How Michigan Used its R3 Grant
Synopsis by Scott Ball, TBW Editor
Original Report by Beth Fults, Michigan Dept. of Natural Resources
With its $50,000 grant, Michigan DNR’s goal was to encourage new and existing hunters to return to the sport in 2022. They used social and digital media and hands-on experiential learning at an in-person event aimed at a diverse audience to help fill knowledge gaps, promote an auto-renew license option and work with and elevate they agency’s partnership with the Hunters of Color organization in Michigan.
- Retain 20% of new hunting customers and apprentice hunters. Retain Mentored Youth Hunting Program and hunter education participants from 2021.
- Get 10% of hunting customers to sign up for auto-renewal. Motivate new license buyers with lookalike audiences.
DNR placed ads on social media channels and hosted an event with Hunters of Color to gather photos and increase visibility of hunting activities in the Detroit area. Due to the nature of that event and a new licensing system that doesn’t yet have analytics for tracking purchases, the agency was unable to obtain return-on-investment and revenue figures. This issue is being addressed for the next iteration of the platform.
Expenditures included $900 for the Hunters of Color event, $16,500 for social media ads and $16,000 for staff costs. The social ads generated 4.8 million impressions and 61,000 clicks.
Call to Action
DNR encouraged people to check out resources that can help make their hunt successful. They asked them to learn more about hunting in Michigan and provided links and calls to purchase a hunting license and auto-renew their licenses for future years.
Due to overwhelmingly positive feedback for the Hunters of Color event, Michigan DNR plans to hold another one in 2023, bringing in partners to cohost. This will allow for more educational opportunities, vendors and demonstrations to reach even more potential hunters, retain those they already have and get back those who might remember their love for the sport by trying things they haven’t done in a while.
The target audiences for the campaign were lapsed and new hunters throughout the state. DNR also targeted individuals who have purchased in the past but not in the previous year. DNR adjusted the target audience weekly to remove those who were already served ads and purchased a license.
Michigan DNR also sought to engage with nontraditional hunting audiences from urban backgrounds by hosting an event with a local group, inviting those individuals to come out and experience what hunting is like in an encouraging way.
DNR used paid placements on Facebook and Instagram.
Text: Maps, licenses and everything else you need to have a successful deer season (except for the actual deer).
Text: Everything you need to prep for deer season, all in one place.
Text: There’s still time to find success this deer season. Everything you need (maps, regs, licenses) to get out and get some venison this season.
Text: We’ve added select hunting licenses to our auto-renew program. Setting up auto-renewal is easy and you’ll never miss a day of the season.
Hunters of Color event, Belle Isle Park, Detroit
- Recruiting new hunters. This event was held in an urban area to communicate with an audience they might not typically reach with this messaging.
- Providing information for people who have never hunted and allowing them to try clothing, equipment and gear in a safe environment with experienced guides.
- Giving the final push. Having equipment – tree stands, archery and duck hunting gear – set up for those ready to take the next step and go hunting.
- How to identify safe trees to install a tree stand, and how to climb into a tree stand once it’s installed.
- Compound and recurve bow and crossbow training.
- Pellet gun shooting with Pheasants Forever.
- Displays from Michigan Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Division, including current hunting digests and assistance with how to navigate the DNR website to find outdoor recreation and hunting information.
- Lunch for all attendees.
- 128 attendees, ages 3 to 85.
- 16-20 attendees interested in taking a hunter safety education class together, with plans to move through hunting experiences together.
- All positive comments on the setup and information presented, and many questions about when the next event will be held.
- 22 volunteers.
- Representatives from DNR Law Enforcement, Wildlife, Finance, Parks and Recreation and Marketing and Outreach divisions participating.
- Images from event captured by DNR photographer for future use.
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