Riding horses can feel a lot like banging your head against the wall.
You put the best feed, care, and training into an animal– a partner– only to have it pull a shoe and come up lame the day before a horse show. All of that blood, sweat, tears, and dreams dashed.
I’ll let you in on a little secret: marketing is the same way.
Whenever I tell family, my farrier, my veterinarian, my boss, that person at the grocery store (the list goes on and on) that I run a small equine marketing business, I get a similar question: How do I ____ ? Almost every time they’re looking for an answer that will get them from question to result seamlessly. It sounds like it should be simple.
For example, it’s well known that in order to solicit free products from brands, you need to have a large social media following. Most anyone that asks me how to get more followers is looking for a simple one sentence answer that starts with the phrase, “Oh that’s easy…”
Unfortunately, marketing is a lot like starting a horse.
If you’ve ever watched a Hollywood horse movie you know that all that’s required to break a horse is a wild untamed mustang and a besotted little girl who’s being bullied at school. Put the two together and POOF! You have a fully trained horse ready to win blue ribbons at the county fair.
Equine professionals and marketers know it’s not that easy.
Marketing can feel like you’re banging your head against the wall. You’ve googled the SEO checklist. You’ve completed the steps. So, why aren’t new customers suddenly knocking on the barn door and offering you money?
Equine marketing isn’t as simple as marking off a checklist. Instead, you need a cohesive guiding strategy that runs through all of your actions and creates a well-oiled machine that helps to bring more money into your business.
Expecting that a new Instagram account and a website will suddenly bring more customers flocking to your shop is akin to the besotted little girl and wild mustang scenario. An Instagram account and a website can be crucial to your success, but several questions need to be answered. Does the branding match across both platforms? Are they presented professionally? Have you been able to get the word out about your newly expanded online presence? Is the website getting any traffic? Is it optimized for search results?
Here’s where the “banging your head against the wall” comes in. It may feel as though you’re doing all the right things and getting nowhere. You optimized your website for SEO, but maybe used the wrong keyword so you still aren’t getting search results. Or your website is finally getting traffic, but you still aren’t getting new customers.
Just as there are solutions to almost every equine-related pre-show day disaster, there are solutions to every marketing problem you may be facing. It just takes some elbow grease and never-ending patience. As equestrians, we should have plenty of those.
Next time you’re about to throw in the towel on marketing your equine business, take a deep breath, and pretend you hear your trainer’s voice in your ear during a lesson: Try it again.