You make a living in the horse industry, duking it out with competitors for your fair share of sales among a finite group of established horsepeople. That group is slowly shrinking, with an acceleration forecast when the baby boomers leave the tack.
Can you afford to go outside the horse industry and market to fresh prospects? Hire a PR firm to pitch horse stories to the top 300 media outlets in the country, including Oprah, Parade, ABC, Fitness, and Parenting? Send these newcomers to a welcome-to-horses website (http://www.Horselife.com
) that tells them how they can get started, safely and affordable? Run advertising on prime-time cable, telling Dads that horses are the best anti-dating device ever invented?
Probably not. Unless you hold hands with your fellow horse industry companies and pool your resources.
If we all do a little, we can accomplish a lot. Just like the highly successful Go RVing and Got Milk?, this is what Horselife is about.
Eight Months, Eight Ways
Here are eight things you can do now to see a big change within the next eight months. Pick a few that you can help with, and we’ll see enormous progress in the form of positive outside media attention aimed at horses by the end of this year… media attention that will tell these newcomers to visit Horselife.com for more information.
1. Invest: cash is what is most needed to keep the momentum going. We ask for any amount you can afford in this year's budget; our funding model long-term calls for $500 to $1000 annually per million in gross sales from each company. Investments of $1000 or more receive generous promotional opportunities (such as web banners) to these newcomers. Monthly and quarterly scheduled payments by MC/VISA are available (pledge form attached).
2. Offer a “Round Up For Horselife” option on your e-commerce checkout (nearest dollar), or a Horselife -branded product for sale. Remit all proceeds to Horselife, which counts toward promotional opportunities for your company, outlined in #1, above.
3. Join WETA at http://www.wetaonline.com
for a free “Premium Products” or “Premium Retailers” listing. Upgrade to boldface and website hotlink for a small fee.
4. Put a Horselife banner on your website with hotlink to Horselife.com. Email specifications to firstname.lastname@example.org
5. Duplicate yourself – if you are already supporting Horselife, recruit another to support it at the same level. This reduces the only waste in our budget – time spent recruiting investors. If you've already invested and you can afford more at this time, please consider doing so.
6. Harness the passion of horsepeople for a lifestyle that’s in jeopardy. Coast-to-coast, horsepeople are getting squeezed out by a populace that does not value having horses in the community. Tell horsepeople they can make a difference with just $1 (more if they like) via the Horselife.com secure Paypal interface that takes 2 minutes to complete. With 9 million horses in the United States, $1 per horse will move mountains. Promote this via editorial venues, posting on online bulletin boards, emailing your horse friends and asking them to spread the word.
7. If you work for or sponsor an association, ask them to get involved… there are both free and very inexpensive options to participate and get their breed or sport promoted within Horselife.
8. Help us gather “Horse Stories” for use on Horselife.com, like the current example of Mary and Marisa. We need a compelling story, a good photograph, and permission to publish it.
Finally, feel free to email ideas on where to take Horselife from here to email@example.com
. We have a big marketing plan to implement (assembled from many good minds in the horse industry), but there’s always room for your great ideas. For example: support horse events with standardized beginner-level handouts downloadable from the web, and create a team of “docents” or Horselife Guides, who will be on hand at the bigger events to help beginners know what they’re looking at and how to get involved at a beginner level.
Questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
or call 303-513-7343.
Horselife is a non-profit cooperative marketing program offered by the Western-English Trade Association, a 501(c)6.
303-295-2001 or wetaonline.com.
About the Western-English Trade Association
The Western-English Trade Association unites our industry for growth, bringing together not just manufacturers, retailers and sales reps, but also breed and sport associations, publications, trade shows, advertising agencies, and other companies working in the equine and western lifestyle industries. Benefits include health and other insurance discounts, continuing-education tracks for both retail management and customer service, plus shipping discounts and other trade-association advantages, and extraordinary networking and co-operative business opportunities. In addition to member benefits, WETA offers five signature programs:
1. Horselife, the marketing initiative to grow the equine industry through inviting newcomers.
2. Get Yourself West, the marketing initiative to grow the western lifestyle industry.
3. The annual Leadership Forum is the association’s much-anticipated annual retreat with powerful speakers who inspire and educate; this year it will be held in Scottsdale, Arizona.
4. Online continuing-education program for member retailers by noted retailing expert Tom Shay.
5. The All-Industry Marketing Awards (AIM Awards), which recognize the best advertising, marketing, public relations and publishing efforts in the equine and western lifestyle industries.
For more information or to join WETA, please visit http://www.wetaonline.com
or call 303-295-2001.
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<a href="http://www.equestrianmag.com/article/horse-industry-getting-started-marketing-4-07.html">Help Others 'Get a Horse Life'</a> ~ EquestrianMag.com