Author: Jackie Holrbook
1. Clean Up Your Website
Your online presence can improve your in-store presence. Websites are important sales and marketing tools. Take time during sales or service slumps to ensure your website is polished and up to date. Your website should include your latest contact information, range schedules and various fees. Customers should be able to find such information within seconds. If you need a new website or your existing site needs updating, let the ATA help. One of its partners, FootSteps Marketing, helps ATA-member retailers create archery-specific websites.
2. Get Social
Social-media platforms are important marketing tools. Whether your business is on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest or all of the above, take time to evaluate your social-media presence. Add a call-to-action button on Facebook, making it easy for customers to call you or sign up for classes. When business is slow, consider increasing your social-media presence. Post videos of people shooting archery, or share photos of the newest equipment on your shelves. If your store pops up in your customers’ social-media feeds, it will be on their minds and perhaps coax them to drop by.
Certification can be taken through both USA Archery and S3DA. S3DA is growing in popularity, partly because students can choose their own gear. Photo Credit: Shannon Rikard.
3. Get Certified
Becoming a certified instructor boosts your business’s credibility, and opens a range of opportunities for your store and its customers. USA Archery’s certification program provides valuable knowledge and hands-on skills for retailers who want to boost the marketing value of their shooting programs. Certification also gives your store access to the Explore Archery and Junior Olympic Archery Development programs that attract and engage new archers.
You can also earn your S3DA certification. The ATA is teaming with the Scholastic 3-D Archery Association to grow bowhunting numbers nationwide and increase grassroots participation in target archery. S3DA is growing in popularity, partly because students can choose their own gear.
After getting certified, take time to shoot your bow and practice the form you learned in certification classes. When business is slow, take time to learn more about your products. Try the market’s newest models. Not only is it fun, it’s informative. When business picks up and customers return to your store, you’ll have firsthand experience to share.
4. Host an Event
Outside of regular league nights, invite people into your shop for special events. It’s fun to host themed shoots around the holidays. For example, host a couples’ shoot for Valentine’s Day or shamrock shoot for St. Patrick’s Day. You could also sponsor a shoot to benefit a nonprofit group. Schedule an evening to host a speaker, such as a wildlife expert who can discuss draw-tag information or new bowhunting regulations.
5. Connect with Other Businesses
If your business is slow, other shops are likely facing similar struggles. ATA Connect is your opportunity to network with other retailers near and far. Ask questions, share ideas and get advice. This online forum is a safe space for archery retailers to discuss the industry.
ATA ePRO software was designed by archery-shop owners, for archery-shop owners. It tracks and updates service work, tracks inventory, and helps customers sign up online for range time. Photo Credit: Shane Indrebo
6. Learn a new Software Program
When business is brisk, it’s tough to find the time and motivation to learn new software. But when business slows, take time to make improvements. ATA ePRO is a software program that helps boost profits through efficiency. The software was designed by archery-shop owners, for archery-shop owners. It tracks and updates service work, tracks inventory, and helps customers sign up online for range time. By installing the software during slow-downs, you ensure operations become easier and more efficient when business returns.
7. Evaluate How Things are Going
Take a look back on the past few months to assess how you’ve done. Where can you improve and make new operating plans? It’s important to look at sales and inventory. Learn what’s flying off the shelves and what’s collecting dust. If you have a point-of-sales software program like ATA ePRO, it’s easy.
8. Promote Your Business
Retail businesses ebb and flow, but if you don’t market yourself you’re not doing everything possible to keep your business strong. Marketing plans are important to any business, but they involve much more than websites and social media. They include clear objectives with actionable steps and measureable goals. When business is slow, pause to consider how your business should look.
Do you want to increase shooting numbers on your range? Do you want to encourage customers to let you service their bows? Do you have lots of new or leftover product you want off your shelves? Whatever your goals, figure out how to promote your business to achieve desired results. Read Entrepreneur magazine’s The Ingredients of a Marketing Plan, a step-by-step guide to creating your marketing plan.
Hunting rules and regulations can change. Be sure to read up on any recent changes within your state. Photo Credit: FWC
9. Read the Rules
Your shop should be a trusted resource for bowhunters, especially beginners with lots of questions. Hunting rules and regulations can change. If you don’t have the latest information, you could steer customers the wrong way. As archery gear evolves, customers might see equipment online that you don’t carry. Why? Because some gear is illegal in your state. Be prepared to answer such questions. Read your state’s hunting regulations to refresh your memory. If customers have questions, you’ll provide answers with confidence.
10. Make Plans for the Future
Now that you’ve evaluated your website, social media, marketing plans, and sales and inventory, it’s time to look ahead. How can you improve your business and how can you get there? ATA can help. Through its Retail Growth Initiative, ATA offers resources that walk you through the process of making strategic goals.
11. Enjoy the Break
If you’re already operating a successful shop, congratulations! But be brutally honest. Success often comes with strings attached, especially if you’re a small business. When business slows, consider it an opportunity to catch up on life outside the store. If a certain month is always slow, plan a vacation and spend that time with friends and family.
The archery and bowhunting industry is a lot of fun for everyone involved, but sometimes you need – and deserve – a break.