February 5, 2020
The Range, LLC: Bringing in New Shooters with NSSF’s +ONE Movement
When Stacy Wilson came to Yakima’s shooting facility The Range, she knew one of her primary tasks was to expand the number of first-time shooters coming to this NSSF Five-Star facility.
Wilson, a former Cabela’s employee, was already an outdoor sporting enthusiast, and she understood the support it takes to get a first-time shooter in the door and out onto the field. But as the newly hired Director of Marketing and Sales for The Range, Wilson realized she would need additional resources to develop promotions and events. Fortunately, The Range has a strong connection with the NSSF.
“I started spending more time on NSSF’s website. I was amazed at the level of program support available to me in my new role, and that helped me focus on how we could connect with new shooters.
While many ranges market to serious, experienced shooters, The Range has concentrated more on new shooters over the years. One of the first events Wilson adopted to support those efforts was promoting the +ONE Pledge during last August’s National Shooting Sports Month®. “This gave us a great place to start. We promoted free range days for first-timers and families.
“NSSF’s website resources for the +ONE SM Movement helped with our efforts by providing talking points to engage local media,” said Wilson. Other resources NSSF provides to those industry members wanting to create +ONE events and promotions include:
- Banners, Posters, Gun Mats and Tent Cards—Industry members can put these up in their stores, clubhouses, employee break rooms and other places to bring greater attention to the +ONE Movement.
- Selfie Frames—These help +ONE event hosts and their participants capture the excitement of their day at the range and share it on social media pages using #PlusOneMovement and #LetsGoShooting hashtags.
- +ONE Stickers—An easy and fun item to hand out to customers, employees, +ONE mentors and others, helping to build pride in belonging to the +ONE family.
- Challenge Coins—These help reward +ONE mentors who go the extra mile by introducing more than one new person to hunting and the shooting sports.
Wilson took particular interest in the media resources, which helped her create and send press releases to newspapers, local blogs, and radio and television stations.
Wilson perceives television, even in a digital world, as a strong way to cut through the noise. “After contacting one of the local station’s sportscasters, he came out to the range and covered one of our ‘Zombie shoots.’—and he loved it! They ran it as a sporting event on the news. It had immediate results, attracting the general public and families to The Range. When a guy on the news who’s a non-shooter says something is fun, it really changes the narrative. It brought people to our door we would have never seen otherwise,” said Wilson.
Wilson said many of the family-related evening events the facility holds, such as Date Night, Family Night and even Ladies’ Night, now have a +ONE promotion incorporated. “We encourage all participants via our Facebook page and emails to bring a new shooter. It’s been remarkably effective. One woman brought her three daughters who had never shot before. Now they’re returning to the range as a family. It’s great to see these new shooters embrace our sport,” said Wilson.
The Range also continues to experience growth through its daily use of Instagram and Facebook, and as part of its new-shooter recruitment efforts, it encourages its clients to use the NSSF +ONE selfie frames. NSSF provides these frames and other promotional items to ranges and retailers hosting events during August’s National Shooting Sports Month.
“The selfies have made a large impact on our growth and traffic from these social media venues. We regularly have people walk in the door saying they saw us on Facebook. Shooters love to pose with the selfie-frame displays,” said Wilson. “When the post is viewed and shared, it affirms that the experience looks fun. The traffic from social media continues to surprise us,” Wilson said.
Using First Shots to Promote Hunter Safety Education
The Range adopted NSSF’s First Shots program to help attract younger and new shooters. That, in turn, has provided an effective way to bring families into the range. “One of the programs that met our goals was NSSF’s First Shots®, which has advertising and event support to engage first-time shooters and direct them to a facility for these introductory shooting events,” explained Wilson.
“The First Shots program allows us to offer a free hunter safety class complete with .22 ammo, targets, ear and eye protection and a journal,” she said.
“There’s an emphasis on fun. In addition to range time, we take the participants to an outdoor area with life-size targets hidden in the foliage. They begin to get a feel for target identification, shot placement and safety. The entire process makes them feel ‘adopted’ into our community of hunters and shooters,” said Wilson.
An additional benefit of The Range’s large-scale commitment to hunter education classes is that non-shooting parents can take the class with younger students. Often, those parents find it interesting enough to become involved in the sport. Wilson noted that even if the parents don’t become shooters, they become supportive of gun ownership—and that’s invaluable to the future of the shooting sports.
NSSF Staff and Resources Are Lynchpins
Through collaboration with the staff and resources at the NSSF, this range and retailer had one of the most successful Augusts in its history. The number of new shooters is up, and nearly 80 percent of them are women. The Range has also seen steady increases in families and teens participating in the shooting sports.
“Incorporating the NSSF +ONE Movement and First Shots has done much more for our community and range than I imagined. All the tools and expertise are there. Just get on the NSSF.org, LetsGoShooting.org or LetsGoHunting.org, or call Ann Gamauf in the NSSF office (203-426-1320 ext. 247; [email protected]). The support and the ideas are readily available for you, you just have to put them to use.”
“It gives our staff great pride to be part of these programs,” Wilson added. “Together, we are bringing first-time shooters to the range and extending the heritage of the shooting sports industry.”
About NSSF’s +ONE Movement
NSSF’s +ONE Movement encourages current gun owners, hunters and target shooters to bring a friend along on a hunting or range excursion. All members of the firearms industry—manufacturers, FFL store owners, range operators and others—are also encouraged to host +ONE events, including those events that work to get employees (especially those who might not have handled a firearm before) more involved in the shooting sports and spreading the word.
NSSF provides a growing number of event materials, social media posts, logos, digital ads and media packets on its website for easy use by any industry member. For more information on how your business can utilize these resources to help grown hunting and the shooting sports in the U.S., contact Ann Gamauf, Retail & Range Business Development Coordinator at [email protected] or 203-426-1320 ext. 247.