… but most won’t.
Why? Because they’re too busy trying to be a good gunslinger, not a good businessman.
A quick story.
The email at the right here is a perfect example of why I still try to help out the gun industry with marketing. This is an email from Bass Pro Shops, one of the biggest names in firearms retail, and it sucks. Someone in their marketing department decided that making everything look pretty was more important than getting the message across, so they designed what I assume is a pretty-looking .jpg image that had all their content on it, dropped that image into a basic .html message, and voila, out it goes, and the money comes POURING in.
Except, of course, that images in an email are turned of by default in most email clients these days. This means people will have to REALLY want to read your message and turn images on for you before they have a clue what you’re trying to say. Also (and even worse), emails that are nothing but an image get clobbered by spam filters, which means chances are that email never got to their inbox in the first place, and if it did, because it was nothing but an image, it’s going to hurt the deliverability of your emails for months to come.
So what three books should a firearms trainer read to help avoid a rookie mistake like this?
Seth Godin: Permission Marketing
Modern-day marketing begins with this book. Written when email marketing was in its’ infancy, it’s the book that secured Seth’s position as the internet’s leading marketing guru.
The Non-Designer’s Web Book
No, we can’t erase bad design from the web altogether, but we can make it less frequent. This book is easy to read and helps even the most left-brained of nerds get in touch with their inner Paul Rand.
The Yahoo! Style Guide
Avoid the ongoing AP vs. Chicago style gang war, and instead, concentrate on writing for your audience. Learn what an upside-down pyramid is, and why it’s so important to reading comprehension. This is a great book on how to keep your blog posts short, and keep your audiences coming back.
A few evenings spent with these books will help you gain more students than a month spent on learning how to do a faster tactical reload.