THE POWER OF BRANDING
Once you’ve built your range, you have the task of attracting and forging relationships with customers. To achieve this, your business requires a distinctive and memorable persona. The marketing world refers to this persona as a “brand.” Having a strongly-defined and reliable brand builds recognition and familiarity, which breeds credibility and trust. Your brand goes hand in hand with your reputation, so it’s imperative you pay ample attention to this aspect of your business.
CUSTOMIZE YOUR EQUIPMENT
A consistent look and feel throughout your facility creates an impression of polished professionalism and reinforces your range’s brand. Action Target offers extensive customization options to make it easy to achieve this consistency. For example, we can manufacture shooting stalls decked with your company colors, apply your logo to your equipment, and design paper targets uniquely for your range.
There are additional ways you can brand your building, such as etching your range name and logo into doors, interior viewing windows, walls, floors, and tables. You can also draw attention to your building by making it highly visible with attractive lighting and signs. Consider placing company mascots or branded vehicles in strategic locations to catch the attention of passersby.
Furthermore, invest in merchandise customized with your name and logo. It’s more valuable than you might realize. Not only will your customers enjoy the swag, but they will also serve as ambassadors of your business when wearing and using your branded gear. The sky is the limit when it comes to what you can customize, be it apparel, patches, coasters, mugs, pens, flashlights, bumper stickers, and keychains. Remember, the experience your customer has with your brand impacts your reputation, so we recommend you purchase good quality items.
While your facility may be a gun range primarily, it’s no secret that the success of your range is hinged on the quality of your customer’s experience. So why not make a name for yourself by offering more than a shooting space? For starters, ensure information about your products, services, and membership is readily accessible. Install markers to let customers know exactly where to go and with whom to speak if they have questions. Be aware that demonstrating expertise is critical when it comes to developing customer trust and loyalty, so take adequate time to educate yourself and your staff on range equipment, operation, and retail products.
It is also recommended that you invest in additional services, thereby creating a “destination location” for visitors. Such amenities may include:
- Coffee shops/dining establishments/grab-and-go snacks
- Locker rooms
- Gun safe room
- Firearm build services
- Corporate event space
- Member-only lounge
Remember, you don’t have to break the bank to make your space more inviting. If funds are limited, consider a comfortable conversation area and luxury coffee station.
MEMBERSHIP PROGRAMS AND PERKS
Gun range membership programs are one of the best revenue builders a business can employ. They provide a reliable income, grow your customer base, and motivate shooters to return again and again. It benefits both you and your customers to build a solid and rewarding membership program. There are many ways to enhance these programs, such as multi-member discounts, family packages and corporate bundles. You can also advertise gift memberships for special occasions such as holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries.
When it comes to making your gun range membership program enticing and accessible, don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Consider combining memberships with discounted training classes. In addition to growing membership, this will also strengthen participation in your education platform. Furthermore, don’t hesitate to be creative in your approach to incentivizing membership and encouraging member participation. For example, nominate a “Member of the Month” and assign a prime parking space for this special member.
PROMOTIONS AND EVENTS
Product promotions and gun range events are a tried and true method for growing your business. While the options are countless, here are some suggestions to kickstart your creative ideas:
- A special discounted item of the month. Educate range employees about the item and encourage them to discuss it with customers.
- Member-only discounts on non-sale items. This shows loyalty to your members and promotes the perks of membership.
- Offer discounted lane time during off-peak hours or during extremes in temperature when shooting outside is undesirable.
- Host events such as special product release nights, date nights, zombie shoots, carnival night, costume parties, birthday parties, and bachelor/bachelorette functions.
- Capitalize on local events such as rodeos, fairs, and elections. For example, recognize customers who participate in an election by offering them a free patch or T-shirt (adorned with your range logo, of course!).
- Participate in charity fundraisers. Being active in your community has reciprocal benefits and raises awareness of your business.
Whatever your promotion or event may be, it is essential that you keep your members and followers in the loop via social media. Post well-timed, useful, and appealing information about product discounts, special rates, and upcoming events. Additionally, engage your followers by posting exciting images and stories during exciting and special occasions.
Beyond capitalizing on social media, invite a local news station to get the word out. It usually doesn’t require much effort to coordinate a media visit. Simply call the desired local radio or television station and provide event details. It’s a win-win situation: it provides content for the media and brings visibility to your business. Additionally, the presence of cameramen and broadcasting vans are an effective way to create hype and interest among those in the vicinity.
Remember to keep careful track of the performance of your promotions, gun range events, and advertising strategies so that you learn which efforts are most profitable. This will allow you to determine which activities you should repeat and evolve.
Networking with other local businesses may not seem practical for the niche shooting range business. However, crossing industry borders and working with other businesses in the community provides you with the opportunity to appeal to patrons from other industries who may not have otherwise been aware of your business.
Exactly how do you work with your community and appeal to different demographics, thereby expanding your customer base? Consider sharing your facility, for starters. Make your classroom available to other groups that need a place to convene, such as self-defense clubs, scouting programs, charity organizations, and your local chamber of commerce. Furthermore, become acquainted with catering companies and event organizers. Let them know referrals are welcome and provide them with details regarding group discounts and other package deals.
We also recommend building a strong relationship with your local law enforcement agency. Consider offering special “closed-range” training sessions for officers. In addition, show your support of military members through exclusive product promotions, special membership rates, and discounted shooting range time. Having a reputation as a select training facility for law enforcement and military will have a significant influence on your brand and credibility. Moreover, your customers will be attracted to the prestige and bragging rights of training in a select range of police officers and military personnel.