Advertising is a must have for almost every equine business, but it has to be approached with an advertising plan that is consistent and flexible at the same time.

A targeted advertising campaign will bring more customers through your door and more profit to your bottom line. Here we look at the important facets of planning your advertising campaign..

What is an advertising campaign?

It’s a collection of advertisements on a product or service, based on an evaluation of available communications options. The campaign uses a variety of media forms e.g. TV, radio, glossy magazines, social media and should meet the objectives of what you are trying to achieve by advertising.

Main steps required

  1. Evaluate advertising opportunities
  2. Identify who you want to reach with your advertisement & what you want to achieve with it
  3. Determine your budget
  4. Determine which medium you want to use & what you want to say
  5. Test & launch advert
  6. Evaluate success of advert

Evaluate advertising opportunities

Does the advertising opportunity meet the criteria? You should be able to answer Yes to the following:

  1. Do you know that there is a demand for your product or service?
  2. Can you differentiate your product or service from the competition?
  3. Does your product or service have qualities which you need to communicate because people wouldn’t ordinarily know about these?
  4. Can your product or service convey an emotional message?
  5. Can you afford to advertise?

Identify who you want to reach with your advertisement & what you want to achieve

Who is your target customer?

  • Who are your present customers?
  • What do they buy from you specifically?
  • When do they buy?
  • How often to they re-buy?
  • How do they use your products?
  • What do they buy them for?
  • What are your target customers’ demographics?
  • Where are your target customers?
  • What is the buying behaviour of your target customers?
  • What are the attitudes, interests and lifestyles of your target customers?

Why do you want to reach these people? Your objectives

  • To build an image for a new product?
  • To increase favourable attitudes towards your product?
  • To tell people about a special offer?
  • To get people to choose your product over a competitor product?
  • To communicate a unique product?
  • To win back customer loyalty when customers are buying from competitors?
  • To grow awareness of the market as a whole?
  • To reduce existing negative attitudes towards the market or your brand?
  • To acquire more followers on social media?
  • To communicate recent trial results?
  • To communicate a forthcoming event?

Determine your budget

  • Depends on your business philosophy and the perceived quality and value of your products
  • Higher quality products demand high quality adverts which can be directly proportional to cost.
  • Taking a percentage of your sales is a popular technique.
  • May depend on the amount competitors are spending on advertising.
  • Profit objectives and the age of your equine business will also play a part in determining advertising budget.

Determine which medium you want to use & what you want to say

Which medium?

  • Dependent on budget.
  • The most effective way to achieve your objectives.
  • Decide which medium gets your point across most effectively. TV, radio, social media?
  • Dependent on where your target customers will be? Reading the Horse & Hound, on Facebook, watching Horse & Country TV?
  • Make sure your medium allows you to choose times which are optimal for your target customers to see or read.

How should you best communicate your messages?

  • In the most effective way to achieve objectives.
  • In a way which will most appeal to your target audience.
  • Content must be well-written or spoken, factually correct, clear and simple.
  • Visual – use relevant, interesting images, arresting headlines and informative copy.
  • A good advert promises a reward of some sort, which is backed up.
  • Speak to the reader/listener as an individual,
  • not as a group.
  • Emphasise the subject of the advertisement more than your logo or name.
  • Make the advertisement reflect your company’s ethos and principles.

Test & launch advert

  • To avoid costly mistakes and increase the efficacy of your advertisement:
  •  Once your advert is drafted, get feedback from as many colleagues as possible.
  • Use a survey or questionnaire on a sample of customers for feedback on the advert – what could be changed to make it more effective?
  • Test your advert on a small population before circulating on a wider scale – observe and analyse the reaction.

Evaluate success of advert

Direct correlation between advertisement and increase in enquiries and/or sales.

  • Increase in exposure. This is easy with social media as you can see how many people have Liked or Shared your advert. Vouchers or codes can be a good way of measuring reach for other advertising methods.
  • Increase in awareness of brand, product or marketing messages through recall and understanding.
  • Change in attitude towards brand or product following advertisement.