Recently, the idea of advertising firearms and guns online has been met with critique and backlash. Despite these concerns, companies in the firearms industry that sell online through an eCommerce store don’t need to worry about their sales.
The numbers alone show that gun sales are only going upward. Over 19 million firearms were purchased in 2021, coming in second place to the year prior, where 21 million were sold!
If you are an online store that is looking to increase profits, build a brand, and see more conversions and engagement, then effective gun advertising and marketing should be your #1 priority. However, advertising and marketing will be a challenge since most ad providers don’t allow paid advertising for firearms — but with the right tools and knowledge, you can overcome this obstacle with no problems.
Preparing Your eCommerce Firearms Business
Before you can get started, there are several factors you and your team must consider. Having an effective game plan, in turn, leads to effective advertising of your firearms eCommerce store.
You’ll need to be able to answer questions regarding your service. New customers are more inclined to trust a company that has good customer service representatives and therefore are likely to purchase from you again.
Speed is key, so must ensure that you can ship inventory, and quickly, regardless of the volume that you’re dealing with. People want things quickly, so make sure your team is ready to move your product.
As a firearms business, you will need to recognize that you will not be able to ship a gun, ammunition, or certain types of magazines to every state. Therefore, you will need a solution to navigate Federal Firearm Dealer Databases.
FFLAPI.com is an online service that helps make the checkout and shipping process easier and legal for online gun dealer websites. It features several services, including a Web widget solution that lists and shows all the dealers on the designated map.
Navigating with Ad Placement
Neither Google nor Facebook advertising support the advertising of firearms, which presents a new obstacle to overcome. You’ll need to get creative with your online and mobile services, as well as utilizing search engine optimization (SEO) and other marketing tools.
How Can Your Business Use SEO for Firearms Sales?
An SEO strategy is critical in finding new customers who are searching for things on the Internet. Having solid SEO must be a high priority when it comes to your firearm’s eCommerce marketing strategy.
On-Page and Off-Page SEO
Two big areas of SEO that are crucial for both gun and ammo marketing are on-page and off-page SEO. The differences between the two revolve around your website: on-page refers to being on your website, and off-page being off of your website.
Several factors that make good on-page SEO include site speed, mobile structuring, and the structure of your website. The more user-friendly your website is, the more likely it is that a consumer will purchase from you.
Focus on SERP Rankings with Off-Page SEO
This is where you can get really creative in your approach with your marketing team. Utilize things such as link building, which has the goal of increasing the number and quality of inbound links to a webpage.
Both of these areas can be the difference maker in your company’s advertising and overall sales. Having good SEO rankings for your website, articles, and other online content will be what pushes your business ahead of the competition.
How Can Your Firearms Business Use Internet Advertising?
There’s more that you’ll want to be doing in the firearm advertising game than just SEO. Internet advertising offers lots of avenues for eCommerce stores to turn to.
Here are some great internet marketing tools for your firearm eCommerce store.
With features such as AI optimizations, programmatic marketing is an excellent tool when it comes to internet advertising. You’ll be able to target the audiences you want at a faster pace.
Some of the benefits of using programmatic marketing include a higher ROI, more relevant ads, and scalability. It also is a more cost-effective resource since it uses the CPM (Cost Per Mile) system, allowing for more fluidity in your budget.
An easy way to reach large audiences is through an email marketing campaign. It’s one of the best ways to reach your target audience while raising brand awareness and ultimately selling firearms products.
Email marketing has one of the best ROI and conversion rates of any marketing tools. Use email to promote newsletters, holiday deals, or any sort of promotional campaigns and firearm sales you may be running.
Having some form of an affiliate program is an excellent way to grow a community and incentivize sales and word-of-mouth advertising. You can also reward content creators based on performance versus a flat rate, giving you more flexibility with your budget.
Influencer marketing is similar to affiliate marketing in that you’ll be paying someone to help promote your website. There are a few key differences to consider with this approach, however.
Many people trust word-of-mouth marketing, and influencers tend to reach a larger audience than most brand accounts. Finding smaller, shooting sports marketers with a specific target audience is also easy. By doing collabs on photos, videos, or product reviews, you can therefore reach a larger, more targeted audience.
How an Effective Website Gives Your Brand an Edge Over the Competition
Your website needs to keep people engaged and buying. If your website is lacking in areas such as mobile friendliness, user access, or even design, you’ll fall behind against similar stores or companies.
Most people are unlikely to purchase from an online store if it’s hard to navigate. Make sure to include features such as a search bar, optimize labels, sub-categorize items, and place discounts or sales in an area where they’ll be seen.
Good navigation should be intuitive and logical, providing users with clear indicators of where they are on the site and how to get to where they want to go.
It should also be consistent from page to page so that users don’t get lost as they move around the site.
Most importantly, good navigation should be designed with the user in mind, making it as easy as possible for them to find what they’re looking for.
When done right, user-friendly navigation can make the difference between a successful website and one that fails to meet its goals.
Shopping Cart and Checkout features
It may be simple, but having both a shopping cart and checkout feature will allow shoppers to keep items in and out of their “cart” while browsing for more items. Many eCommerce sites will also recommend items based on what a customer has in their “cart”.
This is a good place to also incorporate FFL, as shoppers should be made aware that your business has the approval to sell these items.
High shipping costs can be a deal-breaker for many shoppers. Make sure to list the shipping cost on the product page as well as during checkout so there are no surprises.
Including these features on your website will make the shopping experience much smoother for potential customers, thus increasing the likelihood that they’ll make a purchase.
Utilize Chat Boxes on Your Website
New buyers may have questions about what you’re offering. If you want your on-page SEO to shine, having an easy-to-use chat box for clients is a great tool.
Having responsive customer service will lead to repeat customers. Consumers trust websites that help them with their shopping experience and therefore will know that, if they choose to shop there again, they’ll be able to receive easy help again.
High-Quality Product Images and Videos
Your store has mere seconds to engage new customers and earn their trust before they move on to somewhere else. If your site is sloppy or unorganized, no one will shop from you.
Having high-quality photos and/or videos is a great way to look aesthetically pleasing. This will reflect the look of your business and products, and therefore give customers the impression that they’re shopping from a professional service.
To Sum Things Up
Conclusion: The bottom line is that firearms businesses need to be aware of the best practices for advertising their products. By working with an experienced and qualified marketing agency, you can ensure that your advertisements are compliant with all applicable laws and regulations.
At the same time, you can also maximize the effectiveness of your marketing efforts by targeting the right consumers and using the most effective messaging.
If you’re interested in learning more about how we can help you advertise firearms and gun accessories in a safe, legal way, contact us today. We would be happy to discuss our services with you and answer any questions that you may have.
FAQ Regarding Advertising Firearms
What makes firearms advertising effective?
Advertising firearms can be effective if your audience is engaged. There are a lot of ways to be compelling with an eCommerce firearms store.
Use blogs to tell stories or deeper breakdowns of certain products. Effective advertising is also one that creates an emotional response: leave a reason as to why someone should purchase from your store.
Should I be worried about potential lawsuits against my firearm ads?
The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act was written to help protect the gun industry from nearly all civil liability from their products. However, things like a breach in a warranty or defects in a gun’s design are a few of exceptions.
You should know these specific exceptions to the law:
- An action brought against someone convicted of “knowingly transfer a firearm, knowing that such firearm will be used to commit a crime of violence” by someone directly harmed by such unlawful conduct
- An action brought against a seller for negligent entrustment or negligence per se;
- An action in which a gun manufacturer or seller of a qualified product knowingly violated a State or Federal statute applicable to the sale or marketing of the product, and the violation was a proximate cause of the harm for which relief is sought
- An action for breach of contract or warranty in connection with the purchase of the product
- Action for death, physical injuries, or property damage resulting directly from a defect in the design or manufacture of the product, when used as intended or in a reasonably foreseeable manner, except that where the discharge of the product was caused by a volitional act that constituted a criminal offense, then such act shall be considered the sole proximate cause of any resulting death, personal injuries or property damage
- An action commenced by the Attorney General to enforce the Gun Control Act or the National Firearms Act
Which are the gun-friendly networks to advertise on?
SEO is going to be your best bet when it comes to finding gun-friendly networks. Individuals in the market will find your service or website, provided that your on-page and off-page programming is done correctly.
Programmatic advertising, as mentioned before, is another way to access gun-friendly networks. The software will be used to automate the process of buying and placing firearm ads.
This will prioritize the efficiency of the process. Your company will in turn be able to target specific audiences while tracking the ad campaigns you are using all at the same time.