Author: Jackie Holbrook
Hosting an archery event is a great way to bring business into your shop. But you don’t have to create a large tournament or league to take advantage. A fun shoot is a great opportunity to attract customers and throw a memorable event. You can host an event at your shop or at an outdoor venue.
Fun shoots can be whatever you want them to be. They can involve a theme, as well as a fundraiser or celebration. ATA’s Archery Event Planning Workbook is a great resource for planning and executing a successful event. Here are some of the key takeaways to hosting your own.
Set the Date Accordingly
Summer is a busy season for most people. Between camps, family vacations and weekends away, summer books up fast. It is also a busy season for the shop as customers are gearing up for the upcoming archery season. While people are busy, they are also looking for fun events to fill their calendars. Before setting a date, factor in holidays and competing events like fairs, concerts and festivals. Set the date that works best for your schedule and capabilities, plus as far in advance as possible to allow plenty of time to get the word out.
Choosing a fun theme, like glow-in-the-dark, is a great way to generate excitement for the event. Photo Credit: ATA
Pick a Theme
One of the best parts of a fun shoot is the theme, which sets the tone and drives planning decisions. It also helps you build a cohesive event. Pick something exciting and engaging that the community will want to be a part of. Look for community partners who connect with the theme.
Colors, seasonal motifs, characters from popular entertainment, or movie themes are some of the possibilities. Once you have decided on a theme, use it to promote the event. Encourage sponsors to get involved and be creative. Create a hashtag and encourage people to share photos from the event on social media. Think of fun ways to incorporate the theme on and off the range, including decorations, shooting games and activities away from the shooting line.
Explore Archery is an innovative program that focuses on introducing people to archery in different ways. The curriculum provides ideas for lots of fun activities that can be incorporated into themes and fun shoots. The ATA also offers a list of potential themes throughout the year.
Create a Budget
Create a budget to outline how much money you will have and receive, and how much money you want and need to spend. Factor in expenses like décor, prizes, signage, marketing efforts, rental equipment, and food and beverages. Determine your priorities to set strict parameters. Connect with potential community sponsors and partners for help. They might be able to donate prizes, set up an activity, or provide food. ATA’s workbook has a sample budget to help you get started.
Advertise your invent in town and on social media. Photo Credit: Music City Archery
Get the Word Out
People won’t show up to your event if they don’t know about it. It’s essential to create an advertising plan to get the word out. Post flyers in your shop and on your social media channels. Be sure to create a Facebook event. This helps gauge interest because people can select “going,” “interested,” or “can’t go.” ATA’s workbook has details on how to set up a Facebook event.
Try to expand your reach by identifying where your audience hangs out. Post flyers at parks and community ranges, and reach out to local clubs, organizations and sporting goods retailers. Fun events are a great way to attract new customers and encourage current customers to bring a friend or family member.
Make sure you decorate the targets to match the theme. Photo Credit: University of New Hampshire Archery Club
Make your fun event even more exciting with decorations. You don’t have to go over the top — a little can go a long way. To stay within a budget and be environmentally friendly, buy décor that can be reused or repurposed. Check to see if companies or organizations in your community rent decorations.
Depending on the theme, having participants make decorations is another hands-on option. Just provide the table space and supplies. Consider hats, target faces and other fun crafts based on the theme. This keeps kids busy while parents participate and provides a souvenir to take home.
Food and Beverage
People shoot their best when they’re well fed and hydrated. Providing access to food and beverages is a great way to show people you care. Not only will people perform their best, but they also won’t get hungry and leave. You can provide food and beverages in several different ways. Consider working it into your budget to provide food and refreshments or having snacks and drinks available for purchase. Another popular option is to partner with a local food truck. This is a fun way to give participants choices, and it’s a great day of business for the truck.
Staff the Event
You can do all the planning possible, but without help, your event won’t run smoothly. You’ll need enough people to run the range and to help answer questions, but also for registration, rental equipment and activities off the range. Check with local archery clubs, student groups and conservation organizations to see if people would be interested in volunteering. If you’re having trouble finding volunteers, you might need to temporarily hire additional help. Be sure to put this into the initial budget so you stay on track.
Be sure to take a lot of photos at the event. If you are busy running the range, then designate someone to take pictures so you can use them on social media to highlight the event’s success and promote events in the future. Encourage participants to post about the event on their social media while tagging your shop.
Do what you can to make the day low stress for everyone involved. Ahead of time, provide as much information as possible. Make sure there’s enough parking and signage so people can easily get to where they need to be. Have a highly visible and marked registration table, enough clean restrooms, and any other amenities set up in advance to reduce confusion and allow your staff and volunteers to focus on the event.
Plan an event that is fun for everyone so that they want to return to your shop and attend future events with their family and friends.
To use ATA’s free event workbook, log in to your MyATA member dashboard and click “Download Free ATA Resources.” Search for Event Planning Workbook.
If you have additional questions, please contact Nicole Nash, ATA’s range and retail programs manager, at (502) 640-0944 or firstname.lastname@example.org.