You have an eligible bachelor in your yard that you’ve been thinking of standing. When you take a bit of time to build an appropriate equine marketing plan to get the most out of your efforts, you’ll know what you have to spend and have a professional image to show your stallion at his highest potential.
Define the location and level of mares you wish to attract. Do you have a nice, local-level stud that will stand in a smaller-scale barn? Or do you have a highly regarded stallion that will be interesting on a national scale? This data is going to drive the scale of your business plan and marketing budget later.
I’m going to assume a few things have been done already, so we can skip over them here. I’m assuming you have already determined that your stallion’s bloodlines are in demand for his breed and discipline. Determine the earning potential of your stallion by finding similar stallions, what those fees are, and how many average mares can be covered in a season to set your goal. Keep in mind the average stallion is only bred to 5-6 mares a season.
Once you have a solid plan for what you are offering and the expected return you can begin to think about promotion planning.
Look at the big picture. Approach the promotion of your farm as equally important, especially if you plan to accept outside mares on your property. It should look welcoming and safe for valuable horses for visiting owners and in any photos of the grounds that you use. Paint those doors or fences, and get rid of the winter pile up of blankets and clutter. Not only should the resulting foal be wonderful, but the owner’s experience working with you from the first is important to their comfort level, and the total experience of breeding their mare. Lay the groundwork for repeat visits next year. You are branding your customer experience.
Use the best possible images and video possible. When searching for a quality stallion, he needs to look the part by using professional or near-professional quality photography. This has been proven to sway not only breeders, but horse buyers as well (Read my article on how to use photography to sell your horse). Post live or recorded video of new foal arrivals to build excitement and followers.
Get organized. Prepare your website with clear information regarding your mare management, and freezing and preparation. Include your stud’s breeding records (if any), key performance wins, or foal futurity winners. List if you have an incentive program and/or futurities for your stallion. Timing is key. Stallion issues usually go to print in December for January mailings, and you need completed artwork by a drop-dead date to submit, which takes time to create.
Set aside an advertising budget based on what you plan to charge. The typical marketing budget is 10% of your net. Plan out any media purchases, e-blasts to past mare owners, set up a social channel on Facebook or Instagram if you don’t yet have one. E-blasts are a super efficient way to reach past and potential breeders. Use a pro tool, such as Mail Chimp, to send out separate messages or offers to past or new clients for next to nothing (or free, depending on your list size). If you are campaigning your stud, be sure to have some decent swag available for fans to take home, and be sure the farm team packs their caps and jackets.
Monitor your metrics to determine success. Did you spend a large portion of your budget that one thing, but not still not sure what it did for you? In order to know what is working the best, track before, during and after your efforts to see what made a difference. Don’t be afraid to ask contacts where they found you.
If you have been campaigning stallions for a while, but feel your program could be better, contact me to chat about the possibilities. OR, sign up to receive free additional marketing advice for your equestrian venture right in your inbox. Click here and download your free copy of Top Tips for Equestrian Businesses at the same time!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Amanda MacDonald, Founder of Full Gallop Communications, is a marketing veteran that works with equine-based businesses on improving brand communication, marketing strategy and content marketing. With over 15 years of experience, and a life-time of riding behind her, MacDonald loves to work with the companies that enrich the life of her riding partners. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire about how your marketing efforts can become more successful.