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What Marketing Automation Tool Is Right For Your Firearms Company?

By Firearms and Hunting

Will 2016 be the year you make the move to inbound marketing? Several of the industries top manufacturers like Beretta, Mossberg, Stag Arms and Springfield Armory have engaged in marketing automation with more soon to follow. Companies are 3x as likely to see higher ROI on inbound marketing campaigns than on outbound. Will you be the first in your category? 

I am typically asked about the differences between HubSpot and other marketing automation tools for inbound marketing. If you’re someone evaluating marketing automation software the list of options gets fairly long: Marketo, Pardot, Eloqua, Oracle, NetResults, SAS, SilverPop, LeadFormix and more… Each have different price points, contact and email limits and other factors that affect your budget and the potential success of your inbound campaigns—but who to choose?

As an inbound marketing agency in the hunting, outdoor and firearms industry, we wanted the best solution for our own business and our clients—which is why we chose HubSpot. After being with HubSpot for the past two years, here are seven points for you to consider if you’re evaluating marketing automation for your online marketing efforts. 

firearms-marketing-automation-app1. All in one
We’ve been conducting “disjointed” inbound marketing for many years for businesses in the form of SEO, landing pages, email, blogging, CTAs and content offers. We made the investment in HubSpot in January 2014 to tie all our online marketing efforts together. It allows us to save immense amounts of time and cost to handle all our inbound marketing activities from one online source; instead of needing five different applications for SEO research, email/workflows, forms, analytics and social media management. Another great feature about HubSpot is the iPhone App. Marketers who check their metrics 3x+ times a week are over 20% more likely to achieve positive ROI. This is why the iPhone app is great as it allows us to keep tabs on our client’s campaign activities on the go—allowing our team to access campaign metrics in real-time. 

2. Cutting edge sales/marketing training
What attracted us to HubSpot is their sales and marketing support. There is a steep learning curve to doing inbound marketing, but the support, video training, and weekly consultations have made it easier for us to learn and teach our clients about inbound marketing. As a Certified Hubspot Partner Agency, we receive monthly training on the latest marketing and sales techniques from the marketing industry’s leading experts that help us market our client’s products and services more effectively.

This is a key benefit to our clients. Even though we have degrees in marketing or business and years of experience in marketing—being on the cutting edge and up-to-date on the latest sales and marketing trends is immensely valuable. With the increasing level of complexity in marketing: social, mobile, technology, shifting demographics, etc., I feel HubSpot is at the forefront of providing their customers the best possible training and support to navigate the changing landscape.

3. Voted #1 by marketers
HubSpot coined the word inbound marketing and defined an entirely new category like Coke, Band-Aid and Kleenex. HubSpot can also boast that they are the #1 marketing software voted by marketers.

4. They have our back, we have yours
As a HubSpot agency partner, we have their backing with all our clients’ inbound marketing efforts. Our dedicated account rep and sales manager are there to help us with all our questions, problems and issues. When our clients hire us, they also get HubSpot’s amazing staff, support and inbound marketing expertise.

5. Awesome people
Another reason we went with Hubspot is their people. They really “get it” and are there to help businesses like yours (and mine) succeed in inbound marketing.

inbound marketing6. You get what you pay for
There are obviously other software companies that have lower price points with features similar to HubSpot. But what you don’t get is a sense that other companies are serious about helping their clients. With HubSpot, when you commit with them, they go all in with you—to me as a marketer and business owner—that’s really big. This attitude is uniformly passed down to our clients

7. Inbound and internet marketing is the future
To do internet or inbound marketing requires a shift in thinking to be successful. Companies who have made this shift are reporting amazing results (See the Beretta case study). PPC, radio, print advertising, trade shows, cold calling, etc. come at higher costs now-a-days with fewer returns. According to a recent study done by IBM, 86% of CEO’s are demanding more marketing ROI. Inbound marketing on average costs 62% less per lead than traditional outbound methods—which makes committing to inbound marketing very attractive. 

HubSpot’s methodology, training, people, support and software has given us the ability to prove ROI in greater ways than ever before to our clients. Due to the fact that buying a firearm is a considered buying process, inbound marketing is a perfect methodology for conducting online marketing. Bottom line, HubSpot is an amazing company with an amazing product which is why we chose it over other marketing automation companies.

how to get your hunting product into walmart

How to Get Your Hunting Or Outdoor Product Into Walmart

By Hunting and Outdoor

Recently, a long-term sporting goods client of ours was rewarded placement in Walmart for their revolutionary new product. It won over Walmart because it’s innovative, made of quality materials, packaged correctly, easy-to-use and understand and our client has the support and the inventory to fulfill the required purchase order (10,000+ units).

If you are a hunting or outdoor company that has attempted to get into Walmart, you know it is not easy. Walmart is the holy grail for most sporting goods companies because one purchase order can be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Below are 6 points to keep in mind that will improve your chances of getting your product into Walmart.

1. Create an innovative and quality productHow to get your product into walmart
All great businesses start with a unique offering in the marketplace. In order for any large retailer to do business with you, your product has to be somewhat innovative. It has to solve a problem needed by many. It also must be durable and packaged in a way so that when customers buy it, it doesn’t break, people can’t steal it and it is designed to be seamlessly placed on Walmart’s shelves. Keep this in mind as you design and develop your product and packaging. Make sure that during production you adhere to Wal-Mart’s requirements and build in good cost margins as Walmart will ask for pricing below wholesale.

2. Develop your brand
We are firm believers in the following statement: “Unless you stand for something, you stand for nothing.” We have 10-20 of everything in the marketplace. Unless you develop your brand you risk falling into the cacophony of products that only differentiate on functions and features. A well-developed brand makes your product stand heads and shoulders above the competition because of its unique story and personality.

3. Design great packaging
Package design is key. A great package design can help your product look larger than life on the shelf. A good package design dramatizes and communicates the brand to the customer while demonstrating its use, function and features. It differentiates your brand from your competitors and allows you to stand out.  Our client also adds QR codes on their packaging so the customer can scan using their smart phone to see a live demonstration—which further persuades the customer to buy. This also helps you persuade the Walmart buyer when you get your 30 seconds to pitch your product.

4. Build your inventory
One thing that most hunting and outdoor start-ups overlook is the ability to fulfill large orders. Walmart promises to always give customers the lowest prices on their products and they always ask for large purchase orders…always.  Larger orders are typically classified as 7,000 – 10,000 units or more. If Walmart accepts your application to be a supplier, you will need to fulfill the purchase order under their terms, which could be within 15 days, and you may not get paid for 60-90 days. If you do not have a good inventory and the means to stay afloat for 3 months, this could be a deal breaker. This also relates directly to my next point about business history.

5. Build your business history and a good product case study
A lot of our past hunting and outdoor start-up clients have come to us with one thing in mind: “We want to get into Walmart, Costco, Home Depot, Sports Authority, Dick’s, Lowes, Target, etc.” Most haven’t thought through what it takes to build their business first and are shocked when we tell them the bad news about what it entails—unless the product is truly remarkable and the client has the necessary inventory—but this is rare. We will typically advise you to build a business case study first so that when it comes time to go for it, you are equipped with a track record that says success to the Walmart sporting goods buyer. You will also learn much along the way. A simple website with online store and internet marketing program can help you build your business and obtain valuable experience. This strategy gets the most ROI and allows you to test the validity of the product before making a significant inventory investment. While this is taking place, we advise you to get out there and be willing to take some risks with smaller retailers. This also will provide you with much needed experience to perfect your sales pitch and allow you to test the appeal and validity of your product. Long before Walmart, our client was selling in smaller retail outlets like Sportsman Warehouse, Cabellas, Bass Pro Shops and others. This allowed them to identify and get over the many hurdles that you will face along the way.

6. Perfect your pitch and be persistent
Once you have developed your brand, designed a killer package design, built your inventory, have a deep sales history, product case study and have perfected a winning sales pitch, it’s time to apply. Your presentation should be brief and to the point; it needs to showcase and demonstrate the product’s value, tell the product’s sales history, list customer testimonials and review and project future sales. Once you’re accepted, having other products in your product line with the same standards will allow you to expand in Walmart and potentially get into other retailers. If you get turned down, or you experience fragmented or down right rude communication, don’t give up, it may take a few months or years to finally get that first meeting.

By following the above points, you’ll have a good idea and direction on how to go about getting into a large retailer.