Companies have been engaging in firearms marketing for centuries, but the first glimpse of modern-day firearms advertising was in America during the 1800s. A quick Google search of the earliest firearms ads will show clippings from old-school newspapers encouraging readers to buy the latest, most reliable guns for their self defense needs. The 2nd Amendment has always put the United States in a unique situation regarding gun sales, and that truth continues today as companies strive to reach more and more people with their firearms ads.
But what are the current firearms marketing trends? How can businesses get new firearms training marketing ideas or discover the best ways to engage in shooting sports marketing? Read on, as the following sections will cover the latest developments in firearms marketing so you can take the next right step for your company’s success.
Evolving Consumer Demographics in Firearms Purchases
Recent years have seen a remarkable transformation in the landscape of firearms ownership and the shooting industry at large. Today’s gun market trends reveal new demographics of consumers becoming interested in gun ownership, which means there is a rising need for more variety in the types of firearms marketing companies are engaging in.
Here are the three main areas of evolution pertaining to gun purchases:
- Women: There is an increasing number of women entering the firearms market. In fact, LA Magazine reports that women are the fastest growing demographic of gun owners in the US. The report states that in 2005, only 13% of gun owners were women. Now, less than two decades later, 1 in 5 women report owning a gun. The LA Mag report also sites a separate Harvard survey stating that more women bought firearms during the COVID-19 pandemic than men!
- Millennials and Gen Z: These “younger” generations are starting to open up to gun ownership. These demographics are reporting an increased priority for self defense along with greater interest in the country’s political direction. As a result, members of these generations are taking a stand regarding gun ownership — leading to an increase in gun purchases from these groups.
- Urban gun owners: Gun ownership is no longer a “rural man’s game.” While rural areas continue to display a higher percentage of gun ownership for activities like hunting and target shooting, more urbanites are buying guns for the simple desire for self defense. Living in cities comes with a great deal of safety concerns, and it’s possible that people living in cities are viewing owning a firearm as a way to protect themselves and their loved ones while achieving greater peace of mind.
While every company has different ideal buyer personas and target demographics, it’s important to keep these evolving demographics in mind as you seek to advertise efficiently and effectively. It can also inspire you as you seek to develop or offer more product lines, community outreach programs, and even educational initiatives. By adapting to meet the needs and expectations of your changing buyer pool, you’ll be better able to thrive in an era where gun ownership diversity levels are at an all-time high.
Digital Marketing Strategies for Firearms
With vastly changing demographics of people who are interested in buying firearms, you may be wondering how you can possibly use digital marketing successfully. While firearms trade shows are still a great way to connect with people, you’ll want to lean into digital solutions to make the largest impact. Thankfully, there are a few general best practices you can start with that may help you make an impact in the firearms space.
- Optimize your website: Your website is the cornerstone of your digital marketing efforts. Everything else you do will point back to your website. Make sure it’s optimized with fast loading times, branding alignment, high-quality visual assets, strong internal linking, and easy navigation. It should be easy for your website visitors to do what they want to do next — including make a purchase, when applicable.
- Use paid ads: Yes, you can use paid ads in the firearms industry! Always follow the guidelines established by the platforms where you’ll be running your ads. If the strict standards of Meta and Google aren’t to your liking, then look into running digital ads through Topple. Topple will run ads of any type, as long as it’s legal in the area where you’re advertising. This can ensure greater success in your paid advertising campaign!
- Get into content marketing: Blogs and vlogs are two of the main forms of content marketing that can help boost your brand. These can be educational in nature, answering the specific questions your target audience are asking. This type of content is crucial for Search Engine Optimization (SEO), which is the process of ranking higher on Google’s search engine results pages so more people can find you online.
- Utilize social media: Organic social media is free and can be a great way to establish your brand identity to your followers over time. It’s one of the best ways to connect with the firearms community at large and your target demographic more specifically. More on this later.
- Increase engagement with email marketing: Email marketing is not dead! In fact, it’s alive and well, and you should consider making it a pillar of your digital marketing strategy. We’ll touch on this a bit more later as well, in the section titled “The Role of Branding and Community Engagement in Firearms Sales.”
As you continue your firearms marketing journey, you may find that some of the above methods work better than others for your specific goals. You’ll also learn how to better optimize your marketing for even better results. Learn what works for your business by understanding your target demographics and adjusting your approach accordingly.
Regulatory Impact on Firearms Marketing
The firearms industry is subject to many regulations existing on federal, state, and local levels. These regulations have a significant impact on how companies can market their firearms-related products and services. As such, your business will face some hurdles at various stages in your firearms marketing journey. But all hope is not lost — by understanding these regulations, you can better navigate them to experience marketing success.
Regulations will affect two main areas of your marketing strategy — the type of content you can include in your advertisements, and the platforms where you’ll be advertising. Let’s start with the type of content you can include.
Strict guidelines govern the type of messaging you can use in your firearms ads. The type of content that is usually safe to post revolves around responsible gun ownership, law compliance, and gun safety — no surprises there.
The types of ads that will be flagged, taken down, or not allowed to be posted in the first place are those that show irresponsible gun behavior, violence, gore, and the like. Unfortunately, platforms like Meta and Google can be flexible with their definition of what qualifies as an inappropriate gun ad. That’s why it’s best to focus your paid advertising efforts on Topple, which is much more reasonable.
Regarding advertising platforms, it’s no surprise that big tech giants like Google and Meta have strict policies restricting the promotion of firearms-related content. To advertise on these platforms, you’ll need a nuanced approach to ensure your paid ads can run. You already know about Topple as a potential avenue for running paid ads for firearms, so be sure to look into that further as the solution to your paid advertising needs.
Innovations in Firearms Technology and Their Market Influence
Firearms companies of all types and sizes should take note of the latest innovations in firearms technology, as these innovations will surely impact the market in the coming years. By staying up-to-date with the latest technologies and choosing to consider their validity in the long-term, you can better position yourself for success as technologies continue to evolve.
Here are three of the main technological innovations that the firearms industry is experiencing:
- Smart technology integration: Thanks to smart technology, the firearms industry could be on the cusp of a new era of personalized safety features. “Smart” guns have been developed, with more being planned, that feature RFID technology or fingerprint recognition to add an extra layer of control over who can operate them. This form of tech-driven safety may appeal to lawmakers and could be appealing to gun owners in certain situations, but it’s unlikely that the gun community would seek it to become the new standard.
- Materials and manufacturing improvements: Firearms industry manufacturers and engineers are always seeking more efficient ways of producing better materials and parts for the best results possible. The development of advanced polymers and alloys that are both lightweight and durable is contributing to better firearms performance and improved user experiences. As such, today’s buyers are demanding more customizable and ergonomic firearms designs.
- Advancements in aiming systems and optics: Night vision technologies and smart scopes are improving firearms use-cases for both recreational and professional shooters. The fact remains that people all over the United States use firearms for different reasons and in different situations. These advancements will continue meeting market needs, meeting the demands of users.
The Role of Branding and Community Engagement in Firearms Sales
Branding and community engagement are two essential pillars of standing out in the firearms industry and achieving customer loyalty. Strong branding helps people “feel” a certain way when thinking about your business and seeing your products. It helps them know what to expect when interacting with your social media channels or viewing your content. Think of it as your identity on the market.
But branding will only go so far without community engagement. Today’s buyers want to feel like they’re a part of something bigger than themselves, and that includes being a part of the businesses they support and follow. They want to feel like they know who you are and that you see them.
With this in mind, here are three areas where you can engage with the firearms community and boost your branding:
- Social media: Respond to comments and messages promptly, making sure your communication is in line with your brand’s “voice.” Make posts that are educational and entertaining, with the occasional “sales-focused” post to drive traffic to your website. Just make sure you never discuss pricing in your posts — that’s a surefire way to get the post taken down and a strike placed on your account. Also, look into joining Facebook Groups that are relevant to your business, as these are great ways to connect more directly with your target audience.
- Email marketing: Email marketing is a powerful way to increase engagement with your brand while cultivating your brand voice, because it puts your messages directly in the inboxes of your subscribers. These are people who have already expressed interest in your company, making them a group of leads that have a high chance of converting. Your emails should be a blend of education and entertainment while also offering exclusive deals for your subscribers. And of course, be sure all your content is in line with your company’s branding.
- Influencers: Influencers can help your products and services get in front of people you’d never be able to reach on your own. Influencers have a huge impact on the buying habits and thoughts of their followers, so it’s a good idea to partner with the right influencers to push your products and showcase them for their followers to see.
Forecasting Future Trends in Firearms Marketing
Is the gun industry growing? You bet. New demographics are increasing in demand for firearms, and your firearms industry business can answer that demand. All you need is the right game plan to achieve success — a combination of having the right products and services, and marketing them correctly with the right firearms marketing agency as trends continue to shift.
The Coutts Agency is the partner you’ve been looking for. We specialize in helping firearms industry businesses of all types reach their digital marketing goals, whether they’ve been in business for decades or are just starting out. We live and breathe firearms and look forward to helping your business grow!
Are you ready to take the next step? Contact us, and let’s capitalize on the latest firearms marketing trends!