Author: Jackie Holbrook
Snow still covers the ground across portions of the country, but now’s the time make summer plans for your archery store.
Hosting a summer camp or other events can boost revenues and create new customers. Success, however, requires planning. Summer days are long, but the season is too short to overcome slow starts. Those who wing it face two risks: not attracting new customers, and losing current customers who found the program stale.
Let’s discuss some tips from successful stores for planning and promoting summer events:
Choose from any of the great programs for an unforgettable experience. Photo credit: ATA
The Lancaster Archery Academy in Pennsylvania hosts two summer camps geared toward beginning and intermediate archers ages 7 to 17.
“Know your audience,” said Bryan Brady, an Academy instructor. “You need to know what kind of people you want at your camps so you can plan the event.”
Lancaster uses USA Archery’s Explore Archery program. “The first year we did the camp it was straight out of Explore Archery’s curriculum,” Brady said. “Now we use that as the basic skeleton, and it’s been modified.”
Explore Archery is available to USA Archery Level 1 instructors. Its focus is introducing beginners of all ages and abilities to archery. Its curriculum includes options for one-day, one-week and six-week camps, and includes 30 fun activities for learning archery. For those new to hosting camps, this is an excellent way to provide archers a valuable experience without creating the curriculum yourself.
Consider hosting equipment-specific events to help people learn more about bowhunting, bowfishing, Olympic recurve or 3D archery. ATA members have free access to Explore Bowhunting and Explore Bowfishing curriculums, which provide suggestions and hands-on learning opportunities.
Explore Bowhunting is designed to spark youth’s interest in bowhunting. The curriculum is great for camps because it provides hands-on experiences to make archers passionate about the woods and wildlife.
Explore Bowfishing helps instructors and educators teach youths and beginners the basics of bowfishing. Participants learn about gear, fish species and habitats best suited for bowfishing.
Use Qualified Instructors
Certified instructors have the skills and training to safely lead camps and events with confidence. They also offer the option to use Explore Archery. “We play games and we do fun introductions, but the goal is (providing) a base level of safety knowledge,” Brady said.
For bowhunting or bowfishing events, contact your state’s fish-and-wildlife agency to ask experts to attend. Sportsmen’s groups, such as local chapters of the National Wildlife Turkey Federation, National Deer Alliance and Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation can provide experts, too. They can expand learning opportunities and demonstrate skills such as filleting fish.
Make sure your program is accessible to everyone by scheduling it during weekends when nothing else is going on in the community. Photo credit: ATA
Timing is Everything
Selecting dates and times for your events, leagues and summer camps requires careful planning. Should camps be one-day, multi-day or weekly events? If you’re targeting young to middle-age adults, remember they don’t have summers off. That’s why evenings or weekends usually work best for leagues and special events.
If your camp caters to students, plan convenient drop-off and pick-up times for working parents. Lancaster offers summer camps starting in early June, right after the school year ends. Brady said most families don’t take vacations that soon. Also check local events calendars before committing to dates. You don’t want to schedule something during popular events like the state fair.
Get the Word Out
Once you know the details, spread the word to prospective attendees. Share the information on your website and social-media accounts. Create an event on your Facebook page. You can also post flyers in your shop and send details to your email list. Most people who view this information are current customers or know of your shop.
Get creative to reach new customers. Brady said Archery Academy has benefited from billboard advertising and 30-second commercials played at local theaters before movies. Post your flyers on community bulletin boards at libraries, diners and coffee shops.
Brady also recommends Groupon for attracting new customers. To learn how Groupon works, read “Case Study: How Groupon Can Boost Archery Shops’ Business.”
For more ideas on making the most of summer, join ATA Connect, a secure online platform that gives retailers opportunities to interact with other retail shops.