How to write a great horse for sale ad
16 March 2016
I came across a post the other day that went something like this: “I can’t believe that my lovely Diego is still for sale. He’s such a superstar horse!”
And the comments from her friends all agreed with how wonderful the horse was, and what shame she was selling him, and what a great asset he would be for the new rider. Then someone asked how much he was advertised for, and this was the reply:
“$60,000. He’d make a super ARC horse or school master for a teenager.”
It seemed immediately so obvious to me why she was not getting the kind of inquires she wanted in order to find the horse a new home (in fact, she admitted to having no inquiries at all). Did you pick it up too?
There’s a HUGE disconnect between the price point and the description.
Don’t get me wrong- I am not saying that the owner was being deceitful, and I’m not making a judgement on the value of the horse.
It’s just that how many ARC riders do you know who have spent $60,000 on their current horse?
So just how do you write ad copy (that’s the technical term for “writing that sells”) to do your horse justice, and find the best new home for him that you possibly can?
1. Know who your horse is.
This might sound a bit weird, but just really who is your horse? What are his faults as well as his assets? What is his history? Where is he at right now, and what are your reasons for wanting to sell him on?
Write all this down in a notebook, really get all the details out and create a profile for who he is.
2. Know who you ideally want to buy him.
This part is key- knowing who your horse is is important, but this is the step that so many people seem to miss out on.
What you want to do, is imagine the perfect person to come and buy your horse. Take a sheet of paper again, give this person a name, an age, and then ask yourself- what’s important to them? What kind of horse are they looking for? What have they done in the past- is this their first horse? Have they ridden and competed at a high level for years? What are they scared or worried about? What do they really want?
Use your imagination. Build a profile of the perfect person you want to come and try your horse, someone you know will not only be a right fit for him, but will also gain the most from the partnership as well.
(hint: when selling kids ponies and horses, your ideal person will be the mother- because ultimately she will be the one making the buying decision, not the 6 year old girl! So, think about what she wants, what that mother is looking for…)
3. Write your horses for Sale ad copy.
The next step is, using the two profiles you have created, to craft your ad copy. The trick is to write it as if you are telling your story directly to your ideal person you described in step 2. Address their concerns, highlight the features your horse has that they are seeking. Make a point of the things that they would find important.
Remember- any potential buyer doesn’t really care about you, or what you have achieved. All they want to know is how this horse is going to be the perfect fit for them.
A good opening paragraph might follow the outline of:
“If you are a rider who is —–
and you are tired of always —–,
If you would rather be —–
Then (name) is the horse for you.”
As an example, if we were selling an older, experienced medium level school master and I wanted him to go to someone who will simply enjoy him and do some lower level stuff with, and I know he is safe as houses- then I might write the opening paragraph like this:
“If you are a rider who has had their confidence shaken in the past,
and you are tired of trying to correct or re-train other people’s mistakes out of your horses,
if you would rather be able to feel confident and safe if you are riding in an arena or out on the trails, on a horse who has all the buttons installed already,
Then Freddy is the horse for you.”
It might sound a bit “flowery”- but how many of you reading this description who maybe are a bit nervous, or tired of taking on green horses, had their interest piqued?
The key to selling anything, including horses, is to understand who you are wanting to sell it to, and knowing why your horse is the best solution to their problems.
Once you know that, it becomes a lot easier to write ad copy that catches the right people’s eye, that makes them stop and think, that encourages them to pick up the phone and call you to come out and visit.
Targeting your ad to people you want to sell the horse to, will help you avoid the time wasters, the tire kickers, and the kind of people who turn up and then offer you half what he’s advertised for!
Next time you are ready to move your horse on to his next home, try this simple three step exercise to help you write a far more effective ad, saving you time, and finding the best home you possibly can for your horse.