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A Short Guide For Marketing Guns Online

Coutts Featured image - Oct Article 1

In the digital age, businesses must embrace the internet as one of the best ways to handle their marketing efforts. This is even true for camping industry companies, since so many outdoor enthusiasts are going online to find the best products for their next adventure — or to find the next adventure itself. For this reason, online marketing for camping industry businesses is a must. 

Whether you have an ecommerce firearms brand, a gun manufacturing business, or a brick and mortar gun store, digital marketing is the key to your success and continued growth. But online gun marketing comes with many unique challenges that other industries simply don’t face, which may leave you feeling like it’s too risky to sell guns online or even try to get into digital firearms advertising. 

We’re here to tell you that digital gun marketing is entirely possible to do effectively — if you follow the best practices and know what you’re doing before starting. Are you ready to take your firearm e-commerce dreams and turn them into a reality? Use the information below to get started dominating your firearms marketing strategy!

Understanding Local and International Regulations

Before embarking on your digital gun marketing journey, know that you will be facing heavy restrictions. That’s just the way it is in the world today. These restrictions can be a lot to balance, as there are local and federal rules to follow. 

Here’s an example to help put things into perspective. California requires gun merchants to only sell their products to customers who have their Firearm Safety Certificate. Other states don’t have restrictions like this. In other words, keep in mind that the restrictions are different depending on where you’re selling your products — and likewise, how you’re marketing them. 

Another aspect to keep in mind is that certain types of firearms products can have more restrictions than others when it comes to their sale and advertisement. You may be able to ship certain types of guns, ammunition, and magazines to one state and not another. 

If this seems like a lot, then it’s important to partner with a digital marketing agency that understands these restrictions and knows how to implement a solid digital gun marketing strategy. They’ll be a valuable resource to you as you seek to implement the following strategies in this guide.

Digital Advertising Platforms

Let’s address the elephant in the room. 

Google and Meta, two of the biggest tech giants of our day and age, are going to make it extremely difficult to use paid ads for your firearms business. Meta provides some extremely specific allowances, which you can see in their information on advertising weapons, ammunition, or explosives. But doing all your advertising according to these exceptions would be very hard to do effectively.

What you need is a gun-friendly paid advertising solution, and one of the most exciting platforms that fits the bill is Topple. Topple is a paid advertising platform that will advertise anything, as long as it’s legal in the area it’s being advertised in, on websites that gun-lovers regularly visit. As such, they’ve proven to be very firearms-friendly and offer an exciting opportunity for firearm e-commerce businesses to do paid ads effectively. 

Your Online Store Is One of Your Best Digital Advertising Tools

One way you can start increasing your online presence is through your e-commerce site. When it comes to advertising firearms-related products online, your website is like your digital billboard. Therefore, you need to make sure you’re using a platform that has proven to be friendly towards firearms. This is crucial, because there have been instances where business owners have woken up to see their e-commerce site completely shut down, because their chosen platform decided to change their policies. 

Here are some examples of good platforms to consider hosting your firearms e-commerce site:

  • Sell Gun Online (SGO)
  • BigCommerce
  • AmmoReady
  • Make Ready Arms
  • Woocommerce

Take some time to study the exact restrictions and allowances that these platforms place on firearms e-commerce businesses. This will ensure you know what you’re getting into before something blindsides you, setting you back on your digital marketing journey. 

Content Marketing: Educating and Engaging the Audience

With so many restrictions and regulations to keep track of when it comes to digital firearms advertising, one of the best ways you can gain control of your online presence is through content marketing. 

Content marketing utilizes photos, videos, and the written word to educate, inspire, motivate, and appeal to your audience. It increases your company’s brand awareness, establishes you as an industry authority, and brings people one step closer to making a buying decision. It’s the foundation of any successful marketing strategy in the firearms industry.

Below, you’ll find five pathways to start doing content marketing to boost your presence online.

Optimize Your Website

One of the first action steps you should take is to get your website fully optimized for the best results. If you lack a website, the first thing to do is to create one. Once you have that, then you need to make sure it’s fully optimized. Here are some of the characteristics of a fully optimized website:

  • No broken links
  • Easy navigation
  • Visually attractive 
  • Satisfying shopping experience
  • Search engine optimized (more on that soon)

The goal is to have a website that makes it easy for people to learn more about you and make a purchase.

Get Into Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the process of getting your website to rank higher on Google or other search engines when people search for relevant keywords. It’s a multi-faceted process that involves optimizing your website and creating relevant content for it. For instance, if your business is a suppressor manufacturer in Pennsylvania, you want to rank as highly as possible when people search for, say, “Pennsylvania suppressor company.” 

Achieving successful SEO usually takes several months to start seeing results, but it provides a great ROI in the long run. SEO ensures that your target audience finds YOU when it’s time to make a purchase, rather than your competition. 

Start Blogging

Blogging remains one of the best ways to boost your presence online and be seen as an industry authority in the eyes of your target audience. It’s usually a main component of SEO, as the blogs you create can directly address relevant issues that your target audience will be searching for. 

Even if people don’t immediately buy your products after reading your blogs, they’re more likely to remember your company if you provided them with highly valuable educational content. Then, when the time comes for them to make a purchase, they may more readily think of your company, because you’ve helped them in the past through your quality blogs. 

And the best part is, if you’re hosting your website yourself or using a firearms-friendly platform, you can essentially say whatever you want in your blogs without worrying about Big Tech removing the content!

Create Video Content

Video is one of the content kings for today’s firearms buyers. People are craving educational and entertaining videos from the brands they’re considering buying from. Whether someone is unsure if a certain product is right for them or simply wants to better understand how a product works before adding it to their cart, people expect video content today. If it’s not there, that can actually be viewed as a negative and reduce buyer confidence. 

Consider utilizing the following video mediums for your firearms business:

  • Longform YouTube videos
  • YouTube SHORTS
  • Instagram and Facebook Reels
  • Rumble videos

Not sure where to begin? Consider the products you specialize in and the kinds of questions you most often get about them. Start by producing video content that addresses those questions. 

Do Email Marketing

Looking for a way to more directly nurture your target audience? Email marketing is still one of the best ways to do this. Email marketing gives you the opportunity to reach the inboxes of people who have already shown interest in your product and willingly signed up for your newsletter list. As such, email marketing is a great way to bring these people one step closer to a sale.

From educational content and product updates to limited-time offers and subscriber-only deals, use email marketing to engage with your audience and help them to get to know you a little better and feel more comfortable and excited to hit that “add to cart” button.

Leveraging Social Media While Navigating Policies

Even though many of the biggest names in social media have anti-gun policies and restrictions, they are still viable places to let your business exist and engage with your target audience. Social media gives people a sense that they “know” the companies they follow, and it also serves as a platform for people to ask questions and comment about what a company is doing. It’s a more intimate experience than simply browsing a website. 

With this in mind, here are five ways to leverage social media the right way and minimize your risk of getting penalized:

  • Understand the policies: It all starts with understanding the policies of the social media platforms you’ll be using. Each social media platform may have differing policies, so it’s important to know these policies before making a post. Make yourself a checklist to review before hitting the post button, especially if you’re using the same content for posts across platforms.
  • Post consistently: Social media platforms have algorithms that can help increase your reach — if you know how to play the algorithm correctly. One of the first ways to please the algorithms is to post consistently. This lets the algorithm know that your account is active and worth putting in front of more people. Whether you post a few times a week or multiple times a day, strive for some semblance of consistency in your posts. 
  • Use professional, high-quality, high-class content: While you should definitely post consistently, you need to make sure what you’re posting is of the highest quality and class. Remember, a few quality posts can have a much bigger impact than a constant stream of unhelpful, unprofessional posts. This means pictures are clear, videos are professional, and the words you use convey an air of dignity that’s in line with your branding. 
  • Never discuss pricing: One of the easiest rules to follow that can seriously cause problems for you if you break it is to never discuss pricing publicly. Whether you’re making a post or communicating in the comments, pricing is something that should ALWAYS be discussed either in a private message or over the phone. Even if someone asks in the comments about pricing — and they will, every so often — tell them to visit your website, give you a call, or message you directly for that information. 
  • Get into Facebook groups: Facebook groups are a great place to engage with your target audience in a more personal way. Whether the group directly deals with your specialty product or is simply related in some way, participating in it will show that you want to engage with your audience and care about the firearms industry on a deeper level than simply “getting more sales.”

Affiliate Marketing and Partnerships in the Firearms Industry

One final way to sell guns online and successfully engage in online gun marketing is through affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing is a type of partnership in the firearms industry where someone will push your brand on their website for a small commission. It’s a great way to get your brand in front of a wider audience than you may be able to reach yourself, especially if the person or business you’re partnering with has an established presence in the firearms community. 

One word of warning — be sure to research who you’re partnering with before signing any papers. You want your partnerships to be with individuals whose values align with your company’s and whose reputation is one you want to be associated with. 

Partner With The Coutts Agency to Achieve Digital Gun Marketing Success!

Firearms e-commerce may seem like a lot of particulars to balance, but The Coutts Agency is here to help your growth dreams come true. We’re passionate about firearms and specialize in helping companies just like yours achieve success. If you have a vision for your company, we’re the ones to help it turn into a reality. 

Fill out the form below, and let’s get started growing your firearms e-commerce business!