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Joshua Claflin

Josh Claflin, as the President of Garrison Everest, specializes in assisting businesses related to outdoor activities, hunting, adventure, and shooting sports. He focuses on developing effective messaging, branding, and digital marketing strategies that can help these businesses expand their brand presence, increase website traffic, build a larger contact list, and grow their customer base.

Firearms Ecommerce

5 “Must-Do’s” Before Starting a Firearms Ecommerce Website 2024

By Firearms Marketing

Firearms and shooting industry companies recognize the importance of a robust firearms ecommerce platform for both current and future success. This awareness has heightened, particularly in response to shifts in consumer behavior driven by the COVID-19 pandemic. As we approach this year’s election cycle, online competition is expected to intensify due to rising global conflicts, increasing crime rates, anti-gun industry attempts at bans, and evolving state politics and laws. To navigate this landscape effectively, it is crucial to grasp the essential elements of conducting business online. This article delves into key aspects to ensure your online presence aligns with success.

In this article, you’ll learn about:

  1. How to build your ecommerce website for your buyer persona
  2. The importance of preparing your product library
  3. Identify product fulfillment methods
  4. Security issues
  5. Should you consider an enterprise solution?

With more retail outlets closing, disruption within distribution, some large firearms and hunting brands are bypassing distribution and dealers and going straight to the customer. The manufacturer/dealer relationship is still vital to most brands, and will remain so for the foreseeable future — but the trends are getting harder and harder to ignore because of customer behavior changes.

Here are some interesting statistics according to Fortunly:

  • More than 80% of online shopping carts are abandoned before checkout on mobile devices.
  • American consumers spent around $9.12 billion on online shopping during Black Friday 2022.
  • eCommerce sales are expected to surpass $735 billion by 2023.
  • It is estimated that 95% of all purchases will be made online by 2040.
  • eCommerce businesses lose more than $75 billion per year because of bad customer service.
  • eCommerce sales are expected to reach $7.3 trillion on a global scale by 2025.
  • Around 80% of US customers said that free shipping would make them more likely to make an online purchase
  • Credit cards are the most popular payment method for shopping online, followed by electronic wallets and debit cards.

In this post, I want to give you five critical “must-dos” (before you consider how to generate traffic) if you’re evaluating a new e-commerce website initiative that will help you organize your firearms marketing team, save time and make it easier and faster to implement your new e-commerce-based website if you are a manufacturer or retailer.

1. Build Your Firearms Ecommerce Website for Your Buyer Persona

Before you get to the part of what you want your website to look like, nothing will bring your web team more clarity and focus than understanding your buyer persona.
You most likely have a good idea of who your customer is—but taking the time to understand what they want from your website will make all the difference. Seek to understand what their wants, needs, problems, behaviors, and questions are.

Create a web experience based on them and use story to create clear messaging.  This will ultimately make for higher sales and less abandoned carts.

2. Prepare your Firearms Ecommerce Product Image Library

firearms ecommerce product image

Photograph products on a clean white background.

The second step is establishing your product library. If you’re a large manufacturer, you may have over 2000 SKU’s that are jumbled into a hundred different sizes, on gray backgrounds, outdated, or that show your product in a less than ideal format. Since this aspect of the project can take the longest, you can save a lot of time by starting now.

Start by creating a shot list:

  • What products need to be reshot?
  • Which product images can be reused?
  • Locate a lifestyle photographer
  • Have the photographer provide the raw sizes and cropped images set to 1000 x 1000 pixels for use on the website

Sort all these on a spreadsheet so the photographer can easily sort and organize when it comes time to shoot your products. Make sure you place all your products on a white background. Placing products on a clean white background allows your product to be the hero and creates a clear understanding in your customers mind without any unnecessary background clutter.

3. Identify how you’re going to fulfill orders

With over 20,000 (Source: CNS) laws on the books—determining how you want to fulfill orders that comply with federal, state and local laws is the next consideration and if you’re a firearm manufacturer. Below are five considerations.

1. Utilize a third-party cart.
Ruger, for example, utilizes the GearFire,  Gallery of Guns.com and other providers to sell its products directly online. All you need to do is apply for membership with your FFL and set up an account. This can also be done through your distributor. This allows your products to be embedded in hundreds if not thousands of online gun store websites and outdoor specialty retailers and takes the hassle out of you (or your staff) having to deal with running your online store. The downfall is you rely on their somewhat antiquated looking shopping cart that doesn’t align with your website’s look and feel.

2. Ship direct to customer via an FFL
Daniel Defense’s website is an example of how to set up a shopping cart where the product is shipped directly to an FFL of your customer’s choosing. They will enter their local FFLs address, notify them that your firearm is being shipped to them, and the FFL will handle all the paperwork. This all happens after the purchase. There are hundreds of shopping cart software solutions on the internet from WooCommerce and Adobe Magento to name a few. Choose the software that best suits your needs and one that you feel is easiest to use. I recommend WooCommerce as it is used by over 21% of all shopping carts on the web if you’re doing a custom install with WordPress.

2024 UPDATE: Payment processors will be your biggest hinderance to selling online. Most of the larger ecommerce platforms are intertwined with processors like Stripe, Paypal and others that restrict firearm sales. I do not recommend signing up with any third-party solutions like Miva, Volusion, Wix, Squarespace, GoDaddy, and especially Shopify, who in August 16, 2018 banned Franklin Armory from using their platform. When building on these networks, you are essentially handing over your lawful online business that puts you at risk because these providers can shut you down at anytime—sometimes without warning. Big Commerce, Magento (larger sites) and WooCommerce are better options. There are also FFL-based platforms like Celerant and Orchid designed for dealers that can be more suitable for your needs.

firearms ecommerce diagram

 

3. Dealer only
Springfield Armory, Benelli and Beretta only sell through their dealer network—some use a hybrid (dealer and third-party cart). You can purchase other accessories on their websites, but to purchase a firearm you are redirected to a dealer locator.

4. What States should I NOT ship to?
Some manufacturers do not ship to New York, Illinois or Hawaii. Other states have magazine restrictions like Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Vermont and California. The anti-gun laws in these States are very confusing and can leave you open to a lawsuit. It’s better to not even take the risk unless you have a good attorney advise you on your options.

5. What shipping provider should I use?
The shipping of firearms seems to constantly change. The main rule of thumb is to always ship to an authorized FFL—never to a personal residence. Below is the latest information from GunBroker.com. If you have any questions, it’s always wise to check with your attorney, USPS, UPS or FEDEX representative.

  • US Mail – unlicensed persons:
    • Unlicensed persons can ship a rifle or shotgun by US Mail.
    • Unlicensed persons cannot ship a handgun by US Mail. Pistols, revolvers, and other firearms capable of being concealed on the person (for example, short-barreled shotguns and short-barreled rifles) are defined as handguns.
    • Postal regulations allow the Post Office to open your package for inspection.
    • Ammunition cannot be shipped by US Mail.

    You can search the US Post Office Postal Explorer site for specific USPS regulations regarding firearms and ammunition (Hazardous, Restricted and Perishable Matter).

    US Mail – licensed persons:

    • Licensed persons can ship rifles, shotguns, or handguns by US Mail. In fact, we suggest you use the USPS, as it is now the most cost-effective way to ship a handgun.
    • To ship a rifle or shotgun, you need only inform the Post Office the package contains a firearm.
    • A licensed manufacturer, dealer, or importer can ship a handgun via the US Post Office if the licensed dealer fills out a US Post Office Form PS 1508 and files it with the local Post Office branch where the handgun is to be shipped.

    You can search the US Post Office Postal Explorer site for specific USPS regulations.

    FedEx (Updated January 14, 2023):


    UPS (Updated January 14, 2024)
    :

6. Flat rate or box size?
The easiest and most hassle-free way to ship your products is by weight. You can set-up different weight tiers of pricing for all of your products. However, if you’re in a segment that is highly competitive and $5-$10 is a factor in getting the sale, then be prepared to discount your shipping.

4. Get the Security Issues Out of the Way

The next “must-do” is security and encryption. Everyone who sells online must take precautions for their customer’s data. And with every website now a target for hackers, it’s more important than ever.

1. Payment Processor or Gateway
To take payments online, you first need a payment processor. Authorize.Net acts as the middleman in between you and your merchant bank account that securely transfers funds from your customers’ credit card to your account. During this process, Visa, Mastercard, Amex, and Discover—whatever credit cards you accept on your site all take a percentage of the sale, usually 1.5-2%. Your bank may also charge a percentage as well. Be sure to configure these fees into your product costs.

New for 2024: Most payment processors and emerging State laws (especially in California) now require you to verify age before allowing minors to enter your website.  Check with your attorney if this applies to your website.

2. A Secure Socket Layer or SSL is the standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a web server and your customer’s browser and is now required on all websites. This link ensures that all data passed between the web server and browsers remain private and integral.

3. Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy pages are essential in protecting your site from users who may encounter problems. These important legal pages on your website ensure your business is protected from any fraudulent behavior from users. Read here for more information and some horror stories. Always get an attorney to look over your T&C and PP before launch.

4. Secure and Speedy Hosting is usually the last component considered when building your firearms ecommerce website. But beware, there are many services out there who sell you on services and packages you don’t need and who guarantee speed and security but fail to deliver. One #2A friendly company that we recommend is WP Engine. WP Engine provides you with a secure and fast platform to run your WordPress website. For many years, we have enjoyed little to no downtime and fast speeds. With Google now ranking websites based on speed, WP Engine remains a good choice for the firearms industry.

  • Content Delivery Network
  • Included SSL
  • Content Page Performance
  • Fast 24/7 Support
  • Staging Server
  • 24/7/365 Backup

Pick A Plan

5. Consider an Firearms Ecommerce Enterprise Solution

For enterprise manufacturers, it may be time to connect your CRM, ERP, and WMS and eCommerce altogether. Companies like NetSuite, Sage, SAP and HubSpot serve larger companies with large global inventories with complex supply chains. These software solutions allow you to manage your inventories in greater detail and with greater efficiency. If you’re a large manufacturer, taking the time to explore these solutions may be what you need rather than a simple shopping cart. A SAP or NetSuite implementation can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. If that seems like overkill, there are other solutions that can be connected to your back-office operations and warehouse that tracks inventory, shipping, and accounting – all who are FFL friendly.

In conclusion, when considering your next firearms ecommerce store, it’s important to identify who your buyer persona is, get a good product image library created, identify what kind of shopping cart setup you want, make sure you have the right security components in place to take payments securely and if you’re an enterprise manufacturer, consider a larger solution to more efficiently run your operations.

By taking into consideration these five “must-dos,” you’ll have what you need to engage a web development firm and make your website project go much faster.

 

GET FIREARMS ECOMMERCE HELP

These Are My Top Marketing Tips for Firearm Brands in 2024

By Firearms Marketing

As we move into 2024, the firearms marketing landscape for firearm brands continues to evolve (no surprise there), presenting challenges—and opportunities. It’s crucial to carefully rethink or plan your customer journey, considering aspects like messaging, branding, email, SEO, social media, and permitted paid advertising, as well as upsells and community engagement to keep your brand front and center and your business growing.

Adding to the complexity are the influences of AI, political dynamics (election year), and shifts in consumer behavior. Given these factors, I’m closely monitoring and sharing my top marketing insights and trends for the year.

1. Invest in Branding and Design

leupold firearm marketing branding

Consistent branding and design from Leupold

In an increasingly crowded market, establishing a solid brand identity is and still will be crucial. Brands need to focus on creating a compelling narrative and add their faces to their faceless brand (people want to do business with people) that resonates with their target audience. Striking visuals and cohesive design elements across all platforms, from packaging and direct mail (yes, it still works) to online presence, play a pivotal role in capturing and retaining consumer attention. Consistency in branding helps build trust and recognition, fostering a loyal customer base. But more than that, it will make your brand stand out in your segment and attract more customers. 

TIP: Invest in design this year. With the power of Generative AI, most brands can invest more in their creativity from either in-house design teams, agencies, or private freelancers.  

generative ai for firearms marketing

Image generated by GenAI (What’s wrong with this picture?)

2. GenAI: Harness the Power of Artificial Intelligence

Integrating artificial intelligence (AI) in marketing strategies is becoming more prevalent. AI tools can provide valuable insights into consumer behavior, enabling brands to tailor their messaging and outreach more effectively. Conversational marketing with chatbots, voice/videobots (on the horizon), personalized recommendations, and AI-driven analytics are just a few examples of how GenAI can revolutionize how firearm brands engage with their audience. 

Widely utilized tools such as HubSpot, Upfluence, Klaviyo, and Rank Math expedite the content, design, and development processes, enabling us to gain deeper insights into purchasing behaviors, search engine optimization, predictive analytics, and segmentation.

TIP: If you haven’t, work AI into your workflows. Start with Midjourney, ChatGPT, or BARD or HubSpot’s ChatSpot and begin experimenting. If something doesn’t turn out, keep in mind its getting smarter and better every day. 

3. Enroll in the Parallel Economy and Don’t Forget Your Brand Values

Regrettably, our nation remains increasingly polarized along political lines. And with the election coming up, it will only intensify. The trend of corporate activism, often referred to as “wokeness,” is causing customers to distance themselves from previously culturally influential brands such as Disney, Bud Light, and others. Platforms like PublicSq, Mammoth Nation, and ExpertVoice.com are expected to gain even more traction in 2024. There is already a noticeable shift towards these platforms among online consumers. Customers now have a wide array of choices, with 10-20 options for everything, and brands that effectively communicate novelty and their unique brand values will emerge as standout choices.

TIP: Talk about your brand values for conservation, sustainability, 2A rights, or family values to stand out and break through the clutter. Consumers are actively looking for you! 

4. Amplify Your Brand’s Reach and Engagement with Macro Influencers

Influencer marketing still remains a powerful tool, but budgets are shifting toward macro influencers (50K-100K) – individuals with influence at a much smaller scale and with more diverse and local followings. Collaborating with influencers authentically aligning with your brand’s values (mentioned in point 3) can significantly boost visibility and credibility. Firearm brands should seek partnerships beyond endorsements, fostering genuine connections with influencers who embody the lifestyle and ethos of their target audience. You can get more reach and awareness for less. 

TIP: Find influencers who are plugged into women’s firearm networks, minority firearms groups, and online communities—or start one yourself! What was once very broad, the focus should be narrowed, and messages tailored per audience and their specific interests. 

5. Capture Attention in Seconds with Video and Short Form Content

Video content continues to dominate online platforms, and the rise of short-form videos is unstoppable. Brands should invest in creating engaging and shareable videos that highlight product features, showcase outdoor experiences, and tell compelling stories. Platforms like YouTube Shorts and Instagram Reels will continue to offer a unique opportunity to connect with a younger audience, so crafting content that aligns with these platforms’ trends is essential.

 

short form video for firearms marketing

Video Shorts by Warrior Poet Society

TIP: I wouldn’t say I like TikTok and actively steer clear of the platform due to its questionable privacy practices and the fact that it is operated by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). However, for those willing to explore it, TikTok offers a channel for influencers to connect with a younger audience. I prefer to stick with YouTube and Instagram—for now. It makes me sleep better at night. 

6. Privacy and AI Bans: Navigating Regulatory and Possible Pending Search Challenges

With third-party cookie deprecation looming, brands must prioritize first-party data collection and utilization. Expect to see a shift towards self-service ad platforms and contextual targeting strategies.

The increasing scrutiny and regulation of artificial intelligence pose challenges for marketers. Brands in the firearm industry should stay informed about evolving AI regulations, ensuring compliance with ethical standards and privacy concerns. Proactively adjusting to evolving legal environments will be essential for preserving trust and credibility. Google’s AI is already inclined to suggest negativity towards firearms in search results. This tendency is likely to intensify over time, especially with the influence of the growing multi-million dollar anti-gun industry.

TIP: Create compelling user-first content and prepare for the possibility of a decline in traffic as AI starts providing answers to searchers’ questions that might have otherwise directed them to your blog or website. While everyone else is regurgitating AI generated content, create value based content written by humans. 

In 2024, the marketing landscape for firearm brands is characterized by the dynamic interplay of technology, design, and shifting consumer expectations. Additionally, there are ongoing efforts to de-platform, ban, and exclude those with 2A and self-defense interests from the public square. By considering these tips and trends, you can strategically position your brand as an innovator, effectively connecting with and engaging your target audience through novel and compelling approaches.

Have you got a question? What are your marketing plans in 2024? Post it below.

 

 

5 Firearm Marketing Tips for 2024 

FREE DOWNLOAD: 5 “Must Do” Firearm Marketing Tips for 2024

 

Are you ready for 2024?
Global conflicts, increasing crime rates, and a presidential election will define 2024. Defense-minded, law-abiding citizens will seek ways to enhance their sense of security for the protection of their families, properties, and rights. Prepare for this heightened interest by proactively organizing your website and firearms marketing strategies to capitalize on the upcoming surge.

GET READY FOR 2024!

 

Photo credit: Strikeman

5 Firearms Marketing Alternatives You Haven’t Thought Of Yet

By Firearms Marketing

Reaching the over 8 million new gun owners who have recently entered the firearms market is more challenging than ever, especially in the realm of firearms marketing. However, firearm brands that have dedicated time to developing their brand and digital firearm marketing programs are now seeing significant rewards. In 2022, they experienced the third-highest sales record for guns, ammunition, optics, and accessories, with a notable contribution from female buyers.

If you’ve been on the fence about marketing and are now ready to capture this moment, in this article you will learn about:

  • Podcasts – Podcasts will continue to be a strong channel in 2024.
  • The Parallel Economy – Tap into anti-woke, pro-american networks and social media platforms
  • ExpertVoice – Incentivize behind-the-counter retailers and experts.
  • Focus on women and minorities – Women and minorities are the largest purchaser segment of firearms over the past 3 years—are you focused on them yet?
  • Influencers – Reach your audience through trusted firearm social media content creators.

If you’re not a big well-known brand like Ruger or Smith & Wesson, marketing your firearms brand and line of products for recreational shooting can leave you scratching your head wondering what to do.

Facebook, Google and YouTube which was once a bastion for firearm, ammunition, and hunting knife companies to advertise, now bans all paid advertising related to direct weapon sales. And Instagram announced in 2020 that they will begin cracking down on influencers who work in the firearms segment. We’ve seen several accounts cancelled over this past year.

Fox, the NFL and other major media outlets that used to be friendly to firearm manufacturers have shut the door as well. You may remember when Daniel Defense tried to run an ad in 2003 on the Super Bowl.

Below I’ve identified five firearms marketing alternatives that you haven’t thought of yet that will help you get your message out, build your brand and attract new defensive and recreational minded customers.

firearms marketing podcast1. Firearms Marketing Podcasts

The old is new and the new is old. In the last two years we’ve seen a resurgence in podcasts. Podcasts like Dan Bongino, GunTalk and Colin Noir and others offer a way for your brand to reach a broader audience and leverage the trust of the host. According to Influencer Marketing Hub:

  • There are over 2 million podcasts
  • More than 420 Podcast Listeners
  • 78% of Americans Are Aware of Podcasting
  • Almost 62% of US Consumers Listen to Podcasts
  • 180+ Million Americans Have Listened to a Podcast
  • 68% Listen to the Whole Episode

Podcasts are more influential than influencers according to Ad Age.

2. The Parallel Economy

As a growing number of Americans become aware that many of the brands they traditionally supported are diverging from their cherished values, a wave of new companies is emerging. These new enterprises pledge alignment with core American principles such as freedom and nationalism. Networks like PublicSQ, Truth Social, and Mammoth Nation have specifically catered to conservatives distancing themselves from corporate practices associated with “wokeness,” exemplified by companies like Target, Bud Light, Disney, and others.

firearm marketing alternative public sqIn response to this shift, an increasing number of shooting sports brands are making their debut on these alternative platforms, seizing the opportunity to connect with a captive audience that shares their values. The growth of these networks is noteworthy, with PublicSq reporting substantial milestones. According to Business Wire, in just 13 months since its nationwide launch, PublicSq has seen its Consumer Members and Businesses on the Platform surpass 1.4 million and 65,000, respectively, as of July 31st. This marks a remarkable growth of 272% and 98% since December 31, 2022, respectively.

The trend extends to direct-to-consumer brands as well, with EveryLife, PublicSq’s inaugural venture in this category, experiencing a robust start. Launched on July 13th, EveryLife generated an estimated revenue of $300,000 in its first 19 days of sales. Impressively, around 60% of EveryLife orders were monthly auto-renew subscriptions, indicating a sustained customer commitment.

Other companies, like Old Guard Pet Co., founded by Dr. Maggie Gooding, exemplify this pro-American shift. Old Guard Pet Co. not only produces pro-American dog food but also actively supports veterans and values aligned with American principles. Well-known firearm brands such as Sig, EOTech, and others are increasingly available through online retailers, signaling a broader shift toward these alternative platforms. It seems only a matter of time before brands themselves migrate to these platforms to reach an audience that resonates with their values.

firearms marketing on expert voice 3. ExpertVoice

ExpertVoice is a website that connects brands with experts in various fields, primarily sales associates and behind-the-counter workers in retail stores like Scheels, Sportsman’s Warehouse, Cabela’s, and thousands of other retailers in the U.S. These experts can try out products and provide feedback and reviews to help promote the products to their followers and communities.

Brands can also use ExpertVoice to offer special discounts and promotions to these experts. It is a platform for companies to connect with and engage influential people who can help promote their products to a broader audience. ExpertVoice harnesses the most effective firearm marketing channel of all: Word of Mouth. By getting listed on ExpertVoice, your brand can connect with the people your customers interact with when in the store actively shopping for gear.

firearm marketing women

Photo credit: Glock

4. Firearms Marketing to Women & Minorities

Women and minorities are a burgeoning segment in the industry as you might already know (Source: NSSF). You should consider using content or sponsoring a free shooting class or range day in your local newspaper or county magazine to attract interested customers.

Women are helping change some of the negative stereotypes typically associated with the firearm industry. Firearm manufacturers should consider this trend and do all they can to promote it. Almost all brands like Glock have added women in their imagery and are creating sections in their publications and websites that speak directly to them.

5. Influencers

Influencer marketing is a type of firearm marketing that uses category leaders or celebrities to communicate your brand’s message and content to their vast number of followers. Instead of buying print ads or filming commercials, you use the influencer to get the word out for you instead. The industry is taking increased notice of influencers like Guns Out TVHickok45, IV8888, and Warrior Poet Society. Influencers who have large networks of trusted followers represent an important component of your marketing mix. By tapping these well-known hunters and shooters, you can gain entrance into larger audiences.

 

Final Thoughts on Firearms Marketing

Aside from the firearms marketing options mentioned above, you might consider exploring Hulu’s self-serve ad platform, which is being utilized by brands like Strikeman. You may have also come across advertisements by Henry Firearms on popular talk radio shows. Glock has also experimented with commercials that don’t display firearms visually. These are some examples of how you can bypass anti-gun sentiments.

In conclusion, digital marketing can be made more effective and efficient with the use of podcasts, exploring the emerging freedom economy, targeting female audiences, and influencer involvement. Look for things to change again this year with the rise of AI platforms like ChatGPT and Google Bard.

 

5 Firearm Marketing Tips for 2024 

5 “Must Do” Firearm Marketing Tips for 2024

 

Are you ready for 2024?
Global conflicts, increasing crime rates, and a presidential election, 2024 will be intense. Defense-minded, law-abiding citizens will seek ways to enhance their sense of security for the protection of their families, properties, and rights. Prepare for this heightened interest by proactively organizing your website and firearms marketing strategies to capitalize on the upcoming surge.

STAND OUT IN THE MARKETPLACE

 

Article was first written in October of 2020—updated December 9, 2023. 

what is firearms marketing

Maximizing ROI with Effective Firearms Marketing Tactics (The Complete Guide)

By Firearms Marketing

In today’s competitive firearms market, driving sales and maximizing ROI demands a strategic and targeted approach. Navigating the complex landscape of firearms marketing requires more than just a surface-level understanding of the industry—it calls for a comprehensive arsenal of effective tactics. From leveraging digital platforms to harnessing the power of compelling storytelling, the key lies in deploying methods that not only elevate brand visibility but also resonate with the firearm enthusiasts’ community.

Crafting a multifaceted marketing strategy tailored to the unique intricacies of the firearms industry is essential for businesses aiming to stand out amidst the crowd. This article delves into the pivotal tactics that can ignite sales and propel your brand towards lasting success. By honing in on the most impactful strategies, you’ll translate marketing investments into tangible results while forging meaningful connections with a discerning audience.

Dig in as we go through the basic frameworks of firearms marketing, where precision, creativity, and a deep understanding of the market are the ammunition for driving remarkable ROI.


 

Understanding the firearms market

The firearms market is a complex and ever-evolving industry that encompasses a wide range of products, from handguns and rifles to ammunition and accessories. Understanding the nuances of this market is crucial for devising an effective firearms marketing strategy. It’s essential to stay abreast of constantly changing state and federal regulatory changes, industry trends, politics, and consumer preferences to tailor your approach accordingly.

Firearm Market Facts: 

  • Across the United States, 16.4 million firearms were sold in 2022.
  • The U.S. Firearm industry contributes $51.3 billion to the economy.
  • The firearms industry employs 169,523 people across the U.S.
  • 45% of American households own at least one firearm.
  • The U.S. firearm industry is worth approximately $28 billion.

(Source: Zippia)

To truly resonate with the firearms community, businesses need to appreciate the cultural, political, and historical significance of firearms. By recognizing the emotional and practical roles that firearms play in the lives of enthusiasts, collectors, law enforcement, military, CCWs, hunters, competition shooters and others—marketers can create campaigns that speak to these deeper connections. Furthermore, a thorough understanding of the competitive landscape and market dynamics is essential for identifying opportunities and setting realistic goals for sales and ROI.

firearms marketing in the firearm market

PRO TIP: Individuals who own firearms exhibit a wide range of attitudes, interests, sub-cultures, and beliefs. It’s essential to recognize that a one-size-fits-all approach may not be effective in firearm marketing. Before starting a firearm business or conducting marketing, ensure to conduct a thorough investigation.

 


 

firearms marketing

Participants in National Shooting Sports Month. Photo Credit: NSSM

The importance of marketing in the firearms industry

Marketing serves as the bridge between firearms businesses and their target audience. It’s not just about promoting products; rather, it’s about building firearm brand recognition, establishing trust, and nurturing long-term customer relationships. In a crowded market, effective marketing and exceptional branding can be the key differentiator that sets a firearm brand apart from its competitors.

Moreover, given the sensitive nature of firearms, responsible and ethical marketing practices are highly recommended. This includes adhering to legal regulations and promoting safe and responsible firearm usage. A well-crafted marketing strategy can also help in dispelling myths and misconceptions surrounding firearms, thereby contributing to a more informed first-time buyer, and pushing back on those who seek to ban firearms.

Essentially, marketing in the firearms industry goes beyond merely boosting sales. It involves shaping perceptions and nurturing a culture of respect, empowerment and responsibility. This, in turn, appeals to individuals who wish to defend life, liberty, and property—rights guaranteed to every American under the United States Constitution.

PRO TIP: In light of recent lawsuits and ongoing pressure from anti-gun groups, it’s advisable to review your advertising and marketing practices with legal experts specializing in firearm industry laws.

 


 

firearms marketing shots show

Attendees at SHOT Show

Target audience and buyer personas

Understanding the target audience is fundamental to the success of any marketing campaign, and the firearms industry is no exception. Firearms enthusiasts encompass a diverse range of individuals, from hunting and sport shooting enthusiasts to collectors and self-defense advocates. Each segment has distinct motivations, preferences, and purchasing behaviors that need to be considered in crafting targeted marketing messages.

There are six firearm market categories (as shown in the Firearms Market graphic above). And within each category—numerous segments and sub-segments.

  1. Defense
  2. Hunting
  3. Competition
  4. Enthusiasts
  5. Industry
  6. Media

Developing detailed buyer personas can provide invaluable insights into the psyche of potential customers. By understanding their demographics, interests, and pain points, marketers can tailor their messaging and offers to resonate with specific segments of the firearms community. Whether it’s addressing the technical specifications that appeal to avid shooters or the historical significance that captivates collectors, aligning marketing efforts with the intricacies of buyer personas is pivotal for driving engagement and conversions.

PRO TIP: Outline your personas early in your marketing to direct your messaging and goals.

 


 

Crafting compelling content for firearms marketing

In the digital age, content has emerged as a powerful tool for engaging audiences and driving brand awareness. For firearms marketing, compelling content goes beyond product descriptions and specifications—it’s about telling stories that resonate with enthusiasts on a personal level, answering questions about your product and its unique specifications and innovations. Whether it’s highlighting the refurbishing of a family heirloom or sharing the experiences of individuals whose lives have been positively impacted by responsible firearm ownership, storytelling can humanize brands and forge emotional connections.

In addition to storytelling, educational content that provides valuable insights into firearm maintenance, training, safety practices, and industry developments can position a brand as a trusted authority. This not only fosters credibility but also cultivates a community of informed and loyal followers. Leveraging various content formats such as blogs, videos, trade show presentations, range demos, infographics, and podcasts allows marketers to cater to diverse preferences and capture the attention of a wider audience. All of this serves to drive qualified traffic to your firearms ecommerce website that generates email subscribers and lifetime customers

PRO TIP: Utilize a clear messaging framework to tell compelling stories and clarify your messaging.

 


 

firearms marketing on social media

Photo credit: Aquilla Ammunition

Leveraging social media for firearms marketing

Social media platforms are a thorny issue in the firearms industry. Rules are hard to understand and at times don’t make sense. The threat of getting cancelled or censored is an ongoing occurrence. Regardless, social media is still an indispensable channel for firearms marketing, offering the ability to reach and engage with a vast audience. From sharing visually captivating images of firearms to fostering discussions around industry-related topics, social media presents a myriad of opportunities for brands to showcase their offerings and connect with enthusiasts.

Creating a consistent and authentic brand presence on social media can humanize the business and facilitate meaningful interactions with followers. Engaging in two-way communication, responding to inquiries, and soliciting user-generated content can further reinforce brand loyalty and advocacy. Leveraging paid advertising on platforms such as Facebook and Instagram are mostly a non-starter but if you have a product that aligns with their rules (safety glasses, ear protection, dry-firing, apparel, holsters, cases etc.) you can use precise targeting, ensuring that marketing messages reach the most relevant audience segments. By maintaining a strategic approach, social media can be used in amplifying brand visibility and driving conversions.

PRO TIP: Given the sensitive nature of firearms, marketers must approach social media with a nuanced understanding of platform policies and community guidelines. Always have a plan B, and don’t build your content on one platform.

 


 

Email marketing strategies for firearms businesses

Email marketing remains a stalwart tactic for engaging existing customers and nurturing leads within the firearms industry. Crafting personalized and relevant email content can keep the brand top-of-mind for enthusiasts, whether it’s announcing new product launches, sharing educational resources, or offering exclusive promotions. Building segmented email lists based on customer preferences and behaviors allows for tailored messaging that resonates with specific segments of the audience.

firearm marketing email examples

Steinel Ammo Co. Email Marketing

Moreover, email automation can streamline the communication process, ensuring that timely and targeted messages are delivered without overwhelming subscribers. Incorporating visually appealing designs and compelling CTAs can enhance the effectiveness of email campaigns, prompting recipients to take desired actions. Furthermore, tracking and analyzing email engagement metrics provides valuable insights for refining future campaigns and optimizing ROI. When executed thoughtfully, firearm email marketing can foster enduring customer relationships and drive repeat purchases.

PRO TIP: Flexible Email Service Providers (like Klaviyo or HubSpot) work the best. Never conduct cold/spam emailing. It doesn’t work and it ticks your would-be customers off.

 


 

firearms content marketing

Photo credit: Pew Pew Tactical

Search engine optimization for firearms websites

With a plethora of information available online, ensuring that a firearms business’s website ranks prominently in search engine results is crucial for driving organic traffic and generating email subscribers and sales. Implementing sound firearm SEO strategies involves optimizing website content, meta descriptions, and tags with relevant keywords that resonate with the firearms community. Additionally, creating valuable and shareable content that attracts backlinks from reputable sources can bolster the website’s authority and visibility.

Local SEO is particularly important for firearms businesses with physical storefronts, as it helps prospective customers in the vicinity discover and engage with the brand. Ensuring consistent business information across online directories and maintaining positive reviews can bolster local search visibility. Monitoring and adapting to search engine algorithm updates and user behavior trends is essential for staying ahead in the competitive digital landscape. By prioritizing SEO, firearms businesses can establish a strong online presence and attract qualified leads.

PRO TIP: Make sure to prioritize exploring new alternative search engines like Brave and Duck Duck Go, as well as traditional platforms like Yahoo!, which continue to be popular among older enthusiasts.

 


 

Influencer marketing in the firearms industry

Influencer marketing has emerged as a compelling avenue for firearms businesses to amplify their reach and credibility. Collaborating with firearms influencers who have a genuine passion for firearms and a dedicated following within the community can yield authentic and impactful endorsements. Whether it’s showcasing product demonstrations, sharing personal experiences, or participating in industry events, influencers can lend a human touch to the brand and foster trust among their audience.

Identifying influencers whose values align with those of the brand and whose audience mirrors the target customer base is essential for creating authentic partnerships. Leveraging influencer-generated content across various marketing channels can amplify brand visibility and stimulate engagement. Moreover, tracking key performance indicators such as engagement rates, website traffic, and conversions resulting from influencer collaborations is crucial for assessing the impact on ROI. When executed with transparency and integrity, influencer marketing can be a potent catalyst for expanding the brand’s reach and driving sales.

PRO TIP: Choose influencers that have true influence, not influencers who don’t necessarily have subject matter expertise.

 

 

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firearms marketing ROI tracking

Track your marketing channels for ROI

Tracking and measuring ROI in firearms marketing

Measuring the effectiveness of marketing efforts is imperative for refining strategies and allocating resources judiciously. Establishing clear KPIs aligned with specific marketing objectives—whether it’s increasing website traffic, improving lead generation, or boosting sales—provides a framework for evaluating ROI. Leveraging analytics tools to track and analyze campaign performance across various channels offers actionable insights into what resonates with the audience and where adjustments are needed.

Attributing sales and conversions to specific marketing touchpoints, such as social media campaigns or email promotions, enables businesses to discern which tactics are most impactful in driving revenue. Additionally, calculating the cost of customer acquisition and lifetime value can provide a holistic view of the ROI generated by marketing initiatives. Continuously refining strategies based on data-driven insights and consumer feedback is pivotal for optimizing ROI and staying ahead in the competitive firearms market.

PRO TIP: Conduct quarterly marketing audits to understand what channels are working and what channels are not. Use a tool like Databox to accurately track and monitor your business in real time.

 


 

Conclusion: The future of firearms marketing

As the firearms industry continues to evolve, so too must firearms marketing strategies adapt to the changing landscape. With advancements in technology, shifting consumer behaviors, politics, and evolving regulatory environments, firearms businesses need to stay agile and innovative in their approach to marketing. Embracing emerging digital platforms, harnessing the power of data-driven insights, and upholding sound marketing practices will be essential for driving sustained growth and ROI.

By fostering genuine connections with the firearms community, telling compelling stories that resonate with enthusiasts, and leveraging a diverse array of marketing tactics, businesses can navigate the complexities of the industry and thrive in an increasingly competitive market. The future of firearms marketing lies in a harmonious blend of creativity, authenticity, and strategic precision—a formula that will continue to fuel success and enduring relationships with firearm enthusiasts.

In conclusion, by embracing the multifaceted nature of firearms marketing and honing in on the most impactful strategies, businesses can ignite sales and propel their brands towards lasting success. With a deep understanding of the market and a commitment to consistent and sound marketing, firearms businesses can maximize their ROI and carve a meaningful presence within the firearms community.

This comprehensive approach, coupled with a dedication to continuous improvement and adaptability, will empower firearms businesses to thrive in an industry that demands precision, innovation, and an unwavering commitment to authenticity.

 

5 Firearm Marketing Tips for 2024 

5 “Must Do” Firearm Marketing Tips for 2024

 

Are you ready for 2024?
Global conflicts, increasing crime rates, and a presidential election—in 2024, defense-minded, law-abiding citizens will seek ways to enhance their sense of security for the protection of their families, properties, and rights. Prepare for this heightened interest by proactively organizing your website and firearms marketing strategies to capitalize on the upcoming surge.

GET FIREARM MARKETING TIPS

firearm influencer marketing

What’s Around the Corner for Firearms Influencer Marketing in 2024?

By Firearms Marketing, Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing in the firearms industry has changed a lot since 2016. Back then, brands didn’t understand how to collaborate with firearms influencers, and influencers weren’t sure what to charge. Most influencers were happy to receive a free product—but of course, all that changed. 

Marketing budgets continue to expand for influencer marketing as more money pours into influencer pockets. Brands are going to spend up to 69B on IM by 2029 (Source: Influencer Marekting Hub). And for a good reason—the effectiveness of an firearms marketing influencer strategy continues to yield unprecedented results— 5x, 10x, and even 2000x return for just one video posted on YouTube. 

In this article, I look at a few shifts brands and influencers should be aware of in the firearms industry as we move into 2024. 

firearms influencer marketing

Photo Credit: Alex Zedra

1. Increasing Prices, More Significant Returns

Influencer costs continue to rise. On average, it costs 500% more to collaborate with prominent influencers today than it was just three years ago. As you might guess, this is due to increasing network sizes and content that is Hollywood-grade. For example, I’ve worked with a prominent influencer for the past six years. He used to charge $1,000 for a YouTube review—today he charges $13,000. This cost may seem steep, but his content (over time) has generated massive returns for our client(s). As influencers increase their followings and their brand grows, their economic value and ROI increases as well. 

Authenticity and engagement remains the secret sauce that makes influencer marketing so powerful. Alex Zedra, a popular influencer in the firearms industry—who has over 2 million followers—works with several top brands and runs her own AZ branded fan store says,

“Companies are starting to recognize the creativity and the impact creators have on a brand. Influencers know what content/ads work best for their following. It comes off organic and genuine—better than a corny television or magazine ad.” 

 

2. The Talent Agencies

Over the past eight years, the talent agency business model has rapidly adapted to influencer marketing. Talent agencies believe that an influencer can be treated the same as a famous actor, model, or athlete. 

In the entertainment industry, talent agencies begin by finding talented actors to represent their agency. They attract and contract actors that they believe will book jobs for them i.e. commercials, radio spots or movies. (Source: Top Hollywood Coach) These agencies then add a percentage to the total bill — usually 10-30%. 

However, some have figured out that the talent agency model can be adapted to influencer marketing, which may seem the same on the surface—but are quite different and pose challenges to both the influencer and the brand manager.

According to Danielle Wiley of The Sway Group, a leading influencer marketing agency with first-hand experience, says, “The talent agency model simply isn’t ideal for full-scale production of highly successful influencer marketing campaigns.” Furthermore, “Today’s influencer marketing industry has evolved beyond simply securing paying gigs for creators: the most successful campaigns are the result of expert creative guidance and in-depth program management from start to finish.”

In other words, to make influencer marketing work, you shouldn’t just approach it as “hiring an influencer.” The strategy involves collaboration, management, ongoing communication and support to make it useful—for both the brand and influencer.

The good and the bad of talent agencies

If you’re a professional influencer who is too busy to market yourself, then signing up for representation may be a good idea. Still, you should be aware of the upside and downside of working with talent agencies.   

The upside:

    • Talent agencies can help you market your influence. 
    • Signing exclusive contracts may guarantee you more jobs.
    • Joining a group of other managed influencers makes you feel supported.

The downside:

    • Talent agencies are tempted to favor higher-priced influencers than lower-cost influencers.
    • Talent agencies can throttle or block influencers’ earning potential by increasing costs.
    • Influencers are locked into exclusionary contracts that prohibit them from working with brands they want to work with.
    • You may be forced to give up your current relationships to the talent agency that may harm your existing agreements.
    • Talent agencies may require you to do more work than you typically agree to.

So depending on your needs, hiring a talent agency comes with the good and the bad. If you’re an influencer, I recommend not signing exclusive agreements so that you can maximize your opportunities. 

3. Saturation and Competition is Increasing, But So Are The Number of Firearm Influencers

As a person who conducts marketing in the industry, I commend the folks at Black Rifle Coffee. They were wise (before influencer marketing was a thing) to sign up every famous gun influencer (mostly women) on social media. It seems like you can’t go anywhere without seeing one of the industry’s top female gun/fitness/politico influencers wearing something with the BRCC logo on it. Other brands have also done a great job as well: Vortex, Yeti and Woox to name a few. 

 

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We work in a highly competitive industry where most brands are blocked from advertising on Instagram, Facebook and Google. More and more brands are making the move to influencer marketing, which is causing saturation and are finding that the influencers they want to work with are already representing their competitors. 

But don’t fret—there are also thousands of new gun-related content creators popping up every day. And with 8 million + new gun owners this year, you can expect even more. As of this writing, according to our search tool, there are 68K influencers with a global reach of 18B—with the majority going to female accounts. This is up over 75% from 2021! 

 

firearms influencer marketingNOTE: 18B does not represent people; it means total social media accounts. 

4. What is Your Influencer Marketing Plan B? 

As we move into 2024 and the presidential election looming, what can industry marketers expect regarding social media and the use of influencer marketing? Working with influencers is an effective way to build brand awareness, especially for lesser-known brands. But what would happen if all gun-related content were suddenly shut down? Instagram made a move earlier this year with their Collab Tool to require all influencers to start tagging brands they work with and threatened to shut down all gun-related accounts. We have yet to see the massive cancellations they promised. Several popular YouTubers pages have been pulled down over the past few years, only to be re-activated after public outcry—but how much longer will these efforts work before full-out censorship? How would you pivot if your influencers got shut down? 

Here are five things I would consider:

  1. Move investment into podcasts and podcast sponsorships
  2. Identify ways to identify and engage forum influencers at scale
  3. Incentivize customers as influencers at scale – See Live Capture by Upfluence
  4. Incentivize at the counter/retail level – See ExpertVoice
  5. Test out lesser-known/used channels like Truth, MeWe and 99 others 

This is the year to think seriously about what your Plan B is if influencer marketing plays a big part of your marketing plan.  

5. A Few Things We Are Looking Forward to in 2024 

Olivier Kennedy of Enigma Swiss says, “We live in a post-truth world, influencer marketing is one of the rare trust enablers that works.” Influencer marketing is not going away anytime soon and is one of the best ways to earn your prospective customer’s trust. And with the “sold-out year” upon us (more to come on that later), remaining relevant will be crucial as manufacturers struggle to fulfill demand.  Below are a few things we’re going to do more of this coming year to make influencer marketing more effective: 

  1. The integration of AI
  2. Turn our client’s customers and counter-level retailers into ambassadors
  3. Recruit more pico influencers (300) to create content for our clients and rely less on larger influencers
  4. Offer more revenue sharing opportunities to our influencers, so it’s a win-win situation for both the brand and influencer 
  5. Focus more on niche influencers
  6. Focus less on vanity metrics and more on performance

Another ample opportunity on the horizon that I’m excited about is social commerce’s evolution on platforms like TimeToGoWild.com, Everest.com and Guns.com.

In conclusion, we’ll see firearm influencer prices continue to increase, more brand saturation and competition, and talent agencies hinder influencers. Think about your Plan B if you rely heavily on influencers and keep an eye on new exciting new trends like social commerce. 

What about you? What do you see in regards to influencer marketing in 2024?

Photo Credit: ETS Model and Influencer Charissa Littlejohn: https://www.instagram.com/charissa_littlejohn/

How to build your hunting brand

8 Ways to Build Your Hunting Brand in 2024

By Hunting and Outdoor

A recent PricewaterhouseCoopers study found that eighty percent of consumers look at online reviews before making major purchases, and a host of other studies have recorded the strong influence those reviews have on the decisions people make.

Social media has accelerated the trend to an astonishing degree: a dud product can become a laughingstock in a matter of hours. In the old days, you might buy a Remington hunting rifle or Bear Bow because that’s what your dad hunted with. Today, such considerations to brand loyalty matter much less due to the availability of customer reviews. Now, each product has to prove itself on its own.

A dissatisfied customer will tell between 9-15 people about their experience. Around 13% of dissatisfied customers tell more than 20 people. – Office of Consumer Affairs

If you have a great hunting, outdoor or firearm product and are looking for ways to maximize outdoor industry marketing or your branding to increase sales and build your reputation in the industry—here are 8 sure-fire ideas to help turn your customers into raving fans that will increase your bottom line and build your hunting brand.  

1. Be somebody

The old saying goes, “you can’t be everything to everyone.” Companies must find a way to stand out among the marketplace clutter and find the “whitespace” to stand for something. Don’t just tell your customer your products are quality, superior or dominating—demonstrate it. Prove to them you are worth their time by demonstrating your brand values, mission and how it will benefit them.

 


2. Make them feel something

The best way to connect in today’s digital world is through storytelling and contextual marketing. Our ancestors sat around a fire telling stories since the dawn of time, and this still continues today—except now we get it from the Sportsman Channel, the internet or social media. There is something intrinsically valuable to storytelling. When you connect with people at the heart level and make them feel something—your message will go a long way. Today’s marketing isn’t about highlighting features and benefits, it’s about “celebrating the benefit in the way it impacts other people’s lives,” says Simon Mainwaring, author of “We First.”  Put your product in context of real everyday stories for greater impact.

“People may not remember exactly what you did, or what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel.”

3. Be authentic

The best way to be authentic is to just to be yourself. Too many hunting and firearm brands try to be something they’re not. Weave your personality into your content, messaging and imagery. Through authentic and good-willed communication, customers will innately share your message and bring it to life.

4. Delight them after the sale

Do not have a “one and done” mentality. At the end of the sales process and after the product has been delivered, add value to your customers through events, continued education or through helpful content that continues to solve their problems. This will increase their loyalty to your brand. Show them you care after the sale. It costs 5 times more to acquire new customers than it does to keep current ones. (Source: Forbes

5. Make your hunting brand all about them

Every product or service should be centered around what is called a buyer persona. If you don’t know who your customer is, you leave a lot of opportunity on the table.  Make your customer the superstar of your business.

Here are a few examples:

  • I’m in the market to buy a new rifle and I can’t figure out which brand I like better: Bergara, Remington or Winchester. I may find an ebook on Bergara’s website “How to choose the right hunting rifle.” In an easy to understand format, it provides me options, use, price and customer reviews to help me make a better decision. I’ll most likely develop a strong preference to choose a Bergara. 
  • I’m a gun store owner looking for information on how to best track my inventory. A manufacturer may send me a case study on how other gun store owners are using their product to help them to keep track of their firearms and remain compliant. The manufacturer then follows up with a series of emails that builds trust.
  • I’m a hunter who is not sure what kind of bow I will need for an upcoming elk hunt. A manufacturer might send me their top 3 bow recommendations based on my stated preferences.

6. Talk their language

Don’t use fancy terms and ‘gobblygook’. Talk their language. Using the examples above, meet them on the range, in their facility or on the mountain. Talk to them like an old friend. You have to earn your customer’s money more than ever.

7. Give them what they want

Do your absolute best to make a great product and don’t cut corners. If enough customers ask for something—give it to them. Give them a way to sound off on what is needed to make your products better. You can create a customer support portal with an area titled “Submit product ideas” to encourage participation in your product development. Don’t let Facebook be the platform they choose to voice their disapproval if something with your product goes wrong. 

CRM for Outdoor, Hunting and Shooting Sports

Manage your customer support with the HubSpot CRM

8. Fanatical customer support

Last, but not least is customer service. When you provide great customer experience and give excellent support, you are much more likely to have that experience passed on via word-of-mouth.

A survey by Harvard Business Review concludes that customers want knowledgeable front line customer service reps and that the problem be resolved on the first call. On average, 40% of customers who suffer through bad experiences stop doing business with the offending company. This points to the importance of companies hiring people who align and know their brand(s) products best. Hire your customers.

Companies Who Said They Were Focused On Experience Grew 40% Faster And Increased Customer Lifetime Value By More Than 60% Versus Those Who Weren’t. – Forrester Research

Are you in a boring industry segment? Then the focus should be shifted to recruitment and employer branding. There are 1.6 million people who work in the hunting industry (Source: Congressional Sportsman Foundation). Are the best people working for you?

A great non-industry example is Zappos, the shoe company. Who gets excited about selling shoes? At Zappos, the culture is the product and shoes are what they do on the side. Create a great culture to work at and the boring product stuff becomes fun. 

“So many people when they go to the office, they leave a little bit of themselves at home, or a lot of themselves at home. And they have to put on this different persona in the office, especially in corporate environments. And our whole…there’s a lot of talk about work life separation or balance and so on, whereas our whole thing is about work life integration. It’s just life.”— Tony Hsieh, CEO

In conclusion, it all starts with a great product that solves a problem on a massive scale. To connect that great product with your customer—you must be somebody, you must be authentic, play the guide, not the hero in their story, make your brand all about them, talk their language, give them what they want and provide outstanding customer service above all else so that good customer reviews come natural. 

outdoor hunting shooting sports customer buyer personas

 

FREE DOWNLOAD: A Guide to Creating the Buyer Persona
The key to maximizing your marketing efforts

In this powerful template — we help you and your team think through and identify who your ideal customer is. This will enable you to focus your messaging and maximize your marketing and sales. It will also help you present your buyer persona to your team for clarity.

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firearm email marketing

The 4 Principles of Effective Firearm Email Marketing

By Firearms Marketing

Email marketing in the firearms industry continues to be a viable and cost-effective way to reach current customers and build trust with those who’ve yet to buy from you.

With more and more channels being taken away from  firearm marketers (Facebook/Instagram Ads, YouTube, Google PPC, etc.) email marketing is one of your brand’s greatest ways to generate revenue.

A few quick stats: 

  • 61.9% of emails are opened on mobile devices.
  • 60% of email campaigns are read on mobile.
  • 80% of people delete emails that aren’t optimized for mobile.
  • ROI: Marketers make $42 for every $1 spent on email marketing.
  • Segmented campaigns: Segmented email campaigns drive 30% more opens and 50% more click-throughs.
  • Email checking: 99% of people check their email every day.

In this post, I’ll outline the four principles of an effective email marketing framework to help you make your firearms marketing more effective.

1. Start with mobile

81% of smartphone users say email is the most popular activity they use their phone for. (Source: Pew Research) With this statistic in mind, it’s important for marketers in the firearm industry to design and develop emails with a mobile first strategy. Most popular email platforms like Klaviyo or HubSpot provide mobile-based templates built-in. Just make sure when testing your campaigns that you check them in a mobile browser to make sure they load fast, the type is large enough to read, and the call-to- actions look correct.

 

2. The significance of firearm email marketing and segmentation

When asked to rate the statement: “Most of the marketing emails I receive include no content or offers that are of interest to me.” 63% agree or strongly agree. (Source: HubSpot)

Data suggests that context is just as important as content. Don’t send offers for hunting products to people who are only interested in concealed carry or vice-versa if you have multiple product lines.

“Segmentation is the first step in personalization.”

Get started with segmentation by using forms that ask users to self-identify. Start by identifying your buyer personas and create lists within your database or marketing automation software around customer groups with the same interests.

For example, a form element that asks a website visitor to signup for your newsletter or downloadable user manual may look like this:

What best describes you?

  • Hunter
  • Recreational Shooter
  • Competition
  • Military
  • LEO

This will help you understand more about who your customers are so you can move closer to personalizing your offers.

 

3. The power of personalization

94% of businesses say personalization is critical to their current and future success. (Source: eConsultantcy).

After segmentation, the first step in personalization is to have a way to sort your database contacts according to their interests within the broader segment. The second is to be able to identify what behaviors (actions) they took on your website to identify other areas of your product offering they might be interested in.

Behavioral marketing (BM) is perhaps one the biggest advancements in email marketing in recent years. With the rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI), and event driven email technology, digital firearm marketers can become even more targeted and precise. (Source: Email Vendor Selection) BM can offer a distinct competitive advantage to companies wishing to optimize their firearm digital marketing and automation further.

What is behavioral firearm email marketing?
Rather than maintaining simple ‘lists’ of customers, behavioral email marketing software allows you to build up an individual profile for each of your subscribers and sort them accordingly.

Behavioral email campaigns are based on the actions that your customers do (or do not take) when interacting with your business’ website. This allows you to send emails that truly matter to each individual recipient. (Source: Email Vendor Selection)

Using our example above, you may have a customer who has identified them self as a hunter—but who has also visited your web page that sells choke tubes for turkey hunting at a middle price point. With behavioral marketing, you would send them an offer for a choke tube in the context of turkey hunting at the price point they’re interested versus a generic choke tube offer (or nothing at all). By using context, you’ll provide a more meaningful interaction and meet your customer at the right place and the right time—when they are actively looking for a choke tube for turkey hunting.

Statistics show that contextual emails (such as transactional and trigger-based campaigns) have an average open rate of around 50%, while offer-based emails have an average open rate of around 22%.

 

Context Firearm Email Marketing

 

Behavioral emails are effective because they are triggered based on a prospect’s behavior. As a result, these emails are almost never a surprise. They are an expected reaction to an action taken by a user.

That’s the true power of behavioral emails – they are activated by the user, not the marketer. (Source: HubSpot)

 

4. The importance of data-driven analysis, optimization and automation

Analytics is the engine that powers the growth of your business. (Source: Hubspot)

Without a good and “understandable” analytics tool, you won’t know how to improve your email marketing efforts. Analytics helps you get away from “the send and pray you get a good click through rate” approach, that most conduct. Tools with A/B testing, dynamic content and the ability to use a customer’s name, past purchases and interests can help you understand what messages are working and what aren’t and help you become a better digital marketer in the process.

Add in an automated welcome series and you now have a 24/7/365 marketing program running.

When starting an email marketing program, begin with a mobile-first approach, start segmenting as soon as possible, personalize through behaviors and use automation and a robust analytic tool to send event-based emails. By incorporating these four principles and optimizing over time, you can turn your email marketing program into one of your most profitable marketing channels.

SHOT show cost

Get More From Your SHOT Show Costs and Registration

By Outdoor Industry Marketing

Thousands of hunting, outdoor and firearms companies register for SHOT Show each year to showcase new products, evaluate the competition, network and work to sign new dealers/distributors for their products. SHOT Show is the eight largest trade show in the world with:

  • 52,000 attendees
  • 2,000+ media
  • 115 countries

From booth design and construction, marketing collateral, travel, accommodations, sponsorships, and the hassle of transporting your products to and from SHOT Show costs can begin to pile up.

As a business owner, sale professional or outdoor industry marketing professional, you want to make the most out of your SHOT Show investment because so much goes into making it a success. For some companies, it’s the one and only chance they’ll have all year to make their sales quotas, determine if their new products have merit and to foster new business relationships.

For others, it’s just another marketing program to check off the list. In this post, I’ve outlined six consecutive ways to optimize your SHOT Show registration and ROI and get more out of next year’s SHOT Show (or any other hunting, outdoor and firearms industry trade show).

1. Calculate your SHOT Show Costs and ROI

With so much time, money and effort invested in SHOT Show—one might ask: Am I getting the most out of it? What am I missing? In order for the next 5 points to make sense, you need to start by understanding how to calculate your ROI so you have a benchmark on what you need to break even.
Use this simple equation: (Gross Profit – Marketing Expenses) / Marketing Expenses

**Example SHOT Show costs (Team of 8):

  • 10×20 booth, design, production, registration and space: $40,000
  • Party for team and A-list customers: $16,000
  • Flights and travel: $7,000
  • Accommodations: $15,960 ($399/night at the Palazzo)
  • SWAG: $5,000
  • Food/other: $20,000

Total Costs: $103,960
Gross Profits = $______

ROI = (Gross Profit – $103,960) / $100,000

*The above does not take into account the annualized return of a customer over time or (LTV).

Use this calculation to establish your benchmarks and sales goals. This can also help you decide whether or not SHOT Show is worth attending next year.

SHOT Show costs2. Attend SHOT Show Exhibitor Academy

If you’re new to attending a trade show, it can seem overwhelming. To make sure you’re well-prepared, the NSSF offers the SHOT Exhibitor Academy.

The SHOT Show Exhibitor Academy is specifically designed to help current exhibitors improve their overall SHOT Show experience, boost their return on investment (ROI), and maximize their exhibit’s impact. The best part? It’s completely free!

During this series, the NSSF (The Firearm Industry Trade Association), the organizers of the SHOT Show, along with hotel and contractor partners,  share their extensive knowledge on how to successfully exhibit, market, and present your products and services to the thousands of industry buyers who will be exploring the SHOT Show floor. Any exhibitor at the 2024 SHOT Show or a vendor at the 2024 Supplier Showcase can participate.

3. Know your prospects

Do you really know who your customers are? The answer is probably “yes,” but you need to take it a step further. Have you taken the time to understand what their pain points and biggest challenges are? Where do they go for information? What do they expect from a product or service like yours? By conducting research on your *ideal* customer, you’ll be able to have a more useful conversation with prospective distributors and dealers when it comes time to make the introduction. 

Whether you manufacture hunting knives, optics, rifles, tree stands or hunting apparel—knowing your buyer persona is the first step in getting a higher trade show ROI.

4. Create a downloadable offer to generate leads

Last year’s SHOT Show may have been a success, but did you connect with those prospects you didn’t have time to talk to? In the melee of the “gotta-meet-this guy,”  handshakes and small talk, you may have missed that one prospect that was ready to place a substantial purchase order. This is where creating a content offer comes into play. By creating an ebook, media kit, whitepaper or video that answers your prospects’ questions, you will be able to re-engage, hold their interest and attention through your website and track their responses by gathering their contact information in return for a free downloadable offer. This is a great way to maximize your lead generation efforts because it builds your brand and thought leadership—regardless of whether or not you scanned their badge.

5. Add CTAs to your SHOT Show Advertising

Now that you have a content offer, place a call to action (or CTA) on all of your SHOT Show materials and advertisements, including your business cards, pop-up banners, demo screens, catalog, brochure or dealer receipts. Add a call to action that tells your prospect what to do next by visiting your website to download your free offer. When you get them to your landing page, ask the right questions to understand who they are, what company they are with and what they are most interested in. This information will give you a good understanding of how to best approach them. Use other suggested offers to further their engagement.

6. Follow-up and utilize a CRM

After the show, be sure to follow-up promptly. Data has shown the faster you follow-up, the higher the likelihood you will convert your prospect to a customer. Utilize your CRM to close the loop on your prospects and to stay organized. This will also help you calculate ROI and LTV.

  • 50% of sales go to the first salesperson to contact the prospect. (Source: Inside Sales)
  • If you follow up with a web lead within 5 minutes, you’re nine times more likely to convert them. (Source: Inside Sales)

Don’t overlook social media—especially Instagram. SHOT Show is a great way to build your network for future social selling and content marketing initiatives. You should be creating stories and reels and posting your day’s activities to create some buzz. Just make sure you’re only taking pictures of your booth!

7. Nurture leads with email marketing

Sometimes your prospect may need a little nurturing to get them across the finish line, especially if you’re a new brand. This is where you can use their contact data to send emails for additional content offers in order to move them down your sales funnel. Create content based on the three buyer stages: Awareness –> Consideration –> Decision.

  • Email marketing has a 2x higher ROI than cold calling, networking or trade shows. (Source: Marketing Sherpa)
  • Nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads. (Source: The Annuitas Group)

8. Is the cost of SHOT Show worth it?

For smaller, less-known brands, exhibiting at SHOT show is an immense expense that may bring little in return. Your marketing dollars could be better spent elsewhere over the year to build your brand’s awareness. When small brands and clients ask me about SHOT, my response is: “if you’re not there, you’re not there.”  It’s great to be with other people in the industry, see the latest products, catch up with friends, and meet new prospects and clients. However, if you walk away with no purchase orders, media coverage, a valuable contact, or feeling like it wasn’t worth it—you may want to use your marketing budget to invest in improving your product or building your brand. Try attending again in a year or two so you’ll have a good group of dealers who are interested in seeing and buying your product to make your SHOT show worth it.

If you have attended SHOT Show (or are considering registering), you know the chaos, cost and exhaustion it takes to attend, exhibit and finish successfully. You can maximize your lead generation efforts by calculating your ROI, establishing your buyer persona, creating a downloadable offer on your website, adding CTAs to your trade show collateral, following up promptly, utilizing your CRM and nurturing leads through email marketing. These tactics will give you a better ROI at your next big industry trade show.

Need help with SHOT Show? We offer booth design services, collateral design, CRM setup and more! Contact us today!

 

crm for outdoor brands

7 Powerful Benefits of a Hubspot CRM for Outdoor Brands

By Outdoor Industry Marketing

It’s a well-known fact in the outdoor industry marketing circles that acquiring new customers costs more than retaining existing ones. This is why the most successful brands in our industry prioritize customer experience and service. So, how do they go about achieving this? It all starts with implementing a centralized Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system tailored for outdoor brands.

If you’re contemplating the use of a CRM to streamline your data management, this blog post will outline the advantages of using it for your outdoor, hunting, or shooting sports business. It will provide clarity, organization, and scalability to your operations, which is especially valuable in these uncertain times and amid the growing influence of artificial intelligence.

One of the most popular CRM systems available today is HubSpot’s CRM. HubSpot CRM offers a “single source of truth” that empowers your front-office teams (marketing, sales, and support) to strengthen their relationships with customers and deliver an exceptional experience.

Below, we’ll explore seven benefits that can elevate your business’s customer experience to a whole new level and contribute to more profound and widespread growth when using HubSpot.

CRM for Outdoor, Hunting and Shooting Sports1. A Comprehensive Dashboard CRM for Outdoor Brands

One of the key benefits of the HubSpot CRM is its comprehensive dashboard. The dashboard provides a complete overview of your customer interactions, sales pipeline, and marketing activities. You can see the status of every lead and customer in your system, including where they are in the sales or support process, what actions they have engaged in, and what communications they have received. This makes it easier for sales, marketing, operations and support teams to collaborate and work together towards a common goal.

Real industry application: You’re a business owner of a trigger manufacturing company and you have a lot on your plate. A CRM will make things easier by tracking your contacts and customers, automating administrative tasks, and sending email campaigns to keep online sales flowing — all using the same tool, with one login.

2. Easy to Use CRM for Outdoor Brands

The HubSpot CRM is user-friendly and easy to use, even for people who aren’t necessarily tech savvy like your customer service rep. It has an intuitive interface makes it easy to navigate and use all the features. You can quickly add new contacts, create tasks, set reminders, and manage your support and sales pipeline. The platform is also customizable, allowing you to tailor it to your needs.

Real industry application: Say “so long” to messy spreadsheets and time wasted on menial tasks. HubSpot CRM features a full suite of sales productivity tools so you can sell more and work less.

3. Centralized Database

With HubSpot CRM, you can store all your customer data in one central location. It becomes your “single source of truth” for your business. If things aren’t going well, or you start to feel some upward or downward trends, your CRM will be able to tell you. This means you can access all the information you need about a customer, including their contact details, past interactions, and communication history, returns and support requests all in one place. This saves time and eliminates the need for manual data entry—reducing the risk of errors.

Real industry application:  If you’re a retailer, media company, distributor, OEM, or manufacturer, having your contacts all in one place will allow you and your team members to take action on sales, marketing, operations and support activities more clearly and centralize your internal communications for your team, especially for sales calls, events, campaigns, show projects, product launches and business development. 

crm for outdoor brands deal stage4. Sales Automation

HubSpot CRM automates many of the repetitive tasks involved in the sales process. For example, you can set up automatic email sequences, schedule follow-up tasks, and create custom workflows that trigger actions based on customer behavior. This streamlines your sales process, making it more efficient and effective.

Real industry application:  Sales leaders can easily follow-up with calls, create and send meeting invites, and send contracts and payment links that save time. Use automation to speed up the process and create a more professional sales experience. 

5. Seamless Integration

The HubSpot CRM integrates seamlessly with other HubSpot tools, including Marketing Hub, Sales Hub, and Service Hub. This means that you can create a unified customer experience across all touch points. For example, you can create targeted email campaigns using the Marketing Hub and track their performance using the CRM. You can also integrate with other systems like your ERP, ecommerce store and countless other apps. 

Real industry application: As your enterprise grows and inventory management becomes more complex, you can utilize HubSpot to sync orders, pre-orders, online orders and other data points for easier inventory management. 

6. Valuable Insights

The HubSpot CRM for Outdoor Brands provides valuable insights into your customer interactions and sales pipeline. You can generate reports on sales activities, track the performance of your marketing campaigns, and gain insights into customer behavior. This information can be used to identify areas for improvement and make data-driven decisions that improve customer engagement.

Real industry application:  Sometimes, one major deal can make or break this year’s sales goals. HubSpot provides actionable insight into leads/prospects so your follow-up calls can be approached with more understanding to close the deal. Built in reports allow you to also understand customer sentiment through Net Promotor Score (NPS) which can help you forecast sales. 

7. Cost-Effective CRM for Outdoor Brands

HubSpot CRM is a cost-effective solution for businesses of all sizes. The platform offers a free version with basic features, making it accessible to small businesses and startups. Then, as your business grows, you can upgrade to the paid version to access more advanced features. You can begin to calculate ROI on customer service improvements and increase in repeat and new sales. 

Real industry application: Smaller businesses don’t have to break the bank on software that doesn’t deliver ROI. HubSpot offers flexible plans to scale with your organization when you’re ready. By starting now, you’ll be well-positioned in 1-3 years from now when you break 1M in sales.

In conclusion, the HubSpot CRM for Outdoor Brands is a powerful tool that can help businesses of all sizes manage their customer relationships more effectively. With its comprehensive dashboard, user-friendly interface, centralized database, sales automation, seamless integration, valuable insights, and cost-effectiveness, the HubSpot CRM is a worthwhile investment for any business looking to improve customer engagement and drive growth. 

Ready to see what HubSpot CRM can do for your business? Sign up below or contact us with your questions!

 

Ready for a free, live demo? Sign up below..


outdoor industry digital marketing

Outdoor Industry Digital Marketing: Track The Metrics That Matter

By Outdoor Industry Marketing

 

When it comes to tracking digital marketing in the outdoor hunting and shooting sports industry, it’s easy to get confused with what metrics matter most. A lot of times we think we are tracking the correct metrics or ‘key performance indicators’ for improvement—but get lost in the pretty charts and graphs of what are commonly referred to as ‘vanity metrics’ that can lead outdoor industry marketing managers astray.

outdoor industry digital marketing In this post, I want to give you a practical way on how to track, measure and report on your online efforts using a scorecard we use with our clients to prove the efficacy of our digital marketing efforts. The scorecard also helps us to understand where our strategy needs improvement and what to adjust over the course of our campaign(s).

So let’s dive in!

 

1. What is a KPI?
A key performance indicator (KPI) is a business metric used to evaluate factors that are crucial to the success of an organization. KPIs differ per organization; firearm businesses’ KPIs may be net revenue or a customer loyalty metric, while the government might consider unemployment rates, or non-profits, donations.

In digital marketing, there are three classes of KPIs we recommend you pay attention to.

A. Mechanical KPIs
Mechanical KPIs deal with the performance of your digital hub, or in other words—your website. Four critical KPIs to gauge are:

  • Organic traffic – The number of strangers visiting your website of their own free will that found you on the first page of search engine pages vs. paid where you paid to be on the first page.
  • Bounce rates – Bounce rate is one of the most misunderstood metrics. Bounce rate is the percentage of single-page visits (or web sessions). It is the number of visits in which a person leaves your website from the landing page without browsing any further. A good industry bounce rate to aim for is 20-30%. To decrease bounce rates, entice your users to click to a second page on your website.
  • Website Grader – Your website must be fast and load under 3 seconds and meet these basic standards. 
  • Search engine optimization –Does your website meet the minimum criteria to be considered optimized?

A fast-loading, search engine (and don’t forget mobile) optimized website is the first step in ensuring a strong digital marketing foundation.

B. Website Conversion KPIsoutdoor industry marketing website grader
Website conversion KPIs deal with how well your site is changing traffic into leads and nurturing them for customer conversion. Here is a list of conversion KPIs and how to improve them.

  • Returning visitors – Add a blog and other fresh content to keep your prospects coming back.
  • Visitor-to-lead conversion rate – Create problem-solving offers with landing pages and forms to convert visitors into leads.
  • Lead-to-customer conversion rate – Does your shopping cart get above a 2% conversion rate? 
  • CLV– Customer lifetime value (CLV or often CLTV), is a prediction of the net profit attributed to the entire future relationship with a customer.
  • CAC – Customer Acquisition Cost can be calculated by simply dividing all the costs spent on acquiring more customers (marketing expenses) by the number of customers acquired in the period the money was spent. For example, if a company spent $100 on marketing in a year and received 100 customers in the same year, their CAC is $1.00. (Source: Kissmetrics)
  • Workflow conversion rates – Research from Gleanster suggests that, even when it comes to qualified leads, more than 50% of leads aren’t ready to buy on the day they first convert on your site. If you call up these leads and push them into making a decision right away, you will likely lose them. Workflows help by nurturing these leads through an automated workflow that are based on a series of actions taken by leads on your website with the goal of nurturing them to customers or warming the sale. Make sure to track these steps and optimize for each stage.

You can also conduct A/B testing on small tweaks to your website that can be tracked over time, so you know if your metrics are improving or declining.

C. Brand KPIs
In the digital space (websites, mobile, social media, text, blogs, forums, etc.), it’s much easier to track brand engagement and understand if your brand is taking hold in your customer’s minds. One way is to monitor customer interactions and comments on social media or through Google Alerts. Record how many positive and negative social signals (likes, shares, retweets, and mentions) are posted about your firearm, ammunition or hunting product and track over time.

A few relevant brand KPIs are:

  • Direct traffic – Direct traffic comes from people who actively type in your brand’s name from memory, giving you a good indication of how well your prospects remember your products/services.
  • Brand mentions – How many people out there are posting positive or negative comments about your brand or product?
  • Network growth – Are your networks growing across your social media channels (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn)?
  • Blog subscribers – Are people finding your content interesting and signing up to receive more?

 

2. What KPIs don’t matter?
In the firearm and hunting industry, we are up to our eyeballs in statistics. From FFL registrations, background checks and the annual surveys released by the NSSF, these reports help us get our heads around how the industry is doing and how it relates to the health of our businesses. But there are some KPIs out there that just don’t matter.

Mentioned at the start of this post, vanity metrics are considered nice to have but don’t necessarily give us actionable data on making decisions about our marketing. Vanity metrics are things like registered users, time on site, pages/visits, downloads, and page views. They are easily manipulated and do not necessarily correlate to the numbers that matter: active users, engagement, the cost of getting new customers, and ultimately revenues and profits. (Source: Techcrunch )

I’ve talked to a lot of companies in the industry who consider Facebook and Instagram ‘Likes’ key metrics. But many struggle to tell me how many of those ‘Likes’ drive traffic, customers and sustained engagement.

Did you know that only 3% to 5% of your Facebook Page’s “fans” see the content you post? Regardless of how many people have clicked ‘Like’ once they’re on your brand’s page, the vast majority of them never return to the page itself and never see the content in their newsfeeds.

What to Measure Instead: % Feedback and Impressions

Use Facebook Insights, Facebook’s free analytics tool, to check which posts generate the highest level of engagement. The higher the level of engagement, the higher your EdgeRank score. (EdgeRank is kind of like SEO for Facebook newsfeeds) Think about the content and conversations that have the highest % feedback and impressions, and then come up with a plan for how you can replicate it. (Source: Hubspot)

outdoor industry digital marketing report

Use data reports to analyze each channel

3. You can’t measure what you don’t track.
If you’ve ever tried losing weight, you know that every week you’ve got to stand on the scale to check your progress. Digital marketing is the same way. When it comes to tracking, there are a number of tools out there to use. We explicitly depend on Google Analytics and a paid software program called HubSpot.

When it comes to reporting, Google Analytics is way more powerful. It’s more flexible than HubSpot, and puts data in a granular, broken-down form. With Google, you can tell more about your online marketing and website mechanics as a whole, and you can slice the data in a million ways.

But, HubSpot shows you more about how individuals interact with your marketing and website. It lets you connect performance data to an individual lead, giving you insight into their specific journey, and helps you nurture them through the buying funnel. HubSpot is also better organized than Google, and will show you the need-to-know information about your marketing campaigns. (Source: Nectafy)

 

hubspot-vs-google-analytics-2

 

4. Track it with the scorecard.


firearms-digital-scorecardNow that you got a good download on what the right and wrong KPIs are, let’s turn these metrics into something you can use.

A good place to start is by setting a SMART goal across the board at 20%. 20% is enough to cause you to feel a little pressure and angst, but it’s not so high that it’s out of reach. Digital marketing takes time, and it’s important that at each stage you test your efforts to see if they’re working or not—in a logical way (we’ll be discussing what to test in a future blog post).

In our scorecard, we’ve listed out most of the metrics stated above in a table to track over 6-months. Make sure to collect data from your sales team every month to accurately report revenue. Pay specific attention to increases and pieces of content that help you make actionable decisions.

By scorecard tracking, you’ll be able to more accurately gauge the performance of your digital marketing efforts and turn strategy into targets.

As marketers, we track so many different data points to better understand what’s working and what’s not that it can become easy to lose sight of what’s most important. Reporting on your business impact doesn’t mean you should no longer pay attention to site traffic, social shares, and conversion rates. It simply means that when reporting your results to your executives, it’s crucial to convey your performance in a way that your C-suite can get excited about.

Rather than talking about per-post Facebook engagement and other “vanity” metrics, use the six metrics we detail in the below cheat sheet to report on how your marketing programs led to new customers, lowered customer acquisition costs, or higher customer lifetime values. When you can present marketing metrics that resonate with your decision-makers, you’ll be in a much better position to make the case for budgets and strategies that will benefit your marketing team now and in the future.

 

firearms marketing agency

8 Tips Before Choosing A Firearms Marketing Agency

By Firearms Marketing

Selecting the right firearms marketing agency can prove to be a challenging endeavor, particularly for busy business owners who find themselves juggling an array of responsibilities each day. The multifaceted nature of this decision adds an extra layer of complexity to their already hectic schedules:

  • Payroll you’ve got to make
  • The new armorer you have to hire
  • Review the CNC machine replacement
  • A sales team meeting at 4
  • The new product design project plan
  • Plus you got to make plans for this weekend’s shoot

When it comes to your branding, firearms marketing or design—your thoughts immediately go into overdrive when you remember that one of your customers commented that your website did not pull up for them on their iPhone. You’ve also seen a steady decline in online sales, most likely due to the recent Google algorithm update. Your sales team needs new collateral that showcases the new product line and the packaging needs updating, plus you got to get ready for SHOT Show.

But where to start? The designer you used last time missed the mark. The web design firm you called doesn’t work with firearm companies and they think “a slide” is one found down at the local park. Choosing a firearms marketing agency can be a daunting and time-consuming process. You need someone you can trust. Someone who is responsive, trustworthy, reliable and knows what they’re doing. The problem is finding those people—the diamond in the rough—someone who meets your expectations and will get the job done right and prove that your investment was worth it.

If you’re looking for a new firearms marketing agency—here are 8 things that will help you choose the partner that solves your toughest business challenges.

1. Start by clearly defining the problem

Simple enough… but not so fast. When beginning any kind of marketing we don’t go far enough to define what the problem actually is. A good firearm marketing agency will get to the heart of your challenges and pain points to help you make the right decisions—not through a hard sell like a haggling car salesman—but someone who truly takes an interest in your business and cares about your success.

Here are a few challenges we commonly hear:

A good firearms marketing agency with years of experience will be able to get to the heart of the matter.

See this article: Do I Really Need A Firearms Brand Strategy?

2. Set goals

Be specific about your goals. Is it a revenue goal?  Can you really double sales in one year? The more defined your goals are the better the marketing agency will be to suggest strategies and a budget to achieve your goal. Use the SMART goal method to set specific benchmarks that will move your business forward.

firearms marketing agency3. Does the firearms marketing agency have a proven process?

Processes are important because they define a linear way of solving a problem and accomplishing an objective in the most efficient way possible. Most firearm marketing agencies will follow some type of process. Make sure it is clearly defined so you know what to expect as you move through the project. The process should be easily found on the agency’s website or be communicated on the initial call in a project management tool.

4. Verify references

In today’s world, everyone is a skeptic. One way to make sure that the firm is ‘solid,’ is to see if they have a good set of testimonials. Look on Facebook, Google and other social networking sites to see if reviews exist. Check their case studies page to see past experiences and how they’ve helped other businesses with similar problems.

5. What do they specialize in?

Today’s best agencies are specialists in email, traffic and contact generation, SEO, influencer and social media and focus on solving challenges in one industry. They can offer traditional and digital services to meet your needs and know how outbound and inbound marketing methods fit together to offer you a range of solutions to achieve your goals. They want and desire to earn ‘trusted advisor’ status shedding the horrid ‘vendor’ designation. The most successful agencies desire and thrive on their client’s successes and truly show interest and passion about their service or product. Also be sure to check their certifications. HubSpot, Google, Email etc. certifications mean they’ve put in the time to deliver best practices.

6. Are they problem solvers?

What is the principal’s experience? Do they have a good track record in the industry and the business acumen required? There are a number of firms out there who lack true experience in solving real-world business problems. Ask for past examples or how they might approach your current marketing challenges.

7. Do they practice what they preach?

Does the firearms marketing agency have a strong and identified brand? Are they themselves implementing the programs they are suggesting to you? It will be important that they understand the firearms industry. This will save you time so you don’t have to teach them about the subtleties of our industry. Other industries are far more advanced in marketing and branding tactics than the firearms category, so knowing how your customers are reacting to other industry tactics and strategies is just as important because they will expect the same from you. Especially now that the industry has added over 5 million new gun owners.

8. Do you click with them?

80% of the time your intuition is the best way to choose a firearms marketing agency. If you are compatible as people, you most likely will work well together—assuming everything else adds up. I’ve had many opportunities over the years to work with well-known brands but in the end, we just didn’t click. Business and marketing is all about people and relationships. Pick an agency you like, who can get the job done and who you can work with.

In conclusion, a firearms marketing agency will know how to get to the heart of the problem, help you set achievable goals, know the industries nuances, have a clearly defined process, good references and testimonials, a specialized service offering, are natural problem solvers, practice what they preach, and are people you like.

Position Your Firearm Brand

How To Position Your Firearm Brand

By Firearms Marketing

Most firearm companies struggle to carve out their own niche in the firearms industry and maximize their brand’s unique selling proposition (what makes you different from your competition) because they overlook a critical firearms marketing strategy used by today’s top brands.

With over 400* firearms and ammunition manufacturers (Source: First Research), 30+ different optic companies, 20+ suppressor companies and a thousand more who produce products in the $30+ Billion dollar firearms industry today, one might ask—if you’re starting a new firearms company—how is it possible to compete in this highly concentrated, regulated and competitive industry?

In this article, I want to draw your attention to one of marketing’s most valuable methodologies called “positioning”—and how you can use it to help your hunting or firearms brand break away from the pack.

For some context, let’s imagine you are trying to build a new shotgun brand for entry-level pheasant hunters that’s water-resistance, and that costs less than the current leading brands. I will use this example throughout the article, but first, let’s define what positioning is.

What is positioning?
The concept of “positioning” was created by market and branding pioneers Al Trout and Jack Reis back in the late 60’s and explained in their book: Positioning, The Battle for the Mind. If you haven’t read the book, I highly suggest checking it out.

Positioning is a marketing strategy that aims to make a brand occupy a distinct position, relative to competing brands, in the mind of the customer. Companies apply this strategy either by emphasizing the distinguishing features of their brand (what it is, what it does and how, etc.) or they may try to create a suitable image (inexpensive or premium, utilitarian or luxurious, entry-level or high-end, etc.) through outbound (advertising, trade show etc.) or inbound or content marketing. Once a brand is positioned, it is very difficult to reposition it without destroying its credibility. It is also sometimes called product positioning. 

So how do you go about finding your new product’s positioning? There are two initial steps that you need to do first.

 

marketing pyramid1. Define your purpose
What gets you out of bed in the morning besides the motivation to make money? What is the sole purpose of why your company exists? Customers are drawn to companies that stand for something other than just making a profit. (Source: Inc.) Is it to increase a hunter’s safety? Is it to bring a greater level of protection for concealed carry? Or using our shotgun example, is it to provide novice hunters a way to take up pleasant hunting without spending a fortune?

Whatever your purpose is, write it down and put it on your wall. When the mission isn’t going well and the vision seems like a mirage, a strong purpose will keep getting you out of bed and people coming back to work, day after day. (Source: Marty Neumeier)

 

2. Find the whitespace
Now that you know what your purpose is, you can define what your positioning is (positioning is tied very closely to purpose). Look for the “whitespace” in your intended market segment—meaning an open slot that other brands don’t occupy in your target customer’s minds.

As you look at the viability for your shotgun product—you know that there are three other shotgun brands in the market. One is higher priced, and the other two are positioned for more experienced hunters who are willing to pay a higher price leaving open a huge space for another brand to move in and offer an entry level shotgun at a slightly lower price point.

This is called finding the whitespace. A space in the market no other brand occupies.

 

3. Hack your competition’s positioning
A second step in finding and determining where the whitespace is—is to do some reconnaissance on your competition’s website, social media accounts and press releases to determine what piece of the market they seem to be going after.

If your competitors seem scattered and unfocused—meaning they are trying to be someone to everyone—than this can be used against them by focusing your brand messaging specifically at the customers you want to attract—in this case, entry-level pheasant hunters.

The narrower you can focus your brand and its message to a specific segment the more effective your marketing will be. (Source: Adage) You must seek to be known for “one thing,” that your customers will find viable, interesting and worth paying attention to. In today’s overcrowded and noisy marketplace of giveaways and me-too products, where the typical person is exposed to 250-500 advertisements a day—brands must find ways to stand out.

A great example taking place in the industry today is SilencerCo’s #fightthenoise campaign. This campaign’s goal is to pass legislation that lifts the NFA ban on suppressors. Not only is SilencerCo. the hottest brand going, but they are using this inventive marketing strategy to build awareness for a greater cause under the purpose of hearing/noise protection. In the process, this effort is allowing them to build and position their brand and sell silencers at the same time—while benefiting the industry as a whole. Brilliant.

 

silencerco

 

3. Define your positioning statement
A positioning statement is the What, Who, How and Why of your brand. By creating a positioning statement, you further distil your brand’s message that gives you the key differentiators to expand upon in your advertising, content marketing, and elevator pitches. This also helps you and your team to understand what it is that makes your product unique that supports your sales efforts. You can’t sell efficiently without a clear positioning statement.

It’s important to point out that our hypothetical shotgun company “wants families to spend more time together.” This purpose will allow the brand to use imagery that reflects its purpose and have a more unique and memorable brand focus in the segment. 

firearms-marketing-positioning

 

5. Qualitative customer interviews
Next, validate your assumptions by interviewing your intended customers. When it comes to positioning—it’s important to understand how your customers view your brand’s product and how they describe it. The adage, “It’s not what you say about your brand, it’s what they say about your brand” —is what counts. This is a crucial step in defining your positioning as it will further inform all future marketing initiatives and decisions. Interviews also eliminate any assumptions you may have and gives you and your team the understanding and confidence to create effective marketing.

What if I have no customers?
Start with your assumptions of who your product will appeal to. Upon launching your business, analyze and be prepared to pivot quickly if the messaging and target market is not resonating with your messaging. Draw upon quantitative industry data from the NSSF to get a better understanding of your intended customer. Other sources like Hoovers can also provide insight.

 

6. Define your buyer persona
I speak a lot about the importance of defining who your buyer persona in my articles. Once you have collected your interview data, it’s time to focus your efforts specifically on how your particular product solves their problems or how it will appeal to them.

Get as granular as you can to put your customers in the context of using your product and how your positioning will appeal to them.

  • Basic details about persona’s role
    What do they do for a living and how did they get there?
    What is their level of education?
    What are their biggest challenges?
    Where do they get their information?
  • Key information about the persona’s business/company
    List facts like employees, management structure, competitors etc.
    What does their brand stand for? Check their website (if applicable) to learn more.
  • Relevant background info, like education or hobbies
    What do they typically do in their spare time. Are they rushed for time, busy parents? Weekend warriors? Workaholics?

 

7. Implementation
Now that you have defined your positioning and buyer persona, you can begin mapping out how your positioning implements on your website. Your website is the hub of all your marketing efforts. It is your #1 salesman, working for you 24/7/365. The firearms and hunting industry lags behind other industries in their understanding and approach to fully utilizing the web as their main marketing channel. With over 72% of all purchases starting with a web search (Source: Pardot), your T.V. and print marketing should seek to drive your audience to your website through some incentive so your messaging and positioning can be analyzed and evaluated. This will help you determine if your marketing is getting traction.

Utilize your sales funnel to decide how to move your customers to your desired outcome. Begin creating messages for each stage of the sales funnel based on your positioning. Utilize analytics, heat mapping and tracking on your website to test each phase and include A/B testing to optimize the messaging and workflows to optimize your efforts—whether that be increasing blog subscribers, social media followers, social media shares or sales.

In conclusion, to find your positioning, define your brand’s purpose, find the white space, hack your competitors positioning, define your positioning statement, conduct customer interviews (quantitative and qualitative), define your buyers persona and implement your positioning through your sales funnel on your website.

By taking the time to understand your positioning, your brand will be better equipped to stand out in today’s highly competitive hunting and firearms industry.

* Some sources report 5,400 manufacturers. 

 

firearm sales

4 Questions About Marketing When Firearm Sales Slow Down

By Firearms Marketing

Photo credit: USARMS

The firearms industry is going through a period of adjustment following the exceptional surge in firearm sales during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the situation is further complicated by record high inflation. This has resulted in a multitude of conflicting reports regarding the industry’s overall health, where a few are reliable while most are not.

During times of sluggish sales, especially in a particular segment of the gun industry, it’s possible to boost your business cost-effectively through consistent and creative marketing efforts, provided you know where to begin.

In this post, I will address four questions that a friend in the firearms industry recently asked me about firearms marketing strategies during slow periods. I hope these answers will offer you valuable insights on how to enhance your online sales in a budget-friendly manner if your segment is experiencing a slow down.

Q1. What should a company think about when determining its marketing strategy in a slower economy?

A: It’s generally accepted that it costs three times more to find a new customer than it does to sell to an existing customer. In a slow economy (or when sales slow), focusing on your current customer base by using cross-sell/upsell tactics and customer-only incentives through email should be part of your plan to boost/sustain sales. Firearm enthusiasts tend to be fiercely loyal to the brands in which they put their trust. If you’re not showing love to your current customers via email marketing and social media—they may go somewhere else. Firearm manufacturers can no longer afford to have a one-way conversation with their customers, especially in a slow economy.

Q2. How does the slower economy affect, if at all, the mix of print vs. digital marketing?

A: A majority of firearm companies have not moved with their customers online. We need to remember firearm customers are also buyers of smartphones, music, cars, home repair services, technology etc. Over 60% of people begin research for these products and services on search engines. I believe traditional marketing is still important in the firearms industry because a lot of the opportunities other industries have available have been taken away from firearm brands (Facebook Ads, YouTube, and Google PPC). However, as firearm enthusiasts become younger, more urban and more ethnic, a magazine will not be the first place they go to research guns.

Q3. What are some low-budget but effective marketing tactics firearm companies should consider?

A: Influencer marketing has always been part of a smart marketing mix in the firearms industry. I believe it’s never been more important given the rise in fake news and manipulative advertising. Influencer marketing can be a low-cost way to reach hunters/shooters who have trusted followers on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

The second—and just as important—is combining email marketing with segmentation, abandoned cart, personalization and automated workflows. These programs have shown to have a high-rate of return on investment and are a highly effective way to convert new customers, retarget old customers and keep current ones engaged.

Q4. What marketing strategy or tactic is absolutely crucial these days — and why?

A. Today, companies still need a marketing budget that mixes print, tv and trade show—but when things slow down, digital and e-commerce can deliver more bang for the buck. This is especially important for manufacturers with smaller budgets and a small list of dealers. By focusing on helping your customers become better in whatever their particular interests are (recreational, competition, home defense, tactical etc.) along with an innovative product roadmap, firearm brands will be able to remain fresh and relevant.

Customers want to hear from the brands they trust. When your brand is the most trusted and top of mind—customers are more likely to choose your brand over any alternatives.

What do you think? Comment below or send me an email.

buyer persona outdoor hunting and shooting sports

Before You Start a Firearm Company, Ask Yourself These Questions

By Firearms Marketing

Most new business owners in the firearm industry come from an engineering background. When it comes time to discuss firearms marketing, most will avoid the subject—because after all, how many engineers studied marketing in college?

In light of this fact, you may be feeling anxious to do some “sort of marketing,” but you’re not sure what that “sort of marketing” is.

Should you buy a banner ad on Outdoor Wire, develop a full-fledged content department like Springfield Armory, sponsor a woman-focused group like the Well Armed Women, pay $30,000 to go to SHOT show—and what about Facebook and Instagram?

Before you get to the part in your business that requires you to spend some money on marketing—there are four questions you need to ask to ensure that when it does come time to invest in marketing—it will work.

firearms marketing magpul

1. Solve a problem that has mass appeal.

If you look at the biggest companies and brands in the world, they all have one thing in common—they solve a problem that everyone has: computing (Apple), fast food (McDonald’s), transportation (Ford), fast consumer goods (Amazon). Or they have improved upon an outdated product (coolers) that everyone has to have (Yeti)—or they have brought to market a better product like Magpul’s polymer magazines.

Question: What is the #1 problem your product solves? Find that problem or unique difference and solve it.

 

2. Quality is job #1

A quality product that is reliable and durable is only the starting line in this industry. If you can’t do that, you need to go back to the drawing board.

According to a leading manufacturer rep, I had the opportunity to talk to the other day stated, “if word gets out on the street, you have a good product—the product will sell itself, just stay out of your own way.”

Question: Is your product of high quality and has it been thoroughly tested?

But this is still not enough—there are two other factors that form the basis of successful marketing—and that is timing and price. If the time is not right for your product, it can suck the life out of your business.

 

start a firearm company

Photo credit: SilencerCo.

3. Is the timing right?

A recent example of hitting the market at the right time is the Maxim 50 by SilencerCo. The Maxim 50 solves a huge problem everyone has: hearing loss and hunting in States where only shotguns and muzzleloaders are allowed.

According to Williams Mullen’s firearm industry practice group, “The Maxim 50 and its permanently attached silencer is not considered a firearm or a suppressor under the NFA.  Individuals looking for a hearing safe gun, whether for hunting, collecting, or recreational shooting, can now purchase one without having to go through the ATF’s burdensome registration process, which requires certain law enforcement checks, fingerprints, law enforcement notifications, a multi-month waiting period, and a $200 tax stamp paid directly to Uncle Sam.”

By integrating the silencer into a muzzleloader platform, SilencerCo. was able to solve a major problem in the market at the perfect time, earning massive industry attention. Upon the product’s release, SilencerCo’s website crashed due to the massive response.

Question: Is the timing right? What trends will fuel your marketing efforts?

 

4. Is it priced right?

If you can’t achieve good margins on your product, or if you extend yourself by going to market with several products (instead of just one or two), you might be heading down a black hole where there is no return.

According to Entrepreneur, no matter what type of product you sell, the price you charge your customers will have a direct effect on the success of your business. Though pricing strategies can be complex, the basic rules of pricing are straightforward:

  • All prices must cover costs and profits.
  • The most effective way to lower prices is to lower costs.
  • Review prices frequently to assure that they reflect the dynamics of cost, market demand, response to the competition, and profit objectives.
  • Prices must be established to assure sales.

A new resource in the industry you may not have heard about is Gun Broker’s Pricing Report. Gun Broker offers access to National Firearm Pricing and Trends to help you understand how to best price your firearms and accessories. GunBroker.com boasts 6 million unique monthly visitors a month and conducts over $3 Billion in cumulative merchandise sales. 

 

Pricing Report

 

What about sales and distribution?

For most startups and growth-phase manufacturers, distributors typically won’t take you on until you have a sales record. The exception is, of course, you have a breakout product – like the Hudson H9. However, they failed due to lack of planning.  So start with the above—develop a winning marketing strategy—and in time—and with some sales hustle, you’ll have distributors taking note.

In conclusion, by solving a problem that has wide appeal, building a quality and thoroughly tested product, launching at the right time and pricing your product accordingly will help make your business more successful. Talk to a firearms marketing agency to learn more. 

What is Outdoor Industry Marketing?

What is Outdoor Industry Marketing? (The Complete Guide to Powerful Growth)

By Outdoor Industry Marketing

Photo Credit: Chris Dorsey

Are you looking to take your online outdoor business to new heights? In the vast and captivating realm of the great outdoors, digital marketing plays a pivotal role in boosting your business growth. From hiking gear to hunting equipment, the outdoor industry is thriving. According to a recent report from Outdoor Retailer, outdoor participation grew 2.3% in 2022 to a record 168.1 million participants, which makes up 55% of the U.S. population over age 6. Hunting participation is also up according to the Council of Hunting and Shooting Sports. To fully tap into its potential, you need to unleash the power of outdoor industry marketing.

Whether you’re a small startup or a well-established brand, this comprehensive guide will provide you with all the necessary steps, tactics, and tools to start boosting your brand’s visibility and ultimately drive product sales.

I’ve accumulated over two decades of experience in the outdoor industry, and I invite you to review this guide of these tried-and-true marketing frameworks that have consistently delivered results for my marketing company and the clients we serve. We’ll also explore the essential elements you need to establish in order to connect with consumers effectively and drive business growth.

In this comprehensive guide, we will list the proven “must-do” frameworks to help you grow your business and provide a pro tip in each section. We will discuss:

 


 

Outdoor Industry Marketing Buyer Persona

Outdoor Industry Marketing Buyer Persona

Understanding the target audience in the outdoor industry

In the outdoor industry, assuming you have a product that solves a problem, the very first thing you must do is understand your target audience. The outdoor enthusiasts’ community is diverse and has many different subcultures, unfortunately, mostly divided by political associations. Thus, a deep understanding of your target audience is essential to tailor your message and effectively reach them.

After you’ve come up with a product to sell and the problem it solves, you need to dial in your target audience an to do that, you need to create buyer personas. This process involves creating fictional characters that represent your ideal customers. You can create these personas based on demographics, interests, behaviors, and other relevant factors.

Moreover, it’s crucial to research your target audience and gather insights from surveys, social media, and other sources. This process will help you understand their pain points, needs, and preferences. Once you have this information, you can develop marketing strategies that resonate with them.

Another important aspect of understanding your target audience is identifying the communication channels they use. For instance, younger outdoor enthusiasts tend to use social media like YouTube and Instagram more than traditional advertising channels. Therefore, your marketing efforts should focus on the social media platforms where your target audience is most active.

PRO TIP: Conduct customer interviews and enable self-identification in your website forms to speed up your process.

 


 

Clarify your message

Many outdoor brands struggle to engage their audiences and drive them to take action effectively. Achieving this goal can be challenging without a clear and persuasive message that resonates with your target audience. This is where StoryBrand’s BrandScript becomes valuable. By utilizing the StoryBrand 7-part framework to shape your message, you’ll gain clarity on what to convey about your brand and the sequence in which to convey it.

StoryBrand’s framework emphasizes the role of being the guide in your customer’s story rather than the hero, which prevents overwhelming your customers with excessive information. It will also provide the information to create your website’s wireframe, email automaton and other collateral as you build our your branding assets. To learn more, read more about how to utilize the power of story to clarify your message. 

PRO TIP: Play the guide in your customer’s story, not the hero.

 


 

Branding

outdoor industry marketing package design

Outdoor Industry Marketing Package Design (Summit Knife Co.)

Branding refers to the process of creating a distinct and recognizable identity for a product, service, company, or individual. It involves crafting a unique image, name, logo, one-liner, packaging, outdoor lifestyle photography and and overall perception that sets the entity apart from its competitors and makes it memorable to its target audience.

Effective branding is essential for several reasons:

  1. Differentiation: In a crowded marketplace, branding helps a business or product stand out by highlighting its unique qualities and value proposition.
  2. Recognition: A strong brand identity makes it easier for customers to identify and remember your product or company.
  3. Trust and Credibility: A well-established brand often conveys trust and reliability. Customers are more likely to choose a brand they recognize and trust.
  4. Customer Loyalty: Strong brands can build a loyal customer base who prefer your products or services over competitors.
  5. Perceived Value: Branding can influence how customers perceive the value of your product. A strong brand can often command higher prices.
  6. Consistency: Branding ensures that all aspects of your business, from marketing materials to customer service, convey a consistent message and experience.
  7. Emotional Connection: Successful branding can create an emotional connection between the brand and its customers, fostering loyalty and advocacy.

Branding is about creating a unique and compelling identity that resonates with your target audience, builds trust, and helps your business or product succeed in a competitive marketplace. Don’t forget to take the time to develop your outdoor brand.

PRO TIP: Exceptional branding can be the decisive factor in elevating sales and ensuring high levels of customer satisfaction, transforming a good business into a great one.

 


 

Build your outdoor industry website

TRACT Optics Ecommerce Web Design

Outdoor Industry Marketing Website (TRACT Optics)

Building a website involves several steps, and the approach you take can vary depending on your goals, technical skills, and budget. Here’s a general guide to building a website:

Define Your Goals and Purpose

  • Determine the purpose of your website (e.g., personal blog, business, e-commerce, portfolio).
  • Identify your target audience’s problem and speak directly to it.

Choose a Domain Name

  • Select a domain name (e.g., www.yourwebsite.com) that reflects your brand or content. Ensure it’s unique and easy to remember.

Select a Web Hosting Provider

  • Choose a web hosting provider that suits your needs and budget. Popular options include HubSpot or WPEngine.

Choose a Website Building Platform

  • Decide on the platform you’ll use to build your website. Popular options include:
    • HubSpot CMS: Is a fast-loading, easy to use drag-and-drop builder integrated into HubSpot’s overall CRM suite.
    • WordPress: Versatile, widely used, and suitable for various types of websites.
    • Website Builders: Such as Duda, BigCommerce, or Squarespace, which offer user-friendly, drag-and-drop interfaces.
    • Custom Development:  If you have coding skills, you can build a website from scratch.

Design Your Website

  • Utilize your BrandScript from your messaging to outline your wireframe.
  • Design a static layout/architecture using Adobe Illustrator before integrating into your theme.
  • Select a theme or template for your website. Customize it to match your brand and style.
  • Create a layout that is visually appealing and user-friendly.

Add Content

  • Create and organize your website’s content, including text, images, videos, and other media.
  • Ensure your content is engaging, informative, and relevant to your audience.

Optimize Your Product Pages

  • Take pictures of your products on a clean white background.
  • Write engaging descriptions that are optimized.
  • Add lots specifications.

Optimize for SEO

  • Implement on-page SEO techniques to improve your website’s visibility on search engines.
  • Use relevant keywords, optimize images, and create a sitemap.

Configure Outdoor, Hunting or Firearms E-commerce Website Settings

  • Set up essential settings, such as site title, tagline, and navigation menus.
  • Configure security measures, like SSL certificates, to protect your site.
  • Set up payment processors, shipping and tracking.

Test Your Website – Desktop, Mobile and Tablet

  • Test your website across different browsers and devices to ensure it functions correctly and looks good everywhere.

Launch Your Website

  • Once you’re satisfied with your website, it’s time to publish it to the internet.
  • Promote your website through social media, email marketing, and other channels.

Monitor and Maintain

  • Make sure to get web support to regularly update your website with fresh content and security patches.
  • Monitor website analytics to track performance and make improvements.

Remember that building a website is an ongoing process, and it’s essential to keep it updated and responsive to user feedback and changing needs. If you’re not comfortable with technical aspects, consider hiring a web development agency or designer to assist you.

PRO TIP: Use a fast-loading six second looping video on your home page to engage your visitors.

 


 

outdoor industry marketing social media

Outdoor Industry Marketing Social Media (Brenton USA)

Utilizing social media for outdoor industry marketing

Social media is a powerful tool that can help you expand your reach and connect with your target audience. However, to effectively use social media for outdoor industry marketing, you need to understand the platforms your audience is most active on.

One of the most popular social media platforms for outdoor enthusiasts is Instagram. Instagram is a visual platform that allows you to share photos and videos of your products in use. To effectively use Instagram for outdoor industry marketing, you need to create a strong visual brand identity and regularly post high-quality content that resonates with your audience.

Another popular social media platform for outdoor industry marketing is Facebook. If you target an older audience, this is the place to find them (Source: Exposure). Facebook allows you to share a variety of content, including text, photos, videos, and links to your website. To effectively use Facebook for outdoor industry marketing, you need to create engaging content that encourages interaction with your audience.

YouTube is another social media platform that can be effective for outdoor industry marketing. YouTube allows you to share short videos and in depth content. To effectively use YouTube for outdoor industry marketing, you need to create concise, engaging content that encourages subscriptions and interaction with your audience and is another great channel to target older prospective customers.

PRO TIP: Invest in a generous budget to secure the services of a top-notch outdoor lifestyle photography who specializes in the outdoor industry.

 


 

Content marketing for outdoor businesses

Content marketing is a powerful tool that can help you attract and retain customers. Content marketing involves creating and sharing valuable content that educates and entertains your audience. Here are several tips for effective content marketing in the outdoor industry:

 

 

1. Share Stories and Experiences
Sharing stories and experiences is an effective way to connect with your audience on an emotional level. You can use storytelling to showcase the benefits of your products and how they can enhance outdoor experiences.

2. Provide Educational Content
Providing educational content is an effective way to establish your brand as an authority in the outdoor industry. You can create content that provides tips and advice related to outdoor activities, such as camping, hiking, hunting and fishing.

3. Create Product Reviews and Comparisons
Creating product reviews and comparisons is an effective way to showcase the features and benefits of your products. You can create reviews that highlight the strengths and weaknesses of your products and compare them to other products in the market.

4. Use Visuals
Using visuals is an effective way to capture the attention of your audience and showcase your products. You can use high-quality photos and videos to showcase your products in use and highlight their features and benefits.

PRO TIP: Produce concise videos, each lasting 60 seconds or less, containing valuable tips, and utilize them as YouTube shorts.

 


 

Leveraging influencer partnerships in the outdoor industry

Influencer partnerships are a powerful tool that can help you expand your reach and connect with your target audience. Influencers are individuals who have a significant following on social media and can influence the purchasing decisions of their followers.

To effectively leverage influencer partnerships in the outdoor industry, you need to identify outdoor, hunting and firearm influencers who align with your brand values and target audience. You can reach out to influencers and offer them free products or compensation in exchange for promoting your products on their social media channels. We use a tool like Upfluence to identify influencers and engage them for campaigns.

When working with influencers, it’s important to establish clear expectations and guidelines for the partnership. You should also ensure that the influencers disclose their partnership with your brand to their followers to maintain transparency. This is an FTC requirement.

PRO TIP: Identify influencers with genuine influence who can actively promote your brand to their followers. The best influencers have built real trust with their followers.

 


 

Effective email marketing for outdoor businesses

Outdoor industry email marketing is a “must-do” framework that can help you connect with your audience and promote your products. More importantly, they keep your brand top of mind. Here are several tips for effective email marketing in the outdoor industry:

 

outdoor industry marketing email examples

Outdoor Industry Marketing Email Examples (Steinel Ammo Co.)


1. Segment Your Email List

Segmenting your email list involves dividing your list into smaller groups based on demographics, interests, behaviors, or other relevant factors. This process allows you to tailor your message to each group and increase the effectiveness of your email campaigns.

2. Use Compelling Subject Lines
Using compelling subject lines is an effective way to capture the attention of your audience and increase open rates. Your subject lines should be concise, engaging, and relevant to the content of your email. Most email marketing programs like HubSpot have AI subject line generators linked to your CRM that tracks what resonates with your target audience.

3. Provide Value
Providing value is an effective way to establish trust and credibility with your audience. You can provide value by offering exclusive discounts, educational content, or other incentives that encourage engagement with your brand. Don’t just send offers or discounts, mix it up with content and incentives.

4. Use Eye-Catching Visuals
Using eye-catching visuals is an effective way to capture the attention of your audience and showcase your products. You can use high-quality photos and videos to highlight the features and benefits of your products and encourage engagement with your brand. Don’t just a photo in your email. Put in the work to create a professional looking design and watch your open and click through rates go up.

PRO TIP: Maintain consistency with a monthly routine of sending three emails: one featuring a blog post, another showcasing a customer testimonial, and the third offering a promotion.

 


 

outdoor industry marketing website grader

How does your website stack up?

Optimizing SEO for outdoor industry websites

Optimizing your website for search engines is a “must do” to increase traffic and visibility. Here are several tips for optimizing SEO for outdoor industry websites:

1. Conduct Keyword Research
Keyword research involves identifying the keywords and phrases that your target audience uses to search for products or services related to your business. You can use keyword research tools to identify these keywords and optimize your website content accordingly.

2. Use Relevant Meta Tags
Using relevant meta tags is an effective way to provide search engines with information about your website content. You should use meta tags that accurately describe the content of your website and include relevant keywords.

3. Optimize and Create Website Content
Optimizing your website content involves using relevant keywords and providing high-quality, engaging content that resonates with your target audience. You should also ensure that your website is mobile-friendly, fast-loading, and easy to navigate. Add a blog to create fresh, keyword rich articles that generates traffic.

4. Build Backlinks
Building backlinks involves getting other websites to link to your website. Backlinks are an important factor in search engine rankings and can increase visibility and traffic to your website. You can build backlinks by creating high-quality content that other websites want to link to or by guest posting on other websites.

PRO TIP: The fastest route to establish SEO prominence is through the development of your brand, consistent content and the acquisition of backlinks.

GRADE WEBSITE

 


 

Key marketing strategies for outdoor businesses

 

outdoor industry marketing event

The outdoor industry is highly competitive, and your marketing efforts need to stand out to succeed. Once you build out the necessary elements, you’re going to want to expand into offline channels to meet your customers where they are. Here are several key marketing strategies that can help you grow your outdoor business:

1. Leverage User-Generated Content
User-generated content is a powerful marketing tool that can help you build trust and credibility with your audience. User-generated content includes photos, videos, and reviews created by your customers. Sharing this content on your website and social media channels can help promote your business and encourage others to engage with your brand.

To leverage user-generated content, you can create social media campaigns that encourage customers to share pictures of themselves using your products. You can also feature customer reviews on your website and social media channels.

Use Case: We organized a video contest for one of our clients, offering a free product valued at $179.00 as the prize. When we tracked the user-generated videos, we discovered that they generated a 5x return on the number of people who viewed these videos on Instagram.

2. Host/Attend Outdoor Events
Outdoor events are an excellent way to showcase your products and connect with your target audience. Hosting outdoor events can help you build brand awareness, generate leads, and increase sales. You can organize or sponsor events like camping trips, fishing tournaments, hiking excursions, short films and other outdoor activities that showcase your products.

3. Create Engaging Video Content
Video content is an effective way to showcase your products and connect with your audience. You can create videos that showcase your products in use, highlight the features and benefits of your products, and provide educational content related to outdoor activities.

4. Offer Special Deals and Promotions
Special deals and promotions can help you attract new customers and retain existing ones. You can offer discounts, free shipping, and other promotions to incentivize customers to purchase your products. These promotions can also help you build customer loyalty and increase revenue.

5. Collaborate with Other Outdoor Businesses
Collaborating with other outdoor businesses that align with your values can help you expand your reach and build brand awareness. You can partner with other businesses to create joint marketing campaigns, cross-promote each other’s products, and share marketing resources.

6. Traditional Marketing methods such as PR, print ads, billboards, and display ads still play a crucial role in the outdoor industry. However, these methods can be costly, and PR requires the expertise of someone with a vast network who can get your brand in front of the right publishers. At our agency, we strategically utilize these methods, but only when we have a sufficient budget and can prove ROI. Traditional marketing methods typically works for well-known brands.

7. Trade Shows can be costly but can offer many benefits. The SHOT Show (Shooting, Hunting, and Outdoor Trade Show) offers numerous benefits for professionals in the firearms and outdoor industry. It serves as a prime networking opportunity, allowing industry stakeholders to forge valuable connections. Attendees gain insights into the latest product innovations, industry trends, and regulatory updates. The show supports business growth by facilitating orders, distribution agreements, and market research. Educational sessions provide valuable knowledge, and it fosters responsible firearm use while promoting community building within the industry. Overall, the SHOT Show plays a pivotal role in advancing the interests of businesses and professionals in the shooting, hunting, and outdoor sectors. Learn more about how to ge more from SHOT Show costs and registration.

PRO TIP: Smaller shows and events provide fewer distractions and a greater focus on your brand.

 


 

CRM for Outdoor, Hunting and Shooting SportsTurn your outdoor customers into promoters

One often underestimated aspect of the outdoor industry is the development of a superior customer experience. Our typical approach to customer experience involves providing a contact number for customers to use in case they encounter issues or wish to initiate a return. However, it encompasses far more than this. Customers anticipate swift responses to their inquiries and value having well-informed staff available to assist them when seeking additional information. If you implement all the elements mentioned in this guide, the final step in outdoor industry marketing is to ensure that your customers remain loyal and become advocates for your brand. We suggest using the HubSpot CRM for outdoor brands to deliver an outstanding customer experience.

The top four benefits of the HubSpot CRM and Service Hub are:

1. Streamlined customer support: The Service Hub provides a unified inbox that consolidates all customer interactions from various channels, such as email, live chat, and social media. This allows your team to efficiently manage and respond to customer inquiries, resulting in improved customer satisfaction.

2. Knowledge base and self-service tools: With the Service Hub, you can create a knowledge base to provide customers with self-service resources like FAQs, articles, and tutorials. This empowers customers to find answers to their questions independently, reducing the need for repetitive support requests and freeing up your team’s time.

Outdoor Industry Marketing Customer Service

Turn your customers into promoters!

3. Ticketing and automation: The Service Hub offers a ticketing system that allows you to organize and prioritize customer issues. You can automate ticket creation, routing, and escalation based on predefined rules, ensuring that customer inquiries are handled promptly and efficiently.

4. Reporting and analytics: The Service Hub provides robust reporting and analytics features that give you insights into your team’s performance and customer satisfaction. You can track metrics like response times, resolution rates, and customer feedback, enabling you to identify areas for improvement and make data-driven decisions to enhance your customer service operations.


PRO TIP:
Gather feedback from your customers to identify their primary pain points and empower them with self-service information. Integrating a chat feature on your website can lead to a 20% boost in sales.

 


 

Outdoor Industry Marketing Results

Outdoor Industry Marketing Results

Tracking and analyzing outdoor industry marketing efforts

Tracking and analyzing your marketing efforts is essential to measure their effectiveness and make informed decisions. Here are several tools you can use to track and analyze your outdoor industry marketing efforts:

1. Analytics
Google Analytics is a free tool that allows you to track website traffic, user behavior, and other metrics related to your website. You can use Google Analytics to measure the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns and identify areas for improvement. However, you may want to consider other analytic tools like Independent Analytics, Databox or HubSpot.

2. Social Media Analytics
Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter provide analytics tools that allow you to track engagement, reach, and other metrics related to your social media campaigns. You can use these tools to measure the effectiveness of your social media campaigns and optimize your strategy accordingly.

3. Email Marketing Analytics
Email marketing platforms like HubSpot provide analytics tools that allow you to track open rates, click-through rates, and other metrics related to your email campaigns. You can use these tools to measure the effectiveness of your email campaigns and optimize your strategy accordingly.

4. Survey regularly
Many companies overlook the importance of regularly gathering feedback from their customers. This oversight can lead to the development of unwanted products or, even worse, a lack of awareness about issues customers may encounter with their products. To avoid these pitfalls, it’s crucial to conduct annual or bi-annual customer surveys. At our company, we utilize HubSpot’s Service Hub to track various metrics, including chat performance, support tickets, Net Promoter Score (NPS), Customer Effort Score (CES), and Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT). These surveys play a pivotal role in helping us anticipate sales trends, gauge customer sentiment, and contribute to our collection of reviews and positive social media buzz.

5. ROI (return on investment)
Each marketing program you undertake should, at the very least, yield a return on your investment. If you invest $1, your goal should be to generate 3 to 5 times that amount in return. If these programs are not achieving that level of return, it’s essential to reevaluate your approach from the beginning to ensure you’ve done everything correctly. If not, consider surveying your customers to understand why they didn’t make a purchase and gather insights on how you can improve.

PRO TIP: You cannot enhance what you do not monitor and measure.

 


 

Conclusion: Thriving in the outdoor industry through strategic marketing

In conclusion, the outdoor industry is an immense and thriving market that presents many opportunities for growth. To fully tap into its potential, you need to unleash the power of outdoor industry marketing. By understanding your target audience, positioning, branding, messaging, website, leveraging social media, creating compelling content, and using other proven marketing strategies, you can grow your outdoor business and connect with consumers.

Remember to track and analyze your marketing efforts to measure their effectiveness and make informed decisions. As you embark on building these frameworks out, always stay true to your brand values and focus on providing service and value to your customers. With these insights and strategies, you can build a thriving business in the outdoors and make a lasting impact in the outdoor industry.

 

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