Digital marketing for firearms companies can seem daunting and complex. On one hand, you make a great product that you know solves a viable problem in the market. On the other hand, you’re finding it hard to grow your business and attract more customers. So now you’re randomly posting on social media, Facebook banned your Ad Account, and sales aren’t where you need them to keep the doors open.
I’m here to tell you, you’re not alone in facing this problem. I’m also here to tell you that hope is on the horizon! Keep reading to better understand digital marketing for your firearms company.
Do You Need a Digital Marketing Strategy or Tools?
In marketing, people often focus on the wrong things. This phenomenon is especially prevalent in the firearms industry, as it’s easy to see where others are finding success and try to mimic them.
Usually, this misconception occurs due to a lack of understanding between strategy and tools. For the sake of brevity, I’ll make it simple:
- Digital Marketing Strategy: Understanding the problem your product solves and who it does that best for.
- Digital Marketing Tools: The assets at your disposal for telling that person that you’ve solved their problem.
It’s easy to see what any particular company is doing on Instagram — a tool — and try to copy it. But it will be hard to match their success unless you get serious about the strategy first.
Developing a Digital Marketing Strategy for Firearms Companies
The first step in your journey to digital marketing success is to put in a bit of “head work.” And while this part of the process may be less than fun, all the hard work is worth it when you start to see your business grow.
There are three questions you need to thoroughly answer to get this part nailed down. It’s best to record this on a piece of paper or digital document, as this will become the guiding light to the rest of your digital marketing strategy.
What Problem Does Your Product Solve?
To begin, ask yourself what problem your product solves. This is not the time to make general statements like, “my company manufactures AR barrels.” Rather, you should focus on the solution your product provides. The key here is to focus on the problem that’s most painful to the consumer and the solution that’s most unique to you, which is called your unique selling proposition.
Running with the idea that you manufacture AR barrels, a better way to answer this question would be the following: We manufacture the lightest weight, lowest profile, most accurate AR barrels on the market using our unique proprietary solution…
Can you see the difference between those two statements? We’ll expand on it in the next section, but for now, take a moment and find your company’s answer to this question before moving on.
Who Does It Solve That Problem For?
Next, you need to really target who actually benefits from your solution. It’s tempting to feel that your solution will appeal to everyone. And perhaps on some level, that may even be true. However, in marketing, failing to target who you want to sell to means you’ll fail to target anyone specifically.
Carrying on with our AR barrel marketing strategy example, the “who” piece could come in like this: … specifically for competition shooters who need the very best performance.
Can you see just how specific this is? It’s not saying that every single person who uses your product will be that exact person. Rather, it’s stating the kind of person you’re going to target with your marketing! Take a few moments and put some brain power behind who you’re going to target.
How Can You Tell That Person You’ve Solved Their Problem?
The final part is to determine how you’re actually going to tell that person about how you can help them. To do this, you need to find the right tool(s) to reach your target person in a cost-effective way.
Start by looking around. Who else in your industry is serving these people? How are they reaching them successfully?
Another powerful way to identify the best marketing tools for your firearms company is to probe your network. Who do you know that knows more about this than you? Better yet, can they give you introductions to others who can help?
Finishing the AR barrel marketing strategy example would look something like this: We will attend and sponsor the largest Three Gun Matches to put ourselves in direct contact with these shooters.
Done right, using tools to reach your target audience can become an insanely powerful way to rapidly grow your business.
Developing Your Firearms Industry Marketing Strategy
If you’ve done the work, you should now have a decently clear baseline for the what, who, and how of your marketing strategy.
Here’s how it looks for the AR barrel company:
We manufacture the lightest weight, lowest profile, most accurate AR barrels on the market using our proprietary solution, specifically for competition shooters who need the very best performance. We will attend and sponsor the largest three Gun Matches to put ourselves in direct contact with these shooters.
What does yours look like? Drop me an email at AJ@couttsagency.com, and I’ll tell you if you’re on the right track!
Digital Marketing “Tools” for Firearms Companies
Now that we’re through the “head work,” it’s time to return to where most people put their marketing focus.
Here are some of the best tools for marketing a firearms industry company.
Websites for Firearms Companies
Your company needs an amazing website.
In the world of internet searches and digital education, failing to have a website that positions you as the very best almost guarantees you’re missing out on massive business.
Here’s my top-five list of things to get right on your website:
- Targeting: Everything on your website should be targeted toward the person you defined in your strategy.
- Conversions: Your website should have multiple, easy ways for people to convert into sales. These include contact forms, email signups, a chat bubble, and a clickable phone number.
- Beauty: Ensure your website is graphically beautiful. Nothing turns people off like ugly colors or poor design choices.
- Education: Your website must provide education, thoroughly answering the biggest questions your targeted person is going to ask.
- Ease-of-Use: Focus on the user experience. Your website should be really easy to navigate, with each page linking to relevant pages and ultimately to your Call-to-Action (the place where you want that ideal person to purchase or contact you about your product).
Nailing these five items will build a strong foundation for your marketing and sales efforts!
Email Marketing for Firearms Companies
Besides having a website, your firearms company needs a strong email marketing presence. Because your email list is an owned asset, you don’t have to fear randomly losing it one day because a socialist-media company decides they don’t like what you stand for.
Additionally, email marketing is a fantastic way to reach your target market and past customers. Most gun owners are always interested to learn about new products and updates from their favorite companies or to receive a small discount on their birthday. Email marketing is a safe and effective way to increase revenue that comes at a low cost and level of effort.
Best email marketing tactics include the following:
- Have ways to sign up at in-person events (QR Codes are awesome) and on your website.
- Ensure automations are running for key events like birthdays and abandoned carts.
- Incorporate a loyalty program with your email marketing.
- Send regular sales newsletters, providing both education and an opportunity to push people to your website or to your dealer network.
If your email marketing software includes SMS, be sure to abide by S.H.A.F.T. guidelines and have a strong age-gate.
Facebook and Instagram for Firearms Companies
Despite the social media giants constantly harassing patriots like us, Facebook and Instagram are still some of the best places you can attract new followers to your firearms company.
Because of the complexity of the topic, we’ve written a separate article about the best practices for using Facebook and Instagram for your firearms company . If you’re wondering how we do it, that’s a great place to start.
For now, know that it is possible to attract raving fans through social media. Here are some strategic points that will help you do this effectively:
- Engage with accounts using appropriate hashtags and locations — this will help you find more people like your target person.
- Maximize the use of the best-performing media types like Reels and Live Videos.
- Work out deals and partner with companies or people who can provide mutual value. We’ll cover more on this below, but specifically on social media, you should follow their pages, comment often, reply to their stories, and seek to build relationships with companies and people who you feel you can partner with.
Finally, know that it can be frustrating to run your firearms company’s social media pages. This is a volatile area, and it is completely possible that one day you’ll wake up and your page will be gone, despite doing everything as “safely” as possible. Regardless, the rewards are worth it to those willing to develop a strong social media presence!
YouTube Channels for Firearms Companies
Education is a large part of successfully building a Firearms Company.
Without a doubt, YouTube continues to be the very best place for you to build an online resource center full of content about your products. Yes, YouTube is great at censorship too, and you won’t make any money from them even if your videos get millions of views. However, focusing on that is to miss the point.
YouTube is the first place people go to consume educational video content about firearms-related products. Therefore, it is vital that your company has an active channel with content that provides education and answers those questions. This builds trust, provides value, and helps consumers feel more confident that your product really does solve their problem better than anything else.
Influencers, Collaborations, and Public Relations for Firearms Companies
Now it’s time to look at some of the more “controversial” tools you can use for marketing your firearms company.
There is so much that could be said about the topic of influencers, collaborations, and public relations (PR), so for the sake of brevity I’ll just say this — be open to partnerships, but be careful who you partner with.
There are moral, proper ways to do influencer marketing, forge collaborations, and gain publicity. There are also ways that are shady or downright dishonest. Do your homework and trust your gut when pursuing these relationships.
With that in mind, there is almost no faster channel for growth available than influencer marketing. Done right, it can have truly astonishing results. Collaborations and good PR are exceptionally powerful as well.
There is a reason why influencers and PR companies are so large, and it’s because they have access to the majority of your target audience. Study who’s available and learn who they’re targeting. If you like that person or company and their target overlaps with yours, begin pursuing a relationship with them. Not every collaboration will be a massive success, but the rewards will scale as you continue pursuing new relationships and generating more press about your products.
There’s also a learning curve with influencers and PR firms. You have to learn their lingo, know what they’re going to provide you, and manage your expectations. Set those expectations clearly, and hold them accountable if you feel they’ve been missed.
Implementing Digital Marketing Strategy for Firearms Companies
Now you know the key elements in a strong digital marketing strategy for firearms companies. Plus, you’ve been given a tool box full of items you can leverage to build your marketing platform. Combine these elements, and your firearms company will be well on its way to successful growth!
While the purpose of this article is to teach you, I’d like you to know that I am here to help. There’s a lot of nuance in marketing, much of which gets lost in the daily life of an entrepreneur trying to work on all parts of their business. If I can help, simply submit the form below and tell me how — no strings attached.
AJ Coutts — President