Marketing & Branding Strategies for your Equine Lesson Program: Live Discussion Notes.
On November 11th, 2021 I had the honor of hosting a live discussion with the amazing Horse Business strategist, Abriana Johnson, the owner of Black Unicorn Creative. This discussion was held in my Facebook group, Building Your Equine Lesson Program. If you did not make the live, we wanted to ensure that everyone still had access to the information.
****To access to more in depth materials mentioned in the live, click here. ****
Here are the notes from the discussion. Enjoy!
A particular identity or image regarded as an asset.
Brand before you market. Brand so you can strategize.
Before you develop your plan of action, you need to identify, what you need to clarify.
Know exactly who you want to work with in order to help you with your brand strategy.
What are people going to say about your program in the community?
What do you want people to know you for?
What do you want people to refer clients to you for?
When branding, it is a balance between people you want to work with, and those who you can actually work with.
Answer these questions to help you narrow down your ideal client:
What to do for those who “do it all”? Focus on the transformation you provide (leveling up in competition, mindset, horsemanship, etc)
Riding level (beginner, intermediate, advanced)
Riding discipline (can be flexible)
Target population (mental health, physical disabilities, developmental disabilities, minorities, etc)
Keep in mind that if you are just starting out most of your clients may be beginners
Find your niche.
Now, its time to build your strategy…
A plan of action or policy designed to achieve a major overall aim
What is your plan of action.
What are the types of messages you want to express in your marketing, in order to get the clients that you desire in your program.
Market to leads that are already warm. Warm leads are those that have had an experience with you already. Warm leads will save you money as you will not have to spend money reaching cold leads.
Be aware of the customer journey:
Awareness-Marketing & Branding (social media, email marketing etc),
Consideration (when they go to your website, and social medias),
Purchase (They make the purchase)
Post purchase( this is feedback, how do they feel?).
Get potential clients simply just in the door. Potential clients may feel more comfortable spending their money if they have a chance to meet you first. Here are some things you can do, in order to get potential customers in front of you.
Meet & Greet: “I would like to invite you out for a meet and greet so that you can meet myself/staff and the horses prior to you starting lessons.”
Invite current clients, to invite other friends to their lessons for those who are interested in signed up.
“Donate” lessons to other organizations in the community, as a prize, that serve the same population you are looking to serve.
Reach out to local organizations that also have the clientele you want, and offer a partnership. Send out letters of intent or email.
“Give the Gift of lessons”- Have gift certificates for people to purchase lessons as gifts. Ensure that you have an expiration date on the certificate.
Sell your lessons in packages of 2, 4, 6 etc. Get the money of front, and schedule them in upon purchase.
Offer special classes for specific groups, i.e. Military veterans, individuals with certain needs, toddlers, whoever you choose!
Do a camp, and make it at a time that is most convenient for parents to NOT have their kids. For example, plan a camp around holiday season when parents are most busy. “Hey drop you kid off with me for a few hours while you go grocery shopping for thanks giving dinner.”
Have special discounted themes on certain months. February, you can offer couples rides! May, All mothers ride 50% off!
The action or business of promoting and selling products and services.
Have your elevator pitch down: “Hello, this is who I am, this is what I do, and this is who I do it for.”
Ensure to have answers to the following 3 to guide your program in the right direction.
Mission-What you are trying to achieve
vision-How you see yourself achieving it
Values-How you are going to operate
Be solid in your mission, vision, and values. You do not want to have to make a decision that does not align with what you believe.
You have to develop aesthetics to attract your people. Have a certain font,logo, and brand colors, etc.. When people see these aesthetic, you want them to know that it is you. These same aesthetics should apply to your website as well.
What does your social media post tell others about you and your program? Can people go to your socials and get a feel for how your program is going to be?
Through all of this, make sure to have your administrative set up ready to go. This plays a large part in the customer journey.
Enrollment process: How are they going to contact you? How do you screen clients to ensure they are a fit for you?
Payment process: Ensure that it is easy for clients to pay you. Have a way to have clients pay you PRIOR to lessons.
Have your policies and procedures ready and up front. This contributes largely to your brand and sets the tone. Clients should be able to see your policies and procedures up front, and then they can decide if you are the program for them or not.
Scheduling and communication process. How easy is it to get clients scheduled. How easy can you communicate with your clients.
Remember, the clients customer journey will either help you or hurt you. If they have a good journey, they will refer others to you. If not, they will leave and find someone else. Make sure to have all of your ducks in a row from the beginning.
Develop your brand. Strategize. Market.
For more in depth materials on ways to administratively set up your program, and develop a solid structure, check out my online courses specifically designed for your equine lesson program:
How to create a positive culture in your equine lesson program
To book a personal one on one consult call on your program with me, schedule here.
To begin working with Abriana on developing your brand and your online presence:
To get your copy of the equipreneuer, purchase here.
Thank you all who attended the live session! For those who could not make it, we hope these notes help and hope to see you at the next one!