Many farmers and agricultural businesses are trying to get on the online marketing and social media hay wagon – while others don’t have time to do any marketing at all. In either case, I’ve put together a list of some online marketing tips for farmers and other direct-sale local food businesses to help you get started on the right path. Let me know if you have any questions or comments.
Online marketing tips for farmers
The most important thing to understand is this: Websites, Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Email Newsletters, Google Analytics, etc… – these are just tactics and tools. Just because you have them live online does not guarantee you are doing online marketing or being successful at it. It’s just like a painter with a canvas and a brush is not guaranteed to be making good art. The painter needs a muse, a plan, and a strategy to make it work and so do you. You have a brand, a story and you need a strategy to plan. All the tactics listed above will be much more effective and fun to do if they are coordinated under the guidance of a well-planned strategy.
Make the tactics work for you, not the other way around
I think this is what happens to some who say they have no time for marketing. At one stage they did have time for marketing but they were not making the tactics work for them. They executed random tactics that didn’t yield anything. It became a chore with no results and I totally understand why. It goes back to the old saying: “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” And the same is true for online marketing. If you want to market your farm like a business (which I think you should), your marketing starts first and foremost with defining goals. This is where you and I can sit down and do some planning. After that we can survey which tactics will be most effective in reaching these goals and then we get to put the plan into action. Sound good? Read on.
What are your goals?
It all starts with goals. Create a set of goals based on what you want to achieve. These can be sales numbers, new target markets to attract, or even a product launch. Try to define three goals for the year then work backwards. Using a “best case scenario,” outline every step that needs to take place in order to reach that goal.
So taking sales for example, identify how many additional customers you need in order to hit that number. Let’s say you’ve identified X number of additional customers and now need to decide “how am I going to get them?” For getting eyeballs to your brand, hearts tied to your story and eventually, cash to your bank account, there is nothing better than the web. If you want to attract new customers, it starts with your website.
Have a professional looking, up to date website?
First impressions are the most important thing and new visitors will assume that if your website is old and outdated, then so is your farm or local business. Think of your website as a mirror image of your brand. If it’s not professional looking, easy to navigate, and updated from time to time, new customers have no reason at all to revisit you and you’re not giving them a good reason to patronize your business. They will most likely forget about you and that’s a lost opportunity happening every day, every week and every month that your site goes unloved. You nurture the soil and nurture your livestock, right? Well you have to nurture your website too! It’s the MOST important piece of marketing real estate that you own.
Have a Facebook page for your farm?
I know many marketers will tell you Facebook is the silver bullet for online marketing but I’m going to rain a little bit on that parade. It does work, but you have to understand it’s limitations. On your Facebook page you’re only preaching to the converted. Your 50 or 5000 likes are most likely existing customers. They already know your brand so what are you doing to attract NEW folks? I can tell you there are better ways to use Facebook to 1. get more customers and 2. increase the value of your current customers. Just contact me below. Plus, are you measuring the engagement and tracking the activities that occur as a result of your Facebook posts? At some point, you or someone should be measuring this to make sure what you’re doing is effective.
Are you taking advantage of all the FREE online resources available?
I know that times are tough, but that shouldn’t stop you from getting the maximum exposure your business deserves online. Plus, if you know where to look, there are dozens of FREE websites you can use to help you get found by the new customers you seek. Farmers are already Jacks-n-Jills of many trades, but I from what I see, online marketing is not one of them. You can’t afford not to do some type of marketing these days. Online marketing is by far the most cost-effective form available. So really there’s no excuse for you and your story to get out there. You owe it to your new customers! Want to learn how?
Let me help you reach your goals
The tips I offered here are really just scratching the surface of what I normally bring to my clients. I have over 10 years of online marketing experience and I would love to put my experience to work for you on your next project. Whether you want to learn new ways to use Facebook and your email newsletters to attract new customers or you want to have a profession looking website that showcases your brand and beautiful products with stunning photography, I can help you. No project too big or too small. Always a FREE consultation and for local folks, I will do barter & trade. Oh what joy, the day I am paid in bacon & eggs (or anything else of course).“
Put 12 years of Online Marketing experience to work for your business!
Contact me today for a free consultation. I’d love to hear more about your business.
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