CHRISTMAS IS COMING!!
Sorry, I can't control myself this time of year. I'm absolutely IN LOVE with celebrating all the holidays, so this time of the year makes me especially happy.
Your customers, on the other hand... probably not so much.
Come this time of year, EVERYONE, their mothers, their brothers, and their dogs are running holiday sales & specials and somewhere in there the reason for this holiday season gets a little lost. Rather than smother your customers with the best possible sales & specials you can come up with that won't break your bank, refresh them a little bit with something a lot less sales-y.
See, the reason I love winter holidays, and especially Christmas, so much is because there seems to be an atmospheric shift when it comes to charitable giving. I try to give what I can throughout the year by buying, donating, and volunteering, but Christmas's official arrival is like an adrenaline shot straight to my sense of charity.
While I'd like to think that all of you out there are motivated to be charitable and philanthropic out of the goodness of your heart, I know that's not always a financial possibility. So here's a statistic that might convince you to give it a try: according to Inc., "customers are 85% more likely to buy a product that is associated with a charity."
That's why I've put together a list of ways to promote your equine business while keeping charity in mind and without breaking the bank.
1. Host or co-host a webinar, workshop, or in-person event.
This works great for practically anyone, whether you have a product or service to sell or all you're doing is charging an admission fee. Whatever it is you're selling (product, service, or admissions fee), make sure you publicize that your event somehow benefits your charity of choice.
Additionally, the topic of your webinar/workshop/in-person event is entirely up to you, but I suggest sticking to something relevant to your niche.
- If you're a tack or clothing store, opt for something related to caring for your tack or keeping warm during winter rides.
- If you're a feed store, I hope you're doing winter feeding tips!
- If you're a hobby blogger, well, the options are pretty much endless.
2. Meet Santa!
If you own a barn or know the owner where you board pretty well, organize an event where kids can come see Santa, ride or pet the horses, go for a winter hay ride, and more. You can choose to offer games, concessions, or other attractions, as well.
Ask for a small admissions fee and make sure to publicize that proceeds from your event benefit your charity of choice.
3. Holiday Contests
If you own a business where you custom make your products, host a contest in conjunction with a charity where your customers enter design ideas for a new item in your store based on that charity's work.
As a prize, your winner could receive a certain number of the custom product for free, and for your charitable donation, you could offer a percentage of the proceeds from every sale of the custom product to the charity.
4. Donation Drive
An oldie but a goodie. Donation drives are excellent ideas and versatile ideas. Additionally, this would work well for both online and brick-and-mortar businesses depending on whether you ask for physical products or monetary donations.
5. Sponsor a cause or local event
This is a great idea for anyone who hasn't got a lot of time on their hands this holiday season to run any of the above ideas, but does have the marketing budget for it. Charities LOVE to host events this time of the year, so if you can afford to cough up a little cash, you can sponsor their event.
This one also doubles as advertising because generally sponsors get primo ad space in flyers, brochures, ads, etc. in exchange for their kind monetary donations.
I mean, yeah, you're still paying to advertise your business, but people love businesses aligned with charities. (See the earlier statistic I quoted.)
6. Raffle or Silent Auction
For any of you who already have events booked up for the holiday season, add a raffle or silent auction in which the raffle/auction items are donations from your customers & the proceeds all go to your charity of choice. Raffles & silent auctions were a staple of my time in 4-H and they were HIGHLY lucrative when done right.
7. Breyer Horse Show
Another staple from my time in 4-H. (Hello, memory lane!) We held our Breyer show during January when it was at its wettest and worst in Texas so that all the horse-y kids still had something fun to do during the winter months with all their horse-y friends without freezing their little butts off, so this doesn't have to be limited to just Christmas.
That said, these require a little financial preparation up front in the form of awards and a lot of prep time-wise if you're not familiar with Breyer shows, but if they're advertised right and classes are planned and priced appropriately for your target market, they can be lucrative, too.
8. Combine Ideas!
When in doubt, mix and match, y'all! A lot of these would be great if combined. For example:
- An unofficial Breyer horse show combined with a raffle for a rare Breyer and a workshop on how to show at official Breyer horse shows.
- A meet Santa event where games, concessions, and other activities (minus actually meeting Santa) charge a small fee and the entry fee is a monetary or physical good donation.
- An already planned event where you add a raffle or silent auction, a donation drive, and/or a workshop.
- And literally any other combination of these ideas.
Go forth and be charitable, my dears!
Or, if you haven't got the time or resources right now to be charitable in your business, but you'd like to do so in the future, join the League of Extraordinary Equestrians so you don't miss any other ideas later on. You can sign up below.
Additionally, if you try any of these out or you've tried some of these in the past, I'd LOVE to know! Drop into the comments below & tell me how they worked (or didn't work) out for you.