How can you navigate the marketing minefield and grow your business?
When we first started our business, we spent a lot of time looking at who the customer actually is and therefore in what platforms they sit. Having a marketing and media degree has helped admittedly, but every business needs to identify who they are marketing to, and how those people are going to be reached. Sounds simple!….
Who is your target market?
Equestrianism in the main is a social pleasure pastime spanning from toddlers to pensioners. Marketing for social interests is mostly done using social media. With such an age range in the industry there will always be a multi targeted approach to consider.
A good example would be a riding centre creating awareness of their children’s riding club. Use of Instagram, leaflet drops to children’s clubs, local notice boards, and youth centres will likely create awareness to younger minds. But it is the parent who will be paying for the riding. Parents often subscribe to “days out” websites, relevant Facebook groups, and local area news stories where advertorials work well. A step further might be an Open Day of discounted riding. The ability to use different mediums to market in this way knowing who exactly you are targeting with each will also dictate the tone of the material. You can have the best riding club in the area, but if no one knows about it, it will also be the emptiest riding club too!
What are the top 5 online platforms?
Facebook – 2.23 billion monthly users! Facebook is the biggest social media site around. That’s almost a third of the world’s population! There are more than 65 million businesses using Facebook
You Tube – 1.9 billion monthly users! YouTube is a video-sharing platform where users watch a billion hour of videos every day. To get started, you can create a YouTube channel for your brand where you can upload videos for your subscribers to view, like, comment, and share.
WhatsApp – 1.5 billion monthly users! WhatsApp is a messaging app Initially and was only used by people to communicate with their family and friends. WhatsApp has been building out its business platform to allow businesses to have a proper business profile.
Messenger – 1.3 billion monthly users! Messenger used to be a messaging feature within Facebook, and since 2011, Facebook has made Messenger into a standalone app by itself and greatly expanded on its features. Businesses can now advertise, create chatbots, send newsletters and more.
Instagram – 1 billion monthly users! Instagram is a photo and video sharing social media app.
As a brand, you can have an Instagram business profile supporting business growth.
How to grow a following
Remember marketing is a daily role, not just something to attend to once per week. Customers will look at your onlince presence to find out if you are still “open”. Many social media sites and websites in the equestrian world are seldom kept upto date – seeing a post from a month ago or a year ago gives rise to a belief there is no physical business running at the other end!
Followers follow because your site is fun, interesting, entertaining and has a good ethos. People like to “like” business who are humaine and put the welfare of horses first. All posts need to keep on message in the “compnay voice”. Ranting, personal feelings and any negativity will turn your aduience off.
Analysie your own performance and see what works best. Facebook Insights provides detailed information about your most succesful posts, and your audiences. You can find out when the majority of your audience is online and the key times they are watching! This is where your content must be exciting enough to drive people to email / call / message and BOOK!
Be prepared – Will there be someone to answer emails, calls and messages? Time and time again we hear customers telling us “there was no one to answer the phone at the previous yard”, “they never returned our call”, and “it was a woman in high wind on a mobile who answered – I couldn’t hear her”. This is not the professional response your clients are looking for and a major reason customers go elsewhere. As your marketing takes off ensure the business is ready for the buzz you are going to create.
Who is your audience? How will you reach them? Look
at your core business, who is it aimed at or are there multiple targets to
market your business to? Mums, dads, children, horse owners, adults back to
riding – identify them and look at what types of media platforms each of them
can be reached. This will save you time!
Good Content and keep the lights on! Have you
organised good products and services to sing about? Keep regularly updating your social medial
platforms, and news to your website so that Google can see the fresh, relevant
content is continually being fed. This not only helps your business become
easier to find in online searches, it also shows your followers and potential
clients your business is not asleep – that it is fully functioning and open.
Grow your following A single site business will always a physical boundary on how far customers are prepared to travel to reach you. Livery owners often wish to be no more than 20 minutes drive form their horse, riding school clients can travel up to one hour if your products are of a good quality, with good customer service. Think big and think outside the box! There are many more products yards can offer which increase the catchment area further and can increase the following. We have hosted inter schools riding events for example, and created a series of equine cartoons which generated followers country wide!
I will continue to publish these blogs and articles outlining key strategies for building a really successful livery and riding centre. Over the last seven years, my husband John and I have built up what we think is a very successful enterprise that we are proud of