By Karrie Christen
U.S.A. -(AmmoLand.com)- The year 2020 will go down in history. For the firearm industry, it was already destined to be a big year with so much at stake in the November elections. Add in a global pandemic, food and toilet paper shortages, riots, and community unrest, and this is one year no one will soon forget.
All these issues have resulted in most retail FFLs seeing a surge in sales. In fact, many retail FFLs are finding it difficult to keep enough stock on their shelves. Some are even saying it’s almost as if you don’t even need to do anything to attract business these days—but even if that’s true right here, right now, that won’t hold true forever.
As busy as it may be for your store or range now, and as many new customers as you’re seeing despite minimal advertising or outreach on your part, now is the time to double down on smart marketing, no matter how well your business is doing or what your business model looks like. You may never get an opportunity like this again, so it’s important to create the fuel that’s going to keep your business running hot for years.
The professional advice I give my FFLs is to create social media content your tribe will eat up, and then get that content in front of as many of your ideal customers as possible. That does not mean simply putting up an ad to sell something. Content is step No. 1 in building any solid marketing strategy. That content is what builds relationships with your viewers, and once you’ve done that, then you can effectively sell to them because they trust you and will likely have faith in your product as well.
Who’s in Your Tribe?
First, you need to know who your tribe is and the type of content they already can’t get enough of. Here are questions to ask yourself—or, better yet, the people you serve.
- What are your people into?
- What are the general topics they can’t seem to get tired of?
- How deep can you break down popular topics?
- Where do they spend their free time on social media?
- What do they watch on YouTube?
- What private groups do they belong to?
- What public figures do they follow?
- Where do they spend money right before they spend money with you? Or after you?
- How else do they spend money?
People love information and they love to be entertained. People also enjoy connecting with others who think the same way they do, so these are the people we love to work with as business owners because it makes work joyful. When it comes to creating meaningful social media content then, what we’re really doing is working to attract people to us so that we have an avenue to building a relationship with them.
You want, of course, for those relationships to affect your bottom line. That means that creating content without a plan to create revenue is where businesses fail.
One of the easiest ways to do this with social media posts is to always ask them to do something at the end of your video or your article. Your goal is to gain as much interaction as possible because this helps tell the various social media channels to push your content to more people. Here are some actions you can ask your followers to take:
- “Like our Facebook page to see more videos like this one.”
- “Join our private group where we share the top tips on scopes/ammunition/treestands/etc.”
- “Come in, say hello, and get our free 2nd Amendment decal.”
You can also ask your regular views a question that relates to the video (“Did you try product XYZ and get a different result?” “Do you take the time to break in a new rifle like the one we just showed you?” “What do you do with your old hunting garments when you decide to upgrade with the parka from ABC we just highlighted?” Tagging someone who should watch your video is also helpful and calls to action such as “Download our guide to help you install an M-Lok quad rail” further engage your audience.
I emphasized video use here because marketing and human behavior trends have shown that video is the best content there is when it comes to social media engagement. However, everyone has content styles they’re comfortable, and video might not be your strong suit. If you’re not comfortable on camera, you can use software like EasyVSL which lets you take written content and create a video with a voiceover for only $97.
These are just a few of the things you can do to step up your marketing game—especially if you’ve neglected it lately. Get creative, feed your tribe the content they love and be consistent with your social media interactions—sales may be booming right now, but doing this kind of marketing work to build long-term relationships with people who love what you love is what creates profits now and for years to come.
About Karrie Christen
Karrie Christen is a social media marketing expert specializing in helping FFLs get the business they want by learning how to leverage the power and affordability of social media marketing. She is the owner of The Client Attraction Formula and a co-founder of FFL Consultants. She is also the author of the upcoming book “Stop Shooting Your Marketing in The Foot: A Guide for Retail & Range FFLs.” Follow her on social media.
About The National Shooting Sports Foundation
The National Shooting Sports Foundation is the trade association for the firearms, ammunition, hunting and shooting sports industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of more than 10,000 manufacturers, distributors, firearms retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen's organizations and publishers. www.nssf.org