Thank you for your interest in being a Target Walleye/Ice sponsor! Hopefully the following information will help you understand who we are, what we do and how we do it.
What We Are
Target Walleye/Ice (TWI) is a multi-platform digital effort owned by Ron and Al Lindner, Jim Kalkofen and Jay Kumar. The owners have had the good fortune to be successful in all forms of media and every facet of walleye fishing.
TWI covers walleye fishing during the open-water season (approximately March-October), and ice fishing for all species – mostly walleye, perch and panfish – during the ice season (approx Oct/Nov-March).
TWI was launched in December 2014 to address three primary needs:
1. To revive walleye media, which had been virtually dead for 10+ years.
2. To provide a new North America-wide media platform for the growing ice-fishing market.
3. To provide a digital property that was portable (mobile) and accessible across all digital platforms.
TWI was based on Jay Kumar’s BassBlaster property, which is the #2 daily read in bass fishing and the only mobile media product in bass fishing.
As of this writing (March 2017), TWI is the #1 media platform in walleye fishing. It’s the #1 walleye-specific read (email) in North America, the #1 walleye Facebook page and the #1 walleye and ice fishing Instagram page.
Re: email open rates, we feel our opens are pretty much 100% because:
- TWI is highly vertical – if you aren’t a diehard walleye and ice fisherman, you don’t want it twice a week.
- While our email sending service (Constant Contact) does list open rates, they have told us that they can’t measure all opens on all devices, and can’t measure opens on nearly all mobile devices.
- Whenever we give people the option to unsubscribe from the list, we get anywhere from 10s to a little over 100 – far less than 1%.
What We Do
TWI pushes (key!) fun, entertaining, fast-read digital content to diehard northern-tier U.S. and Canadian anglers using the two major mobile delivery platforms: email and social media.
While TWI does produce some original content, most of what we do is “riff on” other people’s content, including your content. We find and curate content, and make it fun and informative to read. This is why our readers – weekend warriors, fishing industry folks and professional anglers – literally love TWI:
“Only email I look forward to receiving.”
“The entire package is what really makes this newsletter great.”
“It’s the patterns for success I want.”
“Like your humor.”
“Learn a lot from you guys.”
“It’s better than a magazine because it can be accessed so many different ways.”
As with all good media, CONTENT – good content – is primary for TWI.
> If your company produces good content – social content, videos, tips, etc. – we will use it and get more people to read it.
> If you or your sponsored anglers don’t produce much content, or much good content, you won’t be able to benefit from us riffing on that content, but you will still benefit from the reach of the #1 walleye- and ice-fishing media platform in North America.
1. Advertising is NOT the primary benefit of being a TWI partner.
Content is the primary benefit. When it comes to your content, we “riff on” (have fun with) your content, or content that features your product(s) or sponsored anglers. By making your content fun/entertaining in the distinct TWI way, this ensures that it is read, viewed, etc. We increase engagement.
Each TWI issue has ads because most – not all – advertisers value them. Some also feel strongly about the branding and product awareness that ad space provides. But the value in TWI is NOT banner ads! It is what we do with content.
2. We do NOT sell click-throughs (CTRs)!
We don’t sell click-throughs and won’t – because they don’t work and never have. Jay Kumar – a pioneer in fishing digital who has been in digital since literally when it started – has never sold against click-throughs even going back to the first BassFan.com days in 2001. Here’s what he says about it:
“Back when the Internet was new and everyone was hyping it, click-throughs were supposed to be one of the new great things about the Internet. Clickable, measurable, supposedly great. But click-throughs never worked and still don’t. No matter how great your ad is, or you think your ad is, the best response you’ll ever get from one is a small percentage of viewers/readers/fans clicking on it…at first. So you get a spike and then a short tail. That’s it.
“One reason is basic human behavior – most won’t leave a place they like, and if they do they probably won’t go (or click) more than once, and won’t stay long, because where they’re going isn’t as good, fun or cool as where they left.
“Another reason is because the platform can’t control the creative. Many times, believe it or not, the creative isn’t great for the audience or right for the medium, in this case digital.
“A third reason click-throughs don’t work is that by now everyone’s been exposed to them and usually won’t click unless given a huge incentive, like a killer promotion. But even then all you get is a spike and a short tail.
“Can ads be created that create more click-throughs? Absolutely. But you won’t get a lot of clicks.
“Bottom line: Click-throughs don’t work. Even if we, the fans’ preferred destination, could control the creative, the offer and the destination, we’d still get a spike and short tail. So we don’t measure it, sell against it or endorse it.”
We realize marketers like stats and measurement. We remain open to any non-CTR ideas to create valid indexes, and would love to help if we can.
3. Not about ads but…no ad rotation.
> Unlike a website, where banner ads are placed in a rotation – which means that a visitor may or may not see your ad – every TWI email has every ad/sponsor.
> If you have a 300×250 or a 200×150 ad in one of the lower ad blocks in a TWI issue, please be aware that:
– While we do at times change the position of the ads, this will not result in any material benefit.
– We advocate changing ads every so often, mostly so the look of the email doesn’t get stale. We do of course want people to see your ad, but again, this likely won’t result in any material effect.
4. The best ads are…
…in order of typically most to least effective:
> Great promotion that hits the TWI demo on the nose (e.g., fishing gear)
> Specific fishing product (e.g., lure)
> Professional angler with product
> Big fish
> Everything else
How We Do Business
This is the core of what we do. To us the relationship – with the readers/fans and with you – is everything. We won’t jeopardize either one.
When it comes to the relationship with fans/readers, we do not run advertorial, we do not blatantly promote, we do not have special sections, we do not only mention sponsors’ products. And we only accept sponsors whose products or services we can endorse – because they are viewed as endorsements coming in a very personal form of communication (email and social). In this way, TWI media is much more like a TV show than a website.
Not jeopardizing the relationship with sponsors begins before a company becomes a sponsor. Are the person-to-person relationships right? Are the products right? Is the content right? Do the expectations match up? Can we serve you well? This encompasses everything from how we communicate with each other to the extremely reasonable rates we charge. We want the relationship to be right for both parties. But sometimes we think it won’t be, so we do not work with every potential sponsor who comes to us.
Thanks much for your interest in Target Walleye/Ice. We hope this information helps you understand what we do and how we do it, and helps you decide whether you want to be a part of it. If you’re interested in being a TWI sponsor, please contact Jim Kalkofen at email@example.com. Thank you!