Marketing your Horse Business (a guest post!)

Are you a member of enough social media sites?  It certainly overwhelms me with how many sites I am told by various gurus that I should join.  Some of them really work for networking and promoting content!  But there is one old tool that many of us are forgetting to use, and today we have a guest post from Peg Cannell of $table In₵ome to offer us a bit more insight.  Peg consults with horse businesses to help create a stable income stream in the often volatile financial world of boarding, training, and showing.  If you're interested in increasing your overall profitability in your horse business, you can contact Peg through her LinkedIn profile.

______________
During financially difficult times it is most important to offer students and their families value for their money or they will cut out lessons and shows as an unnecessary expense. This does not mean giving away your services, but offering options while waiting for economic recovery. Service is what we give in the horse business and we should never forget it.


First Impressions

First impressions are important to attract the clientele you desire. The first exposure anyone has to your business is usually the telephone. Sadly, most small barn owners do not consider this a priority and hope that future customers will wait for the proverbial ‘hay to be put up’ before being called back. Unless they really want to come to your business for a personal reason, they will call the next barn. We have become a national of impatient consumers and it is best not to forget that. Obviously, your physical site is important too as some potential clients will drive up to see the horses. If the paint is peeling, horse manure litters the site, or things are held together with baling twine and duct tape, you may not attract the customers you desire. The best advice I can give is to take someone you don’t know well on a tour of your facility. You will see it through that person’s eyes rather than your own.


Your Speciality

There are differences between disciplines for sure and it is a good idea to choose what you are
passionate about. If you are passionate, it is infectious. Regardless of your specialty, it is a good idea to pick one. Within broad categories are subsets - do you train young riders only, ponies, jumpers, adults, equitation, hunters, dressage riders, reiners? Gaining a niche as being known for a subset is a long term profitable move. You will become the local expert and people will come to you. Many of us wish to be a mover-shaker in our equine world and if that is your goal and you don’t have the credentials to back it up, go work for someone who does and keep your barn closed until you are ready. The truth is, few of us make it to the very top but many of us have businesses that support us financially and emotionally. And that is what it is all about in my view. Regardless of your category or subset, regardless of your size and recognition, we all strive to have our riders and horses compete to the best of their abilities. 

Excellent horse management and care and a club atmosphere make clients happy. Who wouldn't want to belong? Who wouldn't want to do their best?
Make that happen from the first contact on. Get someone to answer the phone!
___________________

I like that Peg mentioned "from the first contact on."  Remember that attaining a new customer is part of the journey, and retaining satisfied customers that will then refer more business to you is the destination.  Treat the very first contact with a prospect to your business, whether that is a business card, phone call, or facility tour, as a crucial part of that journey.  NOW is a great time to look at your horse business- your facility or website and its corresponding speciality (which corresponds with your unique selling proposition)- with fresh eyes and make needed changes to help improve someone's first and last experience with your horse business.  This will help you establish not only stable, but even growing, income in your horse business.

Have you ever had a great first impression with a horse business that caused you to convert from just a shopper to a customer?  Such as a barn that swayed you to board at that facility?

If you enjoyed this post and want to stay up to date on other helpful tips for horse business owners, sign up for the FREE "Start your Horse Business Checklist" by entering your email at the top of the right hand column on our blog.
Be sure to also "like" on Facebook and become a blog follower!

2 comments:

susanfriedlandsmith said...

Informative post! I can't agree more about the phone call point. :)

Corinna Charlton said...

haha, yes! Imagine if your barn #3 loses your prospective business because of that!