RBFF spearheads angler-retention program in Georgia

A program between the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation and the state of Georgia successfully helped to retain anglers.

A program between the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation and the state of Georgia successfully helped to retain anglers.

Although millions of people take up fishing each year — 6.2 million in 2015 — roughly just as many leave the sport for various reasons. To combat this trend and retain first-time fishing license purchasers, RBFF and the Georgia Wildlife Resources Division partnered on a New Angler Retention Pilot Program.

Through the yearlong program, the RBFF and the Georgia agency were able to measure the impact of email communication on a new angler’s purchase of a license the following year.

Five groups, including a control group, received combinations of email messages during the program. All five received a thank-you message following the purchase of their license, and each treatment group received a series of license renewal reminders at the end of the license term.

Treatment groups received combinations of newsletters and a follow-up survey and/or a discounted license renewal price promotion to continue the dialogue and encourage anglers to renew their license the following year.

Overall, the email communication to the four treatment groups generated a 4.7 percent increase in the license renewal rate, compared with the control group, and an additional 1,448 licenses were sold.

The communication resulted in more than $18,000 in added revenue, and anglers in the treatment group renewed licenses more quickly than those in the control group — the average time to review licenses in the control group was 30.5 days; the average renewal time for the treatment group was 18.8 days.

The treatment groups generated more than $92,000 in revenue for the agency. There was no cost to implement the program, just the investment of staff time to distribute the emails.

“Communications and marketing are an integral piece of the efforts to grow this sport,” Georgia Wildlife Resources division director Rusty Garrison said in a statement. “The results of this study show how putting the right communications strategies into effect can keep people fishing and affect their license-buying behavior in a positive way. Through this partnership with RBFF, we will grow the sport of fishing so that generations to come will get to enjoy it.”

RBFF will be packaging the email templates and results into a retention toolkit for distribution to all state agencies later this fall.

The full report, including details on the discount promotion, newsletters and monthly results, can be found in the Take Me Fishing Resource Center.