why People Subscribe To Content

How to Blog Almost Every Day

What Do My Traffic Sources Indicate

How to Use Facebook Advertising

Facebook Advertising can be an effective way to acquire quality customers

Facebook Advertising

After the recent discussion in the forum, Paid Advertising – Facebook AdSense vs. Facebook, I thought it would useful to go through Facebook Advertising to show both how to use the paid advertising service as well as to see how effective an ad campaign can be for a hunting business.

For more detailed How-to instructions for Facebook Advertising please see Facebook Ads Help Center.

Let’s dive right into the step-by-step process for creating a Facebook Ad Campaign. I’ll set up a campaign for Hunting Business Marketing…

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Facebook Advertising Campaign

Starting out with objectives for an ad campaign is essential or tracking results and determining the success of the effort.

My objectives for this short-term Hunting Business Marketing Facebook Advertising effort is to get:

1| Additional traffic

2| Comments

3| RSS subscribers (long-term readers)

4| A new Member

Since this is a small campaign, I’d be happy with a few new visitors and potentially a comment on one of the free articles.

Let’s look at how to setup of the campaign…

The Hunting Business Marketing Campaign

Facebook focuses on making the features on their site simple, but if you have any questions about setting up a campaign for your own business that aren’t included in this guide, please ask them in the comments.

Visit Facebook

Click for sharper images

Welcome to Facebook

Login

Login to Facebook

Click Advertising

Facebook Advertising

Facebook Ad Manager

Facebook Advertising Manager

Click Create Ad

Create Ad

1. Design Your Ad

Design Your Ad

URL

Enter the URL for the specific page on your site you would like your visitors from Facebook to land on when they arrive at your site. I’m picking my Welcome to Hunting Business Marketing page because it’s designed to get new visitors introduced to relevant content.

You could create a page on your site dedicated specifically for Facebook users if you want. You could create an ad for your photo gallery and enter the URL of your gallery.

Ad Title

Here is one limitation – I wanted to put Grow Your Hunting Business or Hunting Business Marketing for the Ad Title, but Facebook limits the characters. I’ll have to be more innovative.

Ad Title Character Limit

Ad Body Text

I entered a short description of what Hunting Business Marketing provides. The text you include is important because you only want to entice your target customers to click on the ad. This will give you the best chance of converting.

Ad Image

I added the logo here. You can include your logo or any other relevant image.

Design Your Ad Step 1

2. Targeting

Location

You can choose the location you would like to target.

Age

Depending on your business, age may play a part in your ad targeting.

Keywords

This is an important section. Try typing in hunting. Make sure to click on All next to the Education section below first. As you can see, there are lots of hunters on Facebook. This means that there are currently about 650,000 to 700,000 people on Facebook, over age 18, in the United States or Canada, who like hunting enough to include it in there profile.

Hunters on Facebook

I’m going to use the following parameters for the Hunting Business Marketing Campaign:

United States or Canada

Age 18 or older

Who like hunting

3. Campaigns and Pricing

Campaigns and Pricing

Campaign Name

I’m going to call this campaign Hunting Business Marketing.

Daily Budget

My Daily Budget is going to be $10.

Schedule

I’m going to run this ad for one day so I’m going to choose to Run my ad only during specified dates.

I’m going to pay for clicks.

Max Bid

Now, the suggested bid range for the keyword hunting is on the high side – $0.80 to $0.92 USD. I’m going to go right at the top with $0.92 so my ad will have a good chance of being shown. This means my ad will likely get only 11 clicks for the day (October 3 through October 4) I’m going to run the campaign.

Hunting Business Marketing Campaign and Pricing

Click Create

Once your information is all filled in you can create your ad.

Hunting Business Marketing Campaign and Pricing Create

Review Ad and Make Payment

Check to make sure your ad is as you would like, enter your payment information and make your payment.

I’ll be running my ad for one day at the rate of $10.

Review Ad and Make Payment

The ad is now active, but pending review from Facebook. Once it’s approved it will begin showing up on the pages viewed by users on Facebook who are interested in hunting. (Approval may take a few hours)

Ad Pending Review

Tracking Results

To track the results of this ad campaign, let’s go back to the original objectives:

1| Additional traffic

2| Comments

3| RSS subscribers (long-term readers)

4| A new Member

After a few hours you will receive an approval.

Facebook Ad Approved Email

Now comes the fun part!

Check out the analysis of the campaign on your Ad Manager screen.

Ad Manager

After analyzing the results of the Hunting Business Marketing Facebook Campaign, I realize that it wasn’t much of a success. I got the projected clicks I expected – got a few visitors and potential readers, but as far as acquiring customers it didn’t get the ultimate results.

However, your initiatives with Facebook Advertising will differ so you should definitely experiment. I will probably continue testing various things with Facebook Advertising.

Things to consider

Some things to consider when becoming active with Facebook Paid Advertising include:

1| Time of Day/Week/Year

2| The Nature of Facebook Users

3| Limitations

4| Advantages

The time of day, week, and even year is important when you’re thinking about your goals for your Facebook ad campaign. Think about when your potential customers are likely to be using Facebook: Morning, night, evening? Are the users you’re targeting likely on their computers during the week during breaks at work or are they using it on the weekends while at home? Maybe they’re not using it on the weekends because they’re business hunting. Also consider that the Facebook user you’re targeting might more inclined to click on a hunting product or service ad as hunting season is approaching rather than when their favorite hunting is out of season.

Thinking about the HBM campaign, it seems that the nature of Facebook users probably is not who should be targeted. If there was a way to target users who owned hunting businesses Facebook Advertising may prove more beneficial for HBM, but until then it seems like it might not be the best marketing option. However, Facebook users are familiar with using features like photos and free community sites so if you’re hunting business revolves around this format you might find success.

As I mentioned a few times above, there are limitations to Facebook Advertising: keyword targeting (and vs. or), character limits, etc. These are limitations to consider as you experiment with the advertising opportunity with Facebook.

While Facebook Advertising has its limitations, Facebook has been proactive in becoming business friendly over the past couple years as they’ve continued to improve their ad campaign platform as well as adding things like Facebook Pages, etc. I expect there to be lots of advantages for hunting businesses in the future beyond the advantages you have today: keyword targeting, spending limits, large user base, etc.

Summary

Overall, I would say this Facebook ad campaign for Hunting Business Marketing was good in the sense that it was a learning experience, but ineffective in my objectives. Even for the little effort it took to create the ad, it seems that the target customer of Hunting Business Marketing is not on Facebook. There are probably better opportunities elsewhere for HBM. However, there may be opportunity to target for HBM if I were allowed to select users with hunting and business as interested rather than users with hunting or business. I think this would make a big difference for target the specific customer of HBM. This was a small test for HBM, but there were interesting results.

I hope your results turn out a little better with Facebook Advertising.

Please share your experiences in the comments or in the Hunting Business Marketing Forum.

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Related posts on Hunting Business Marketing

Paid vs. Natural Traffic: It’s like Baiting vs. Funnel Hunting for Deer – Part 1

Hunting Industry Stats

How Small Hunting Businesses Can Beat the Big Competition

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How to Write a Blog Post

I was never good in English class

Fountain Pen

image credit: L_Dan

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

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

20 Steps to Starting Your Hunting Business Blog

The First 4 Days of Your New Hunting Blog

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

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

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

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

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A Short Story

I struggled in my high school English class.

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

Or maybe I was just little bit lazy.

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

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

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

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

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

Starting with a Title

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

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

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

Use Others to Find Motivation

The Convenience Store Guide to Blogging

How to Create Marketing Pull by Commenting on Other Blogs

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

The Cosmo Headline Technique for Blogging Inspiration

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

7 Unconventional Web Tools and Resources for Your Marketing Initiatives

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here is another one:

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

HBM’s Title: 8 Lessons All Outfitters Should Teach

Your Title: 8 Hunting Lessons All Parents Should Teach

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

One last example:

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

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

Your Title: Your Shortcut to 150-Class Whitetail

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

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

Let the Topic Grow From the Title

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

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

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

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

Outline

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

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

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

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

Fill in the Blanks

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

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

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

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

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

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

Edit, Link, and Publish

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Share

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

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

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

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

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

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

Summary

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

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

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

1| Web users like to scan

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

3| Web users like images

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

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

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

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

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How to Get Subscribers for Your Email List

The secret to success is in your list

Let Me Tell You a Secret

image credit: Photo Mojo

There was a question in the forum about Email Campaign Results and Kevin of Hunting Life brought up a great point – “the hard part [of a successful campaign] is building a quality list of subscribers”.

Coming from the catalog world, I realize that the power of any successful company is their ability to build a strong list of quality customers. The power to build a list of customers who have opted into your products and services with their purchases or approval for you to contact them can make a business successful for a long time.

Building a strong subscriber base for your hunting company begins with the quality of your products and services. In order for Web users to subscribe to your email campaigns you’re going to have to gain their trust. You’re going to have to show them that you will provide valuable content within emails, whether it’s access to new information and products, exclusive promotional offers, or unique articles that relate to your business.

There are things you can do on and off your own Website that will gain the trust of your visitors and get them to sign up for your email campaign.

Let’s take a look…

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On Your Own Website

In order to build a strong subscriber base of valuable subscribers you’ll need to convert the people visiting your site. Those visitors who are coming to your site likely heard about your business via offline referral, searching a keyword phrase related to what your business does, or they followed a link from another Website (online referral of sorts).

These visitors are highly valuable as they’ve already shown an interest in what your business provides and they’ve taken the first step by visiting your site. It’s important to convert these visitors to subscribers so you can market your products and services to them via your email campaigns.

Let’s take a look at a few specific things you can do on your Website to convert visitors…

Put your sign-up in multiple places

Depending on how your Website is setup, there are many places you should be putting your email sign-up.

Here are just a few:

1| Header, right side or left side of your home page

I have seen email sign-up areas in multiple places on the home page and I’m sure all work depending on how sites test the conversion of getting subscribers. I like having the email sign-up near the top right of the home page, but I am in favor of trying it out in various places to see what works best. And what works best can change over time as well. I’ve seen it work on the left side very effectively as well. So continue testing.

For an example of the power of testing your email sign-up here is a speech by Tim Ferriss, author of The 4 Hour Workweek on how he tests various things to convert first-time visitors to long-time subscribers.

How to Build a Successful Blog [Random Findings 8:00]

2| Main pages (other than the Home page) on your site

Most Websites today have at least a few pages other than the home page such as a products/services page, a photo gallery, a blog, a contact page, possible a store, maybe product reviews, and other areas hunting businesses feel are important enough to highlight in the top navigation menu on the site.

You can take advantage of these pages by using their specific content to show a benefit to subscribe to your email campaigns. One of my favorite email campaigns is Field and Stream because they always include great headlines for awesome photos in their gallery. Field and Stream has an awesome gallery of hunting photos and they always use these photos in their emails.

You can do the same for your hunting business with your own photo gallery and you can put the call to action email campaign subscription sign-up in your photo gallery and near each photo by saying something like:

“To get updates on the latest photos in this gallery subscribe today”.

This is a powerful benefit for your visitors who are looking for amazing hunting photos. If you can show that there is a specific benefit, people will sign up because they see the value in subscribing to your email campaigns. And the best part is these people are likely to be satisfied when you actually send them updates with your email campaign that includes photos. And once that trust is there you can promote your other services and because you have the trust of the subscriber, they are likely to convert over to buyers.

Use specific calls to action on each of your site’s pages as ways to share the benefits on your site with your visitors on a deeper level via email subscription. If you have a forum, tell your users that if they subscribe you’ll share with them the hottest topics in the forum each day. If you have a page that offers your various outfitting packages, tell your visitors that if they subscribe to your email campaigns they’ll receive updates on the latest hunts you offer as well as limited time discount offers or something along those lines.

There is a lot of opportunity with specific calls to action for getting people to subscribe to your emails on your pages.

3| Blog posts

If you have a blog for your hunting business (and I suggest you do) and you have done some keyword research and you’re targeting topics that will likely attract the attention of potential customers via search, you will get some new visitors to your blog posts and your goal is to convert these people to subscribers.

One way to do this is to include a call to action at the end of your blog posts. New readers who read an entire post on your blog are likely interested in hearing more from you. After all, they made it through an entire post. This is not an easy thing for writers as Web users tend to have little patience.

Since some readers make it through an entire post, why not offer them the chance to subscribe to your email campaigns by including a benefit call to action like this:

“For the latest blog posts subscribe via email”

Don’t let your quality visitors get away without getting them to subscribe to your email campaigns.

Testing Calls to Action

As Tim Ferriss mentioned in his speech, testing is very important for getting strong conversion on your site. And this is not only true for getting new visitors to subscribe to your email campaigns, it’s important for getting new and long-time subscribers to convert as paying customers as well.

Try changing your language with your calls to action.

If the current language at the end of your blog post isn’t working:

“Sign up for blog posts via email”

Try changing it up to something new:

“Get the latest blog posts and other benefits with our email updates”

There are lots of things to test with calls to action and it takes testing to find what’s best for your specific business.

Communicate the Benefits

Earlier I touched on the importance of communicating the specific benefits readers will get from each of your site’s pages if they subscribe to your email updates (ex: photo gallery).

Here is an example of how one company, Conversion Rate Experts, shares the benefits of their email campaign with their visitors in order to convert them to subscribers.

Lots of companies do a great job of communicating the specific benefits visitors will receive if they subscribe to an email campaign.

Make sure you share the benefits of your email program with your readers and visitors and get them to convert to subscribers.

Then you’ll be able to deliver on your promises (providing them what they actually signed up for) as well as providing relevant product and service offerings.

Visit Other Websites

You’re going to get some traffic to your Website if you’re doing things like paid advertising, sharing links with other hunting Websites, paying for listing in directories, listing your business in free directories, etc, but in order to grow your own audience you’re going to have to spend some time off your site looking for other Websites that share your target audience.

There is a lot of opportunity to grow you’re the audience on your site and the size of your email list by spending time off your own Website.

Let’s take a look at a few…

Guest Posts

One of the things I enjoy doing is writing guest posts on other blogs. Here are a few examples:

Bow Hunting and Pumpkin Pie – A tragedy

How to Start and Outdoor Conservation Charity

How to Keep up with the ‘Big Boys and Girls’ on Twitter

Guest posting is a great way to introduce you and your business to someone else’s audience. And it doesn’t only benefit you it benefits the blog you’re guest posting on because you’re providing the blog owner with quality content for their site as well as providing quality content for their readers to view and discuss.

Look for other blogs and Websites that share a similar audience to the one you’re targeting for your hunting business and offer to do a guest post. Site owners and bloggers usually welcome content providers with open arms.

Here is a great how-to on guest posting from Problogger:

How to Guest Post to Promote Your Blog

Interviews

Another thing you can do to get the attention of someone else’s audience and convert them to email subscribers is to participate in interviews.

Make yourself available to be interviewed on the topics you’re the expert in – what your business provides.

Ask other site owners if they would be willing to interview you via email, phone, or video for use on their site as a way to share your expertise with their audience.

Also ask other site owners with large audiences that you would like to target if you could interview them and then allow the interviewee to share the interview on their site with their audience.

By exposing you and your business to other audiences, you’re expanding the reach of your marketing message and showing your potential customers the benefits of your business.

These are just a couple of ways you can participate off your own Website that will bring traffic to your site in ways that will likely convert people to your email list with proper calls to action. You can also do things like participate in forums, blog commenting, etc.

The possibilities are endless and only know the limit of your own creative thinking.

Always Leave a Call to Action

Now, with all of this offsite activity it’s important to remember to include calls to action so the other audiences know what they’re supposed to do now that they’re aware you and your business exist.

Make sure when you participate in discussions on other sites that you provide ways for new readers, listeners, and viewers of how they can contact you and subscribe to updates from you.

When doing guest posts, leave your Website and email subscription link so people can quickly sign-up.

When doing interviews do the same or if it’s video/audio, tell the users the address of your site and where to look for your email sign up and what they can expect when they subscribe.

The work you do off your site can go to waste without quality calls to action.

Make sure you’re converting your new audience to subscribers so you can share your quality products and services with them via your next email campaign.

Maintaining the Trust

Once you get new subscribers on your email list it’s important to deliver on the promises that you mentioned that got them to subscribe.

With email, it’s easy for people to unsubscribe to your campaigns or worse, put your emails in their spam filter.

Make sure that your emails include the content you promised like the specific benefits you may mention like:

“Subscribe for email updates that include the latest additions to the photo gallery”

Make sure everything in your emails is beneficial and valuable for your readers.

Bonus – Break Rules!

I am a fan of breaking so-called ‘rules’ or standards on the Web.

Just because I may think that the top right is the best place for your email sign-up on your home page doesn’t mean that it’s the absolute best place to put yours. Try new things that nobody else has tried. Sometimes the best way to get the attention of visitors is to catch them off guard with things that are non-standard.

I like putting the email subscription call to action at the end of my blog posts, but maybe for you it works best at the beginning.

Don’t be afraid to try new things and set your own rules with your Website. See how your visitors respond and adapt to what they’re telling you with their actions.

The beautiful thing about the Web is that it allows you to adapt quickly to the needs of your audience.

Summary

Converting visitors to email subscribers on your site is important for building long-term relationships that lead to strong sales conversions for your business on the Web.

Try a few things on your own Website like:

1| Putting your email sign-up in multiple spots

2| Testing calls to action

3| Communicating specific benefits

You’re likely to see an increase in the number of visitors you convert to subscribers on your site.

Also do some participation off your site to extend your marketing reach to other audiences.

Try things like:

1| Guest posting

2| Interviews

3| Blog commenting

Make sure to always leave strong calls to action so that your new listening audience has a way to subscribe to your email campaigns.

As your email list grows, make sure you’re following through on your promises by providing valuable content in your emails. Make sure that everything in your emails is valuable for those receiving them. It’s easy for people to unsubscribe or to put your business in the spam filter so make sure you give them a reason to open the email and click through to your Website and ultimately purchase your products and services.

The strength of your business on the Web directly relates to the quality of your subscriber base. Grow your email list with quality subscribers and you’ll see stronger sales conversions for your business.

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7 Email Marketing Observations

How Long Copy Email Can Help Your Hunting Business

How to Use Current Events and Email to Trigger Your Customer’s Buying Emotion

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7 Unconventional Web Tools and Resources for Your Marketing Initiatives

The Web is limitless

Unconventional Web Tools

image credit: net_efekt

There are tons of useful tools available for businesses of all marketing skill levels on the Web.

It can be overwhelming to attempt the task of searching for all of the marketing tools and resources relevant to your specific business and its Website so I thought it might be valuable to put together a list of a few of the more unconventional tools and resources you may not have heard about yet.

These are all resources and tools I’ve had success with for my blog and content.

I hope at least one or two are valuable for your business…

1| Stumble Upon

Stumble Upon Snapshot

I’m relatively new to Stumble Upon, but in the short time I’ve been experimenting with the service I’ve been pleasantly surprised at its ability to increase traffic (see #5).

I’ve had some of my posts stumbled by others and I’ve tried stumbling some of my own posts that I felt would be valuable to users on Stumble Upon.

After reading A Comprehensive Guide to StumbleUpon: How to Build Massive Traffic to Your Website by @DoshDosh I thought it would make the most sense to stumble my image-focused posts. It seemed like images or posts about quality images were popular on the content sharing site.

So I stumbled each of the posts included in the Flickr Creative Commons Series and had success.

Stumble Upon is probably not as unconventional as it used to be, but for some it’s probably a new and useful tool for marketing your hunting business and Website.

2| Alltop

Alltop Snapshot

One of my favorite sites/tools on the Web right now is Alltop.

Description:

Alltop is an “online magazine rack” of popular topics. We update the stories every hour. Pick a topic by searching, news category, or name, and we’ll deliver it to you 24 x 7. All the topics, all the time.

Obviously my favorite topic is Hunting. There are some great hunting blogs listed on this feed. Luckily, even this blog is listed.

Beyond just Hunting, Alltop is a great place to browse topics you may not have thought you were interested in.

It’s a wonderful tool for discovering new topics of interest or doing research on your target market.

3| Cosmo and Men’s Health

Cosmo on Copyblogger

Here is a unique little trick I learned from the beautiful minds at Copyblogger:

The Cosmo Headline Technique for Blogging Inspiration

I’ve used it many times when I’m trying to think of ideas for blog posts and the works especially well for list posts (see #5). And I’ve done quite a few list posts.

You use the catchiness of Cosmo headlines (or Men’s Health headlines if you feel uncomfortable) for inspiration for blog posts.

It works surprisingly well and you can make just about any headline fit your niche.

4| Backtweets

Backtweets for Business

There are about a million and a half (hat tip to Forrest Gump) tools that enhance the awesomeness of Twitter.

Currently, my favorite is Backtweets.

I like having the ability to see who is linking to my site on Twitter. I love it for the stats and curiosity, but I mostly love it because I can recognize who is sharing my content and thank them properly.

This tool has helped me form connections with others who found my content valuable enough to share on Twitter and I’m very grateful for their kindness.

5| Local News Sources

Volume One for Bloggers

One of my favorites: Volume One

It isn’t time to forget about your local news sources.

I had a lot of fun experimenting with the idea of using local news sources as inspiration for bloggers:

Write Better Blog Headlines: Tonight at 6

Some local news sources have adapted well and taken advantage of the connections available on the Web.

You can use your local news sites and sources as inspiration for your blogging or you can use them for information that affects your target customer.

Your local news is still relevant and you can use their expertise as a tool for your own business.

6| bit.ly

Bit.ly for Business

Awhile ago I was asked about URL shortening for Twitter.

My favorite has been bit.ly.

Bit.ly just happened to be the first URL shortening tool that I came across as I started using Twitter (@DayneShuda) more.

It works great for shortening the URLs of posts I share with my followers and over the past few months, bit.ly has added some great features.

They include statistics and other information for every URL you shorten.

It’s great for curious minds like mine.

I hope the evolution of bit.ly over the past few months is a sign of good things to come from the company.

7| Imeem

Imeem for Bloggers

It’s no secret that I’m a music lover as you can tell by just a few of the music posts I’ve written for this blog:

Remarkable Country Songs That Stand Out In My Hunting Memory

Successful People Guide to Success Series

10 Inspiring Country Music Videos for Hunting Businesses

Imeem is a great resource for music (they have lots of ads now). I use the service almost every day as I like listening to music while I work.

Music, when used effectively and not as a blatant way to gain attention, is a great way to add something extra to your Website or blog.

There is a ton of information on the Web and it’s impossible for your target customers to see it all. You have to find ways to be relevant and stand out.

I like using Imeem to link to songs I write about (Note: you can’t embed with WordPress.com blogs).

Try adding a little something extra to your site or blog posts to add value.

But never do auto-play. I’m not a fan of audio that startles me when I visit a site.

Bonus – 8| Become a source of aggregation

The Future Buzz Snapshot

One of the things I’ve learned while blogging is that aggregating content saves your readers their most valuable resource: Time.

So if you see a void of valuable tools for your readers or customer, become the valuable resource yourself.

I’ve always had an inquisitive nature so naturally I’ve always been curious about the hunting industry and the statistics that represent the market.

I was having trouble finding a place where all of the content was aggregated so I decided to create it myself:

Essential Hunting Industry Stats, Resources, and Information for Hunting Businesses and Websites

It has been a very successful blog post for me and I believe it’s been valuable for readers as well.

Become a source of aggregation for your customers and they’ll appreciate you and your business for doing the work and saving them valuable time.

Related posts on Hunting Business Marketing

The Top Hunting Blogs: Part 1

How to Use the Web to Grow a Successful Hunting Business – A Tutorial

5 Creative Ways for Hunting Businesses to Use Twitter

Related posts on the Web

Old-School Marketing No Longer Working? Blame Canada

25 Tips for Marketing Your Blog

7 Ways To Develop A Unique Brand For Your Blog

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

5 Simple Ways to Increase Traffic on Your Hunting Website

Relevant traffic and connections are what determine your success on the Web

Traffic on Your Website

image credit: doug88888

Usually the first question a new Website owner has for others is “How do I get more traffic and visitors on my Website?

As the Web has developed Website owners and managers always seem to focus on traffic (and various conversions of course) as a way to compare yourself to other sites.

So every Website owner has the thought of traffic and how to get more of it in their minds at all times.

I thought it would be valuable to jot down a few ideas of how you might be able to get more traffic for your hunting Website.

Let’s take a look…

1. Aggregate Your Content

Aggregating content is the idea of collecting content from either off your site or on your site and putting it into a single post or section on your site. One of the things people value is the aggregation of content and resources to make their lives easier.

I remember want to research the hunting industry before starting a business. I had to scramble all over the Web trying to find stats, resources and Information.

I thought about that while thinking about what to write one day. Here is the post that formed as a result:

Essential Hunting Industry Stats, Resources, and Information

Aggregating content from your own site into new posts is a great way to increase the page views per visitor.

Add value to your reader’s experience by including links within your copy as well as providing things like relevant posts or examples. (I’m doing this right now for this post).

This technique is more for driving unique visitors deeper into your site than it is for gaining new customers from off your site, but it can drive both loyal and new readers deep into your content, which is likely to build a deep and long-term connection.

Here are examples of how I have aggregating some of my content:

Dayne’s Top 15 Favorite Posts

List of Lists

For more on this topic, check out Adam Singer’s post on The Future Buzz:

Content Aggregation For Links, Traffic And Buzz

2. Write Awesome Titles and Headings

Just like magazines, TV shows, billboards, and any other form of promotional material, your blog titles and Web page headings are the first thing your potential readers and customers see. Your titles and headings represent your first chance to convince people to move forward in their buying process. Whether they’re going to buy into your blog and subscribe with email or RSS or if they are going to buy your product or service, it all starts with the title or heading.

So the secret to writing good titles and headings is to effectively present the topic you’re going to cover in your post or on the page of your Website. Along with effectively presenting your topic you’re also going to have to catch the attention of your potential readers and you’re going to have to do this with only a few words.

It’s not easy to write blog titles, but there are a few things I do that seem to make it a little easier.

First, I think about what you are thinking about, questioning, or possibly struggling with as it relates to your hunting business. Then I think about how I can provide the answer (or promise the answer) with the blog title. It’s important, of course, for me to actually deliver on this promise within the post, but the way I try to grab your attention is by promising to add value to your life and your hunting business.

It works the same for the headings and titles of the pages on your Website. They are the first things your visitors see before committing to dive further into your site. Your headings and titles have to be convincing and promise to solve the needs of your customer.

Second, I look at publications, headlines, billboards, and other promotions

I’ve always thought that I can’t be an expert on everything so I’ve never had a problem with admiring the genius and expertise of others and using their techniques to my own advantage. One area where this applies is title and headline writing.

So I like to use the titles and headings of things around me for inspiration.

One example is the post:

Write Better Blog Headlines: Tonight at 6

You can really use anything as inspiration for your headings and titles. Just make sure you promise your customer something valuable and then deliver on that promise.

Here are a few more posts on titles and headings:

Hunting Blog Post Title Ideas Part 1

Hunting Blog Post Title Ideas Part 2

Effectively Using Keywords in Your Blog Titles

Titles and headings are often the first things your potential visitors see before the either visit your site for the first time, decide to visit your site on any given day, or if they decide to commit to visiting other pages within your site.

If you can write awesome headings and titles that promise to add value to the lives of your visitors (and you of course deliver on your promises) you’ll find yourself getting more traffic on your site.

3. Write Valuable Blog Comments on Blogs (And Change Your Comment URL)

Some of the comments left on this blog are simply amazing and full of valuable content.

A few people who come to mind off the top of my head are T. Michael of Native Hunt, Cory Glauner of Outdoors International and Tom Sorenson of Base Camp Legends.

They continuously leave content-rich and useful comments that add to the conversations on this blog.

To get traffic to your blog you can leave valuable comments like the comments often left on this blog. The readers of the blogs you comment on will see that you have something of value to add to the conversation and they will be convinced to click through your signature or name to your site.

This brings us to the second part of this point – what URL are you leaving in the signature of the posts you comment on?

When you leave comments on blogs you often have the option of leaving your URL or Website link for your signature or username. Do you normally just link to the home page of your Website or blog? This is common for most people. One thing I’ve tried to do recently is to think about the site and post I’m commenting on. I think about the topic and look back at my own archives and then leave a link to a related post if I have one. This way if readers of the post I’m commenting on like what I have to say in my post they can click through and instantlybe at a relevant post I’ve written rather than just my blog home page.

Leaving value-adding comments is a great way to get traffic to your site from other blogs in and out of your niche. You can also gain the trust of readers, which can lead to long-term traffic if you use relevant URLs in your signatures.

Update: It seems that on some sites you can’t post a comment with any URL other than a basic home page. I’ll have to dig into this a bit more, but just wanted to update.

4. Highlight Other Bloggers in Your Posts

One of the most successful methods I’ve used to make connections with this blog is to highlight the greatness of other bloggers.

I highlight other bloggers because I want to make connections on the Web and a side effect of this mentality has been an increase in traffic.

Because I’ve highlighted the remarkable things others do on the Web, the people included in the posts not only feel connected in some way this blog, but they have a sense of pride in the post that features their name and highlight. This feeling of connection is an incentive for the bloggers to share the post that’s on my blog across their networks.

As others share the post that features them, this blog spreads after that to new people I would have never met otherwise.

The idea of highlighting others in your posts is a classic win-win. The person you’re highlighting gets exposure to a new audience plus positive content written about them. You make a new connection and possibly gain traffic.

Here are a few examples of how I’ve highlighted other bloggers:

8 Little Details That Make Big Differences on Hunting Websites

The Top Hunting Blogs: Part 1

Reviews of Remarkable Hunting Blog Posts

5. Figure out Stumble Upon

I’m still figuring out Stumble Upon at the moment (as I am always trying to figure out everything on the Web). All I know is that Stumble Upon sends (relatively) massive amounts of traffic to this blog on occasion. So I figured it might be worth checking out.

Since I’m still trying to find out more about Stumble Upon I’ll just leave you with this post:

A Comprehensive Guide to StumbleUpon: How to Build Massive Traffic to Your Website

Try experimenting with sites like Stumble Upon and you may stumble (sorry) on something that will generate lasting traffic for your website.

Bonus 6. Write Post Series

One of the most successful things I’ve done on this site has been to write post series.

I tend to write long posts and sometimes I’ll catch myself drifting into two or three different topics within a post and I’ll decide to split it into a post series.

Other times I’ll just find myself running out of ideas one night and I’ll put up a Part 1 and then work on Part 2 the following day when my thoughts are fresh.

Usually what happens is readers will become interested in Part 1 and they’ll have the curiosity or need to come back to find out if there will be more valuable information in Part 2. This is just another way to generate some long term interest in what you’re doing with your blog or site.

Post series also make for great flagship content that you can highlight on your site.

Here is one example of a post series I’ve done:

How to Use the Web to Grow a Successful Hunting Business – A Tutorial

Summary

Getting traffic on your site is probably the biggest frustrations for all Website owners or managers.

There are lots of ways you can experiment with getting traffic and I suggest you don’t shy away from trying all of the new things you can (stay on the good side of your morals) to try and increase the impact of your content to as many people as possible.

Here I’ve only listed 6 simple things you can try and possibly stick with to help get a little bit of traffic.

I hope these work for you.

I also hope you can find better ways to generate traffic to your site.

If you have any super ideas or suggestions, please share them in the comments below.

Related posts on Hunting Business Marketing

Paid vs. Natural Traffic: It’s like Baiting vs. Funnel Hunting for Deer – Part 1

Hunting Outfitters and Guides: Get Valuable Traffic to Your Website

How to Know Where and How to Advertise Your Hunting Business on the Web

Related posts on the Web

A Comprehensive Guide to StumbleUpon: How to Build Massive Traffic to Your Website

How to Become a Top StumbleUpon User (or Why You Really Shouldn’t Bother)

17 Ways You Can Use Twitter: A Guide for Beginners, Marketers and Business Owners