5 Reasons Why Being Online Will Help Your Equestrian Business
5 Reasons Why Being Online Will Help Your Equestrian Business
Don’t think you need a website? Think that a simple Facebook page and your reputation are enough? Think again.
We’ve compiled a list of the top five reasons every equestrian and horse-related business needs a website. Take a few minutes and read through - trust us. It’s worth your time. A good website can both build and support your reputation and credibility, increase your visibility, build a larger network and finally reach those elusive potential customers who always seem to be just beyond your grasp, strengthen your connection with your existing client base, and more.
#1: First Impressions Count
We’ve all heard the saying, “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover.” But, unfortunately, we do. First impressions count and, in the digital age, these first impressions are often online. You may be insanely talented, you may already be respected by those who know you, and you may have a great reputation, but if you don’t share all of that greatness on the web, you’re limiting your audience significantly. You’re limiting it to those people who already know who you are and what you can offer them. If you want to grow your business beyond your already established circle, you need to get online. You need to be Google-able.
If someone is looking for a service like riding lessons, they’re probably going to turn to Google. Whether it’s because they’re new to the area or they’re new to the world of horses, if they don’t know where to start, they’re probably going to start with Google. And, when they search, you want to be easy to find and have a professional website that shows you are a legitimate business while also clearly describing who you are, what you do, and how they can reach you. For those new to the horse world, information is key. It’s a daunting world to look in on with important decisions to make and copious amounts of information to absorb, and newcomers often don’t know what they don’t know, so any bit of direction goes a long way. To stand out and appeal to that clientele, you need to provide a pathway to understanding.
For those who are already in the horse world but may not know your name, your website is going to speak volumes too. As talented and well-known as you may be, not everyone is going to know you or your reputation. The horse world may feel small at times, but there are thousands of equestrians competing for similar business and, unlike in other sports, equestrian sports are not highly publicized. So, unless someone actively follows each sport and gets involved in each sport, it’s impossible for them to know everyone and your website is going to be their first step to getting to know you.
#2 Increased Credibility
Like we do with other businesses like clothing companies, we judge a business based on the usability and clarity of their website. If potential clients can’t find the information they’re looking for on your website, or if they don’t feel that you have the financial backing to run a successful business, their trust in you, subconsciously or not, will fade. Luckily, it’s relatively cheap and simple to hire someone to design a professional looking website that is simple, clear and elegant.
#3: Horse-related or Not, Business is Business
If you’re asking people to spend money on you, whether it’s as a coach, a trainer, stud farm, boarding facility, a vet, a farrier, a chiropractor, or something else, you owe it to them to present yourself as a business worth investing in.
Billions of people use the internet everyday to research and purchase. It’s the digital age. And that means that you need to be searchable online. It also means that your customers are probably savvy enough to know a good website from a bad one, and that they are not going to consider a mere Facebook page a sufficient online presence. It’s also worth noting that many people who can afford horses or to be involved in horse-related activities are also likely to be used to shopping on high quality websites for luxury brands. And, as such, they’re going to be accustomed to finding the information they want in a stylized manner. As a result, if they click on your website and it looks unprofessional, if it’s difficult to use, or it doesn’t highlight the information they’re looking for, there’s a very good chance that potential customer is going to go back to the list of Google results and continue clicking down the list until they find someone with a website that does.
#4: Help Hone & Share Your Goals
As you sit down to plan the content of your website, you’ll be revisiting exactly what it is that you offer, what makes you special, and who your target market is. When combined with a talented designer and writer (if that’s not you), this renewed focus can turn into an extremely persuasive website that will attract more clients in your target audience. It’s essential that you’re clear on these items so that your clients are clear about who they’re getting into business with. This is the basis to a positive and successful relationship.
If you’re struggling to verbalize exactly what differentiates you from the rest of the field, don’t fret. We get it. It’s a tough exercise that takes time, which you probably don’t have. This is where we can help. We excel at working with our clients to delve deep into who they are, what their story is, and what makes them unique, and then crafting a compelling brand story to share with potential clients on an easy-to-navigate website. We take pride in our ability to help our clients shine.
#5: Affordable Marketing
Having a website is also an extremely cost effective marketing tool. As a business, you need to market yourself. Don’t freak out - marketing doesn’t mean billboards and TV ads. It can be as simple and affordable as having a website. It’s a one-time fee for a designer, and possibly a writer, then an extremely nominal annual fee to keep your domain name.
If you’re trying to attract new clients by using brochures, please listen to us as we urge you to consider taking the money you’re currently spending on printing and distribution and putting it towards a website. Not only is it a more dynamic interaction for potential clients, but brochures are expensive to continually print as the information gets updated and they run the risk of being misplaced or tossed in the trash.
Websites also open the lines of communication with your clients, customers and fans. By starting a blog on your website, it gives you an opportunity to communicate how your business is doing, to share your recent successes, show results, competition schedules, and entries, as well as the chance to announce any exciting changes you have coming up. It also provides the opportunity for you to weigh in on a topic or issue in your area of expertise, which can help strengthen your credibility with potential clients as someone worth working with.
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