One of the most time-honored marketing tools for any service is that of word-of-mouth. The more you make your boarding barn an attractive facility to existing boarders, the more that good will circulates among horse owners in your community. This type of general good “gossip” generates more interested people looking to bring their horse to your facility for care.
Some barns capitalize on making their facility kid friendly or dog friendly or simply friendly. Some want to focus on one or two types of riding disciplines, as for example a hunter/jumper barn or a dressage barn or reining or cutting barn. Find a strategy that fits in with your life philosophy and try to run with it.
Advertise your boarding operation with every possible tool ranging from social media to email newsletters to business cards posted on bulletin boards at the local feed and tack stores. Put together a user-friendly website so interested horse owners can access information about you. Update the website regularly with highlights of current and future activities, and a nice touch is to include accomplishments of your boarders and their horses.
Including information and stories about your barn help and staff gives your facility a personalized feel–this gives potential borders the impression that they’ll receive individualized attention to their horses’ needs from experts who care.
Post educational information on your website, such as specialized articles written by the barn veterinarian or trainers. You can also ask those professionals for handouts that you can have available in the tack room or stable office every week.
Put on riding clinics and fun days with multi-discipline equestrian activities. Discuss hosting horse owner education seminars with several veterinarians to bring prospective horse owners to your facility. Talk to local equestrian clubs about putting together a comprehensive horse directory of community equestrian resources–this gives you a platform in which to list your facility. Other marketing opportunities include hosting 4-H, Pony Club, and breed association gatherings and events, and/or donating prizes or money to local horse clubs.
Don’t be shy about marketing yourself and your facility. The more information you put out there, the more likely you’ll be to attract not only new clients, but new clients who are most compatible with the goals and philosophy of your facility and with your current boarders.