Hunter’s Association Uses Direct Mail to Target License Renewals

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June 27, 2012

A trade association for hunting enthusiasts and gun manufacturers is helping states ramp up license renewals through direct mail and social media. The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) gave the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation a $35,000 grant to design and mail a black and white postcard to outdoorsmen to renew their hunting licenses.

License renewals are important revenue generators for states that depend on renewal dollars to underwrite conservation efforts. So the State of New York was thrilled when its mailing received a 2.3% response rate, bringing in 777 renewals at $61.50 a license for a revenue influx of $47,786.

The Director of Industry Research and Analysis Jim Curcuruto attributes the plainness and official look of the postcards to the mailing’s success. Fancier-looking direct mail pieces are more likely to be discarded, Curcuruto says, whereas the official government looking ones they mail pulled well when measured against a control group of 331,854 license holders.

Kentucky Hunters Get the Renewal Nudge via Direct Mail

The Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resource (KDFWR) put a $75,000 grant from NSSF to good use by building a Facebook page. KDFWR’s Facebook page builds a bond among hunters who enjoy a venue for posting their prize catches or kills and learning about Kentucky fish and wildlife. It doesn’t hurt that the KDFWR Facebook page incorporates sweepstakes, video and a place to renew or purchase hunting and fishing licenses.

The Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resource Facebook page went from 5,422 active users in November 2011 to 11,503 in February 2012 and is now up to 32,444 “likes” as of Memorial Day 2012. The sales of Kentucky state temporary hunter education exemption permits rose 12.9% when the social channel was added.

Facebook is a nice addition to Kentucky Wildlife’s communications channels, but direct mail has been its driving force behind its license renewals for the past 14 years, according to Michael Gray, Public Affairs Manager at FDFWR.

Gray says it mails between 300,000 and 500,000 pieces of direct mail per year to its prospects and members. The direct mail contains one call to action – renew or buy your license – that drive members to three resources to do so (1) 940 vendor sites such as Walmart (2) the state’s website or (3) a call center that handles payment processing.

Kentucky Wildlife gets a 2% to15% response rate on its direct mail with its Elk Hunt renewals always scoring in the double digits. “It’s all about cross selling and repetition,” says Gray who credits the organization’s success to sending multiple requests and cross promoting a call to action that gives recipients multiple ways to respond.

Only 20% of Kentucky Wildlife members choose to renew on its website. Adding Facebook as a social media channel gives members an additional option other than telephone and walk-in payments. Additional options only help to increase the organization’s revenues.

Both New York Game and Kentucky Department of Wildlife show cross media marketing gets the job done and the hunter out of the house and into the field or stream.

Facts and statistics from May 2012 issue of Chief Marketer

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