4 Musts to Reach Recreational Archers

Posted by Shannon Rikard on June 20, 2014 in Archery Growth, Business & Marketing Practices
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“Listing necessary information about archery lessons on your website frees your staff’s time so they can teach lessons or help customers. This way, you can spend time selling equipment to bowhunters and recreational archers without sacrificing customer service.” - Michelle Zeug, ATA’s director of archery and bowhunting programs

If potential customers are calling to ask about archery lessons, your shop is doing something wrong. Surprised?

Interest in recreational archery is growing, but customers want to find and book archery lessons online, much as they do classes for karate or gymnastics.

Further, you or your employees should not risk losing a $2,000 sale to a bowhunter because you’re on the phone answering questions from people who might never spend a penny in your shop. Put your shop’s website to work informing visitors about lessons, and then taking their reservations for classes.

“Parents don’t want to call and ask questions anymore,” said Michelle Zeug, ATA’s director of archery and bowhunting programs. “Listing necessary information about archery lessons on your website frees your staff’s time so they can teach lessons or help customers. This way, you can spend time selling equipment to bowhunters and recreational archers without sacrificing customer service.”

Zeug understands the importance of listing class information online.

“My son wanted to try karate – a sport I knew nothing about – so I looked for classes online,” Zeug said. “The parks and recreation department offered karate classes, and I signed him up online and took him to the first class without picking up the phone. If moms can’t find all of the information they need to evaluate your programs or business, they look elsewhere.”

Though many archery shops are built around bowhunting customers, there’s no denying the income-generating potential of the new, younger demographic of recreational archers and their parents.


Consider these numbers:

  • Randy Phillips, owner of Archery Headquarters in Chandler, Arizona, cleared $70,000 in 2013 through archery classes alone.
  • USA Archery – the governing body of U.S. Olympic teams – experienced a 77 percent membership surge the past 12 months.
  • An ATA survey found that 18.9 million Americans participated in archery and bowhunting in 2012.
  • 10.4 million Americans participated in target archery in 2012.
  • Explore Archery, Archery 360 and Release Your Wild are poised to ignite additional growth among young recreational archers.
  • Kent and Deb Colgrove, owners of Full Draw Archery in Omaha, Nebraska, estimate that a typical youth equipment sale is $500.

Surging archery interest means new profit opportunities for retailers who build their businesses around archery, which differs from bowhunting but is still a great fit. Recreational archery is a way to generate income year-round and attract various demographic groups, especially kids and young people.


Four Things Recreational Archers Want:

Online Class Descriptions

Set up a welcoming website and lessons page. The lessons page should describe what customers can expect from archery lessons, including price, age requirements, skill level, duration of the class, and equipment provided. It’s a given that your instructors will be knowledgeable and they’ll keep students safe.

Bullet-pointed FAQs

Using “bullet points” to answer questions makes your website easy to scan and helps eliminate phone calls and basic questions. Don’t make people read long paragraphs to find basic information. Remember: Your website can answer questions and provide information, so let it!

Fun, Short First Experiences

“Give me and my kid a great first experience, and you’ll have my long-term business,” Zeug said. “Don’t worry about teaching detailed steps. Be fun yet safe. When participants commit to more classes because their first experience was great, you can spend more time fine-tuning their skills.”

Neat, Clean and Bright Spaces

If you expect to draw moms with children to your shop for recreational classes, make the area resemble other family-friendly spaces. Phillips created an Archery Headquarters Academy that’s separate from his pro shop. He painted the area with bright colors and keeps it taxidermy-free.

The Colgroves, who have worked nearly 20 years to keep their store and the sport open to everyone, make new archers feel at ease in their shop. “This isn’t a good ol’ boys club; it’s a place for families,” Kent Colgrove said. “We display tasteful taxidermy, present an attractive retail space, and don’t allow smoking or tobacco.”

Zeug said providing a powder room for recreational archers is a must. A bonus is providing a place to relax or hang out with smaller children.

To help retailers accommodate recreational archers in their shops, ATA is launching the Retail Archery Academy. The Academy helps retailers assemble websites, classes, merchandising and marketing concepts into a strategic plan that capitalizes on recreational archery in ways that work for each individual shop.

For more information, please see the Retail Archery Academy page.

Feature photo: ListofImages.com