Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Lake of the Woods Outdoorsman Uses YouTube and Other Broadband Tools to Reach Global Market

Jean-Paul Tessier, Lake of the Woods Outdoorsman, 
and his retriever Rocky.

In less than two short years, Jean-Paul Tessier has built an almost larger-than-life persona for himself as the “Lake of the Woods Outdoorsman.”

After launching his business, Jean-Paul quickly learned how to unleash the power of YouTube, driving literally thousands of visitors to his website from around the region and around the world. He has seen hits on his videos ranging from 2,000 to 10,000 per week.

While his business focuses on the Lake of the Woods area and the many hunting, fishing, lifestyle, and real estate opportunities that the area has to offer, Lake of the Woods Outdoorsman has become a company that reaches far beyond the shores of the lake. “It has become an international company,” Jean-Paul said.  “Everywhere the internet is available, I find customers. I take people out on the lake from Germany, Switzerland, all over.”

According to Jean-Paul, his industry and his product is “basically Lake of the Woods.”  It started as a simple fishing and hunting guiding service, but as Jean-Paul began to build his web presence, it grew into something much larger—a media-rich website that focuses on all things related to Lake of the Woods—together with a marketing service for goods, services, attractions, real estate, and other Lake of the Woods outdoor opportunities.

His website has become a revenue-generating engine for his business through the many sponsors who pay to be on it.  He would not have been able to acquire the many sponsors he has without proving that his website can generate a lot of traffic. Jean-Paul largely credits much of his web success to YouTube, which gave him the ability to connect with a wider audience.  When people go on YouTube and search for fishing and Lake of the Woods, “they find our videos and we just show them the action,” he said, “and direct them to our website.” 

Jean-Paul has almost 800 subscribers to his YouTube channel. That doesn’t mean that only 800 people see his videos, but rather, that 800 people have subscribed to his channel—every time he posts a new video, it goes directly to his subscribers.  His actual viewership is much larger, with some videos generating as many as 20,000 views.  Over the life of Lake of the Woods Outdoorsman (1.5 years) there have been 150,000 individual IP address hits on his videos. During the winter, which is the peak season for Lake of the Woods, Jean-Paul’s videos have generated as many as 1,500 views on a single day.

In addition to the number of hits and viewers he has had, YouTube has generated a lot of other information that has been valuable to Jean-Paul, including viewer location and demographics, allowing him to refine his marketing strategies in relation to his target customer.
In order to produce the videos, Jean-Paul had to purchase a camera, batteries, a MacBook Pro computer, and video editing software.  While it took him some time to learn how to use the software, he was able to teach himself everything he needed to know and felt that his investment of time and money has been relatively minimal and certainly worthwhile.  “My investment has been returned 100 times over,” he said, “and that’s in only 1.5 years.”

One of Jean-Paul’s secrets to success is his commitment to simply being genuine.  “I think the best stuff  we’ve put on is real—it’s us,” he said. Watching his videos, it’s easy to see the zest he has for life and the passion he has for a great, all-American outdoor lifestyle.  He believes in being himself and makes no apologies, including posting the story of his growing up years and his spiritual journey, on the “About Us” page of his website.

Jean-Paul recognizes that Broadband has made his business possible and has enabled him to increase the scope of his market, obtain more customers, increase profits, and gain efficiency.  “I can’t overemphasize the importance of Broadband and using video,” he said.  “To illustrate—through the internet, I have a fishing excursion scheduled that would not have happened without the customer seeing my video. He is coming up with the director of marketing from the largest tackle manufacturer in the world.  I would not have been able to work this out without Broadband.”

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