For many farriers when you mention marketing they think of advertising. A little over a decade ago as DFS was being established, it was commonly thought and taught by many of the farriers around this area that as long as you did good work and showed up on time then you would have all the customers you could ever need. Of course for a farrier just starting out, you do have to get your name out there so the phone can ring. Unfortunately, there was and in many cases still is, a general thought that any farrier that utilizes marketing or advertising must not be a very good farrier.
Ten years ago in this area of northern Indianapolis there were many large barns as well as a seemingly unlimited number of private farms. A nice mix of foxhunters, jumpers, eventers, dressage, and general pleasure horses kept many farriers busy. At the time it seemed like that would never change, but now with the continued expansion of housing many of the older large barns have been sold to developers and the hunt club has closed. There are still plenty of horses in the general area however the location is starting to shift. It is currently hard to say where the largest population of horses/horse owners will end up but it certainly won’t be the same.
For some of the long established farriers this has presented a problem of losing a lot of work they were used to having in these large barns that are now closed. While a farrier in the past could have a full schedule of barns within a half hour diameter and maybe only need to go to one or two barns a day that is quickly changing.
So, is marketing just for new farriers? I think it would be helpful first to consider what we mean by marketing. When we talk about marketing we are not just talking about advertising to get new clients. While gaining new clients can be a part of marketing it is not everything. A major part of marketing is guiding the perception of your business that the public has. Of course if the public has a good perception of our company then that can easily be leveraged to gain new clients if needed. For established farriers, many times we only need to maintain a good reputation and keep ourselves foremost in the minds of our clients, however there will always come a time for any long established farrier when there will be turnover in clientele, so we also need to be ready to attract and accept new clients.
With this different way of thinking about marketing combined with the current equine market in this area, I would suggest that even the most established farrier should be keeping up with at least basic modern business marketing practices such as a company facebook page and possibly a website.