“Marketing Horses!” 2-2006 Issue #5 Horse Business eZine – Joni Solis, Editor
A dozen on-the-bit tips to help your drive your horse sales forward‚Ä¶
I hope your new year is trotting along well and that your equine business is good. You haven’t forgotten about your New Year Goals you set have you? I know we all have a habit of getting stuck in the day to day grind and don’t take the time to do those things that will make a difference to our future.
I just want to give you a quick reminder to stay on track with your action steps to a better tomorrow. You did write out an action plan and are looking at it on a daily basis right? If not, take the time now to get this done.
Why, because statistics show people that write down their goals have over an 80% higher success rate of achieving them than people that don’t.
Read that sentence again. Now get writing your goals; written goals make a difference.
Check out this time management program: Chaos’ !intellent
I love it and use it daily and no I don’t make a penny suggesting this program, I just feel that you will benefit from using it, I know I have.
For this month I would like to help out those of you that are in the business of selling horses (If you are selling products some of this info will also pertain). Do I even have to mention that this is not the easiest business to make a profit in?
It seems like everyone and their brother, are breeding horses for sale and nearly 40% of horses going to slaughter in California are purebred horses. When you have a herd of competition you have to work at marketing and breeding BETTER horses than the next guy.
So let’s see, how are you marketing your horses, and can you improve upon this?
Are you marketing them in as many ways you can think of? The more you can get the word out that you have horses the sale the more horses you will sell!
Consider the following marketing avenues:
- Online, newspaper, and magazine, classified ads
- Feed store, tack shop, and Veterinarian Clinic flyers and business card display
- Horse shows and Equine events
- Local events like your town’s Christmas parade and charity events
- Your own company planned events like open house and trail rides
- Speaking at clubs and organizations
- Posting info at Internet Groups
- Your own website
- Word of mouth
This is a newsletter and not a book, so today I will just work on giving you helpful tips on how to make your horse’s ad description more effective in drawing in the buyers.
Tip #1: If you have the room, use it; meaning, that if you are posting info about your horse on your own website or in your own flyer put in all the info you can. Way too many people only put in a sentence or two about the horse and really expect to interest someone enough to take the time and effort to contact them for more info.
Everyone is busy and if you can give them the info they need right as they are looking at the web page or flyer the better chance you’ll have of gaining their interest enough to take that next step of contacting you. If you were standing in front of a bulletin board of flyers but only two contained more than two sentences about the horse for sale which two flyers would your read first?
If you have limit space in your classified ad put a link to a fully detailed description on your website.
Tip #2: Be honest and give them the facts. If your horse isn’t suitable for beginner horse owners state that fact and the reasons why. If your horse cannot eat hay but needs beet pulp feed let that be known.
I am not saying to make a listing of just the undesirable traits but you don’t want to waste yours or your customers’ time showing a horse that is not suitable for them.
Nothing will hurt your business faster than dishonesty or unethical practices. So, be honest about the horse and give them the facts – good and bad.
Did you know that people will trust your ad MORE if it states a negative fact or two? It helps to get rid of the it-sounds-to-good-to-be-true-so-it-cannot-be feeling.
Tip #3: Give a well rounded description of the horse; let people know about the horse under saddle (its performance and training) and its ground manners. Many people end up sorry they purchased a horse that is OK under saddle but is hell to handle on the ground.
Will he stand relaxed for clipping, bathing, and the farrier? How is she when the vet shows up? Can your horse trailer load without a fight or tranquilizes? Is he nice to be around in the stall and pasture? Does she get along with other horses and what about dogs and kids? Can he be lead around without pulling your arms out of their sockets or being stepped on? Put all this info and more in your horse’s description.
Tip #4: Extras? Let them know!
If you are spending a mint by giving your horses the best in food supplements, massage, whirlpool, herbs, or other special life enhancing goodies, let people know this!
Did you know that some dog breeders have a waiting list for their unborn puppies because their dogs have been fed nothing but RAW food for two or more generations? Better food equals better puppies. Same thing for horses? Probably.
If you start all your foals with Doctor Robert Miller’s Foal Imprint training, tell people this in your horse ads!
Here is a good article on the subject:
If all your horse receive the finest barefoot care from birth on, and they have never been lame, let people know it!
Info on Barefoot hooves…
Tip #5: Be precise and detailed. It is not enough to state that your horse has been trail ridden; state how many times your horse has been trail ridden, on what kind of trails, the length of the tails, etc… Can he be ridden safely over bridges and through creeks or rivers? Can he be ridden without a buddy horse along? What about night rides or in the rain?
If the horse is a show horse, give them the details about what kind, how many, how the horse placed at the shows, and who trained the horse, using what methods, and for how long, etc‚Ä¶
Worried that people will get Information Overload?
List the most important information first to the least and let people decide when to stop reading. BUT and this is a big one, write short and easy to digest paragraphs that do NOT go across the whole computer screen from end to end. That is a turn off to reading.
Stay tuned for more info on ad design in future newsletters!
Tip #6: Show good photos! I should have listed this first because if you don’t have an attractive photo most people will not even read your horse’s description.
Right now at my feed store there are six horse-for-sale flyers up. Two don’t even have a photo and three have dark, small, wide-angle (big headed) shots that look pretty bad.
Only one of the six flyers has a good looking, sharp and clear photo of the horse for sale. This flyer also has the most phone number tags ripped off at the bottom of the flyer.
If you cannot take good photos hire someone to take them! This is especially important for showing action shots; like jumping, reining, extended trot, etc… Action shots will help sell your horse faster than standing photos if you are selling a trained or prospective performance horse.
You are trying to sell something worth thousands of dollars; people expect to at lease view a decent photo of the horse. This is especially important for showing those action shots.
For your website consider showing multiple photos and video clips. Be willing to mail a video to interested parties that live a good distance from your farm. For show horses video them at the shows and training.
Tip #7: Check out horse descriptions on the Internet. Bookmark your favorite descriptions to help you learn to write descriptions that draw the buyers in. If the ads make an impression on you they will do the same to others.
Here are few websites to visit and I am sure you can find many more…
Tip #8: Add testimonials; this one is rare to find, but it drives up the sales, so don’t leave it out! People want to know that others were happy with their decision to spend thousands of dollars and put their very lives on the line buying a horse from you.
ALWAYS post at least one testimonial to your flyer ads and put a link to your testimonial page next to each horse listing on your website. It doesn’t hurt to sprinkle a few testimonials throughout of your site.
On your testimonial page post some photos of your past clients with their new horse. If any horse went on to win ribbons, be a pound parent and brag on them a little!
Tip #9: Spell, grammar, and proofread your ads. Don’t leave it just to your eyes either, have friends and family check over your word work too. Write your ads/website content in a word program with spell-check on or download this tiny free program to help you – tinySpell:
I love it and use it daily and no I don’t make a penny suggesting this program, I just feel that you will benefit from using it. tinySpell Description: License: Freeware; Publisher: KEDMI Scientific Computing This utility allows you to easily and quickly check the spelling of words in any Windows application. It monitors your typing on-the-fly and alerts you whenever it detects a misspelled word. It also checks the spelling of every word you copy to the clipboard. The program comes with an American-English dictionary containing more than 110,000 words.
Professional looking and reading ads and website help you sell horses!
Tip #10: Do Internet research for marketing info. You can never have enough knowledge.
Here is a site that specializing in helping us Equine Business owners: equineteleseminar.net
Let me know if you find others! Thanks!
Tip #11: If you cannot think of many nice things to add to your horse’s description, then jump up and go train that horse some more. Each hour spent training a horse adds value to him, but only if you tell people what you have accomplished.
Consider clicker training for more precise and less stressful training and a happier more highly motivated horse. My horses come to the pasture gate and push their nose at their halters wanting their clicker training time. And this is a pasture with grass not just a dirt pen.
Tip #12: Take ACTION and do all the suggestion actions printed above. Don’t let your future graze around the pasture or munch in a stall emptying your pockets. You only get somewhere when you move, so get galloping!
You will find your GOOD LUCK PONY when you make a plan and work your plan! WRITE it down!
Learn more about marketing your equestrian business… * Learn to Sell Horses*
Covers advertising and marketing, about how to write advertisement, adding pictures, pricing, and other things to do to sell your horse, local and off line actions.
P.S. Please take time TODAY to show your friends you are thinking of them and wish them a great Valentines Day this February 14 th by sending them a Horse Art eCard! I just added a few NEW eCards about LOVE for Valentines.