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Marketing your Range/Club & Events

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by spitter, Aug 27, 2011.

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  1. spitter

    spitter Well-Known Member TS Supporters

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    4,350
    Location:
    Prairie State
    With my Open House coming in a couple weeks, I've found great success working with local media to promote my range and its events. The reason we get access to positive media is that the range and club are a "community asset".

    The reason I bring this topic up, is that lately there are too many negative posts about lack of participation, lower attendance, increased expenses, clubs on the brink of collapse...

    Years ago, in working with the NSSF's range division, in developing "community relations" guidelines; to be perceived as a community asset, a range has to be part of the community.

    Just because your range exists in a particular geographic location, uses or promotes a particular Post Office Box address - don't assume your range is seen as part of the local community. Likewise, just because your range is open only 10-20 hours a week, opens after church or closes before the evening news, that your range is considered a "good neighbor".

    If your goal is to "hide" so that your range wont be a future target for closure, that ain't gonna work either - everyone knows you're there and they already see you as a benefit or a problem.

    I well understand the potential tax-implications from private clubs offering public access, but at some point, unless your club has extremely deep pockets and enough land to avoid annexation and/or condemnation, most clubs need real community support to fend off anti-shooting sentiment that pops up in all communities as wells as to replenish and rejuvenate the customer base.

    To that end, I strenously encourage every club/range to open your doors at least once per year and offer an Open House to the general public. The ultimate direction you choose should suit the market and "ends" your club is trying attain.

    Open your club/range as a resource to support area community groups, work to increase diversity or support veterans. SCTP, AIM, Scouts, Ladies, Minorities, PVA, VFW, the list can go on and on...

    As much as we lambast media for all the bad news, media struggles to find good content. Give your community a reason for a "feel good" story about your club.

    If you noticed, I'm not talking solely about shooting, even though this is a shooting bulletin board. Those that have water can offer a "fishing derbies", have extra land and few bales of hay and you can throw an archery event... leverage your range's potential - consider a annual paintball event on a non-shooting day.

    Find out WHO in your organization, can write... I'm NOT talking about printing or cursive... I'm speaking about someone who is creative and can paint a picture with words - express and present a focused series of thought and who enjoys communication with others. EMPOWER that individual to contact and cultivate local media - both newpapers and radio. It may take time and effort to overcome established personal prejudice... which might require a media invite and instruction (?!)

    In the past few weeks, in addition to newspaper press releases, I've done three 1/2-hour radio shows devoted to upcoming dove hunting season, use of clay shooting for practice and transitioned to promoting my free Open House - which by the way, will offer a free intro to trapshooting and a free FLY-CASTING clinic.

    Any idea of how much competition I have for "airtime"? ZERO. No one is asking.

    Leverage your talents and abilities... get your towns' people to see you as an integral part of the community at-large. Let the community support and improve your range operation to flourish with fresh membership dollars.

    Wouldn't it be nice, the next time an effort to shut a range is mounted; that a local community stands up and says "Leave those nice boys and girls alone - they're not hurting anyone"...

    It will take effort and a plan, but once it gets going, its relatively easy to maintain and the dividends it pays are wonderful.

    regards to all,

    Jay
     
  2. spitter

    spitter Well-Known Member TS Supporters

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    4,350
    Location:
    Prairie State
    With my Open House coming in a couple weeks, I've found great success working with local media to promote my range and its events. The reason we get access to positive media is that the range and club are a "community asset".

    The reason I bring this topic up, is that lately there are too many negative posts about lack of participation, lower attendance, increased expenses, clubs on the brink of collapse...

    Years ago, in working with the NSSF's range division, in developing "community relations" guidelines; to be perceived as a community asset, a range has to be part of the community.

    Just because your range exists in a particular geographic location, uses or promotes a particular Post Office Box address - don't assume your range is seen as part of the local community. Likewise, just because your range is open only 10-20 hours a week, opens after church or closes before the evening news, that your range is considered a "good neighbor".

    If your goal is to "hide" so that your range wont be a future target for closure, that ain't gonna work either - everyone knows you're there and they already see you as a benefit or a problem.

    I well understand the potential tax-implications from private clubs offering public access, but at some point, unless your club has extremely deep pockets and enough land to avoid annexation and/or condemnation, most clubs need real community support to fend off anti-shooting sentiment that pops up in all communities as wells as to replenish and rejuvenate the customer base.

    To that end, I strenously encourage every club/range to open your doors at least once per year and offer an Open House to the general public. The ultimate direction you choose should suit the market and "ends" your club is trying attain.

    Open your club/range as a resource to support area community groups, work to increase diversity or support veterans. SCTP, AIM, Scouts, Ladies, Minorities, PVA, VFW, the list can go on and on...

    As much as we lambast media for all the bad news, media struggles to find good content. Give your community a reason for a "feel good" story about your club.

    If you noticed, I'm not talking solely about shooting, even though this is a shooting bulletin board. Those that have water can offer a "fishing derbies", have extra land and few bales of hay and you can throw an archery event... leverage your range's potential - consider a annual paintball event on a non-shooting day.

    Find out WHO in your organization, can write... I'm NOT talking about printing or cursive... I'm speaking about someone who is creative and can paint a picture with words - express and present a focused series of thought and who enjoys communication with others. EMPOWER that individual to contact and cultivate local media - both newpapers and radio. It may take time and effort to overcome established personal prejudice... which might require a media invite and instruction (?!)

    In the past few weeks, in addition to newspaper press releases, I've done three 1/2-hour radio shows devoted to upcoming dove hunting season, use of clay shooting for practice and transitioned to promoting my free Open House - which by the way, will offer a free intro to trapshooting and a free FLY-CASTING clinic.

    Any idea of how much competition I have for "airtime"? ZERO. No one is asking.

    Leverage your talents and abilities... get your towns' people to see you as an integral part of the community at-large. Let the community support and improve your range operation to flourish with fresh membership dollars.

    Wouldn't it be nice, the next time an effort to shut a range is mounted; that a local community stands up and says "Leave those nice boys and girls alone - they're not hurting anyone"...

    It will take effort and a plan, but once it gets going, its relatively easy to maintain and the dividends it pays are wonderful.

    regards to all,

    Jay
     
  3. spitter

    spitter Well-Known Member TS Supporters

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    4,350
    Location:
    Prairie State
    Nice piece in the local paper... our town alone has 145K people, but as a member of the Chicago SunTimes family... reaches more than a million... hope I only see a couple hundred... (LOL)

    You can do it too!

    http://napervillesun.suntimes.com/news/west/7635835-418/learn-fly-casting-target-shooting-this-sunday.html#.TnDk9f47-uA.email

    copy and paste to your browser...

    Best regards,

    Jay
     
  4. spitter

    spitter Well-Known Member TS Supporters

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    4,350
    Location:
    Prairie State
    Nice piece in the local paper... our town alone has 145K people, but as a member of the Chicago SunTimes family... reaches more than a million... hope I only see a couple hundred... (LOL)

    You can do it too!

    http://napervillesun.suntimes.com/news/west/7635835-418/learn-fly-casting-target-shooting-this-sunday.html#.TnDk9f47-uA.email

    copy and paste to your browser...

    Best regards,

    Jay
     
  5. Crickets

    Crickets Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2011
    Messages:
    189
    I often wonder what would happen if trap/skeet/sporting clay clubs worked with local gun shops and offered 1 free round of targets with the purchase of a shotgun. People want to shoot their new purchase, and it's a great way to introduce people to the sport. You know they'll go buy a 4 pack of shells at walley world and probably want to shoot/buy at least 1 more round of targets. If 1 in 10 came back the club would be ahead. I'm on the road through the SE and i make a point to stop at anyplace that sells guns. I always ask Gun shops and "associates" at sporting goods stores like Dicks,where there is a trap or skeet club nearby. Most have no idea or think there's one in the next county, but have no details. I am constantly meeting people that have shotguns and shoot hand thrown targets "on uncle jim's land", that didn't even know there is a trap/skeet club nearby. Got a buddy of mine shooting at a public range that was 5 miles from his house... he never knew it was there "thought it was a Police practice range". A Sporting Clays club nearby sold "Shoot and Dine" package for 2, on "Social Living", Partnered with a nearby restaurant to offer a Dinner after shooting clays as an "adventure date" package. Introduced a whole bunch of people to that sport. I was down at a GC in GA that did a similar package for trap w/ an Instructor. A whole group of 10 or 12 people that never shot guns in their life book a package and had the time of their lives. Those are the things Clubs need to think about doing. ATA would do good to partner with retailers like Gander Mountain, Dicks etc to introduce people to the sport.
     
  6. Crickets

    Crickets Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2011
    Messages:
    189
    I often wonder what would happen if trap/skeet/sporting clay clubs worked with local gun shops and offered 1 free round of targets with the purchase of a shotgun. People want to shoot their new purchase, and it's a great way to introduce people to the sport. You know they'll go buy a 4 pack of shells at walley world and probably want to shoot/buy at least 1 more round of targets. If 1 in 10 came back the club would be ahead. I'm on the road through the SE and i make a point to stop at anyplace that sells guns. I always ask Gun shops and "associates" at sporting goods stores like Dicks,where there is a trap or skeet club nearby. Most have no idea or think there's one in the next county, but have no details. I am constantly meeting people that have shotguns and shoot hand thrown targets "on uncle jim's land", that didn't even know there is a trap/skeet club nearby. Got a buddy of mine shooting at a public range that was 5 miles from his house... he never knew it was there "thought it was a Police practice range". A Sporting Clays club nearby sold "Shoot and Dine" package for 2, on "Social Living", Partnered with a nearby restaurant to offer a Dinner after shooting clays as an "adventure date" package. Introduced a whole bunch of people to that sport. I was down at a GC in GA that did a similar package for trap w/ an Instructor. A whole group of 10 or 12 people that never shot guns in their life book a package and had the time of their lives. Those are the things Clubs need to think about doing. ATA would do good to partner with retailers like Gander Mountain, Dicks etc to introduce people to the sport.
     
  7. LarrySC

    LarrySC TS Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    40
    Jay,
    Once again, it looks like your promotional efforts are attaining more than a modicum of success...Congratulations!

    Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend the upcoming Open House. The gas expense to Naperville, IL from Mount Pleasant, SC and then the return trip to the Lowcountry would really wreck my budget and cause me to curtail my 1) three weekly visits to the Charleston AFB Skeet and Trap Range, where I mainly shoot the breeze, do some dabbling in skeet, and try to teach noobies the fundamentals of skeet and trap, and 2) weekly visits to Back Woods Quail Club, where I attempt to learn the game of sporting clays and become proficient at pistol and rifle target shooting. Furthermore, if I did pay the visit, I might come home hooked on fly fishing--that would probably upset my wife, who thinks I am presently spending too much time on outdoor sports [and not enough time taking care of the house, doing lawn chores, etc.]. On the other hand, it would be great to share a few words with old and new friends, enjoy a hot dog [or two] and a diet Coke with fellow shooting enthusiasts, see the club, etc. I might be persuaded to attend if you would say that the event is being catered jointly by Home Run Inn and Portillo's.

    Best wishes for another successful Open House!

    Larry B.
     
  8. LarrySC

    LarrySC TS Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    40
    Jay,
    Once again, it looks like your promotional efforts are attaining more than a modicum of success...Congratulations!

    Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend the upcoming Open House. The gas expense to Naperville, IL from Mount Pleasant, SC and then the return trip to the Lowcountry would really wreck my budget and cause me to curtail my 1) three weekly visits to the Charleston AFB Skeet and Trap Range, where I mainly shoot the breeze, do some dabbling in skeet, and try to teach noobies the fundamentals of skeet and trap, and 2) weekly visits to Back Woods Quail Club, where I attempt to learn the game of sporting clays and become proficient at pistol and rifle target shooting. Furthermore, if I did pay the visit, I might come home hooked on fly fishing--that would probably upset my wife, who thinks I am presently spending too much time on outdoor sports [and not enough time taking care of the house, doing lawn chores, etc.]. On the other hand, it would be great to share a few words with old and new friends, enjoy a hot dog [or two] and a diet Coke with fellow shooting enthusiasts, see the club, etc. I might be persuaded to attend if you would say that the event is being catered jointly by Home Run Inn and Portillo's.

    Best wishes for another successful Open House!

    Larry B.
     
  9. spitter

    spitter Well-Known Member TS Supporters

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    4,350
    Location:
    Prairie State
    Larry B... "the event is being catered jointly by Home Run Inn and Portillos"... (LOL) Boy, you are surely missed... wish you were closer! And to think at one time, all you shot was trap. Great job helping "noobies" to learn shotgun sports!

    Crickets... thank you for those comments... I hadn't considered those types of "co-promotions", but now you have my mind pushing the mental envelope! We each have only one set of eyes and ears and it can take another set to help us to see and hear of additional opportunities.

    Best regards to both of you,

    Jay
     
  10. spitter

    spitter Well-Known Member TS Supporters

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    4,350
    Location:
    Prairie State
    Larry B... "the event is being catered jointly by Home Run Inn and Portillos"... (LOL) Boy, you are surely missed... wish you were closer! And to think at one time, all you shot was trap. Great job helping "noobies" to learn shotgun sports!

    Crickets... thank you for those comments... I hadn't considered those types of "co-promotions", but now you have my mind pushing the mental envelope! We each have only one set of eyes and ears and it can take another set to help us to see and hear of additional opportunities.

    Best regards to both of you,

    Jay
     
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