Tag Archives: Horse Biz

How Quickly A Year Goes By….

The No Biz Like Horsebiz blog started one year ago today. It’s amazing how fast the days add up to 365….

I’ve been doing a little ‘taking stock’ of where things are with the blog now, and I wanted to share some of that with you, plus a bit of the ‘looking forward’ to what’s next:

  • The blog subscriber base is small but dedicated, with site stats that are going in the right direction (that’s up, in case you were wondering) in terms of both reading and subscribing. Thank you to EACH and every one of my subscribers and readers, and especially everyone who’s taken the time to comment or share in some way. I really appreciate it.
  • I’ve allowed this blog to evolve organically, ‘finding its voice’ along the way and building a foundation for the future. The Monday Morning Quickie (MMQ) posts and 52 Fridays series are proceeding swimmingly, and being shared a bit via social media (thanks, y’all!). The one surprise is how many find my blog through an Internet search for ‘morning quickie,’ something I wouldn’t have guessed when I started MMQ and a good lesson in how you name something and what that name could bring!
  • The last year has brought positive results for readers and mostly ‘boy, that’s useful’ or ‘I enjoy reading’ types of comments and feedback. And a fair amount of s.p.a.m. – the WordPress Akismet tool informs me that it’s blocked 684 s.p.a.m. comments, and I sure am thankful for it!
  • The past year has also brought recognition for Kemp Equine that I’ve shared here, in the form of multiple PR and writing awards, and a Finalist nod in the ‘Best Use of Twitter – International’ category of the first-ever Equestrian Social Media Awards (ESMAs), which didn’t even exist at this time last year. The ESMAs show how much more of the global horse industry is adopting new media, social networking, and technology in getting the word out and connecting folks within the various equestrian communities, across not only geographic boundaries but breed and discipline boundaries as well.

As for what’s next….

  • In general, my purpose and focus are still the same as they were a year ago…

Through this blog, you can look forward to equine industry marketing news and information, interviews with relevant experts, and tips and resources to help you reach your customers more effectively and efficiently. There’ll also be links to my articles in horse magazines, plus some fun stuff from time to time.

Read the first-ever post: Welcome to No Biz Like Horse Biz, from Kemp Equine

  • Now that the blog is underway, I’ll be working to build readership and the subscriber list, including more use of social media and some fun stuff. I hope you’ll help me out by telling others or sharing links when you find something useful or valuable in this space.

If I could have a ‘one year anniversary’ wish, it would be that the trend of horse industry sharing and connecting continues and grows, that we look for even more ways to invite others into our horsey world and show them not only the beauty, power, and magic of equines, but also how horses and equestrians can, and should, have a place in our fast-paced world.

Care to join me?

Please feel free share your own wish for the horse world by clicking on the Leave a Comment link below. Thanks for reading and making my first year an enjoyable one!

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Filed under 52 Fridays, Awards, Monday Morning Quickie, Twitter, Uncategorized, Welcome

52 Fridays – #4 What The Bleep Is A Marketing Calendar, And How Do I Use One?

52 Fridays is a year-long series for equestrian professionals and equine business owners and managers, with marketing and public relations information, ideas, tips, & resources shared here each Friday. New EMAIL blog subscribers receive a ’52 Fridays’ PDF when they sign up; existing subscribers and new RSS FEED & WORDPRESS subscribers can send a request for their own PDF here.

A marketing calendar helps you know what to do, and when.

Whether you use a digital, paper, or laminated-hanging-on-the-wall-year-long-planner version, you’re probably using a calendar of some kind to organize your life. You plan ahead for events, schedule appointments, and make notes about what has to happen in order to accomplish life’s goals. A marketing calendar helps you do the same thing, for your equine business marketing and promotion plans.

Here are several examples of things you might put on a horse biz marketing calendar:

  • Say you’ve got a stallion that you plan to stand for the 2012 breeding season. You might want to get that horse into the ‘stallion issues’ of your target publications, in order to reach your target audience mare owners. Print magazines often do things months in advance to accommodate the design layout, printing, and mailing processes, so you’re going to need to provide them with pictures, ad text, and/or camera-ready ads during Fall, 2011. Plus, you want your horse to be well-muscled and sleek, looking his studly best, which doesn’t happen overnight. Your marketing calendar can encompass all of this, from your stallion’s fitness and grooming regime starting now, to his photo and video shoot schedule at the height of his summer sleekness, to working with graphic designers on ads once the images are selected, to connecting with the prime publications for your 2012 stallion ads.
  • Or, perhaps your retail outfit attends trade shows and horse fairs each year. Maybe this year you want to stir up business a little bit with some advance publicity or special offers to draw attendees to your booth or trailer. Your marketing calendar can include due dates for regional newspaper ads, when to send out press releases, and when to post Twitter or Facebook updates. If you’re a wholesaler needing to connect with buyers and you’ll be sending out direct mail or email info-packages, your marketing calendar can help you schedule when to have things designed and printed, stuffed and stamped, and mailed in time for the buyers to get it before they leave for the event.

There are loads of other examples unique to your own equestrian business, but the point is that a marketing calendar is a necessity in today’s fast-paced world. Deadlines missed can be money down the drain.

If you want to develop your own marketing calendar, here’s a downloadable sample marketing calendar from Brandeo.com – it’s in an Excel format, and is adaptable for your own horse business under a non-commercial Creative Commons license. You can also search for ‘marketing calendar’ on Google or another search engine to find more information about what they are and how to use them.

Your marketing calendar can include dates for each piece of your marketing puzzle. It helps you plan ahead, and allows you to ‘back-into’ when things need to happen in order to meet your marketing goals and deadlines along the way.

If you have a question or comment for me about marketing calendars and how to use them, or want to share how you already use a marketing calendar, please click on the Leave a Comment button to send it in. Come back next week for 52 Fridays #5!

 

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Filed under 52 Fridays, Equine Industry Marketing, Uncategorized

52 Fridays – #3 Make A List Of Your Resources…It Could Surprise You

52 Fridays is a year-long series for equestrian professionals and equine business owners and managers, with marketing and public relations information, ideas, tips, & resources shared here each Friday. New EMAIL blog subscribers receive a ’52 Fridays’ PDF when they sign up; existing subscribers and new RSS FEED & WORDPRESS subscribers can send a request for their own PDF here.

Equine business marketing is frequently viewed as an expense and a drain on finances…but what if there were a way to promote your horse biz that drew upon the wealth of resources that equestrian professionals typically have? Making a list of the resources you have access to might turn up some surprising connections and opportunities.

In the Encarta World English Dictionary (copyright 1999 Microsoft Corporation version), a ‘resource’ is defined as:

  • A reserve supply of something such as money, personnel, or equipment; and
  • Somebody who, or something that, can be used as a source of help or information.

The Encarta dictionary also includes ‘adeptness at finding solutions to problems‘ and ‘an inner ability or capacity that is drawn on in time of need‘ under the resource/resources definitions. So let’s apply some of that inner adeptness in capturing a ‘Resource Inventory‘ that can help you increase marketing effectiveness, business revenue, and bottom-line results.

Making a 'Resource Inventory' can help you be more creative in your horse biz marketing.

Below are three types of resources you can create lists for. Start with a couple under each category, and keep the list going for a week or so, jotting down things as you think of them. In addition to creating an inventory you can work with, it’s an exercise in thinking ‘outside the box’ when it comes to your marketing and promotion resources:

  • People Resources: This list can include past customers, vendors and contractors, and local business owners. It can include horse industry folks, such as your feed & shavings dealer, veterinarian, farrier, and local tack shop owner, and you can also list mainstream contacts, such as your doctor, dentist, insurance agent, car dealer, plumber, and electrician.
  • Skill Resources: What skills do you have? Do you have talents or expertise in areas of construction, farming or gardening, writing, teaching, or repairing things?
  • Asset Resources: These are your physical resources, such as land, buildings, storage space, horses, vehicles, equipment, etc.

You might be thinking about now, what does this have to do with marketing my horse business? The answer is, it all depends on what you have, and how you put it together. During the course of daily life, we often forget how many assets and resources we have, or we don’t view the possessions and skills we have in a way that helps us bring more of them to the table. Here are a few ideas to inspire you:

  • If you have a heated barn with some space, you can hold a ‘wintertime open house’ combined with learning sessions during the slower months. Combine that with presentations from your farrier, veterinarian, and feed dealer, and you can all co-promote the event, expanding everyone’s marketing reach and leveraging everyone’s networks.
  • If you have beautiful grounds and buildings, contact photographers in your area and offer your facility as a shoot location for wedding parties, family portraits, and senior pictures. If you also have gorgeous horses, that could be a draw for people who might love to have their portrait taken with a horse but they simply don’t own one. This approach can also bring more people, all of them potential customers, in contact with your horse business.

Can you think of other types of resources? What resources can you identify that are under-used in your own marketing? Share them via the Leave a Comment button, and come back next week for 52 Fridays #4!

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Filed under 52 Fridays, Equine Industry Marketing, Uncategorized

52 Fridays – #2 Identify Goals For Your Business, Plus Your New Projects

52 Fridays is a year-long series for equestrian professionals and equine business owners and managers, with marketing and public relations information, ideas, tips, & resources shared here each Friday throughout 2011.

Most horse people today are busy, busy, busy. ‘Time starvation’ is a near-constant state of being, where there’s always too much ‘do’ at the end of the day. So things just roll over into the next day, and the day after that. But, we can get caught up in the do-ing and allow too much of our day, week, or year to go by on things that are just time-suckers and that don’t actually move us forward to success. It’s true in life, and it’s true in your horse biz.

I’ve taught classes on goal-setting, teaching people how to unplug from the overwhelm of too much to-do and get in touch with what they truly want their lives and work to be focused on. It all starts with identifying what you want those goals to be.

Remember the Stephen Covey book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People? Habit #2 is Begin With The End in Mind; I highly recommend reading Dr. Covey’s description at that link, and if you’re interested you can read all 7 Habits here.

I remember seeing Dr. Covey in a televised presentation, and something he did has stuck with me through the years. He had on a table a clear jar, a bunch of large rocks, some smaller rocks, pebbles, and sand, plus a pitcher of water. He told an audience volunteer that all of it would fit into the clear jar, and invited him to fit them all in. It seemed impossible. In hindsight the solution is clear, but if you don’t know the strategy it would be difficult indeed.

Image courtesy Lisa Kemp

The solution? It’s to ‘put the big rocks in first.’ That’s right – if you put in the big things that are important, the smaller rocks, pebbles, sand, and even the water fit into the jar. Those ‘big rocks’ are the goals for your equestrian business. Those are the building blocks for your successes.

What are your goals for 2011? Do you need to increase revenues? Decrease expenses? Gain more clientele? Diversify into additional products and/or services? All of the above?

Most of the ‘big rock’ goals in life aren’t achieved overnight. They take time and effort, a willing heart and a tenacious determination. But, if you’re focused on the ‘little rocks’ of life, all the pesky, daily to-do items that are equivalent to the pebbles, sand, and water in life, you’ll never get to those ‘big rock’ goals. Unless you identify what they are, for your overall equine business AND any individual projects, and make time for them in your daily schedule.

What are YOUR ‘big rock’ goals for your horse biz? Click on the Comments button on this post to share yours.

Come back next week for 52 Fridays #3, about making a list of your resources.


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Filed under 52 Fridays, Equine Industry Marketing, Uncategorized

No Need To Travel To Equine Events, With Online Simulcasts

Later this afternoon, the grand opening ceremony of the new Al-Marah Arabian Galleries at the Kentucky Horse Park will be broadcast live, during the 2010 Egyptian Event. Amazing that no matter where you are in the world, you’ll be able to view it via the Internet. In the future, will there be any need to even travel to equine events?

The answer is, yes, of course there will be. Horse people love to be around horses, and no matter how great the video and audio on a simulcast, nor how big your computer monitor, the Web will never replace being in the presence of horses.

That said, this is a cool use of technology. I wouldn’t drive the 8 or so hours from Chicago to attend the opening in Kentucky, but I’ll probably tune in later today, especially to see what my former employer is up to. Yup, I did marketing and PR at Al-Marah Arabians, back in 2004. Of course, back then we didn’t have such handy-dandy technology; when someone was interested in a horse we had for sale, I had to get out the camcorder, take the footage, transfer it to a VIDEOTAPE, and mail the video. Oh, back then it was a veritable Stone Age compared to now!

_______________________

What marketing and PR opportunities

might YOU create for your equine business, using video simulcast?

_______________________

I’m not sure if there will be an archived version of the video; I hope there will be. These galleries are part of the efforts of the Purebred Arabian Trust, and the opening ceremony would be an important historical document, albeit in video form.

It does bring up questions for equine businesses about video use. Can you expand your potential market through video simulcasts? Would it allow you to expand into other regions, countries, or even continents? Might you create public relations and promotion opportunities through the use of simulcast events? Ah, the opportunities!

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Filed under Equine Industry Marketing, New Media, Technology, Uncategorized, Video

Monday Morning Quickie – Check Out The Competition, With Compete.com

There are a number of helpful tools for analyzing online traffic. I think Compete.com is intriguing since you can compare multiple sites against each other. This means you can also look at your own site to see how it stacks up against the competition.

First of all, many thanks to Angelea Walkup, founder and ‘chief equine officer’ of HorseGirlTV, for sharing this resource with me.

While Compete.com has a paid, ‘Pro’ version, they also have a free version you can try out, and even the freebie has some interesting features.

I’m still exploring the site and its capabilities and applications, but by entering a Web site URL, you can view any site’s unique visitors (a better judge of traffic than ‘hits’), and see how that traffic has either increased or decreased over the past month and the past year. Compete.com also gives you the top five search terms (what people enter into a search engine such as Google or Bing in order to find you), and what ‘referring’ sites they find you from, such as Facebook or Twitter.

Here’s a graph for one of my clients, The Equine Chronicle, showing the increase in their Web site traffic over the past year:

Compete.com graph for The Equine Chronicle on June 7, 2010

How might you use Compete.com for your horse business? With the free version, you can identify your own improvement in terms of traffic, identify the most-used search terms and incorporate those into your online content, or even analyze media outlets to find out what might be the best fit for your advertising dollars.

If you’re interested in checking out Compete Pro, here’s a very thorough review of the Compete Pro version by Melanie Nathan at Sugarrae.com.

Have comments, thoughts, or questions about Compete? Please Leave a Comment below – thanks!

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Filed under Equine Industry Marketing, Technology, Uncategorized