“Don’t Let The Internet Buck You Off “
Part 1: WHY DO I NEED A WEBSITE?
Why do I need a website? I work with horses and hay, not computers and email! My work will get me clients. Besides “those people” speak some other language.
It is just not me.
YOU ARE RIGHT!
Your work and your horses will get you clients…
IF they know about you.
Step number 1 in any business is to get noticed. Traditionally this method has been by going to shows, doing good work with care, high turn-outs, being watched, but mostly word of mouth. However with the costs of showing ever increasing, fewer and fewer potential clients are venturing out, preferring to stick close to their barns and doing much of the care themselves. Veterinarians, Trainers, Boarding facilities, Farrier’s, Show Managers are all feeling the impact.
The new “word of mouth” is electronic, pictures and posts across social media networks that can be seen by thousands. You do well at a show, someone is going to post it. Your client wins a class, a picture of the proud rider and horse will be there. Success breeds conversation and for those potential clients that are looking for solutions, the internet is where they go. Safe, discreet and no one knows they are asking questions.
Opinion? The generational data, of your up and coming riders, have a interesting story: According to Pew Research, 97% for young adults (18-29 years) and 94% for the mid-lifers (30-49 years) look for their information on the internet. And that was in 2010. The Nielsen Reports , the leading research agency for consumer responses, adds another interesting set of stats.
Ok ….. What do these numbers have to do with me?
These are the people that will grow and maintain your equestrian business. As attrition in the sport is natural, to be successful, to continue to do what you love, those clients need to be replaced with a younger, interested, income supplying generation. That generation is the 18-49 year olds (81%). They use social media to post questions and display their successes with their “friends”, many of which they have never personally meet. These “friends” are no longer limited to the school they go to, the business the work, the neighborhood they live in at or the family they associate with. This is the new “word of mouth”.
This new gossip system, even good gossip, is being spread digitally with pictures and posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, straight from their digital phones.
The result is, directly or indirectly, you are being looked at. This is were a website kicks in. It is the place where you can show your best and draw-in interested potential clients, even when you do not know they are looking at you. Facebook, Instagram, twitter, was just step one. Now you have their attention and what they want to know next is; Who Are You? They click on that website.
They are curious. Remember, YOU are a stranger to them, but get them talking. So who are you? What are your qualifications? What does your facility look like? What you do your clients think of you? What is your success? What is your training philosophy? What is your style? Do you do clinics? What is your schedule? Ultimately they are wanting to know what YOU can do for them. Yes, this is all about them.
This experience has all the features of a on-site visit …. done in cyber space. No drama. No trainer to offend. No uncomfortable stress. No office hours. Just curiosity. Do you have something better than what they have now? If the site is not there, the interest wanes and leaves a negative impression. If the site does not answer their questions, the potential relationship ends..next post.
Wait a minute…that is what my Facebook and other social media is for. Is that not enough?
Social media certainly helps get attention, but ultimately, they are just a listing service. They link other articles, videos and photos into their system. Plus THEY are in charge of what is shown and what is not. No where on any social media page can you describe what you do in detail. Create newsletters, for announcing new horses or promoting successful clients. It is all about perception. They want to know who you are, what you do, how you can help them. That is the key THEM.
This is the virtual “you”. Open 24/7. You are being reviewed, from a far.