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Shooting Industry August 2010 - Page 24

Arms Arms and the woman Lisa Parsons-Wraith Get Outside The Marketing Box With NSSF’s Help G ot a great idea for a new marketing campaign, but you’re a little short on cash? The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) can help. The NSSF Range Partnership Grant Program recently awarded $500,000 in grants to help public and private shooting facilities in their retention and recruitment efforts. The three-year-old program rewards ranges that are using innovative ideas to bring in new shooters, reinvigo- NSSF Range Partnership Grant Program Guidelines urpose: To provide funding to help public and private shooting facilities jumpstart recruitment and retention efforts. Who may apply: Public and private shooting facilities. Only projects that address one or more of the following will be considered: • Recruitment of new shooters. • Reactivation of lapsed shooters. • Increased opportunities for active shooters to try another discipline. • Communications or outreach programs targeting recruitment and/or retention. The program does not fund building or improving structures, engineering or design plans, activities not involving firearms, land purchases, operation and maintenance of equipment or purchases of equipment and supplies. Visit grants and download the Grant Applications Guidelines PDF. Review the examples of past grant winners. Contact: Melissa Schilling, NSSF manager of recruitment and retention, at (203) 426-1320 or via e-mail at P rate lapsed shooters and keep active shooters interested in the shooting sports. NSSF plans to award grants again in 2011. Dealers, start brainstorming those great ideas now! Barry Laws, CEO of five-star rated Openrange in Crestwood, Ky., was one of the first range owners to receive a grant under this program. He says some of his ideas were rejected initially, but he was able to put together a multifaceted plan NSSF could get behind. “Our original proposal included spending the grant money on a billboard, but that wasn’t what they were looking for,” Laws said. “They want something that’s differ- This ad for Ladies Night at Openrange in Crestwood, Ky., is ent. So, we came up with the one part of their multifaceted guerilla marketing campaign made possible by a grant from NSSF. idea of car window wraps — basically mini-billboards — our customers could put on their cars.” tain customers. As an incentive, customers who put the Laws target clientele is 20- to 30-yearwindow wraps on their cars earn points olds, and his stated goal is to make shootthat can be redeemed at Openrange. ing “cool, hip and fun.” Accordingly, he The point system is another aspect of the relies heavily on his website to dissemimarketing plan Laws received grant money nate information about his store to the for, and he has labeled it “Special Ops.” Ac- public, and says social networking sites cording to his grant proposal: “Special Ops such as Facebook and Twitter are imporis a grassroots-type guerilla campaign tactic tant promotional tools. that enlists the support and word of mouth “The website really does draw a lot of of registered members in return for credits traffic,” Laws said. “We tried to make it a towards services. This is a model utilized little wacky and a little fun so people know internationally by the music industry.” we’re different.” There is an easy online registration proVisit the Openrange website at www. cess to become a Special Ops member, and members are awarded points for spreading Openrange’s ads also make it stand out the word about Openrange. Members get from the crowd. Laws came up with a secredit for just about anything they do to ries of edgy ads he runs in a local, progrespromote the business, from distributing sive, nightlife-oriented magazine. The ads postcards with their member number on are very different from the usual gun store them to bringing in a friend to posting vid- ads, relying on a quirky sense of humor, eos on YouTube and blogging. and are definitely targeted at young, urban Laws encourages his customers to be professionals. Laws’ goal is to position creative and rewards them accordingly. Openrange as an unusual date night, bachHe says one of his customers has accumu- elor party or girls’ night out option. The lated enough points to earn a gun, so he’s tagline on all their marketing — “Have a confident this type of promotion helps re- Blast” — sets the tone. 24 AUGUST 2010 Read SI DIGITAL

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