All these disciplines face the same problem – how do we get more people interested in what we do with our horses?
While they all are unique, the way to increase interest is the same – marketing. But what kind of marketing? Facebook, Twitter, Instagram?
No. I know we horse people run on shoestring budgets, and we like those free “advertising/marketing” places – but the truth is, you have to spend money to make money.
The people following you on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, are already interested in horse sports.
We need to bring new blood into the business, and we really can’t, using those areas.
Let’s talk about direct marketing, using the good ole postal service. You may think that’s old school, but…
Direct mail — yes junk mail via snail mail — still reigns supreme, offering response rates of 1.1 to 1.4%
In a USPS poll, 64% of customers said they valued the mail they received
According to the Direct Marketing Association, the average return for direct mail is over $12 in revenue for every $1 invested, based on lifetime customer value, not initial orders. That is a 1,200% ROI.
If you have a lesson program, you don’t want to target folks across the country. You need to target people in your area. A well-crafted direct mail campaign, sent to households in your zip code, will do this. Offering a lesson discount upon presentation of the mailed offer will let you know how well the campaign worked for you.
And horse show managers, you have exhibitors from all over the country, and they’ve brought their families with them. But do you really think someone’s going to cross the country to spectate at your horse show?
Probably not. But… locals that are looking for something to do on a Friday night, parents that want their kids out in the fresh air on a Saturday... these are your prime candidates as spectators.
Work out a deal with your food vendors to provide free drinks upon presentation of the mailed offer (you know they’ll buy food to go with it). This is how you will track how well the direct mail campaign worked.
How many times do we see on Facebook, “look at the crowd” when people post pictures of shows from back in the day? Wouldn’t it be great to see those comments when pictures from your show are posted?
In all our equestrian sports, we’re seeing people lament how it was years ago. We need to stop lamenting and get busy fixing the problem.
We need to promote the equestrian lifestyle. Let parents know the good it does for the children. And show the older folks the benefits riding has for them.
Everyone’s talking about marketing to millennials, but, they don’t really have the disposable income, yet. Target our older generations, the people who’ve made their money, have disposable income to spend, and the time to come out and go riding. The grandparents who don’t deny their grandchildren anything.
What kind of marketing are you seeing in your area? Is it getting your attention? Let’s start a discussion in the comments.