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:
- Our message is confusing
- Our website isn’t generating sales
- Blocked on social media
- Our brand image is out-dated
- We need to launch a new product
- We need to reach the right customers
A good firearms marketing agency with years of experience will be able to get to the heart of the matter.
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.
3. 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.