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    Three Reasons NOT to Market Your Horse Business

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    July 09, 2018
    When asked about marketing their horse business or organization, these are the three most common reasons why nothing is being done:
    1. I’m too small and don’t have the money.
    2. I’m too big and don’t need any more clients or customers.
    3. Marketing is too confusing.
     
    To find out if these reasons are valid and in the best interest of your business, you have to take a step back and decide what you want your business wants to be.  To you (not anyone else), what would a successful business or organization look like? To answer that question, I’m talking about going back to (or in many cases creating for the first time) your business plan.

    Whoa! Before I lose you, let me jump right in and say that I’m not talking about the big, involved and complicated business plan that talks about projected profits and losses and accounting categories.  I’m talking about a simple “big picture” overview of your ideal business – boarding, training, selling tack, doing equine massage, or writing for a magazine?  Remember that old saying, if you fail to plan you plan to fail. 

    Let’s say your business is a boarding and training facility.  Hey, you’ve got lots of room so why not let Western and English riders and maybe a few combined driving enthusiasts board with you? You have all the customers you need, but are they the right customers for you? 

    Let’s suppose that one day, the carriage driving boarders want you to turn some of your pasture into driving trails.  The Western people think that’s cool because they like trails too.  But, oh, by the way, the Western people ask that you have the English riders move all their jumps out of the arena a couple of days a week so they can practice barrel racing.  The English riders, already upset by being forced to lug the jumps in and out, suddenly tell you that your arena footing is causing injuries to their jumpers and dressage horses because of the continuous barrel racing patterns want you to upgrade the footing.  Suddenly, no one is happy and people start to leave.  Or worse, bad mouth your stable. 

    Now, how easy would it be to decide to be primarily a hunter (or whatever) barn that understands and accommodates the needs of the hunter rider.  You save time, energy and headaches by not trying to be all things to all people

    OK, you’ve settled on a hunter barn, but now you need to look for more hunter riders to fill you’re stalls. Putting some money or effort into marketing – the right marketing – can help you get the word out and bring in your much-needed new clients.

    Which brings us to the third reason you haven’t done any business marketing yet. There are just too many options!  And too many salespeople at your door telling you print advertising is your best option, but you also need social media.  Facebook, Twitter, Instagram? And what about sponsoring a local hunter show.  For $x you’ll get a banner on the side of the arena.

    This is where membership in 
    Oregon Horse Country (OHC) is one of the smartest solutions to your marketing issues.  They put on equi-business conferences, host social media seminars and have a whole list of resources among their membership base. And because OHC members care enough about the horse industry to join, you can be assured that they will be honest and fair when you ask for advice.  After all, they own horse businesses, too.

    Lastly, as an OHC member, you’ll get this monthly marketing blog helping you navigate the ins and outs of equine marketing.  How can you get free marketing?  Are ‘advertorials” worth the expense?  What social media should I start and what do I post?  What should I give/get with a sponsorship?

    And who am I?  I’m a horse owner just like you with a degree in Communications, marketing, writing and social experience. Of course, I also own a horse business.  I’m “mature” and it took me a long time to even look at Facebook.  But I read and I learned and I tried and I failed.  Then I tried again and I succeeded. So don’t let one attempt at horse business marketing sour you. First – make your business plan so you know what your success will look like.  I hope you find this information helpful and will consider trying one new marketing idea in the future.  If you have questions, contact the great people at Oregon Horse Country.


    Submitted by OHC Guest Writer, Kelly O'Neil