Wednesday, June 14, 2017

What’s new in deer hunting gear and gadgets?



The fall hunting season is still months away, yet what better way to pass the time than to check out a batch of great new products that promise to make your season more fun and successful? Here’s a batch of great gear and gadgets that will capture your imagination like the proverbial deer in the headlights:



BOG GEAR

BOG Gear introduces its new Wide Body Shooting Rest for use with all BOG-POD shooting sticks. The Wide Body provides extra stability at any distance for virtually any shooter due to its unique 4-inch-wide rubber-covered top. Like all quick-change accessories available for BOG-POD shooting sticks, it quickly “pops” directly onto the head of any BOG-POD shooting stick and swivels 360 degrees. It’s lightweight and compact and carries a limited lifetime warranty.

BRITE-STRIKE

Brite-Strike introduces the fourth generation APALS (All Purpose Adhesive Light Strips) for hunters and outdoor enthusiasts. The green light spots have been a huge hit with hunters to mark the way to a tree stand in the dark, because the green color is not detected by game animals. They feature an Easy Pull Tab (easy to peel off when wearing gloves) and are much brighter than the previous versions with a run time of more than 80 hours. The tiny glow can be seen up to half a mile away and operates in steady-on, slow strobe, and fast strobe. Ten-pack MSRP $39

CHAMPION TARGET

The Pivot Traverse Bi-Pod allows a hunter to stay on moving game, switching between animals, or at the range, engage multiple targets with a smooth rotation or a steady hold. Its innovative traversing technology enables a shooter to horizontally track back and forth, which expands the field of fire and produces increased shooting options — all without having to reposition the rifle. The rapid-adjust lever lock lets shooters go from a fluid swiveling motion to rock-steady lock-down in seconds. The bipod easily attaches to sling swivel studs, has spring-return telescoping tubular legs and features a durable, all-metal construction. MSRP $72;
GROHMANN KNIVES



Like a step back in time, the DH Russell Belt Knife is an original-design hunting knife, created after trial and testing with hunters and trappers in the Far North back in the 1950s. It features a comfortable grip for game dressing, a unique elliptical blade to lessen cutting drag, and palm and finger fitting offset handle for a safer grip. You can select from various steel, grind and handle options. Grohmann Knives are known for high quality materials, along with unique designs and talented craftspeople. MSRP: $96

HAVALON KNIVES

The Piranta-Bolt features a blaze orange ABS handle, black rubber grip insert, open back for easy cleaning, ambidextrous thumb studs, liner lock and removable pocket clip. The 20-percent-thicker blades deliver 30 percent more strength, which should be a big help to knife users who tend to break blades. The Piranta line features long handles and strong blades that weight just 1.6 ounces, and comes with a nylon holster. Havalon’s replaceable blades eliminate the need to carry heavy skinning knives, sharpeners and whetstones into the field. MSRP $49; 

LANSKY

The BowSharp Blade Sharpener is a multifunctional tool featuring five different essential tools for archers combined in one portable package. The Tungsten Carbide sharpening element plays double duty and is specifically designed to sharpen knives and broadheads. By extending the sharpening element to the outside of the handle you can sharpen broadheads safely, and with greater accuracy. Unique is the collapsible tool kit integrated into the handle and features a full set of eight Allen wrenches ranging from 5/64 to 7/32 as well as both a flat head and Philips head screwdriver. The body of the sharpener features a rubberized grip to make it safe and easy to use in wet or dry conditions. MSRP $16;Moultrie 

All in One Deer Feeder Timer Kit


erfect for the hunter who wants more feed control, without the fuss. This out-of-the-box kit has nearly everything you need to get started, no assembly required. We’ve even included batteries! Or choose to power your feeder with a solar panel (sold separately). The MOULTRIE ALL IN ONE TIMER KIT easily attaches to any bucket size and allows up to 4 programmed feed times per day. New efficiencies in battery design now offer double the run time, providing up to 4 months’ field life!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Hashtags: Dos and don'ts for your small business



When using social media to boost the reach of your small business, there are tools of the trade to master. For Twitter and Facebook posts, an important technique involves the use of hashtags, or keywords accompanied by the now-ubiquitous pound sign (#). Understanding the role these tags play in a post will give your marketing efforts a boost. Here are a few dos and don'ts to remember:


Do:

Choose tags carefully. Deciding on the proper tags to add to your Twitter and Facebook posts should involve research. If you decide inventing a hashtag is the right move for your subject matter, use a keyword or phrase that has the potential to catch fire with social media users (you can explore keywords trending on Google and Twitter to see what might work). In most cases, you will be joining in on other conversations and using existing hashtags. Whenever you chime in on Twitter, realize everything else posted on that thread will appear on the same page as your tweet.

Keep a cap of two tags per post. According to Twitter, adding more than two tags to a given post is the wrong approach. Considering the limited amount of space you have for content (140 characters with everything included), there is hardly enough room anyway. More than two tags will make your tweets seem like spam, and they could be ignored by followers and users who come across them during searches. Choose the most relevant two tags, or just stick with one that comes closest to your brand message.

Be simple, yet specific. Say you are marketing designer handbags and see a gorgeous vintage bag from a famous designer. You might decide posting a photo of the bag would attract attention (and you would be right in most cases). Tweeting with the tag of #handbag would not help you find your audience. Something along the lines of #vintagediorbags would find more people on the network. Keeping it brief is equally important. Longer tags, such as #gorgeousvintagediorhandbag, are less attractive to users and less likely to be sought out in the course of a visit. Use this same approach—specific, yet concise—for keywords in company blog posts.


Don't:

Overthink hashtags. Getting too cute with a tag can work against the reach of your tweets. As with overly long tags, choosing keywords with abbreviations or clever misspellings will end up finding fewer social media users. Before you try to market durable socks as #soxuware4evr or something just as obscure, realize it is unlikely anyone will understand your message, let alone search for it. In place of cleverness or excessive use of Internet slang, use proper spellings and accurate descriptions.

Join a conversation without adding value. It can be tricky for a business to jump into a conversation on Twitter or Facebook and try to market to the established audience. People will see right through an overt pitch, so tread lightly if you want to join in a trending topic using an existing hashtag. Only chime in when you have something interesting to say that will add value to the discussion. If you cannot find a way to strike the balance, approach the subject from another angle.

Expect the best results for free. Twitter and Facebook both limit the amount of organic reach marketers can enjoy. For that reason, the full impact of a marketing campaign is typically only possible when you pay for promotion on these sites. Even with a solid strategy for hashtags, your posts are not going to reach the masses without paying for them to be amplified beyond your followers. As with any other marketing investment, weigh the costs against the benefits your company might enjoy with social media marketing.

Friday, February 24, 2017

The dos and don'ts of Instagram for your small business



While you are searching for the right social media strategy for your small business, you will undoubtedly consider Facebook and Twitter—the world's most popular networks. But did you know there is a social network that can give you better organic (i.e., free) reach than Facebook and more eyeballs than Twitter? It is Instagram, now running with more than 300 million active monthly users. Here are the dos and don'ts of using this powerful tool for your small business.

 Dos:

Post beautiful pictures. If you are not planning to take the time to post beautiful pictures, then there is no reason to explore this form of social media marketing. As the primary photo outlet for Facebook users, Instagram is picture first, all else second. There is so much competition from professional photographers and social media experts that this "do" is challenging; however, the reward for your effort will be more followers—and more business.

Provide value in every post. Why would someone follow your profile or engage with your posts? Unless you are offering useful information, posting gorgeous pictures, or otherwise creating value for your audience, there is no point submitting something to a social media site. Take the time to edit photos and deliver interesting copy. By fascinating and intriguing your followers, you encourage engagement, which is more useful than racking up likes and fans.

Be smart about hashtags. Hashtags, like the article tags on any blog post or Tweet, become less powerful in search engines when you use too many. When adding hashtags on Instagram or Twitter, cap the number at two: One general hashtag and one highly specific hashtag should get you the right mix of exposure. Say you are posting pictures of a dog wearing your company's new sweater. The hashtag #cutestpets would bring in general followers and potential customers, while a second hashtag including your brand name would ensure customers looking for your products will find you.

Engage throughout the network. People who follow your account and comment on your posts may become your business's most valuable allies online. Be sure to engage these users so they know their contributions are valued. Meanwhile, be active throughout the rest of the network. The point is being social. Just as you would not go to a networking event to stand by yourself, you should not stay quiet on a social media platform.

Don'ts:

Don't rush your posts. A social media post lasts forever, even when you delete it. Avoid rushing posts to your Instagram account to maintain a high level of quality throughout. Typos, poorly edited pictures, and otherwise dull content will not win you any new fans. Take time to get it right before sending out a post for public consumption.

Don't post too often. Even the best social media users cannot create a winner every time they post. To avoid annoying followers and appearing to post for posting's sake, keep your volume low. Furthermore, site administrators might flag accounts that post too frequently, perceiving the activity to be spam.

Don't be timid. While you always want to stay civil, do not be shy about telling the truth as you see it. Instagram users survey an endless feed of pictures and comments throughout the day. Generic photos and commentary are unlikely to draw any interest in this crowded field. Stay within your comfort zone, but let your company's personality shine through.

Don't forget to differentiate your brand. Social media marketing can feel overwhelming at first. Consider your company's unique selling point—the difference between you and the competition—in every post you make. Your goal is to leave visitors to the site with more favorable impressions of your brand than when they started. Deliver something that sets you apart with every post.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

How Can Rebranding Lead to Sales Growth?



In today’s world, small business owners are often justifiably concerned about the ROI of every single business activity. Marketing experts have long espoused the benefits of having a strong brand. However, recently marketers have been called upon to justify their activities, including their brand-building efforts. Ultimately, small business owners need to know: What return can I get from a branding or rebranding campaign?

First, let’s examine what rebranding is not. There are elements of rebranding that will, as standalone activities, likely have little or no effect on your sales growth.

The good news is that, when executed properly, a rebranding campaign can lead to increased sales.

Rebranding is not simply a logo change.

Rebranding is not just a name change. (As a matter of fact, name changes can sometimes have a negative impact on sales, depending on the strength of your existing brand, as customers familiar with your old name may have trouble finding you online under your new moniker.)

Rebranding is not just creating a new tagline.

So when does rebranding drive sales?


When more relevant messaging is delivered to the target audience.


Your goal should be to increase awareness of your company, products and services among within your target market. Of course, this may require extensive research on your part in order to know and understand exactly who your potential customers are. It also requires crafting a message that will make your product or service preferred over the competition.


When your media budget increases to support a rebranding campaign.


Often, rebranding will only be effective as part of a larger marketing plan that includes other components, such as advertising, trade show attendance, a greater social media presence, and increased media spend. However, be careful not to attribute an increase in sales to rebranding alone without considering how the other components may have impacted results.


When quality SEO is implemented to counter a decline in website traffic.


Google still owns the online search market and many online websites are still recovering from the Google Penguin updates. With these updates to their search algorithm, Google has sought to combat SEO practices that artificially increase page rankings. In response, many websites have countered by undertaking a “rebranding” in an effort to maintain or increase traffic. These efforts, accompanied by quality search engine optimization (and often a brand new website and URL), has been successful for many.

The good news is that, when executed properly, a rebranding campaign can lead to increased sales. However, it’s important to have a clear strategy (i.e., targeted messaging) and sound measurement tools in place if you hope to successfully rebrand.