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American Competitive Trail Horse Association Marketing tutorial.

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Presentation on theme: "American Competitive Trail Horse Association Marketing tutorial."— Presentation transcript:

1 American Competitive Trail Horse Association Marketing tutorial

2 The most important aspect of putting on a ride is to HAVE FUN with it! It is your party, put into it what you are comfortable with. Your enthusiasm and excitement will transfer into your ride. The remaining information in this tutorial is for you to use as best you see fit that works for you and your riders. Don’t be intimidated! Take it “one bite” at a time and it will all fall together. Don’t feel like you have to do everything, every time. Experiment and keep notes of what works! Know Your Customer o What will attract them to your ride? Prizes? Fun? A day of fun, or a weekend of fun? Location – Private or Public? o Facilities/Camping? Will riders benefit from amenities? Accentuate the positive! It’s not necessary to have stalls, lodging or other perks, but if you’ve got it, promote it! One of the keys to successful volunteers is to get them to take ownership. Let them be involved in the planning. Delegate and oversee – give them the vision, support and help they need, and value their input regularly; they’ll shine for you and your cause!

3 Make it about Having Fun within YOUR comfort zone! o If you’re comfortable with the ride organization aspect, you can add to your ride by incorporating events like Crazy Cards, Poker Ride or a Scavenger Hunt. o If you’re creative, think up a Mystery Ride, or a Storyline Ride. o You can have a “Theme Ride” with obstacles and awards for “in the theme costumes”. For instance a “beach ride” where all the obstacles have a beach theme and name (put a pink flamingo in the wildlife box, trot weave around beach balls, and have creative names like Seahorse Circle, or Driftwood Downfall). Give prizes for riders wearing Hawaiian shirts or tropical attire. Lunch could be “Beach Party” themed. Fourth of July ride could have patriotic theme etc. Think of Ways to Give Riders More Bang for Their Bucks o Look for ways to encourage riders to come to your event (that don’t cost you!). o Think about why riders would come to your ride and build on them. o Extra events like an “in hand”, clinic, ACTHA Obstacle Challenge (during select months), costume events, Bingo, product demonstrations, mini seminars, etc. Photographer o Offer photographs to your riders and ask the photographer to provide a few pictures as prizes. You can also ask the photographer if they’ll schedule “sittings” for folks to have portraits done for holiday cards and then advertise it!.

4 Time of Year – use the time you select to your advantage o When is your prime riding season? When is your venue at it’s most gorgeous? Is there a “storm season” you need to take into consideration? o Rides early in the season will pull the riders who are anxious to get out and start riding again. o Rides late in the season will pull riders who are trying to get the “last ride” of the season in, but often you bump into hunting season and weather. Conflicts with Other Events o Try to give at least a 2 week buffer with long standing annual events so people don’t have to choose. o Ideally, schedule your event 1-3 weeks after an equine expo – Go and really promote your event. Time to Market o Allow PLENTY of time to market your ride (at least 8 weeks or more, 12 is even better). o If you’re doing a spring ride, start advertising in the winter, when people are more likely to be inside. o Don’t stop marketing! Send out information weekly. Send out early information on Sunday evenings so people will read it on Monday mornings. Send out last minute information on Tuesday or Wednesday to get last minute riders. o Use your GEO email list to send emails, we recommend sending first email 4-6wks out from your ride and the second one 1-2 weeks out from your ride.

5 Find a local charity that can be involved on some level. o They can serve as a great volunteer base. o They can provide meals (and raise money!). o They can provide assistance in spreading the word to your local community. o They are a great source of getting local sponsors. o Pick a charity that everyone can get behind – don’t pick a potential controversial charity. o Good choices: horse rescue, therapeutic riding center, emergency services for animals, children, elderly. o The charity you select can be the recipient of the $3 per rider charity donation from ACTHA, they simply need to be registered with ACTHA as a 501(c)3 tax exempt non-profit as designated by the IRS (Register Charity tab in website). Approaching them from the angle that your ride is a wonderful opportunity to educate the public about their cause as well as raise funds, provides a good opening to start the conversation.

6 Give local businesses the opportunity to come and promote their products to your riders. o Approach them from the “I want to help you have more exposure, more customers, more advertising for your business” and I LOVE your store/business/local event. o Offer to promote them on your pre-ride emails, flyers, and Facebook page. o Ask them how they can help promote “our” ride – often they’ll offer more than you’d ask for (help with printing costs, an ad in the local paper, radio advertising). o Ask them to post your flyer in their store beside the register. o Post on their Facebook page that they are involved. o Encourage them to come to your event, set up tables, displays, and offer samples or sell their products. o Include local “horse businesses” Tack storesFeed stores Tractor DealerBlanket repair Equine Insurance VeterinarianHorse Trailer Dealer/Repair o Don’t limit yourself to “horse businesses” Local food (candy, baked goods, health snacks) Farm Credit, bank Cottage businesses (jewelry, t-shirt, pottery, artisans) Convenience/gas store

7 Pictures are worth a thousand words! o Take a picture of the prettiest place on the trail, if there’s an unusual feature, show it off! o Take a picture of your camping area – with or without a trailer there, make it appealing to be there o If you have a great place, show it off and wow your customers! o Show people having fun! Remember who your customer is when you are entering your description o Savvy purchasers – give all the facts, accentuate the positive o Emotional purchasers – paint pretty picture with words (“make me want to be there”) o Bargain purchasers – make it well worth the money, tell about your frills, goodies, sponsor offerings and extra events (if you’re doing them) o Beginner trail riders, experienced, or mixed riders - explain what to expect on the trail, while at the same time making it appealing to a wide variety of riders o Point & prize purchasers – tell about the prizes you’re offering and your sponsors o Fun purchasers - tell about all the fun riders will have, make new friends, enjoy the day, great partnership with horse Describe it accurately, but in a way that puts the emphasis on what you do have, not what you don’t. Remember, it’s about getting people to come ride, enjoy the day and their horse!

8 GEO LIST –Located on your ride page in the website! Email & Call! Equine Events – shows, expos, clinics, auctions, horse sales, team pennings, any horse event Boarding barns – don’t just send the flyer, call, ask if they have openings, if yes, swing by get cards and offer to spread the word at your ride, in exchange, will they let their boarders know about your ride? Riding clubs and local breed organizations (search web for local clubs that you don’t know about) State Horse Council Feed & Tack Stores – bulletin boards, go the next step & ask if you can set up a table on a Saturday Craigslist, Local Equine Facebook pages, Local Yahoo Horse Groups, websites selling horses, trailers, and tack stores in your area Local and regional equine magazines - look in the classifieds for items/horses for sale, ads, and reach out to them – an ACTHA ride is a great place to sell….. Network with your local veterinarian, farrier and if you have a local feed mill go there too! Natural Horsemanship clinicians and instructors At other rides (both ACTHA and non-ACTHA) o Go – volunteer, ride, meet & greet

9 1. In Person - most likely to get a positive response 2. On the Phone (Geo Lists) – is dependent upon person answering the phone (call at the right time) 3. Email - is dependent upon person opening your email (make your subject line pop) 4. Posting on the Web – is dependent on customer finding your information (plaster it everywhere) 5. Flyers – is dependent upon customer picking up your flyer (make your flyers rock) The approach is different for each method, but the philosophy is the same.

10 They are not strangers – they’re just friends you haven’t met yet. You already have a lot in common with them – horses! Show interest in them ; ask for their input and value it; find common ground; ask for their support. Listen and evaluate what they are telling you about their previous trail riding experiences; incorporate it into your ride if you think it’ll help you make your ride more successful or easier. Horse people are the most generous people in the world, and there’s nothing we like better than talking about our horse and our experiences. Use that information to make your ride better, learn what to do (and what not to do) and build a relationship with your potential customers. Find common ground and build a new relationship. Take your time with your conversation – it’s better to spend 15 minutes with one person and get their support than 3 minutes with one person just asking them to come to your ride. That 15 minutes you spend will be well worth it when that person feels comfortable enough telling all their friends or entire riding club about your ride and talking it up.

11 Flyers are important! (1) Get their interest (2)Give the facts (3) Draw them to your ride page (4) Get them to sign up! What to Say and How to Say It o Include Who, What, When, Where, Why - give only the important facts and “teasers” about fun stuff and prizes. Use the flyer provided on the ACTHA website or create your own, but include the facts. o Include the ACTHA logo. o Make it appeal to your customers. Once is Never Enough o Print a small batch of your flyers the first time. Look at them, hand some out and listen to the feedback. If you have the same questions being asked about your ride, adjust your flyer. Keep looking for sponsors, tweak your flyer as needed, and add events or sponsors as they come along. If you’re not getting the riders you’d expect, two weeks from your ride, add the header “2 weeks until the most fun ride of the season” or something to encourage signups and redistribute them. Paper, Fonts, & Pictures – It Does Matter o Use a simple, clean font, easy to read – Headings in at least 16 point, bold, facts in no less than 12 point. o Don’t use more than 3 different fonts on a flyer, keep them related. Use size, bold and text boxes to make information stand out. o Color printing is great, but if cost is a concern, bright, colored paper with black ink is less expensive and will draw attention. If you’re using color printing, select an off white paper, it stands out from typical white paper. o If room permits, a small quality picture is a great way to pull attention to your ride. o Use your sponsors logos and name recognition to your advantage – make them as obvious as possible.

12 Who Are They? o Look around you… What products are in your home/barn that you just “love”? Call them, write them and make it personal – tell them how much you want to tell everyone you know about their product – can they send you some literature/samples? Win, Win, Win (3 Way Win) o Look for ways that will be a “win” for (1) your sponsor (2) your riders (3) and you; and present it to your sponsor in just that way. How Do You Get them to Give You Stuff? o Present the idea to your potential sponsor as an awesome opportunity to get in front of up to 100 customers at one time. They will have the opportunity to have some dedicated time where all these people will see, touch, learn, and talk about THEIR product at one time and promote their product. Always ask for their banner and literature – even if they say no to a prize “this time”. If you promote them anyway, next time they’ll come through for you! How to Make The Most of The Prizes You Get o Remember our goal as ride host is to get more riders. There are many more “average” riders than “great” riders. That being said – market to them! Be creative in the use of the prizes you get. Offer sponsors the opportunity to sponsor one obstacle with either $25 or a prize. Let the judge at that obstacle pick their favorite “partnership” award. Make a “safety award” – drawn from riders who can present a piece of safety equipment at each obstacle. Find reasons to give the “average” rider prizes - they’re just as important as those who win 1 st -6 th place!

13 VOLUNTEERS aren’t just volunteers - They can help with marketing, get their “buy in” by including them in the planning; they can lead you to potential sponsors – ask them who they might know. SPONSORS aren’t just sponsors –they’ll help promote your ride, get you prizes, offer suggestions on how to reach more people and can give you leads on other sponsors they know. RIDERS aren’t just riders – the more they know about your ride and what you’re doing, the more likely it is that they’ll spread the word and bring friends; especially if you ask them to help you. As they sign up, drop them a quick email thanking them for signing up, looking forward to seeing/meeting them, and ask if they know of anyone else you might reach out to, or if they could. Ask if there’s anything you can do or if they need specific information that’ll make their experience the best it can be. Place value on their participation and ask for their support. It is important to ask a question that necessitates a response so you’re already building a relationship. JUDGES aren’t just judges- share ideas and seek input on obstacles. Get them involved as much as you possibly can. Give them the obstacle sheets and let them offer suggestions on how they envision their obstacle. They may know a business that might be willing to sponsor their obstacle for a judges pick award. Let them “own” their obstacle and they’ll usually become more involved. Other RIDE HOSTS aren’t competition! Reach out to them and ask to help at their ride. Be willing to listen to their suggestions, watch what works, let them know you don’t want to steal their riders, but work with them so that together you both can benefit by growing the sport and don’t want to compete for the same ride dates, but allow time in between so that riders don’t have to choose. Offer to help staff with your volunteers, they’ll learn how the ride process works and be even better at the next ride (yours!)

14 Follow up with Volunteers o Personal calls to say thank you, ask for their input, suggestions, and validate their concerns. o Email to say thank you for being a part of the event, how you are going to incorporate their ideas to make the next event better and ASK if you can count on them to help next time. Follow up with Riders o Send thank you email, include sponsors, how much you enjoyed the event, future plans, and ask them to keep in touch on your Facebook page. Follow up with Sponsors o Send thank you notes with pictures. o A personal visit to say thanks is a plus (if local). o Share plans for future rides and ideas to help market their business at your next event. o Talk up your ride on their Facebook page as well as yours.

15 Ride Manager Menu/CTC Classroom/Attendance  enter ‘charity’ in the attendance code field to indicate you have completed this tutorial. For more marketing ideas and help on how to market YOUR ride, join in on the marketing calls Monday & Thursday 7pm central at 661-673-8600 (code 669183#) Questions? Don't hesitate to call your Trail Boss! Thank you for being an ACTHA Ride Host! We appreciate all that you do to increase the quality of our horses! Happy Trails! The ACTHA Team

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