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View Full Version : Advertising verbage to attract teens to lessons?



CHT
Apr. 5, 2012, 03:41 PM
I would like to get a few more kids (thinking 12-15 year olds) into my lesson program. Right now I only have 2 kids under 16, as the rest have all grown up, and of late it seems I am only attracting adults.

I don't mind adults, but like to keep a mix of ages, and it is fun to have teens around!

What advertising techniques do you think would best attract that age group? I am only looking for 3 or so new students, and maybe one new boarder, so not looking to spend $$$.

Piatt Farms
Apr. 5, 2012, 04:20 PM
Ask the cabana boy to double as a groom. :lol:

Although in all seriousness, the language may not be as important as WHERE you are advertising. What are you doing/saying now? it may be easier to help if we had something to work off of.

CHT
Apr. 5, 2012, 04:50 PM
I don't have any advertisements out right now; I tend to get clients by word of mouth, and as I don't tend to loose students, I am not often looking for new ones.

I told the two "kids" I do have to ask their friends, but the one kid lives pretty far away.

The last ad I placed (on Kijiji, which is like Craigslist), was to advertise horse's for part lease...which got me inquiries about lessons and leases, but all from adults (which I accepted two into my program).

I offer entry level type lessons; so basic dressage, and jumping to 2'6" (that is where I max out my lesson horses), but students can show, and most part lease a horse from me and ride twice a week, but I am fine with weekly riders too.

I think adults like my program because I teach privates/semi-privates only....and because I can explain things well.

KateKat
Apr. 5, 2012, 04:56 PM
I dunno...I'm not an instructor but I think the adult demographic is a good one to have. We, after all, have control over the bills and don't have to get approval from mom and dad to do any spending ;)

Honestly though, I think its hard to attract teens since most of the teens have been with their trainers since they were little. So...I would start with trying to find smaller kids. If you can, offer some camps, or birthday parties, or whatnot, just something to get younger blood into the barn and interested in more regular lessons.

danceronice
Apr. 5, 2012, 04:59 PM
Facebook, Twitter...

2ndyrgal
Apr. 5, 2012, 05:14 PM
the joy of having an adult barn.... no teens, no drama.

But really, you have to advertise where they shop. Facebook, school, the mall.

Many high schools have a "co op" program where the students work somewhere half a day. Try the local high school advisor's office.

Crazy-Pony
Apr. 5, 2012, 05:18 PM
A working student postion (i.e. muck stalls in exchange for lesson) is a great way to attract dedicated children and teens.

Good luck!

Carol Ames
Apr. 5, 2012, 05:23 PM
Why don't you start with a "special/ exclusive, i.e. spring camp/ lesson program offering instruction in the Olympic sport of...only A limited number of students accepted at anytime in order to allow for individual attention; students are required to have certified helmet, shoes/ boots, etc. Volume 1 of the US Pony Club manual interview required l;along with "aptitude test" If accepted ,parents are required to purchase first set of 10 lessons

mvp
Apr. 5, 2012, 05:43 PM
Facebook, Twitter...

Todally. It's (almost) not what you say, but where you say it. You must advertise in their parallel universe. They don't usually come over to this one when they are actually, you know, looking for ways to maybe kinda sorta expand their life.

Hunter Mom
Apr. 7, 2012, 12:19 PM
Are you wanting new-to-riding riders, or kids who already ride?

RedRogue
Apr. 7, 2012, 12:23 PM
For only 2-3, I would try word of mouth first.

Carol Ames
Apr. 9, 2012, 01:22 PM
Could you offer the first several lessons free:cool:? or, as part of a package of lessons 6- 10?

AmmyByNature
Apr. 9, 2012, 02:11 PM
If you're looking for young teens, you're still kind of looking at their parents, since they're the ones who pay. I'd put up some ads at some affluent adult-type places that talk about how riding is good for kids and will teach them things and help them with their future life.

Libraries, churches, the local tennis or swimming club... You might get a whole new demographic there.

Sell the whole, "Teaches confidence, independence, and sportsmanship" thing.

I dunno... Just a thought...

lachevaline
Apr. 9, 2012, 03:00 PM
For older teens, tell them it'll round out their college applications!

Or give them free iPhones. (Kidding.)

Wonders12
Apr. 9, 2012, 03:29 PM
I agree with go where they are. Do you have a nice, current website with tons of good pictures and all the info they would need to start a lesson (like pricing, contact info, etc.)? Are you on facebook? Do you have a couple videos up on youtube? Can they contact you via e-mail instead of calling you?

Teens do everything from their computer (or phone), so you need to make sure you're reaching them there.

eclipse
Apr. 9, 2012, 03:37 PM
Do you have riders that are actively competing on any of our circuits? Doesn't matter if it's Gold recognized shows or the novice/school horse circuit, when you go to shows and do a good job you get noticed and word spreads!

I know when people call our barn looking for lessons, etc, if we cannot accomodate them we refer them to trainers/barns that we know will fit what they are looking for. Make yourself known (in a good way :D) to the local trainers and this can also help in a big way. :)

Also, put up notices in local tack stores (equiproducts, Horselife, Greenhawk) and you could also take out an ad in the Gatepost magazine that gets sent to all AEF members!

Pally
Apr. 9, 2012, 03:50 PM
You want teenagers.


I'm sure many of us would gladly put them on a bus and ship them to you.

Hunter88
Apr. 9, 2012, 05:07 PM
Haven't had time to read all of the above, so apologize if this is a repeat. I would advertise in the directory/yearbook/newsletter of affluent high schools in the area.

Also- consider offering incentive to your current clients. If they bring in a new client, they get a month of free lessons or something similar. Unfortunately, advertising is centered around getting the right consumer, and this industry doesn't really center around much more than reputation, which is wonderful if you have it but difficult to get.

Good luck

CHT
Apr. 9, 2012, 07:27 PM
Thank you for the good ideas!

I do have studends that show, but my target is more entry level, and not really looking for students that are already showing...not trying to poach from other programs, other than perhaps the beginners only type programs, of which there is one nearby, that I have gotten students from in the past.

Trying to get the two younger kids to talk to their friends, but the one lives too far away (so do her friends). The other is trying and may have one student for me.

I like the teens I have...I think because they are in lessons with adults they are able to behave like normal people. And no boys allowed also seems to help!

Maybe I will do up a poster and put by the local diner/gas station and rec centre?

Not really looking for the high income riders; there are plenty of barns who want them, I am happy with the ones who are on a budget, as I can relate! So how to convince parents that riding can be affordable...

Not really able to do camps as I don't have enough beginner type horses. Some with young kids....I just don't have young kid type horses. I used to do the camps and small kids...just not my thing! Although maybe kids who take other camps and want to keep riding are a good target market....

svf86
Apr. 9, 2012, 07:28 PM
Happy Hour?

baref00t
Apr. 9, 2012, 09:07 PM
Camps don't have to just be little-little kids, and it really would be a great way to attract girls to your barn and let them get immersed in how much fun the barn can be. If you're lucky, they'll get hooked. I started to ride when I was 11 at summer camp and transitioned into a lesson program at age 12. We chose my lesson barn because it seemed "down to earth" (my mom was SO worried I'd be a horse snob!) and they required helmets (my mom was also paranoid that I'd meet the same fate as Christopher Reeves- although he was wearing a helmet when he had his big accident). We heard about the barn through my cousin.

From 12-15 I religiously attended my barn's summer day camp and had a blast. We weren't a showing barn, so it was a highlight of my year. Perhaps offer the camp, but say that 2-3 private lessons (or however many you think necessary) before attending camp would help riders get comfortable at the barn and help ensure they enjoy the experience.

For the camp itself I'd recommend lots of riding mixed in with age-appropriate horse learning and crafts. I'm in my early twenties now, so I'm definitely out of touch with kids these days, but I know I had fun painting stadium jumps, setting jump courses (while the trainer gently taught us by telling us what were good and bad course ideas), and learning how to braid. Perhaps the kids could even make their own no-sew horse cooler (we did this project once in my 4H club) or paint a saddlepad in their favorite colors (a project I saw done by a local pony club). Also, don't underestimate the entertainment value of dressing a horse up in braids, ribbons, and glitter- I'm 23, show often, and still get a kick out of making my horse look stupid (I'm that idiot with fun shapes clipped in my horse's rump every winter and her own custom-made quarter mark stencil). The most fun part for me was being around horses all day and spending all day at the barn (for some reason eating lunch at the barn seemed cool, lol).

If you still think summer camp is definitely not an option, do consider opening a Facebook page. It's like word of mouth advertising, only even more people will see it, and if you use it to your advantage (posting pictures, boarder/client updates, etc.), people will see qualities they may not pick up from word of mouth, for example what a great family atmosphere your barn has.

Also you should seriously consider offering a program that lets girls feed and turnout horses once a week in exchange for their weekly lesson. Parents will like this because it decreases costs and teaches the kids a lesson in responsibility. I did this in high school to help alleviate the horse costs and it was definitely a valuable experience, although timing was a concern for the first 2 years I did this when my mom was also my chauffeur.

Neigh-Neigh
Apr. 9, 2012, 09:37 PM
This is an idea. Call your local schools and ask to speak to the gym teacher. Perhaps he could set up something for you to come in and speak to the students, tell them about riding and its physical/emotional benefits?

Maybe give out vouchers for one free lesson (with parents permission/attendance)

You can also hit up the horticulture class....

Otherwise, network. Find out where parents hang out and talk to them about how horses keep kids out of trouble.

spacytracy
Apr. 9, 2012, 09:38 PM
"Like, wanna like be like totes cool? Come take like lessons at this like totes sweet barn. The poneighs are like totes the cutest like ever. For reals, its like so fun! Lol! OMG! Txt us anytime, or like friend me on fb #poneighsrock"

Sorry, couldn't resist.

norcalammie
Apr. 9, 2012, 09:58 PM
Since you are looking for beginner type riders, most of the show barns in the area probably are looking for more advanced riders. Talk to some of the trainers at the show barns and try to develop a program where you take the beginners and then when they are ready to move into a show barn program you will refer them to that trainer. I know most show barns get lots of inquiries that they cannot accomodate as they do not do the up down lessons or have school horses available.

Just a thought and something that might benefit you and the show trainer.

CHT
Apr. 9, 2012, 10:04 PM
"Like, wanna like be like totes cool? Come take like lessons at this like totes sweet barn. The poneighs are like totes the cutest like ever. For reals, its like so fun! Lol! OMG! Txt us anytime, or like friend me on fb #poneighsrock"

Sorry, couldn't resist.

Even though I know you were joking, this gave me an idea...I should give my current students the challenge of coming up with a way to attract some new students. They are very creative and know the kind of students I like.

spacytracy
Apr. 9, 2012, 11:02 PM
Agreed. I work in higher ed and I get far better turnout for events if I have other students promote it.

Kestrel
Apr. 10, 2012, 12:15 AM
Recruit one cute teenage boy, and give him free lessons for 6 months. Your barn will soon be full of teenaged girls. The boy will lose interest when the free lessons run out. Then you will just have to figure out how to get rid of the most obnoxious girls. The nice ones will stay. Of course, you may have torn out all your hair by then.... :lol:

lachevaline
Apr. 10, 2012, 02:12 AM
Recruit one cute teenage boy, and give him free lessons for 6 months.

Or hire one as a groom!

PaintPony
Apr. 10, 2012, 10:24 AM
"Like, wanna like be like totes cool? Come take like lessons at this like totes sweet barn. The poneighs are like totes the cutest like ever. For reals, its like so fun! Lol! OMG! Txt us anytime, or like friend me on fb #poneighsrock"

Sorry, couldn't resist.

I was about to post almost the same thing before I saw this!

How about: You are totes not kewl unless you no how to ride a horzie! :lol:

CHT
Apr. 10, 2012, 12:50 PM
Recruit one cute teenage boy, and give him free lessons for 6 months. Your barn will soon be full of teenaged girls. The boy will lose interest when the free lessons run out. Then you will just have to figure out how to get rid of the most obnoxious girls. The nice ones will stay. Of course, you may have torn out all your hair by then.... :lol:

Maybe that is the problem...we are a girls/women only barn!

On the flip side though...maybe that is why I have zero drama or obnoxiousness. Well...some obnoxiousness, but in a good way.

red mares
Apr. 10, 2012, 12:56 PM
Maybe that is the problem...we are a girls/women only barn!

On the flip side though...maybe that is why I have zero drama or obnoxiousness. Well...some obnoxiousness, but in a good way.


Somehow, it always seems to work the other way around in the "women/girls only" situations I've been in. ;)

JukeboxHero
Apr. 10, 2012, 02:53 PM
"Verbage" really doesn't matter at all, as I'm sure some previous posters have said. Some things that would probably help, though:

1) Become an IEA trainer.
2) Facebook/twitter
3) All those websites (I'm blanking on what they are) that list lesson barns in a certain area.
4) Just going to shows. The closer to the parking lot/people and the bigger the signage on your barn the better (for advertising, anyway).
5) Hold camps for "older beginners". These are so rare (at least in my area; they're all focused on little kids), you'd probably get a lot of clients.
6) Have a really, really good, even impressive, website ready. You don't want to do all that advertising to have people either unable to find you or think you don't care enough about your business to make its website decent.
7) Just work hard at becoming a well-known trainer with a good reputation, word will spread.

And I seriously hope you people with all the "omg plz r1d3 @ my barn ponaynays are s00000 kewl" and "just hire a hot groom" were joking. :/

PilchuckView
Apr. 12, 2012, 02:24 PM
Do you have any Pony Clubs in your area? As DC of a club, I get a lot of requests from parents who are interested in starting their kids riding, but don't know where to begin. I'd love to have a local trainer with schooling horses that I could refer young beginners to. Might be worth a try.

hntrjmprpro45
Apr. 12, 2012, 02:37 PM
Just hire some high school boys to help clean stalls.