The Complimentary Equine Business
and Marketing Newsletter
May 2005

In This Issue:

Familiarity Breeds Sales

One of the large challenges you face as an equine marketer is achieving what marketing professionals call "top of the mind awareness" of your horses and business.

What is Top of the Mind Awareness?

TOMA is being the first supplier a prospective customer thinks of when they think about the horses, equine products, or horse-related services that you offer. Increasing your level of TOMA in your prospects' minds impacts your current sales of horses and services as well as your future sales.

Here are some examples of TOMA at work:

Example 1: You have TOMA of products with which you are familiar.

If someone asks you about farriers, the image or name that pops into your mind is probably that of your own farrier. You are most familiar with your own farrier, so he is on "top of your mind." Your awareness may be so strong that when you hear the general word "farrier," you picture your own farrier's face!

Most people maintain their own status quo—when they find their service providers to be satisfactory, they are in a comfortable position than selecting another and venturing into the unknown. You are a current customer of your farrier and, as long as you are otherwise satisfied, that familiarity helps to keep you a current customer.

Example 2: You have TOMA for products that you have never used!

Think about a type of product that you haven't tried. For example, the first time you think you might try feeding a joint health supplement, do any names come to mind? Cosequin, Corta-Flx, or another brand?

Even though you don't have first-hand familiarity with the product, you probably can think of one or more specific brands. The reason those brands come to the top of your mind is that effective marketing has put them there! You have seen an ad for the brand, or the product package, or heard its name in conjunction with the product's purpose. Odds are, you have been exposed to information about the product in several ways and many times. Your mind has associated that brand with the idea of "joint supplement," and stored it away in your memory.

Familiarity builds positive associations. In one psychological study, each subject was shown a random squiggly line. When the person was later presented with a set of squiggly line patterns and asked which they liked the best, most chose the line that they had seen before.

It works for squiggly lines, for products, and for business and brand names: The more familiarity, the more likely that something is preferred.

Think of ways to create TOMA with your prospective customers, put those strategies into practice, and become your prospects' instinctive first choice.

Have a question about Top of the Mind Awareness or other comments regarding this article? Send Ingrid an email at Thanks for your feedback!

Tips for Better Advertising


I am having a hard time writing descriptions to advertise each of the horses that I have for sale. I sound like a broken record: everything is "wonderful," "beautiful," "lovely," and so on. What is a better way to write my ads?


This is a very common problem, especially when you have limited space such as when you are writing a classified ad. But there is a way to keep from sounding like a game show contestant talking about his "beautiful wife and three wonderful children." Breaking out a thesaurus to come up with more words for "beautiful" isn't the way to do it, so I'll give you a few hints:

  1. Keep your thinking and your writing fresh by only writing descriptions for one or two horses at a time.
  2. Use specifics instead of making general statements. Rather than using conclusive words like "wonderful," describe the specific qualities that make it wonderful.
  3. Consider your customer: Who would want this kind of horse? What qualities does this horse have that appeal to a person who would be likely to buy it?
  4. Provide objective details instead of subjective opinions. "Wonderful" is an opinion. Even "good movement" is an opinion. Provide the objective details that are the basis of your opinion. For example, do you think the horse has good movement because his movement is uphill, rhythmic, pure, or correct? Does he have balance, clean flying changes, and so on?
  5. Think about why each horse is unique. Every horse is different, and every horse has some special quality that is particularly noteworthy. It might be his personality, the expression in his eye, or a rare combination of bloodlines. Focus on each horse's uniqueness and your description will naturally be distinctive.

When you think subjectively about specific details and consider which qualities appeal to your customers, you will have no shortage of things to include in your descriptions.

Good luck with your writing and all of your marketing!

In Coaching Corner, Ingrid responds to readers' questions on business and equine marketing for their horse businesses. Have you got a question about equine marketing that you would like answered? Submit your question by email to:

Are You Neglecting Your Website?

You know that your horse business website can be a great friend to you in your equine marketing, but are you paying it the attention that it deserves? Are you forgetting to introduce your friend?

The first step toward maximizing the benefit that your business gets from your website is to make sure that people know it exists. One of the primary ways to tell people about your website is by giving them the address. Not that you should stand on a corner and tell passersby "I have a website at www-dot-myfarmname-dot-com!" You could do that, but you will reach more people, more effectively, with little effort, and—better yet!—no expense, with these methods:

  1. Print your website address (or "URL") on all of your marketing materials: in print ads, on letterhead and envelopes, on your business cards, and both on the packaging and in the footage of your sale and stallion videos and DVDs.
  2. If you post on Internet forums, most allow you to include a web address in either your profile or your "signature" line. Remember to include your URL, and every time you make an online post you will automatically introduce your website to all of the readers.
  3. Learn how to set up a signature file for your email program. The method varies depending on your email service provider and which program you use to write your mail, but is possible for virtually all email accounts. At minimum, include the name of your website and the URL. Every time you send an email, the recipient receives an introduction to your website or a reminder to take a look.

Don't forget about your website. Spread the word and let your site get discovered!

Do you have a marketing trick or tip you would like to share with other readers? If so, send an email to Thanks for your input!

Copyright 2005. Contents may not be reproduced in any form without permission.

For information on republishing any of these articles, please email or call Ingrid at 231-275-3355.