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Outdoor, Hunting And Firearms Customers (Do You Really Know Who They Are?)

By September 27, 2023March 22nd, 2024Firearms and Hunting, Outdoor Industry Marketing
outdoor hunting shooting sports marketing buyer personas

Do you really know who your outdoor, hunting and shooting sports customers are? This is one of the hardest questions for industry business owners to answer. Below are some sample questions to ask yourself:

  • Who specifically is our customer?
  • What are their pain points?
  • Who are they aspiring to become?
  • How does our product help them achieve their goals?
  • How do we guide them in their customer journey?

I think most of us will admit we don’t know our customers as well as we should. And in the era of digital marketing, it’s more important and easier than ever to know how consumer interests and motivations. This is especially true when you consider the millions of new gun owners, hunters and anglers who’ve entered the market in the past few years since COVID.

By neglecting to have an accurate and well-defined ideal customer or—buyer persona—you hinder the potential and effectiveness of your outdoor industry marketing efforts.

Marketing is about knowing your customer better than anyone else. The understanding that comes with this insight allows you to speak their language at their level, at the right place and at the right time about your product or services in an authentic and human way. Clarify your message and create some great branding—and you got a good foundation to build your outdoor industry marketing program.

So What Are Outdoor, Hunting and Shooting Sports Customer Buyer Personas and Why Should I Care?

Buyer personas are fictional representations of your ideal customers. They are the granular view of the character in your brand’s story. They are based on real data about customer demographics and online behavior, along with educated speculation about their personal histories, motivations, and concerns.

How Are Outdoor, Hunting and Shooting Sports Customer Buyer Buyer Personas Created?

Buyer personas are created through research, surveys, and interviews of your target audience. That includes a mix of customers — both “good” and “bad”— prospects, and those outside of your contact database who might align with your target audience. You’ll collect data that is both qualitative and quantitative to paint a picture of who your customer is, what they value, and how your solution helps them achieve their goals.

In this post, I’ll give you the steps you need to accurately identify your buyer persona. This will allow you to focus your content and messaging like a laser for better results.


First Start With Some Background

hunting and firearms customers

Hunting and Firearms Segments (Southwick Associates)

It’s good to first start with some broad strokes and then fill in the blank areas as you go. To begin, start by answering the questions below.

  • Basic details about persona’s role
    What do they do for a living?
    What is their level of education?
    What is their annual household income?
  • Key information about the persona’s interests
    List facts like big game hunting, CCW, archery, hiking etc.
    How often do they engage in these activities?
    What magazines do they subscribe to?
  • 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?

“When you have somebody purchasing to build their skills versus someone who’s purchasing to go hunting or because they have crime in their area — your marketing is going to be completely different for each one of them.” — Nancy Bacon, Southwick Associates 




Demographics are the statistical characteristics of a population, such as age, gender, and income. Demographics can be used to identify markets, such as a younger demographic. Demographic data can also tell you more about a community than its size and whether it is growing or declining.

Demographics round out the edges and fill in the blanks. Important as demographics are, they still are only one dimension of your customer. Use the questions below:

  • What is their gender? Male or female?
  • Age range
  • Household income (Consider a spouse’s income, if relevant)
  • Location (Is your persona urban, suburban, or rural?)



outdoor, hunting and shooting sports customers

Photo Credit: Chris Dorsey

What are their Identifiers?

Identifiers help you sound like your buyer persona. If your outdoor, hunting and shooting sports customers are western hunters, you’ll want to utilize your knowledge of big sky hunting and make sure your writing sets the right tone. If your buyer persona are mid-west hunters, you’re going to want to talk as such.

  • Buzz words
    List some industry buzz words and words that are commonly used by your buyer personas
  • Mannerisms
    What does your buyer persona sound or act like?
  • Language
    What kind of language do they use? Is it intelligent and articulate? or more southern?



What are their Aspirations?

Begin listing your buyer persona’s primary and secondary goals. This will begin to give you ideas on what kind of messaging, content and materials you should create. Interview them to get more detail.

  • Persona’s primary want – What are they trying to get better at?
  • Persona’s secondary goal – Is it to spend more time outdoors?
  • Persona transformation – Who do they want to become?

TIP: When potential outdoor, hunting and shooting sports customers call, ask them why they contacted you. When you’re on the phone with your customer, make it a point to get to know them and record it in your CRM’s contact record.



What Challenges Does Your Customers Have?

Now we’re getting into the nuts and bolts. List the challenges your buyers face. Finding property to hunt or gun ranges? Learning basic tactical skills? Creating relevant communication?

  • Primary challenge to persona’s success – Is it finding the right equipment?
  • Secondary challenge to persona’s success – Getting more range time?



How Do You Help Your Customers?

Begin brainstorming on how you can help your personas. Think beyond what your product or service directly offers. Move in the direction of other dimensions, verticals or channels of your offering. What might you be able to provide that leads them to your solution?

  • How you solve your persona’s challenges – We offer free online hunting/firearm training.
  • How you help your persona achieve goals – We give you a community to learn.



Use Real Quotes

To humanize, list some real quotations taken from your interviews and surveys. This will ground the persona even more in your mind and in the minds of your marketing and sales team.

  • Real Quotes
    Include a few real quotes taken during your interviews that represent your persona well.
  • Common objections
    Identify the most common objections your persona will raise during evaluating your product

EXAMPLE: “I’ve been a hunter all my life, but lately, I can’t find anywheres to hunt with my son. Public land is too pressured and paying for a guide may be out of my price range. What do you suggest?” – Hunter Hal



Create Messaging That Engages Your Persona

Now that you have a good understanding of your persona, how can you distill this information into a short succinct clear message. This message should be used in your positioning statement, tagline or one liner. It should be the main storyline of your your brand. It can also be the trunk of which all your content hangs off of.

  • How should you describe your product to your persona?
  • Include a few real quotes – This will make it easier for employees to relate to and understand your persona.
  • One liner – Make describing your solution simple and consistent across everyone in your company. Start with your problem, then tell them your solution. Remember, keep talking about your customer’s problems to keep them engaged.



Add A Picture of Your Personas and Name Them

Last but not least, add a picture of them. If you have multiple buyer personas—pick a picture for each. It can be a current customer from your Facebook page or a stock photo.

Hunting And Firearms Customers

Photo Credit: TRACT Optics



Communicate Your Buyer Personas To Your Company

How do you communicate this new understanding of your target customer with your entire organization? After all, if your sales and marketing teams don’t understand who they’re speaking to, it’s hard to craft a message that really resonates. Add these personas into your HubSpot CRM and track effectiveness.

To get started, download the free buyer persona’s template below to create your buyer persona and how to present your buyer persona to your company for greater understanding and marketing ROI.

outdoor hunting shooting sports customer buyer personas

FREE DOWNLOAD: A Guide to Creating the Outdoor, Hunting and Shooting Sports Customer Buyer Persona

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.

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.