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Outdoor Industry Marketing

hunting firearms outdoor product-market fit

Find Outdoor Product-Market Fit in 4 Steps

By Outdoor Industry Marketing

Do you have a game-changing idea for a new product in the outdoor, hunting, or firearms industry?

You likely came up with this idea after encountering a problem where the product you purchased either broke or failed to meet its promises. Whatever your idea, you probably wonder if you can make it into something you can sell.

Most entrepreneurs can’t resist the challenge of inventing something and making it a reality. As you might already know – you might have been born to do this.

Every day, there are individuals with great ideas who possess the imagination, talent, and unique insight to see things that others cannot. However, it’s hard to tell how many of these ideas have been lost over time due to hesitation or a lack of knowledge about where to begin. This lack of action has likely prevented these ideas from coming to fruition, which is a shame because they could have helped many people.

In this article, I will introduce you to a topic called product-market fit.

It is the first step in the brand development process, and it is an approach I have used for over 20 years to develop brands in the outdoor, hunting, firearms, and shooting sports industries.

And here’s why: Over 30% of businesses fail (some sources say as high as 90%) because their offering fails to achieve product-market fit.

“In other words, no one is eating what you are cooking.”

It’s heartbreaking to see people lose their hard-earned money, homes, retirements, and savings due to failed business ventures.

A client contacted me seeking marketing assistance after cashing in his retirement to start a business. However, the product failed to gain traction in the market as the problem it solved was more of a “nice to have” rather than a “must-have.” Unfortunately, the company ran out of cash before they could turn it around.

It’s a painful reminder of how unpredictable and unforgiving the business world in the outdoor industry can be.

Understanding the concept of product-market fit is crucial for dedicated entrepreneurs. This understanding can help keep you on the right track as you work towards solving a problem that many people have. Over time, finding the right solution can lead to building the company of your dreams, bringing with it benefits such as freedom, being your own boss, and increased income.

Starting a business in the outdoor, hunting or firearms industry involves taking risks and it’s not for those who give up easily.

However, with some upfront work, you can reduce the risks and ensure that your leap of faith has a soft landing.



Step 1: Understanding Product-Market Fit


What is product-market fit? Product-market fit is simply whether or not you have a market for your product (service or offering) at the right time that will allow you to build a viable, profitable, and sustainable business.

After all, if you can’t make enough money from your product to cover the development, production, and marketing costs while being profitable—would it be worth it?

Marc Andreessen (the person who coined the term) defines product-market fit: being in a good market with a product that can satisfy that market.

Every top brand that comes to mind has achieved product-market fit, including products like the iPhone, Gatorade, Glock 17, and Trijicon’s ACOG, to name a few. These products solved a massive problem in an enormous market at just the right time.

Action Item: Solve a problem that a lot of people have. Then figure out how to solve it.



Silencer Central Product-Market Fit

CEO, Brandon Maddox of Silencer Central

Step 2: Research Industry Facts and Trends

Researching industry facts and segment trends is crucial to ensure that your product can grow into a sustainable business.

Start by researching industry facts and trends. You should analyze market reports, top products, industry publications, and relevant data to gain insights into customer preferences, market size, growth potential, and emerging technologies.

You can identify new market segments, anticipate customer needs, and develop innovative solutions by staying up-to-date with industry facts and trends. Researching industry facts and trends is essential so you understand if the segment you are entering is sustainable and thriving.

If you have a game-changing product, what is it going to take to build awareness and move customers to this new segment?

Over the past year, there has been a significant push in the silencer space, with Silencer Central making strides to capture market share from its competitors. Silencer Central has simplified a complicated process by helping their customers through a difficult purchase.

By understanding the market dynamics and customer preferences, you can develop strategies to thrive and adapt rapidly in the changing business environment and identify aggressive brands making big moves to capture market share.


Action Item: Identify industry facts and trends.



Step 3: Understand Search Trends

Understanding internet search trends is also crucial for you to optimize your online presence and reach your target audience effectively. By analyzing search data, you can identify popular keywords, topics, and search queries relevant to your product, service, or offering. Since internet marketing is the first place you’ll start, its important what you have to work with and can expect.

Use tools like Google Trends, Exploding Topics or Answer the Public to track the popularity of specific keywords that pertain to your product over time to understand search trends. This will help you identify emerging trends, seasonal variations, and customer interests.

Product Market Fit Brands Tracking

By understanding search trends, you can know if your product has a stable or growing interest. Search interest and trends are another indication of whether or not you can achieve product-market fit.

When assisting my clients in assessing the fit between their product and its target market, we guide/coach them on thoroughly examining search trends and keyword volumes. Over the years of marketing businesses online, I can confidently determine the amount of organic search traffic that can be generated to drive sales. Additionally, I can estimate the portion of the marketing budget that needs to be allocated to SEO/content marketing and paid search advertising in order to achieve revenue goals and generate a positive return on investment.

Action Item: 93% of searches start with a search engine.



Step 4: Competitive Analysis

Conducting competitive analysis is another crucial measure for you to understand the competitive landscape and identify growth opportunities—or what I call the “whitespace.”

By analyzing your competitors’ strengths, weaknesses, positioning, offering, and pricing, you can understand what and who you are up against and develop strategies to differentiate your product and gain a competitive advantage.

When conducting competitive analysis, you must gather information about your competitors’ products, pricing, marketing campaigns, distribution channels and customer feedback. Additionally, you should take a look at your competitors’ social media feeds to understand who their target audience is. By doing this, you will be able to identify gaps in the market, develop more precise and unique value propositions, and stand out from the competition.

This may involve adding unique features to your product, investing in a robust customer service department, or targeting specific niche markets to get a foot hold.

Action Item: By understanding your competitors and the market dynamics, you can position your product and become a brand your customers love from day one.



How will you know if you achieve product-market fit?

The companies I’ve worked with tend to experience an upshift when they achieve product-market fit. You feel a change in momentum as your sales increase and positive customer reviews start to roll in.

Brand Survey with NPS

Net Promoter Score by HubSpot

It’s important to have standardized tracking in place to measure key metrics and determine if there is a product-market fit.

At Garrison Everest we track the following metrics in HubSpot Service Hub:

  • Qualified traffic and leads
  • Repeat customers and returns
  • Reviews, NPS (Net Promoter Score) and CSAT (Customer Satisfaction)
  • Email subscribers
  • Forum and social media mentions
  • Social media engagement (not followers)
  • Sales

We use digital dashboards so you have access to your most essential metrics 24/7 allowing you to pause, pivot or accelerate marketing efforts that saves cost and time.

You will know you achieve product-market fit when everything lines up and growth comes easily and organically. If words get out on the street, you have a good product; you just need to stay out of your own way.

Outdoor Industry Marketing Results

Outdoor Industry Marketing Results


So in conclusion, conduct thorough research on your industry segment, analyze keyword interest and traffic, identify your competitors, and determine the necessary steps to compete against them. By tracking the right measures and metrics, you can discover the ideal market fit for your outdoor product, get a good grasp on keyword interest and traffic, understand who your competitors are and what will be needed to compete against them to find the “whitespace” and track the right measures and metrics. All this can be used to create a business plan and a winning brand and marketing strategy.



SHOT show cost

Get More From Your SHOT Show Costs and Registration

By Outdoor Industry Marketing

Thousands of hunting, outdoor and firearms companies register for SHOT Show each year to showcase new products, evaluate the competition, network and work to sign new dealers/distributors for their products. SHOT Show is the eight largest trade show in the world with:

  • 52,000 attendees
  • 2,000+ media
  • 115 countries

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 outdoor industry marketing professional, 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 SHOT Show Costs and 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 (Team of 8):

  • 10×20 booth, design, production, registration and space: $40,000
  • Party for team and A-list customers: $16,000
  • Flights and travel: $7,000
  • Accommodations: $15,960 ($399/night at the Palazzo)
  • SWAG: $5,000
  • Food/other: $20,000

Total Costs: $103,960
Gross Profits = $______

ROI = (Gross Profit – $103,960) / $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.

SHOT Show costs2. Attend SHOT Show Exhibitor Academy

If you’re new to attending a trade show, it can seem overwhelming. To make sure you’re well-prepared, the NSSF offers the SHOT Exhibitor Academy.

The SHOT Show Exhibitor Academy is specifically designed to help current exhibitors improve their overall SHOT Show experience, boost their return on investment (ROI), and maximize their exhibit’s impact. The best part? It’s completely free!

During this series, the NSSF (The Firearm Industry Trade Association), the organizers of the SHOT Show, along with hotel and contractor partners,  share their extensive knowledge on how to successfully exhibit, market, and present your products and services to the thousands of industry buyers who will be exploring the SHOT Show floor. Any exhibitor at the 2024 SHOT Show or a vendor at the 2024 Supplier Showcase can participate.

3. Know your prospects

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.

4. Create a downloadable offer to generate leads

Last year’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, media kit, 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.

5. 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.

6. 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 Instagram. SHOT Show is a great way to build your network for future social selling and content marketing initiatives. You should be creating stories and reels and posting your day’s activities to create some buzz. Just make sure you’re only taking pictures of your booth!

7. Nurture leads with email marketing

Sometimes your prospect may need a little nurturing to get them across the finish line, especially if you’re a new brand. 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)

8. Is the cost of SHOT Show worth it?

For smaller, less-known brands, exhibiting at SHOT show is an immense expense that may bring little in return. Your marketing dollars could be better spent elsewhere over the year to build your brand’s awareness. When small brands and clients ask me about SHOT, my response is: “if you’re not there, you’re not there.”  It’s great to be with other people in the industry, see the latest products, catch up with friends, and meet new prospects and clients. However, if you walk away with no purchase orders, media coverage, a valuable contact, or feeling like it wasn’t worth it—you may want to use your marketing budget to invest in improving your product or building your brand. Try attending again in a year or two so you’ll have a good group of dealers who are interested in seeing and buying your product to make your SHOT show worth it.

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.

Need help with SHOT Show? We offer booth design services, collateral design, CRM setup and more! Contact us today!


crm for outdoor brands

7 Powerful Benefits of a Hubspot CRM for Outdoor Brands

By Outdoor Industry Marketing

It’s a well-known fact in the outdoor industry marketing circles that acquiring new customers costs more than retaining existing ones. This is why the most successful brands in our industry prioritize customer experience and service. So, how do they go about achieving this? It all starts with implementing a centralized Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system tailored for outdoor brands.

If you’re contemplating the use of a CRM to streamline your data management, this blog post will outline the advantages of using it for your outdoor, hunting, or shooting sports business. It will provide clarity, organization, and scalability to your operations, which is especially valuable in these uncertain times and amid the growing influence of artificial intelligence.

One of the most popular CRM systems available today is HubSpot’s CRM. HubSpot CRM offers a “single source of truth” that empowers your front-office teams (marketing, sales, and support) to strengthen their relationships with customers and deliver an exceptional experience.

Below, we’ll explore seven benefits that can elevate your business’s customer experience to a whole new level and contribute to more profound and widespread growth when using HubSpot.

CRM for Outdoor, Hunting and Shooting Sports1. A Comprehensive Dashboard CRM for Outdoor Brands

One of the key benefits of the HubSpot CRM is its comprehensive dashboard. The dashboard provides a complete overview of your customer interactions, sales pipeline, and marketing activities. You can see the status of every lead and customer in your system, including where they are in the sales or support process, what actions they have engaged in, and what communications they have received. This makes it easier for sales, marketing, operations and support teams to collaborate and work together towards a common goal.

Real industry application: You’re a business owner of a trigger manufacturing company and you have a lot on your plate. A CRM will make things easier by tracking your contacts and customers, automating administrative tasks, and sending email campaigns to keep online sales flowing — all using the same tool, with one login.

2. Easy to Use CRM for Outdoor Brands

The HubSpot CRM is user-friendly and easy to use, even for people who aren’t necessarily tech savvy like your customer service rep. It has an intuitive interface makes it easy to navigate and use all the features. You can quickly add new contacts, create tasks, set reminders, and manage your support and sales pipeline. The platform is also customizable, allowing you to tailor it to your needs.

Real industry application: Say “so long” to messy spreadsheets and time wasted on menial tasks. HubSpot CRM features a full suite of sales productivity tools so you can sell more and work less.

3. Centralized Database

With HubSpot CRM, you can store all your customer data in one central location. It becomes your “single source of truth” for your business. If things aren’t going well, or you start to feel some upward or downward trends, your CRM will be able to tell you. This means you can access all the information you need about a customer, including their contact details, past interactions, and communication history, returns and support requests all in one place. This saves time and eliminates the need for manual data entry—reducing the risk of errors.

Real industry application:  If you’re a retailer, media company, distributor, OEM, or manufacturer, having your contacts all in one place will allow you and your team members to take action on sales, marketing, operations and support activities more clearly and centralize your internal communications for your team, especially for sales calls, events, campaigns, show projects, product launches and business development. 

crm for outdoor brands deal stage4. Sales Automation

HubSpot CRM automates many of the repetitive tasks involved in the sales process. For example, you can set up automatic email sequences, schedule follow-up tasks, and create custom workflows that trigger actions based on customer behavior. This streamlines your sales process, making it more efficient and effective.

Real industry application:  Sales leaders can easily follow-up with calls, create and send meeting invites, and send contracts and payment links that save time. Use automation to speed up the process and create a more professional sales experience. 

5. Seamless Integration

The HubSpot CRM integrates seamlessly with other HubSpot tools, including Marketing Hub, Sales Hub, and Service Hub. This means that you can create a unified customer experience across all touch points. For example, you can create targeted email campaigns using the Marketing Hub and track their performance using the CRM. You can also integrate with other systems like your ERP, ecommerce store and countless other apps. 

Real industry application: As your enterprise grows and inventory management becomes more complex, you can utilize HubSpot to sync orders, pre-orders, online orders and other data points for easier inventory management. 

6. Valuable Insights

The HubSpot CRM for Outdoor Brands provides valuable insights into your customer interactions and sales pipeline. You can generate reports on sales activities, track the performance of your marketing campaigns, and gain insights into customer behavior. This information can be used to identify areas for improvement and make data-driven decisions that improve customer engagement.

Real industry application:  Sometimes, one major deal can make or break this year’s sales goals. HubSpot provides actionable insight into leads/prospects so your follow-up calls can be approached with more understanding to close the deal. Built in reports allow you to also understand customer sentiment through Net Promotor Score (NPS) which can help you forecast sales. 

7. Cost-Effective CRM for Outdoor Brands

HubSpot CRM is a cost-effective solution for businesses of all sizes. The platform offers a free version with basic features, making it accessible to small businesses and startups. Then, as your business grows, you can upgrade to the paid version to access more advanced features. You can begin to calculate ROI on customer service improvements and increase in repeat and new sales. 

Real industry application: Smaller businesses don’t have to break the bank on software that doesn’t deliver ROI. HubSpot offers flexible plans to scale with your organization when you’re ready. By starting now, you’ll be well-positioned in 1-3 years from now when you break 1M in sales.

In conclusion, the HubSpot CRM for Outdoor Brands is a powerful tool that can help businesses of all sizes manage their customer relationships more effectively. With its comprehensive dashboard, user-friendly interface, centralized database, sales automation, seamless integration, valuable insights, and cost-effectiveness, the HubSpot CRM is a worthwhile investment for any business looking to improve customer engagement and drive growth. 

Ready to see what HubSpot CRM can do for your business? Sign up below or contact us with your questions!

outdoor industry digital marketing

Outdoor Industry Digital Marketing: Track The Metrics That Matter

By Outdoor Industry Marketing


When it comes to tracking digital marketing in the outdoor hunting and shooting sports industry, it’s easy to get confused with what metrics matter most. A lot of times we think we are tracking the correct metrics or ‘key performance indicators’ for improvement—but get lost in the pretty charts and graphs of what are commonly referred to as ‘vanity metrics’ that can lead outdoor industry marketing managers astray.

outdoor industry digital marketing In this post, I want to give you a practical way on how to track, measure and report on your online efforts using a scorecard we use with our clients to prove the efficacy of our digital marketing efforts. The scorecard also helps us to understand where our strategy needs improvement and what to adjust over the course of our campaign(s).

So let’s dive in!


1. What is a KPI?
A key performance indicator (KPI) is a business metric used to evaluate factors that are crucial to the success of an organization. KPIs differ per organization; firearm businesses’ KPIs may be net revenue or a customer loyalty metric, while the government might consider unemployment rates, or non-profits, donations.

In digital marketing, there are three classes of KPIs we recommend you pay attention to.

A. Mechanical KPIs
Mechanical KPIs deal with the performance of your digital hub, or in other words—your website. Four critical KPIs to gauge are:

  • Organic traffic – The number of strangers visiting your website of their own free will that found you on the first page of search engine pages vs. paid where you paid to be on the first page.
  • Bounce rates – Bounce rate is one of the most misunderstood metrics. Bounce rate is the percentage of single-page visits (or web sessions). It is the number of visits in which a person leaves your website from the landing page without browsing any further. A good industry bounce rate to aim for is 20-30%. To decrease bounce rates, entice your users to click to a second page on your website.
  • Website Grader – Your website must be fast and load under 3 seconds and meet these basic standards. 
  • Search engine optimization –Does your website meet the minimum criteria to be considered optimized?

A fast-loading, search engine (and don’t forget mobile) optimized website is the first step in ensuring a strong digital marketing foundation.

B. Website Conversion KPIsoutdoor industry marketing website grader
Website conversion KPIs deal with how well your site is changing traffic into leads and nurturing them for customer conversion. Here is a list of conversion KPIs and how to improve them.

  • Returning visitors – Add a blog and other fresh content to keep your prospects coming back.
  • Visitor-to-lead conversion rate – Create problem-solving offers with landing pages and forms to convert visitors into leads.
  • Lead-to-customer conversion rate – Does your shopping cart get above a 2% conversion rate? 
  • CLV– Customer lifetime value (CLV or often CLTV), is a prediction of the net profit attributed to the entire future relationship with a customer.
  • CAC – Customer Acquisition Cost can be calculated by simply dividing all the costs spent on acquiring more customers (marketing expenses) by the number of customers acquired in the period the money was spent. For example, if a company spent $100 on marketing in a year and received 100 customers in the same year, their CAC is $1.00. (Source: Kissmetrics)
  • Workflow conversion rates – Research from Gleanster suggests that, even when it comes to qualified leads, more than 50% of leads aren’t ready to buy on the day they first convert on your site. If you call up these leads and push them into making a decision right away, you will likely lose them. Workflows help by nurturing these leads through an automated workflow that are based on a series of actions taken by leads on your website with the goal of nurturing them to customers or warming the sale. Make sure to track these steps and optimize for each stage.

You can also conduct A/B testing on small tweaks to your website that can be tracked over time, so you know if your metrics are improving or declining.

C. Brand KPIs
In the digital space (websites, mobile, social media, text, blogs, forums, etc.), it’s much easier to track brand engagement and understand if your brand is taking hold in your customer’s minds. One way is to monitor customer interactions and comments on social media or through Google Alerts. Record how many positive and negative social signals (likes, shares, retweets, and mentions) are posted about your firearm, ammunition or hunting product and track over time.

A few relevant brand KPIs are:

  • Direct traffic – Direct traffic comes from people who actively type in your brand’s name from memory, giving you a good indication of how well your prospects remember your products/services.
  • Brand mentions – How many people out there are posting positive or negative comments about your brand or product?
  • Network growth – Are your networks growing across your social media channels (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn)?
  • Blog subscribers – Are people finding your content interesting and signing up to receive more?


2. What KPIs don’t matter?
In the firearm and hunting industry, we are up to our eyeballs in statistics. From FFL registrations, background checks and the annual surveys released by the NSSF, these reports help us get our heads around how the industry is doing and how it relates to the health of our businesses. But there are some KPIs out there that just don’t matter.

Mentioned at the start of this post, vanity metrics are considered nice to have but don’t necessarily give us actionable data on making decisions about our marketing. Vanity metrics are things like registered users, time on site, pages/visits, downloads, and page views. They are easily manipulated and do not necessarily correlate to the numbers that matter: active users, engagement, the cost of getting new customers, and ultimately revenues and profits. (Source: Techcrunch )

I’ve talked to a lot of companies in the industry who consider Facebook and Instagram ‘Likes’ key metrics. But many struggle to tell me how many of those ‘Likes’ drive traffic, customers and sustained engagement.

Did you know that only 3% to 5% of your Facebook Page’s “fans” see the content you post? Regardless of how many people have clicked ‘Like’ once they’re on your brand’s page, the vast majority of them never return to the page itself and never see the content in their newsfeeds.

What to Measure Instead: % Feedback and Impressions

Use Facebook Insights, Facebook’s free analytics tool, to check which posts generate the highest level of engagement. The higher the level of engagement, the higher your EdgeRank score. (EdgeRank is kind of like SEO for Facebook newsfeeds) Think about the content and conversations that have the highest % feedback and impressions, and then come up with a plan for how you can replicate it. (Source: Hubspot)

outdoor industry digital marketing report

Use data reports to analyze each channel

3. You can’t measure what you don’t track.
If you’ve ever tried losing weight, you know that every week you’ve got to stand on the scale to check your progress. Digital marketing is the same way. When it comes to tracking, there are a number of tools out there to use. We explicitly depend on Google Analytics and a paid software program called HubSpot.

When it comes to reporting, Google Analytics is way more powerful. It’s more flexible than HubSpot, and puts data in a granular, broken-down form. With Google, you can tell more about your online marketing and website mechanics as a whole, and you can slice the data in a million ways.

But, HubSpot shows you more about how individuals interact with your marketing and website. It lets you connect performance data to an individual lead, giving you insight into their specific journey, and helps you nurture them through the buying funnel. HubSpot is also better organized than Google, and will show you the need-to-know information about your marketing campaigns. (Source: Nectafy)




4. Track it with the scorecard.

firearms-digital-scorecardNow that you got a good download on what the right and wrong KPIs are, let’s turn these metrics into something you can use.

A good place to start is by setting a SMART goal across the board at 20%. 20% is enough to cause you to feel a little pressure and angst, but it’s not so high that it’s out of reach. Digital marketing takes time, and it’s important that at each stage you test your efforts to see if they’re working or not—in a logical way (we’ll be discussing what to test in a future blog post).

In our scorecard, we’ve listed out most of the metrics stated above in a table to track over 6-months. Make sure to collect data from your sales team every month to accurately report revenue. Pay specific attention to increases and pieces of content that help you make actionable decisions.

By scorecard tracking, you’ll be able to more accurately gauge the performance of your digital marketing efforts and turn strategy into targets.

As marketers, we track so many different data points to better understand what’s working and what’s not that it can become easy to lose sight of what’s most important. Reporting on your business impact doesn’t mean you should no longer pay attention to site traffic, social shares, and conversion rates. It simply means that when reporting your results to your executives, it’s crucial to convey your performance in a way that your C-suite can get excited about.

Rather than talking about per-post Facebook engagement and other “vanity” metrics, use the six metrics we detail in the below cheat sheet to report on how your marketing programs led to new customers, lowered customer acquisition costs, or higher customer lifetime values. When you can present marketing metrics that resonate with your decision-makers, you’ll be in a much better position to make the case for budgets and strategies that will benefit your marketing team now and in the future.


What is Outdoor Industry Marketing?

What is Outdoor Industry Marketing? (The Complete Guide to Powerful Growth)

By Outdoor Industry Marketing

Photo Credit: Chris Dorsey

Are you looking to take your online outdoor business to new heights? In the vast and captivating realm of the great outdoors, digital marketing plays a pivotal role in boosting your business growth. From hiking gear to hunting equipment, the outdoor industry is thriving. According to a recent report from Outdoor Retailer, outdoor participation grew 2.3% in 2022 to a record 168.1 million participants, which makes up 55% of the U.S. population over age 6. Hunting participation is also up according to the Council of Hunting and Shooting Sports. To fully tap into its potential, you need to unleash the power of outdoor industry marketing.

Whether you’re a small startup or a well-established brand, this comprehensive guide will provide you with all the necessary steps, tactics, and tools to start boosting your brand’s visibility and ultimately drive product sales.

I’ve accumulated over two decades of experience in the outdoor industry, and I invite you to review this guide of these tried-and-true marketing frameworks that have consistently delivered results for my marketing company and the clients we serve. We’ll also explore the essential elements you need to establish in order to connect with consumers effectively and drive business growth.

In this comprehensive guide, we will list the proven “must-do” frameworks to help you grow your business and provide a pro tip in each section. We will discuss:



Outdoor Industry Marketing Buyer Persona

Outdoor Industry Marketing Buyer Persona

Understanding the target audience in the outdoor industry

In the outdoor industry, assuming you have a product that solves a problem and have identified its product-market fit. The very first thing you must do is understand your target audience. The outdoor enthusiasts’ community is diverse and has many different subcultures, unfortunately, mostly divided by political associations. Thus, a deep understanding of your target audience is essential to tailor your message and effectively reach them.

After you’ve come up with a product to sell and the problem it solves, you need to dial in your target audience an to do that, you need to create buyer personas. This process involves creating fictional characters that represent your ideal customers. You can create these personas based on demographics, interests, behaviors, and other relevant factors.

Moreover, it’s crucial to research your target audience and gather insights from surveys, social media, and other sources. This process will help you understand their pain points, needs, and preferences. Once you have this information, you can develop marketing strategies that resonate with them.

Another important aspect of understanding your target audience is identifying the communication channels they use. For instance, younger outdoor enthusiasts tend to use social media like YouTube and Instagram more than traditional advertising channels. Therefore, your marketing efforts should focus on the social media platforms where your target audience is most active.

PRO TIP: Understand product-market fit and conduct a customer interviews. Enable self-identification in your website forms to speed up your process.



Clarify your message

Many outdoor brands struggle to engage their audiences and drive them to take action effectively. Achieving this goal can be challenging without a clear and persuasive message that resonates with your target audience. This is where StoryBrand’s BrandScript becomes valuable. By utilizing the StoryBrand 7-part framework to shape your message, you’ll gain clarity on what to convey about your brand and the sequence in which to convey it.

StoryBrand’s framework emphasizes the role of being the guide in your customer’s story rather than the hero, which prevents overwhelming your customers with excessive information. It will also provide the information to create your website’s wireframe, email automaton and other collateral as you build our your branding assets. To learn more, read more about how to utilize the power of story to clarify your message. 

PRO TIP: Play the guide in your customer’s story, not the hero.




outdoor industry marketing package design

Outdoor Industry Marketing Package Design (Summit Knife Co.)

Branding refers to the process of creating a distinct and recognizable identity for a product, service, company, or individual. It involves crafting a unique image, name, logo, one-liner, packaging, outdoor lifestyle photography and and overall perception that sets the entity apart from its competitors and makes it memorable to its target audience.

Effective branding is essential for several reasons:

  1. Differentiation: In a crowded marketplace, branding helps a business or product stand out by highlighting its unique qualities and value proposition.
  2. Recognition: A strong brand identity makes it easier for customers to identify and remember your product or company.
  3. Trust and Credibility: A well-established brand often conveys trust and reliability. Customers are more likely to choose a brand they recognize and trust.
  4. Customer Loyalty: Strong brands can build a loyal customer base who prefer your products or services over competitors.
  5. Perceived Value: Branding can influence how customers perceive the value of your product. A strong brand can often command higher prices.
  6. Consistency: Branding ensures that all aspects of your business, from marketing materials to customer service, convey a consistent message and experience.
  7. Emotional Connection: Successful branding can create an emotional connection between the brand and its customers, fostering loyalty and advocacy.

Branding is about creating a unique and compelling identity that resonates with your target audience, builds trust, and helps your business or product succeed in a competitive marketplace. Don’t forget to take the time to develop your outdoor brand.

PRO TIP: Exceptional branding can be the decisive factor in elevating sales and ensuring high levels of customer satisfaction, transforming a good business into a great one.



Build your outdoor industry website

TRACT Optics Ecommerce Web Design

Outdoor Industry Marketing Website (TRACT Optics)

Building a website involves several steps, and the approach you take can vary depending on your goals, technical skills, and budget. Here’s a general guide to building a website:

Define Your Goals and Purpose

  • Determine the purpose of your website (e.g., personal blog, business, e-commerce, portfolio).
  • Identify your target audience’s problem and speak directly to it.

Choose a Domain Name

  • Select a domain name (e.g., that reflects your brand or content. Ensure it’s unique and easy to remember.

Select a Web Hosting Provider

  • Choose a web hosting provider that suits your needs and budget. Popular options include HubSpot or WPEngine.

Choose a Website Building Platform

  • Decide on the platform you’ll use to build your website. Popular options include:
    • HubSpot CMS: Is a fast-loading, easy to use drag-and-drop builder integrated into HubSpot’s overall CRM suite.
    • WordPress: Versatile, widely used, and suitable for various types of websites.
    • Website Builders: Such as Duda, BigCommerce, or Squarespace, which offer user-friendly, drag-and-drop interfaces.
    • Custom Development:  If you have coding skills, you can build a website from scratch.

Design Your Website

  • Utilize your BrandScript from your messaging to outline your wireframe.
  • Design a static layout/architecture using Adobe Illustrator before integrating into your theme.
  • Select a theme or template for your website. Customize it to match your brand and style.
  • Create a layout that is visually appealing and user-friendly.

Add Content

  • Create and organize your website’s content, including text, images, videos, and other media.
  • Ensure your content is engaging, informative, and relevant to your audience.

Optimize Your Product Pages

  • Take pictures of your products on a clean white background.
  • Write engaging descriptions that are optimized.
  • Add lots specifications.

Optimize for SEO

  • Implement on-page SEO techniques to improve your website’s visibility on search engines.
  • Use relevant keywords, optimize images, and create a sitemap.

Configure Outdoor, Hunting or Firearms E-commerce Website Settings

  • Set up essential settings, such as site title, tagline, and navigation menus.
  • Configure security measures, like SSL certificates, to protect your site.
  • Set up payment processors, shipping and tracking.

Test Your Website – Desktop, Mobile and Tablet

  • Test your website across different browsers and devices to ensure it functions correctly and looks good everywhere.

Launch Your Website

  • Once you’re satisfied with your website, it’s time to publish it to the internet.
  • Promote your website through social media, email marketing, and other channels.

Monitor and Maintain

  • Make sure to get web support to regularly update your website with fresh content and security patches.
  • Monitor website analytics to track performance and make improvements.

Remember that building a website is an ongoing process, and it’s essential to keep it updated and responsive to user feedback and changing needs. If you’re not comfortable with technical aspects, consider hiring a web development agency or designer to assist you.

PRO TIP: Use a fast-loading six second looping video on your home page to engage your visitors.



outdoor industry marketing social media

Outdoor Industry Marketing Social Media (Brenton USA)

Utilizing social media for outdoor industry marketing

Social media is a powerful tool that can help you expand your reach and connect with your target audience. However, to effectively use social media for outdoor industry marketing, you need to understand the platforms your audience is most active on.

One of the most popular social media platforms for outdoor enthusiasts is Instagram. Instagram is a visual platform that allows you to share photos and videos of your products in use. To effectively use Instagram for outdoor industry marketing, you need to create a strong visual brand identity and regularly post high-quality content that resonates with your audience.

Another popular social media platform for outdoor industry marketing is Facebook. If you target an older audience, this is the place to find them (Source: Exposure). Facebook allows you to share a variety of content, including text, photos, videos, and links to your website. To effectively use Facebook for outdoor industry marketing, you need to create engaging content that encourages interaction with your audience.

YouTube is another social media platform that can be effective for outdoor industry marketing. YouTube allows you to share short videos and in depth content. To effectively use YouTube for outdoor industry marketing, you need to create concise, engaging content that encourages subscriptions and interaction with your audience and is another great channel to target older prospective customers.

PRO TIP: Invest in a generous budget to secure the services of a top-notch outdoor lifestyle photography who specializes in the outdoor industry.



Content marketing for outdoor businesses

Content marketing is a powerful tool that can help you attract and retain customers. Content marketing involves creating and sharing valuable content that educates and entertains your audience. Here are several tips for effective content marketing in the outdoor industry:



1. Share Stories and Experiences
Sharing stories and experiences is an effective way to connect with your audience on an emotional level. You can use storytelling to showcase the benefits of your products and how they can enhance outdoor experiences.

2. Provide Educational Content
Providing educational content is an effective way to establish your brand as an authority in the outdoor industry. You can create content that provides tips and advice related to outdoor activities, such as camping, hiking, hunting and fishing.

3. Create Product Reviews and Comparisons
Creating product reviews and comparisons is an effective way to showcase the features and benefits of your products. You can create reviews that highlight the strengths and weaknesses of your products and compare them to other products in the market.

4. Use Visuals
Using visuals is an effective way to capture the attention of your audience and showcase your products. You can use high-quality photos and videos to showcase your products in use and highlight their features and benefits.

PRO TIP: Produce concise videos, each lasting 60 seconds or less, containing valuable tips, and utilize them as YouTube shorts.



Leveraging influencer partnerships in the outdoor industry

Influencer partnerships are a powerful tool that can help you expand your reach and connect with your target audience. Influencers are individuals who have a significant following on social media and can influence the purchasing decisions of their followers.

To effectively leverage influencer partnerships in the outdoor industry, you need to identify outdoor, hunting and firearm influencers who align with your brand values and target audience. You can reach out to influencers and offer them free products or compensation in exchange for promoting your products on their social media channels. We use a tool like Upfluence to identify influencers and engage them for campaigns.

When working with influencers, it’s important to establish clear expectations and guidelines for the partnership. You should also ensure that the influencers disclose their partnership with your brand to their followers to maintain transparency. This is an FTC requirement.

PRO TIP: Identify influencers with genuine influence who can actively promote your brand to their followers. The best influencers have built real trust with their followers.



Effective email marketing for outdoor businesses

Outdoor industry email marketing is a “must-do” framework that can help you connect with your audience and promote your products. More importantly, they keep your brand top of mind. Here are several tips for effective email marketing in the outdoor industry:


outdoor industry marketing email examples

Outdoor Industry Marketing Email Examples (Steinel Ammo Co.)

1. Segment Your Email List

Segmenting your email list involves dividing your list into smaller groups based on demographics, interests, behaviors, or other relevant factors. This process allows you to tailor your message to each group and increase the effectiveness of your email campaigns.

2. Use Compelling Subject Lines
Using compelling subject lines is an effective way to capture the attention of your audience and increase open rates. Your subject lines should be concise, engaging, and relevant to the content of your email. Most email marketing programs like HubSpot have AI subject line generators linked to your CRM that tracks what resonates with your target audience.

3. Provide Value
Providing value is an effective way to establish trust and credibility with your audience. You can provide value by offering exclusive discounts, educational content, or other incentives that encourage engagement with your brand. Don’t just send offers or discounts, mix it up with content and incentives.

4. Use Eye-Catching Visuals
Using eye-catching visuals is an effective way to capture the attention of your audience and showcase your products. You can use high-quality photos and videos to highlight the features and benefits of your products and encourage engagement with your brand. Don’t just a photo in your email. Put in the work to create a professional looking design and watch your open and click through rates go up.

PRO TIP: Maintain consistency with a monthly routine of sending three emails: one featuring a blog post, another showcasing a customer testimonial, and the third offering a promotion.



outdoor industry marketing website grader

How does your website stack up?

Optimizing SEO for outdoor industry websites

Optimizing your website for search engines is a “must do” to increase traffic and visibility. Here are several tips for optimizing SEO for outdoor industry websites:

1. Conduct Keyword Research
Keyword research involves identifying the keywords and phrases that your target audience uses to search for products or services related to your business. You can use keyword research tools to identify these keywords and optimize your website content accordingly.

2. Use Relevant Meta Tags
Using relevant meta tags is an effective way to provide search engines with information about your website content. You should use meta tags that accurately describe the content of your website and include relevant keywords.

3. Optimize and Create Website Content
Optimizing your website content involves using relevant keywords and providing high-quality, engaging content that resonates with your target audience. You should also ensure that your website is mobile-friendly, fast-loading, and easy to navigate. Add a blog to create fresh, keyword rich articles that generates traffic.

4. Build Backlinks
Building backlinks involves getting other websites to link to your website. Backlinks are an important factor in search engine rankings and can increase visibility and traffic to your website. You can build backlinks by creating high-quality content that other websites want to link to or by guest posting on other websites.

PRO TIP: The fastest route to establish SEO prominence is through the development of your brand, consistent content and the acquisition of backlinks.



Key marketing strategies for outdoor businesses


outdoor industry marketing event

The outdoor industry is highly competitive, and your marketing efforts need to stand out to succeed. Once you build out the necessary elements, you’re going to want to expand into offline channels to meet your customers where they are. Here are several key marketing strategies that can help you grow your outdoor business:

1. Leverage User-Generated Content
User-generated content is a powerful marketing tool that can help you build trust and credibility with your audience. User-generated content includes photos, videos, and reviews created by your customers. Sharing this content on your website and social media channels can help promote your business and encourage others to engage with your brand.

To leverage user-generated content, you can create social media campaigns that encourage customers to share pictures of themselves using your products. You can also feature customer reviews on your website and social media channels.

Use Case: We organized a video contest for one of our clients, offering a free product valued at $179.00 as the prize. When we tracked the user-generated videos, we discovered that they generated a 5x return on the number of people who viewed these videos on Instagram.

2. Host/Attend Outdoor Events
Outdoor events are an excellent way to showcase your products and connect with your target audience. Hosting outdoor events can help you build brand awareness, generate leads, and increase sales. You can organize or sponsor events like camping trips, fishing tournaments, hiking excursions, short films and other outdoor activities that showcase your products.

3. Create Engaging Video Content
Video content is an effective way to showcase your products and connect with your audience. You can create videos that showcase your products in use, highlight the features and benefits of your products, and provide educational content related to outdoor activities.

4. Offer Special Deals and Promotions
Special deals and promotions can help you attract new customers and retain existing ones. You can offer discounts, free shipping, and other promotions to incentivize customers to purchase your products. These promotions can also help you build customer loyalty and increase revenue.

5. Collaborate with Other Outdoor Businesses
Collaborating with other outdoor businesses that align with your values can help you expand your reach and build brand awareness. You can partner with other businesses to create joint marketing campaigns, cross-promote each other’s products, and share marketing resources.

6. Traditional Marketing methods such as PR, print ads, billboards, and display ads still play a crucial role in the outdoor industry. However, these methods can be costly, and PR requires the expertise of someone with a vast network who can get your brand in front of the right publishers. At our agency, we strategically utilize these methods, but only when we have a sufficient budget and can prove ROI. Traditional marketing methods typically works for well-known brands.

7. Trade Shows can be costly but can offer many benefits. The SHOT Show (Shooting, Hunting, and Outdoor Trade Show) offers numerous benefits for professionals in the firearms and outdoor industry. It serves as a prime networking opportunity, allowing industry stakeholders to forge valuable connections. Attendees gain insights into the latest product innovations, industry trends, and regulatory updates. The show supports business growth by facilitating orders, distribution agreements, and market research. Educational sessions provide valuable knowledge, and it fosters responsible firearm use while promoting community building within the industry. Overall, the SHOT Show plays a pivotal role in advancing the interests of businesses and professionals in the shooting, hunting, and outdoor sectors. Learn more about how to ge more from SHOT Show costs and registration.

PRO TIP: Smaller shows and events provide fewer distractions and a greater focus on your brand.



CRM for Outdoor, Hunting and Shooting SportsTurn your outdoor customers into promoters

One often underestimated aspect of the outdoor industry is the development of a superior customer experience. Our typical approach to customer experience involves providing a contact number for customers to use in case they encounter issues or wish to initiate a return. However, it encompasses far more than this. Customers anticipate swift responses to their inquiries and value having well-informed staff available to assist them when seeking additional information. If you implement all the elements mentioned in this guide, the final step in outdoor industry marketing is to ensure that your customers remain loyal and become advocates for your brand. We suggest using the HubSpot CRM for outdoor brands to deliver an outstanding customer experience.

The top four benefits of the HubSpot CRM and Service Hub are:

1. Streamlined customer support: The Service Hub provides a unified inbox that consolidates all customer interactions from various channels, such as email, live chat, and social media. This allows your team to efficiently manage and respond to customer inquiries, resulting in improved customer satisfaction.

2. Knowledge base and self-service tools: With the Service Hub, you can create a knowledge base to provide customers with self-service resources like FAQs, articles, and tutorials. This empowers customers to find answers to their questions independently, reducing the need for repetitive support requests and freeing up your team’s time.

Outdoor Industry Marketing Customer Service

Turn your customers into promoters!

3. Ticketing and automation: The Service Hub offers a ticketing system that allows you to organize and prioritize customer issues. You can automate ticket creation, routing, and escalation based on predefined rules, ensuring that customer inquiries are handled promptly and efficiently.

4. Reporting and analytics: The Service Hub provides robust reporting and analytics features that give you insights into your team’s performance and customer satisfaction. You can track metrics like response times, resolution rates, and customer feedback, enabling you to identify areas for improvement and make data-driven decisions to enhance your customer service operations.

Gather feedback from your customers to identify their primary pain points and empower them with self-service information. Integrating a chat feature on your website can lead to a 20% boost in sales.



Outdoor Industry Marketing Results

Outdoor Industry Marketing Results

Tracking and analyzing outdoor industry marketing efforts

Tracking and analyzing your marketing efforts is essential to measure their effectiveness and make informed decisions. Here are several tools you can use to track and analyze your outdoor industry marketing efforts:

1. Analytics
Google Analytics is a free tool that allows you to track website traffic, user behavior, and other metrics related to your website. You can use Google Analytics to measure the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns and identify areas for improvement. However, you may want to consider other analytic tools like Independent Analytics, Databox or HubSpot.

2. Social Media Analytics
Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter provide analytics tools that allow you to track engagement, reach, and other metrics related to your social media campaigns. You can use these tools to measure the effectiveness of your social media campaigns and optimize your strategy accordingly.

3. Email Marketing Analytics
Email marketing platforms like HubSpot provide analytics tools that allow you to track open rates, click-through rates, and other metrics related to your email campaigns. You can use these tools to measure the effectiveness of your email campaigns and optimize your strategy accordingly.

4. Survey regularly
Many companies overlook the importance of regularly gathering feedback from their customers. This oversight can lead to the development of unwanted products or, even worse, a lack of awareness about issues customers may encounter with their products. To avoid these pitfalls, it’s crucial to conduct annual or bi-annual customer surveys. At our company, we utilize HubSpot’s Service Hub to track various metrics, including chat performance, support tickets, Net Promoter Score (NPS), Customer Effort Score (CES), and Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT). These surveys play a pivotal role in helping us anticipate sales trends, gauge customer sentiment, and contribute to our collection of reviews and positive social media buzz.

5. ROI (return on investment)
Each marketing program you undertake should, at the very least, yield a return on your investment. If you invest $1, your goal should be to generate 3 to 5 times that amount in return. If these programs are not achieving that level of return, it’s essential to reevaluate your approach from the beginning to ensure you’ve done everything correctly. If not, consider surveying your customers to understand why they didn’t make a purchase and gather insights on how you can improve.

PRO TIP: You cannot enhance what you do not monitor and measure.



Conclusion: Thriving in the outdoor industry through strategic marketing

In conclusion, the outdoor industry is an immense and thriving market that presents many opportunities for growth. To fully tap into its potential, you need to unleash the power of outdoor industry marketing. By understanding your target audience, positioning, branding, messaging, website, leveraging social media, creating compelling content, and using other proven marketing strategies, you can grow your outdoor business and connect with consumers.

Remember to track and analyze your marketing efforts to measure their effectiveness and make informed decisions. As you embark on building these frameworks out, always stay true to your brand values and focus on providing service and value to your customers. With these insights and strategies, you can build a thriving business in the outdoors and make a lasting impact in the outdoor industry.



Outdoor Lifestyle Marketing

How Outdoor Lifestyle Marketing Can Bolster Your Content Strategy

By Outdoor Industry Marketing

If you’ve been doing outdoor industry marketing a while, you may have noticed that the traction you once had is beginning to wane.

You’ve been able to build a sizeable email marketing list, your social media following has grown exponentially and you’ve been able to boost online sales through organic website traffic.

However, with the explosion of content in our industry, especially in the hunting, shooting sports, camping, and CCW segments—how can you continue to breath new life into your brand and content marketing to keep growing?

In this post, we look at lifestyle marketing—and how by integrating your customer’s narrative into your brand’s story—you can put your product into a context that goes beyond its features and benefits.


What is outdoor lifestyle marketing?

When thinking about a lifestyle, first think about what a lifestyle is. A lifestyle is a set of habits, attitudes, beliefs, interests, opinions, ideas and thoughts based on an individual’s unique God-given personality.

For example, you may define the outdoor lifestyle as:

  • Adventure
  • Free
  • Family
  • Discovery
  • Conservation
  • Escape

Or you may define the 16 million CCW holders lifestyle (Source: Axios) as:

  • Freedom-loving
  • Defensive
  • Aware
  • Protective
  • Heroic
  • Concerned

“Lifestyle brands define who people are and who they want or hope to be.”

Many industry brands solely focus on their product’s features, and minimize their customer’s lifestyle or don’t incorporate them at all into their marketing strategies. When attention to lifestyle is left out—brands miss out on a pathway to connect deeper with their customers. Lifestyle brands give your buyers a goal and vision to become something better. This aspirational aspect is what makes lifestyle marketing so effective. 

Exercise: How would you describe your outdoor lifestyle? What products represent how you live?


How do you build a outdoor lifestyle brand?

Turning a brand into a lifestyle brand takes some time. Consistent, intentional effort that is driven by your company’s leadership is key to permeating your company’s culture to drive authentic experiences. Below are six tactics to help you get started:

Know your Tribe
Tribe,” coined by Seth Godin, states: “Tribe is any group of people, large or small, who are connected to one another, a leader, and an idea. For millions of years, humans have joined tribes, be they religious, ethnic, political, or even musical. It’s our nature. Now the Internet has eliminated the barriers of geography, cost, and time.” You must get to know your tribe as thoughtfully as possible to harness their pain points, interests and motivations—then you must lead them in the lifestyle your brand represents. 

Create awesome branding 
Brands that invoke the best visuals and messaging are more likely to garner emotional attachment. Almost all lifestyle brands have an active design component. A visually appealing logo/symbol of your brand that your tribe adopts will make them want to stick it on the back of their truck, or perhaps get a tattoo (just Google “Glock tattoo“).  

Invest in your culture
As your brand becomes more trusted, it’s important to show your people. Most companies in the hunting, shooting, and outdoor industry don’t show the people behind the scenes. The best cultures become the best lifestyle brands. Make sure they are living the lifestyle your brand embodies.

Leverage influencers
The lifestyle affinity is a natural fit for influencer marketing because your influencers are already living the lifestyle you want to integrate into your messaging. Your influencers can boost your content and storyline to their audiences through social media, garnering trust and expanding reach.

Create content
Content will continue to be an essential part of any digital or influencer marketing strategy for the foreseeable future, because of its effectiveness and long-term benefits. When creating content, don’t blow smoke about how great, amazing, game-changing, evolved, re-imagined, etc. your product is. Show how it improves your tribe’s lives without pushing your product.

Be present
Like any relationship, sometimes all it takes is showing up. Brand awareness is a key part of building a lifestyle brand, and this is where gorgeous cinematic hunting, camping or hiking video/photography and other tactics help you stay top of mind and part of people’s lives.


Four examples of outdoor lifestyle marketing brands




Photo Credit: Beretta

Beretta’s lifestyle marketing consists of aligning their brand with an upper-class type of shooter and their experiences. The brand’s creative platform contains fonts that are clean and a color palette that suggests luxury. Their photography represents the customers they wish to align with that could be described as sophisticated, traditional and affluent—most likely influenced by the brand’s European origin. Part of what makes Beretta a lifestyle brand is its clothing line. Not only can you own and shoot the Berretta brand—but you can also wear it.

Beretta also integrates a robust content marketing program that adds value to its customers by helping them get better at their shooting and outdoor pursuits.


Outdoor Marketing Llifestyle

Photo Credit: Sitka

Sitka Gear based in Bozeman, Montana is also a prime example of what it means to live the outdoor lifestyle. Sitka’s helpful articles, short films, and transparency in their design and manufacturing processes make it an excellent lifestyle brand. Much more than a camo company—their focus on their “Tribe” is based on their mission statement to “inspire, delight and enlighten hunters.” Their mission towards conservationism also gives the brand a much higher purpose, which makes it more attractive, exciting and admirable.



Photo Source: Yeti

No other company in the outdoor world does a better job than Yeti in integrating their products into the outdoor lifestyle. Yeti seeks to touch every aspect of someone participating in the outdoor world through story-based content. From Spearfishers to Big Horn Sheep Hunters—Yeti is a brand built for the wild as stated in their tagline. I found it especially interesting that they also have a Spotify list with songs from a broad genre that puts music to the Yeti Lifestyle. This is just another way lifestyle brands are looking outside the traditional channels to build their names into their customer’s lives.



Magpul Outdoor Lifestyle

Photo Credit: Magpul

There was some confusion a few years ago when Magpul decided to evolve their firearm accessories brand into a lifestyle brand with the addition of apparel like gloves, shirts, and pants. Magpul has now become more than just a company known for its magazines, stocks, and handguards.


Make the connection


When thinking through on how to align your brand with your customer’s lifestyle—you must begin with their characteristics, problems, challenges, hopes, fears, and dreams; and start to build your marketing strategy around them, not your product.

Seek to dramatize your material around their outdoor, hunting or shooting activities—but also look for other aspects that define them. For example, your imagery can speak to the pride they have as a first responder, their desires to spend more time with friends and family, a lost loved one (see Beyond the Roar by Leupold below), ambitions of climbing Mount Everest, adventure (see Weatherby Timeless Video) or hunting with their Son or Daughter. Anything your brand can do to take them out or into a place they want to be is a critical component of lifestyle marketing. Your brand must become a storyteller that allows your customer to see themselves as their best self. 

The below video by Leupold is a great example of engaging lifestyle storytelling.


“Lifestyle marketing must be somewhat mythical and paint a visual that seems almost dream-like while remaining brutally authentic.” 

Modern consumers who are empowered by digital technology are highly discerning. When you succeed in integrating your product seamlessly into their lives, becoming a natural part of their personal story, you won’t need to actively ask for their engagement. They’ll perceive your product as if they stumbled upon it, a perfect match for their self-image and place in the world.

If your content strategy needs a boost, perhaps lifestyle marketing is the tactic you need for continued success.

Article image source: Fluid Peak Productions a lifestyle marketing company.

outdoor hunting shooting sports marketing buyer personas

Outdoor, Hunting And Firearms Customers (Do You Really Know Who They Are?)

By Firearms and Hunting, Outdoor Industry Marketing

Do you really know who your outdoor, hunting and shooting sports customers are? This is one of the hardest questions for industry business owners to answer. Below are some sample questions to ask yourself:

  • Who specifically is our customer?
  • What are their pain points?
  • Who are they aspiring to become?
  • How does our product help them achieve their goals?
  • How do we guide them in their customer journey?

I think most of us will admit we don’t know our customers as well as we should. And in the era of digital marketing, it’s more important and easier than ever to know how consumer interests and motivations. This is especially true when you consider the millions of new gun owners, hunters and anglers who’ve entered the market in the past few years since COVID.

By neglecting to have an accurate and well-defined ideal customer or—buyer persona—you hinder the potential and effectiveness of your outdoor industry marketing efforts.

Marketing is about knowing your customer better than anyone else. The understanding that comes with this insight allows you to speak their language at their level, at the right place and at the right time about your product or services in an authentic and human way. Clarify your message and create some great branding—and you got a good foundation to build your outdoor industry marketing program.

So What Are Outdoor, Hunting and Shooting Sports Customer Buyer Personas and Why Should I Care?

Buyer personas are fictional representations of your ideal customers. They are the granular view of the character in your brand’s story. They are based on real data about customer demographics and online behavior, along with educated speculation about their personal histories, motivations, and concerns.

How Are Outdoor, Hunting and Shooting Sports Customer Buyer Buyer Personas Created?

Buyer personas are created through research, surveys, and interviews of your target audience. That includes a mix of customers — both “good” and “bad”— prospects, and those outside of your contact database who might align with your target audience. You’ll collect data that is both qualitative and quantitative to paint a picture of who your customer is, what they value, and how your solution helps them achieve their goals.

In this post, I’ll give you the steps you need to accurately identify your buyer persona. This will allow you to focus your content and messaging like a laser for better results.


First Start With Some Background

hunting and firearms customers

Hunting and Firearms Segments (Southwick Associates)

It’s good to first start with some broad strokes and then fill in the blank areas as you go. To begin, start by answering the questions below.

  • Basic details about persona’s role
    What do they do for a living?
    What is their level of education?
    What is their annual household income?
  • Key information about the persona’s interests
    List facts like big game hunting, CCW, archery, hiking etc.
    How often do they engage in these activities?
    What magazines do they subscribe to?
  • Relevant background info, like education or hobbies
    What do they typically do in their spare time.
    Are they rushed for time, busy parents? Weekend warriors? Workaholics?

“When you have somebody purchasing to build their skills versus someone who’s purchasing to go hunting or because they have crime in their area — your marketing is going to be completely different for each one of them.” — Nancy Bacon, Southwick Associates 




Demographics are the statistical characteristics of a population, such as age, gender, and income. Demographics can be used to identify markets, such as a younger demographic. Demographic data can also tell you more about a community than its size and whether it is growing or declining.

Demographics round out the edges and fill in the blanks. Important as demographics are, they still are only one dimension of your customer. Use the questions below:

  • What is their gender? Male or female?
  • Age range
  • Household income (Consider a spouse’s income, if relevant)
  • Location (Is your persona urban, suburban, or rural?)



outdoor, hunting and shooting sports customers

Photo Credit: Chris Dorsey

What are their Identifiers?

Identifiers help you sound like your buyer persona. If your outdoor, hunting and shooting sports customers are western hunters, you’ll want to utilize your knowledge of big sky hunting and make sure your writing sets the right tone. If your buyer persona are mid-west hunters, you’re going to want to talk as such.

  • Buzz words
    List some industry buzz words and words that are commonly used by your buyer personas
  • Mannerisms
    What does your buyer persona sound or act like?
  • Language
    What kind of language do they use? Is it intelligent and articulate? or more southern?



What are their Aspirations?

Begin listing your buyer persona’s primary and secondary goals. This will begin to give you ideas on what kind of messaging, content and materials you should create. Interview them to get more detail.

  • Persona’s primary want – What are they trying to get better at?
  • Persona’s secondary goal – Is it to spend more time outdoors?
  • Persona transformation – Who do they want to become?

TIP: When potential outdoor, hunting and shooting sports customers call, ask them why they contacted you. When you’re on the phone with your customer, make it a point to get to know them and record it in your CRM’s contact record.



What Challenges Does Your Customers Have?

Now we’re getting into the nuts and bolts. List the challenges your buyers face. Finding property to hunt or gun ranges? Learning basic tactical skills? Creating relevant communication?

  • Primary challenge to persona’s success – Is it finding the right equipment?
  • Secondary challenge to persona’s success – Getting more range time?



How Do You Help Your Customers?

Begin brainstorming on how you can help your personas. Think beyond what your product or service directly offers. Move in the direction of other dimensions, verticals or channels of your offering. What might you be able to provide that leads them to your solution?

  • How you solve your persona’s challenges – We offer free online hunting/firearm training.
  • How you help your persona achieve goals – We give you a community to learn.



Use Real Quotes

To humanize, list some real quotations taken from your interviews and surveys. This will ground the persona even more in your mind and in the minds of your marketing and sales team.

  • Real Quotes
    Include a few real quotes taken during your interviews that represent your persona well.
  • Common objections
    Identify the most common objections your persona will raise during evaluating your product

EXAMPLE: “I’ve been a hunter all my life, but lately, I can’t find anywheres to hunt with my son. Public land is too pressured and paying for a guide may be out of my price range. What do you suggest?” – Hunter Hal



Create Messaging That Engages Your Persona

Now that you have a good understanding of your persona, how can you distill this information into a short succinct clear message. This message should be used in your positioning statement, tagline or one liner. It should be the main storyline of your your brand. It can also be the trunk of which all your content hangs off of.

  • How should you describe your product to your persona?
  • Include a few real quotes – This will make it easier for employees to relate to and understand your persona.
  • One liner – Make describing your solution simple and consistent across everyone in your company. Start with your problem, then tell them your solution. Remember, keep talking about your customer’s problems to keep them engaged.



Add A Picture of Your Personas and Name Them

Last but not least, add a picture of them. If you have multiple buyer personas—pick a picture for each. It can be a current customer from your Facebook page or a stock photo.

Hunting And Firearms Customers

Photo Credit: TRACT Optics



Communicate Your Buyer Personas To Your Company

How do you communicate this new understanding of your target customer with your entire organization? After all, if your sales and marketing teams don’t understand who they’re speaking to, it’s hard to craft a message that really resonates. Add these personas into your HubSpot CRM and track effectiveness.

To get started, download the free buyer persona’s template below to create your buyer persona and how to present your buyer persona to your company for greater understanding and marketing ROI.

outdoor hunting shooting sports customer buyer personas

FREE DOWNLOAD: A Guide to Creating the Outdoor, Hunting and Shooting Sports Customer Buyer Persona

In this powerful template — we help you and your team think through and identify who your ideal customer is. This will enable you to focus your messaging and maximize your marketing and sales. It will also help you present your buyer persona to your team for clarity.

outdoor hunting firearms content marketing

Outdoor Industry SEO: 8 Ways To Rank Higher on Google

By Outdoor Industry Marketing, SEO

You most likely know that blogging for your hunting, outdoor or firearms company is a must do when trying to rank on search engines like Google, but I see so many companies still getting it wrong.

For those who take the time and energy to create content in the form of blogs, videos and podcasts—there exists many benefits and clearly defined advantages for your outdoor industry marketing program. The most important being outdoor industry SEO.

What is SEO?

SEO stands for “search engine optimization.” In simple terms, SEO means the process of improving your website to increase its visibility in Google, Microsoft Bing, and other search engines whenever people search for:

    • Products you sell.
    • Services you provide.
    • Information on topics in which you have deep expertise and/or experience.

The better visibility your pages have in search results, the more likely you are to be found and clicked on. Ultimately, the goal of search engine optimization is to help attract website visitors who will become customers, clients or an audience that keeps coming back. (Source: SEL)

What is Content Marketing?

Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.

Instead of pitching products or services, content marketing provides relevant and useful content to your prospects and customers to help them solve issues in their work (B2B content) or personal lives (B2C content). (Source: Content Marketing Institute)

Call it content marketing or blogging—blogs have been shown to increase SEO 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. In a time of digital transformation, embracing content and SEO will have an immense impact on your online sales.

If you’re the type of business owner or marketer who sees the advantages of content creation in the form 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. Outdoor industry SEO starts 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.

SEO PRO TIP: Write for your customers, not search engines. And do not use copy/paste blog articles from ChatGPT.


2. Pick Outdoor Industry SEO 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 HubSpot’s Topic Cluster Tool or utilize your Google Adwords tool.

SEO PRO TIP: Don’t stuff keywords into your copy.


3. Use the Topic Pillar Strategy to optimize your Outdoor Industry SEO efforts

A topic pillar is a strategic content framework used in search engine optimization (SEO) to enhance a website’s visibility and authority in a specific subject area. It consists of a comprehensive, in-depth piece of content known as the “pillar” content, which serves as the central resource for a particular topic.

Surrounding this pillar content are related subtopics, known as “cluster” content, which delve into specific aspects of the main topic in greater detail. This hierarchical structure not only organizes and categorizes information effectively but also signals to search engines that your website offers comprehensive coverage on a subject. As a result, search engines are more likely to recognize your website as an authority in the field, leading to improved rankings and greater organic traffic, making topic pillars an invaluable strategy for SEO.

SEO PRO TIP: Don’t randomly blog for the sake of blogging without a topic cluster strategy.


outdoor industry seo topic pillar

4. Outdoor Industry SEO should 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 700-1000-word blog posts.

SEO PRO TIP: Blog posts less than 300 words will have a difficult time ranking. Aim to write articles 700 words or more.


outdoor industry seo blog format5. Format your content to rank

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. Attention-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.

SEO PRO TIP: Don’t forget to add your keyword in your H1, H2’s and alt images in your blog post.

6. Ignite your Outdoor Industry SEO

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.

SEO PRO TIP: Don’t forget to ignite your content by mentioning others on social media who you cited in your articles.

7. Consistency is the key in Outdoor Industry SEO

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.

SEO TIP:  Aim to blog every day and release 3-5 new blogs per month and be consistent.

outdoor industry seo and content marketing

8. 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, use the topic cluster model, 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.

outdoor content marketing

Where To Source Content For Your Outdoor Content Marketing Program

By Outdoor Industry Marketing

Photo credit: Back Down South

Because content is the lifeblood of all your outdoor industry marketing it will be important to figure out how and where you will source it. 

Do people read blogs anymore?
In addition, when surveyed (29%) read blogs 1-4 times a month, 18% read every day, and only 17% never read blogs.

Studies shows business blogging and content creation leads to 55% more website visitors (Source: Hubspot). This one standalone fact is what makes creating content and writing blog posts so crucial when conducting content or inbound marketing. It’s nearly impossible to generate a steady flow of organic traffic and leads without content. By expanding your digital footprint with keyword rich blog posts, videos and downloadable offers, you create more ways for your prospective customers to find you.

In this post, if you’re a marketer or business owner starting an content marketing program in the outdoor, hunting or firearms industry—I’ll give you five places to find ideas for your content (blogs, videos and offers).


1. FAQs

The first step after you’ve identified your buyer persona(s) is to create a list of all the questions your customers ask about your product. This should give you a good list of about 10-20 topics to start. Answer every question you can think of that’s been asked by your customers—then write those answers into 500-2000 word blog posts on your website.

2. Insource

Your company or network is full of experts who know a thing or two about your products and how it works in context. Interview them on topics your customers are most interested about. For some firearm or hunting companies, your sponsored shooting team or pro staff can provide valuable insight and information on current trends; what’s happening at the range or in the field where hunters and shooters tend to talk about the latest and hottest products.

3. Crowdsource

Crowdsourcing allows you to obtain (information or input into a particular task or project) by enlisting the services of a number of people, either paid or unpaid, typically via your social media channels, forums, or on your website directly. Start by asking your audience questions and allow them to answer it themselves. Then take their input and compose them into posts.

4. Outsource

When all else fails, you can outsource your content creation to an inbound marketing agency or hire writers from websites like Writer’s Access, BlogMutt and Content Writers. All have gun and hunting friendly writers available. Another great industry resource you may not have heard about is the Professional Outdoor Media Association. You can post project needs on their website that will enable you to get in contact with some of the industry’s best writers and photographers. 

5. Repurpose

If you already have content, you can reuse it. Have your outsourced writers transcript your videos into blogs. Create videos from your blog posts. Take a collection of blog posts and create an ebook out of them. Use some of your content as product promotions. The great thing about content creation is you can always recycle it. Don’t let any of your past content go to waste.

firearms-hunting-sales-marketing-funnelBring it all together

Now that you have a good collection of content, begin thinking through how your content will pull your visitor through your sales funnel. The goal in inbound marketing is to provide relevant content that educates your prospect through the buying process and gives them the information they need to make an informed decision. Top of the funnel topics consist of how-to’s, and tips and tricks. Middle of the funnel content consists of in-depth whitepapers and product demos. Bottom of the funnel offers consist of pricing and case studies. Create these offers and send them to your leads via email using a program like MailChimp. 

Schedule your content into monthly chunks and campaigns to stay on track. Post to your social media accounts daily and send to your email subscribers on a consistent basis. Track effectiveness with Google analytics or with your marketing automation tool.

In conclusion, sourcing and writing content doesn’t have to be difficult. Taking the time to plan and schedule can help you create consistent and viable content for your inbound marketing program.



Outdoor and Hunting Logo

5 Outdoor and Hunting Logo Design Failures To Avoid At All Costs

By Outdoor Industry Marketing

It is inevitable that at some point in your company’s history you will be faced with a outdoor and hunting logo redesign or a rebranding of your hunting, outdoor or shooting sports 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 outdoor industry marketing managers, 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 outdoor and hunting 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, outdoor website design, product catalogs, advertising etc. A logo rarely functions on its own.


3. Write a concise outdoor and hunting 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

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

Outdoor and Hunting Logo4. Don’t design your outdoor and hunting logo by committee

When you receive your first round of concepts back from your outdoor industry marketing 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 your outdoor and hunting logo

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  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.



Influencer Marketing Firearms Hunting Industry

What I Discovered About Influencer Marketing in the Outdoor, Hunting and Firearms Industry

By Influencer Marketing, Outdoor Industry Marketing


Buffalo Bill Influencer Marketing

Buffalo Bill for Savage Arms

Influencer marketing in the hunting, outdoor and firearms industry has been a tried and true method of connecting with hard to reach demographics since the days of Buffalo Bill.

Often referred to as Pro Staff or Ambassadors—top hunters like Jim Shockey, Steve Rinella, or shooting professionals like Colion Noir and Julie Golob and hundreds of others—have been commissioned by the industry’s top brands to exert their influence over their vast number of social media followers.

Consumers trust recommendations from a third party more often than a brand itself. And it makes sense if you think about it in a more personal context. You don’t usually trust a person at a party who comes up to you and brags about him/herself and spouts fun facts about his/her personality to convince you to be a friend. But you often believe your mutual friend who vouches for that person. An influencer is a mutual friend connecting your brand with your target consumers. (Source: NP Digital)

In this post, I answer five questions about influencer marketing that will help you understand how to integrate this powerful tactic into your outdoor industry marketing strategy.

1. What is influencer marketing?

Influencer marketing is a type of marketing that uses category leaders or celebrities to communicate your brand’s message and content to their vast number of followers. Instead of buying print ads or filming commercials, you use the influencer to get the word out for you instead.

Influencer marketing typically involves content marketing and social media as the mechanisms to propel those messages. Whether they are producing the content themselves like Mia Anstine for Beretta or you are writing it for them and putting their name on it—influencer marketing almost always involves the tactics of content marketing with social media as its primary distribution channel. 


“People feel the need to be informed by accurate information, and when they lack confidence in their own knowledge, they turn to others in the hope that they will provide them with the correct information. By accepting this information, regardless of whether it is accurate, the person is subjected to social influence.”

—Psychologist World (Source: SEMRUSH)


2. How do you find the right influencer?

2.50% of users have between 100,000 and 500,000 Instagram followers. 0.32% of users have between 500,000 and 1,000,000 Instagram followers. Lastly, users with over 1 million Instagram followers represent only 0.31% of total users. Considering this statistic, it should come as no surprise that leveraging the power of this select group of influencers serves as a highly valuable strategy for brands looking to expand their awareness and reach. (Source: Mention)

In the hunting, outdoor and firearms world, the industry is full of shooting, firearm hunting experts, and proponents that blog and create videos. A few are popular celebrities like Luke Bryan or nationally syndicated radio host Dana Loesch. Below, I used Followerwonk and Buzzsumo to identify top Instagram accounts of industry advocates that have large audiences to get an idea of the numbers we’re talking about.

  1. Cameron Hanes / 1.5M
  2. John Lovell / 1.4M
  3. Tim Kennedy / 1.3M
  4. Alex Zedra / 1.2M
  5. Steve Rinella / 1.2M
  6. Hannah Barron / 1.2M
  7. Kirsty Titus / 74K

But how do you go about finding and choosing the right influencer? Do you go for a big name like Mark Kenyon in the hunting category who has over 130K followers on Instagram—or someone less known but who has a very niche group of fans—otherwise known as “power-middle” influencers? Both have pros and cons and will ultimately depend on your product’s contextual fit and marketing budget. There is growing evidence that “power-middle” influencers (2.5K – 25K followers) are shown to have a 16x higher engagement.

To find your perfect influencer, you can start with good ole’ fashion research. Or you can pay for the latest and greatest influencer marketing software to help you find that perfect influencer as well as track ROI. Here are a few to check out:

You can also use sites like Buzzsumo or Followerwonk to start your search. While someone with hundreds of thousands of social media followers certainly could expose your brand to their followers, if they are not a snug contextual fit, their post or tweet would be moot as far as driving leads and customers. (Source: NP Digital)

true-influence-drive-action3. How to start with influencer marketing?

Influencer marketing starts with your ideal influencer image—and if your product fits within the context of what your influencer typically talks about and how they align with your buyer persona(s). You wouldn’t hire Justin Beiber who has over 293M followers to tweet out a picture of your Deer Scent Product next to a fallen Buck (although that may be kinda funny).

Create your ideal influencer based on age, gender, location, vertical, personality and average audience size. Next figure out, where can your brand’s content can be amplified. Do you need the visual component of Instagram or Pinterest or something more substantive and instant like Facebook or Twitter? Are you looking for social media followers, website traffic or both? Define your goals and begin your search.

According to Social Chorus, the best way to reach out to influencers is to start by getting their attention on social media through likes, retweets, mentions and shares. Then you’ll want to reach out via email. Keep your email simple, introduce your brand, why you’re interested and describe what you both can expect to gain through the relationship. You can negotiate your engagement by direct sponsorship, sponsoring their giveaways, content collaboration, shout outs or commission.


4. How to measure influencer marketing?
Below are three ways influencer marketing can be tracked during a campaign.

  1. Trackable links: Most software programs have their own conversion tracking technology that enables you to track how many online sales each influencer drove for you. However, trackable links can only be posted on platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and blogs. 
  2. Promo codes: Not only do promo codes help you track the impact of your campaign, but they also build urgency and an extra incentive for viewers to buy your product.
  3. Correlation: This entails correlating the time of posting with increases in sales or installs.
    (Source: ExpertVoice)


5. Brands doing it right.

As I looked across the industry, here are some examples of brands that base a large majority of their strategy on influencer marketing:



Yeti’s influencer marketing program is known as probably the best in the outdoor industry. “We do a lot of endorsements, from celebrity hunters to fishermen, and always try to engage them as ambassadors of the brand and then tell their stories in as many places as we can.”
—Corey Maynard VP of Marketing (Source: Adweek)  




Cabela’s has about 20 “authenticity experts” who are asked to chime in on their areas of expertise (hunting, fishing, camping, etc.) to make sure their messaging truly matches the outdoor and hunting space. These are people who volunteer to participate because they are passionate about their own experiences, social media, and Cabela’s brand. (Source: Convince and Convert)


Mountain Ops

Mountain Ops uses several hunters/huntresses or “wilderness athletes” to inspire and help you get in “outdoor shape.” I love the vibe of MTN Ops, its a super cool brand that attracts super cool influencers. 

Hunting Influencer Marketing

Photo by Mountain Ops via Instagram



Glock was  the first in the industry to start using Facebook Live in 2016. In 2023, they continue to rely on influencers and their pro teams to build awareness and authority. This is a great example of mixing influencer marketing, content and live video.



Consumers have always valued opinions expressed directly to them. Marketers may spend millions of dollars on elaborately conceived advertising campaigns, yet often what makes up a consumer’s mind is not only simple but also free: a word-of-mouth recommendation from a trusted source. (Source: McKinsey)

So, is influencer marketing a right strategy for your brand? Here are a few statistics:

  1. In 2022, the influencer market in the U.S. was valued at a record 16.4 billion.
  2. 1 in 4 marketers currently leverage influencer marketing.
  3. 72% of Gen Z and Millennials follow influencers on social media.
  4. 89% of marketers who currently engage with influencer marketing will increase or maintain their investment in 2023.
  5. 17% of marketers plan to invest in influencer marketing for the first time in 2023.
  6. 38% of marketers say generating sales was their top goal for influencer marketing in 2022.
  7. 50% of Millennials trust product recommendations from influencers. This drops to 38% for product recommendations from celebrities.
  8. 92% of marketers believe that influencer marketing is an effective form of marketing.
  9. 33% of Gen Z-ers have bought a product based on an influencer’s recommendation in the past three months.
  10. Micro-influencers generate up to 60% more engagement than macro influencers.
  11. 44% of marketers say that the biggest benefit of working with micro-influencers is that it is less expensive.
  12. 56% of marketers who invest in influencer marketing work with micro-influencers.” 

(Source: Hubspot)

In the hunting, outdoor and firearms industry, I’d say there is overwhelming evidence that influencer marketing is a good way to move the needle. Combined with inbound or content marketing, influencer marketing could be the strategy you’re looking for.

What about you, what are your thoughts on influencer marketing? 


outdoor storybrand brandscript marketing

Unleash the StoryBrand BrandScript in Your Outdoor, Hunting or Shooting Sports Brand

By StoryBrand, Outdoor Industry Marketing

In the realm of outdoor industry marketing and branding, captivating your audience’s attention and compelling them to take action is the ultimate goal. However, achieving this outcome can be challenging without a clear and persuasive message that resonates with your target audience. This is where StoryBrand’s BrandScript comes into play.

In this blog post, we will help you understand what a StoryBrand™ BrandScript is and how it can revolutionize your approach to messaging and breaking through the clutter of today’s distracted environment.

Defining the StoryBrand BrandScript

The StoryBrand BrandScript is a framework developed by Donald Miller and his team at StoryBrand. At its core, the BrandScript is a tool that helps businesses craft a compelling and cohesive narrative that engages their customers on a deep emotional level through our brains natural tendency to latch on to a story. It provides a structured approach to clarifying your brand’s message and ensuring consistency across all marketing channels. This is important when making the most of your marketing dollars.

StoryBrand for the Outdoor Industry

Components of a BrandScript

  1. The Character: Every great story needs a protagonist, and in the BrandScript, that protagonist is your customer. By understanding your customer’s desires, challenges, and aspirations, you can position your brand as the guide who will help them overcome obstacles and achieve their goals.
  2. The Problem: Every customer is faced with a problem or a challenge that needs to be solved. Clearly identifying and articulating this problem in your BrandScript allows your audience to connect with your brand on a personal level. It demonstrates that you understand their pain points and are uniquely positioned to provide a solution.
  3. The Guide: As the brand, you play the role of the guide who will help your customer overcome their challenges. Positioning your brand as the trusted advisor who has the expertise and knowledge to lead your customers toward success is essential in establishing credibility and building trust.
  4. The Plan: Once the problem is defined, your BrandScript should outline a clear and actionable plan for your customers to follow. This plan should outline the steps they need to take to overcome their challenges and achieve their desired outcomes. Providing a roadmap instills confidence in your customers and empowers them to take action.
  5. The Call to Action: Every successful brand knows the importance of a compelling call to action. Your BrandScript should clearly define the next steps you want your customers to take. Whether it’s signing up for a newsletter, making a purchase, or scheduling a consultation, a strong call to action prompts your audience to engage with your brand and move closer to becoming loyal customers.
  6. Ends in Success: Every hero wants a happy ending. Your BrandScript should define what success looks like if your customer buys your product. What are you helping them achieve?
  7. Ends in Failure: You must also show what the hero is trying to avoid. What happens if they don’t buy your product? What are the negative outcomes?

Benefits of Using a BrandScript

  1. Clarity: The BrandScript framework brings clarity to your messaging by focusing on the core elements that resonate with your audience. By clearly defining your customer’s problem and positioning your brand as the solution, you can communicate your value proposition more effectively.
  2. Consistency: With a BrandScript, you can ensure consistency in your brand’s messaging across various marketing channels. This consistency strengthens your brand identity and fosters trust and recognition among your audience.
  3. Engagement: The StoryBrand BrandScript is designed to captivate and engage your audience by leveraging the power of storytelling. By structuring your message in a narrative format, you can create an emotional connection that resonates deeply with your customers.
  4. Conversion: Ultimately, the goal of any marketing effort is to convert leads into customers. The BrandScript helps optimize your messaging to drive conversions by compelling your audience to take action and make a purchase.


IOTR Outdoor Web Design

IOTR StoryBranded Website


Crafting a compelling brand message is a critical component of successful outdoor, hunting or firearms marketing. The StoryBrand BrandScript provides a powerful framework that allows businesses to create engaging narratives, connect with their target audience, and drive meaningful results. By defining your customer’s problem, positioning your brand as the guide, and outlining a clear plan of action, the BrandScript empowers your business to tell a story that captivates, converts, and inspires loyalty. Embrace the power of storytelling and leverage the StoryBrand BrandScript to take your brand messaging to new heights.

Outdoor Instagram Marketing

How To Create a Instagram Social Media Strategy For Your Outdoor Brand

By Social Media, Outdoor Industry Marketing

Instagram is a powerful tool for outdoor, hunting, and shooting sports businesses of all sizes. It can be used to build brand awareness, connect with customers, and drive traffic to your website. If you are a business owner our outdoor industry marketing manager who sells products or services that can be enjoyed outdoors, it is especially important to have a social media strategy in 2022.

In this article, you will learn the necessary components of a Instagram social media strategy for outdoor brands and get some tips to get started.


As with any marketing strategy, you should always start with a goal. Setting a goal gives you strategic direction and outlines where you are going and provides a context in how to get there. Without a goal, you are simply posting content for the sake of posting. So, what do you want to achieve with Instagram? Do you want to increase brand awareness? Drive traffic to your website? Sell more products? Once you have answered this question, you can start to develop your strategy.

Sample Goal: We will accomplish a 20% increase in Instagram followers by Q3 because we want to build brand awareness of our new broadhead.

Target Audience

Who is your target audience or buyer persona? This is an important question to answer as it will dictate the type of content you share, the tone of your posts, and the social media platforms you use. For example, if you are targeting young adults who are active and enjoy spending time outdoors, hunting or fishing, you will want to focus on platforms like Instagram. However, if your target audience is politicos fighting for 2A and conservation rights, you will want to be active on platforms like Twitter or TruthSocial. 

Additional Reading: 5 Ways Social Media Works For Your Hunting Company

Now that you have a basic understanding of what you need to get started, you have to develop 7 talking points based around the art of storytelling. Creating this framework or communication playbook will provide you the guidance you need to ensure each social media post is on brand, on message, and adds value to your audience. The most important aspect of this approach is you know what to say and what order to say it in.

The following should be included in your Instagram strategy:

  • Name your campaign: product launch, hunting season, holiday season, ATA Show, etc.
  • A content calendar
  • Key messaging
  • A process for creating and curating content
  • Posting frequency
controlling idea

Photo credit: Spectre Broadheads

1. Controlling Idea

First, start by creating a controlling idea. A controlling idea is the “why” or the point of why you are posting. Every Instagram campaign should have a controlling idea. This ensures that all your posts in your campaign has a purpose and is not just random content.

In the following, we’re going to use an archery broadhead product called Buck-O’ as an example. Your posts might revolve around the following controlling ideas:

  • Buck-O is different than other broadheads because it flys farther and straighter
  • Buck-O performs in extreme conditions
  • Buck-O is hand made from 0.36 stainless steel blades

2. Story Question

The story question is the question you must posit in your customer’s mind: Will this product help me harvest more bucks? Will my broadhead fail when I have that once-in-a-lifetime shot? The story question outlines the problem and the what-ifs.

The human brain is a problem-solving device. When you give it a problem it’s interested in, it will work on that problem until it solves it. This is called the reticular activating system, and you can use this to your advantage on social media by agitating the problem your customer is having.

For example:

  1. Tired of your broadhead failing?
  2. Does your broadhead leave a big enough blood trail?
  3. Did your broadhead not perform as advertised?

3. Agitate the Problem

Next, create a statement that agitates the problem further. The key here is to take the problem your broadhead solves and make the situation worse. Taking what we created above, add the agitation:

  1. Tired of your broadhead failing? That buck get away again?
  2. Does your broadhead leave a big enough blood trail? Great shot, but now you can’t find where your trophy shot went.
  3. Did your broadhead not perform as advertised? Your family is not going to be happy. 

See how we stated a problem our customer is having and then agitated it a little more? This is what you need to do in your social media posts.

The next step is to come up with what’s at stake.

4. The Stakes

If there are no stakes in a story, then it’s not a story. The stakes are what make the story interesting and worth telling.

Once again, let’s add to the above…

  1. Tired of your broadhead failing? Did that buck get away again? The season ends next weekend.
  2. Does your broadhead leave a big enough blood trail? It looked like a great shot, but now you can’t find where trophy shot went. That freezer is going to be bare this winter.
  3. Did your broadhead not perform as advertised? Your family is not going to be happy. You don’t want to tell them you had another mechanical broadhead malfunction.

In the next section, you get to save the day by coming in and helping your customer save the day.

Photo credit: WASP Archery

5. The Guide

The guide is you. Your customer is the hero. Your brand is not the hero in your story, your customer is. So many brands in the industry want to play the hero. So now that you’ve stated a common problem, agitated it, and described the stakes you now get to step in like Yoda (or Morpheus) and save the day. For more on the what it means to play the guide, read this post. 

  1. Tired of your broadhead failing? Did that buck get away again? The season ends next weekend. Luckily Buck-O broadheads have a 100% open rate and will never fail you.
  2. Does your broadhead leave a big enough blood trail? It looked like a great shot, but now you can’t find where trophy shot went. That freezer is going to be bare this winter. We understand what it’s like to make a great shot only to see your trophy run away, thats why Buck-O broadheads are consistent, durable and reliable.
  3. Did your broadhead not perform as advertised? Your family is not going to be happy. You don’t want to tell them you had another mechanical broadhead malfunction. We had enough of the silent treatment when coming home empty-handed and decided to do something about it and created Buck-O broadheads.
Outdoor Communication Framework

Create a sheet like this to outline your talking points.

6. The Plan and Call to Action

Every guide has to give the hero a plan to win the day and call them action. Next add your plan on how to solve their problem and what to do next. Give them the stepping stones to cross the creek and a clear yes or no decision.

  1. Tired of your broadhead failing? Did that buck get away again? The season ends next weekend. Luckily Buck-O broadheads have a 100% open rate and will never fail you. To keep bucks from getting away, go to our website and buy one today.
  2. Does your broadhead leave a big enough blood trail? It looked like a great shot, but now you can’t find where trophy shot went. That freezer is going to be bare this winter. We understand what it’s like to make a great shot only to see your trophy run away, that’s why Buck-O’ broadheads are consistent, durable, and reliable. Shop our website or see your local dealer.
  3. Did your broadhead not perform as advertised? Your family is not going to be happy. You don’t want to tell them you had another mechanical broadhead malfunction. We had enough of the silent treatment when coming home empty-handed and decided to do something about it and created Buck-O’ broadheads. Our broadheads are field tested and proven. Go to our website, shop our broadheads and have it delivered to your door in 3 days!

Lastly, we want to end our posts by foreshadowing the climatic scene.

7. Foreshadow the Climactic Scene

Now add the last piece of your post by foreshadowing the climatic scene. This is typically the outcome or the do-or-die moment in your short story that satisfies the brain’s desire to solve the problem.

  1. Tired of your broadhead failing? Did that buck get away again? The season ends next weekend. Luckily Buck-O broadheads have a 100% open rate and will never fail you. To keep bucks from getting away, go to our website, choose your broadhead. Never lose a shot again. #hunting #archery #whitetaildeer
  2. Does your broadhead leave a big enough blood trail? It looked like a great shot, but now you can’t find where your trophy shot went. That freezer is going to be bare this winter. We understand what it’s like to make a great shot only to see your trophy run away, that’s why Buck-O’ broadheads are consistent, durable, and reliable. Shop our website or see your local dealer and make bigger blood trails. #hunting #deerseason #whitetaildeer #archeryhunting
  3. Did your broadhead not perform as advertised? Your family is not going to be happy. You don’t want to tell them you had another mechanical broadhead malfunction. We had enough of the silent treatment when coming home empty-handed and decided to do something about it and created Buck-O’ broadheads. Our broadheads are field tested and proven. Go to our website, shop our broadheads and have it delivered to your door in 3 days! Join the Buck-O’ brotherhood and make your family happy. #hunting #archerylife #deer

A quick word on #hashtags

Hashtags are used so others can find you. Here are three rules of thumb. You can use up to 11 hashtags, don’t use the same hashtags over and over again and you can bury them if you don’t want them to be seen by adding spaces or placing them in the comments. Instagram does ban some hashtags but they don’t make the list public. For guns and other hunting hashtags experiment with your hashtags to see which ones get the most engagement (views, likes and shares). This will help you understand if you’re being throttled. If you post a bloody picture, you most likely won’t see it show up in the feed or it may get blocked or flagged.

Instagram Post Example8. Add a professional photo or video

Now that you have a basic framework on how to write engaging posts that get results, you need to identify and reach out to a photographer/videographer who can bring your posts to life. Content is king. Professional imagery and video will provide your followers with engaging, memorable content that will make them want to follow you and purchase your products.

Right now, Instagram seems to favor reels (short videos). Try experimenting with short videos and track your results in the form of views, likes, shares, website traffic, email signups and sales.

9. Bring it all together by combining Instagram with email

Due to the unfair and illegal censorship of our industry, you must drive your followers to sign up for your emails to stay informed. A lot of times they won’t see your posts, especially on Facebook. You can also use other platforms like GoWild, TruthSocial, or MeWe to reach a wider audience. You can also sign up influencers to help expand and create content for your brand.

So in conclusion, an effective social media strategy for an outdoor, hunting to shooting sports brand should include:

  • A goal
  • Target audience
  • A short, attention-grabbing intro/headline
  • Compelling copy that tells a story and/or solves a problem
  • Professional imagery or video
  • A call to action telling the audience what you want them to do next
  • Hashtags
  • Double down with email
  • Expand with influencer marketing

Now that you have the framework, go out and create content that will engage your audience and convert them into customers. If you got questions, give us a call or signup for an online course in communication to get started.

Outdoor Email Marketing

Three Ways to Catch More Subscribers with Outdoor Email Marketing

By Email Marketing, Outdoor Industry Marketing

Article first appeared in GuideFitter Journal Summer 2021

Most outdoor businesses struggle to find cost-effective ways to harness their outdoor industry marketing website traffic and generate qualified contacts/subscribers. Many will spend hours creating newsletters only to have no one open them or read them. This work results in wasted time and money and ultimately giving up on making email marketing work.

But what if there were a better way? What if people looked forward to your emails and were compelled to open them?

According to HubSpot, a marketing software company, email generates $38 for every $1 spent, which is an astounding 3800% return on investment, making it one of the most effective marketing options available. Furthermore, over 59% of marketers say email is their most significant source of ROI. So how can you take advantage of this highly effective strategy to grow your business?

This article will introduce you to a simple strategy based on a hypothetical guide service (but can be used for product companies too) we’ve implemented numerous times with clients in the outdoor industry that will help you build brand awareness, generate and nurture leads 24/7/365 and add revenue to your bottom line.

Step 1 – Create a Clear Message based on a Story 
Any effective email marketing program should be based on a story-based framework. Psychologists have proven that story is hardwired into our brains. It’s the reason why movies can hold our attention for hours, and campfire hunting stories never get old.

Below is a framework based on a process called StoryBrand™. This framework show you how to write story into your marketing by answering the seven questions your customers are asking in a story-based order. By answering the below questions, you will have all the words you need to write and create an effective automated email program. I’ve also included example responses.

  1. What does your customer want?
    They want the fishing trip of a lifetime. 
  2. What problem does your product or service solve?
    Our guided trips give you memories that last forever.
  3. Have you positioned your service as the solution to their problem?  We understand what it’s like to want to fish the most exciting locations in North America, which is why we specialize in dream fishing trips.
  4. How do they do business with you? Or, in other words, how do they go about booking a trip with you?
    To book your dream fishing trip, pick your date, complete our questionnaire and submit deposit. 
  5. What is the call to action?
    Book Now!
  6. What does a successful fishing trip look like?
    Smiling faces of past clients with monster trout.
  7. What does it look like if they don’t choose your service?
    We make you feel at home and won’t leave you going home empty-handed.

By taking the time to answer the above questions, your business will have a more straightforward message and copy blocks to create the emails outlined below.

For more information on how to clarify your message and write your business’ story, check out this article.

Step 2 – No One Wants Your Newsletter
Once you have your story questions answered, you now need to create a way to collect email addresses. It may come as a shock to you, but prospective customers don’t want to read your newsletter. They want to know more about how you’re going to solve their problem, deliver a world-class experience, and create a lifetime of memories.

Two types of buyers show up on your website: direct and transitional.

  • Direct buyers are people who know of you, heard about you, or got referred to you and are ready to book.
  • However, transitional buyers need more information and time to understand what you offer. For this reason, we suggest creating a lead generator. A lead generator is a piece of content (ebook, video series, checklist, or guide) that warms your prospect up to the idea of doing business with you. They should find your lead generator valuable enough to give you their email address. For example, you may create an ebook that showcases the area your fishing in more detail—complete with specifications, maps, fantastic photography, and success stories. Or you may design a “What to Bring to on your Fishing Trip” checklist that gives your prospect a better idea of what to expect that smooths out any fears, concerns, or questions they may have. The idea here is to get them to say, “tell me more.” Put yourself in your prospective client’s shoes and give them something they will find both valuable and memorable.

Step 3 – Write Your Automated Email Sequence the Right Way
Once you’ve had your web developer add a form to your website for prospects to download your lead generator, you now want to keep the interest and momentum going by staying top of mind in their inbox.

The human brain needs to see your brand message 7-8 times before it can be internalized, noticed, and taken action on. Also called the Rule of 7. We live in a high-distraction world, and it’s easy for people to forget why they visited your website, so it’s your job to remind them.

At this point, you’ll want to pull out the answers to your story questions and begin using them to create your copy. Each email should be sent 2-3 days apart at 7 AM to your prospects’ time zone.


Outdoor Marketing Sales Funnel

The email should also include:

  • Your logo
  • Links to your social media accounts
  • Contact information
  • One button at the bottom that calls the prospect to Book Now/Buy Now
  1. Welcome Email – The welcome email is just what it sounds like. It’s your chance to thank them for downloading the lead generator and introduce them to your product or service by stating the problem you solve. You may want to welcome them to your family or give them a discount on any future bookings or sales.
  2. Add Value #1 The second email should offer helpful information. Resist the urge to sell—try to help. For example, you may want to talk about making the most of their guide trip or offering best practices when traveling with equipment.
  3. Add Value #2 – The third email should, again, add value. This time you may want to offer recipes or tips on how to stay warm and dry at altitude in October. Once again, the idea is to warm your prospect up to the idea of doing business with you.
  4. Overcome an Objection – At this point, you should see an average open rate of 50% and click-through rates around 20%. These are good indicators that your prospect is still interested in your service. This email should begin to address any friction points they may be having. Friction points consist of price, the location of your lodge, fitness level, or transportation obstacles. Address those objections and offer solutions with transparency.
  5. Problem and Solution – In this email, list the problems your guide service solves. People book guided trips for all kinds of reasons. Perhaps they’ve always dreamed of fishing the Miracle Mile in Wyoming. Maybe they are taking their son or daughter for their first fishing trip. Or they are looking to create some lifelong memories with their friends. Address these problems and what the customer wants—and tell them how you solved them with past clients.
  6. Deliver a Paradigm Shift – A paradigm shift means your prospective customer thought one way about your guide service but now thinks differently. For example, they may have considered all guide services are the same—when in fact your guide service offers much more. If your service or product is different, explain why that is.
  7. Customer Testimonial/Success Story – Next is the email that tells what your customer’s life looked like before they booked a trip with you and how their life has changed after their trip. Ask for your clients to provide their stories and highlight them in this email.
  8. Close with a Sales Letter – Finally, if they haven’t booked with you but are still opening your emails – offer a time-sensitive incentive like 10% off if you book with us by the end of the month. Ask for the sale with a clear call to action: Book Now! If they open the email, reach out personally to close the sale.

The above sequence gives you almost a month of automated emails. It can be used as a baseline strategy to help you create your email automation program. Once you get these emails set up in your email program, begin testing subject headlines and content to see if you can improve open rates, click-through rates, and bookings.

Your lead generator can also double as an advertisement on social media or other platforms. Use it at trade shows and local events to generate leads.

In conclusion, the above gives you a simple strategy for creating an effective lead generation and automated email workflow. Start by clarifying your message through story-based elements. Create a valuable lead generator in the form of an ebook, checklist, video series, or guide that your prospects will exchange their email address for. Then create a series of eight emails that nurture your prospective leads that keep your guide service top of mind, which incentivizes them to book. Don’t worry about doing it perfectly right away. Like anything, it takes time to get it right. Just by having this strategy in place, you’ll begin to see results that grows your business.



Photography Influences Outdoor Lifestyle

How Photography Influences Outdoor Lifestyle

By Outdoor Industry Marketing

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably struggled with or maybe even have gotten into an all-out inner-conflict over the cost of photos you should purchase for your website or upcoming outdoor industry marketing campaign.

Should you go cheap and pick some “canned” image from iStock that costs only $10—or go big with the $500 shot from Offset. Or go even bigger and hire a professional outdoor lifestyle photographer for $7-$10K? 

Photography, like good design and copywriting, should be viewed as an investment, not a budgetary line item. According to NewsCred:

  • Articles that contain images get 94% more views than articles without.
  • 40% of people will respond better to visual information than plain text.
  • 93% of people say that visual imagery is the # 1-factor impacting purchasing decision.

In the fight to stand out in today’s crowded firearm, hunting, and outdoor marketplace, professional photography is just another way to differentiate and win more business by looking better and more credible than your competitors.

Good photography is essential to creating credibility, telling your brand’s story, creating a favorable impression, and engaging your customers.

Here is five ways quality photography influences buyer behavior in the outdoor industry.



Photo Credit: Fluid Peak Productions for Brenton USA


1. Creates a favorable first impression that engages your visitors

Humans are visual creatures. We like shiny and beautiful objects. Most of us process information based on what we see. 65 percent of us are visual learners, according to the Social Science Research Network. (Source: Forbes)

When was the last time you were driving and stopped to take in a gorgeous sunset over snow-capped mountains? If you live in the mountain States, this may be an everyday occurrence. The same goes with engaging photography. Stunning photos can stop you in your tracks and make you take notice. It creates a connection—stirs your soul, ignites your senses and gives you a feeling of peace, excitement or maybe even awe and gratitude.

Marketers should not discount the fact that professional photography can be that extra element that creates that emotional connection between your brand and your buyer.

Good photography can also have positive effects on your website metrics by reducing bounce rates, keeping visitors on your website longer and increasing repeat visitors.

2. Makes your brand trustworthy

Trust is a diminishing factor for most brands today. Increasingly, consumers are making decisions well before the actual moment of in-store or online purchase. In fact, 88% of consumers research before they buy, consulting an average of 10.4 sources. (Source: Google, Zero Moment of Truth)

A CEB study of more than 1,400 B2B customers across all industries revealed that 57% of a typical purchase decision is made before a customer even talks to a supplier. 

When every click and search counts, creating a viable and memorable impression through the use of good photography is crucial for influencing the customer purchase decision and building your brand and connecting with your customer’s outdoor or shooting lifestyle.


Shooting Photography

Photo Credit: Straight 8 Photography for F4 Defense


3. Creates style

Good photography sets a mood and creates a style of your brand. By utilizing people who resemble, look and act like your buyer personas, you can create a stronger connection with your customer.

So what makes a good photo? There are 5 rules of a composition according to Nikon that make a photo more interesting and engaging:

  1. Use the rule of thirds
  2. Watch horizontal and vertical lines
  3. Have subjects looking off frame
  4. Follow leading lines
  5. Look for patterns and textures

Look for these elements when making a photo choice.

4. Imagery helps you communicate a story in thousand words in seven seconds

You can communicate more with imagery in seven seconds than in 1000 words. So when you put cheap looking “canned stock” on your site that isn’t interesting—thinking no one will notice—think again. A photo can potentially communicate all you want to say about your brand and how it will help your customer—in seconds. By choosing bad photos, it can also communicate things you don’t want to communicate—like cheap, unproven, unprofessional, etc. This ends up doing more harm than good. Good photography helps you communicate your solution quickly and more effectively. (Source: Assoc. for Psychological Science)

5. Look better than your competitors

Perception is reality—if you want to be the best, you have to look like it. By investing in good photography for your marketing programs and by taking professional product photos, you enhance the customer experience and push your brand head-and-shoulders above your competitors. When your competitors are cutting corners and using cheap photos, invest in quality imagery to stand out—it will pay dividends later. You certainly do not want to have the same cheap photos that your competitors are using either. It would be a tremendous embarrassment to show up at SHOT Show or Outdoor Retailer with the same booth photos as your competition—this has happened before.

Looking for quality stock photo agencies or photographers? Here is a list of our favorites:

For websites who’ve been awarded the “best use of photography” checkout the Webby Awards.

In conclusion, when quality copy, dynamic design, and good photography work together, your brand image is more credible, engaging, creates a favorable first impression and aligns and appeals to your customer’s outdoor lifestyle. We highly recommend a sizeable photography budget when advising clients on their outdoor, hunting and shooting marketing endeavors.