It can be tempting to try and sell your services to every horse owner in your geographic area. The reality is that you can’t be all things to all people. Knowing which horse owners are best suited to the services you offer is key to developing successful, long-term relationships.
Research is an important part of deciding your marketing targets. Studying the horse owning population you want to reach includes learning information about your market area, your competitors and your clients' needs. Conducting market research includes analyzing data and trends to help you understand which products and services are in demand, and how to be competitive.
It’s important to consider the type of horse owner located within your market area and the services that client might need. A barn in Dallas/Ft. Worth, Texas, might serve competitive reining clients. Those customers are likely looking for advanced training, support and access to competitions.
A stable located in an area with recreational horse owners will likely serve clients most interested in the trail riding, local competitions and/or general horsekeeping (i.e., older or retired horses). In many situations a stable is located in an area with diverse client groups, and the farm owner or manager has to decide if he or she will specialize or can offer various services to multiple groups.
After determining the interests of the potential audience in your area, figure out if your facility lends itself more to hosting trail riders, dressage riders or those interested in western competitions? Do you have the space, required facilities and instructors to support the interests of your boarders?
An effective marketing strategy is built around understanding the business’ target audience. Everyone looks for the silver bullet and jumps right to the tactics without having a strategy behind what they are doing, and in the end the efforts don’t have the intended impact.
While learning about current and potential client needs, it’s equally important to learn about other facilities in the area and the industry as a whole. This can help you reduce risk to your business, spot current and upcoming trends and identify opportunities for growth.
The United States Small Business Administration is one source that can provide statistics about general economic indicators and income and earnings. Equine associations such as the American Horse Council might be able to provide statistics more specifically related to the equine industry.