Marketing and publicity for your business can take many forms. You may have found traditional advertising sources like radio, newspaper and television have been successful in the past, but they now seem a little stagnant.
Promoting your business means stimulating new trade, getting people talking about your business, and giving them a reason to come to your store. If your goal is to attract female customers, you need to devise promotions that will focus on products and services that appeal to women in a unique and creative way.
LaserMax recently launched a Facebook page called Armed and In Charge, and it’s designed to provide women with self-defense-related information and links.
“We wanted to tap into something we felt was under-serviced in terms of information,” said Kristen Oxley, LaserMax director of marketing. “We wanted to show women that we want to be part of their self-defense solution.”
As a result, Armed and In Charge is full of discussions, tips, website links and practical advice — all related to women’s self-defense issues.
Check out the LaserMax Armed and In Charge page at www.facebook.com/ArmedandInCharge.
Giveaway Packages Garner Great Response
To attract women to the Armed and In Charge page and really get the discussions going, LaserMax created the Purse-onal Protection Package Giveaway. The company put together a series of three women’s personal protection packages. Winners were randomly selected from Facebook users who “liked” the “Armed and In Charge” page.
Each of the giveaways was anchored by a purse donated by Galco, a LaserMax laser chosen by the winner and a self-defense book. Additional items changed according to the giveaway, but Oxley said it was important to include distinctly female items, as well as other defensive tools such as a Night Armor tactical flashlight and pen. Even the compact mirror had a self-defense application, Oxley said.
“We wanted to incorporate the idea that we need to think about simple ways of self-defense,” she said. “For example, you can use the mirror to see who is behind you without being obvious.”
The promotion was so successful, Oxley said, LaserMax is already thinking about the next one.
“We’ll definitely do it again,” she said. “The response was great. It really got people talking and connected, and they came to our page over and over again.”
People visiting a website often is a huge sign of the success of this type of promotion, and exactly why dealers should try something similar in their store to promote their business to women. Many manufacturers are willing to partner with dealers and provide discounted or even free merchandise that can be given away with this type of promotion.
It doesn’t have to be a huge expense for your store — the giveaway just has to have products that appeal enough to women that they are anxious to win. Think in terms of five or 10 essentials that are required for any of the shooting sports. A Day at the Range giveaway could include a hat, ammo, range bag, ear and eye protection and a cleaning kit in woman-friendly colors, for example.
Tailor your promotion to fit the needs of your store. If you’re launching a new Facebook page, you can track women’s response with the “like” button.
If you want to increase your store’s website presence, get the word out that you’re running a promotion on your website. This method has the added benefit of allowing you to collect email addresses from the entrants for future promotions. You can also track response to traditional advertising by directing entrants to your website to enter to win.
There’s a lot of information and potential clientele to be gained from a giveaway focused on women — without a lot of cost.
Promote Through Partnerships
Promotions that partner your store with another local merchant can also help stimulate interest in your store. A recent trend has been to offer free firearms with purchase of big-ticket items, like cars or diamonds. The promotion usually originates with the jeweler or car dealer who requires the customer to make a minimum purchase in return for the “free gun.” Some retailers specify which gun the customer will receive, while others simply provide the customer with a gift certificate to a local gun store.
Roger Mildenstein, owner of Fin & Feather in Iowa City, Iowa, recently partnered with a local jeweler. If the customer bought a diamond from the jewelry store, they received a Remington 870 Express from Fin & Feather.
“I thought it was positive,” Mildenstein said. “I’d think about doing it again. It got people talking about us. Working with other local merchants any way you can is always good. It makes sense to partner with other businesses.”
There was a lot of media coverage and exposure for the store, Mildenstein said, noting he even received calls from out-of-state regarding the promotion. There were no out-of-pocket expenses for his store, and the word-of-mouth buzz made the promotion worthwhile.
“I made money off it, but I’ll make more off the exposure,” he said.
The one change Mildenstein said he’d make to the promotion is to offer a gift card instead of a specific firearm. He said this would be easier and give the customer more choices.
If you think this type of promotion could work for your store, approach local businesses and come up with a tie-in that relates your businesses. A local appliance store might be willing to team up on a promotion — say, if the customer buys a certain number of appliances, she receives a gift certificate to your gun shop. Or, if there’s a new ladies’ gym in town, they might partner with you to offer a free gym membership with the purchase of a new gun.
Lady shooters will enjoy the bonus offered by your store, and non-shooting women can use it as a selling point with their significant others. Both businesses can promote the offer in their regular advertising and reach a new community of women.
The goal of any promotion is to stimulate business and increase public awareness of your store. By carefully selecting the products and business you associate with your store, you can reach your target audience of women. Creative thinking and a focus on a specific market will guarantee the success of your promotion.
By Lisa Parsons-Wraith
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