From time to time, I will call my clients and see how their business is moving along, particularly if I haven’t heard from them in a while. I have to say that when they tell me about how much growth or success they have seen after implementing my services and strategies, it is like seeing your favorite rock star come up to you and pat you on the back as if you have been friends forever. I know, E X C I T I N G…to say the least. Forrest Hall Farm is one of those clients, that I can call after promoting and event under cover and they come back and say we had our best opening day! Their Facebook page doubled in likes over the year, their visits to the farm and shop increased by 30%. Even their slow days were better attended. Their e-mail list that didn’t’ exist before, now has over 190 local patrons that signed up to get their information! What’s really cool, is that when they send out an e-mail, no one leaves the list. They want the information they are sharing.
Today’s blog is focused on just that: small agricultural business. Heck, just say it…YOUR local farmers. Farmers want to work the land, they do not want to fiddle-faddle with computers or the “inter webs”. However, the smart farmer knows that technology is growing and other farmers are going to be on the web too. They just want to get their fresh, organic tasty foods into the bellies of their community to help them live better, healthier lives. So here are a few tips that can help the less technologically inclined farmer to entice and automate some processes to get the word out to their community about what is going on at their farm.
A Marketing Calendar. Say, what?? I know…I know…but you have to do it. I compare it to keeping a farmer’s almanac. You know what is going to happen each month or even each week on your farm. Almost everything you do is a teachable event to the DIY’er that is interested in sustainable living. This is where your How To’s can be showcased through a step-by-step blog post with pictures or better yet a YouTube video.
A Website with a Blog Feed. Seeing as I just mentioned a blog post, the only way to really do that is have a website that has a blog function. WordPress has two ways of making this happen. The first is through a wordpress.com site or a “self-hosted” WordPress site that uses wordpress.org information to work. The blog platforms that come to mind most are Google’s Blogger, Tumblr, and LiveJournal. It’s funny, I remember LiveJournal from way back in the new days of personal websites. I want to say, I first saw it when a friend of mine was keeping her creative writing and poems on there. Anywhoooo, since these are social media platforms you should do your research as to which one will be the best place for you to keep your audience captivated.
SEO. Search Engine Optimization isn’t what it used to be about anymore. It is organic just like your corn, and you have to change with your audience and change with the times. It is a fine science and some people make a ton of money of you not knowing what to do and not knowing what kind of results to expect. I can help you understand just enough to keep you from getting taken over by those guys.
E-mail Lists. You have e-mail, you subscribe to newsletters to get information. Well, why can’t your patrons? This is the best, most efficient, effective way to communicate your next event, your next product release, your next holiday well wishes, your next coupon, ANYTHING. The thing with e-mail is there are SPAM laws and you want to find a reputable company to support and protect those precious and private e-mail lists. I love my e-mail lists. Why are they great? because the information that you want your patron to see, they get right on their computer when they go look! If you post information into social media land, well, it can get lost or not seen at all. Bad ju-ju.
The Right Social Media. Facebook, Google, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn, SnapChat, Vine, blah blah blah….Where are you spending most of your time online? ARE you spending any time online? Let’s just say you don’t spend any time online, but you are interested in knowing how much time you need to spend online. Well, that all depends on how active you want to be and what your goals for using social media are. We can go into that in deeper detail, but it really comes down to having a great social media marketing plan.
Cultivate the Crop. Results will vary, but the best thing to do is slow down, stick to your plan, measure results, adapt and change to the audience that is actively involved with your farm. You can expect to see real change in as little as three months. The best results come around six months to a year later when everything you have done over an entire year can be analyzed!
The best part about having each of these tools for your farming business is they can all be integrated and tied together to make a more productive time online. That means more time for the chickens and crops and less time in front of that computer screen. I do recommend that if you aren’t going to be the one actively on social media that you dedicate one person to being there for you.
That’s it for now. Get a marketing plan, get a marketing calendar, get a website with a blog, optimize it for search, sign-up for your social media platform, create an e-mail list, and be actively promoting online. Then go back and measure your results! I know it sounds all very easy when I just type it out like that, right? If you need help just call me at 240-504-5091.