August 14, 2018
How to Attract New Customers
As a customer-driven business, your range needs to continuously attract new customers to thrive. These new buyers will account for growth in sales and also help balance the inevitable loss of customers due to people moving away, older folks becoming less active, people starting families and those who no longer use the products you sell for whatever reason.
We talked with some of our member ranges about what they do to attract new customers. Some of the answers were pretty standard — “Offer the best products at the best prices”— but others were unique and may be of interest to those who may be struggling to find new customers.
Many said that traditional advertising is expensive and doesn’t always work for them, so they had to start thinking outside the box. For example, working with local charities seems to attract new customers who wouldn’t otherwise know about shooting ranges or know how clean and friendly their local range may be, or offering up free training classes or range rental time to a non-shooting organization are ways to reach a new audience.
Lower Wetumpka Shotgun Sports Club near Montgomery, Alabama, has started reaching out to local church groups and offering the use of its facility for meetings and group picnics. It also offers rental shotguns and instruction to the congregations.
OnTarget Range and Tactical Training Center in Crystal Lake, Illinois, believes it is critical that a range is clean and customer service is topnotch, so that no one feels intimidated. The range has a charitable arm called OnTarget Cares that includes a “Cause of the Month” that supports children and family groups in different ways. This effort makes the range visible to non-firearms owners who might have an interest in learning about ownership and target shooting.
In Des Plaines, Illinois, Maxon Shooter’s Supplies & Indoor Range works with the local Chamber of Commerce to host the longest drive competition during the annual community golf outing.
Bridal shows and women’s expos have been very productive for Shooter’s World in Arizona, with this range promoting its non-traditional bachelorette and bachelor parties. It also hosts ladies’ night on Friday evenings at both its Phoenix and Peoria ranges with great success.
When we think of a 5k running event, we don’t usually think of one starting and stopping at a shooting range. Liberty Firearms Institute in Johnstown, Colorado, works with the community to do just that. Its goal is to make everyone feel welcome, and it does that by offering a tour of the facility to anyone who asks to see it.
Home-school students are offered extracurricular opportunities at Shooters World in the Tampa Bay area. It also does some co-marketing with Harley Davidson of Tampa. The Chamber of Commerce recently named It the Small Business of the Year.
Nashville Armory hires additional staff during the summer to work at local golf courses. The range owns a couple of air cannons with its logo on them that shoots golf balls during the longest-drive competitions. It charges $40 per team for an opportunity to try for closest-to-the-pin, and the proceeds are donated to the charity hosting the golf outing. Nashville Armory also donates a handgun class for closest-to-the-pin winners, and a year’s membership if someone gets a hole-in-one.
These are just some of the ideas shared by our members. What are some unique things you are doing to attract new customers to your facility? Let us know so we can share them with others who may be looking for new ways to grow their business and the shooting community. Remember, we are stronger together. Please share your ideas at [email protected].