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5 Firearm Marketing Alternatives You Haven’t Thought Of Yet

 

It’s 2017, and it’s harder than ever to get your message out to law-abiding customers. If you’re not a big well-known brand like Colt, Remington or Smith & Wesson, marketing your firearms brand and line of products for recreational shooting and hunting 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

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 this ad from 2013 when Daniel Defense tried to run an ad on the Super Bowl.

 

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

YouTube? See comments at bottom of page…


1. Full30

If you have not heard of Full30 you should go check it out. It’s YouTube for the firearms community. “The Full30 platform also offers unique video advertising opportunities for the firearms industry, who have been blocked from valuable pre-roll advertising on YouTube, and Facebook. The pre-roll and banner ad server on Full30 now opens the door to firearm brands looking to capitalize on the extraordinarily high click-through rates, and unmatched brand exposure video advertising provides.” (Source: Truth About Guns


2. Inbound Marketing

I make it no secret that the inbound marketing methodology is a perfect fit for firearm manufacturers with a lengthy purchase process. Brands like Mossberg, Springfield, Armory, Stag Arms and Beretta, are already using inbound effectively and getting great results. Inbound marketing uses search engine optimized content, downloadable offers, landing pages, forms, social media and email marketing to attract, engage and delight customers. Inbound provides substantial cost savings to manufacturers, and the best part is, it’s all completely trackable. It removes the black box of advertising and provides real ROI and understanding of your brand and marketing efforts. Inbound is an important digital marketing element to Influencer Marketing


3. Native Advertising

What is native advertising? Native advertising delivers top-level paid or earned content within the normal reading stream of organic content. These would include recommendation widgets, sponsored content and in-feed social. What binds all of these distribution tactics together is the word “in-feed.” They all deliver top-funnel content within the normal reading stream of organic content. It looks like it’s supposed to be there. (Source: Chad Pollitt)

Similar to the below example by Crimson Trace, native advertising is about creating helpful content and then placing your product within it as a reference or as a sponsor. For example, you may write an article on the “5 Things You Need To Know About Home Defense” and submit it to an online magazine (earned or paid)  then mention your brand as the perfect fit for a first-time buyer. 

Check out how Crimson Trace does it within their First Defender Library.

 

weatherby by women

Photo by Weatherby

4. Women

Women 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 embrace this trend and do all they can to promote it. Weatherby just launched their Women of Weatherby website devoted and targeted towards women. Springfield Armory’s Night of Saint also seeks to capitalize on women as well. These two brands have recognized the immense opportunity this demographic holds and are seizing the opportunity by getting out in front. Look for more large manufacturers to follow in the months to come.

 

5. Influencers

Influencer marketing is a type of 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 Military Arms ChannelHickok45, IV8888 and Jon Patton of the Gun Collective. 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.

 

In conclusion, marketing in these changing times may not be as difficult as you think. Through utilizing content and tapping into new firearm specific channels, the women segment and influencers, you have the makings of a marketing strategy that is trackable, and that bucks the trend of declining traditional marketing methods.

 

shooting-firearms-CTA

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Brand Development Inbound Marketing Consultant

By Josh Claflin, Brand Development, Inbound Marketing & Creative Strategy
Josh helps brands in the hunting, outdoor and firearms industry who are struggling to develop their brand; grow, stabilize or increase profits through their websites; increase revenue through online channels and enter the digital era of marketing.

 

 

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3 Comments

  1. Tim Says :
    Posted on March 30, 2017 at 5:39 pm

    This is Tim from the Military Arms Channel.

    I need to make a correction to this post. You can NOT accept paid advertising for YouTube videos if you monetize through AdSense. I had a close friend at Optics Planet and I did the end-cap as a favor for him. At one time I also did a favor for a local Discussion Forum with an end-cap (Indiana Gun Owners), however no money changed hands. My friend is no longer with Optics Planet and I no longer do end-caps for him or anyone else.

    Most firearms YouTubers will not accept payment for “hard coded” ads because if YouTube suspects you’re selling such ads and you monetize your videos through AdSense, they can and will yank your plug. Those that do accept paid advertising are breaking the rules of AdSense and potentially Federal Law.

    It’s also important to note that you can not link directly to any site in the video description that sells or helps to facilitate the sale of any AdSense banned items which includes firearms, BB guns, knives, airsoft, etc. You can mention them in videos and you can show a logo for up to 10 seconds, but that’s the extended of it. Yes, there are smaller channels that do it anyway and get away with it, but that’s only until they get caught. Hickok45 had his channel shut down twice for accepting Buds Gun Shop as a sponsor for his channel.

    Also, if you accept any money as a paid product placement, per FCC rules, you must disclose this to your audience. Not doing so is in violation of federal law and can not only get you in trouble with YouTube but you may also be fined by the FCC.

    I do not sell paid product placements. I do promote my own websites and stores while staying within YouTube/AdSense policies, but I do not accept payment for videos.

  2. Joshua Claflin
    Posted on March 31, 2017 at 3:25 pm

    Thanks for your insight Tim. We’ve removed the section about YouTube and hope this will help other marketers navigate their options.

  3. Tim Says :
    Posted on March 31, 2017 at 4:16 pm

    Thank you Joshua.

    There is an alternative for firearms companies and accessories manufacturers who desire pre-roll ads but YouTube/Adsense will not accept their ads. The site is http://www.full30.com. You will find most of the top firearms video bloggers / YouTubers on this site. Advertisers may purchase pre-roll and get their products in front of all these content creators videos.

    Thanks again,

    Tim
    Military Arms Channel