When Your Range Is
More Than A Range

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Photo: Diamondback Shooting Sports

What do clubhouses, coffee shops, health and fitness clubs and shooting ranges have in common? They’re places built by community.

When your range becomes “more than a range” it provides a sense of belonging to customers — something that has been disrupted by the pandemic over the past two-plus years. Those ranges able to foster a sense of community will be better equipped to ride the ebbs and flows of seasonal demand.

Providing Fun

Target shooting is intrinsically “fun” — so use your range to create fun events, which will help encourage customers to come in often, and bring their friends. Ranges have keyed in on popular movies (“John Wick”), online games (Fortnite) or fun themes (Old West or Roaring 20s) to capture interest from customers. (Don’t be surprised if events inspired by “The Terminal List” gain traction.)

To take some of the pressure off throwing a top-dollar showpiece, themed events don’t have to be an exact replication of a scene from a popular film.

“It doesn’t have to be too authentic. It just has to be fun,” advised Paul Bastean, managing director of Ultimate Defense.

Shooting leagues offer another avenue of camaraderie among range users — whether it’s IDPA, GSSF or one unique to your range (see this month’s Best Practices column for more). These events can create friendly competition and entice customers to come back to the next match to see if their scores can improve.

“Ranges able to foster a sense of community will be better equipped to ride the ebbs and flows of seasonal demand.”

Giving Back

For the past four years, Frontier Justice — with locations in Missouri, Kansas and Nebraska — has hosted its Veteran’s Freedom Shoot, an annual shooting tournament specifically for veterans. The two-day event is held at the beginning of July and is free to veterans who bring their own firearm ($5 to rent a firearm). For the 2022 event, Hornady provided ammunition at no charge.

“We take seriously our freedom was not free,” stated Bren Brown, president of Frontier Justice. “We have these brave men and women to thank for everything we have as Americans and creating a fun event to recognize them is a privilege.”

Promoting the event, Frontier Justice invited civilian customers to come in and thank a veteran.

Earlier this year, Frontier Justice hosted a donor match drive through Be The Match (a national marrow donor program) during its biannual sale. Those who registered as a donor were gifted a free Frontier Justice range pass.

Fundraising Builds Goodwill

A point covered in this column earlier this year (June 2022), Jacquelyn Clark, co-owner of Bristlecone Shooting, Training & Retail Center in Lakewood, Colo., has fostered better connections with the local community thanks to charitable events.

“People want to do business with and be loyal to organizations they ‘like’ and feel are good community citizens,” she said.

To that end, Bristlecone has hosted several fundraising events over the past year for L.E. and veteran organizations — with the proceeds coming from competitions on the range. In another fundraiser, Bristlecone raised money benefiting those who were impacted by the devastating Marshall Fire by advertising a store-wide sale.

These types of events may not pad the bottom line, but build a sense of goodwill — which creates a deeper bond with community members.

Showing Industry Support

Don’t forget — this month is NSSF’s National Shooting Sports Month (NSSM). First launched in 2017, this nationwide campaign provides a fun and unique opportunity to grow your business and the shooting sports.

To get involved, NSSF encourages ranges and retailers to sign on as a participating business and download the free “How To Create Participation And Sales” e-book. NSSF has provided additional promotional materials here: shootingsportsmonth.org/promotional-toolkit.

Supporting initiatives like NSSM will showcase your range’s involvement with the rest of the industry. There’s still time to participate. In the spirt of NSSM, #LetsGoShooting.

Southwick Associates Releases Updated Consumer Persona Data

To help businesses understand the distinct consumer segments, or personas, that make up the U.S. firearms and accessories market, Southwick Associates has released a new report defining them. This report builds on recent persona research by explaining the process, (or journey) consumers go through when first becoming aware of their need for a firearm all the way through their post-purchase experience.

“Selling to all firearms and accessories consumers using one-size-fits-all messaging and product design will minimize marketing success,” said Nancy Bacon, Southwick Associates VP. “Consumers’ motivations and therefore their shopping and product preferences vary widely, from recreational to self-defense, to hunting and competitive shooting. Our new report defines each distinct firearm consumer segment and explains how to best connect with and serve each of these unique personas.”

The new 120-page report, presented in an easy-to-read graphics-based format, is available for purchase. The study covers all U.S. firearm buyers from 2015 through 2020, with a special survey conducted in 2021 to ensure the “COVID bump” consumer is represented. Consumers are segmented based on their motivations to own a firearm.

“Selling to all firearms and accessories consumers using one-size-fits-all messaging and product design will minimize marketing success.”

Nancy Bacon, Southwick Associates VP

For each of the five personas (Skills Builder, Hunter, Family Guardian, Urban Defender and Prepared for the Worst), the report describes their demographics, how they describe themselves, motivations for purchasing, details of each phase along their purchase journey (Awareness, Research, Purchase, Post-Purchase), products purchased and much more.

To purchase a report, contact Lee Davis-Clark at lee@southwickassociates.com, or Nancy Bacon at nancy@southwickassociates.com. Custom research into specific market niches is also available, as are reports identifying top brands, sales by retail channel, market size and more.

/ southwickassociates.com

Winchester Launches “Shooting Sports” Instagram Page

Winchester Ammunition has launched its “Shooting Sports” Instagram page, a destination on social media that will appeal to the more than 60-plus million recreational shooters in the U.S.

“The shooting sports have a positive impact on so many people’s lives throughout the world, and as a 156-year-old brand and industry leader, Winchester remains committed to delivering meaningful and engaging content,” said Matt Campbell, VP of sales and marketing at Winchester Ammunition. “This is an opportunity to provide content to a very targeted audience that is diverse and growing.”

The new Instagram page will be fully dedicated to providing content for all things related to the shooting sports — from backyard plinking to long-range shooting to organized competitive sports.

In addition, content from Team Winchester will also be featured on the page. From competitive pistol events to shotgun sports, including trap, skeet and sporting clays, Instagram users will find the latest updates and results on tournaments and state, regional and national championships as well as information on upcoming events. The new Instagram page can be found here: @WinchesterShootingSports.

/ winchester.com

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