Editor’s note: In each of the articles in this series on online marketing, we will look at how outdoor companies are starting to use the Internet to speak to their consumers and sell their products.

The number of outdoor magazines the consumer can purchase from newsstands or subscribe to has shrunk significantly over the last decade. But the number of people wanting to read outdoor information has held steady, because people still want to know better ways of taking game and catching fish, read about exciting hunts and great fishing trips and learn the latest wild game and fish research. For this reason, there’s been an increase in the number of eMagazines being provided by outdoor companies to consumers. By sending a monthly magazine directly to a company’s email list of consumers, the company can share more outdoor knowledge and provide entertainment to their regular customers than other companies do.  These Internet-based magazines even have a new name, eZines. One of the main differences in the eZines sent by companies to their consumers and a traditional print magazine is that eZines can contain links to videos and other interactive media and enable the consumer to interact with the company sending them the eZine.

Chris Dorsey, founder and president of Orion Media, which produces 32 TV shows on nine different television networks, has created an online magazine for Remington called “Remington Country eZine.”

“We see video as a universal donor for all types of content,” Dorsey explains. Orion Media has access to a large amount of outdoor video, and the new eZine idea is to add some of that video content into a tablet-size online magazine. According to Dorsey, “the idea of a tablet-size magazine is not a new concept. However, using the Internet as a delivery system to send that magazine to an outdoor company’s database of consumers is a new and emerging vehicle that’s extremely cost-efficient. Many of the companies Orion Media represents have thousands or perhaps even millions of consumers’ email addresses. In the past, these companies have relied on other vehicles like magazines, television, newspapers and radio to speak to their consumers. These new eZines not only feature magazine articles and color photos but also video clips. By developing an eZine, a company can entertain and educate the consumer with timely and useful information through articles, photos and videos. The good news about the eZines, like the ‘Remington Country eZine,’ is that a consumer who reads this free magazine online has links inside the articles to go directly to the company’s webpage to instantly learn more about a product in which he or she is interested.”

Since outdoor people still are demanding information and entertainment, I believe we’ll see more eZines being distributed to outdoor consumers in the future. Many companies have realized that eZines can provide answers to consumers’ questions, use entertaining video clips to teach the out-of-doors and set up communications with their consumers about the types of new products and information they’re interested in learning.

These eZines create a natural link from outdoor enthusiasts to a company that gives them information they can use at a time they can use it and also presents that educational information in an entertaining way. If the consumer has tried some of the advice that the company sending the eZine has sent him or her before and has discovered that advice to be credible and useful, the company then has built trust with that outdoor person. Therefore, when the company introduces a new product, the consumer has every reason to believe that the information about that new product is reliable and honest. The consumer may decide he needs that new product for his next outing.

Through the years, outdoorsmen have seen changes in the way they receive information and are entertained, from the town crier calling out the news hundreds of years ago, to newspapers, to radio and then television and today the Internet. These new eZines appear to be yet another change in the outdoor industry. The good news is the consumer gets to choose what articles he wants to read, and what videos he wants to see in an eZine that’s delivered to his email once a month.

“The demand for outdoor information hasn’t changed in many years,” says Colin Anthony, of the Outdoor Hub. “However, with the growing expansion of Internet use by the consumer, the delivery system that outdoor people use to get their information is changing rapidly.”

Today we’re seeing a dramatic increase in the number of people who enjoy the outdoors going to the Internet to find articles, stories and videos, learn information, read daily breaking news and be entertained. The eZine is just one of the different ways that outdoor companies are reaching out to their consumers with more and better information and entertainment in a more timely manner.

Image courtesy John Phillips

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