Did you know that selling knives is a controversial topic? Google and Facebook both prohibit buying advertising for most stores selling knives. This makes it difficult for ecommerce stores who sell these products to increase sales.
I know that many city dwellers may consider knives and axes scary. They may not know why anyone would have one. Where I live, I could use that axe shown above to chop the weeds to get to the barn – that is how tall and thick they are.
Receiving your first pocket watch was once a right of passage for a young boy. I would argue that even young girls – indeed, people of all ages, should have good knives on hand.
Today, many states are working to ban knife ownership, so if you have always wanted to own a better quality knife now is a good time to buy one.
When I worked at IBM, I opened boxes of parts every day. I had a tiny folding pocket knife on my keychain so it was always handy for that purpose. Today, I keep a pocket knife where I unpack boxes.
I suppose none of those people trying to get rid of knives works on a ranch. Carrying a folding knife to cut baling string and open sacks of grain and shavings is an essential part of life for people who own horses or livestock.
How do they expect us to cut the hay twine without a knife? I keep a large, sharp knife near any cross-tie to cut a horse loose if it gets hung up in the ropes.
And even if you don’t have hay, horses, or livestock, I would hope you have kitchen knives at home. Outlawing knives is just plain silly.
Learning to whittle, forge a path, or carve a custom handle for one of these blade blanks is a worthwhile project for any young person (or the young at heart) interested in learning outdoor skills.
But lawmakers are very serious about banning knives. I suppose they’re from the city and don’t have gardens, either. Some states have made carrying any knife a felony and a group has risen up to fight for Knife Rights.
I once had to go all the way out to my car to remove that tiny folding pocket knife from my keyring to enter a government building. And that was years ago. It was too small and dull to do any person’s body any damage, but that didn’t matter.
So what can a business like BucknBear Knives do to market themselves if Google and Facebook are selectively prohibiting small businesses that sell knives from advertising while allowing big brands to advertise?
Here are some tips for them that will work just as well for any small business.
Marketing Advice for BucknBear Knives
The easiest way to grow your business is to get visibility where your potential customers are already active. Just because you can’t advertise does not mean you can’t reach people via Google and Facebook.
Look for groups or individuals who have a relevant following. Read on to find out how.
How to Promote Using YouTube
First, you need to have your own YouTube channel. Although the BucknBear Knives YouTube channel exists, it does not have a vanity name to make it easy to get back to it. Definitely claim your vanity name – before someone else does!
You can get around the requirements of having a specific number of subscribers this way:
You can also qualify for a custom URL that aligns with your web domain by linking and verifying your official webpage with your connected Google+ page
Next, seek out related YouTube channels with large numbers of subscribers who are specifically interested in what you offer. Look on their “about” tab for information about how to contact them.
For example, the WeAllJuggleKnives channel is the perfect place for BucknBear Knives to get exposure. WeAllJuggleKnives has 81,896 subscribers who are all interested in knives. What could be better?
Unlike most channels you will find, they actually invite inquiries. On their YouTube “about” tab they write:
If you are an established knife company, knife maker, or knife store, and you want me to review a product, message me ON HERE.
Here is an example of the type of videos WeAllJuggleKnives produces that can increase sales for a business like BucknBear Knives:
Research online to find forums likely to be interested in knives. While there may be some specifically about knives, look for related groups likely to need a knife. For example:
- Horse owners
What I do is create a Trello card for each group and then drag and drop the cards in order of relevance and size. (More on Trello shortly.) You don’t want to try to be active in all of them and you never want to be a “drive-by” link dropper.
Research and then choose a group or two and become a regularly active member. Once you make that a part of your routine, you can expand to other groups.
Even though you can’t sell guns or knives on Facebook, there are far more groups there than you can imagine. Some of them are just plain huge.
I once did research for a gun related client and found enormously large Facebook groups and YouTube channels. While not directly related, people who own guns are likely your target audience as they typically buy knives, too.
The most important part of blog outreach is to first research and identify the blogs that are most likely to be interested and whose readers want what you sell.
There are tools for doing blog outreach and research. I personally use the premium blog outreach solution Inkybee as one way to keep track of which blogs to contact.
For those who don’t need a paid tool, I recommend using Trello for this, too. This is a simple example. Not how large the followings were on Facebook for these blogs back when I did this research:
I can provide template boards already set up for research and blog outreach for free to anyone who asks for them. Just message me in the comments here or contact me on Skype (username GrowMap).
I verified that Facebook was still allowing these gun groups and see that GunsAmerica now has 46,550 followers on their Facebook page.
While Google favors big brands, it might be possible for small business owners to find keyword phrases they can rank for in organic search. The first step is keyword research.
Determine what phrases you think you might be able to rank for and then create one page or post targeting each phrase. These pages must have substantial amounts of content on them and not be just product pages.
Prioritize Your Marketing
This is not a comprehensive list of strategies for any small business. Subscribe to my autoresponder mailing to get other ideas or look at my services page.
The main thing to understand is this doesn’t happen overnight (unless you get very lucky). Think of marketing like gardening. You keep planting seed after seed and eventually you harvest a crop.
If you have someone in your life who is a challenge to buy for, a high quality knife might be just what they’ve always wanted and something for a Dad or Mom to pass down to his or her son or daughter.