“We've been able to stand out in a very strong way because of AdWords and Google.”Adam Lackner
Ezra Peters, his wife, Amber, and her brother, Adam Lackner, were young military veterans in 2007. The couple served in the U.S. Navy, and Adam was a U.S. Marine who had been deployed to Iraq. As civilians, they wanted to work for themselves, leveraging the focus and discipline they learned during their service. Together, they founded BrushBuck Wildlife Tours, living on a budget so tight they thought twice before ordering fries with their burgers. Their goal was to stand out in the local tourism industry by being prompt, professional, and courteous. The first season they led fewer than 50 wildlife tours with two vehicles. “At first, we thought this might be our first and last season, but we became the number one company in our area within a very short time,” Amber recalls. “We changed the expectations for a tour guide here in Jackson.”
The trio knew how to generate leads locally, but attracting customers from outside Wyoming was a bigger challenge. “It was a good moment for us when we started using Google AdWords,” Google’s advertising program, Adam says. “AdWords lets us have a presence with people who are booking six to eight months before they get here, especially for our multi-day tours.” AdWords now accounts for about 60 percent of their sales. Google Analytics helps the trio understand and track website traffic, and Google My Business gives potential customers the opportunity to check out reviews and photos. Adventurers considering a tour can also watch dozens of videos on the company’s YouTube channel, which Adam calls “a very powerful tool.” Gmail, Calendar, Drive, and other G Suite tools help everyone stay in touch and on time.
Today, BrushBuck Wildlife Tours offers domestic excursions to Yellowstone, Grand Teton, and Denali National Parks, and international tours in Africa and South America. They escort 7,000 to 10,000 people annually in 10 vehicles. In addition to creating a great customer experience, the founders are dedicated to spreading their work and training ethic. Adam concludes, “We’ve started to build a culture like a Marine Corps platoon or a Navy unit here. You start to work together in ways that really you don’t see in a whole lot of businesses. Anybody can be a good guide on eventful days, when the bears and the wolves all come out. I want our guides to get five-star reviews even on bad days.”