How to Use Your Next Booking to Make A LOT of New Bookings

Leverage: [lev-er-ij] (noun) the use of a small initial investment, credit, or borrowed funds to gain a very high return in relation to one’s investment (source http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/leverage)

Would you like to use ONE successful fishing trip or hunting trip as a means of winning a LOT more customers?  Read on to see how you can use leverage to your marketing advantage.

Take LOTS of Pictures

When people are trying to determine if they want to use your services, they want to get a feel for everything.  People are interested in the lodge, the food, the equipment and of course the property.  If you are a fishing guide then you should have lots of pics of your boat, tackle and the waters you frequent.  Include some pics of happy people holding a nice catch.

If you are a hunting outfitter, then you will have more targets for your pictures.  You can take pics of the lodge, the hunting ground, the cooler where game is stored, the vehicles used to transport people out to the field and of course the hunting grounds.  Once again, have lots of pics of smiling faces with their recent trophy.

Video Will SELL You to New Prospects

Want to know a little secret about video?  People are sick and tired of advertisements.  BUT, people love to be genuinely informed and want to see success.  So give it to them.  Get a cheap mini camcorder and record as much as you can on your next outing.  Explain what you are doing along the way.  For fishing guides, hold up the tackle, talk about the weather and the season.  Take video of the cast and retrieve, explaining why you are doing certain things at a certain time.  Finally, when the client hooks a fish, film as much as you can.

For hunting guides, do the same thing.  Explain about the animal’s tendencies during the current weather conditions.  Explain why you are setting up in a certain space.  Talk about the techniques being used (calls, rattles, decoys, etc.) and the success you have had in the past with the techniques.  When your client cuts down on a trophy, get it on film.  With one of the small camcorders you can be ready at a moment’s notice to get everything in action.

Putting It All Together

Now that you have some pictures and videos of a successful outing, you can start broadcasting the information in lots of different ways.  Obviously, you can write up a quick summary and put it on your website, including links to the pictures and video.  You can put snippets of the video on YouTube and other video sites in order to gain new leads.  The same can be done with a handful of pics on photo sharing sites.  Take your notes, along with some diagrams and photos, and make a slide show.  Post the slide show to a site like Slide Share.  Notify people via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ about the recent outing.  If you are taking advantage of a text message marketing service, you can send out a short text to past clients and new prospects about the new video and photos.  All of this information, links and media can come from ONE booking.  And it can lead to a BUNCH of new bookings.  IF you leverage it correctly.

P.S.  Looking for a way to stay in touch with past clients?  Have you considered using text message marketing?  It is a great way to keep you in front of your customers and it is SUPER cheap.  You can get started with a FREE month here.

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Fishing Guides and Hunting Guides Can Generate Revenue WITHOUT New Clients

Fishing Guides and Hunting Guides Can Generate Revenue WITHOUT New Clients

The lifeblood of any business is generating income that exceeds expenses.  A retail business has to sell enough products to offset their cost of goods as well as their various expenses.  A service business has to book enough clients in order to pay their expenses and make a profit.  However, with a service it seems the business owner is always trading time for money.  But there are ways that a fishing guide or a hunting outfitter can make money without booking a new client.  Here are just a few examples.

Sell Your Knowledge

One way to turn a profit is by putting your knowledge up for sale.  Consider a fishing guide for an example.  A guide has to know where to look for fish at varying times of the year and what type of strategy to use in order to land quality fish. Scouting bodies of water, paying attention to the season and weather conditions all play a part in finding fish.  If you could put that information down in the form of a series of videos, along with a written transcript, you could likely sell it to some of your past clients. Many of your clients would like to know how to look for fish in their local lakes and rivers and would be glad to pay for that kind of information.

Rent Out Your Space

If you have a large piece of land for your hunting operation you could consider renting out some of the area.  Local archery tournaments or dog field trials would love to use a piece of prime wilderness to conduct their competition.  If you have a large banquet hall or similar type of meeting area then you could contact the local chapter of Ducks Unlimited, Delta Waterfowl, National Wild Turkey Federation or Quail Unlimited and offer your space for an upcoming banquet.  This would open doors to future clients since they could see your facilities and get a firsthand feel for your location.

Use Celebrity Attractions

The great thing about hunters and anglers is their willingness to share information that will help somebody else.  With the explosion in recent years of cable channels based on hunting and fishing there are a lot of new “celebrities” for the outdoor world.  Many of these people would love a chance to come to your facility to promote their show or products.  They might charge a fee, but at the same time most of your past clients and people from the surrounding area would pay for a chance to see some of the folks featured on weekly television.  You could contact the local boat and ATV dealers and ask them to sponsor part of the event along with showcasing some of their new products.  Think of it as miniature hunting and fishing expo held right at your location.

If you are a fishing guide or a hunting outfitter looking for additional ways to make money, consider some of these ideas.  You could find that it is easier and just as profitable when compared to your primary means of making income.

P.S.  Do you have an idea for some knowledge you could sell?  Sign up for our free giveaway and I will write the sales letter for you, free of charge.  This could be a great way to earn some passive income from your years of experience.  Find out the details here.

Attracting new clients for your fishing guide business

Fishing guides are a great bunch of folks.  They have taken their passion for the outdoors and turned it into a way to make a living.  Some guides are also competitive tournament anglers while others are simply really good at locating and landing trophy fish.  However, far too many of these people end up struggling at their chosen profession for one reason; lack of business.  If you want to make a REAL living at being a fishing guide, then you need to focus on one primary goal.

MARKETING

That’s right, I said it, and I ain’t backing down from it.  Here is the reason why more marketing will help you grow your business and provide you with the lifestyle you dream of.

  1. More Exposure – When you put together a comprehensive plan to keep your services in front of more people, you become better known though out your potential market.
  2. Better positioning – If you were facing some kind of surgery, who do you want handling the scalpel?  The guy that just graduated college two weeks ago or the guy that has completed dozens or hundreds of surgeries just like yours?  When people get ready to book a fishing trip they want proof that YOU can help them locate and land the big fish of their dreams.
  3. Stable income – When your marketing pieces are all working like a fine oiled machine, you won’t be in the position of looking for new clients and offering ridiculous discounts just to get some business.  You will have a steady stream of people wanting to use your service and willing to wait on your schedule.

Marketing Plan in a Nutshell

A well laid out marketing plan would look like this:

  • A website that outlines your services, prices, photos and videos from past trips and LOTS of feedback from happy customers
  • Regular supply of information via Twitter and Facebook.  Post up information about how fish are acting during the current season, what to do to prepare for a fishing trip, setting expectations for a guided trip, what type of lures have the highest success rate, etc.
  • Make consistent blog posts to your website.  A couple of times a week are great.
  • Consider offering a newsletter via email.  This can be a simple one or two page document highlighting success from recent customers, biology piece describing certain fish species and expectations for the next 4 weeks.
  • Send out postcards once a quarter.  Great way to stay in touch with past clients and keep you in front of them.

Getting Clients Quickly

One of the cheapest and easiest ways to get some new bookings is to send out a postcard to all of your past clients.  Put together a timely message that puts a sense of urgency on the part of the client.  Don’t fall for the same old “hey, we are a great guide, we appreciate your business in the past, now come spend more money” trap.  YOU must give the client a REASON to call you and TELL them to call you.  If you can manage to do that in a few lines on a postcard then you should see a good return on your marketing investment.

If you like this post, please subscribe to the blog using the button on the sidebar to the right.  We will be putting out a new post soon about ways you can make money WITHOUT booking a client for a fishing trip.

P.S. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @the_red_writer!  Lots of good stuff going on there!

The 5 Common Mistakes Made by Hunting Guides and Fishing Guides

Everybody makes a mistake, and there should not be any shame from making an honest error.  HOWEVER, failing to learn from a mistake is where the real problem lies.  Listed below are the common errors made by fishing and hunting guides in their day-to-day business.  Correct these errors and you are well on your way to improving your profits.

Failing to Keep a List

Most of the people involved in the hunting and fishing business rely too heavily on word of mouth.  That is one reason why so many of these guides find themselves trying to work at another job while also offering their guide services.  One of the best things a guide can do is capture contact information from their clients.  Get their email, home address and phone numbers and store them in one spot.   This makes it a snap to send out an email blast announcing news and more services.  This leads us to the next mistake . . .

Failing to Stay in Touch

Guides are like old high school friends.  Everyone promises to keep in touch and stay connected, but it rarely happens.  If you operate a hunting lodge or a fishing guide service you owe it to yourself to plan out a strategy to stay in touch with past clients.  Send them a postcard about the upcoming season.  Drop them an email to ask if they have any recent trophy pics they want to share.  Send them a letter once a quarter about things they can do to prepare for next season.  Stay in touch so they will get in touch with you for their next outing.

Failing to have a Strong Set of Policies

What will you do if there is a tornado that destroys your lodge?  What if the temperatures go out of whack at your location and leave your clients empty handed?  What if your client ignores your requests and takes the wrong trophy?  You cannot possibly compensate a client for every conceivable catastrophe but you need to be prepared.  Have your policies laid out in writing and ask the client to sign a waiver form covering items out of your control.  The power of a handshake and a verbal agreement is not what it used to be.

Failing to Branch Out

Do you offer only type of service at your lodge?  Maybe you are a quail guide and all you do is offer quail hunts.  There is nothing wrong with having a laser-beam focus on doing one thing and doing it better than the competition. But that does not mean you can’t branch out in other ways.  Have you considered chatting with another guide that offers a different type of service and selling it to your list (see first point above)?  If you are a quail guide, I would imagine you could sell quite a few guided turkey hunts for your turkey expert down the road and he would cut you a commission on each sale.

Failing to Pay Attention to the Small Details

When a hunter or angler comes to you for your services they expect you to take care of everything.  They literally want to show up, put in a little effort and leave with a trophy.   It is important that you pay attention to the little details to make the trip enjoyable.  Clean sheets on the bed, recently cleaned restrooms, clean vehicle for transporting guests and a clean, fresh smell in the lodge are just a few examples.  Keep everything tidy and presentable and you will reap the reward of repeat bookings.

 

Have you fallen victim to any of these mistakes?  If so, what steps are you taking to correct them?  Leave me a comment, or question, below and I will be happy to help you out.

 

 

Finding New Customers is a Lot like Fishing

The average angler or hunter is a person that likely works a full time job doing something other than hunting or fishing.  They look at outdoor guides as an enviable position.  I mean, how could it get any better than to make a living working in the outdoors?  However, most outdoor fans don’t realize that running a hunting lodge or a fishing guide service takes dedicated effort and year round work. When it comes to finding new clients, there are some strong similarities to fishing.

Tried & True Methods

Most anglers, as well as fishing guides, have a handful of techniques or strategies that work well for them.  It could be something as simple as using a Texas rigged worm 90% of the time, or it could be a system of working through a handful of lures until something bites.  Anglers know that past experience says “I have used this lure/technique before to catch fish, it should work again.”   However, sometimes doing the same old thing just does not work

The same can be said for marketing.  The old fashioned method of “give customers great service and they will tell all their friends about you” is a strategy based on hope.  More often than not, outfitters and guides need to be proactive in trying out marketing methods like email, social media, and web leads to go along with their traditional forms of advertising.

Familiar Spots

Anglers are notorious for fishing a “special spot” that they think nobody else has ever found.  They caught a few fish there once, maybe twice, and now they are convinced that fish live there.  However, seasoned tournament anglers will tell you that finding a pattern in a lake, stream or river is a better strategy.  If bass are hitting a blue and black jig around a particular drop-off chances are good they will hit the same lure at a similar type of drop-off elsewhere in the body of water.

When it comes to marketing outfitters need to branch out from their familiar zone.  Video might work great for them once, and then fizzle.  In the meantime, their competition could be using a blog and social media to drive in new leads and find customers.

Stay Current with Gear and Changes in Technology

Anglers love to get new toys.  New rods, reels and lures are just the tip of the iceberg.  There are digital scales, waders, ventilated shoes, hats, gloves, hook removers etc., etc., etc.  They have no problem talking to their fishing buddies to find out if anybody has tried the latest gadget to find out if it is worth its salt.

Marketing changes as technology changes.  The techniques and strategies that were in use 10 or 15 years ago are antiquated relics now.  An outfitter that does not have a strong web presence with significant amounts of updated information will lose to the competition quickly.

 

Try Something Different 

Wonder if THIS will catch me some fish???

Anglers get stuck going after the same old fish.  A trout guy will spend HOURS fishing for the rainbow beauties while ignoring the crappie, bass, carp and steelhead located all around him.  Same can be said for anglers that like the other species.  Anglers need to try their hand at catching a new type of fish and even a new technique.  They could discover some fun that they were neglecting.

Outfitters also need to try some new techniques.  Whether it is a full scale social media blitz or simply getting their toes wet in one place like Facebook or Twitter, they should try out something new.  They may find some new friends and discover a new side to their business that they previously had never considered.

What type of gear checklist do you have?

When the average angler or hunter considers paying for a guided trip they usually think of a few things.  They picture a hands-off approach where the guide will effortlessly lead them to game and the customer simply has to pick out a trophy.  What customers don’t realize is that the guide has spent literally hours scouring the best places to find where the big trophies hang out and how to best approach them.  What customers also don’t realize is that they have a responsibility to be prepared when they arrive.  As the guide you can offer some assistance to make sure your customer is ready to have a good time.

Checklist for New Bookings

One of the easiest ways to help customers is to offer a simple checklist.  Everybody gets excited and can easily forget something in the rush to get out the door and headed to their destination.  Offering a checklist of everything the client will need can set the expectations for the client and make your job easier.  It will also make the trip more enjoyable for the customer.

When you are putting down the items it is a good idea to mentally walk through a typical day and see what you would use for the trip.  Think about your clothes, your bathroom items like deodorant and toothpaste, your prescription medications, and similar items.  Consider recommending that the customer bring some backup items like an extra set of sunglasses or extra pair of shoes.  Accidents happen and nobody wants a trip ruined by a simple everyday occurrence like breaking a pair of sunglasses.

It goes without saying that you should offer an extensive list of the gear that the client needs to bring.  Again, go through a typical day in your mind and consider the types of reels, rods, line, hooks and lures you use in your operation.  Any special tools that are unique and handy for your type of fishing should also be mentioned.

Inspect the Gear

When the client arrives, take 10 minutes to look over their gear.  Make sure the rods are in good shape with no broken or missing eyes.  Check the reel to see if it was recently oiled.  Inspect the line for nicks, abrasions or weak spots.  Taking these few moments to look over all the equipment could spare you and the client heartache on the water when that elusive 10 pounder breaks a line or jumps off the hook because of some issue that could have been resolved back at the lodge.

Remember this one thing.  Even if a client leaves with a wall hanging trophy, it does not mean they will come back to you for another trip.  Make the outing as enjoyable and hassle free as possible so that they tell all their friends “Man, you HAVE to go see these guys!  They really take care of the angler!”