Buck Season 2017 – 8 Point Whitetail Harvest

Buck Season 2017 – 8 Point Whitetail Harvest

While I come from a family of hunters and trappers in the little town of Ligonier in western Pennsylvania, at a young age I never really had an interest in hunting. I think it was more of a patience thing looking back.

This year, with the nice late November weather, I decided to give hunting another try and asked my big brother to take me out hunting.

There were a few reasons why I wanted to do this. First off, I never killed a deer.  While most people would not consider me a bloodthirsty human being, I do eat a lot of meat. Having never killed an animal I have eaten I am kind of reminded of the scene in Game of Thrones where Ned talks about carrying out your own sentencing.

Now that I am older, the experience of hunting is a way for me to kind of reset. Its hard to explain, but during the daily stress of life, work, family, electronics, and all the tasks and information that are bombarding your brain on a daily basis are forgotten as you sit out in the middle of nowhere and participate in the most challenging game of Where’s Waldo that there is.  Your focus is so intense on slowly scanning the woods and listening to every sound that everything else slides off and for a few hours, you are free.

Getting the deer for me was really the smaller part of the experience. I really wanted to go through the process of field dressing, butchering, and exploring the cuisine of venison. I fried some venison tenderloin the next day.  If you have never had venison, are would like to try it, you just have to keep in mind it isn’t beef.  Don’t expect it to taste like beef. Venison has its own flavor.

So now, I think I am hooked on hunting.  In 2018 I am going to take a shot (pun intended :)) at Archery.

Robb Decided to Make Paella

Paella Ingredients

Chicken
  • 2 legs
  • 2 thighs
  • 4 wings
1 tbsp smoked paprika
2 tbsp fresh cut oregano
1/2 tsp  salt 
1 tsp black pepper
2 Tbsp olive oil
Three cloves chopped garlic
1 tsp red pepper flakes 
1 bay leaf
1 chopped red pepper
1/2 chopped onion (large)
8 Oz chorizo
1 orange zest
1/2 lb Shrimp
1 dozen middle neck clams
1 lb Muscles

#robbsmakingpaella

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Mix 2 tbsp olive oil, red pepper flakes and fresh chopped oregano to the chicken pieces and mix those together.  I rinsed the chicken first patted dry before I added them to the mix.  After I mixed, I set aside so they would get to room temperature.  I am going to put these on the grill as everything cooks.

Next, I started getting the rest of the ingredients ready.

#robbsmakingpaella #paella

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#robbsmakingpaella #ingredients #chopped #garlic #redpepperflakes

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#robbsmakingpaella #ingredients #curlyparsley chopped

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#robbsmakingpaella #ingredients #sweetonion #redbellpepper chopped

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I built my fire with 12 logs and let them die down. I had a grill over the main fire and the paella pan over just a few logs to heat one side of the pan.  This would let me have some temperature control.

Are cold calls effective for SMBs?

I was involved in a discussion about cold calls in one of my LinkedIn groups last year. Are cold calls effective for SMBs? It is a very interesting topic and one of the most in depth I have seen in the group. I think it is such a popular topic because it pits the “Old School” ideas vs. the neophyte zealots of the new “Inbound Marketing” school.

Don’t get me wrong, I am all in favor of Inbound Marketing and believe it is or will be the single most effective tool for lead generation for years to come. That being said, I still believe that there are traditional avenues of lead generation that are still relevant- Cold & Warm Calling being among of them.

Let’s start out by establishing some definitions. These are mine, but I think pretty much everyone follows this line of thinking:

Cold Call – When you call someone from a company who is not expecting your call and does not know you from Adam.

Warm Call – A call to someone who has been “Warmed” via another marketing channel such as email.

Inbound Marketing – Putting bait “Useful Content” on a hook and reeling in the fish “Lead Nurturing” and then figure out how to do it more effectively “Analysis”.

Looking at the calls…

Obviously, a warm call would be better than a cold call and really, in today’s day and age, no one should HAVE to make an actual Cold Call. For the purpose of this article, I am going to kind of lump the two together in the sense that they both have a Taboo reputation in the marketing mantra of Inbound.

While I have no scientific backing, I would say that the reason a LOT of cold calls are ineffective is because of the person making the call.

Target, Believe, Evangelize & Follow-up.

Target

In the scheme of things, your target is the most important. If you are going elephant hunting and shoot a prairie dog, you are doing things wrong. If you are selling Refrigerators and are calling Whirlpool, you are doing something wrong. Learn who your target market is and generate a list based on who they are. The more accurate your list, the more leads you will get from it. An accurate list will save you tons of time and reduce your feelings of rejection during the whole cold call experience. For effective marketing in general, there is little that is more valuable than a solid targeted list.

Believe

Believing in what you are selling is more important to a cold caller than anyone else. To make a successful cold call you have to actually WANT to talk to the person on the other end of the phone AND believe you can HELP them and not waste their time. Believing in your product or service is critical. Without it, you will have little success in your calling efforts.

Evangelize

Once you have a target and you believe in your message, you can begin to evangelize. Transfer the believe in your product to your listener. You do this through interacting with your listener and matching your solutions to their problems.

Follow-up

Of course, once you begin to evangelize them, you need to follow-up. You won’t usually make a true believer on the first call or the first touch. Add them to your list so you can touch them through other marketing channels. This is a great time to also add them to your inbound lead nurturing strategy!

Conclusion, Are Cold Calls Effective?

Cold Calling is a tactic companies can use to get sales, nurture leads and build a successful list. It can be effective when done properly and is ideally suited to augment inbound marketing.

Special thanks to the folks who contributed to this topic, specifically:

Sudden Honey Bee Swarm

Sudden Honey Bee Swarm

Just a day in the life of a Luther.

I was helping my brother by taking some video of a few of Queen honey bee cells (He is breeding queens) when I noticed a whole lot of activity around his garage.

Honey Bee Queen Cell - uncapped

My brother is a beekeeper (among other things) and has a small Apiary in Ligonier, PA.  He sells honey every year and works hard to keep his colonies healthy and active.

One of his projects this year is to breed honey bee queens.

I myself am interested in the “Idea” of beekeeping, but my complete terror of bees is something that really holds be back from taking the plunge into the art.  I do however, really enjoy opportunities to take photos and videos of these amazing little insects.

Uhh… something is going on over there…

So as I am thoroughly enjoying the filming of my brother pointing out this queen cell and that queen cell, I just happen to glance over toward his garage.  It was, rather crowded with flying insects.

“Uhh… something is going on over there…”, I stammered.

So my brother, being the wicked cool beekeeper he is walks into the swarm of bees and starts talking to the camera about how awesome it is.

A little Viralness

Obviously after shooting this video we knew we wanted to put it on the Facebook page to see how many views we would get. Not to shabby.  It goes to show you that you never know when you will be in a position to capture some video or piece of content that has potential to go viral.

Always be prepared and always be alert!

 

P.S. Want to buy Queens or Honey, visit Luther Apiaries!

Viral Video

4 Emojis for your Email Signature

📞 Phone
📱 Mobile Phone
📠 FAX
🌐 Website

 

Don’t undervalue a strong email signature.  Spend a little bit of time on your email signature and make sure it accompanies every email you send out.  There is nothing more frustrating than wading through a chain of emails looking for a signature with contact information so you can pick up the phone.

Here are 4 Emoji Icons I like to use in my email signatures. Just right click and Copy to add them to your signature.

Marketing Qualified Lead Cost & Value – Why It Matters

Whether you are an industrial B2B company with a dedicated marketing team, or a small business managing your own marketing strategy, there are two important elements you must be aware of: your lead cost and your lead value. Your lead cost and lead value play a big role in managing a successful online industrial marketing budget. But, what exactly is lead cost and lead value? How do you identify them? And why are they important to a marketing budget?  (more…)

Measuring MQL Lead Cost & Lead Value

Whether you are an industrial B2B company with a dedicated marketing team, or a small business managing your own marketing strategy, there are two important elements you must be aware of: your lead cost and your lead value. Your lead cost and lead value play a big role in managing a successful online industrial marketing budget. But, what exactly is lead cost and lead value? How do you identify them? And why are they important to a marketing budget?

Value of a Marketing Qualified Lead

Every transaction revolves around the value of a product. As a consumer, you make your purchasing decision based on your perception of the item’s value. The decision whether or not to buy a product or is generally based upon three factors: Brand, Price and Percieved Value.

  • Is your brand viewed in the market as an economy brand or a premium brand?
  • Is your consumer buying primarily on price?
  • What aspects of your product or service are perceived as valuable to your market?

Likewise, sellers place a monetary value on their product or service based upon their perceived value. Unlike consumers, sellers must ask themselves several questions before placing a value on their product:

  • What was the cost of making our product/providing our service?
  • What is the value of our product/service to consumers?
  • How does the value of our product/service compare to our competition?

As a business owner, once you determine the value of your product, it’s useful to determine the value of a lead. In other words, how much money would you spend on advertising your product to a single person in your target audience? For instance, if you own an industrial B2B company that sells branded paper products to the food service industry. What is a monetary value that you would place on signing a contract from a single business in your target audience?

Let’s say that you want to market your custom branded, paper cups to restaurants that sell hot beverages. You have a total campaign budget of $160,000 and of your target audience, you gain 320 leads from the campaign. You close about 11% of those leads and the average order totals $50,000 with an average profit margin of 20%. This leaves your lead value at $600.

Overall Marketing Campaign: 

  • Budget : $160,000
  • Leads : 320
  • Close Rate : 11%
  • Lead Cost : $500
  • Lead Value : $600

Since you are an industrial B2B company, it’s common that your customers remain loyal for a number of years. This would alter the lead value and the average sale amount to account for the lifetime of the business relationship without increasing the cost to market your product or services to that same lead.

Lead Value Calculator

  • This is the final amount spent on your marketing campaign or your spending projection. For a trade show add the final cost of the event including travel, lodging, shipping, etc.
  • Total number of leads acquired from the campaign. These can be actual numbers or projections.
  • This is your close rate percentage. Try to base it on similar historic campaigns or product/service segments depending on your needs. I.e. For the "Traffic Signs" ad group, we have a 15% Close rate.
  • This field is the average sale amount for the campaign.
  • Enter the profit margin for your product or service line here. This should be a percentage.
  • If you would like to have your results emailed to you, add your email address.
  • Let's look at your results

  • This is your ROI number. You want this to be higher than your investment obviously.
  • This is how much a lead cost or is projected to cost for the campaign. This number is relatively useless by itself. We will want to compare this to the lead value.
  • This is the important number. We want to see this number surpass the Cost per Lead Number. This is what our lead is worth after taking total spend into account.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Cost of a Marketing Qualified Lead

The cost of your lead should never be greater than your lead value. However, you also need to be cautious that the value is not outrageously higher than the cost you are willing to spend on an individual lead. It makes sense to narrow down your analysis into separate marketing channels within your campaigns to see the relative cost of each.

Perhaps, Pay Per Click Marketing leads were $125.00/lead whereas your Tradeshow leads came in at $300.00/lead.  As you track this information over time, you will see what markets perform best in each marketing channel.

Using the same example as above, your revenue at the end of the campaign is $192,000.  For an individual lead, you spent about $500 – about $100 less than the lead’s value.

Breaking the campaign by spending:

  • Tradeshow : $35,000
  • Pay Per Click Marketing : $30,000
  • Call Center : $80,000
  • Content Development : $15,000

This is Leads | Close Rate:

  • Tradeshow : 35 | 25%
  • Pay Per Click Marketing : 83 | 18%
  • Call Center : 202 | 5%
  • Content Development : For this example, content development is a conversion tool not a lead source.

Now lets look at lead cost | lead value

  • Tradeshow : $1000 | $1500
  • Pay Per Click Marketing : $361 | $1439
  • Call Center : $396 | $104

With this information, we can start measuring marketing channels in comparison to products and markets so we know where our money is best spent.

When determining your budget, you need to account for the major marketing channels where your target audience goes for information and solutions to a problem. These particular lead conversion opportunities are important, and your marketing budget should account for those major channels at a minimum.

Formulas Used In Calculations:

  • Campaign Return = Total Leads * Close Rate * Average Sale Amount * Average Margin – Campaign Budget
  • Lead Cost = Campaign Budget / Total Leads
  • Lead Value = Campaign Return / Total Leads

Ready for a new website? Why you might be going about it all wrong.

Your corporate website was designed maybe two years ago and you feel it’s time for an overhaul. It’s important to keep up with the times, implement new technology, and stay relevant. You shop around for a few website design companies and have seen some beautiful design work. It will be expensive, but based on what you see, it looks very impressive. These guys have got it going on.  You finally decide on an agency and they promise to deliver an awesome new website in 12 to 18 weeks.

Website Development Labor Pains

In an ideal world, 12 to 18 weeks roll by and you are left with a very attractive website that everyone assumes will have leads rolling in left and right. Job well done.

Then this happens…

…What the #$/^&*

Now, what do you?

  • Go back to the website developer and complain about the site you approved of and signed off on?
  • Get a new firm to look at it?
  • Get an SEO company to audit it?

Regardless of what you do, there will be a lot of scrambling, hard feelings, and sinking stomachs.

What about a new approach to your next website design?

Start out with a rapidly deployed foundation- a launch pad site. The goal is to get this thing out in thirty days. This is an actual site that provides all the core content. No bells and whistles. The site is launched and starts to gain exposure in the search engines and to your audience.

This site is:

  • safe – “Do no harm approach”
  • fully optimized for search engines
  • launched correctly
  • and the old site is appropriately redirected

From this point, you can organize a list of features you want* on the site and categorize them by how they will affect your KPI’s (key performance indicators). Write a hypothesis for each, explaining how it should affect your KPIs, a priority for each, and real data that is being analyzed on the launch pad site for each.

Rather than being a two to three-month love’em and leave’em event, the website development process is a month-to-month partnership between your company and the marketing/design agency. You are working together to optimize conversions and improve user experience through user signals and actual interactions on your website.

* Hallelujah!  All the Features I Want!!

It is time for a come to Jesus discussion here.  I realize I said all the features you want.  What I should clarify is, after taking a careful look at user interactions on your website- take what you learned and see how you can adjust it to maximize impact on KPI.  Determine the difficulty in implementing your change and create a prioritized list that you and your developer can use as a tool to improve overall ongoing site performance.

I have to warn you NOT to get hung up on details that will in no way affect the user conversion. If you are at all unsure about something, watch the user behavior and let that dictate your decisions.

Want to talk more about Growth Driven Design?

Hit me up on Skype: robbluther.

WordPress – Making your blog appear in Blog Category

The Challenge:

One of the frustrating things I was having with WordPress was the blog not displaying within its own category below the root of the server.  For example:

yourdoman.com/category/blog-post-title/

In this example, the blog-post-title is showing at the root level.  What I want to do is contain all blog post content within the blog itself.

yourdomain.com/blog/category/blog-post-title/

The Fix:

The great new is, its a super easy fix. Create a blog template in your child theme:

<?php
/*
Template Name: Blog
*/

// Which page of the blog are we on?
$paged = get_query_var('paged');
query_posts('cat=-0&paged='.$paged);

// make posts print only the first part with a link to rest of the post.
global $more;
$more = 0;

//load index to show blog
load_template(TEMPLATEPATH . '/index.php');
?>

Create a new page in WordPress called, Blog.

Change your permalink setting to match your new blog page.

Setting up a blog folder for WordPress

 

How to Run XAMPP and Skype

XAMPP and Skype want to run on the same ports.

XAMPP and Skype Conflict

Solving this issue is simple and is located in your Skype.

In Skype, go to:

Tools > Options > Advanced > Connection

Make sure, “Use port 80 and 442 for additional incoming connections” is NOT checked.

Restart Skype.

This should fix your issue!