Whether you use your FFL to run a brick-and-mortar shop, a mobile sales operation, or a home-based enterprise, you’re always looking for ways to expand your firearm business.
Regulatory issues aside, selling firearms is different from selling anything else. In addition to ensuring the satisfaction of your clientele and the smooth operation of your stockroom, you must also guard the integrity of your earnings.
We discovered the most effective strategies after consulting with numerous gun vendors.
1. Create a Group Centered on Firearms
To a greater extent than usual, people enjoy participating in activities related to their interests. Customers are more willing to spend more money if you make them feel like you know and care for them.
A digital waiver provides an excellent entry point for information gathering and data segmentation. Information about your clientele’s demographics, frequency of visits, and retail purchases can inform tailored experiences and offers.
The Hill & Dale Club is an excellent illustration of this type. There are thousands of annual visitors to this members-only gun club. Information from digital waivers is used to determine visitors’ ages and frequency of use, and those visitors are contacted about available memberships.
Create a relaxing atmosphere in your gun shop first. Arrange a few seating areas away from the main body of the room but still close to the exit. Put in a coffee maker and a bulletin board to advertise upcoming events.
Next, set aside some time each day for off-the-cuff chats with customers. Making friends and providing people with activities to do together is your mission. Do not try to pass yourself off as a corporate drone only interested in the bottom line.
Get in touch with groups in your area that promote the responsible handling of firearms. There’s likely a gun club, range, or league nearby. You should actively participate in these groups without necessarily making monetary donations or purchasing advertising space.
Last but not least, talk to customers when they aren’t in your shop. Create profiles on popular networking sites to keep your followers updated on your whereabouts, share exciting content with them, and solicit their opinions. Get customers’ email addresses when they purchase so you can send them information.
2. Learn Who Your Target Market Is
You’re probably selling guns because you like the area’s culture and inhabitants. If you haven’t already, you should fully engage with both. Constantly engage in conversation with gun fans. Find out their budgetary preferences and the services they expect from a gun dealer.
Put your information to good use, too. You should reflect your sales data in your point-of-sale system. Do you have a disproportionately high number of sales of compact handguns? This might mean some of your clients may worry about their safety. Selling pre-made self-defense kits (including a firearm, ammunition, mace, flashlight, alarm, and other valuable items) or referring customers to a self-defense program in exchange for a commission is one way to boost business.
Learn the customs and regulations of the place you’re visiting. For deer hunting in Iowa, for instance, only shotguns are allowed. It would make sense to stock up on rifles for deer season in other places, but not there. The best way to boost sales is to stock up on deer slugs and put them on display.
3. Highlight Your Unique Value Proposition
Competing solely on price is not a viable long-term strategy. Finding a way to differentiate yourself from the competition is essential if you want customers to choose your store over the others.
First, you should learn as much as possible about your rivals. Enter their stores and spend some time browsing. Do they offer any special deals? In what ways do they go above and beyond for their customers?
The second piece of advice is to have conversations with your clients. Get them to tell you straight up what else you can do to help them. Perhaps they can’t afford total ammunition cases and would prefer to buy smaller quantities or various types. Maybe you can fill a need in your community by providing a firearms safety class or even individual shooting lessons.
4. Invest in Firearm Video Marketing
Video marketing will improve user experience and boost interaction with your brand across multiple channels. According to surveys, video marketing is already being used by 86% of businesses. Some 78% of those say that video has positively impacted their revenue growth.
Customers are more likely to do business with brands they feel connected to, and videos featuring in-store personnel, satisfied customers, or prominent figures in the industry can help foster that feeling.
You can also use video advertising to
- Promote gun safety knowledge
- Review the latest hardware and weapons in the market
- Provide training on how to use your products effectively
- Entertain customers with interviews, skits, and product demonstrations.
Look at this T.REX ARMS video, where they compare the Glock 19, M&P 2.0, and Sig P320.
5. Improve Your Content Marketing With Photography
When creating the best content possible, pictures are irresistible. In the marketing world, businesses often take photography for granted. However, when highlighted and emphasized, you can add a new creative dimension to website content that draws in viewers, improves blog posts, and stands out on social media.
With the development of phone cameras, taking photos has never been easier. As a result, you can rely solely on your Android or Apple device to take photographs of professional quality.
Taking multiple pictures is the best way to get a few good ones out of the bunch for your guns. Experiment with various viewpoints, lighting conditions, backdrops, camera distances, and story-relevant props.
Thanks to digital technology, it’s incredibly cheap to experiment with photography. You no longer have to worry about taking only as many pictures as you have filmed for, having to pay to have them developed, and then possibly being disappointed with the results.
So, photograph everything. Get your memory card full and see what works. Then select the top photos, upload them, and wait for the praise to pour in.
Check out the Triple J Armory Instagram account if you need to get inspired.
6. Turn Members Into Micro-influencers
Digital ads are intrusive, annoying, and dated, and today’s consumers aren’t fond of them. You should instead focus on turning your current customers and counter-level retailers into ambassadors.
In most cases, when a customer buys a weapon from your shop, they’re getting much more than the item itself. This could be a free supply of ammunition, an extended return period, a last-minute delivery guarantee, a special discount, or any other perks.
It is possible to turn customers into micro-influencers who will gladly tell others about how great it is to do business with your company if you take the time to pinpoint and improve the specific value that your company offers.
In addition, you can expand the number of micro-influencers you work with to produce content for your brand. Remember that the keyword here is “micro-influencers,” meaning that you shouldn’t rely on the more prominent ones because they tend to be costly relative to the value they bring to your business.
Given the benefit micro-influencers bring to your company, it’s only fair to show appreciation by giving them a unique interaction with your brand. They may be interested in the free use of your range, special discounts, or a sneak peek at your upcoming product or service.
7. Send Monthly Newsletters
A newsletter is a series of emails you send out regularly to your customer base with the latest information about your business and the weapons and gadgets you offer.
Some benefits include
- Your firearms business will gain credibility.
- You become more well-known as an expert in your field.
- You increase your chances of being top-of-mind whenever your target audience considers purchasing a new gun.
If you don’t have time or money to produce content solely for your newsletter, you can always recycle material from your other content marketing efforts. You could, for instance, create a compelling email by consolidating advice, reviews, or images from various online sources (like your blog and social media).
You must include elements like an engaging subject line and a compelling CTA to get the most out of your newsletter. You should also keep your messages simple and consistent and always provide an easy way for your readers to unsubscribe if they change their minds.
However, compared to the 94% open rate of SMS, the Email marketing open rate is 16.9% (more on SMS Marketing in the next section). It’s best to use email marketing only for sending out periodic newsletters and not for urgent calls to action.
8. Stock up on More Items
Modern consumers can choose from various firearms and accessories. Most of what you sell is tailored to meet the unique requirements of your customers. While it’s good to stand out in a specific way (such as with high-quality guns or a wide variety of ammunition), narrowing your focus too much could hurt your business.
For instance, modern sporting rifles enjoy worldwide acclaim but are commercially unviable. Every sale counts during the slow season when you must ensure you can still pay the bills. If your company depends on a single revenue stream and that source suddenly drops in popularity, you will go out of business.
You should increase your stock levels wherever possible, but you should do so strategically. Increase your supply of items buyers actively seek (this goes back to understanding your customer). Keep an abundance of accessories on hand because they have a higher typical profit margin than firearms.
You should strive to become your customers’ one-stop shop. All of their shooting needs should be met by shopping at your store. If you have to turn a customer away because you are out of a particular product or service, make a mental note to rectify the situation as soon as possible.
9. Leverage SMS Marketing
Using text messaging, you can instantly connect with your clientele. There is no need for your customers to check their emails or sign into another service. Text messages are intimate, brief, straightforward, and to the point.
The fact that only people interested in receiving your messages are receiving them is one of the main benefits of SMS for gun sellers. So, if you want your campaign to be successful, you should first build a list of recipients.
Customers can only be added to your text marketing list if opting in. When requesting a visitor’s mobile phone number, whether, through a pop-up or other subscriber collection method, you must make it abundantly clear that by providing their number, the visitor is consenting to receive marketing messages.
For a successful and legally compliant SMS marketing campaign, look no further than OtterText. We have a strong understanding of the firearms industry thanks to our extensive experience with S.H.A.F.T. clients. You can expect an $8.11 ROI for your business per message sent.
Start growing your Firearms Business through SMS Marketing today; sign up for OtterText’s free trial.