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Outdoor Hunting Shooting Sports

outdoor hunting firearms website design

These 5 Website Elements Will Make Your Outdoor Business More Money

By Outdoor Hunting Shooting Sports

Websites have changed a lot over the years. Websites were once solely used to give information about your company. But now websites are ground zero for businesses trying to grow their brand, generate revenue, attract employees, host content and much more.

However, too many businesses get their website wrong because they hire designers or agencies who aren’t very clear on how to communicate their brand’s message and who can’t optimize their site for maximum efficiency—especially in markets that are ultra-competitive and difficult to stand out in.

If you’re struggling to understand how to make your website more effective and need some help, you might want to pass this article on to your designer, agency or web manager to get things back on track.

storybrand website example1. Clear header

The very first thing your website should do when a visitor lands on your homepage or landing page—within 5 seconds—is tell your visitor what you offer in clear words.

I call this the “grunt test.” A caveman should be able to look at your header and grunt what it is you offer. If your website’s header doesn’t’ pass the grunt test – better go back to the drawing board.

Do it right:
In simple words, say what it is you do in 7 words or less. Add a small description underneath if you need to clarify further.

2. Don’t hide the cash register

To the ladies reading this post, what if a guy walks up to you at a bar and says, “hey, let’s get started!”

Your first response would be, “get started doing what?” Then you’d probably throw a drink in his face.

But how many times have you seen this call to action on a website? Call to actions must be crystal clear to be understood. Examples of a clear call to action:

  • Buy Now
  • Schedule a Call
  • Book an Appointment
  • Check Out

By not having a clear CTA on your website — you’re hiding the cash register. If people don’t know how to buy from you, how can you expect to make any money?

Do it right: “Don’t make me think” is an old mantra from 2003 on web design that is still applicable today. You must tell your prospects what you want them to do. Your call to action should be an up or down answer—that they either accept or reject.

firearm-website-value-propositions-example3. How will you help your customer be successful?

Value propositions can sometimes be confusing to understand. A value prop can be simply understood by asking yourself this question: What do I offer that will make my customer successful? Or asked another way: What are the 3-4 reasons my customer should do business with me? I get this question all the time because even in marketing—I also have my own set of competitors to deal with. Value propositions should also explain why your product or service works better than your competitors.

Do it right: Failing not to list the added benefits (or value) to your prospects/customers will make your website less effective.

4. What are the stakes?

On your website, tell your prospects what is at stake if they don’t work with you. You have to show them the future if they don’t act now to get their problem resolved. This can be as simple as writing a before or after or a with or without statement.

Do it right: Show your customers what the future will look like if they work with you.

 

outdoor hunting firearms website design plan5. Give your prospect a plan

This section of your website should outline in 3-4 steps how to buy from you. This may seem counterintuitive but you need to explain it. The plan will help decrease the friction points and help them overcome any hesitancies they may have.

Do it right: Like stepping stones in a river, show your prospect how to get to the other side.

To sum up, make sure your header clearly tells what you do and passes the grunt test, add a clear call to action (no wishy-washy get started stuff) how you will help your customer achieve success, the stakes involved if they don’t work with you and the steps needed to get started. By adding these elements in your business, you will see an uptick in revenue.

 

 

Clear Messaging Tasklist for Outdoor, Hunting and Shooting Sports Business Leaders

CLEAR MESSAGING TASKLIST

How much is unclear messaging costing you? 
The following tasklist will help you (the business leader, director or executive) in the outdoor, hunting, adventure or shooting sports industry determine if your message is clear. It will help you and your team think about how to make your customer “the hero,” and position your brand as the “the guide” that will revolutionize your marketing.

Outcomes: 

  • Introduction to a 7-part framework to clarify your message
  • Know what to say and what order to say it in
  • Give your team a messaging process that can be implemented across all your marketing materials

DOWNLOAD TASKLIST

 

 


Joshua Claflin StoryBrand GuideJosh Claflin StoryBrand GuideJosh Claflin, President of Garrison Everest, is passionate about helping business and marketing leaders in the outdoor, hunting, adventure and shooting sports industries create clear messaging and digital marketing programs that grow business.

how to write story into your outdoor marketing

How to Write Story Into Your Outdoor Marketing

By Outdoor Hunting Shooting Sports

Standing out in the outdoor, hunting and shooting sports marketplace is really difficult—sometimes impossible. The imagery is getting better. The copy is more persuasive. The products are more durable and it seems like every brand claims the same thing:

  • We Make the World’s_____.
  • We’re the Superior ______.
  • We’re #1 in _____.
  • The Worlds’ Most_____.
  • The Ultimate _____.

Does the above list sound familiar?

There’s nothing wrong with claiming to be the best—if you’re a brand who really is the market leader—you earned it. But for brands less well known, making such claims can be down-right dishonest.  The truth is, if you’re a relative unknown brand making the claim that you’re “the best,” you’re wasting money on marketing and your customers don’t believe you anyway. False claims have caused a backlash in other industries as well as our own.

People have great distrust in brands (and companies) these days (Source: Forbes). It’s been documented that your prospective customers will check out 11 pieces (social media, reviews, blogs, websites, ads, forum review and articles) of content before deciding to hand over their hard-earned money because they are afraid of being cheated or taken of advantage of. When was the last time you bought something for first time over $250 without doing any research online?

To combat this “me-too,” and “I’m the best” mentality, marketers and business owners in the outdoor, hunting and shooting sports need to find other ways to get their customer’s attention and break out in the marketplace—and the #1 way to effectively accomplish this is by putting in the time to think through their messaging—a good way to do this is through the power of story.

Story has been around since creation. Story has been hard-wired into our brain as a sense-making device. It helps us understand our environment, situations and how to achieve our goals. Stories engage our imaginations and hold our attention for hours on end. Think about the last great movie you saw. Movies like Jason Bourne, Days of Thunder, Star Wars and Saving Private Ryan are all incredibly captivating.

The same methods used in the movies can also apply to your rifle, ammo, optic, safe, retail store, camo, mags, gun range, firearm instructor business etc.

In the following, I’m going to explain how to write story into your marketing, make your customer the hero and stand out in the marketplace to attract more customers. This process if called StoryBrand.

1. A Character

Make your customer the hero, not your brand.

Every great story starts with a hero. The hero in your business is your customer. As humans, we all want to become something better: better hunters, better shooters, more fit, smarter and more wealthy. We also have personality and character traits like age, income, values, beliefs and interests. Define your customer as the hero in your ads, emails, website copy, and sales letter. Once you start defining what your customer wants, they start paying attention.

Q: How can you make your customer the hero?

Brands that participate in the transformation of their customers win in the marketplace. (Source: StoryBrand)

StoryBrand for the Outdoor Industry

2. Has a Problem

Every hero in every story has a problem that must be solved. Without a problem to be addressed (a bomb to diffuse, a girl to rescue or a disaster to prevent) the story would fall flat and you lose your audience’s interest. It’s up to you to identify what the problem is and how the hero will overcome this problem.

Q: What problem does your product or service solve?

A story gets interesting when the conflict is defined. (Source: StoryBrand)

3. Meets a Guide Who Understands Them

No hero can solve the problem on their own. They can try, but it won’t be as successful nor as exciting. Luke Skywalker had Yoda (and Ben Kenobi), Cole Trickle had Harry Hogge, and Neo had Morpheus.

This is how your brand plays the guide:

  1. First, you must show Empathy. Empathy means to relate. How can you empathize with your customer’s problem?
  2. Second is Authority. Heroes look to guides who have gone before them. If you haven’t gone where your customer wants to go, how can you be the guide?  How have you solved the same problem your customer is trying to solve? This must be communicated clearly to establish trust.

Never position yourself as the hero in your brand’s story. (Source: StoryBrand)

4. Who gives them a Plan

At this point in the story, your customers find themselves at risk. This is the point where most customers will bounce off your website or find themselves confused about what you offer. The purpose of giving them a plan is to break down the steps on what it takes to work with or buy from you. The plan eases any friction points in the buying process and helps your customer move forward.

Q: What are the steps your customer must take to work with you?

A plan alleviates confusion or hesitancy about the next step. (Source: StoryBrand)

5. And Calls them to Action

No story can proceed until the hero is called to action. Your customer will not take action unless they are challenged. You must call them to do something.

  • Buy Now
  • Schedule A Call
  • Sign Up
  • Find A Dealer

are all clear call to actions. This language must be repeated over and over again to make it clear what it is you want your customer to do.

Q: Do you have a clear call to action on your website?

If we don’t have the confidence to ask people to buy from us, they assume our product won’t solve their problem. (Source: StoryBrand)

6. That Helps Them Avoid Failure

Two forces motivate people: avoiding failure and experiencing success. Every human being is trying to avoid a tragic ending. Your customer must know how you will help them be successful.

Q: How will your product or service help your customer avoid failure.

Human beings are sometimes more motivated to avoid a loss than achieve gain. (Source: StoryBrand)

7. Or Ends in Success

As the guide, you must cast the vision of what success looks like if your customer uses your product or services.

Communicate through words and images that your product or service solves your customers’ problems. (Source: StoryBrand)

By understanding these seven principles, you will be able to

  • Stop wasting money on ineffective marketing
  • Get and keep your customers attention
  • Cut through the marketplace clutter of me-too products
  • Attract more customers

StoryBrand Outdoor Marketing

By taking the time to clarify your message and figure out these aspects of your story, you will be able to transform your marketing, attract new customers and stand out in the crowded marketplace.

If you’d like to check out the book StoryBrand or learn more about the process yourself you can:

You can also schedule a call with me, and get a clear plan on how stand out in the crowded marketplace.

 

Clear Messaging Tasklist for Outdoor, Hunting and Shooting Sports Business Leaders

CLEAR MESSAGING TASKLIST

How much is unclear messaging costing you? 
The following tasklist will help you (the business leader, director or executive) in the outdoor, hunting, adventure or shooting sports industry determine if your message is clear. It will help you and your team think about how to make your customer “the hero,” and position your brand as the “the guide” that will revolutionize your marketing.

Outcomes: 

  • Introduction to a 7-part framework to clarify your message
  • Know what to say and what order to say it in
  • Give your team a messaging process that can be implemented across all your marketing materials

DOWNLOAD TASKLIST

 

 


Joshua Claflin StoryBrand GuideJosh Claflin StoryBrand GuideJosh Claflin, President of Garrison Everest, is passionate about helping business and marketing leaders in the outdoor, hunting, adventure and shooting sports industries create clear messaging and digital marketing programs that grow business.

Clarify your marketing message

3 StoryBrand Outdoor Marketing Fixes That Will Save Money

By Outdoor Hunting Shooting Sports, StoryBrand

Whether you’re someone starting a business, a marketer trying to move the needle for your company—or an executive trying to figure out how you can grow more effectively—foggy and confusing marketing is costing you thousands of dollars and keeping you from seeing your way to the top. 

Humans have a tendency to complicate things—especially our marketing materials because we don’t understand how to connect and engage customers correctly. The human brain is drawn to CLARITY and away from CONFUSION. If customers are confused about what you offer, they’ll look past you for somebody who can say it clearly. (Source: StoryBrand)

In the following, I’m going to list three factors on why you are wasting thousands of dollars on marketing and why your marketing is foggy and confusing your customers. 

1. You leave marketing to a designer

Most businesses will approach their marketing material (website, ad, brochure, email, catalog etc.) by looking to a graphic designer or a design agency. This is all well and good, but the problem with this approach is that that designer is not concerned about how to communicate your product or service as much as they should be—they are only really concerned on making your marketing material look amazing.

Don’t get me wrong—amazing visuals are important and graphic designers are extremely critical to your business’ success, but this one-sided approach is not going to grow your business or give you a faster return on investment.

I started my career as a designer back in 1998. Back then and for the next 10 years, I was only concerned (ninety percent of the time) on making a website, brochure or advertisement look awesome for my client. This is what was taught to me in College. “If it looks good, it has to be good,” because at our core, we think like artists, not marketers!  As time went on, I began to wonder why my work wasn’t generating the results my clients expected, especially when data and analytics became more prevalent in marketing campaigns. These lack-luster results lead me on a journey to discover how to communicate more effectively. I wanted to know the secret behind what moved people to buy? I wanted to uncover the key on how to hold a person’s attention long enough to create a memorable brand connection.

What I concluded after almost 20 years of design and then marketing is that people love pretty pictures, but if the words don’t address your prospects fundamental problem—plainly and directly—“you confuse them and eventually lose them.” (Source: StoryBrand) Sounds simple enough; however, you’d be amazed by how so many brands fail to capture this on their websites and every other piece of marketing they produce. 

2. You’re not addressing your customer’s problems

Humans are natural problem solvers. We love to figure out our best friend’s relationship woes, we ponder and argue over politics, we post advice on Facebook about someone’s issue with their dog, and we even seek in our own lives to get smarter, faster, slimmer, or at least be more accepted. This natural human inclination is the first step in understanding how to make your marketing more effective. The more you talk about your customer’s problems, the more you will hold their attention and have greater success in moving them to your desired action.

People who have a deep desire to solve a baffling problem will take to the internet 90% of the time. If your website doesn’t communicate the customer’s problem clearly, when they first hit your home page, you lose.

3. You are not the hero, they are

Another great mistake that is costing you money is that businesses tend to put themselves before their customers in their messaging. They lead with messaging about how great they are, how many awards they’ve won, how superior, their product’s features are and how excellent their team is. That’s all very important, but that information means nothing to a customer who is quickly trying to understand your service or product over your competition. Moreover, to further complicate the issue, in most cases, these customers may not even know or have clearly defined what their problem is! You must put your customer’s problems first, seek to determine the problem and then show them how you solve it. Then and only then, through their journey of discovering who or what can solve their problem (best and for the right price) do you communicate these other great things about your company. So many businesses lose customers because according to the customer, all they knew about your brand was that they were the best at something that meant a lot to them, but not much to the customer.

Wasted marketing dollars take away from your ability to make that next hire, upgrade your equipment, expand office space or save for retirement. Not getting your marketing right is stymieing your growth and success.

By taking the time to clarify your message and figure out these aspects of your story, you will be able to transform your marketing, attract new customers and stand out in the crowded marketplace.

If you’d like to check out the book StoryBrand or learn more about the process yourself you can:

You can also schedule a call with me, and get a clear plan on how stand out in the crowded marketplace.

 

Clear Messaging Tasklist for Outdoor, Hunting and Shooting Sports Business Leaders

CLEAR MESSAGING TASKLIST

How much is unclear messaging costing you? 
The following tasklist will help you (the business leader, director or executive) in the outdoor, hunting, adventure or shooting sports industry determine if your message is clear. It will help you and your team think about how to make your customer “the hero,” and position your brand as the “the guide” that will revolutionize your marketing.

Outcomes: 

  • Introduction to a 7-part framework to clarify your message
  • Know what to say and what order to say it in
  • Give your team a messaging process that can be implemented across all your marketing materials

DOWNLOAD TASKLIST

 

 


Joshua Claflin StoryBrand GuideJosh Claflin StoryBrand GuideJosh Claflin, President of Garrison Everest, is passionate about helping business and marketing leaders in the outdoor, hunting, adventure and shooting sports industries create clear messaging and digital marketing programs that grow business.