With a great team come great success. I credit all our high ROI digital marketing success to our team. We all started from the bottom and work seamless with each other. When we have new hires, they work side by side with me on things as petty as fonts (fonts are actually NOT petty!). Even if they are marketing geniuses I need to connect them to our unique process of creating “digital assets”.
When we got the call from Captain Tim of Southern Gentlemen Fishing, I knew this was a team project that would get the love from each one us equally. We treat each project as if they are our own business. This is why we love working with fishing guides so much. As fishermen and marketers we bring expertise to the table that took us years of fine tuning – it’s a never ending process we adore.
But sometimes you need an outside eye. You need to get in the head of the person booking a fishing trip that really knows very little about fishing. And that’s why we brought in our newest member of the team, Jose.
Jose brings great marketing experience and fundamentals from the University of Florida. Oh ya, now we have two UF graduates here. How is this going to work during football season?
Jose has experience in hospitality as well, which is what drew me to him. He is young and ambitious. So I exposed him to the entire project and got to see the process through his eyes which made quite difference. We spent hours talking about page flow, call to actions, page speed, etc. Just exactly what it takes to book a charter. He even read the Charter Fishing Business Kit I wrote.
Once we developed a wire frame we went to photoshop as a team with Irvin. And of course he nailed it on the first mock. Well, not exactly. You see Captain Tim has one heck of a creative sense. He contributed a ton including the colors, placements, etc to get from GREAT to PERFECT.
Then we moved on to coding, where we hand code the html and then develop a custom WordPress theme using Adavanced Custom Fields. This allows us to give the customers admin access to their control panel and makes changes easily.
While all this was going down, Tim O. our content developer was formulating the perfect copy and running it by the team including Jose. We discussing pricing layouts, photo placements, contact forms, etc. All criteria that customers need to see at the right time in order to pick up the phone and call with a credit card in hand to book a charter.
The most important piece of this website was now going to be mobile. All websites we build are responsive, meaning they adapt to any size browser. Here’s what I mean:
Whether you are on a 30 inch screen or a 5 inch phone, you will see this website just as we intended. With no zooming, pinching, or scrolling left to right. It needs to be perfect and CONVERSION IS EVERYTHING.
Now we are live, we a have beautiful online asset ready to work. But it really is nothing more than a BEAUTIFUL business card online, almost useless without a marketing campaign. And here is where we really shine. We start with Google Ads. It won’t take along to that phone ringing and booking trips, but it all starts with a properly executed website.
Here at SFC Design Group, it is our priority to provide extremely HIGH ROI on ALL our services. If we can’t get you Big Bang for you buck, we won’t do it. This is why we spend double and even triple the time during the logo process to ensure we WOW the world!
You see, our entire team works fluidly together. We have no weak links and we all rely on each other to produce digital marketing assets. It took me over 10 years to find this family of digital marketing experts for you.
When we got the call from Captain Tim of Naples, FL, we knew this was going to be a fun one. He really knew exactly what he wanted which is always a HUGE help. Rather than us guessing, he let us know aspects like expressions, colors, etc. He even provided us with a sketch, which I thought was pretty awesome!
In the sketch, he showed us this unique illustration for another company he owns. However we needed to turn it into a fishing logo, so sorry little piggy but time to turn you into a snook!
And sticking with the Florida Gators, the mean gator stays, but we needed to do something a bit more original and a lot of detail. I knew Brian our illustrator would light up that gator like Tim Tebow.
As with all logos we start with offering fonts and colors:
Upon approval, by Tim; Brian our extremely talent illustrator took to the design phase and blew us away (what else is new!)
This was one of those logos that just came together perfect because the client knew exactly what he wanted and we spent over a week brainstorming. It also helped that our very own Tim is a Gators fan as well.
But this logo was not perfect to our client, YET. And it is our job to exceed expectations while tailoring to the clients request.
Tim mentioned that the rod and reel in the photo looks very Walmart-ish. Not his typical gear and you know what, I didn’t see it until he mentioned, and while customers are NOT always right, Tim was 100% correct and I get the feeling he will continue to make us better throughout a longterm relationship!
So I asked Tim to send us some pictures of his gear to be sure we can see what the rod butt section and reel look like. And it was obvious, this needed to be upgraded to a cork butt along with a more modern reel such as as the Cabo as seen here.
Back to illustration and out came something even better than the first round.
It really is the little things that make branding perfect. And with the clients vision and our team, we were able to crank out something that is surely a winner.
Logo design for the outdoors industry is our speciality, but when the clients have visions and experience, it really does go a long way. You can rely on our expertise as well, but your creativity is always welcomed and most of the time extremely valuable.
We are moving onto the rack cards, website design, t-shirts and other areas of digital marketing. Stay tuned for Captain Tim in Naples, Florida – Southern Gentlemen Fishing Charters.
I always say we have the best customers in the world because we all share a similar goal and passion. We always want to over deliver and see our outdoors customers succeed beyond their expectations. And it all starts with a logo…
I got the call from Zach that he was looking for a new website for his charter fishing business Reel Legend Sportfishing. Without a beautiful logo, it is very difficult to build a website using our unique style with high conversion rates.
I told Zach, let’s start with the logo and come back to the website when we nail down the new image of his business.
To my liking and gratitude, Zach had an amazing vision for his logo. He has a beautiful boat that we both knew had to be captured and told in this story of branding. Along with the boat, a Destin Fishing Charter is known for Red Snapper and Cobia. And boy was our team thrilled for this one!
Brian, who does all our illustrations was extremely excited when I came to him with these species. Our last several logos have been Mahi, sailfish, marlin, tuna, etc. So it was nice to switch it up and we have not done a cobia in a while, so it was exciting for all of us.
So off we went, team meeting and brain storming sessions. We all agreed on a unique concept that surely was going to be a master piece.
And then Brian worked his magic, with this picture of the boat:
To this now logo:
And that’s a wrap! We have the most talented crew here at SFC Design Group. Since we all work very closely together it allows us to vision the end product which is the EMAIL and PHONE CALL handing over credit card numbers to book a charter. Without lead generation, all this pretty stuff is no more than a business card collecting dust.
And now that we have a logo and brand that will be recognized everywhere, we can move on to print material such as t-shirts, business cards, rack cards… And of course the “online asset” that most call “websites”.
I want to thank Captain Zach very choosing SFC and we look forward to a long and prosperous relationship.
Calling what we do “website design” really devalues our mission. We prefer, “Digital Poetry”.
You see, there are millions of “web designers” out there and some that are VERY good. But designing a website is such a small part of what it takes to be successful online. The real magic is telling the story and only someone that works with the entire platform can have a true understanding for what works to generate their clients more business. We’re talking about SEO, PPC, SEM, Coding, Programming, Video, Content, Print Graphics, Screen Printing, Etc.
A website is no more than a business card online competing against millions of others. But add award winning content with a story told correctly and all of a sudden you have an “online asset” that works for you while you are sleeping.
And that is what we do for our clients. We build digital stories that lead customers to BUY! Nothing is an accident when we jump into Photoshop and start a website from scratch. It is a highly technical process led by highly educated business persons.
In our latest project, we decided it was time to refresh Captain David and his brand “Lady Pamela Sportfishing“. One of his competitors drastically copied his website and while “imitation is the highest form of flattery”, this one just wasn’t sitting well with us.
You be the judge:
We tell all our clients that you can get about 4 to 5 years out of your current website strategy. In the world of digital marketing, strategies are changing so fast that if you don’t adapt, you are left behind. In Captain David’s instance, he was right on that border, but the copycat really pushed us to crank out something a bit faster as these companies are DIRECT COMPETITORS.
We got the team together and brainstormed for a MONTH on exactly what Captain David needed in order to increase conversion rates and over all ROI.
When we finally made it to photoshop, the idea was already there even on a blank pallet. We all knew what the final product was going to be, but it was time to draw it up, 100% custom!
And here is what we came up with:
A beautiful engaging
website online asset that has technical features that are too long to mention in this article. And we are constantly updating the site to include things like video, fishing reports and articles.
It is… “Digital Poetry”.
It as been an absolutely crazy couple weeks here at SFC Design Group. We are expanding the office and have added a new designer to help with Youtube creation. Video is hot right now!
This past week we worked with Captain Eric, in Erie Pennsylvania. Eric had a vision of a web marketing plan that included our professional charter fishing style in a not so professional market place. It was our job to bring his ideas to production while adding our expertise along the way.
Every brand starts with bringing our team and customer together including myself to determine ideas such as business names, logo illustrations, web design and print design. By having the entire team in the same room, we can bounce ideas off each other that fit like a glove during the process.
So our logo developer Brian communicates with our web designer. This allows them to determine size, colors, etc that fit into the website in the next step.
Our web designer Irvin, then works with our coder Victor to determine the best flow and layout of the design. All 100% custom design and hand coding.
And while all this fire is going down, myself and Tim are are communicating with everyone to develop high quality copy and brand identification. We are even talking SEO and PPC at this point to ensure that we get a final product that produces when we start the digital marketing campaigns. And we want it to produce fast!
Captain Eric, a Lake ERIE walleye fishing guide gave us some great direction to produce a fun logo that will not only be featured as a big part in his website, but also his print design such as shirts, business cards and rack cards. Brian spent a lot of time getting the walleye just right, but it was time well spent. Just check out this first draft!
As the logo is finalized, Brian passes it on to Irvin for the start of the custom website. Irvin is quite the surgeon in photoshop and illustrator. He goes over every pixel and is an absolute perfectionist with a great eye for design and how customers look at websites. After all, there are a ton of web designers out there, but having one that understands your business and more importantly the customer experience is a huge and the reason our guides crush it.
And out came this!
This piece of art is ready to be framed and coded (or put on your wall). A few tweaks and it is sent to Victor’s desk to get chopped up into xhtml and a custom WordPress theme. Wordpress allows our clients to have full management of their website including updating rates, adding photos and fishing reports.
And while all this is going on… We are working on business cards, rack cards, brochures and more.
And the list goes on and on. We are a strong believers that with the highest quality digital marketing products, our fishing guides have a major advantage over the competition. And while a website is no more than a business card online until it is marketed, our strongest area of expertise is to drive quality leads using SEO and SEM strategies.
If you are serious about your fishing guide business, I recommend you start by reading The Charter Fishing Business Kit. In this book, I give you an inside look into our secret sauce used here every day at SFC Design Group.
As a 100% custom web development company for fishing guides, we really enjoy creating products that are proprietary and unique to our clients brand. In most cases our clients don’t really know what they want in a new website, however they know enough to expect us to be ahead of the technology and give them the best in design, coding and digital marketing. A high level lead generation tool that works 24/7!
Our long time client, Captain James and his wife Lesley came to us years ago with a relatively small budget. In most cases we can’t help customers take shortcuts, but back then we did offer a pretty good “semi-custom” website (not template, hate that word!) that came with the Charter Fishing Business Kit. These websites are great for those just getting into the business and looking for an affordable option. You can literally get online for less than $100 using a website our team developed specifically for fishing guides.
Fast forward to today and we try to steer even the tightest of budgets to a 100% custom website. Why? Is it because we make more on these? Absolutely not! We want all our customers to succeed and to do that it takes the highest level of digital marketing tools. While the “semi-custom” website will get it done and it has worked for many for years, it lacks originality and the “all-in” feel. And believe us, your customers can sense it and I believe Google can to! After all you won’t see big major brands such as Apple or Amazon using templates right?!
We have done so many upgrades and studied the results to see if it is worth it for our customers to take on the expense. The answer is HECK YA! By upgrading your website every 4 years on average you are keeping up with technology while staying ahead of the competition. Do you think all your competitors are going to invest $6-10k into a new website every 5 years? Probably not. So why should you?
And for those of our clients that just get it, they are upgrading far more frequently than 5 years.
In the example of Osprey Charters, a ton has changed in the past 5 years. As a fishing guide, an extremely high percentage of your leads are coming from mobile devices. And being mobile friendly simply isn’t enough anymore. You need to be 100% responsive. This means all shapes and sizes will get the same experience (phones, tablets, desktops, etc).
Today, customers are becoming accustomed to long scrolling landing pages. This means all the information they need is presented on one page rather than clicking around the navigation menu multiple times to find what they are looking for. On a mobile device this is extremely user friendly as the content flows down the browser.
Developing a long page is not something a web designer can just whim. Our team of designers, coders, business strategist and copywriters, as well as MYSELF all come together to create a wireframe for the best flowing website. In fact this is the most important part of the project and skipped by 99% of web firms! Knowing your business is always our first step to building an online asset, not just a website.
Without giving away too much secret sauce to our competitors, I want to help you as the fishing guide who may be developing your own site or working with another firm. These little details are what take a conversion rate from 2% to over 10%. And when you are spending marketing on digital marketing such as Google Adwords, Facebook Ads, Yelp Ads, etc., a higher than usual conversion rate is what will crush you competitors.
So lets breakdown this tactical and beautiful website recently launched for Osprey Charters in Venice Louisiana.
Upon loading the site, you will notice a beautiful and crisp picture of “Happy Clients”. The big fish is a bonus, but smiling customers always need to be displayed somewhere in the site and we chose the header for this one. If you haven’t read the book, How To Start A Charter Fishing Business, go do that now.
Before you get to the slider picture, you will see a beautiful navigation menu along with a CTA (Call To Action) for a phone number, social media and corporate sponsor (let’s show our appreciate to sponsors).
Scrolling down, you have the H1 tag which is very important in SEO Strategy “Fish World Famous Venice Louisiana For Trophy Tuna”. I just love using the words “World Famous”. The conversion rate in our PPC ads is always higher than typical phrases.
Next you will see three columns of well presented text that flows nicely on mobile and desktop. Customers have the option to click through for more information or to keeping scrolling down which is more optimal.
Ok, now we move onto the secret sauce. The photo gallery on the home page has more than doubled conversion rate. This isn’t just any photo gallery though. This is your best top ten to twenty photos that customers must scroll through when on a mobile device to get any more information. Talk about firing up your customers!
And this leads us to the CTA – Call Us! We placed this Call To Action right below the photo gallery because this where is the customer is usually ready to speak to the captain. However if they are still not convinced we have the extra sauce just for them…
Why us – With an expanding market place and new fishing guides popping up daily in your area, don’t you think it is important to tell customers why they should book you and not them? In Captain James case, it is very important his new customers know that he is 100% Full time, Family – Friendly, All Inclusive and the overall right choice. His repeat customers already know all this. And that leads us to the next section…
Testimonials! Nothing sells a fishing charter like other customers bragging about your business. We have tested the testimonials higher up in the page, however we have found the conversion rate to be better once the customer already has a good idea on whether or not they are going to book you. This is that last chance effort to get the customer to call or email (lead generation at it’s finest).
Usually by now the customer has made up their mind. We don’t want to supply them with TOO MUCH information as they won’t call and email with their questions. We want them to call with Dates and Credit Cards in hand. And for this we drop in a contact form as well as links to all the online reputation.
And on to the last, yet very important section: The Footer
The footer of the website is never a slouch. This is where most web designers get lazy, NOT US! In fact visitors are trained to go right to the footer to look for email addresses and phone numbers, so we want to make sure it is comprehensive.
Directions, phone numbers, email form, reputation, and recent blog post are displayed elegantly. All the information a customer may need in a hurry is right there and then some.
Since launching this new website for Captain James, we have seen an outstanding increase in conversion rate. The captain let us know he had two shows airing before the expected launch date including one on National Geographic and another on The Outdoor Channel. So, you guessed it, we stayed in the office overtime to be sure to get this done before those shows aired!
If you are looking for a top notch web marketing company for your Fishing Guide business, please give us a call. We are an ROI driven firm that has developed the best tools fishing guides and the outdoor industry need in maximizing leads from their digital marketing.
When are we going to stop throwing darts at the green?! Last week we had the opportunity to revamp our long time client’s website, Strikezone Fishing.
The Sheltra family has been with us for well over 10 years offering fishing charters on Lake Ontario. They have been a pleasure to work with and it was our turn to give back making sure they stay ahead of their competition. After all, we are all about ROI and this was an investment they could not afford not to make.
Just check out this old website design. Not bad right for over 10 years old right? Big problem, it is not mobile friend and more than 70% of their trips are booking from mobile devices.
This game is changing just about every 2 years and it was certainly time to bring their website up to date with responsiveness (mobile being priorty).
As a current client we knew exactly what they needed, so we got the team together to brainstorm the perfect home page to do one thing: book charters!
Using our formula and secret sauce we went into photoshop to start the wireframe (stage 1). Irvin, our lead designer absolutely nailed it on the first go around (which he usually does).
You’ll notice this webpage is long. This style of web design is trending and we are seeing sky rocketing conversion rates over shorter pages. This allows the content to flow as the customer scrolls down on their mobile device or desktop computer without constantly working back to the navigation menu to find what they are looking for. You’ll notice “call to actions” such as phone numbers, email forms and carefully placed “why us” sections. All crucial in the process of getting the lead.
Once presented to Todd and Robin, they gave us the go ahead to begin coding (stage 2).
Each website we code is built around the major search engines as well as every size device. Victor is the drummer of our group. He is really the most talented, but doesn’t quite get the credit. He hand codes each project from scratch rather than using a template like most firms. In fact, we won’t even touch templates. We want you to present Google with clean and unique code showing the big “G” you are all in and the authority amongst the marketplace.
As we neared completion of coding the custom WordPress theme, we planned a late night launch of the site and to work on the sub pages in the live environment. This allows us to get the client up faster, while also testing everything live, rather than staging the site.
We decided to go back to photoshop and create a custom sub page for the “rates” and “testimonials” pages. A shorter header allows for less horizontal scrolling on these pages allowing the customer to get the information they need even faster.
The finishing touch was to install a couple SEO plugins as well as sync their Facebook account with the “Fishing Reports” page.
While we ask all our clients to work the blog as much as they can, some just don’t have the time. Instead, customers like Robin are very active on Facebook, so we used a plugin to pull the RSS feed onto the reports page, keeping them fully in sync. While this isn’t the search engine juice that we prefer, it is a close second and keeps the website active and takes the burden off the site owner of updating the blog frequently.
Now that we have completed the website, we are working on Local SEO as well as Remarketing and Email marketing.
As a niche specific media company, we bring solutions to fishing guides and the outdoors industry that most other firms simply can’t come close on. Believe me, they try… but still miss.
Our small team of designers, coders and business professionals have come up with a formula that works and it is expected that our competitors will sniff around and try to duplicate our work. By working with the best in the industry, we are constantly testing new strategies that keep us far ahead. After all our CEO wrote the book on this industry (Read it!).
Each website and logo goes through a very specific process to ensure our clients get a digital marketing product that is custom fit to their business and not a “one size fits all”. A marketing firm is only as strong as it’s process and looking at other sites and businesses for ideas is far from our process.
When our competitors try to copy our products and services, they are missing the mark on why it is important to tailor a client-specific digital product. By trying duplicate what we have created for one of our clients, they lose that originality that customers can pick up on. Reputation is everything these days and do you really want to start by using someone else’s marketing materials?
I get it though. Why re-create the wheel? If it’s working and we are so bad ass, than why not just follow the leader? Well it’s just that, we are the leader.
Recently one of our clients, let us know about a competitor who had just launched a strikingly similar site. Everything from the colors, phone number placement, kid-friendly target audience, sliders, etc! And as expected they are a direct competitor for our client.
In fact, we aren’t mad and neither is our client? Why? We are so far ahead and we aren’t spending any time looking at our competitors. In fact, we created this website about 3 years ago. And we are in the process of a new one for our client as many things have changed.
Trying to hide our secret sauce from competitors is not time well spent by our company. We book over 3x as many trips as most fishing guides using strategies that are common sense to us, but not others.
So let them try to imitate us. We are working harder and smarter each day. We are results driven. The website is only one piece of our formula marketing product.
If you are looking to revamp your website or get started in this business, be original with us.
Our long time client, Captain Chad Handley took our advice recently when we told him it was time for an update. So much is constantly changing in the digital marketing arena and it is our job to keep our clients far far ahead of their competition.
We have such a close relationship with each of our clients that when we suggest something they usually don’t think twice and the ROI on their investment pours in immediately.
Chad originally contacted us from the Charter Fishing Business kit. It was his plan to become a full time fishing guide in the Galveston Texas Bay area. We came up with a solution that was near perfect and he has been booking over 250 trips a year every since. He is living the dream and we did it all in a short period of time.
As an outdoors website speciality company, we don’t use a dime of your money to test or for trail and error. We know exactly what works for your business and no one website is the same. We work with it each and everyday from all angles.
Now it was time to add that 2nd boat and since we have a close relationship into his business we understand exactly what solution he needed with responsiveness being the priority.
The new website was to feature happy families, children and pure joy from customers. We want to relate to tourist and sell the exciting excursion.
With big ‘call to actions’ such as Phone Numbers, Book Now Buttons, etc, we make it extremely easy on all devices to get the lead.
We used his original logo which is still just awesome. Pieces of it were featured in the header and footer to make the site “fishy” and not a website that looks like anything else out there .
Moving on we coded pixel perfect code that was designed to load fast, be search engine friendly, and have the ability to easily update his website in his secure WordPress admin.
By adding fishing reports, photos and updates we keep the website fresh for customers to come back as well as the nightly Google. Remember repeat customers are the most valuable, so let’s be sure to market to them through web and email.
Visit the final product on both your mobile device and desktop to get a feel for this perfect fishing guide website:
I say it all the time, we have some of the best customers in the world. Talking fishing, marketing and business is never a dull conversion.
The Robinson Brothers found our graphic design style to their liking and gave us a call. The initial consultation included a wide array of ideas covering the spectrum of fishing the Apalchicola area and what it meant to them.
My desk was covered with sketches and ideas from our brainstorming session. But now it was our time to turn these ideas into a brand logo that would pop.
This logo was to be a 3 fish illustration including a tarpon, redfish and trout. Adding baitfish and a background scenes also made it into the plan.