Coming up with a strategy on how to market your brand seems like a daunting task. It feels overwhelming to think about where to even begin. It feels like it would be so much easier to post pictures on the fly or just “go with the flow.” You imagine taking photos at the barn or horse shows and your brand becoming Instagram famous. You imagine the orders rolling in and everyone talking about your brand.
Those things can happen, but not without a strategy.
Before you can begin your marketing strategy, you need to create your brand. Everything you post, make, advertise comes down to your brand. Think of your brand as the basics of riding. You can’t have a great dressage test or hunter round without having solid transitions in place. Once you have your branding in place, here are the top 10 reasons to have a marketing strategy.
To be prepared and organized.
It seems like a no brainer, but we underestimate how important and helpful this is! If you have a marketing plan and strategy in place, you will know what topics you will be talking about, what blog posts are coming out when, when to advertise for sales, how to prepare your business management for those sales. For instance, if you have a Black Friday sale for buy one get one 50% off, you will know to plan your inventory. Speaking of sales.
You will know how often to post about sales.
In our previous post "The secret to digital marketing", we talked about the reasons why people go to the internet (hint: It’s not to hear about your sales). Posting sales too frequently also devalues your brand. It sounds like a good idea to post about sales repeatedly to attract customers, but I promise all it does is cheapens your brands. Sales aren’t necessarily bad. They just shouldn’t be done frequently (side note: true clearance clearouts and sales are different). If you strategize your posting, you will be strategic about your sales posts and promotions and ensure you aren’t posting about sales too often.
Let me tell you a secret. With online retail sales, you need professional product photography. There is no way around it. When someone is buying a piece of tack or clothing in person, they can feel it and see it. When they are buying your products online, they can’t see the same level of detail. You need to be able to sell them your products through photography. You need professional assistance. Yes, you can take pictures on the fly with your smartphone or camera, but nothing beats a professional photographer. When you create a marketing strategy, you can plan your photoshoots and then have hundreds of beautiful and professional photos to select from for your posting strategy. It will save A LOT of time and frustration when figuring out what pictures to post on your social media.
Planning your product designs and manufacturing.
There are multiple ways to plan your product designs. After working with product designers and learning about the manufacturing process, plan your product lines for at least a year in advance. This will give you plenty of time to go back and forth with your manufactures in making sure you have your final product features and colors solidified while having enough time for your order fulfillment. I’m a massive fan of the spring/summer and fall/winter drops. Lemieux Equestrian is an excellent example of this strategy. It has worked successfully in other industries with high-end brands as well. Having a product strategy of offering limited edition colors for a limited amount of time creates urgency, which drives sales while avoiding devaluing your products as sales do. Having your brand and marketing strategy in place well in advance will let you plan and prepare for these seasonal and limited edition items.
What if I told you that you could plan out your social media content and posts for an entire month and not have to worry about it again until the next month? I’m telling you now that’s possible! Thanks to tools like Facebook Creator Studio, Facebook Business Suite, and Buffer, you can easily schedule your content posts in advance, and it will post precisely when you plan it to post. They make it so much easier to make sure your posts stay on brand message, and your content will be consistent. That’s also one less thing for you to worry about daily to focus on your business, not in your business, which brings us to our next point.
Focus on your business, not on your marketing.
Most equestrian brand owners didn’t start their business with a marketing or business background. They started their business because they love horses and equestrian sports. Many of the dived in head first without considering the business side. Marketing isn’t fun for you like it is for us. It’s more of a chore. If you have a marketing strategy in place, you can focus less on your marketing and more on the side of the business you enjoy!
Create a stronger brand.
Your ideal customer loves consistency. They are bombarded with different brands, social media accounts, and ads every single day. If you don’t show up consistently, they will forget about you. Having your content strategy in place allows you to have consistent content on brand, and your ideal customer will remember you because they see you show up more frequently.
You can test what’s working and what isn’t.
If you have an audience waiting for you and paying attention to you because you are consistent, it’s a lot easier to connect with your audience. You can ask them questions, and they will be able to respond. You can post one type of content or photography one day and another kind of content the next, and you can compare the reactions of the two. Allowing you to adapt to what is capturing the attention of your audience.
Accurate results in your analytics.
When your content is inconsistent, your analytics won’t give you very accurate results. If you are only posting occasionally, you will have tiny spikes in your analytics to look at and determine what is and isn’t working. If you are posting frequently and follow your strategy, you will have a much different picture painted in your analytics. It will allow you to see what is and isn’t working to make decisions on what to change and what to keep.
You will have more sales.
Having a strategy in place lets you be more consistent, build a stronger brand and brand identity with your ideal customer. While marketing is not selling, it does lead to an increase in sales for your business. How much? Well, that depends on your branding and brand strategy.
There you have it! Ten reasons to have a marketing strategy! Be sure to join our Facebook group Branding and Marketing for Equestrian Brands to talk about your marketing strategy and connect with other equestrian brand business owners!
Download our free content planning calendar below to create your marketing strategy.