Many people want to know if their marketing works. One of the best ways to find out the answer to that question is to ask: Is my brand known? That means does the right group of people you want to attract to your farm or boarding stable know you exist, know what you do, know how you are different from your competitors, and know how to contact you?
First you need to know what your primary market is and whether they know the answers to the questions in the first paragraph. It won’t help your business if your farm or stable brand is known far and wide to the trail riders in your area, but you want to attract competitive hunter/jumpers.
You can find out the answers to these questions by several means. One is by sending out a survey to the people in your geographic area who are involved in your primary market. Can you pay the local or state hunter/jumper association to send out a survey for you in a targeted geographic area? Or you can go to a publishing company such as our parent Active Interest Media and send your survey out to a geo-targeted area (say, everyone who competes in hunter/jumper shows who are 50 miles from your farm).
Figure out what questions you want to ask and know why they are important to your quest for knowledge. In other words, don’t ask questions just to be asking them. Keep surveys short in order to get more people to answer them.
For example, you might want to know how many horses they own or how many shows they attend each year. You might want to find out if they pay for lessons and how often they take lessons or attend clinics. You might ask how long they have been at their current boarding facility, or whether they have their own farm. You also should find out how they best like to learn about farms, shows and facilities in their area. If they say email, then you need to focus on building an email list. If they say word-of-mouth, then you need to have a campaign with your current boarders and at specific shows and events to get your name in front of them so they can talk to their peers about you.
If you’re doing a survey, offering some sort of “prize” to the winner can also help. Maybe it’s a free private lesson at your farm (or theirs) if you are an instructor or you have someone who teaches at your farm. Offer a free admission to a clinic you are putting on. Or just put together a basket of horse goodies valued at $X and let them know the winner can get that prize in a random drawing if they complete the information.
Have a method for them to offer their contact information at the end of the survey if they are interested in learning more about your facility and services. Then follow up with them.
Make Your Website Work
Many people will look you up on the Internet, so your website needs to work for your business. First make sure your contact information is easy to fin (you should put your phone and email on every page). Some people who visit your website have already heard about you from friends, and they either want more information about you or want to connect with you to ask questions.
Make sure that you immediately let people know how you are different from your competitors. Do you have an indoor and outdoor arena? Do you have permanent cross-country jumps? Do you have an on-farm instructor? Do you transport your clients to major shows in your area? Do you have lessons for beginners, or are you a more advanced stable?
Understand that there is a group of boarders who would fit best at your facility, and try to attract them. (Read more at “All Customers Aren’t Created Equal”).
Also let people know about you and the history of your farm and your personal association with horses. You also can include testimonials from your top clients (learn more about using your brand ambassadors).
In conclusion, you need to know your farm’s “story” and what makes you different and special. You need to know what type of client you want to attract. You need to determine how you are going to find out if that group of people knows about your facility. Then you need to get the word out to them about what you do and the services you offer.