Business owners and marketers must always try to stay out in front of market trends. Like you, I’ve been unable to understand the full effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on our industry. I have only been able to guess what seven months from now will look like. We’ve all witnessed the cancellation of major conferences (NRA) and are watching—in amazement—gun and ammo sales break records. Not to mention a record number of NICS checks, spiking website traffic and search trends.
Hornady spokesman Neal Emery described the demand spike “as the most significant and most rapid the company has ever seen,” saying that it is beyond the scope of what anyone could plan for. (Source: Shooting Illustrated)
So with this in mind, I want to ask the question to you (that I have also asked myself): What are you doing to make the most of the flood of new gun owners into our industry? People who’ve never owned a gun or who have sided with the anti-gun crowd are crossing lines. Thanks to the NSSF, the government has designated gun shops as essential businesses. And according to Trevor Burrus of the Washington Examiner, COVID-19 could change the gun control debate for a generation.
In the following are three action items that will help you make the most of this unique time in our industry’s history.
1. Clarify Your Message for Beginners
When new gun owners land on your website—can you say that your message is simple to understand? For a long time, the industry has been talking in an echo chamber. If you’ve been around guns for a long time, you know the difference between a slide and muzzle—but for new owners, they most likely do not. Nor will they understand how your particular brand of firearm will help them feel secure, safe, and prepared over your competition.
Smith and Wesson’s website is a perfect example. Don’t use industry jargon or jumbled home pages that confuse new owners.
Mossberg has the right idea. They have a video that pops up on load that shows how their MC2 Compact helps you feel protected.
Action Item: Create a clear welcoming website header like:
- Compact 9MM Pistol for Self Defense.
- The Best AR15 to Defend your Home.
- Dependable Mags for your Glock 43
- Elite Performance Ammo in Stock.
Yes, these are not creative, brilliant or clever—and for a reason. When you have people panic buying, simple, clear language will help you increase sales. The brain is attracted to clarity, especially when it is distracted with other things like buying toilet paper.
And don’t forget to follow up with a call to action like BUY NOW!
2. Create Educational Content and a Sales Funnel
Most brands have bypassed creating content over the years for other forms of advertising—but those who’ve been creating helpful content in the way of videos and blogs will have a significant advantage over brands who haven’t in the months (and perhaps years) to come. I’ll point out Mossberg again, who has been conducting content marketing since 2014. They are using their content to educate new consumers. In the process, they are on boarding a whole new generation of Mossberg owners because Mossberg is guiding them. People have a whole lot of time on their hands right now to learn about guns.
“As we are a privately-owned company, we don’t release sales numbers, but I can state that we cannot build enough guns currently to fulfill those orders,” Mossberg spokesperson Linda Powell said. “This rush feels similar to past responses to crisis, though it has ramped up at a more rapid pace.”
She said tactical and personal defense firearms are most in demand, notably the 590 Shockwave, 590M Mag-Fed and standard 590/590A1 shotguns. (Source: Shooting Illustrated)
Sig is also addressing new owners with this blog post.
Action Item: Create helpful content in the form of a video or blog to help new gu owners learn about firearms and how to use them safely. Then utilize email automation to stay top-of-mind to onboard them to your brand—and when your products are back in stock. Your email should move your prospective buyer through a sales funnel to instigate purchase.
3. Demo Your Products over Zoom?
With so many people getting familiar with Zoom—why not present your products virtually? This is your chance to introduce new customers and gun owners to your brand, products, features, how to be safe, how to store, and where to buy.
By putting a human face to your brand, you can knock down some stigmas and present your brand and our industry in a positive light.
Action Item: Launch live product demos on Zoom to new gun owners.
In conclusion, the time is now to think creatively and get busy. When you look back at this time, will you be able to say you made the most of it, or will you allow it to pass you by?
If you are looking for guidance on how to get started, please contact us for a free website and marketing assessment.
Josh Claflin, President of Garrison Everest, is passionate about helping business and marketing leaders in the outdoor, hunting, adventure and shooting sports industries create clear messaging and digital marketing programs that grow business.