NSSF Grant Helps Florida Lift Hunting License Sales

National Shooting Sports Foundation

NEWTOWN, Conn –-(Ammoland.com)- A pilot program launched last year by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) used e-marketing campaigns to boost hunting license sales by 4.2 percent, one of the largest increases demonstrated in test promotions funded by grants from the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

NSSF, the trade association for the firearms, ammunition, hunting and shooting sports industry, supports state wildlife agency projects that test new strategies to increase participation in hunting and target shooting. Since 2003, NSSF has awarded more than $4.7 million to state agencies through its Hunting Heritage Partnership grant program.

Last year, Florida received a $16,922 grant from NSSF to test the feasibility of increasing hunting in the state during the 2011/2012 hunting season by using email and social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook. Florida worked with Southwick Associates, a specialist firm in outdoor statistics, on the project and, to reduce costs, enhanced its messaging with existing video tips on hunting and shooting that were pulled from NSSF's extensive video tips library.

“These relatively low-cost campaigns were amazingly successful in motivating recipients to purchase or re-new their hunting licenses,” said Melissa Schilling, NSSF director of recruitment and retention. “NSSF funds these pilot programs so we can learn which are most effective and share models of success with other states.”

The pilot program revealed that to substantially boost hunting and shooting participation requires effective promotions on a mass scale using multiple e-messages delivered over a long period of time. The campaign, which sent 1.8 million emails, showed that up to 15 contacts were needed before and during hunting season to motivate “fence-sitters” to finally purchase a hunting license. Fortunately, e-marketing campaigns of this type are relatively inexpensive.

Florida's target audience received 10 to 18 contacts each over a six-month period, motivating 6,391 people to buy a license. At $17 for a basic hunting license, the effort generated at least $108,600 in new revenues for the fish and game agency. Given the average Florida hunter spends $1,880 a year, the e-marketing effort resulted in upwards of $12 million in new sales for businesses serving Florida's hunters. Increased revenues from hunting license sales, as well as purchases of firearms and ammunition, also benefit wildlife conservation.

Follow-up research in 2012 will help the state further refine the program, said Schilling. She noted that other states will roll out e-marketing campaigns this year based on the Florida model.

The Florida marketing program is an example of how the Hunting Heritage Partnership Grant Program is creating successful cooperative efforts related to the shooting sports and conservation.

State wildlife agencies can learn more about NSSF's Hunting Heritage Partnership at http://www.nssf.org/hunting/grants/.

About NSSF
The National Shooting Sports Foundation is the trade association for the firearms industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of more than 7,000 manufacturers, distributors, firearms retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen's organizations and publishers. For more information, log on to www.nssf.org.