How to Find Time to Market Your Horse Business


I operate a horse boarding business and know I need to do more marketing. I have some good ideas but running the stable takes up most of my days, and I never seem to have the time to try any of my ideas. How does anyone ever have time to do it?


First of all, remember that marketing is the entire process of:

  • identifying a potential market for a product, service, or horse;
  • gathering information and determining the market's needs;
  • producing a product, conceptualizing a service, or breeding, raising, and training horses to fill those needs;
  • communicating information about the product, service, or horses, and your business in general;
  • completing sale transactions; and
  • in many cases, distributing or delivering the product or horses.

So, any activity that you can fit in that furthers any of those objectives "counts." But obviously, you would focus your activities on those areas in which you need improvement.

Second, marketing needs to be a day-to-day activity, not just something you do when a huge block of time opens up. You need to make marketing a habit and part of your daily ritual. In turn, your thinking will become more marketing-oriented. Eventually, marketing will become reflexive--a natural thing that automatically works itself into your schedule.

But first you have to train yourself to market.

As with training a horse to do something new, often the best approach to training yourself to market more effectively is to break the large concept into the smallest possible steps. And recognize that it may take many steps and many days to accomplish the objective.

You need to get analytical. Think about the greater goal (one big one listed above is "communicating information about the product, service, or horses, and your business in general") and divide it into smaller parts. For example, break off "communicating information about your business" into one more manageable section.

Now, think about what information you have to communicate about your business and break this section down even further by the type of information, the people to whom you want to communicate, and so forth. For example,

  • Communicating to new prospects, to existing clients, and to past customers
  • Communicating about your business in general, about a specific product or horse, or about a time-limited offer

Next, select one of the smaller "bites" and make a list of activities that would accomplish that goal. Your list will vary depending on the means you have available, the exact nature of your business, and the message you are trying to convey.

Suppose you want to communicate something about your business to existing customers. To show you are helpful, diligent, and conscientious, you might consider these activities:

  • Call or email a current client to talk about what you are doing for her. Get further details, give a progress report, and thank her for the opportunity to serve her.
  • Do something extra for your client. Think of things that you can do that don't cost you much money or time, but that will help your client and add value to your service or product. For example, my farrier gives his clients some of his still-serviceable tools when he replaces them. They are just old rasps or whatever to him, but he gives his clients the power to touch up their own horses' hooves and creates good will for his business.
  • If you read an article that your client might be interested in, forward it to her.
  • If you meet someone who could become a customer of your client (someone looking to buy a horse, breed a mare, or learn to ride), refer him to your client. Then let your client know about the referral.

Repeat this process for each of your larger marketing goals.

As you go through this process, new ideas will occur to you. You will think of more activities to add to other lists, new ways to serve your customers, and new ways to increase your business.

Once you have made your small lists and have one great big one, make it a point to do 1, 3, or 10 of the things every day. These small activities don't take much time but will add up to great marketing if you diligently and systematically DO THEM.

Have you got a question about equine marketing that you would like answered? Submit your question by email to:

Copyright 2005. This article first appeared in The Equine Business Edge, Equinnovation's complimentary newsletter (click to subscribe).

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