Marketing Awareness

Best practices for elevating awareness of the option to go hunting and fishing, all the benefits these outdoor activities offer, and the easiest target groups to focus your efforts on to accomplish R3.

Events and Programs

Events are a great tool that can contribute to R3 is you set them up properly. You can tweak your events to make them even more effective for accomplishing R3. Not all of your events may be about creating hunters/anglers/shooters, but certain aspects of them can aid in R3 such as data gathering.

Types of Events/Programs

  • Give it a Shot Class – Shooting event for those who don’t already hunt, can be any weapon, learn basics and get to shoot
  • School learning to shoot programs (National Archery in the Schools Program, Scholastic Clay Target Program, etc.)
  • Learn to fish programs – family focused as opposed to youth
  • Learn to hunt programs – half day to 3 day workshops
  • Game or fish cooking demonstrations for food sampling
  • Large events/expo/trade show
  • School learning to fish programs
  • College, hands on programs to learn to hunt/fish/shoot

Best Practices

  • When designing the event establish goals and objectives and decide how you are going to measure it
  • Registration should ideally be through a system that assigns a customer number that is then trackable to relate to a license sale
  • Making interactive displays for events to get customer info
  • State parks – use state parks or other public places to host your events
  • Collect email addresses and phone numbers for all who attend
  • Build pathway for shooting sports programs to hunting or continue shooting
    • Consider pathways to advanced target programs that contribute to FTE by using club and event locators tools that already exist.  That way shooters can be retained even if they don’t hunt currently.
  • Survey attendees to get event feedback
  • Don’t waste resources on giveaways (trinkets, doodads, pencils, stickers, keychains) if your goal is R3 unless you can use it to incentivize optional registration. No need to give away door prizes either as this also doesn’t accomplish R3.
  • Follow up to participants after the event as a next step to keep them engaged – you should continue communicating to keep people engaged. Even if it is sharing partner events, you are still keeping them participating!
  • Social support is needed with these activities so make programs family friendly and inclusive of mentors so people aren’t in this alone.
  • Make sure you are getting the right people to your events by marketing to people who are likely to want to participate and don’t currently participate. See “Getting Newbies” below.

Branding

When you have these events, do you look like your agency? Branding is important because not only is it what makes a memorable impression on consumers but it allows the public to know what to expect from your agency. There are many areas that are used to develop a brand including logo, customer service, promotional merchandise, reputation, social media, uniforms, signage, and more. Your brand is the DNA of the agency and should be woven into everything you do and consistency is key. Best practices around branding include:

Best Practices

  • Have logo rules and keep logos to a minimum (not every program needs a separate logo from the agency, this creates an identity crisis)
  • Wear uniforms/wardrobe that identifies your agency
  • Have an elevator speech about your agency so that you can tell someone about the mission statement in a short, understandable and relatable way.
  • Make sure all your communications to customers are branded from email signatures and mass email communication templates to social media, website, signage, printed materials, and the way your agency answers a phone and any other communication channel you have.
  • Using imagery that doesn’t offend potential customers (no blood or too many grip and grins)
  • Don’t try to be everything to everybody, our agencies are broad but we can focus on certain things at different places.
  • Make next step contacts via phone, social, web, etc. clear through branding and highlight the channel you want them to use.

Communication Tools

Need tools to follow up and use information that you get from your customers or potential customers. Have established communication follow up for events, have opt in content for people to subscribe to. These communication tools should highlight hunting/fishing/shooting participation and how people can get involved in these activities.

Best Practices

  • Email, text, etc.
  • Newsletters
  • Social media
  • Magazines/owned media
  • Calendar of messaging (see appendix for examples)
  • Put buttons/links/website in every communication you send out for people to purchase a license or information about how to get a license.
  • Having a plan – have a media/outreach plan for a year – hunting, angling, outreach, shooting sports, etc. get things lined up to go through approval process and get resources assigned
  • Identify which audience you want to reach and how you are going to reach that audience

Recruiting Locations

It is important to recruit new folks from places that are not likely to be current hunters/anglers/shooters, would not have organically gotten involved (through a traditional methods), and likely to want to be hunters/anglers/shooters in order to be most effective with heightening awareness and consideration of these activities and being effective at recruiting.

Recommended Locations

  • Schools – fishing in the schools programs, shooting sports,
  • Colleges and Universities
  • USA Archery Clubs, USA Shooting Clubs, Scouts, 4H,  or other outdoor focused groups
  • Local Park and Recreation Departments – Explore Archery Programs, for example
  • Shooting ranges
  • Define/Identify your target audiences from current research and find the correct channels to communicate to these targets
  • Identify new customers who share traits with existing customers or emerging trends in your license data. Evaluate license data and identify which audience segments make up the biggest volume and/or fastest growth. Then find people who are similar, ex. use tools like lookalikes.
  • Use shooting sports programs to recruit for hunting
  • Farmer’s markets or local focused markets to find food motivated people
  • State parks
  • Outdoor recreation events – mountain bikers, hikers, everything but hunting

Good Imagery for Proper Creative

You need the right images in order to make sure people can see themselves as a hunter/angler/shooter. It is often a challenge to have the right photos to create the proper content. How do you get the right photos?

  • Pay someone to take pics
  • Partner with brands to use their imagery
  • Use other resources like RBFF photo library
  • ATA video/photo assets.
  • IHEA’s new Hunters Connect for millennial/GenX video series. 
  • Get permission
  • Be inclusive
  • Photo contests – (give parameters to crowdsource high quality photos)
  • Purchase online stock photo imagery – Not as authentic or preferable. And be careful it looks like your state.
  • Identify agency personnel that like to take photos and give them a wish list of pictures
  • Have a shot list for staff to see
  • Guidelines for good photos included in the resources below

Invest in Paid Marketing

There are many levels of investment an agency can make in increasing awareness, acceptance, and consideration of hunting/fishing/shooting. We should focus on our constituents as well as those who aren’t; we have a need for both to value the agency and the work we do. In regards to R3, we will focus on likeminded, current constituents, target shooters, and outdoorsy people.

Best Practices

  • Identify what your agency can invest in marketing and work with a professional marketing firm in order to develop the right strategy for you.
  • If you can’t identify at least $25,000 in a year to invest, then use in-house communications personnel to place ads on social media and other digital, measureable channels.
  • Use measureable strategies in order to prove ad effectiveness.
  • Evaluate your marketing efforts and hone them over time, pay attention to return on ad spend (ROAS), impressions, return on investment (ROI), conversions

Proven Strategies

  • Digital ads targeted to your target audiences and lapsed customers
  • Geofencing digital ads
  • Lapsed email/text campaigns
  • Social media ads targeted to lookalike audiences of your agency and other agency pages like state parks
  • YouTube pre-roll ads for awareness
  • Retargeting people who have abandoned your sales site
  • Amazon ads for people looking for outdoor equipment
  • Boosting events on Facebook/social media to targeted audiences
  • Improving the customer experience on your licensing site. Making sure landing page content you are driving people to is relevant, engaging. Use an outside firm to evaluate license purchase process and how to improve it. Having good ads is important, but it’s equally important
  • Develop an appropriate call to action and resources to drive people to for your target audiences.

Benchmarks

Have goals for number of new recruits in a year, number of people retained, number of people reactivated and overall goals for number of licenses sold in a year. With those goals in mind, then use those to inform what resources you invest into each area of R3.

Example Benchmarks

  • Fishing churn less than 50%
  • Hunting churn less than 50%
  • Sell licenses to 700,000 people in 2020
  • 20% of all licenses sold have never purchased before
  • With a $250,000 marketing budget, produce $2.5 million in license revenue
  • Awareness goals – increased awareness of x opportunity by x% measured through survey
  • Future participation – follow up survey for people who attended events – targeted to children/seniors/lifetimes and those who don’t purchase licenses
  • Purchase of gun/fishing rod – NASP/shooting sports – survey them to find out if they are purchasing equipment; find out a baseline and try to increase
  • Reactivation – reactivate x people each year; decrease average lapsed time
  • Increasing subscribers for agency communications
  • Increase amount of events that are focused on R3 and reaching new audiences and not doing the same shows every year.
Resources