Marketing is one of the areas in the wildlife business that is often neglected and is many times the limiting factor of a successful program. Marketing includes all business activities involved in selling the product, which is the hunting, fishing, or wildlife viewing experience. It includes identifying the clientele who may be interested in the land, advertising the land, and leasing it.
Identifying the Clientele
The first step in the marketing process is to identify the clientele who may be interested in leasing the land. Once the clientele is determined, one needs to find out what type of leasing arrangement to initiate, advertise the land, determine the cost for the land, sign an agreement, and satisfy the clientele.
Advertising and Public Relations
Advertising is very important in the lease and something that we all do to some degree. The most cost-effective type of advertising is word-of-mouth. This is not only the cheapest, but it is the best type. Another tactic, although quite similar, is to have an outdoor writer do a feature story on the land’s wildlife and amenities in a newspaper or outdoor magazine, professional journal, trade magazine, or airline magazine. However, this usually will not take place until the operation has developed a good reputation. Another good way to advertise is to purchase booth space and to have a display at hunting and fishing trade shows. These shows, which are usually held in most major cities, usually encompass a weekend. A personal letter to potential clients can also be a cost-effective way to make initial contact. Mailing lists of potential clients can be obtained from professional and trade associations, state wildlife agencies, golf, and country clubs, or from professional list brokers.
Most outdoor magazines and newspapers have sections for advertising lands for lease for wildlife purposes. The most effective advertisements are short and accurate.
Attention Waterfowlers! Twelve hundred acres of prime waterfowl hunting (three hundred acres flooded hardwoods, nine hundred acres flooded rice land). Center of Mississippi Flyway. Will lease waterfowl hunting rights to the responsible group. Call (Phone number).
Taxidermy shops and sporting goods stores are also good places to advertise. Many businesses will allow one to display bulletins in their offices; however, they should be attractive and interesting. They should include photographs of the area and successful outings in addition to what is offered and the fee charged.
Many real estate agents and landowners will lease hunting, fishing, and wildlife viewing rights with the understanding that the lessor may sub-lease the rights to another group or individual. This arrangement reduces the landowner’s marketing effort but also reduces his/her control over the land. It is best to have a written agreement that can be canceled at any time if the lessee is not satisfied.
Fees vary tremendously. Some landowners are satisfied if they only have their taxes paid. Others seek a much higher return. Of all leases for hunting, fishing and wildlife viewing, waterfowl hunting leases demand the highest price. Depending on to what extent the area is managed and marketed, waterfowl hunting leases usually bring from $5 to $50 per acre. White-tailed deer leases range from $3 to $15 per acre. Some landowners even lease their land with sealed bids. A landowner has the right to choose the highest bid or reject clients if he/she is not satisfied.