In today's digital world, we want to know what other people—preferably people like us—think of a particular product, person or service. There are many places to read reviews of, for example, hotels, service providers and products. The same can be true of your equine business. To that end, your marketing should include testimonials, where you let or encourage your customers tell others how great you, your farm or your stable are.
When one of your customers tells others how being associated with you, your farm, or your training is good for him/her or has worked to solve a problem for him/her, that's a testimonial.
You want to see if you can get those on your website, in your brochures, on your social media, and in other places where potential customers might see them.
Most businesses use testimonials to increase brand recognition and to help sales efforts. People like to read about “stars” or celebrities (even those in a certain industry) who use a product they can choose, a farm they can be associated with, or a trainer who excels at teaching his or her discipline. Consumers also like to hear about people just like themselves who have been successful or solved a problem by being associated with you.
Here are a few examples for Susie's Stable. Keep in mind that when you ask someone for a testimonial, it often is good to give them a few examples so they know what you are looking for.
"My horses used to stay beaten up because of field fights at my last barn, but at Susie's Stable, they understand and pay attention to herd dynamics and ensure the horses are as safe as possible. Huntin' for Glory and I both appreciate that!"
"The facilities at Susie's Stable are outstanding! I've never boarded at a farm where they take such good care of the horses and owners!"
"Jane Smith, the trainer at Susie's Stable, is one of the best in the region. She really cares about her riders and their horses, and she understands the hunter/jumper world. I've never won so many ribbons before!"
"I love that at Susie's Stable we have enough land that we can go out on a trail ride without having to load up in a trailer and head down the road!"
Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your testimonials.
- What are you trying to accomplish by having or using testimonials?
- Is there a cost? Testimonials should be free, but sometimes companies get them through sponsorships. Does that diminish their value? No, but make that relationship very clear. If a top rider boards at your barn, ask first if they will give you a testimonial before you offer to pay in money or services.
- Ask repeat customers for testimonials. Even if you don’t use the testimonial, you’ll learn why that person is a satisfied customer. You might even learn what you can do to make him/her even more satisfied or how to transmit that type of satisfaction to other customers.