What’s Your Sign?

Five years ago this month I moved to the North Fork of Long Island. At the end of my street is a horse farm, the North Shore Horse Rescue at Gold Rush Farms. It was founded in 2002 and rescued its first horse in 2003. I am certain in the last 5 years I have driven by it at least 2,738 times and walked past it at least 200 times.

Guess what they got a couple of weeks ago?

Sign at the North Shore Horse Rescue at Gold Rush Farms

Image: Mansfield E.

A sign at the entrance to the farm.

The sign has the name of the organization, a brochure holder and states the following:

All Visitors Welcome

• Meet our horses and know their stories

• Feed the horses — treats available

• Inquire about volunteer opportunities

• Inquire about upcoming events

• Purchase cage-free eggs

You know what this means. It is time for me to get out the marketing megaphone. Marketing inspiration is everywhere but this has to be one of my most favorite examples so far.

Questions answered

To recap, I have driven and/or walked by thousands of times. Thousands of times I have wondered whether the farm welcomes visitors; whether we are allowed to feed the horses; whether they need volunteers. I’ll be honest, I never wondered about eggs but that is just because I have never seen or heard a chicken there.

Elizabeth Mansfield

Elizabeth Mansfield

As soon as I read the sign all my questions — and more — were answered. I did not have to bother anyone in the barn. I didn’t have to wonder. There was no need to go online and search for North Shore Horse Rescue FAQs. Everything I needed to know was right there on a big, easy-to-read sign.

I would like to point out the questions they answered were truly frequently asked questions, not a bunch of public relations spin. I know because I had asked all those questions for years.

I would also point out the sign highlights the horses have stories. If you read my June 2014 column, you know how important stories are in marketing. What a great idea it was to list that first on the sign. Entice people to come in, meet the horses and learn their stories.

Make it simple

Do you have a sign? If it says only “orthotics,” “prosthetics,” “pedorthics,” or “mastectomy” — words that can be hard to spell, difficult to pronounce and often confusing — you may not be reaching your potential customers. What about a simple sign that defines the services you provide? Do you accept donations of old or used devices? Do you provide after-hours care? Do you sell eggs? By “eggs” I mean things that people have no idea that you sell: canes, crutches, walkers, wheelchairs or ramps? Do you give tours or presentations? When my children, Jennings and Eloise, were little, their classes frequently came to my office for show and tell.

I don’t usually give assignments at the end of the column but this is too simple an idea to pass up. Using the North Shore Horse Rescue sign as your template, think of some business highlights that you could put on a sign. Be succinct but provide enough information so that I, as a potential customer, would want to visit your business. When you have come up with some ideas, let me know. Email me at elizabeth@askelizabeth.net.

Elizabeth Mansfield is the president of Outsource Marketing Solutions. She can be reached at elizabeth@askelizabeth.net.

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