Whether your farming or running any business, there are lots of free online marketing tools for farmers that can help you work more efficiently and add value in the “connection economy.” You may have heard of these, but here are some of the ones I use for online marketing.
Want to stay up to date on the latest trends in your industry? Then using Google Alerts is one of the best ways to keep informed of the things you care about. It’s real simple too. You set up alerts on the terms you want here and select how often you want them sent to your email address. Basically it does the search work for you by bringing relevant results to your inbox.
An example: One of the breeds I have worked with and especially like are Icelandic Sheep. So I created an alert on Google to send me weekly updates on the term “icelandic sheep.” So not only will news about the breed appear in my inbox, sometimes posts like this from Craigslist appear too. Now if I was in the market to buy some lambs, this would have been perfect timing.
I also set up an alert on my brand ADK Farmer Dan and I would suggest you do the same with your business name. That way you can monitor where your farm or business name is popping up in news, blogs, and social media. You never know who might be talking about you! Hopefully its useful information you can share and build upon.
Spread the Word
Want an exclusive way to keep customers and prospects up-to-date on your farm or business? A great way to keep your base informed and engaged is with MailChimp (the free version). There are literally hundreds of email marketing services out there, but I find that MailChimp is very user-friendly and quite a perfect fit for the small to medium-sized business. I use it exclusively for sending out new posts to my blog subscribers. It’s anti-spam compliant and easy for anyone to opt-out at anytime.
MailChimp has worked out very well so far and they continue to make improvements to the service to make it better for their customers, both paid and freemium users.
Simply Ask to Share
Lastly, this free online marketing tool is not really a tool but more of a method.
An example: I’m subscribed to several e-newsletters, one of which is the Cornell Small Farms Journal. Recently they asked “if you have any news that you’d like to share with us, please forward it to our email.” So that’s what I did. Sure as their word, in their next e-newsletter there was a nice summary and link to the Adirondack Food Network.
We had lots of folks sign up as the result of that share which was really nice.
The moral: sometimes you really don’t need any tools at all to accomplish your goals. You just have to ask the folks who have websites or journals or e-newsletters to share news about your farm or business. The worst that could happen is a big, fat “NO.” But in my experience so far, most folks involved in agriculture are a positive and sharing bunch.
“Word of mouth” is still the best way for a farm or business to get promoted despite the growing number of tools and services in social media and online marketing.
I hope this was helpful to you and I’m always here to help with any questions.