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Marketing on Light Line


Everyone knows that marketing creates opportunity, but the perception is that the costs are prohibitive. Luckily, there are some things you can do to successfully market your company and enhance your current efforts without substantially increasing your investment.

Timing is everything
In Spring of 2001, the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation will make a major media push in cable TV and in print to revive interest in recreational boating and fishing. RBFF Program Manager Kristen Chambers says the campaign, a reaction to the decline in these activities, will try to reclaim those who have drifted away from boating and fishing. Ads have been created to be emotionally compelling, stressing family togetherness. In June, look for more media exposure for the debut of Water Works Wonders Week (known in the past as National Fishing Week). RBFF is offering cooperative advertising and marketing materials to those in the boating and fishing industries. Ms. Chambers says RBFF is looking for high level PR on this event.

Bottom line… with the RBFF campaign leading the way, if there was ever a time to put forth a marketing push, this is it! For more information, contact RBFF: www.Rbff.org, or (703) 519-0013.

Getting help from your uncle
New York Times Best-selling author Matthew Lesko says Uncle Sam provides marketing assistance. Contact your State Economic Development Office for access to free or low cost consultants, legal services, and even press releases. Lesko says you should also be able to get the name and address of all of those who have fishing licenses for free or low cost.

Want to market your product or service overseas? Lesko claims the Government will not only tell you how to do it, they will pay for your trips over seas to do it and will even loan money to customers to buy your products!

To get your products on the shelves of the military base PX's around the world, go to your State Department of Economic Development for direction to Federal Procurement Assistance Offices. Or try the Defense Logistic Agency Office of Small and Disadvantaged Utilization, 703-767-1661 or www.dla.mil.

The Consumer Information Center offers free small business publications, call toll-free 1(888) 8 PUEBLO or visit www.pueblo.gsa.gov.

Lesko says the government has millions of dollars set aside to assist businesses, but to take advantage of it, you must call and cut through the red tape. To find out more, visit www.Lesko.com or call 1-800-UNCLE SAM.

Hustle
Tom Mackin, VP of Marketing with Normark, says reporters are always looking for news-worthy items. Create story ideas and partner with them to provide good information and photography. Instead of paying to advertise, market yourself as an expert, after all, you are! Write articles and send to TV, radio, and print outlets, and post on your website. This approach to marketing will give you more credibility and more comprehensive exposure than paying for advertising.

Don't tune out radio and TV
It costs too much to advertise on TV and radio, or does it? TV, local cable, and radio often run promotions. Get to know the people in the promotions department and trade commercial mentions for your products or services. Once you get the hang of "barter business", in your own back yard, then you can begin to network your success across the country. Trade is very common in TV and radio. Choose your stations wisely, in other words, start with the country music station, rather than the classical music station. Check out www.RadioInfo.com for details on radio stations across the country.

Sponsorships
This is probably the best way to get your product in the hands of those who use it. Establish a program for tournament anglers and guides. Get them to place signage on their vehicles, wear your logos, and mention your products in their business. You can also use them to provide seminars or fishing trips to trade with TV, radio, or other groups in exchange for air time.

Ask and you shall receive
Most print publications will design your ad for you. Ask your media sales rep to show you samples of print ads to assist you in your design. Tell your reps to notify you whenever free color, which under normal circumstances can be cost prohibitive, is available.

Every radio and TV station will provide you with no-charge copywriting. Radio stations produce commercials for free. To air your commercial on another station, take a copy of the script for them to produce.

Try to include the cost of producing your TV commercial as part of the trade or promotional advertising. If producing a full 30-second commercial takes up too much of your trade balance, have a 15-second ad produced instead. They're less expensive to make and run, so you should be able to have the commercial made and still run it with some frequency. Most trade deals like this are negotiated during the first and third quarters of the year when demand on radio and TV inventory, as well as on production time, is down.

Taking the show on the road
For face to face marketing, Joan Carol of the Joan Carol Design and Exhibit Group says if you choose a trade show properly, you can get a big return for your investment. Renting verses buying a display booth can be cost effective. She adds though, that you should make sure your appearance demonstrates you look like you are already where you say you are. The key to success is to follow up on your leads!

Working for free
Colleges and Universities have intern programs for students to receive class credit for hands-on experience instead of a salary from you. You might be pleasantly surprised how effective these students can be. Choose interns based on your needs matching their major to find students who can build your business Web site, put together media plans and place the schedules, write copy, and do market research for you. They can also write and present sales proposals, write press releases, study your competitors, look for opportunities to promote your business in the market, find ways to expand your customer base, and, in general, reduce your daily level of work.

Let's make a deal
Combine your efforts with another company's ad campaign or marketing. Search the web to find complimentary (but not competitive) sites. Contact them and see if they are willing to exchange banner ads.

Generate more e-traffic. Submit your site to search engines. Instead of paying a company for this service, submit your URL yourself for free to individual search engines. Fill out a basic form that you can access by clicking on the "Add URL," "Add Site" or "Suggest a Site" links usually found near the bottom of each search engine’s home page. Check out these home pages to add your site: MetaCrawler, Excite, WebZone, WebCrawler, Hotbot, Google, GO.com, Northern Light, Dogpile, AltaVista, Mamma.com and Lycos.

Everyone is in sales
Timothy F. Bednarz, Ph.D. is the Principal Partner of the American Management Development Group, an organizational development consulting company says every customer contact is a moment of truth for the company. One bad moment of truth and the customer walks. Successful businesses leave nothing to chance. It's easier to keep a customer than to get a new one. Care should be taken in hiring to recognize the marketing savvy employee. While it helps if the individual has some experience, attitude is the key determining factor. An employee should be proactive and willing to take the extra steps to assure that the customer is happy.

Bednarz says it's the little things that make you stand out. Take for example the boyhood story of Wayne Kent. His boss at the local bait-and-tackle shop was having trouble procuring a supply of Creme worms. His boss found that a dozen roses to the right person resulted in an order of the hard-to-come-by worms. Wayne, now the owner of Creme Lures, still finds that lesson useful today in forging and maintaining successful relationships with his distributors and retailers.

The key to marketing is to keep it simple and learn form your mistakes. Use all of your available resources and don't be afraid to "borrow" ideas from others.

 


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