The Redesigned Outdoor Channel Website

Taking video to a new level of engagement

The New Outdoor Channel Website

Recently, I was watching videos on the Bulls and Beavers You Tube channel and I came across one with Todd Birkholz of The Outdoor Channel. Chris Burget of Bulls and Beavers is doing a quick interview with Todd as he presents The Outdoor Channel with a Best of the Best Award from Bulls and Beavers.

Toward the end of the video, Todd mentions the newly redesigned Website and how the wonderful content makes the online world one of the best of the best for hunters using the Web. The video as Todd describes is now available extensively on the new site (over 130 show pages with 50 state pages) so visitors can increase the value they receive from The Outdoor Channel. It’s a great strategy for The Outdoor Channel to improve their customers’ experience while increasing traffic and advertising revenue.

Let’s take a closer look at the newly redesigned site…

Online Video

The Outdoor Channel has always had some of the best video content available on their television channel so it makes sense that they highlight video content on their Website.

The presentation of the video player on the site is unique to The Outdoor Channel. The players sits on the right side of the page while there is a promotional area to the left that displays a rotating presentation of other channels. It’s a good setup to present the video content the visitors have chosen to view while cross promoting the other content on the site.

The full screen option has a clever design as well showcasing the other video content at the bottom of the screen for a brief second before it collapses so the viewer can view a true full screen of the video they’ve chosen.

An important aspect of the site to note is that there is some text content on each page to attract search engines. While search engines are getting better at crawling video and imagery on sites, they still need text to be able to determine what a site and page are about so they can return relevant results to their users.

Having detailed descriptions is a crucial element to have on your site if you’re going to utilize video.

Personalities and Branding

Outdoor Channel Personalities

The Outdoor Channel Personalities page is an example of a great way to organize content on a site.

Fans connect with and seek content from their favorite personalities and providing them with a way to access their favorites within a few clicks enhances user experience while increasing loyalty.

Once a visitor clicks on their favorite personality (or perhaps one they are curious about) they are taken to a page dedicated to personality. The pages are full of great bios, descriptions and of course great video clips.

Greg Miller In Pursuit

On each personality page, fans can connect with their favorite outdoor folks on Facebook or write comments on the Outdoor Channel page.

Each show on the channel has its own page on the site. This gives fans of individual shows access to exclusive content they can’t find anywhere else. There are video clips, photos, and other content to keep fans occupied while spending time on the site.

Greg Miller In Pursuit Show Page

Community

With My Outdoor Channel, The Outdoor Channel has allowed their audience to build user generated content around the passions users share for the outdoors as well as for the content on The Outdoor Channel TV channel and the Website.

My Outdoor TV

I’m a big fan of hunting pictures, so the my outdoor channel photo gallery is wonderful to see.

My Outdoor Channel is a lot like MySpace and other social networking sites in that it allows users to keep profiles, find friends, post videos and photos, write blogs, and interact in other ways that connect people around their passion for the outdoors and The Outdoor Channel.

Monetizing Online Content

As with their TV strategy, it appears The Outdoor Channel is utilizing sponsorships and advertising to generate income from their site.

As the site continues adding video clips and more features that increase viewings and page views, they’ll see an increase in revenue as brands look to connect with their target audience that is viewing content on The Outdoor Channel.

Also available on the site are DVDs of popular shows on The Outdoor Channel. This is a strategy that seems to make sense as fans of the personalities and shows look to have hard, physical copies of their favorites at home for their viewing anytime they want.

Outdoor Channel DVDs

The Outdoor Channel DVDs

Possible Future Strategies

Entire Show Videos

Since The Outdoor Channel is focusing on ad revenue for their site, it’s important to increase the metrics that advertisers look for when determining where to spend their money. Advertisers are looking for branding opportunities and direct sales conversions for the companies.

From what I can see right now, it appears there are only clips of shows and videos on the site. This leaves viewers to subscribe to satellite or cable to view the entire shows on the television channel when the shows are scheduled (or on DVR at their viewing pleasures…which allows people to skip commercials).

It seems like it would be beneficial for The Outdoor Channel to test showing entire show videos on their site. They could break the videos up into segments to allow for advertising videos in between segments. There are other creative ways to implement successful and relevant advertising into clips and entire show videos as well.

Since viewers may not be able to see their favorites shows on TV each week they may be missing out and advertisers on the TV channel may be missing out on impressions. By allowing viewers to see shows on the site, The Outdoor Channel could increase traffic to the site while providing value to their customers giving visitors reason to repeatedly visit the site while increasing time on the site and traffic.

Blogging

As a way to increase the text content on the site, The Outdoor Channel has the resources to put together an awesome blog for their followers.

Staff members could highlight videos on the site and write about what’s happening with the content on the site and the video on the TV channel. People like Todd could write about updates to the site’s features.

I like what the staff is doing with the CMT Blog. This could be a potential model to follow.

CMT Blog

There is potentially room to have the TV stars write posts and provide updates on their shows and what they’re seeing in the hunting world. Even if it was once a month or so, the content would add up and visitors would love it and keep coming to the site for updates.

Search engines love text content that is updated frequently and a blog seems like a perfect addition to the site.

The more content and page son the site would only increase page views, which means stronger metrics to entice relevant advertisers.

Summary

The Outdoor Channel’s new site is wonderful. There is a ton of great video content on the site for visitors to view and interact with. The way the content is displayed makes it easy for visitors to take in the video content and to share the content with their hunting buddies.

What are your thoughts on the newly redesigned Outdoor Channel Website?

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Archery Report | Business Review

With a solid, consistent focus, Archery Report is seeing strong growth

I came across a blog post from New Archery Products today in my RSS feed and stopped by the NAP Blog to read about their Quiktune Sizzor arrow rest. Check out the post The Sleeper for a great product review of the arrow rest. NAP does a great job of using high quality photos in their posts. The photos make for a better experience for visitors and although they don’t post often, I find myself always checking for the latest from NAP.

Quiktune Sizzor

At the bottom of the post, NAP left a link to another review for the Sizzor, Review: NAP Quicktune Sizzor Rest. The URL in the link was interesting so I followed it.

Archery Report

Archery Report

Archery Report is a blog and Website operated by Michael Larsen.

The report covers news views and reviews of all things affecting the world of archery. From reading a few of the posts, it is obvious that Michael has a healthy (probably depends who you ask) 🙂 obsession with archery. See 300 days to 300 for some insight. I love the passion.

I became more intrigued with Archery Report after checking out the stats on Compete (a habit of mine). It looks like the site was launched in July of 2009 and the pace of growth has been strong every since.

Michael discusses new archery products, news affecting the archery industry, and technique for shooting effectively. It’s quite the extensive archive of information if you’re an archery enthusiast.

Michael provides his own thoughts on news articles, which is something readers often seek from bloggers. News publications simply report the news, but one of the most sought after elements of the news is interpretation so bloggers can grow their audience by providing insight into the daily happenings in niches.

Also found on the site are extensive product reviews. Michael lays out tons of content including insight and photographs to create some of the best reviews I’ve read. For example, Hoyt Maxxis 31 and 35 Review and Spotlight.

The strategy for posting on Archery Report is effective and the growth in traffic proves that archers are connecting with the site and with Michael.

Consistency

Consistently adding new posts and staying consistent with focus are two extremely important elements of successful blogs.

Too often (including myself) bloggers will struggle to keep adding new content to their blogs. As you develop a following, it’s important to continually feed new and interesting content to visitors. When they become hooked on your writing they’ll continue coming back repeatedly (even many times a day) if you provide them with content.

Search engines realize the important of consistency with post frequency as well. They realize how important frequent posting is to readers and reward sites that post quality content often with high authority in the search rankings.

For new blogs, it’s best to default at a high frequency (5-7 times a week or even more than once daily), but don’t forget to test different variations. Find out what your audience wants and provide the appropriate amount of content.

Quality and quantity are both important.

Effective Writing Style

After reading a few of Michael’s posts it’s safe to say that he has a unique voice in the outdoor industry and in the blogosphere. He has a technical side to his descriptions, but he has a way of describing situations like tuning with simplicity that makes it easy to understand.

Personally, I like the way he organizes his posts, especially his reviews. He uses headings, images, video, bulleted lists, summaries/conclusions, and other tools well. It makes for great reading when authors take the time to organize things so their readers can scan articles and dive deeper into the content when they choose.

SEO

Highlighted on the Archery Report Advertise page are a few statistics including some impressive search rankings. The site is ranking for relevant terms. Terms like 2010 bows, archery reviews, and 2010 bow reviews are competitive and have a good amount of traffic. It’s impressive that the site is ranking ahead of well-known archery sites for these terms.

It’s proof that Michael’s writing style, the site’s popularity, and the site’s technical layout make for a winning SEO combination.

Monetizing Archery Report

From my review, it appears that Archery Report is going about monetizing in the traditional ways: affiliate program and ads.

These are two viable options. I explained another option for bloggers in Profit from Your Blog.

For his book reviews, Michael is using an affiliate program to link to the books on Barnes & Nobles – a strong strategy that can be very effective if the reviews are valuable and plentiful.

Also on the site is the opportunity for advertising. It’s a strong possibility that with continued traffic growth that Archery Report will gain some advertising clients that will provide fixed revenue each month.

A final interesting aspect of Archery Report is the opportunity for hunting product manufacturers to send Michael their products for review. Michael provides the benefits to having Archery Report Review Your Product.

If this program gains enough traction, Michael could begin charging for the reviews as a way to provide further revenue.

Summary

Archery Report is an excellent example of a start-up blog that can see successful growth right from the beginning with the right formula of focus, consistency, writing style, and monetizing.

As the site sees more quality content regarding archery, I suspect it will continue to build its audience and become a strong player in the online archery world.

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Essential Hunting Websites…

The following is a list of essential online destinations hunters need to visit for the best insight, community, interaction, and experience.

Sites are represented based on the value they offer visitors, which may include things such as site quality content (updated blogs are important), user experience, uniqueness, among other factors.

Listings are open for discussion so please leave your thoughts in the comments.

Some sites may fit into more than one category, but I’ve placed them in the category I think fits best.

In the spirit of sharing, please send this article to all your hunting friends.

Let’s make this post well-known in hunting circles so these sites and resources can be known to all hunters.

Hunting Communities

HuntingNet

Mossy Oak

CamoSpace

Jesse’s Hunting

Big Game Hunt

Texas Hunting Forum

TexasHuntFish

Hunting Pennsylvania

North American Hunter

Ted Nugent

Deer Hunting Chat

Outdoors International

Hunting Articles and Stories

Outdoor Life

Field and Stream

Peterson’s Hunting

Bowhunting.net

Michael Waddell

ESPN Outdoors – Hunting

Grow the Hunt

The Hog Blog

Hunting Press Releases and News

AmmoLand

Hunting Life

How-to Hunt

Deer and Deer Hunting

Buckmasters

Hunting Video

My Outdoor TV

The Outdoor Channel

The Sportsman Channel

The Crush

The American Outdoorsman

Whitetail Tube

Hunting Retailer

Cabela’s

Gander Mountain

Bass Pro Shops

The Sportsman’s Guide

Orvis

LL Bean

Bowhunting.com

Midway USA

3 Rivers Archery

Hunting Manufacturers

Mathews Inc.

New Archery Products

Realtree

Bear Archery

Lone Wolf Stands

Danner Boots

Remington Firearms

Under Armour – Athletes Hunt

Easton Archery

Hoyt USA

Martin Archery

PSE Archery

Bowtech Archery

Browning Archery

Primos

Robinson Outdoors

Tinks

Stormy Kromer

Muzzy Products

Carbon Express

Sure-Loc

Hunting Foundations

National Shooting Sports Foundation

Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation

Boone and Crockett

Ducks Unlimited

Wild Sheep Foundation

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Image courtesy of Zach Dischner

Hunting Product Manufacturer Website Design Trends and Examples

With over $10 million spent on hunting equipment each year you can bet that hunting product manufacturers are constantly working to make their Websites stand out as signal amongst the noise on the Web.

Buck Knives Home Page Image

Every business is fighting for the valuable attention of hunters on the Web. Website design is important for capturing that valuable attention. And Web designers and developers are constantly working with the managers and owners of hunting product manufacturers to come up with Website elements that capture the attention of hunters, capture subscribers and potential customers to blogs and updates, and most of all – show off the products these companies manufacture the best way possible.

Let’s take a closer look at a few of the trends and examples of hunting product manufacturer Websites

Communicating the Benefits of Hunting Products

The number one goal of any product manufacturer Website is to communicate the benefits of their products to their customers – wholesalers, retailers, and the end user (hunters).

Some of the things companies are doing with their Website to showcase these product benefits include: images, videos, and effective copywriting.

Images

The first way to showcase the benefits of your business’s hunting products is to have remarkable photographer and images of the products.

Site: Lone Wolf Tree Stands

Lone Wolf Stands The Solution

Another great way to use images and photos to effectively communicate the benefits of your products is to showcase your end users using your products successfully.

Site: Bear Archery

Bear Archery Photos

Videos

Video has been gaining popularity on the Web in recent years as many Web users have upgraded to connection speeds that allow for fast video viewing.

And while amateur videos have and will continue to be popular on the Web, professional videos will stand out above the rest as professional videographers make effective videos that connect products and customers.

Businesses have a variety of video formulas available for making videos that will communicate the benefits of their products.

You can do interviews, show the products in action, or showcase the manufacturing of the products.

Site: Mathews Inc.

Mathews Inc Video Gallery

Effective Copywriting

Product descriptions can get a little on the long side.

There is definitely a place for long copywriting when it comes to effectively communicating the benefits of products.

But the truly effective copywriting comes in few words.

Site: Trophy Ridge

Trophy Ridge Product Description

Testimonial Showcase

Most hunting manufacturers will showcase client testimonials to give social acceptance credibility to the products they are selling.

It’s important for companies to showcase testimonials in a way that really highlights what the customer is saying. Companies don’t want to come off as being showy about their products or by showcasing unrealistic testimonials.

Believable, yet remarkable testimonials with effective design and showcasing are what’s best for companies.

Simple is important for design. Put the emphasis on the customer and what they have to say about the products.

Site: Cuddeback

Cuddeback Testimonials

Site: River’s Edge

River's Edge Testimonials

Corporate Blogging

Blogging is beginning to emerge as a must for hunting product manufacturers.

Maintaining a blog is the best way for hunting businesses to communicate with their audience while providing quality content for search engines. A crucial part of successful search engine optimization is to maintain a constant stream of new content for the search engines to crawl.

Web users, including hunters using the Web, also are looking for a constant stream of quality content they can digest for their entertainment and education when it relates to hunting.

Blogging will continue to be an emerging trend in hunting manufacturers as companies put together plans that allow them to utilize the opportunities that come with blogging.

Here are some examples of hunting manufacturer sites with blogs:

New Archery Products

Blog: New Archery Products Blog

New Archery Products Blog

Wildlife Callers

Blog: Wildlife Callers Blog

Wildlife Callers Blog

What to Blog About

Something companies tend to find difficult when starting a corporate blog is what to write about?

The obvious answer for most companies is to highlight the success of the end users of your products. Seek out the users of your products and share their stories of success on your blog. Blog readers love to see people like them having success doing the thing they love most – hunting. And hunters love to discover the tools that make other hunter successful.

Here is an example of New Archery Products highlighting the success of an end user getting:

Blog Post: The Blood Runner Brings Another Big Buck Down

Bloodrunner Blog Post

Potential Issues with Blogging

The biggest issue for corporate blogs is not creating an outline for the blog.

Each blog needs a focus, a goal, and an execution plan to make the blog successful in the eyes of the business and the eyes of the customers.

When plans are laid out for corporate blogs, posts are updated on regularly rather than the blog being left dormant. Also, remember to have a focus on the formula when it comes to the topics of your blogs posts. You don’t have to always highlight the success of your end user customers, but remember to keep the focus on things your blog readers and customers will find valuable.

Test different posts and find a formula that works for you.

Trends in Hunting Product Manufacturer Website Design

There are some great hunting Websites out there.

And more are being launched and re-launched every day.

Today, there are some good trends in design when it comes to hunting product manufacturing company Websites.

Big Product Images

Companies are doing a great job of highlighting their products with big, vivid images that show off the features and benefits of their products.

With people having better Web connections at home and being able to load sites faster, companies are taking advantage by putting the best images they can on their sites. This allows customers to get a good look from all angles at the products they need to make their hunting trips successful.

Site: Mathews Inc.

Mathews Big Product Image

Good Use of White Space

Successful companies and their representative Website designers and developers know the importance of using white space effectively.

Site: Danner

Danner Site Details

Appealing and Subtle Color Scheme

Color scheme is important.

It’s important to have the right colors to draw the right kind of attention to the products and the goals of the site. Too much crazy color and visitors will lose focus. Not enough effective color and the visitors will not be drawn in.

And if your products have effective color feel free to let them take the focus.

Site: Buck Knives

Buck Knives Color Scheme

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Ecommerce Search – Pay Attention to Your Audience

Your audience will tell you what they want

Binoculars

Last month Google came out with a new service for businesses with current or future plans for expanding ecommerce presence.

Google Commerce Search

Google has a great way to approach new products. They test new products by allowing limited membership to their new programs and products while they work out the kinks and learn from the group of users who test the new products and services.

Google Commerce was rolled out with Birkenstock and it seems to be a big step for companies with a focus on ecommerce. The step may not be directly related to Google Commerce Search, but the trend that Google Commerce Search addresses is certainly important for businesses with an ecommerce presence as well as for companies with any Web presence.

Let me explain…

Search and Ecommerce

In Google’s Commerce Search video they mention an amazing statistic:

Web site visitors spend an average of 8 seconds on a site before deciding whether to stay. And 70% of online shoppers use search to make this decision.

It seems that the Web and ecommerce has honed in the consumer’s focus of searching for products. Or perhaps consumers have always used search in some form to discover the things they are looking for.

Whether it’s a catalog or a Website, the designer can make suggestions with headings in navigation or in a table of contents, but consumers will still page through a catalog or page through a Website to discovery products on their own.

I’ve been noticing an increased emphasis on search and specifically on the importance of the search bar design on many popular ecommerce sites.

LL Bean

Visit the site – LL Bean

LL Bean now features their search bar directly right in the middle of their home page. The search bar is also highlighted with a color (a shade of LL Bean green) and the text ‘Enter item # or keyword’ is prominently displayed.

LL Bean Search Bar

LL Bean has obviously been doing some testing of their own and has discovered that their customers are using the search bar to discover, find and purchase the products available on the site.

It’s a great example of a company paying attention to their audience and using Website design and functionality to add value to their customers.

Here are a couple other examples…

Zappos

Visit the site – Zappos and Zappos Zeta

Zappos Search Bar

Zeta Zappos Search Bar

The search bar on Zappos’s test site, Zeta, has the search bar with a color background to highlight the search functionality even more.

Bowhunting.com

Visit the site – Bowhunting.com

Bowhunting Search Bar

The search here is not in the typical upper right hand side of the page. It’s toward the upper middle area and the company is using Google to provide their search functionality.

These companies realized what their visitors wanted – search functionality – and fostered their Website design around those expressed needs.

Your customer may be expressing different needs for your Website and business. You just have to figure out what they are asking.

Listen to Your Audience

A key to success on the Web for any company is to pay attention and listen to your audience.

Successful marketing driven companies in any contact channel have always been exceptional with testing various initiatives while listening to the feedback their customers provide to the testing. Google has made their mark on the Web by following the principle of testing and rolling out products that their audience responds to with the most long-term excitement. There will always be misses along the way, but the testing and listening strategy is a strong strategy for any company.

Testing at times can seem difficult and time consuming and to setup formal tests it can take time, but is often worth the effort to see the results.

Often times though you’ll find that you can listen and pay attention to your audience without setting up a formal test.

For example, I’ve noticed on the Hunting Business Marketing blog that the types of posts that get shared the most are posts that highlight the success of others. These are usually list posts such as 50 Best Hunting Website Designs. However, posts with more in depth commentary such as Successful Business Highlight – Smashing Magazine are also successful.

I didn’t setup a test for types of posts, but I like to try writing posts of varying style while paying attention to what readers are responding to the most. It seems to be a great way to learn and grow as a writer and as a business owner.

Paying attention and listening to your audience is the key to testing and finding the needs of your customer. Successful companies are able to recognize these needs and address them with improvements to their value chain.

Summary

Companies involved in ecommerce have been alerted to a growing trend in Web consumer need – search.

Google has offered their own search for companies with an ecommerce focus with Google Commerce Search.

Successful companies always test and pay attention and listen to what their audience is telling them. Companies with long-term success are able to not only listen to their audience, but are also able to try new things that successfully address the expressed needs of their audience.

Setting up formal tests and even doing a little in depth analysis of your Website are great ways to listen to what your audience is saying. If you notice an area of expressed need that you can address then roll it out and see how your audience reacts. If it’s positive then great. If the response is so-so then try something new.

The key is to pay attention and continue adding value to your connection with your audience.

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50 Best Hunting Website Designs

A common theme in the hunting industry…

Danner Boots

I wanted to search for 50 of what I considered to be the most well designed hunting Websites. What I found is that hunting business owners and managers like dark graphics and backgrounds. There is a lot of reverse type (light text on dark background).

Some of the sites I liked the most put their product images front and center. I loved how companies actually showed their products – from many angles too – rather than highlighting text. Descriptive copy definitely has its place, but I seemed to find the ones with expert design and imagery the most intriguing.

Summary

What’s Popular

  • Dark Backgrounds
  • Reverse Font
  • Big Images

Good Elements

  • Big Images
  • 3D Look
  • Light Backgrounds (Danner is my favorite)

Let’s take a closer look at the 50 best hunting Websites

Bowhunting.com

Visit the site – Bowhunting.com

Bowhunting

New Archery Products

Visit the site – New Archery Products

New Archery Products

Mathews Inc.

Visit the site – Mathews Inc.

Visit the Shopping site – Shop Mathews

Mathews

Native Hunt

Visit the site – Native Hunt

Native Hunt

My Outdoor TV

Visit the site – My Outdoor TV

My Outdoor TV

Buffalo County Outfitters

Visit the site – Buffalo County Outfitters

Buffalo County Outfitters

Trophy Ridge

Visit the site – Trophy Ridge

Trophy Ridge

Bear Archery

Visit the site – Bear Archery Products

Bear Archery

LL Bean

Visit the site – LL Bean

LL Bean

Lone Wolf Stands

Visit the site – Lone Wolf Stands

Lone Wolf

Buck Knives

Visit the site – Buck Knives

Buck Knives

Field & Stream Brand

Visit the site – Field and Stream Brand

Field and Stream Brand

Robinson Outdoors

Visit the site – Robinson Outdoors

Scentblocker

Heartland Lodge Hunting

Visit the site – Heartland Lodge Hunting

Heartland Lodge

Base Camp Legends

Visit the site – Base Camp Legends

Base Camp Legends

Addicted to Hunting

Visit the site – Addicted to Hunting

Addicted to Hunting

Elk Creek Outfitting

Visit the site – Elk Creek Outfitting

Elk Creek Outfitting

Danner

Visit the site – Danner Boots

Danner

Orvis

Visit the site – Orvis

Orvis

Stormy Kromer

Visit the site – Stormy Kromer

Stormy Kromer

Beman

Visit the site – Beman

Beman

Gander Mountain

Visit the site – Gander Mountain

Gander Mountain

Remington

Visit the site – Remington Gunmaker

Remington

Winchester

Visit the site – Winchester Ammunition

Winchester

Hornady

Visit the site – Hornady Ammunition

Hornady

Leupold

Visit the site – Leupold Optics

Leupold

Federal Ammunition

Visit the site – Federal Ammunition

Federal Ammo

Beretta USA

Visit the site – Beretta USA

Beretta

Easton Archery

Visit the site – Easton Archery

Easton

Carbon Express

Visit the site – Carbon Express

Carbon Express

Rivers Edge Treestands

Visit the site – Rivers Edge Treestands

Rivers Edge

Stealth Cam

Visit the site – Stealth Cam Digital Scouting Camera

Stealth Cam

Cuddeback

Visit the site – Cuddeback Digital Scouting Cameras

Cuddeback

ScentLok

Visit the site – ScentLok

ScentLok

Duck Commander

Visit the site – Duck Commander

Duck Commander

Under Armour

Visit the site – Under Armour – Athletes Hunt

Under Armour Athletes Hunt

Rich-N-Tone Calls

Visit the site – RNT Calls

Rich N Tone Calls

Surefire

Visit the site – Surefire

Surefire

The American Outdoorsman

Visit the site – The American Outdoorsman

American Outdoorsman

Versus Country

Visit the site – Versus Country

Versus

Peterson’s Hunting

Visit the site – Peterson’s Hunting

Peterson's Hunting

Field & Stream

Visit the site – Field & Stream

Field and Stream

High Adventure Ranch

Visit the site – High Adventure Ranch

High Adventure Ranch

Outdoor Life

Visit the site – Outdoor Life

Outdoor Life

Muskoka Outdoors

Visit the site – Muskoka Outdoors

Muskoka Outdoors

Tink’s

Visit the site – Tink’s Buck Lures

Tink's

Leatherman

Visit the site – Leatherman Multi-tools

Leatherman

Rocky

Visit the site – Rocky Shoes and Boots

Rocky Boots

Bushnell

Visit the site – Bushnell

Bushnell

Michael Waddell

Visit the site – Michael Waddell

Michael Waddell

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The Top 10 Twitter Landing Pages

“A twitter landing page is a page on your blog or website that is specifically written for those arriving at your blog having clicked on the link in your twitter profile.” – Darren Rowse (@Problogger) of Problogger

Airplane Landing

Darren has written what I believe to be the best argument for creating a custom Twitter landing page.

Please read: Develop a Twitter Landing Page

Marketing, thanks to the advances in connection and communication on the Web, is giving people a chance to meet on an individual level. The Web allows businesses and to move away from segmenting and toward a more individual relationship with consumers.

With a landing page you are acknowledging the specific individuals that click on the link on your Twitter profile.

Twitter Landing Page

Rather than sending individuals that visit your Website via your Twitter profile to your company’s home page or to your personal blog home page, you’re sending them to a more personalized landing page with targeted and relevant content.

By providing relevant content and information for specific visitors, you increase the chances of gaining a longtime follower.

I’ve looked through my list of followers and those I follow on Twitter to find the 10 best Twitter landing pages – surprisingly there were very few who had landing pages. I’d say (and this by no means scientific – it’s actually only a rough estimate of my own Twitter community – that less than 5% of Twitter users have Twitter landing pages).

Let’s take a look at each of the 10 best…

1| …

It turns out that not many people in my Twitter community have Twitter landing pages. And since there are relatively few Twitter landing pages I didn’t think it would be right to do a ‘Best of’ list after doing some searching.

Do you have a Twitter landing page?

If so please let me know by leaving the link to your Twitter landing page in the comments below. I’d love to include a full write-up about you and your site in this post.

Social Identities

Social Identities creates amazing images and design for businesses and individuals using social media. Custom themes, backgrounds, and other images including logos and blog graphics. Customized and stunning imagery is important for any business looking to connect with their target audience. A successful image can communicate your business message and mission to your customer in an instant.

Follow Hugh on Twitter – @HughBriss

Visit the Sites

Social Identities

Twitter Image

I like the custom theme for Barrington Gifts:

Barrington Gifts Twitter Background

View all of Hugh’s Custom Twitter Backgrounds

Facebook Pages

Custom Ning Themes

Creating Your Own Page

If you’d like, I’ll help you develop your own Twitter landing page. Just contact me (Contact Form at the bottom) and let’s get your page up. 🙂

Here are a few I found via the Problogger article and Google:

About Darren Rowse (@problogger)

Blog for Profit Twitter Landing Page

Free From Broke Twitter Landing Page

About EH Design & Consulting (@ehdesign)

Miscellaneaarts Twitter Landing Page

HBM Twitter Landing Page

Now, it wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t share my own Twitter landing page for HBM: Welcome to Hunting Business Marketing.

I named it something more generic so I could potentially use it for other social media. The posts I highlight what I think are the most valuable posts on HBM along with Twitter Related Posts.

What to read next on Hunting Business Marketing

Use Twitter to Improve Your Business

Aggregate Your Archives to Capitalize on New Popularity

Ways to Increase Traffic

What to read next on the Web

In A Connected Society, Comprehension Of Sociology Is King

Twitter Landing Page

Twitter Landing Pages, 10 Elements of a Successful Twitter Landing Page

Image courtesy of .faramarz on Flickr

25 Tips for Web Conversion

Lifetime customers create lifetime profit

Getting Visitors to Click

image credit: audi_insperation

When you start or look to expand your hunting business with a new Website your design and functionality should focus on converting your Web traffic into long-term customers.

Working with a Web programmer and designer can be a great experience. However, when it comes to actually working to develop a Website that is focused on converting sales, simple things tend to get lost in the excitement of getting the site launched. During the process of launching the site we all have the tendency to include too many features while the features that really matter (the converting features) lose priority on the Web page.

Let’s look at a few tips you can use when developing your new business Website…

1| Answer Customer Questions (Before They Ask)

Take a few moments to consider the questions your potential customers have asked you and then answer them in priority order on your site – possibly in a FAQ or even on the Home page.

2| Use Testimonials

Social proof is huge today in a world where customers don’t always trust new businesses. Show that you’re trustworthy by showing testimonials.

3| Get Your Visitors to Call You

If you are good at connecting with customers over a phone call…don’t ignore that fact. Make getting visitors to call you personally over the phone the conversion goal of your site.

4| Show Partnerships

Like Social Proof with Testimonials, your potential customers may perhaps benefit from seeing familiar badges of approval. They like seeing company logos they recognize on your site if those companies are ones you’re associated with.

5| Stir Up Emotion

Emotion is huge for conversion. People make decisions based on feeling good, sad, scared, etc. Look for the emotions your visitors want to feel and make your product and service part of the emotional experience.

If you’re an outfitter you could do something like cutout the face of a happy hunter with a trophy harvested on your property and include the words ‘Insert You Here’ (a cheesy example, but you get the point).

Emotion drives conversion.

6| Remove Options

Don’t give your visitors too many options. Give them conversion options only. If you want your customer to subscribe to your newsletter, give them the option to subscribe, show the benefits and then give them the option to subscribe again. Nothing more.

7| Remove Clutter

Don’t get caught up in the feature game on your Web. Simple Websites that lack clutter often have the most impact.

8| Let Down Your Guard – Show Your Passion

Emotion drives conversion.

Let your customers see your passion in all of the elements of your site. Your passion will drive their passion. Don’t be afraid to let yourself smile in photographs or in your voice when writing content. Visitors connect with passion and trust companies who share their passions in life.

9| Show the Value

Are you offering a truly great price?

Show and tell your customers that you are offering something of value. Give examples and comparison.

10| Create Urgency

Emotion drives conversion.

Use urgency and timely events to trigger conversion. Don’t tread over the line of deceit, but use urgency to show your customers the path of conversion that will better their lives.

For more on this topic, please read How to Use Current Events to Trigger Buying Emotion

11| Visually Impact

What do you see with the following sites?

Yahoo Home Page

Google Home Page

This is an old example, but the point is that Google focused on the simple fact that they want their visitors to search the Web. Yahoo instead tried to be everything for their visitors even when they had the simple search feature like Google.

Yahoo Search

Their goals were different. Google got visitors to search and then engaged them by offering relevant information to click (their revenue is clicks). Yahoo took a different route?

What do you want your visitors to do?

12| Stay Away From Put Offs

One of the things I dislike on sites are put offs or features on sites that turn me off instantly to the site. One example would be music or noise or sounds that begin automatically when I visit a Web page. 99% of the time this happens I leave the site.

For more on this topic, please read Video on Your Website: The Compromise

Does your site have anything that will cause visitors to leave instantly?

13| Prices

Show your prices if selling a product or service on your site is what you want to convert. Your customers are wondering. Answer their questions right away.

14| Impactful Items First

Think about what your customers want to know most…answer their questions right away on your site.

15| Appealing Format and Design

Visual appeal is important for any Website.

For text on your site, use formats that allow visitors to scan quickly. Allow their eye to capture the important information only and then they’ll come back to dive more in depth into your arguments.

Also, if your site can effectively capture the feeling and emotion that your product or service creates you will not only convert more customers, you’ll convert more quality customers if you deliver on your promises.

16| Relevant and Impactful Photography

Like appealing format and design, photography drives emotion and conversion. Use photos that appeal to emotions. Don’t overdo photography and always use relevant photos.

Deliver on the promises your Website makes.

17| Strong Headlines

Think critically of the headlines and topics you use for your Website. Think about the headlines on pages that will capture attention.

For more on this topic, please see The Cosmo Headline Technique

18| Relevant, Simple Call-to-Action Verbiage

Do you want your customers to Buy Now? Subscribe?

Use relevant calls to action. It seems simple, but some sites miss this fact. If I want to buy a product, don’t offer me a button that says “Submit”.

Don’t confuse.

19| Expedite Conversion

Limit the barriers to conversion. Use your common sense and don’t trap your visitors, but don’t waste their time with procedures that aren’t absolutely necessary to conversion.

20| Offer Exclusives

Exclusivity is a valuable thing. Offer exclusive offers to your clients. Show visitors that if they become customers they will be part of an exclusive group.

21| Be Truthful

Don’t hide facts from your visitors if they’re important for adding lifetime value to the business-customer relationship. Customers will find out about any skeletons in your closet. Be honest about your business and they’ll be no surprises later on.

22| Be Open

Show your customers that you are open to their input. Allow them to be part of an open organization where they can impact the success of your business by converting to subscribers, customers, or followers.

23| Increase Engagement

How can you strengthen your engagement with your visitors?

Engage your customers by asking for their opinions, help, and input. Offer to help them with their problems before they ask your competitor for a solution. Engage your visitors and look for any way to further the connection.

24| Think Long-Term

Always think long-term with conversion. Don’t be deceitful with copy or photos. Be honest and open with your communication and always deliver on promises. Make sure your Website is truthful and visitors will develop a trust that converts them to long-time customers.

25| Give Praise!

If your visitor converts to a buyer, subscriber, or follower, give them praise and make them feel like they have made the best decision of their life. Show them with strong and truthful emotion that their commitment won’t go unnoticed. Give them something of value if you can. This could be something as simple as giving your new Twitter followers access to a free gift (even a simple gift like a keychain or access to a ‘special’ photo gallery).

Related posts on Hunting Business Marketing

A Guide to Understanding Hunters on the Web

Using Others to Find Motivation

Sponsorship Case Study – Team Huntress

Related posts on the Web

Conversion killers – does your site contain any “Nuke Buttons”?

19 Reasons You Should Blog and Not Just Tweet

How Does This Share?

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

Successful Email Campaigns

A remarkable, consistent email campaign can prove valuable for your customers and increase your site’s traffic and visitor involvement

Mailboxes

image credit OWENthatsmyname

A regular email campaign is one of the best ways to connect with your customers while also driving traffic to your site as well as driving sales of your products and services.

I’ve been paying attention to a few email campaigns in the hunting industry over the past few months and a few have stuck out as being very impactful with their design, content, and innovation.

I thought it would be beneficial to look at four of these successful campaigns and look at reasons why these particular email campaigns are successful…

My Outdoor TV

MOTV Full Email

My Outdoor TV Email

MOTV Snapshot Email

My Outdoor TV Email Snapshot

Website: MyOutdoorTV.com

Email Campaign: MOTV Minute

Example Email: Scent Free, From Head to Toe

I get at least one email from My Outdoor TV every week. They also have their daily updates that include only one link to an area on their site like Analyze the Hunt.

I enjoy receiving these emails because the content is always compelling to me as a hunter. In this example, Scent Free, From Head to Toe, there is a full article on the importance of scent control when hunting whitetail deer. The article specifically discusses rubber boots from La Crosse.

The email does a great job of showing users that if they click on certain areas of the email they will not only be taken to a page with the article content, but to a page that contains a video relating to headline topic. It’s very important to show the viewers of your email campaigns exactly what they can expect when they click on certain buttons, links, and other areas of your email. My Outdoor TV does a great job of showing a small video player preview in each of their emails.

The layout and design of the MOTV Minute emails are pleasing to the eye. There is lots of great white space. That makes it easy to read the text of the main article. The ads that are included at the right side of the image are not intrusive and they flow well with the overall design of the email. The header is easily recognizable as it has the My Outdoor TV logo with a similar background to the actual site. There are great buttons for viewers to click if they choose: “Email to a Friend”, “Web Version”, “Watch Now”, and buttons to My Outdoor TV’s other social media campaigns on Facebook My Outdoor TV and Twitter My Outdoor TV.

My Outdoor TV might try to include the tabs at the top of their Website so viewers of the emails aren’t limited to simply clicking on the buttons included in the email image. Even if the emails are full of great content, not all viewers will be interested in all of the specific stories. Including the normal tabs from the Website would give these readers more options for clicking through to the site – options they are comfortable with already.

My Outdoor TV could also include a More Videos on Whitetails section at the bottom of the email image.

My Outdoor TV does a great job with their email campaigns. It’s one I look forward to each week because of its great design and wonderful content. My Outdoor TV is a great example that you can use as inspiration for base your next email campaign.

Deer & Deer Hunting

Deer & Deer Hunting Email

Website: DeerAndDeerHunting.com

Email Campaign: Deer & Deer Hunting Newsletter

Example Email: Explore New Hunting Lands

Deer & Deer Hunting sends out their email newsletter at least once a week and sometimes multiple times each week. I like their email as well because they include so many options to click on including options from various areas on their Website.

Sections of their email include:

– New Discussions in the Forum

– New Videos

– Outfitter Highlights

– Contests

– Expert Articles (Snapshots only)

– New Photos

– Equipment Highlights

– Polls

D&DH also highlights some of the books from their immense library. It’s a great way to highlight some of your products in a way that makes sense and is relevant to your email viewers.

The D&DH emails are clean and simple in design. The design definitely focuses on the content, but the design is far from boring. The email images are clean and with all the white space, it’s clear where to click if you want to head to the site and view content.

You can definitely tell that D&DH are seasoned pros in the magazine businesses because they always have eye-catching headlines that grab attention and make you want to click through to read the full articles on the site. This is important for email campaigns because you’re ultimately trying to increase traffic on your site as well as drive customers to specific sections on your site so you can sell your relevant products and services.

D&DH does include tabs at the top of their email header, but they could even include the tabs from their site as I mentioned before with My Outdoor TV. Viewers of the email may not find what they’re looking for in the email (although there is so much great stuff in the D&DH email) and they may just want to click through to Deer & Deer Hunting Features section right away.

Deer & Deer Hunting has been one of the best hunting magazines for a long time and their success with magazines has spilled over into their email marketing efforts. They use their quality content and connect with their audience in ways that are engaging and encourage action through their email images.

Use Deer & Deer Hunting as a guide for your own email marketing efforts.

Field & Stream

Field and Stream Email

Website: FieldandStream.com

Email Campaign: Field & Stream Newsletter

Example Email: 34 Gear-Winning Reader Tips PLUS Amazing Carp Shooting Action Photos

Field & Stream truly has an email campaign that I love receiving each week. F&S send out content-filled emails that capture attention and get viewers to click through to the Website.

What I find myself clicking on most each week when the email arrives is the great photos. F&S put together great photo galleries and they don’t a great job each week of promoting them in their emails. The subject line usually has something related to the featured photo gallery – Exclusive Photos of New World Record Brown Trout. It’s very appealing to open an email with this subject line (when the email sender is recognizable like F&S).

F&S, like Deer & Deer Hunting, definitely use the skills from their magazine marketing with their emails. They have great headlines to capture attention and entice opens and clicks. They also have remarkable content in their articles and descriptions, which are where all email campaigns should start.

I also love F&S highlights their readers. They have sections on their site and in their email like Winning Reader Tips and Featured Read Trail Cam Photos as well as other featured reader photographs. Highlighted the greatest of readers or clients is a great way to get them vested in the success of your business and any campaign you try like an email campaign. If your subscribers see an email with their photo they’re going to be thrilled and likely share it with anybody they can.

F&S also finds unique ways to put in advertisements in their emails that aren’t obtrusive and flow well with the rest of the clean layout. The ads fit well, but they are noticeable so any interested reader can easily click through the ad to see if they want to become a buyer of the advertiser.

Overall, Field & Stream is a great example of a successful email campaign. They give their readers something to look forward to each week as they always have great content (especially the photos). The headlines are always intriguing and I usually click through to read the full articles after checking out the latest photos in the gallery.

I would say that once on the site the photo gallery isn’t the best. It’s hard to use and you can only comment on the entire gallery instead of individual photos. It’s still a great service provided by F&S and I’m glad they allow their readers to show their interesting outdoor photos.

I’m also glad that Field & Stream highlights their readers. It’s great for their readers and it makes for great content.

Look at Field and Stream when creating or improving your own email campaign. They lead by example in the outdoor industry.

Update: I received this email from Field & Stream today. This email (view the email online – Fall Essentials from Field and Stream Clothing) is not for their magazine site, but for their apparel store. I like how they included the header in the email image. Check out the story behind this brand reinvention. It’s very interesting:

Field & Stream Brand Launches Clothing Line that brings Everyday Casual and Weekend Play Together

Field & Stream Brand

Bowhunting.com

Bowhunting.com Email

Website: Bowhunting.com

Email Campaign: Bowhunting.com Email

Example Email: Early Season Scent Control from Bowhunting.com

I don’t receive too many emails from the great folks at Bowhunting.com, but I’ve been impressed with their email images that I have received.

Todd Graf and his staff of expert hunters, writers, photographers, and videographers have been in the online hunting business a long time. I was excited when they started Bowhunting.com because I’m a huge bow hunter myself and I knew these guys would put out the best site on the subject.

Bowhunting.com uses a basic approach with their email campaigns, but their content and products are top notch so their emails still resonate with viewers.

Right away in Early Season Scent Control they’re giving a solid discount ($5 off $50 order), which is a great incentive for viewers of the site to sign up for the email list. If there are email exclusive offers there is a great chance of getting people to sign up as a subscriber.

Bowhunting.com’s emails have segments for useful products, how-to videos and links to lots of the latest blogs that have been written by their expert staff. There are lots for subscribers to click on as they go from their inbox to the site. They also have great photography for their product images, headers, and in their blog posts. People love visuals and Bowhunitng.com does a great job of using visuals in their marketing efforts including email.

I also forgot to mention earlier that the subject line Early Season Scent Control is a wonderful example of how a company can use timely events to be more relevant to their clients and subscribers. Bowhunting.com knows their readers are in the early stage of the hunting season so their providing content and products for their readers that fit the time of the bow hunting season. It’s simple and it makes sense.

I am looking forward to lots of great things from Bowhunting.com. They have a great staff of marketers and writers. I look forward to their next email.

Summary

These four companies all have remarkable email campaigns that use great content with great email image design to capture the attention of hunters through the email channel.

Some of the recurring themes that stand out in these campaigns include:

– Photos

– Great headlines and subject lines

– Sections with highlights and features

– Highlighting subscribers

– Simple yet effective design

– Similar look to the site

– Timely content topics

All of these campaigns are unique yet they all provide remarkable content and value for subscribers.

There is a lot of potential for you and your company to take advantage of email. When it comes to marketing the power to sell products comes through gaining trust of your list of customers. By setting up your email campaign and learning how to build your list with email subscribers, you’ll be on your way to creating a great audience that you can work to create trust with so they will become long-term customers.

Best of luck with your email campaigns and feel free to share any experiences you have had with email marketing.

Related posts on Hunting Business Marketing

How Long Copy Email Can Help Your Hunting Business

7 Email Marketing Observations

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

How to Get Subscribers for Your Email List

Related posts on the Web

How Crappy Landing Pages Kill Email Campaigns

What We Can Learn from E-mail Spammers

Communication Tools and Levels of Interruption

Social Media Marketing Basics: Facebook & Blog Promotion