Marketing for gun shops is difficult, especially digital marketing. Gun shop eCommerce is tricky to promote with a paid budget online because of the many restrictions that Google and Facebook have set in place. On Facebook, if your ad directly or even indirectly links to a landing page where you can buy guns, your ad won’t get approved to run. You may be able to run ads about your gun blog, as long as it doesn’t link to a landing page where guns can be purchased. The only ads relating to guns that Google will let you run are for parts that increase safety when using a gun such as gun locks, safety pins, trigger locks, and more. Other than organic search traffic and social media traffic, it’s hard to reach new potential customers and connect with previous customers about new products and promotions. Enter: email marketing.
Email marketing helps you reach the right audience in a highly personalized way, leading to a greater chance of conversions and sales. Your emails can include a newsletter that goes out to a wider audience with different interests or of different demographics, or one-off emails that are sent to a narrowed down, more specific audience, featuring a product or announcement that is highly relevant to those email recipients. Newsletters are great for giving an update about your business, new products that you get in stock, any new promotions, and just reminding the email recipients about your business and what you have to offer. Keeping your business top of mind for your customers is important in order to develop and maintain a dedicated and loyal customer base.
The one-off emails that are more specific in targeting and content are where many of the conversions and sales come from. When a customer sees an email containing a blog that talks about the firearm that they recently purchased, and a list of similar products from their last purchase or an accessory to something that previously purchased, they are more likely to click through from the email to your site to look into it and, hopefully, make a purchase. It’s very important to have a targeted group of people in mind for each email - don’t put out blanket statements that could apply to a larger group of people wherever possible. Focus on a few specific products, highlight a few items, look at what some of your loyal customers have been interested in and promote those items, etc.
The hardest parts about this gun advertising and the email marketing process are obtaining the emails in the first place and knowing which customers are interested in purchasing or knowing more about it. Including a newsletter signup in the footer of your site is a great way to get new email addresses for your marketing emails because people are choosing to sign up for your newsletter, therefore showing their interest in your brand and what you have to offer. When customers and potential customers sign up for your newsletter, have them select an option that describes them and their interests briefly - hunter, military, recreational shooter, competition, etc. or have them select the state that they live in, since there are many restrictions on shipping and gun sales for each state. That will help you put your customer list into groups that will help you send the most relevant email, increasing the chance for conversions and sales.
The best way to learn more about your customer's interests and preferences is to have a marketing automation program that can gather all of the customer history data and create lists and groups of customers depending on their lifetime value for your business. Customers that haven’t purchased in 6+ months can go into a list and you can schedule out an email that goes only to those people, letting them know that you’re still there and potentially show off some new products that you have in stock since their last purchase. This is a very popular way to try to ‘win-back’ customers after they haven’t purchased in 6 months or a year. You can also email your customers that have purchased a product on your site recently and ask them to write a review for you, to keep your brand top of mind but also reinforce the review and referring process.
Designing emails that are catchy and make you want to click-through to a website can be challenging. Most people, especially in the United States, typically get a lot of different promotional emails, so how do you stand out without being overly aggressive, annoying, and preventing people from unsubscribing? It’s important finding the happy medium of how many emails to send each week and what type of content to include. Sometimes it may be trial and error to find what works best for your business. If you don’t usually have sales and promotions each week or each month, you’ll have to shift your email focus to be more product-focused and include any tips and tricks or blog posts that may be relevant to your email recipients. The design of marketing emails for gun shops doesn’t have to be overly developed, but always be sure to include quality product photos and any discount codes. Always check your email design and functionality on a mobile device before sending it out to the masses, because you want the email to look and function properly in order for customers to want to click through to your site.
In order to get a good click-through-rate and open rate, it’s important to put some of these points into practice when designing and scheduling your email marketing campaigns. While firearm advertising can be challenging with the restrictions on paid advertising, email marketing can be a great addition to your marketing arsenal to increase traffic to the site, conversions, and to get more sales.
If you are looking to build a gun shop eCommerce website or want more information on firearms eCommerce in general, contact GunShop Commerce today and we will get back to you shortly.