Selling a product online is a lot different than advertising services. Customers often understand what an item is, how it works and a reasonable price. However, with services like boarding care, lessons and training, customers have to understand the value of what they are paying for. While there’s no substitute for personal conversations, either in person or over the phone, a website is the first place potential clients can learn about—and form an opinion about—your services.
Including your services on a website is a two-step process. First, decide precisely what you’re offering and be clear about the details. For example, is it rough board? Board with a stall? How many rides and/or lessons are included in a training program?
Beyond the basics, potential customers want to know who they are buying from. Before starting any website project, think about what makes your stable unique and why you got into the business. Sharing your passion, vision and mission for your stable builds excitement.
“For a lot of people websites can get a little bit impersonal, but I think it’s nice when they get personal,” said Karen Paul, owner of Elida Creative, a marketing company in Ballston Spa, New York. “Show them your facilities, something special no one else has, whatever that is from trainer’s experience and expertise, to top-tier horses or access to trails and your surroundings.”
Remember that people do business with people, so make sure and show yourself, your staff and happy clients on your website.
Ultimately, the services you’re selling are you and your staff. Have a few professional photos taken that can be used on the site and talk about your expertise and the expertise of your staff to establish credibility. Don’t just list your experiences, explain how they will be used to help the horse owner achieve his or her goal.
What Do You Offer?
Whether you list or go into detail, you need to make sure you let potential customers know what services you offer. Sit down with your staff and best clients and make a list of what you have, what they enjoy and what some of their favorite amenities are at your facility. That might include:
- Full board
- Partial board
- Pasture board (owner care)
- Hay included in board
- Individual paddocks
- Large fields for turnout
- Run-in sheds
- Riding paths
- Access to public trails or lands
- Indoor and/or outdoor wash stalls
- Indoor and/or outdoor arenas
- Lights on outdoor arenas
- Trailer parking
- Certified instructors
- Lesson horses
- Horses for lease
- Type of riding instruction offered
- Obstacles, jumps, dressage letters, mirrors, cattle, etc. amenities in arenas
If you are a trainer or offer riding lessons, your website can promote your own farm or the services you provide at one or more facilities. These services might include:
- Certifications (including CHA or PATH Intl.) with explanations of what those certifications mean
- Types of lessons (beginner, intermediate, advanced, individual, group, travel to owner's farm for lesson, etc.)
- Disciplines (working cow horse, western dressage, jumping, obstacle, etc.)
- Facilities (either your own or those owned by others where you teach)
- Amenities (board, leasing, cattle, obstacles, jumps, cross country course, etc.)
- Training horses (initial breaking/training, discipline)
Rarely will a customer choose a boarding farm for their horse’s care by visiting a website alone, but a good website is a tool that can attract someone to your business and allow them to start a conversation that serves as the foundation for a long-lasting relationship.