Websites and social media are wonderful marketing tools for any equestrian business. The only catch is that it takes time to figure out how to harness them and, once you've mastered that, more time to effectively update what you created. In this era of instant information, an outdated website or Facebook page makes any business look bad.
But who has time to make or maintain an Internet presence?
"You do – with the help of HorseBreederDirect.com," say the company's co-owners Nell Scannon and Bodie Paden. Recognizing the Internet's marketing power and the reality that horse people and technology are dubious partners, Nell and Bodie launched HorseBreederDirect.com this
HorseBreederDirect.com creates an easy-to-maintain Internet presence for breeders of any size. Based in Nevada County's Chicago Park, the company provides several templates that clients can use to build and modify their own website with a stand-alone domain name. No technical experience is necessary. The information a client inputs about their horses into their Admin Panel, including photos and videos, is instantly posted to HorseBreederDirect's classified ad site, the client's website and onto the client's Facebook page using HorseBreederDirect.com's custom application. All with the push of one button, says Bodie.
The trickiest part of their business model is explaining how easy it is, Bodie continues. "Our biggest struggle is explaining it to people. But once we get them in front of a computer screen and show them how easy it is, then they get it."
The young company offers several service packages, available for monthly fees that start at $19.95 for stallion/broodmare listings on the classified site, all the way up to the "Website+" package that includes unlimited listings for $59.95. All website packages include a templated, turn-key website and hosting, custom domain mapping, unlimited web pages and bandwidth, rotating presence on the www.horsebreederdirect.com homepage, unlimited phone and/or e-mail technical support, search engine optimization and a listing in HBD's services directory. All packages include the custom HorseBreederDirect.com Facebook application that lists the client's horses under the "Our Horses" tab on their Facebook business page.
Unlimited web pages, photos and videos are an attractive offer to everybody and especially to those who have advertised on several existing classified websites. "We don't nickel and dime you by charging per video or photo," Bodie notes. "There's no limit to the size of website you can have with us. We don't want to punish breeders for being successful and having a lot of horses
High Caliber Horses
The partners chose to limit their business to breeders and other horse professionals in part because their monthly fee-based service is best suited to those who regularly sell horses rather than individuals with one-time or occasional sales. Equally important, working with professional breeders "keeps the caliber of horses in our search engine higher," Bodie explains. "If you are looking at a horse on our list, you know it's from someone who breeds or trains horses professionally."
As director of sales and marketing, Nell brings the horse smarts to HorseBreederDirect. A UC Davis graduate, she has ridden throughout her life. Pony Club and eventing preceded her current passion for dressage. Her professional background includes communications, graphics and web design. Bodie brings a career's worth of technology expertise to the business, most recently as a builder of e-commerce websites for wineries. Nell and Bodie's collective knowledge and experience provided a great stage from which to launch HorseBreederDirect.
They recognized a niche for their expertise when Nell was shopping for horses. "The existing classified ad sites were old and clunky and hard to use and so many breeder sites had not been updated in years," Bodie recalls. "She got frustrated trying to find out what horses breeders had available."
Response has been great so far and HorseBreederDirect is already expanding its menu of services. Horse auctions are a great venue for the company's Internet platform and HBD's recent venture with the Seaside Select Sporthorse Invitational Auction in Huntington Beach was a success. The auction horse info was added to the auction site and simultaneously entered into HBD's search engine as well as the auction's Facebook page. Then they took it one step further by building an automatic PDF catalog compiler – saving their clients hundreds of dollars. The catalog even includes "QR codes," the boxes that become website links when photographed by a smartphone. QR codes also appear on all flyers generated from a clients' website, a handy way of spreading the word at shows and other events.
Bodie and Nell also work with clients on a variety of projects. Facebook ad campaigns are one of several online marketing strategies they specialize in and provide consulting on to clients. These highly cost-effective campaigns can help breeders reach their target audience in a short period of time, anywhere in the world. One of their clients, an Arabian breeder, gets many of her sales from the Middle East. The HBD team targeted her Facebook ads for countries in that region and got an excellent response for a very low cost.
The company also plans to start partnering with other web designers. "They can use our platform to build websites," Bodie explains. "Clients will continue to update their own information, but can use their own custom design for the site."
No matter how extensive HorseBreederDirect's range of services becomes, the most valuable commodity they offer breeders is time: to be with their horses rather than behind a computer struggling to maintain an effective, affordable Internet presence.
Visit www.HorseBreederDirect.com or call 530-798-4797 for more information.