One year Webdesign horses&web
Exactly one year ago I established the label Webdesign horses&web. A lot has happened since then, the most serious of which certainly was the outbreak of the corona pandemic.
As for many horse companies and self-employed people in the equestrian sports business, this time was economically a challenge for my still young web agency Webdesign horses&web. At the same time, however, this crisis could be an opportunity for all of us to reposition ourselves in a new and future-oriented way.
The period of lockdown and working in home office has increasingly shown us how important digital networking has become. Not only privately through social media and video communication, but also professionally, in order to continue to compete in the market and to secure the professional existence.
And although the corona restrictions have been relaxed in the meantime, social distancing and hygiene measures are probably still part of our everyday life, even if only to a certain extent. For those who have not (yet) positioned themselves well digitally or perhaps have not yet had to do so, I would like to take this opportunity to provide a few insights and tips on digital customer acquisition, communication and loyalty.
A good web presence ist the best basis!
The most important thing in digital customer acquisition and retention is a professional website where your target group can find information about your services or products.
Even before the days of Corona, potential buyers were already searching the internet for products and services on a daily basis. Every company that is invisible online has already lost its first chance to be found by customers here. In 2020, however, the number of companies without an internet presence is low, but the question arises as to what this will look like. Important today are fast loading times, a clear structure, good user-friendliness and contents that interest the user and encourage him to contact or buy.
A good web presence should not only represent your company and inform about your services, it should also be found by your target group!
For example, there are almost 1 billion results for the term horse market in Google searches, about 330 million for the term riding lesson and about 52 million for horse boarding (as of July 2020). A good SEO (search engine optimisation) strategy is therefore essential for a good ranking in Google search results. After all, as a company you want to be found at least on the first few pages of the search results, ideally of course on page one.
A search engine optimisation starts with a keyword research, where relevant keywords that people use in search engines are found and applied to improve the content of the website for ranking. Another important measure is the optimisation of the structure and layout of the site. Also blog posts, in which high-quality and informative content is provided, as well as newsletters, which provide your customers with current news and offers, help you to become more visible in search engines and to bind your customers.
Social media marketing
Social media platforms are increasingly used to interact and communicate directly with customers.
By maintaining an account on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Xing, LinkedIn, etc., depending on which platform your target group is to be found, you are most likely to raise the perception of your business by placing targeted and up-to-date content at regular intervals. This can be sales or training videos, competition results, new products, basically everything that has to do with your company and is interesting and worth knowing for your potential customers.
In order to increase the coverage, paid advertisements such as Facebook or Instagram Ads can be placed (even the social media app Tiktok is now used by companies for advertising campaigns). Often, working with a suitable influencer who has many followers from your target group also proves to be promising and can draw the attention of a large number of additional customers to your company and your services.
With all social media measures, however, your post/ad should always lead to the basis, and that is your website. This is where the threads come together, your portfolio can be found here in detail and direct conversions, i.e. enquiries, newsletter subscriptions, bookings, orders or purchases, can take place.
In order to rank high in the search engines locally, it is also helpful to have your company listed in reputable, digital business directories. The link to your own website is always important for the ranking, since the number of backlinks (references) influences the ranking in the search engines.
Finally, all SEO measures taken should be analysed and further optimised using suitable web analysis tools.
Even though online trade was equally affected by the Corona Pandemic, simply because fewer purchases were made, there is (and has been) a structural change towards more digitalisation in trade.
In addition, those customers who previously did not buy online could now get used to this type of shopping, as partly there was no other way to buy some products due to the lockdown. Online shops also offer clear advantages for risk groups and people in quarantine in terms of avoiding contact and minimising the risk of infection.
The question of whether an online shop or the sale via various online marketplaces is an option for a horse business inevitably arises.
Equestrian sports shops certainly benefit from having their own online shop, but they were already present on the Internet before with numerous and competitive appearances. But what about horse sales stables, riding schools and clubs, breeding and training stables, independent horse landlords or those in the field of horse health and care.
While sales stables already offered their horses online via a catalogue before the pandemic or the health sector sold and rented therapy equipment out online, it was considerably more difficult for the service sector such as riding companies and riding schools to generate turnover via the Internet. Riding lessons were not allowed to take place during the lockdown, which was a great challenge for many riding schools, equestrian businesses and horse owners. In order not to experience this existence-threatening loss of income again, it is necessary to preserve resourcefulness and find new ways to bridge and maybe even partially compensate the loss of income through online offers.
Further options for online conversion
If you have not yet done so, ask yourself how you can make your services and knowledge available to your customers on the Internet with the aim of generating online sales.
For some time now, e-learning, the digital transfer of knowledge, has been established on the Internet. You too can hold your own webinars, web workshops or online courses. Or you can create videos with instructional units, exercises or jumping lessons and make the course contents or tutorials available in a media library for a fee or upload them to YouTube.
Hold online consultation hours or train your students online via live connection via tablet/mobile phone or via video analysis. Even auctions currently take place mainly on the Internet and fairs, instead of being completely cancelled, are held virtually. The list can be extended as you wish, there are no limits to the wealth of ideas, perhaps you too can come up with something creative to increase your sales digitally!
If you would like to know more about digital customer acquisition and retention
or if you would like to set up yourself and your business on the Internet,
just contact me and I will be happy to help you.