Updated November 6, 2017
When the price of ag products drop 40% from last year and the bank doesn’t drop how much you owe that shirt collar can get a bit tight! I am a Farm and Ranch Real Estate broker that doesn’t want to see Montana ranches for sale until they make that very personal decision on their own. Building additional revenue streams for Montana farms and ranches can help get them through the lean times.
Sometimes in running Montana farms and ranches, like any business, we don’t remove ourselves from the day to day and step outside the box with our thinking. It happened to me at times in running my business in Dallas, Tx in my former business life. So, I thought I would show a bit of outside the box thinking that might help motivate someone that needs it right now in building revenue streams for Montana farms and ranches.
What do I Know About this?
My former life was running a marketing and printing business in Dallas, Tx. When the internet came along, I jumped into SEO (Search Engine Optimization), keyword research, and all things that encompasses. I ended up having @ 10,000 unique visitors a day to our site and grew the business ten fold by the time I sold and retired to Montana. My retirement lasted six months. My wife told me to go get a job so I teach at MSU to give back. Since that time, I have become a partner here at Venture West Ranches with Stacy Bellamy, Curt Van Dyken, and myself, Buzz Tatom.
So, what does this have to do with building additional revenue streams for Montana farms and ranches? Remember, think outside the box and get your creative juices flowing. So let your mind go with the idea and let it take you wherever it wants to go. You know your business better than I do, but hopefully the example will help generate some ideas for you. So this specific example may not pertain to you but it will get you thinking outside the box and about solving the problem creatively. We want thoughts on building revenue streams for Montana farms and ranches!
Where to Start for Montana Farms and Ranches?
Many Montana ranchers and farmers view hunting and fishing as either a nuisance, a family tradition, or something to lease out to earn additional revenue. They may view themselves as too busy, don’t want the liability or don’t feel qualified. Some don’t like guns. I will help solve that problem for you in the results. Forget all that and focus on what I’m going to teach you. Ok, I have beat that horse enough.
I took my keyword research software and put in Montana Hunting as a root word to see where it led me. Root word (popular) means you don’t think you are going to use it but want to find words like it that are not as competitive and may have more words that someone is searching for that have little competition. You aren’t going to go out and easily land people searching for Montana Hunting but you can with a little bit of work. Go out and bring people interested in one of the lesser competitive words.
Just a note, there are a number of keyword research software tools out there. I’m not going to say which one I use. I don’t really want to announce it to the whole internet and it is one of my advantages I use in selling and marketing ranches. You can call or email me and I will give you a few I would suggest considering.
Above you will find the words I’m interested in after looking through the 600 words it gave me initially. I just let my mind go and looked at the whole list.
To give some background on what you are seeing above, the first column is the keyword that came from the root word. Similar words and extra words that still have decent searches and use extra words like “best”. That is how search engines work. Someone is searching for that exact term and if you have it in your content or title that is what is going to pull up. Thus the reason to find less competitive strings that are similar to more competitive strings like Montana Hunting.
Suggested Bid is if you wanted to purchase a sponsored ad that shows up when someone searches for those exact keywords. For Google, this is done through Google AdWords. Google advertises that AdWords help reach the right customers at the right time. Sometimes this may be true, but you have to be an expert at AdWords in order to have those kinds of results. I don’t do these ads. They are too expensive and I have found if I do good keyword research and build content around those keywords I will be in the search results near the top, for free. I really just keep it in there to see what money people are throwing away.
Local Searches are the number of times someone entered in that term in the US in the last month. Normally, you would like to find big numbers in the thousands if you were trying to sell to a big number of customers. For this example, you don’t need big customers. If you had ten people come hunt that is quite a few people and would definitely impact your bottom line. So, I’m including some search strings with small number of searches because they are not very competitive, therefore making them cheap.
Advertiser competitiveness is another column I use only as a reference. It has nothing to do with how competitive the search term is, it is only talking about how many people are bidding to be in the sponsored ads section. 99% have not done any keyword research they are just throwing dollars at a problem hoping it will help. They can be spending hundreds if not thousands of dollars with very little to show. Organic search results are free and with keyword research software sweat equity is King.
Last column is the keyword competitiveness. This number represents how competitive it is to rank for that word in search results. Anything in the mid 30s and down is reasonable. If you find some in the teens that is like ducks on the water! We did’t find any of those with a quick look through but the numbers we have are very doable and if we spent more time we could find some even better numbers.
Putting it into Use
I’ve now given the background and you always find a trend you can follow. I have found elk hunting with a bow. See the guys that don’t like guns and had closed minds left and just missed out! We find several search terms with bow or archery. Lower liability, fewer people and usually not guided. So that is what I would go after is archery hunts. There are some other terms I left in there that intrigued me. The use of the word “best” is a great way to get into a much less competitive search term. By putting “best” in front of a string you may be able to rank easier for that term if there are enough searches. By this example, it worked and it isn’t just the word best it could be greatest, cheapest, etc…
Other interesting words I found and would have had to do some further research on were Missouri or Alabama deer hunting. Pretty low competition and a fair amount of searches. I could potentially have a whole series of articles and content on comparisons between Montana deer hunting and the other two states and I would be able to find an angle to present to those that searched for those terms of why they should consider my very special Montana farms and ranches. The other thing I would take a look at is articles around bow hunting in general. Those terms had decent numbers and if you provide good content around bow hunting in general you get involved in the community and establish a presence. Much like me writing about keyword research on Montana farms and ranches.
Building a Website for Montana Farms and Ranches
godaddy.com, and WordPress have easy, free website software. Upload your pictures and start adding content around those keywords. You could also go to a place such as elance.com and hire a freelancer that could be anywhere in the world. If you are creating a super simple website with a blog that you can continually post articles around the keywords yourself, you can probably get it done for $300-$500. One of the previous sites I mentioned you can do for free if they are hosting the website.
So your investment is going to be the website($0-$500), keyword research software (less than $40/month and can pull the plug at any point), hosting (less than $20/month) your ideas and sweat equity. This is a super simplistic example and isn’t meant to guide you towards creating a hunting website for a Montana farm or ranch. It is merely to show you that you have an asset in land and if you think outside the box and use tools available to you at low cost, there is no limit to the ideas you can come up with to add a revenue stream that helps make your ranch or farm more profitable. More profitable Montana farms and ranches are more valuable.
So why do I use these tools? I reach targeted markets, bring in customers, and it provides more exposure to properties than any other ranch and farm land broker. This helps us sell Montana farms and ranches faster for our clients and in general helps people. That is why I do it.
If you found this article helpful you might want to check out Stream Restoration and Improving Fisheries for creating additional revenue streams from fisheries. Or our article about Montana Water Rights and their value that can be an additional revenue stream for Montana Farms and Ranches. You can also check out our Properties page for a full list of our current properties.
Should you have any questions about anything in this article or need help in coming up with an idea give me an email or call. Further reading on keyword research and online marketing can be found on Wordtracker and several other sites if you search the term. If you are thinking about marketing your Montana Farm and Ranch or purchasing one, please give me a call. I bring some very unique talents to the table and would love to sit and talk about the best course of action for you.
And since I lost a bet here is my friends website on 49ers Memoribilia
Buzz Tatom is a ranch owner and has built, run and sold numerous businesses in his career. This gives him a unique background in helping Montana farmers and ranchers navigate the life decisions that we all have to face. Whether it is passing the ranch on to the next generation or planning for eventual sale, his talents and contacts help save clients money and navigate complicated transactions.
He still owns the 5T Ranch in Texas but now calls Big Sky, MT home. His background in Texas included finding run down ranches and rehabilitating them into show place properties. From building lakes, stocking fish, to managing for wildlife he has a proven record of increasing values of properties that have given families great memories and returns.
His successful business background allows him to have good knowledge in contracts, dealing with people and has a wide variance of knowledge from his experience in dealing with oil and gas companies on his properties to manufacturing background to knowing who to call to get answers.
He has a BBA from Texas Tech University and got his MBA from Southern Methodist University. While at Texas Tech, he played football and was a 3 year starter as a Tight End. He bought into a Printing company at the age of 24 and grew it ten fold by the time it was sold in 2011.
Buzz teaches part time at Montana State University and loves mentoring students. He has been married to the love of his life, Kathy Tatom, for 25 years and has one son(Tate) and 2 daughters(Sayler and Emmy).
His hobbies include hunting, fly fishing, improving the 5T and following his son Tate in his golf career at the Air Force Academy. His life is divided between family, volunteering, teaching part time at MSU and Church.