Those who don’t have much to do with horses in their daily lives are often surprised to learn that equestrianism is a big industry in the UK. Although it is very difficult to obtain accurate figures on how many horses, ponies and donkeys reside in the UK, the British Equestrian Trade Association’s findings from their National Equestrian Survey 2015 put the economic value of the equestrian sector at £4.3 billion of consumer spending across a wide range of goods and services, with the average spend per horse during the same year at £3600. It is an incredibly varied industry encompassing all types of businesses from sole traders making a living in remote areas to multinational companies. Their customer base typically tends to be busy people who lead largely outdoor lifestyles so the obvious and most effective means of communicating with them is by mobile phone, which according to Ofcom, 93% of UK adults possess. Yet very few equestrian businesses appear to be utilising SMS text messaging marketing. So how could businesses in this sector benefit from this method of marketing?
SMS Marketing for Equestrian Services:
Ask anyone who owns or keeps horses why they do it and most will explain that they are far more than just an investment, it’s a lifestyle choice. For many leisure owners, their horse and ponies are considered part of their family and for the competitive rider they are an absolutely vital sports partner. Keeping our equine friends in the best condition requires regular and routine appointments with various equestrian healthcare and wellbeing professionals including farriers, equine dentists, veterinarians, equine chiropractors, saddle fitters, behavioural specialists, trainers and many more.
Coordinating the necessary appointments sometimes requires as much organisation as managing your own children’s schedules and when the majority of leisure horse owners are also juggling work and family commitments, it is common that due dates get forgotten. However leaving equine health checks for longer than due not only risks their well-being but often have knock-on effects for horse and owner such as limiting the horse’s capability and the owner gaining unwanted additional expenses.
When professional services are required, most horse owners and keepers make the first contact with their providers to arrange appointments. As most businesses will keep records of their clients, horses and treatments, why not use this information as an opportunity to increase bookings, revenue and customer service by contacting customers first instead? Here are some ideas for how SMS marketing could benefit equine healthcare and wellbeing businesses:
- Optimise repeat bookings by texting clients to remind them when routine examinations and treatments are becoming due in the next 2-4 weeks.
- Promote great customer service by issuing friendly reminders of their horse health needs and inviting customers to make appointments.
- Increase customer retention and satisfaction rates by encouraging them to return at the appropriate times rather than forgetting and having to find another provider at short notice because you are fully booked.
- Reduce wasted time and expense caused by customer no-shows by texting customers a confirmation message 24-48 hours before a booked appointment.
- Improve accessibility to your services by offering a simple means to book appointments by text.
- Advertise other services that you might offer through texting relevant, targeted care and wellbeing tips for owners/keepers.
SMS Marketing for Equestrian Goods:
Horses need equipment, feed, housing and bedding – their riders need the appropriate clothing and what is required at any point largely depends on the time of the year, although this industry is definitely not immune from fashion trends either. Stocking goods subject to seasonal fluctuations in demand is always tricky to get right but the use of text messaging to send discounts and offers to regular customers can help to shift out-of-season surplus stock and push new ranges coming in. Certainly, in general retail, marketing by SMS has proved to be very effective with customers as around 98% of text messages are opened compared to around 20% of emails. Here are some SMS text message promotion ideas:
- Send discount codes on winter items in mid/late summer. Many horse owners like to be prepared and will appreciate the incentive. Same with summer items in mid/late winter.
- Use the tried and trusted method of texting offers on paydays. Many customers are on tight budgets and payday is often the only time they can afford the little extras for them and their horse.
- Update customers on new ranges and give them ‘first pick’ with exclusive offers to tap into those who like to have the latest must-have items.
- Start a loyalty scheme operated via text message. Shoppers like to be rewarded for their continuing custom.
- Offer bulk buy discounts. Many people own or keep more than one horse, pony or donkey or they want to club together with other owners to take advantage of better prices.
SMS Marketing for Equestrian Events:
There is a huge variety of sports involving horses within the UK with all sizes and levels of events regularly held across the country all year round. Although bigger sponsored events are usually well advertised, word of mouth and informal local advertising still prevail as a source of attracting entrants for small or localised equestrian events. Because this information can be incohesive or limited, it often does not reach the right potential market. Whatever the show size or budget, SMS text message marketing is a cost-effective way for organisers to attract attention and can be used to:
- Provide details of upcoming dates to competitors, spectators and traders to increase footfall.
- Reach out to potential sponsors and partners.
- Send out results such as times/points/placings to competitors so they have a record.
- Request feedback from entrants and visitors for ideas on how to improve the next event.
Whatever your link to the equestrian industry may be, these are just some of the ideas where SMS marketing could promote or benefit your business. They are also easily transferable or adaptable to non-equestrian businesses, especially the domestic pet care sector. Pet ownership is an even bigger industry than equestrianism, where according to the Telegraph, spending on domestic pets in the UK in 2015 surpassed £7 billion. That’s a lot of potential customers, all you need is an effective way to reach them.
Fastsms are your ideal partner to take your equestrian business to the next level with SMS Marketing. We are an award winning company offering some of the UK’s lowest prices on bulk business SMS packages, supported by our exceptional customer services.
If you have any questions about how bulk SMS can work for you, drop us a line on 0800 954 5305 now and we’ll be happy to connect you to an expert in your field.