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Firearms and Hunting

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How to Get Started with Inbound Marketing on a Small Budget

By Firearms and Hunting

For some hunting, outdoor or firearms manufacturers, getting started with inbound marketing may be too much at this point in your company’s history.

You’re serious about growth and have thought a lot about your goals, but you just don’t have the resources to go all in on hiring an agency were typical retainers start at $3,200 a month. Plus the purchase of a full-blown marketing automation software platform like HubSpot, Marketo or Pardot is out of reach to do it right.

So what do you do when you’re ready to start inbound marketing, but you just don’t have the resources to pull the trigger?

In this post, I’m going to give you four steps on how to start inbound marketing on $1,500/mo. or less that can jump start your digital marketing strategy of attracting visitors to your website, converting visitors to leads and leads to customers.

1. Design an “inbound-ready” website that enables conversion 
The best websites in the industry have three things in common in addition to being e-commerce enabled. One, they have a blog that is active and is—at minimum—updated weekly with helpful, relevant content that speaks to your customers or buyer personas. Blogging also builds links and increases your search engine rankings which means more traffic.

Two, they have social share buttons attached to content that increases the likelihood of your content getting shared over social media networks like Facebook and Twitter where hunters, fisherman, and shooters hang out.

And three, they have downloadable offers with landing pages to capture visitor information so you can continue to market your product and services to them after they have shown interest and left your website.

By having the minimal aspects above in place, your website meets the basic criteria of what it means to have an “inbound-ready” website. Only through content offers (whitepapers, ebooks, videos, case studies, etc.) will you be able to convert visitors into leads that will provide the necessary contacts to build a viable email marketing list of prospective customers.

But that’s only the beginning of what it means to be “inbound.”

 

2. Install lead intelligence
marketing-automation-analytics-2You can’t do inbound successfully unless you have set goals and have a tracking and analytical tool that allows you to test and see what content is working and what isn’t—in real-time. Google Analytics is great, but you need a tool that tells you a little more about your prospects. Like how they found you and what they’re interested in.

Leadin is a free and simple tracking tool that allows you to see who’s on your website specifically and provides the context of what your visitors are interested in. It can also tell you what pages they visited, what offers they downloaded and what social media channels they are on so you can potentially engage in a more meaningful trust-building conversation. No more guessing who is on your website and where your traffic is coming from, and did I mention it is free?

 

3. Create basic lead nurturing workflows
Another powerful feature with LeadIn is that no matter what form your visitors fill out on your website they are automatically added to your favorite email marketing programs like MailChimp or Constant Contact instantly. This allows you to define simple automated workflows that nurture your leads through your sales funnel. So for example, if you have a contact who has visited your website 15 times but has not purchased that $1800 rifle, but has downloaded a spec sheet, you may want to send him/her a series of emails to help him figure out what rifle is the best for him or why your rifle is better than your competitors.

Email marketing is one of the most cost-effective marketing channels available. (Source: McKinsey & Co.) Some studies suggest that it’s 40 times better at acquiring new customers than Facebook and Twitter. Nurtured leads produce, on average, a 20% increase in sales opportunities versus non-nurtured leads. (Source DemandGen). 

 

Leadin-Contact

Leadin Contact Intelligence

4. Analyze performance
One of the biggest features of marketing automation software is that it centralizes all your contacts in one place, versus having it spread all over your inbox sporadically when a form is submitted. It allows you to organize, track and analyze the performance of your campaigns and hone your messaging to make it more effective.

Leadin also gives you an understanding of your contacts and demonstrates the value of inbound marketing analytics.

The whole point of doing inbound marketing versus the traditional approach i.e. trade show, magazine, and T.V advertising and for some—cold calling, is to reach your customers at the right place at the right time, and this is online when your prospects are actively searching for a solution to their problem.

You may be getting excited right now—but a word of caution. The above steps will give you a starting point to doing and learning inbound, but it doesn’t take the place of a full inbound marketing program.

This smaller approach or “Inbound Lite” doesn’t take into account the time-saving features of building landing pages, list segmentation, campaigns, social monitoring, comprehensive workflow analytics and search engine optimization intelligence found in marketing automation software. But with the right mindset and some of these budget-friendly tools in place—you can be on your way to doing inbound.

 

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Free Download:
Inbound Marketing Checklist

Are you utilizing the most efficient channels for your marketing?

Chances are, you might be overlooking a few that can help drive more business to your website. To make sure you’re not missing any opportunities, we’ve put together a Free Campaign Checklist with our partner HubSpot.

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Brand Development Inbound Marketing Consultant

By Josh Claflin, Brand Development, Inbound Marketing & Creative Strategy
Josh helps brands in the hunting, outdoor and firearms industry who are struggling to develop their brand; grow, stabilize or increase profits through their websites; increase revenue through online channels and enter the digital era of marketing.

Is Inbound Marketing Right Firearms Business

Is Inbound Marketing Right For My Firearms or Hunting Business?

By Firearms and Hunting

Over 55% of today’s marketing budgets are being shifted from traditional marketing (print, trade show and TV) to content or inbound marketing (Source: CMI). As a business owner, business development or marketing professional in the hunting, outdoor or firearms industry, you may be wondering if inbound marketing is right for your business.

Inbound marketing is not a tactic or channel, but a methodology for savvy businesses who want to become more relevant and current with consumer trends and who recognize the importance of building longer relationships with their customers and getting more ROI from their marketing budgets.  

In this post, I’ll give you 7 indicators why inbound marketing might be a good fit for your business.

1. You question the effectiveness of your current marketing
You spent $5000 on a Facebook campaign, but it only brought in a few customers. Your website traffic is on the decline because of recent Google algorithm changes and that full-page ad you ran in Guns & Ammo—well let’s just say it failed. Does this sound familiar? These are common problems for hunting, outdoor and firearms businesses trying to market in today’s competitive marketplace.

Due to changes in technology (Mobile, Internet, On-Demand, DVR, etc.), consumer behavior has shifted.

Instead of the traditional marketing practices of the last 100 years that beg, borrow or buy peoples’ attention, your customers now have the ability to choose where, when and how they hear your message. They can easily fast forward through commercials, skip an ad or flip to the next page. And with everyone head down on their iPhones, they may not see your message at all.

Inbound marketing, on the other hand, attracts customers who are already interested in learning about your products and who are motivated to finding a solution to their problems. 

2. You’re willing to learn

At this point, you may have done some research on how inbound marketing works and may have already concluded that inbound might be a good fit. You know that inbound marketing:

  • costs 62% less per lead than traditional “outbound” marketing methods
  • has the ability to track how many website visits become leads and how many leads become customers
  • increases traffic by 55% via blogging
  • generates 3 times more leads per dollar spent
  • yields higher rankings on search engines
  • builds your brand
  • unlocks more marketing budget because it proves ROI

Through the process, you’re going to learn more about your customers and explore new ideas about your business you’ve not yet considered. This all creates and establishes thought leadership that pushes your brand to new heights and leaves your competitors in the dust.

3. You’re willing to change your thinking

In order to be successful in inbound, your company must change the way it thinks. The culture must evolve—starting from the CEO/owner down to your pro staff. The typical hope and pray approach to marketing can now be replaced by measurable analytics that show you what’s working and what’s not.

4. You’re willing to become a writer
 (or at least try)
You must be consistent and motivated to see the program through. This means blogging 1-2x a week at minimum. It means creating remarkable and relevant premium content in the form of ebooks, whitepapers, webinars and videos on a consistent basis. If you do not have the time to create content, ask an agency for help.

You may shutter at the thought of writing or blogging. However, once you begin most people find they thoroughly enjoy it. Think of it as your contribution and legacy to the industry. The old adage “it doesn’t exist, till you write it down” applies here.

5. You want to grow or sustain your business

For product companies in competitive categories like optics, lasers, accessories, knifes and MSRs, the ups and downs of sales and cash flow issues affects your company’s ability to plan for the future. Inbound has the potential to supply your business with a steady flow of new customers every month. By expanding your digital footprint online, your brand is in more places. 

6. You have a long buyers’ journey
Segments that can benefit the most in the hunting, outdoor and firearms industry from inbound marketing are products that include a longer buyers journey. This is typically associated with products and services that cost over $250. With over 60% of all purchases beginning with an online search, companies looking to break away from the pack have ample opportunity to crush their competition and grab more market-share with inbound because it helps nurture your prospects through the sales funnel that provides valuable information for your customers to make informed decisions. 

7. You’re in it for the long haul

Have you ever trained for a marathon? It takes about 3-4 months to create the endurance and fitness needed to cover the 26.2 miles on race day. The mindset of the inbound marketer is to consistently build—day after day, week after week, month after month—a foundation of valuable content that results in increased traffic, leads and customers over time. Depending on your website’s age, current rankings and functionality—inbound can take anywhere from 4 to 6 months to start showing results.

In conclusion, there is no doubt inbound marketing works when executed correctly. The Beretta case study demonstrates inbound’s effectiveness to build and sustain a steady flow of sales. Inbound marketing is a proven methodology for today’s consumer behavior—meeting them at the right place, at the right time and on their terms. If you’ve become a believer in inbound and are ready to change the way you think about marketing, are disciplined, motivated and committed for the long haul—then the benefits of inbound marketing are waiting for you. 

 

Inbound Marketing Toolkit

Free Download:
Inbound Marketing Tool Kit
 

Running a successful marketing campaign for your business is all about having the right tools.
This guide will dive into 
which marketing tools you should keep at the ready.

 

 


Brand Development Inbound Marketing Consultant

By Josh Claflin, Brand Development, Inbound Marketing & Creative Strategy
Josh helps brands in the hunting, outdoor and firearms industry who are struggling to develop their brand; grow, stabilize or increase profits through their websites; increase revenue through online channels and enter the digital era of marketing.

hunting-firearms-content-marketing

3 Kinds of Hunting and Firearms Content You Should Be Writing

By Firearms and Hunting

If you’ve committed to—or are just getting started with content marketing to help your hunting, outdoor or firearms company drive more website visitors, convert visitors to leads, increase sales and build your brand—there are three kinds of content you should know about that forms the foundation of your content marketing strategy.

Most companies in the industry are getting their content wrong. Most content is highly self-promotional that serves the company rather than their customers. Other brands write about topics that have no relevance to their buyer persona’s problems or questions. Further yet, once companies start writing content, they give up in 3-4 months.

Creating content is not easy and takes time, devotion and the commitment of your entire team to make it work. However, by having a better understanding of what kind of content you need to be creating in the first place, you can focus and plan more effectively so your efforts don’t fall flat.

According to Google/YouTube and Mark Schaefer, author of the new book, The Content Code, there are three forms of content: Hygiene, Hub and Heroic.

Hygiene Content
Hygiene content makes up the bulk of what you see out on the web. Hygiene content is the lifeblood of your content strategy and keeps your website fresh. These pieces of content typically involve your run of the mill 500-800-word articles that gives your readers “How-To’s”, “Tips and Tricks” and the “Do It Your Self” articles. This kind of content keeps your audience engaged and helps you maintain your search engine rankings. (Source: SEOMOZ)

Some examples of this type of content would be:

  • How to Clean Your AR-15
  • 3 Ways to Become a Better Turkey Hunter
  • 5 Best Hunting Apps for Hunting Coyotes

Hub Content
Hub content goes more in-depth about a certain subject and usually is 1000-2000 words in length and serves more as a reference piece that your readers visit time and time again. Hub content or “evergreen” content serves to attract visitors to your website and keeps them there. This kind of content builds brand loyalty and in most cases will help in building links to your website. You know you have created a piece of evergreen content by quickly looking at your analytics to see what pages of your blog consistently get the most visits. These types of articles require planning, a lot of thought, research and understanding of the topic to make them valuable to your readers. Hub content is also critical in building thought leadership in your category. Hub content also remains high on search engines for an extended period and is typically staggered throughout the year.

A few good examples of Hub content are:

Heroic Content
This is the hardest content to produce and also the most surprising. Heroic content—also sometimes called viral content—typically receives thousands to millions of shares and views and is highly entertaining and educational all-in-one. Heroic content also challenges perceptions and opinions and can be controversial or polarizing.

Here are a few examples:

By focusing on creating these three types of content: hygiene, hub and heroic, your content/inbound marketing strategy will remain consistent and focused all year long. Plan your hub content in advance and think about how to come up with one or two good viral pieces. Then fill the rest of your content calendar with helpful hygiene content to keep your audience engaged and your website fresh.

 

 

[columns]
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Free Ebook: The Essential Step-by-Step Guide to Inbound/Digital Marketing for the Hunting, Outdoor and Firearms Industry

In this comprehensive guide, you will learn the 6 essential steps to internet marketing success.

1. Optimizing Your Website
2. Creating Content
3. Implementing a Social Strategy
4. Converting Visitors into Leads
5. Nurturing Leads into Customers
6. Analyzing & Refining Data

Download Now
[/columns]

Brand Development Inbound Marketing Consultant

By Josh Claflin, Brand Development, Inbound Marketing & Creative Strategy
Josh helps brands in the hunting, outdoor and firearms industry who are struggling to develop their brand; grow, stabilize or increase profits through their websites; increase revenue through online channels and enter the digital era of marketing.

firearms-industry-disruption

Is the Firearms Industry Ripe for Disruption?

By Firearms and Hunting

 

The mention of disruption these days in any industry is enough to send shivers down the spine of any executive in the C-suite. Industries who have typically rested on their laurels are always ripe for disruption sending established brands packing.

We see how digital film brought down Kodak. Netflix replaced Blockbuster. Or how Uber turned the taxicab industry upside down.

And with the emergence of a new technology called the Internet of Things or IoT, we’re seeing how Google’s NEST is turning the home into a “smart” home, where it can sense what your ideal temperature is and can alert you through your iPhone to any intrusion by communicating with your security system.

From compact discs changing to Mp3s, the iPhone, Pandora, and others—disruption is happening at a furious pace, which begs the question, is the firearms industry vulnerable to disruption?

We see attempts from companies like Tracking Point and SilencerCo’s new Weapons Research spin-off making strides to integrate and make available once out-of-reach technology to the civilian customer.

Perhaps the biggest and most recent disruptions are taking place in 3-D printing, advanced robotic manufacturing, caseless ammo, and the push for smart guns. Other areas include how firearms are being sold online or in the retail environment or how firearms can interact within their environments. In addition, the NRA’s recent ad campaign seeks to awaken people to the fact that they are losing their rights, which is galvanizing gun owners and strengthening the conservative political movement.

As new out-of-industry technologies develop, politics change and people’s perceptions and attitudes towards technology and firearms shift, companies who are thinking forward will be poised to weather coming changes.

In this article, I took a look at four areas of potential disruption from a marketing standpoint and share some ideas to spur thought and perhaps push you out of your comfort zone in terms of how to avoid or prepare for potential disruption in the firearms industry.

Manufacturing

Manufacturing is entering a dynamic new phase. By 2025, a new global consuming class will have emerged, and the majority of consumption will take place in developing economies. This will create rich new market opportunities. Meanwhile, in established markets, demand is fragmenting as customers ask for greater variation and more types of after-sales service. A rich pipeline of innovations in materials and processes—from nanomaterials to 3-D printing to advanced robotics—also promises to create fresh demand and drive further productivity gains across manufacturing industries and geographies. (Source: McKinsey)

Gun manufacturing and gunsmithing has historically been a difficult endeavor, requiring metal and woodworking skills to make a sturdy, dependable weapon. According to Adam Clark Estes from Gizmodo, 3-D printing has passed the point of rinky-dink plastic parts and is now capable of printing with bronze, limestone, and iron.

3-D printing remains a controversial subject—and yet to be proven in firearm application at scale, but it should not be discounted.

One company, Solid Concepts, using a 3D printer that can print metals, reproduced a clone of a military 1911 .45-caliber semiautomatic pistol, which successfully fired 50 rounds. Defense Distributed, a non-profit digital publisher and 3D R&D firm, developed an all-plastic handgun based on a WWII design called the Liberator.

If companies like Solid Concepts and Defense Distributed figures out how to make firearms just as durable as the they are now; undercut prices and make them more personalized and do it at scale—this could be a disruption of dynamic proportions. The entire process could be turned upside down: from employment, training, inventory, design, prototyping, labor unions and the list goes on and on.

Skip ahead to the year 2030. What if all I had to do to buy a gun was to apply for a license online, purchase and download a plan that I could then take to my local 3-D manufacturing station. Which happens to be the same place I went to last week to purchase and print a broomstick and some forks. Seem far fetched, maybe not?

The changing retail experience

In a recent trip down to the local gun shop, I couldn’t help but notice how different the experience was from being in an Apple store I was in the day before. From the stuffy atmosphere, the grumpy guy working behind the counter and the disorganized mess of firearms mounted on peg board—the typical gun shop buying experience has been about the same for about every store I’ve been in to since I was 8 years old.

The reason I bring up the Apple store—is because the Apple retail experience has caused major disruption in the consumer electronics space (Source: HBR) and has crossed over into other industries that has the potential to influence the expectations of buyers, including those buying a firearm.

According to the latest NSSF data, new buyers (mostly handguns) in the firearms industry are younger, include more females and are urban. (Source: NSSF) These buyers have been influenced by out-of-industry retail experiences like Apple or REI and will come to expect the same experiences from outdoor retailers—it’s a natural progression. Bass Pro, Cabela’s and other larger retailers aside, small mom and pop shops could face problems in the years to come by overlooking their retail experience.

Berretta GalleryFor example, Beretta opened its seventh Beretta Gallery in Memphis earlier this year. With locations in Milan, Paris, London and Buenos Aires, New York, and Dallas, Beretta once again is disrupting how hunting, outdoor and firearm marketing and sales is being delivered. 

Berretta’s vision has always led the industry, and this may be the reason this company has been around since 1526.

The same can be said for the online buying experience. I recently looked at the hunting and firearms industry’s best websites. What I discovered was a lot of the larger brands that didn’t make the list—were not mobile based, offered little to no information to their users and had yet to implement a digital marketing strategy that is expected from today’s younger, urban consumer.

With over 50% of ecommerce website traffic now coming from mobile (Source: Shopify), and 1.8 hours per day consuming media via mobile, it makes sense for brands to make digital marketing a priority in 2016.

James McQuivey of Forrester Research says, “In the digital environment, customers have the ability to switch back and forth between competitive providers more quickly and at lower cost than ever before. They can research competitive prices, they can look for promotions, they can even place an order for a competitor’s product all while standing in your store or looking at your product on the shelf. That’s why the only way to win that customer is to serve that customer, to make his or her needs the most important thing your business is focused on.”

The Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) is an environment in which objects, animals or people are provided with unique identifiers and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.

A few examples of IoT are doors that lock themselves, cameras that monitor your home for intruders or thermostats that program themselves. It’s about using technology to make technology smarter.

Daniel Burris, from Burris Research, quotes in an article from Wired. “The Internet of Things really comes together with the connection of sensors and machines. That is to say, the real value that the Internet of Things creates is at the intersection of gathering data and leveraging it. All the information gathered by all the sensors in the world isn’t worth very much if there isn’t an infrastructure in place to analyze it in real time.”

Of all the technology trends that are taking place right now, perhaps the biggest one is the Internet of Things; it’s the one that’s going to give us the most disruption as well as the most opportunity over the next five years.

Tracking Point came out with its Shotview at CES earlier this year that allows a user to link to a HUD on your rifle for greater shooting accuracy and that can record your hunt through a Google Glass app.

Another company focusing on IoT is Yardarm Technologies in law enforcement. Its smart gun concept is equipped with an accelerometer, gyroscope, wireless GSM, and Bluetooth low energy to monitor and record data every time it is discharged.

The sensor gathers data about how, when and where officers use their guns, and transmits that data in real time to commanding officers and departments.

Everything from the time the gun is unholstered, to the number and location of shots fired—even the direction the gun is pointed in—can be measured and visualized with Yardarm’s technology, the company says. (Source: PC World)

Could IoT cause disruption in the firearms industry? It surely is one of the most exciting and promising areas of innovation. Segments who have the highest risk I believe are products that require several consecutive steps of use, bulky functionality and after market add-ons like optics and lasers that could be substituted by technologies like Google Glass.

Why put an optic on your rifle when you can wear it on your head? And by combining this with advancements in 3-D printing, this could be an area of interest as well.

Shifting political views and opinions

NRA’s latest ad campaign “Freedom’s Safest Place” communicates the views the majority of us share. “This campaign is a gathering of shared values that gives a sense of right and wrong,” says NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre. In light of the recent IRS scandals, terrorism and tragedies the “good guys” are being called to stand up.

With the recent Planned Parenthood videos being released that show the gruesome and evil acts of its employees to support for tell-it-like-it-is Donald Trump—the people who adhere and align with America’s core principles of freedom and the constitution are finally taking a stand against left-wing groups, Bloomberg and the media with a renewed sense of purpose.

People who own firearms see the dangers of this world and want to protect themselves, their family and even arm themselves against their own government who continues to impede, trample and intrude on citizen’s rights—are changing the minds and attitudes and causing disruption of what once was the status quo.

How firearm manufacturers participate in this remains to be seen. However if the NRA is successful in swaying public opinion and rallies its 5 Million members along with other conservative groups that contributes to the election of a pro-gun Republican President in 2016, the gun industry could be on its way back to what sales were like during the Bush ’43 presidency.

Gun-Sales

It’s been said, Obama has been the industry’s best sales man. Looking back at industry background check figures give a good indication of what sales where like 8 years ago under the Bush administration.

NOTE: Not all background checks are followed by a sale, and an unknown number of private sales take place without any requirement for a background check. (Source: Fact Check)

The upcoming presidential election has the potential to be the biggest disruption of them all whether a republican or a democrat gets elected. 

Firearm manufacturers next generation of marketers, workers, engineers and designers will intrinsically possess the influences, skills and ideas to push brands into new areas. It’s up to the innovators and thought leaders of the industry to prepare for the coming changes. Whether change comes from the manufacturers themselves or a new startup—disruption, my friends is inevitable.

 

hunting-outdoor-internet-guide
Free Ebook: The Essential Step-by-Step Guide to Inbound/Digital Marketing for the Hunting, Outdoor and Firearms Industry

In this comprehensive guide, you will learn the 6 essential steps to internet marketing success.

1. Optimizing Your Website
2. Creating Content
3. Implementing a Social Strategy
4. Converting Visitors into Leads
5. Nurturing Leads into Customers
6. Analyzing & Refining Data

Download Now

 


Brand Development Inbound Marketing Consultant

By Josh Claflin, Brand Development, Inbound Marketing & Creative Strategy
Josh helps brands in the hunting, outdoor and firearms industry who are struggling to develop their brand; grow, stabilize or increase profits through their websites; increase revenue through online channels and enter the digital era of marketing.

hunting-firearms-best-website-design

The Hunting and Firearms Industry’s Best Website Designs

By Firearms and Hunting

What makes a great website? Most of the time you know it when you see it, but you just can’t put your finger on it. To have a website that stands head and shoulders above your competitors, brands must focus on creating engaging user experiences. To do so, here are ten points to keep in mind: 

  1. Design for your buyer persona
  2. Less really is more
  3. Use interesting colors and quality imagery
  4. Make sure it works on all mobile and tablet devices (responsive)
  5. Gives users something to “stick” around for like a blog, videos or other forms of helpful content
  6. Write content in your buyer persona’s language
  7. Make your content easy to share
  8. Optimize for search engines
  9. Add an SSL for extra security if you’re running a shopping cart
  10. Must load in under 5 seconds

Earlier this year, Google announced that if your website was not mobile friendly—or in other words “responsive”, you could be penalized in search rankings. And with more than 95% of all product searches starting online and more algorithm changes on the way, it’s important to take advantage of these changes to make sure your website will remain competitive. One way most hunting and firearms websites are ensuring their survival is by adopting content marketing. By creating consistent content in the forms of blogs, videos, whitepapers and downloadable offers, companies can keep on top of the search engines and provide a “branded” user experience to their users. This is a significant trend away from which historically has been left to content publishers like Field and Stream, Guns & Ammo and others.

In this post, we looked at over 200 websites in the hunting and firearms industry and chose one from 25 categories to see how the industry is moving forward by adopting the latest web trends and technologies. Last time I checked the Webby’s  (Website awards) weren’t giving any awards for brands in the hunting, outdoor and firearms industry, so we hope to change that with this post. 

Use this post to gain ideas for your own website or to get inspired. 

 


Accessories
Magpul’s great products combined with stunning imagery and their unique sense of humor reflects perfectly on their brand personality.

magpul

 

Ammunition

Barnes does a great job with imagery and creating some interesting features like their load data and information page. They also feature their community members that adds to its credibility and “social proof.”

barnes

 

Attractants
Big & J’s website uses great imagery and product callouts.

bigj

 

 

Blinds (and Tree Stands) 
Muddy’s website has a lot of engaging imagery and a full-screen interface that makes for a clean user experience.

muddy

 

 

Bows
Bear Archery does a great job using “parallax” technology on their page scroll and telling the story of their products. Along with clever imagery (see hunter in the sky) this site makes it fun to scroll.

bear

 

 

Clothing
5.11’s firearm accessories website does a great job of communicating quickly their large line of apparel and accessories and helps the user get to where they want to go quickly.

5.11

 

Coolers
No surprise here. Yeti’s website is also very clean and does a great job with text and imagery to convey their brand’s messaging. Thier “Field Notes” blog provides great recipes and how-tos on cooling game along with other interesting content.

yeti

 

 

Decoys
Bigfoot Decoys website uses really great imagery and a simplified navigation menu. Check out their dealer locator.

bigfoot

 

 

Fitness
Not only is Mountain Ops an interesting newcomer to the hunting industry, its products and branding are very persuasive as redefining hunters as “wilderness athletes.”

getmntops


Food Plot
Packed full of information, BioLogic’s website helps users figure out what products to use and provides relevant information about their products.

biologic

 

Handguns
Springfield Armory’s website is very clean and utilizes a good amount of whitespace. Packed with great video content, blog and reviews, the site does a great job using graphics and content to educate its users.

springfield

 

Game Calls
Knight and Hall gets honors in the game call category. They also have a great blog packed with calling tips and other great hunting information.

knighthale

 


Game Cameras

Wildlife Innovations combines their celebrity lineup with their line of innovations. Real faces of real people make it interesting to look at and scroll through.

wildlifeinnocations

 

 

Game Feeders
On Time’s brochure-ware site is super simple in look and feel and does a great job of communicating the brands products. If you have a low budget, this is a good example of what can be done.

ontime

 

 

Gun Cleaning
Although the Hoppe’s website is not responsive, it was still the standout among its competitors. This heritage brand does a great job of bringing its brand into the 21st century.

hoppes

 


Holsters
Interesting imagery and typography makes the Blackhawk! website very engaging. We also liked how they used vertical imagery to scroll the user down the page.

blackhawk

 

 

Knives
Kershaw’s website uses a clean and minimalistic design that showcases its products nicely.

kershaw

 

 

Lasers
Crimson Trace’s website uses an interesting type style along with their signature campaign imagery of peoples faces in silhouettes.

 

crimsontrace

 

 

Modern Sporting Rifles
Bring the rain! Black Rain Ordinance does a great job of communicating their unique brand on their website.

blackrain

 


Optics
Burris uses a unique minimalistic menu function that opens up the page to its great imagery and content callouts.

burris

 

 

Packs
Badlands website uses a darker (and meaner) color palette to communicate the seriousness of their brand, combined with their sponsored hunters and shooters makes the site very engaging.

badlands

 

 

Patterns
Mossy Oak leads the pattern category. With plenty of great content, interesting design and great imagery, Mossy Oak’s website is engaging and does a great job of presenting their sub-brands (upper left).

mossyoak

 

 

Safes
Securit leads the safe category with interesting imagery, persona-based navigation and a great library of content.

securit

 

 

Suppressors
Our leading favorite only because SilencerCo. is the coolest brand out there right now, but also because its got our good buddy Jep on the home page. Their #fightthenoise campaign has been highly effective.

silencerco

 

 

Rifles
The winner of our review is Mossberg. With helpful content, amazing imagery, persona-based navigation and a responsive design, you can tell a lot of work went into this website.mossberg-winner-3

If you’ve noticed one thing about the websites listed in this post, it’s the investment in quality photography, graphic design and copy. These three elements combined with solid programming and ease-of-use is only the first step in joining the digital age of marketing. Turn your website into a powerful sales tool by adding useful, helpful and consistent content that helps your customers solve their problems and that answers their most burning questions. 

What do you think of our list? Who did we miss? What was your favorite? Please post your comments below!

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Brand Development Inbound Marketing Consultant By Josh Claflin, Brand Development, Inbound Marketing & Creative Strategy
Josh helps brands in the hunting, outdoor and firearms industry who are struggling to develop their brand; grow, stabilize or increase profits through their websites; increase revenue through online channels and enter the digital era of marketing.

hunting-firearms-brand-experience

5 Ways To Boost Your Hunting or Firearms Brand’s Experience

By Firearms and Hunting

With so much economic upheaval and pressure to stand out in today’s hunting, outdoor and firearms marketplace; business owners and marketers have been feeling the pressure to produce greater results.

One overlooked element is how you create better brand experiences for your customers. Brand experience goes beyond the basic function of the product or service and seeks to connect with your customer on an emotional level that makes your brand the preferred choice in your category by adding something extra. 

How do top brands create great brand experiences? I took a closer look at a few brands inside and outside the industry and boiled it down to five things that stood out to me on how to go about building a great brand experience—and how you can begin implementing them into your own branding and marketing efforts. 

1. Find your “one” thing
Most of the world’s best brands are known for “one” thing. It can be tough (Ford); it could be repeating arms (Winchester); it could be rugged (Marlboro) or status (Rolex)—it may even be duck hunting (Duck Commander). Whatever the case, the best brands are known for “one” thing that puts them head and shoulders above others—and in the process define an entire category. The first step in boosting your brand experience is to know and understand what your “one” thing is. Communicate your one thing over and over again in every piece of marketing until your name is associated with that one word that places your brand on the top shelf of your customers and prospects minds. 

2. Rise above function to connect on an emotional level
Once you’ve drilled your prospective buyer with what your one thing is, you then must begin to connect your brand at an emotional level. Zig Zigler said it best; “People don’t buy for logical reasons, they buy for emotional reasons.” Your product or service should mean something more than what it appears to be. Can your brand make your customer feel better about themselves? Can it make them feel different when they put it on? Will it win the admiration of their friends? Take a look at some of the top brands for an example of how they connect at the emotional level:

  • Coke is Brown Sugar Water > Happiness in a Bottle.
  • SilencerCo. is a Suppressor > Fight the Noise.
  • Budweiser is Fermented Barley and Hops > King of Beers.
  • Matthews is a Bow Manufacturer > Supremely Accurate.

Great brands rise above the functional attributes of their product to connect to their customers emotionally.

3. Take your customers somewhere
Does your brand take your customer somewhere? It doesn’t have to be a physical place, it can be a state-of-mind. For example, when you turn on your truck—how does it make you feel? Do you feel like a bad ass or a grocery getter? How about when you put on your favorite football team’s jersey—do you feel like you’re part of the team? When you sip on a Corona, does it take you to the beach? Great brands take their customers somewhere.

4. Build a cult-like following
There is a company out there called Johnny Cupcakes. Ever heard of it? Neither did I till I was at a marketing conference this summer. Johnny Cupcakes founded by Johnny Earle, named America’s #1 Young Entrepreneur creates custom designed t-shirts that are then sold in a store that looks like a bakery—all over the world. At first glance you’re probably like “what?” But what makes the Johnny Cupcakes brand interesting is its cult-like following. So much so, that people tattoo Johnny’s logo on themselves and stand in line for hours to get his latest designs. Think Apple when they release their new iPhone. When his customers order a shirt from Johnny online and receive it in the mail;  it’s better than Christmas. His packaging seeks to create an experience pre-primed by his brand’s irresistible appeal. Not only do they get the t-shirt they ordered, but there’s always something extra. Sometimes they get a sticker, maybe a book, a used candy wrapper or Johnny’s used sock. Sounds silly—but Johnny’s fans love it. What can you add to your customer experience that gives just that little extra touch? Doing so, may help you create a cult-like following that will give back to your business for years to come.

5. Give them a community
Another important aspect of great brand experiences is being a part of what Marketing expert Seth Godin calls a “tribe.” A tribe is a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader and connected to an idea…. People want connection and growth and something new. I’m a member of the Professional Outdoor Media Association. I’m included in a community of other marketing professionals in the industry—giving me a network and a small sense of belonging. Think of the communities you belong to. How do they make you feel? 

It should feel good. Can you do the same for your customers?

All marketing doesn’t have to be tradeshow, print or a TV sponsorship. Marketing can be an app, a community group or some random chachki in your packaging. Look at other ways to stand out from your competitors. 

To sum up, to boost your brand’s customer experience, find your “one” thing that makes you different, be something more than just a function, take your customers somewhere and give them a sense of accomplishment and community.

 

[columns]
Hunting-Outdoor-Firearms-Buyer-Persona1
FREE DOWNLOAD: A Hunting, Outdoor & Firearms Marketer’s Guide to Creating the Buyer Persona


The key to maximizing your marketing and branding efforts

In this powerful template — we help you and your team think through and identify who your ideal customer is. This will enable you to set SMART goals that focus your marketing and create better brand experiences.

Download Now!

[/columns]

Brand Development Inbound Marketing Consultant

By Josh Claflin, Brand Development, Inbound Marketing & Creative Strategy
Josh helps brands in the hunting, outdoor and firearms industry who are struggling to develop their brand; grow, stabilize or increase profits through their websites; increase revenue through online channels and enter the digital era of marketing.

hunting-firearms-blog

Stop What You’re Doing And Blog Like This…

By Firearms and Hunting

Blogging for your hunting, outdoor or firearms company can be somewhat challenging. However, for those who take the time and energy to blog—there exists many benefits and clearly defined advantages for your business.

Call it content creation or blogging—blogs have been shown to increase website traffic by 55% (Source: Hubspot). Done consistently, blogging will compound over time into more traffic, more leads and more sales through your website. Blogging is one of the key components in an internet or content marketing strategy. Blogs power your search engine optimization and social media efforts to greater heights.

If you’re the type of person who sees the advantages of blogging and are committed to thought leadership, driving website traffic and to building your brand, this post will help you become a more effective blog writer in the hunting, outdoor and firearms industry.

1. Start with your audience
A lot of times, you may be blogging just for the sake of blogging. But this is where a lot of people go wrong. There is a methodology to blogging. For starters, you must understand your audience at the granular level to make your writing efforts pay off. A great way to get inside the heads of your prospects is to interview your current customers. Ask them why they value your brand, what keeps them up at night and what their biggest challenges are. For example:

  • How to call in a hung up turkey.
  • What is the best AR15 for home defense?
  • How to become a better sports clay shooter.
  • How to field dress your game quicker.
  • What are cheaper thermal vision alternatives?
  • Best places in Montana to look for sheds.
  • What level of fitness do I need to hunt Bighorn Sheep?

By asking the right questions, you will be able to write the right blogs that capture your audience’s attention.

2. Teach them something
Just like this blog is attempting to teach you something—your blog should attempt the same. Like the examples shown above, the first and best way to approach a blog is to answer the questions you hear most from your customers. Compose a list, perhaps starting with your FAQS and turn them into 500-800-word blog posts.

TIP: Posts with 1000-2000 words or more are shared almost twice as much.

3. Pick topics based on your keywords
If you’re blogging on topics that don’t include your keywords you’re camouflaging your blogs. Keywords drive traffic to your website and show up in search engines where your prospective customers are. Pick topics that your customers are searching for. To find out what keywords you should be blogging on, you’ll need to take a closer look at your analytics. You may even consider using a paid keyword tool service like Moz, Wordstream or utilize your Google Adwords tool. 

TIP: Write for humans, not search engines. Don’t stuff keywords into your copy.

4. Formatting
Formatting is another factor you must consider. Your readers will typically scan topics and headlines before committing to reading your post. It’s kind of like channel surfing. To make the most of the one shot you have to grab your reader’s attention, your blog posts should take on a format like this to allow for easy scanning:

  1. Ahunting-firearm-blog-post-formatttention-grabbing headline 
  2. Engaging image
  3. Share buttons
  4. Introduction and hook
  5. Introduce the problem you are solving and who the post is for
  6. Tell the reader what to expect
  7. Cite your sources for credibility
  8. Number your sub-heads
  9. End with a recap and conclusion
  10. Use a call to action to generate a lead or sale

By formatting your blog properly, you’ll increase the likelihood of getting it read. 

5. Ignition
Sharing is considered the “holy grail” in social media. It’s one thing to “like” or “favorite” a post, but a share has the potential to drive traffic and build brand awareness exponentially. When a person shares your content, it says something about them to their friends and followers. According to Mark Schaefer’s new book, the Content Code, people share content on the basis of making themselves look smarter or to communicate something about their interests and personalities. Sharing “ignites” your content that allows your brand to penetrate into new audience groups.

Make sure to add share buttons at the top of your posts and make sure the blog data automatically populates is the first step in getting your post shared.

6. Consistency
If you start a blog, you must commit to blogging on a regular and consistent basis. By starting out strong and then getting sidetracked in 3-4 months, will hinder your efforts and leave your followers hanging. They’ll forget about you and eventually unsubscribe or tune out. If you’re going to commit to blogging, commit to it and stick with it. You can start out by committing to once a month and build up from there. The more you blog—statistics show—the more traffic you get.

hunting-firearms-blog-stats

7. End with a call to action
At the end of every blog post, you should end with a call to action. Whether it’s a downloadable offer, a video or even a call to purchase one of your products—make sure to capitalize on the momentum and interest you just created with your reader once they get to the bottom of your post.

In ending, when writing a blog post, start by knowing your audience, teach them something, write articles based on your keywords, format, make it easy to share, be consistent and end with a call to action.

By including these points in your next hunting, outdoor or firearms blog post, you’ll start seeing lower bounce rates, increased traffic, and more subscribers, shares, likes and favorites. 

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Free EBook: An Introduction to Business Blogging

In this ebook, we give you some powerful pointers on how to generate content, optimize, promote and measure your blogging activities.

You will learn:

  • Why you should have a blog
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  • How to measure your blog
  • 4 business blogging practices
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Download Today!

Brand Development Inbound Marketing Consultant

By Josh Claflin, Brand Development, Inbound Marketing & Creative Strategy
Josh helps brands in the hunting, outdoor and firearms industry who are struggling to develop their brand; grow, stabilize or increase profits through their websites; increase revenue through online channels and enter the digital era of marketing.

 

hunting-firearms-outdoor-marketing

Is Your Firearm Marketing Missing The Mark?

By Firearms and Hunting

Are you banging your head against the wall from wasting thousands of dollars on your latest ad placement, PR push or website design and still have yet to see results? 

Good design and a quality product isn’t enough anymore to cut through the clutter, skepticism nor the noise in the hunting, outdoor and firearms industry. 

Companies who want to maximize their marketing efforts must go deeper into understanding how their brand can be leveraged and how content (inbound) can be amplified through placed or earned media (magazine advertising, television, sponsorships, product reviews or trade show) to get the biggest bang for their buck—while building their brand.

Your marketing must be on target to make it effective. Below are 5 points that will help you focus your marketing like a laser. 

1. Brand purpose 

Can you define your company’s purpose? Your purpose is what gets you out of bed in the morning. Purpose goes beyond just making money. Brands with a strong sense of purpose are more admired, more profitable and attract more customers. 

Every brand makes a promise. But in a marketplace in which consumer confidence is low and budgetary vigilance is high, it’s not just making a promise that separates one brand from another, but having a defining purpose. (Source: Forbes)

marketing pyramidMission and vision support your purpose—this provides the direction of your company. Mission and vision are then supported by your goals. Every brand is built on goals. Without goals—your brand falls flat that can affect your company’s sales performance, employee productivity and engagement—which will ultimately result in lost revenue and customers. (See right: Strategic Pyramid by Marty Neumeier)

The most successful firearm, outdoor and hunting campaigns today are purpose driven, here are a few good ones:

  • Knight & Hale – Obsession for making game calls better.
  • SOG – Gear made especially for adventurous people who like to “live on the edge.”
  • Beretta – Quality Without Compromise.
  • Mauser – A symbol for the real, successful hunting experience.

When investigating any one of these brands, you’ll most likely begin to admire them—place them on a higher shelf in your mind or choose them over their competitors. 

2. Customer focused
If you’re hoping to launch a marketing campaign without the understanding of who your customers are or what your brand means to them—you might as well throw half your marketing budget out the window. All great marketing campaigns begin with knowing who your buyer persona is. You create buyer persona’s by identifying specifically who you’re talking to by interviewing them to learn more about their pain points, background, demographics, wants, needs and what channels are best to reach them. If you haven’t talked to your customers in a while—it may be a good time to check in with them.

3. Be S.M.A.R.T.

What is it that you hope to accomplish with your marketing? Is it brand awareness, more customers, increase signups to your loyalty program, drive traffic? Is it attainable? Each campaign you initiate should result in some kind of action that can be measured (see next). Define what it is you hope to accomplish with every campaign. See “How To Set SMART Goals”.

turkey-hunting-tips4. Measurable

Can your marketing be measured? If you place a printed advertisement, give a presentation, attend a tradeshow or send out a direct mail piece—how can you measure the effectiveness of your investment? A good marketing campaign can be tracked and measured and should be able to provide the data you need to make a more informed decision next time around. An effective way to do this is to create a content offer that you can track back to your website. By offering a free whitepaper or ebook, that gives your customers’ in-depth information on how to solve a problem—you’ll be able to measure the effectiveness of your campaign through traffic generation and lead conversions. See Havalon’s ebook example.

5. Nurture and deliver qualified leads/sales

The number one responsibility of marketers is to deliver qualified leads to your dealers, distributors or sales team. Does your campaign have a way to efficiently qualify leads? By placing your website at the center of your marketing activities, you can effectively track visitors driven by outbound methods to your website.

In conclusion, marketing that hits the mark starts with a well-defined brand that is customer focused, specific, measurable and that delivers qualified leads to your dealers, distributors or sales team. If you’re just placing ads and creating alot of activity in the marketplace and hoping for some kind of response, you may be wasting precious time and money on your marketing.

Hunting-Outdoor-Firearms-Buyer-Persona1

FREE DOWNLOAD: A Hunting, Outdoor & Firearms Marketer’s Guide to Creating the Buyer Persona

The key to maximizing your marketing efforts

In this powerful template — we help you and your team think through and identify who your ideal customer is. This will enable you to set SMART goals that focus your marketing and branding efforts.

Download Now!

 


Brand Development Inbound Marketing Consultant

By Josh Claflin, Brand Development, Inbound Marketing & Creative Strategy
Josh helps brands in the hunting, outdoor and firearms industry who are struggling to develop their brand; grow, stabilize or increase profits through their websites; increase revenue through online channels and enter the digital era of marketing.

 

hunting-logo-design

5 Hunting Logo Design Failures To Avoid At All Costs

By Firearms and Hunting

It is inevitable that at some point in your company’s history you will be faced with a logo redesign or a rebranding of your hunting, outdoor or firearms company.

Remember the good ole’ start-up days? It was a lot easier just to design a few concepts that made sense, approve it and get on with building your business. But now things are a little more complicated: you have thousands of customers, a few sub-brands, hundreds of employees counting on you and a few more competitors. Suddenly, that little insignificant symbol that no one thought twice about is a big deal.

For business owners or marketers, managing a logo redesign is a major change—and change is hard! To help you stay clear of any potential pitfalls, here are five things to keep in mind during the course of your next hunting, outdoor or firearms logo redesign project.

1. Get an outside perspective
When designing a new logo, it’s critical to start with an understanding of what your customers think about your current identity and brand. Their input will form the foundation of your creative brief and give substance to your efforts. Their answers may provide key insights that you otherwise would have missed.

For more information on interviewing your customers please see: 8 Ways to Build Your Hunting Brand

2. Identify your value propositions
If you’re designing a new logo without a solid understanding of what your brand stands for, it’s likely you’ll struggle to define accurately what your key differentiators are and what value you bring to the marketplace, your employees, customers, and channel partners. If you’re struggling to identify what your “why” is, it may indicate a deeper problem, and you may need to take a deeper look at your brand. Below is a TED talk from Simon Sinek that explains how to create a brand that dominates your category—worth the watch. 

Remember, a logo is a representation of what you want to communicate and should be connected to your visual system or “kit of parts” i.e package design, trade show booth design, website design, product catalogs, advertising etc. A logo rarely functions on its own.

3. Write a concise creative brief
If points 1 and 2 (above) are not defined, then your creative brief will be filled with guesses and estimations. It’s possible to still create a logo, but you may be missing out on key insights that would be helpful to your design agency when they begin the project. A good creative brief contains the following points:

  • Project summary
  • Audience profile or buyer persona
  • Perception/tone/guidelines
  • What needs to be communicated
  • Competitors
  • Examples of logos you like/dislike

detailed creative brief saves time, endless revisions and equips your branding agency with the right information to maximize the design process.

4. Don’t design by committee
When you receive your first round of concepts back from your branding agency don’t email it out to everyone in your company for feedback. Chances are you’ll get a hundred different suggestions and “advice” on what needs to be changed. Don’t include those who haven’t been involved in the process from the beginning.

The famous maxim: a camel was a horse designed by committee—is true in this situation. Form a select team of 2-4 people to help you choose the best logo for your company. Make sure all options have been vetted and are properly understood before presenting to your company’s stakeholders—then send out your top 2 choices to the company (if you want their involvement).

And as hard as it may seem, make sure to design your logo based on what your customers want and expect, and not so much on what you like. 

5. Present the logo properly
Another reason not to send your concepts out to the company until you have a strong consensus of what the strongest 2 or 3 final concepts are—is to make sure each concept is explained properly.

Create a video or website (See American Airlines) about what the new logo means and how it will look with the other parts of your visual system.

Redesigning a new logo is a challenging exercise. To get it right, you must take the time to talk to your customers, identify your value propositions, write an accurate and concise creative brief, collaborate internally and present the concepts thoroughly. By doing so, you will avoid these common logo redesign pitfalls.


hunting-outdoor-firearm-logoFree Download: Creative Brief Template

Creative briefs help keep projects running smoothly and prevent misunderstandings and delays by:

  • Connecting objectives with creative strategies
  • Building team consensus
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Brand Development Inbound Marketing Consultant

By Josh Claflin, Brand Development, Inbound Marketing & Creative Strategy

Josh helps brands in the hunting, outdoor and firearms industry who are struggling to develop their brand; grow, stabilize or increase profits through their websites; increase revenue through online channels and enter the digital era of marketing.

How Inbound Marketing Increases Your Dealers & Distributors Firearm Sales

By Firearms and Hunting

I am often asked by frustrated manufacturers in the hunting, outdoor and firearms industry about how inbound marketing can specifically help their business increase sales over their entire chain of distribution.

They are frustrated because many have bought email lists thinking they could send their offers to interested distributors or customers, redesigned their website that cost thousands of dollars only to get zero increase in traffic, hired an SEO firm to boost traffic or even spent money on a trade show sponsorship that brought little to no results. And cold calling doesn’t seem to work as well as it used to. 

Some have been left feeling burnt with little or nowhere else to turn except to some other web or PR firm making big promises.

In this post, I want to look at three components of the distribution chain: the distributor, the dealer and direct-to-consumer and give you three bottom line takeaways on how inbound marketing is different from traditional methods you might have used in the past and how specifically inbound marketing can help your business’ bottom line.

So let’s go…

First, let’s start with the distributor
Distributors are always on the look out for the next hot product. They want to know if your brand’s product can get a good margin, sell quickly and most importantly, know if their investment in your product will pay off. (Source: Entrepreneur

To attract more distributors, you can utilize the inbound marketing methodology to create content to establish your brand which in turn, creates “thought leadership.” Nobody knows more about how your product helps customers than you. By publishing your content on B2B networks like LinkedIn, where distributors are looking for new products and ideas—you can really stand out among your competitors.

hunting-firearms-linked-groups

Top hunting, outdoor and firearms LinkedIn groups

There are several active groups on LinkedIn you should join.

By creating and sharing helpful information and answering questions about your product, you begin to build brand awareness and trust within your network. Trust is a large consideration when creating a partnership with a distributor. Buyers go through about 57% of the purchasing process before ever talking to sales. (Source: CEB) This means that helpful content has the potential to create trust with your potential distributor before you even talk. This makes the selling process much easier and more likely to end in a purchase order.

Example Questions Your Inbound Marketing Should Address

  • How much profit can we make when selling your products? (Address this on both a per-unit level and an expected total sales level.)

  • How does your product compare financially to other similar products? What are the profit levels you can bring compared to someone else’s product?

  • Does your company provide additional marketing funds to help sell these products? What exactly do you do to help them sell?

  • Is there a demand for your product? What need does it serve, and which retail market is most likely to be effective when selling it?

  • Do you produce a variety of different products that can also easily be distributed?
    (Source: Iqnection)

hunting-firearm-distribution-inbound-marketing

Inbound marketing tracking sources report

 

Since inbound marketing is internet-based, it’s also trackable. Imagine knowing exactly how your marketing has affected your bottom line and being able to show a prospective distributor real results. This can be very powerful especially for startups or mid-sized companies looking to create a strong sales case study.

Bottom line: Inbound marketing increases sales by building thought leadership, trust, speeds up the sales cycle and is trackable.

The Dealer
Dealers and distributors interests are sometimes the same in how they can sell more to the end consumer. Unlike the distributor who is more interested in a quality product and good margins, the dealer—who is also interested in those things—wants products that have a large customer base and can profit quickly.

Did you know that 81% of products are researched online before purchase? (Source: Adweek). Inbound marketing creates greater opportunities for your products to be found online. By creating content that helps your customers become better shooters, better hunters or provides insight and tips pertaining to whatever product or service you sell—you build your brand and cultivate a deep interest for your brand’s products that are based on trust—not persuasive ad messaging.

And with 54% of shoppers wanting to actually see the product before they purchase it, inbound can potentially drive customers to your local dealers with a sense of trust already established in your brand which increases the likelihood of purchase which benefits your dealers. (Source: Social Times)

Bottom line: Inbound marketing increases sales by creating greater awareness of your brand online where customers start their searches for your products.

Direct-to-Consumer
As an end-user, your customer also goes through a lengthy buyer process before deciding to purchase your product. One of the key differentiators of inbound marketing (assuming that you built a good product) is that it delights your customers and turns them into promoters of your brand’s products after purchase.

Social media is like digital word of mouth. Word of mouth and referrals—as we all know—is the best kind of marketing there is. Inbound uses social media to encourage sharing over social media networks that spreads your content and messaging to a larger audience.

80% of all new product searches begin online, so if your product is not taking advantage of the benefits of the hundreds to thousands of online searches within your product category every month, you’re missing out on a viable revenue stream. (Source: Adweek)

Bottom line: Inbound marketing increases sales by turning your customers into promoters of your brand.

These are just three ways on how inbound marketing can help increase sales for your hunting, outdoor or firearms manufacturing company throughout the distribution chain. Inbound marketing builds trust, establishes thought leadership, speeds the sales cycle, increases traffic to your website and turns customers into promoters of your brand.

Larger brands like Beretta, Stag Arms and Mossberg have already adopted inbound marketing programs. In a case study by HubSpot, Beretta reported a 76% increase in organic leads to customers last year with inbound marketing. And with more than 80% of CMO’s increasing their content budget, (Source: Ad Age) the question becomes, who’s going to break out in your product category first?

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hunting-outdoor-firearm-inbound-marketing

Free Ebook: The Essential Step-by-Step Guide to Inbound Marketing for the Hunting, Outdoor and Firearms Industry

In this comprehensive guide, you will learn the 6 essential steps to internet marketing success.

1. Optimizing Your Website
2. Creating Content
3. Implementing a Social Strategy
4. Converting Visitors into Leads
5. Nurturing Leads into Customers
6. Analyzing & Refining Data

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[/columns]

Brand Development Inbound Marketing Consultant

By Josh Claflin, Brand Development, Inbound Marketing & Creative Strategy
Josh helps brands in the hunting, outdoor and firearms industry who are struggling to develop their brand; grow, stabilize or increase profits through their websites; increase revenue through online channels and enter the digital era of marketing.

hunting-firearms-customer-reviews

How to Deal with Negative Customer Comments

By Firearms and Hunting

 

“This product sucks, I bought it and within five days it broke. I called the manufacturer and had to sit on hold for 15 minutes to figure out how to get my money back. And when I finally did get them on the line, I had to go through four different service reps to find out it wasn’t under warranty. I will never buy from this company again, and I’m going tell all my friends to stay away.” – John M. from Facebook

Sound familiar?

At some point if you’re a manufacturer and sell products online in the hunting, outdoor and firearms industry, negative feedback is not a matter of if, but when. We work in an industry where reputation is everything. People are highly passionate about the shooting, hunting and the outdoor sports—any negative experience like faulty products, bad customer service or false information will be met with a highly passionate response.

According to a new survey conducted by Dimensional Research, an overwhelming 90 percent of respondents who recalled reading online reviews claimed that positive online reviews influenced buying decisions, while 86 percent said buying decisions were influenced by negative online reviews. (Source: Marketing Land)

In this post, I’ll give you five ways on how to deal with negative customer comments to help you minimize damage to your brand and neutralize an angry customer.

1. Deal with the problem immediately
When a customer is unhappy, whatever the reason, it’s important to act quickly. A negative review or comment on your website or social media page has the potential to be seen by other potential customers. You don’t want the customer’s anger to fester. By acting quickly it shows you care about the customer and providing good customer service.

2. Be polite, apologetic and public
The old saying, “the customer is always right” is applicable here. You have to swallow your pride, be polite and apologetic. If the customer is unreasonable, others will see this on your feed and know you are doing all you can to remedy the situation. For example, if they sharpened their knife with a grinder and want their money back because it was milled to a toothpick, this obviously is not your fault. Be polite and explain to them that your product isn’t supposed to be sharpened in this manner. This makes you look better in the eyes of the people observing. If it gets too heated, take it offline. It’s not worth it to try and win an argument on social media for everyone to see.

3. Make it right, if possible
In all instances, whatever you can—within reason—try to make it right with the customer. If you have to send them a new product or refund their money—expedite their request. You’ll end up saving your brand’s reputation and cut off any negative reaction the angry customer might engage in. Like writing a blog or producing a video about their negative experience, posting a review on Google or filing with the Better Business Bureau. All of these are almost impossible to overcome and will affect your business’ bottom line.

4. Pick your battles
It seems like there are a lot of people who just like to kick up dust and cause trouble. We’ve all observed unwarranted attacks in forums from people who just want to attract attention or make someone else look stupid. If a person attacks your brand or product for no apparent reason, respond as politely and tactfully as possible. Use facts to back up your reply. Most of the time they are only trying to stir up controversy. Before responding, see how big of following they have on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn and if others feel the same as they do. Sometimes, you may just have to ignore or delete their comment. Sometimes they may be right. 

5. Hire the right people
By employing the right people for your organization you can drastically reduce the number of customer complaints from a customer service standpoint. 62% of B2B and 42% of B2C customers purchased more after a good customer service experience. If you get an angry customer who calls in demanding their money back, it’s going to be very important that the person who takes the call incorporates the above points. We’ve all experienced the grumpy customer service person. Make sure your customer service rep is trained correctly and can resolve the situation quickly. In the same survey, 72% blamed their bad customer service interaction on having to explain their problem to multiple people. (Source: Zendesk)

Working in the hunting, outdoor and firearms industry is highly rewarding work and sometimes not for the lighthearted. By dealing with negative customer feedback quickly, being polite, doing all you can to make it right, picking your battles and hiring the right people, you’ll be able to save and manage your brand’s reputation more effectively when dealing with negative customer comments and reviews.

 

Hunting-Outdoor-Firearms-Buyer-Persona1

FREE DOWNLOAD: A Hunting, Outdoor & Firearms Marketer’s Guide to Creating the Buyer Persona

The key to maximizing your marketing efforts

In this powerful template — we help you and your team think through and identify who your ideal customer is. This will enable you to set SMART goals that focus your marketing and branding efforts.

Download Now!

 


Brand Development Inbound Marketing Consultant

By Josh Claflin, Brand Development, Inbound Marketing & Creative Strategy
Josh helps brands in the hunting, outdoor and firearms industry who are struggling to develop their brand; grow, stabilize or increase profits through their websites; increase revenue through online channels and enter the digital era of marketing.

 

shooting-firearms-package-design

Package Design for Shooting and Target Company

By Firearms and Hunting


Shooting Firearms Package DesignGarrison Everest was contacted by Travis Dennison of Pro Motion Targets to help design and develop his product the Swing Shot® for retail. The Swing Shot is an electromagnetic oscillating target system—that swings left to right—for hours of fun to help shooters become a better shot.

Easy to setup, the Swing Shot is perfect for beginners, concealed carry shooters, small caliber pistols or rifles and air guns.

Below is the process we took to help Pro Motion Targets design and produce their shooting and firearms packaging for retail.

1. Research
Garrison Everest began the project by researching several potential direct and indirect competitors to help Pro Motion Targets position itself correctly in the marketplace. Patents, trademarks and UPC codes were attainted and retail channels were evaluated. The Swing Shot is targeted for the .22 caliber market, airsoft and is a fun way to spend time shooting with your family.

Firearms Package Design2. Design
We then walked Pro Motion Targets through the design process of the package that was originally in a corrugated cardboard box. Through several design and copy iterations and a few tweaks to the product’s somewhat unusual design—we concluded that a clamshell with an insertable card and a front folded card to cover the base of the product was the best option. The packaging had to achieve the following standards:

  • Easy to assemble and kit for shipping
  • Retail ready
  • Stands out on the shelf
  • Durable and theft proof
  • Communicate value proposition and features

3. Prototype and sourcing
Rough designs were then turned into CAD drawings for various packaging companies to provide quotes and a prototype was created for testing, fitting and assembly. 

4. Fulfillment and assembly
Once the prototype and card design was approved, production orders were executed, the cards were printed and the clamshells were shipped to Pro Motion Targets for assembly.

packaging-design-schematics

“Josh Claflin and the rest of the team at Garrison Everest are top notch professionals. They designed a killer package for the Swing Shot which will help us take our sales and marketing to the next level.”

Travis Dennison
Owner – Pro Motion Targets

Look for the Swing Shot on Amazon and in retail stores later this fall where shooting products are sold. If you’re interested in distributing Swing Shot, please contact Pro Motion Targets for more information or follow them on Twitter. 

Contact Garrison Everest for your next hunting, shooting, firearm or outdoor package design.

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Brand Development Inbound Marketing Consultant

By Josh Claflin, Brand Development, Inbound Marketing & Creative Strategy
Josh helps brands in the hunting, outdoor and firearms industry who are struggling to develop their brand; grow, stabilize or increase profits through their websites; increase revenue through online channels and enter the digital era of marketing.

How To Measure The Value Of Your Hunting Or Firearms Brand

How to Measure The Value of Your Hunting or Firearms Brand

By Firearms and Hunting

Most company’s in the hunting, outdoor and firearms industry today base brand value solely on sales volume, and sometimes even Facebook likes.

According to a recent survey of over 400 (non-industry) marketers, 80% of them believed building brand awareness is “extremely” or “very” important, 76% admitted that they don’t know what percentage of their target market is aware of their brand. And nearly 70% said they weren’t sure how to measure brand awareness. (Source: Survey Monkey).

I believe these numbers are even higher in our industry, because most brands still solely focus marketing spend on traditional methods like print, tradeshow and TV to boost sales that are hard to track and prove ROI.

In the past, figuring out brand value and brand equity, for the most part, were left to the academics and statisticians to figure out. Even today, there are still varying opinions from the experts about how to measure brand value and equity with not a lot of consensus or standardization to the process.

However, with the rise of email and web-based survey tools—hunting, outdoor and firearm companies that have invested in web-based ways to collect customer data, can now evaluate and understand their brand’s value without spending a fortune on complex traditional research. No longer are focus groups, mail-in reply cards, rebates, unsolicited emails and statisticians necessary. 

The goal of brand development and branding (two separate disciplines) is to create awareness and preference of your products over your competitors.

“Preference cannot happen unless you know how your customers think and feel about your brand.”

If you’re interested in understanding how you can maximize your brand for increased sales, gain market share or increase customer satisfaction, there are four aspects you need to take into account to figure out your brand’s value to understand how it impacts your bottom line.

To begin, you want to start with non-customers and customers alike. By utilizing a web-based survey system and tapping into your customer database—you can incentivize your customers to take the survey or utilize a non-customer sample to acquire the data you need.

According to the BrandAsset Valuator model, your company’s brand health and future can be determined by collecting consumer insights in these four key areas:

1. Differentiation
How well does your brand stand out from your competition? You can measure this by asking questions about how often your customers come across your brand, if they recognize it and if it stands out from your competition.

Takeaway: When your brand is different, people are curious and want to know why.

Industry Example: By being bold and utilizing a strong visual with a unique brand position and product features, people will naturally be curious about your brand and will want to know more about it. One brand that comes to mind is Patriot Ordnance Factory. POF-USA was the first company to take the gas piston AR to market and has been leading the way with their revolutionary platform innovations ever since. I like their approach to using 18th Century subject matter, and how they intertwine Revolutionary War concepts with present day 2nd amendment rights.

POF hunting outdoor firearms brand

2. Relevance
This area examines aspects of price, convenience, and if the products you produce are of use. You can determine this aspect by asking questions of the likelihood of them to purchase your product or whether they purchased it in the past.

Takeaway: If your product is more relevant than it is different, your brand may no longer be interesting which means you are competing on price and convenience alone. This will help you determine how to change your messaging and perhaps direct product development.

Industry Example: Your hunting product may have extensive distributorship in Cabella’s, Bass Pro or Walmart and other large retailers with high sales volume, but that doesn’t always means you’re the strongest brand customers prefer. Perhaps you’re just the cheapest and most convenient. If you’re the only product on the shelf, that the customer needs, you still may lose out to a competitor with a stronger brand when and if they come along. Don’t settle for second best.

Marketing experts like David Ogilvy believe that there’s more to a company’s success — or failure — than pricing, convenience, or location. Success is defined by brand equity or overall brand power, which is your brand’s value as determined by consumers’ positive or negative attitudes about your brand. (Source: Survey Monkey)

3. Esteem
How well regarded is your brand? Does it hold a high level of superiority and respect in your customers mind? Would they drive across town to purchase it? Are you on top of their list to visit at the upcoming trade show? By being able to answer these questions—you’ll be able to uncover how well respected and needed your product(s) are. This perhaps is one of the most important aspects of brand assessment.

Takeaway: When customers hold your brand in high-esteem, they want to buy it to know why.

Industry Example: When Colorado passed a law that limits ammunition magazine capacity to 15-rounds, Magpul, moved their entire operation out of Colorado—along with $80 million dollars in revenue and 200 employees and some other 400 supply chain jobs (Source: Washington Times). I assume it was a rough time internally for Magpul. But the industry stood next to them and the situation generated a great amount of positive press and a great deal of respect with their customer base. 

magpul-brand

Photo: Magpul

 

4. Knowledge
How well do your customers know your brand? Have you told the story correctly that they can tell it back to you? What makes you different and why? Is it positive or negative?

Takeaway: When customers have a knowledge about your brand, especially if it pertains to negative perceptions, they may think they don’t need to learn anything more and will begin to look at your competitors.

Industry Example: Heritage brands tend to suffer most from the knowledge aspect. For generations, your family may have used products or shot the same brand of gun, but one ammo or magazine malfunction or negative customer service experience may cause them to reevaluate their options. Beretta is an ideal example of how a 500 year old company continues to reinvent itself to remain relevant and attract a new generation of customers and brand advocates. 

berretta

In conclusion, gathering data for data’s sake without implementation is a fool’s errand. Make sure before conducting a survey that evaluates your brand—that it is connected with a clear initiative and goal you can use to spur growth, sales, attract talent, increase workforce efficiency, communications or direct product development.

Once you see how high or low the above 4 factors stack up, you can begin to determine your brand equity based on brand stature and brand strength. This will allow you and your team to create a strategy on how to maintain your brand’s position, or how to improve it.

When customers have a chance to choose between your product or your competitors, and they choose you, that’s good for business.

 

 

 

hunting-outdoor-firearms-brand-interview-guideFree Download:
Brand Development Interview Guide 

Developing your brand starts with asking the right questions. Use this guide to draft the questions to ask your customers to uncover your brand’s most important messages.

Download Now!

 

 

 

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Brand Development Inbound Marketing Consultant

By Josh Claflin, Brand Development, Inbound Marketing & Creative Strategy
Josh helps brands in the hunting, outdoor and firearms industry who are struggling to develop their brand; grow, stabilize or increase profits through their websites; increase revenue through online channels and enter the digital era of marketing.

 

6 Secrets on How To Increase Online Firearm Sales

6 Secrets on How To Increase Online Firearm Sales

By Firearms and Hunting

The typical firearms buying process can take up to 3 months. (Source: NSSF) From online research, background checks, buying a safe, FFL transfer, learning how to shoot, cleaning accessories, holsters and figuring out what gun to buy can take a long time for someone who’s new to the idea of owning a gun or someone who is considering an MSR.

81% of all purchases begin with a web search (Source: Retailing Today). And even more astonishing is that 57% of the sales cycle is over before your customers even contact you (Source: CEB). These two statistics are the main drivers why you need to maintain and optimize your website—which is crucial to increasing online firearm sales. 

In a recent survey, 29% report to having already purchased a firearm online and 58% are willing to consider purchasing one online. This data is most likely higher today. (Source: NSSF 2011)

And unfortunately with more gun regulations on the way, rising crime and unrest, customers will continue to seek ways on how to protect themselves, home, family, and property.

Firearms sales are booming. (Source: CNN)

Right now, there are hundreds of thousands of customers searching the web on how to buy, shoot and own a gun. Here are the top searched keywords per month according to MOZ:

  • ar15: 110,000
  • ammunition: 90,500
  • gun: 90,500
  • shotgun: 40,500
  • hunting rifle: 5400
  • rifle scope: 3600
  • firearm: 2900
  • ar15 accessories: 2400

So how do you get a piece of this lucrative online traffic? Below are six secrets to increase your online firearm sales.

1. Understand the buyers journey

Does your website adequately address and incorporate the buyers journey? Is it answering your prospects questions? Does your website simplify how they can buy a gun from you? Are you building trust with your prospect?

To understand how to maximize your online sales, you must first understand the buyer journey. See example below:

firearms-buyer-process

You may be missing out on ways to grow your business or build a more predictable sale forecast by not understanding your buyers journey.

2. Know who your customers are

Each brand in the industry is typically a product of its company culture or its owner. How does your style match your prospective customer? To maximize your online sales, you must define the buyer persona. Buyer personas are fictional representations of your ideal customers. They are based on real data about customer demographics and online behavior, along with educated speculation about their personal histories, motivations, and concerns. Create content based on your ideal customer or buyer persona. (See ebook below)

3. Create valuable content

Blogs are great ways to attract more customers. Firearm manufacturer websites (49%), magazine articles (40%), and online forums/blogs (38%) are the most referenced information sources when considering the purchase of a handgun.(Source: NSSF 2011)

Eighty-two percent of manufacturers are incorporating content into their marketing strategy, according to the 2015 B2B Manufacturing Content Marketing Trends report, recently published by the Content Marketing Institute.

If you’re not blogging on a consistent basis, you are losing out on a viable and predictable way to sell and market more firearms.

Three big names in the industry have already adopted content and are moving into the digital era. Beretta, Mossberg, and Stag Arms have already integrated inbound marketing into their marketing programs and are having massive success. See Beretta case study. 

Why leave content to industry magazines (that you have to pay for) when you can create content for your own company that attracts prospects, builds your brand and retains your current customers? After all, you are the expert. You work in the industry, and build guns every day. By sharing your knowledge with your prospects or customers, you become the known expert, which in the end equals profits.

Here are some stats on why blogging works:

  • Blogs convert readers into buyers. 42% of consumers look to blogs for information about potential purchases; 52% say blogs have impacted their purchase decisions; and 57% of marketers have acquired new customers with their blogs. (leaderswest Digital Marketing Journal)
  • B2C companies that blog generate 88% more leads per month than those that do not (Source: Rick’s Tips)
  • 79% of online shoppers spend 50% of their shopping time researching products online (Source: HubSpot)
  • Blogs attract repeat visitors who continue to come back to their website for fresh content.

4. Create downloadable offers to generate leads

When blogging consistently on topics that answer your customers most burning questions—you attract them to your website where you are then able to keep them their longer and keep them coming back. When creating a downloadable offer in the form of: How-to guides, pricing info, catalogs, etc. and then trade this information for their email address—you earn their permission to send them more offers.

This allows you build a qualified email marketing database that moves your customers from strangers to loyal customers and enables you to close more sales.

5. Nurture customers through email marketing

In 2014, email marketing was cited as the most effective digital marketing channel for customer retention in the United States. (Source: eMarketer).

Email marketing allows you to educate your prospects and customers on your products, cross-sell or upsell, generate new sales down the road and establish your expertise.

Email marketing is the most effective way to personalize messaging and ROI in the firearms industry.

6. Pull, don’t push

Ever wonder why all social media posts look the same? 

Notice how most social media messages are all about “pushing a message.” Instead of pushing your message on your customers, a better way is to “pull” them to your message. By creating valuable and relevant content that solves their problems, answers their questions or helps them become better at something, (i.e. knowing about guns) you will attract them to your message and your brand much more easily. This gives your followers valuable information that they will appreciate and remember when it’s time to buy that second gun.

In conclusion, companies in the firearms industry can increase their online sales by focusing on the buyers journey, creating and identifying their buyer persona, creating content based on solving their customer’s unique problems, creating downloadable content offers, nurturing through email marketing and using social media to pull your customers to your message and content rather than pushing it on them.

 

Hunting-Outdoor-Firearms-Buyer-Persona1

FREE DOWNLOAD: A Hunting, Outdoor & Firearms Marketer’s Guide to Creating the Buyer Persona

The key to maximizing your marketing efforts

In this powerful template — we help you and your team think through and identify who your ideal customer is. This will enable you to set SMART goals to focus your marketing/branding and turn your website into a lead generating machine. It will also help you present your buyer persona to your team for internal alignment and clarity.

 

Download Now

 


Brand Development Inbound Marketing Consultant

By Josh Claflin, Brand Development, Inbound Marketing & Creative Strategy
Josh helps brands in the hunting, outdoor and firearms industry who are struggling to develop their brand; grow, stabilize or increase profits through their websites; increase revenue through online channels and enter the digital era of marketing.

tradeshow booth ROI

How To Get More Out Of Your SHOT Show Registration

By Firearms and Hunting

Thousands of hunting, outdoor and firearms companies register for SHOT Show each year to showcase new products, evaluate the competition, network and attract dealers/distributors.

From booth design and construction, marketing collateral, travel, accommodations, sponsorships, and the hassle of transporting your products to and from SHOT Show, costs can begin to pile up.

As a business owner, sale professional or marketer, you want to make the most out of your SHOT Show investment because so much goes into making it a success. For some companies, it’s the one and only chance they’ll have all year to make their sales quotas, determine if their new products have merit and to foster new business relationships.

For others, it’s just another marketing program to check off the list. In this post, I’ve outlined six consecutive ways to optimize your SHOT Show registration and ROI and get more out of next year’s SHOT Show (or any other hunting, outdoor and firearms industry trade show).

1. Calculate your ROI
With so much time, money and effort invested in SHOT Show—one might ask: Am I getting the most out of it? What am I missing? In order for the next 5 points to make sense, you need to start by understanding how to calculate your ROI so you have a benchmark on what you need to break even. 

Use this simple equation: (Gross Profit – Marketing Expenses) / Marketing Expenses

Example SHOT Show costs:

  • Booth design, registration and space: $25,000
  • Party: $16,000
  • Flights and travel: $20,000
  • Transportation: $2,000
  • Accommodations: $12,000
  • SWAG: $5,000
  • Food/other: $20,000

Total Costs: $100,000
Gross Profits = $______

ROI = (Gross Profit – $100,000) / $100,000

*The above does not take into account the annualized return of a customer over time or (LTV).

Use this calculation to establish your benchmarks and sales goals. This can also help you decide whether or not SHOT Show is worth attending next year.

2. Establish your buyer persona

Do you really know who your customers are? The answer is probably “yes,” but you need to take it a step further. Have you taken the time to understand what their pain points and biggest challenges are? Where do they go for information? What do they expect from a product or service like yours? By conducting research on your *ideal* customer, you’ll be able to have a more useful conversation with prospective distributors and dealers when it comes time to make the introduction. 

Whether you manufacture hunting knives, optics, rifles, tree stands or hunting apparel—knowing your buyer persona is the first step in getting a higher trade show ROI. 

3. Create a downloadable offer
2015’s SHOT Show may have been a success, but did you connect with those prospects you didn’t have time to talk to? In the melee of the “gotta-meet-this guy,” handshakes and small talk, you may have missed that one prospect that was ready to place a substantial purchase order. This is where creating a content offer comes into play. By creating an ebook, whitepaper or video that answers your prospects’ questions, you will be able to re-engage, hold their interest and attention through your website and track their responses by gathering their contact information in return for a free downloadable offer. This is a great way to maximize your lead generation efforts because it builds your brand and thought leadership—regardless of whether or not you scanned their badge.

4. Add CTAs to your SHOT Show Advertising
Now that you have a content offer, place a call to action (or CTA) on all of your SHOT Show materials and advertisements, including your business cards, pop-up banners, demo screens, catalog, brochure or dealer receipts. Add a call to action that tells your prospect what to do next by visiting your website to download your free offer. When you get them to your landing page, ask the right questions to understand who they are, what company they are with and what they are most interested in. This information will give you a good understanding of how to best approach them. Use other suggested offers to further their engagement.

5. Follow-up and utilize a CRM
After the show, be sure to follow-up promptly. Data has shown the faster you follow-up, the higher the likelihood you will convert your prospect to a customer. Utilize your CRM to close the loop on your prospects and to stay organized. This will also help you calculate ROI and LTV.

  • 50% of sales go to the first salesperson to contact the prospect. (Source: Inside Sales)
  • If you follow up with a web lead within 5 minutes, you’re nine times more likely to convert them. (Source: Inside Sales)

Don’t overlook social media—especially LinkedIn and Facebook. SHOT Show is a great way to build your network for future social selling and content marketing initiatives. You should be tweeting and posting your day’s activities to create some buzz. Just make sure you’re only taking pictures of your booth.

6. Nurture leads with email marketing
Sometimes your prospect may need a little nurturing to get them across the finish line. This is where you can use their contact data to send emails for additional content offers in order to move them down your sales funnel. Create content based on the three buyer stages: Awareness –> Consideration –> Decision. 

  • Email marketing has a 2x higher ROI than cold calling, networking or trade shows. (Source: Marketing Sherpa)
  • Nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads. (Source: The Annuitas Group)

If you have attended SHOT Show (or are considering registering), you know the chaos, cost and exhaustion it takes to attend, exhibit and finish successfully. You can maximize your lead generation efforts by calculating your ROI, establishing your buyer persona, creating a downloadable offer on your website, adding CTAs to your trade show collateral, following up promptly, utilizing your CRM and nurturing leads through email marketing. These tactics will give you a better ROI at your next big industry trade show.

 

 

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inbound-marketing-hunting-outdoor-firearms-trade-show

Free Ebook: The Inbound Marketing Trade Show Planning Guide

In this planning guide, you will learn how to use inbound marketing to make your trade show more successful and profitable.

  • Picking the right tools
  • Defining clear, measurable goals
  • Tracking and measurement
  • What to do before, during and after the show
  • Tips and tricks to drive booth traffic
Download Now
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Brand Development Inbound Marketing Consultant

By Josh Claflin, Brand Development, Inbound Marketing & Creative Strategy
Josh helps brands in the hunting, outdoor and firearms industry who are struggling to develop their brand; grow, stabilize or increase profits through their websites; increase revenue through online channels and enter the digital era of marketing.