How do you find new customers? You have a great equine facility in a good location with nice pastures. You boast amazing barn help and excellent vets, farriers, trainers and other service providers. With all that going for you, shouldn’t word-of-mouth marketing be your best advertising tool?
You’ve heard the old question: If a tree falls in the forest and there’s no one there to hear it, did it make a sound? How does that apply to your business?
Consider this: If you have the best farm/stable and services to offer someone and the person looking for those services don’t know you exist, are you really in business?
You want your business to be successful, thus you focus on providing quality facilities and services to your clients. But, your responsibility to your business also means spending time on marketing yourself. That is part of your duty to your business.
You might say: “But what about my current clients? Won’t they think I’m ignoring them if I am working so hard to find other clients?”
First you need to understand that the more viable your business is in general and the greater your network, the better you can serve current clients. Your current clients might love you and your facility, but if you can’t keep your barn full or you aren’t making enough money to improve your business—or perhaps even stay in business.
Use your networking skills to go beyond just being the person who owns land and a boarding facility or teaches riding lessons.
You manage multiple horses, and you probably have years if not decades of experience and connections in the industry. Your clients usually don’t have that, and you can be the conduit to the information from those other service providers. This benefits your current clients as well as making your network work for you.
There are many service providers to your equine facility who would be happy to share their expertise (and their networks) on behalf of your business. For example, you have a great relationship with your veterinarian, farrier, horse feed rep, banker, CPA, physical therapist, and other experts in your area. You can have seminars or presentations from these folks to help educate your clients, and be seen as an active advocate for that “outside” person that you involve with your clients. Both benefit from that interaction.
And those professionals and service providers will have you top-of-mind when someone asks them about riding lessons or boarding facilities. That is word-of-mouth marketing at its finest.
Remember that marketing goes much further than just word-of-mouth. You need to keep your website up-to-date, use social media to tell your story, and get out in the industry and network. That might mean you are the one who is giving a presentation or talking to a group.
Marketing is one part of running your equine business, just like mowing the fields or cleaning the stalls. Whether it is your favorite or least favorite part is irrelevant; it still has to be done for you to continue being successful and grow your business.
And it can be fun!