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Contributer and Jasmine Robertson

There’s no denying that stallion marketing within the thoroughbred industry is a competitive arena. And, with a plethora of studs competing for the attention of a limited number of broodmare owners, its critical that advertising collateral is executed with razor-sharp precision.

Gone are the days of packing every single selling point onto one advert. Let’s face it; advertising is one of the most significant marketing expenses that studs will face but don’t let it’s price tag coax you into falling victim to overloading adverts with weighty info.

There is a fine science to creating stallion adverts that instantly grab the attention of prospective breeders so, with the stallion marketing season well and truly before us, I’m going to share my top 10 tips with you.

Tip 1: Become acquainted with your target market

Before you even think about design, you need to have a firm grasp on who your target market is. Due to commercial positioning within the thoroughbred industry, a roster of stallions are often diverse and sit at different price points.

Knowing this, each stallion is likely to appeal to different breeders. Segment your target markets for each stallion and tailor the design aesthetic and messaging accordingly.

For example: If you’re looking to create a digital advertising campaign for a Champion Sire, you may identify that there are two main target markets that can be summarised by the following needs.

Target Market A) Breeders with elite mares that intend on selling the resulting foal for big bucks.

Target Market B) Breeders with top-tier mares who intend on keeping the resulting foal and want assurance that there is a good chance of it going on to be successful on the racetrack.

You would, therefore, tailor the text component to emphasise key facts that would appeal to these audiences and align the design accordingly.

It’s important to note that these two audiences overlap in some aspects. The assumption can be made that if they’re breeding to an expensive stallion, they will have a high calibre broodmare and expect a great return on investment.

Tip 2: Get back to basics

Keep your selling points to a maximum of three. Or even better, one for each advert. Keeping the design aesthetic the same, simply switch out imagery and use a different selling point for each ad.

Using this approach helps your audience to digest information and will stop them from scrolling past an advert they have already seen multiple times.

Tip 3: Let the imagery & text speak to your audience

To achieve maximum impact, develop smart ways to illustrate your message. Don’t be afraid to mix up font styles and utilise hues from your brand colour palette to emphasise key selling points. 

Another way to achieve maximum impact is by looking at ways to form a connection between the image and the message you’re trying to convey. 

For example, if you’re pushing a stallion as being a speed sire, your imagery could reflect this by using movement to drive your message home.

Tip 4: Design around the visual hierarchy

Often overlooked during the design phase, visual hierarchy is the order that the human eye follows when recognising what it observes. 

Numerous theories apply to visual hierarchy, but as a general rule, you should position your most important content at the top of the page. People typically digest information from top left to right, then will scan across the page, finishing in the bottom right corner. 

Tip 5: Be authentic to your overall brand

While developing different brands for stallions is an excellent way to form mini brand identities, don’t forget to keep the design in line with your stud’s brand aesthetic.

Why? You want your audience to form an instant connection between your stud and the stallion you’re advertising. Unless your stud is brand spanking new, stallion marketing can leverage off your already established stud brand, creating a sense of trust and familiarity.

Brand authenticity is achieved by using your stud’s brand fonts, logo, colour palettes and through keeping your approach to image treatment consistent.

Tip 6: Invest in great imagery

Powerful imagery is arguably one of the most critical factors behind creating a captivating advert that will instantly grab attention.

If you can, refresh your image library annually and brief your photographer to capture shots that will be used for a specific end purpose.

If you’ve skipped this step, the good news is that photo editors can work wonders on imagery that needs to be tweaked to achieve a specific look (including our very own editing specialist). You can, however, save a lot of time and energy if you have a firm understanding of what you need from the outset.

Fortunately, there are many great equine photographers out there so, if you would like a recommendation, please drop us a line.

Tip 7: Say it with me people “copy size is KEY”

With over 80% of users viewing news and social media on their phone, don’t forget to test the legibility of text on your digital adverts across mobile devices. If you can’t read it, no one else can.

Tip 8: Don’t be afraid of adding a call to action

When referring to digital advertising, the likelihood that someone is going to stop and jot down your contact information is unlikely. Instead, buttons or visual aids to prompt the user to click through to a web page or video are an excellent way to maximise your advertising spend.

To track click-through metrics, you can ask the advertising publication to tell you how many clicks your advert had, or take things into your own hands by using a tracked link to assess audience data (we use Bitly).

Based on the Gutenberg rule, the call to action is best placed in the bottom right area of the advert as this is where the viewer’s eye is naturally drawn to after scanning down the advert.

Tip 9: People don’t read online; they scan

Knowing this little titbit of info, it’s essential to keep the content to a minimum and allow it to flow. Make sure your message is clear and displayed in a way that requires the least amount of effort to read (FYI – people are lazy!).

Tip 10: Create your own trends

Forget about what everyone else is doing and seek inspiration outside of the thoroughbred industry. I’m not saying copy anyone elses work, instead, browse through design and layout elements and think about ways they can be integrated into your digital stallion marketing campaigns.

Like I said earlier, the digital stallion marketing space is dense, so standing out is imperative to ensure you get more bang for your buck!

Jasmine Robertson

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Jasmine Robertson

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