Horse Marketing 101

horse and money signIf you rely on your horses for income, you are going to have to have good marketing skills just like any other business. That’s right, horses don’t sell themselves! If you are a breeder, riding instructor, trainer, boarding facility, or horse dealer, you are going to need to reach and impress your potential customers in order to sell them your products and services. How do you do that? Just follow the steps illustrated below and you’ll be well on your way to enjoying a successful horse-related business!

1.) Know who your customers are. Who needs your products and services? If you are a training facility, then people with untrained horses need you. If you are a boarding facility, then horse owners who don’t have space at home for their horses need you. If you are a riding instructor, then your potential customers are anyone who wants to learn how to ride horses. You get the picture! A big part of making sure your horse business works is identifying your customers.

2.) Find out where your customers hang out. Where do horse people congregate? At feed and tack stores, at horse shows, at online horse-related web sites and chat rooms, to name just a few. Now break it down even further. Let’s say you are a breeder of Morgan horses. Sure, you’ll find some Morgan enthusiasts at the tack shop and feed store, but you’ll likely find them in droves at breed-specific shows. Find out what newspapers and magazines your potential customers read as well.

3.) Advertise! Now that you’ve done all that research to determine who your customers are, where they hang out, and what they read, it’s time to put your product and service in front of them! Put ads in magazines and newspapers that they read, hang up flyers at tack and feed stores, and advertise in show programs.

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People don’t want to be “marketed TO”; they want to be “communicated WITH.”
– Flint McGlaughlin

“You can say the right thing about a product and nobody will listen. You’ve got to say it in a way that people will feel in their gut. Because if they don’t feel it, nothing will happen.”
– William Bernbach

4.) Know how to write a good advertisement. How you come across to your potential customers will make all the difference in the world when it comes to whether or not they will choose your products and services over those of a competitor. Be creative and give your ads a little zing! Make them memorable. Let’s say you are selling a horse. Instead of writing an ad that only tells the horse’s color, size, breed, and discipline, try adding impressive bloodlines if appropriate, accolades won, and personality traits that you think your customers will appreciate. An ad that is personal and tells the audience more than just the dry details is sure to get a lot of response.

“Marketing is not an event, but a process . . . It has a beginning, a middle, but never an end, for it is a process. You improve it, perfect it, change it, even pause it. But you never stop it completely.”
– Jay Conrad Levinson

“In marketing I’ve seen only one strategy that can’t miss — and that is to market to your best customers first, your best prospects second and the rest of the world last.”
– John Romero

5.) Set yourself apart by giving away some “freebies.” Give something away for free, and the customers will come to you. Your give-away can be as simple and cost-effective as an open barn day that allows the community to come and enjoy your facility, or your could go large-scale and sponsor a class at a show. Remember, the goal is to get your name out there in front of those who would benefit from your product or service. Be creative!

6.) Know that word of mouth can make you or break you. Your current customers are the best advertisements you have. Work to retain them, and do what you can to make them happy. They’ll tell friends, who will tell more friends, and so on. Run your business with integrity and honesty, and treat your customers fairly. Always represent your products and services truthfully. The old adage “under promise and over deliver” works well in the horse world, too!

With a little marketing knowledge in hand, you’ll have your horse business up and running in no time. Make sure to visit the great resources below to expand your equine knowledge. Seek wisdom first.

“The only limits are, as always, those of vision.”
– James Broughton

“Miracles start to happen when you give as much energy to your dreams as you do to your fears.”
– Richard Wilkins

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Ron Petracek – Raised in southern Idaho, Ron loves horses and the outdoors. If you would like to join in and learn from the vast resources at our equine forum please visit http://www.horsechitchat.com
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