How to Start a CSA Days 15 through 21

The more I dig the more I notice an ebb and flow with every kind of marketing. There is one constant however. Relationship marketing. The relationships you form throughout life and throughout the life of you farm are going to prove to you while life is worth living and why farming is a great career. In addition to a host of varied topics I cover a lot of relationship marketing this week. It is really starting to pay off as those shares start to come in and the season is starting to warm up. I cannot wait to see where it goes.

I use Facebook a lot in my marketing. Even with the recent revelations (as you'll see in a later video) where Facebook has been doing some dirty things with how it makes money, I still find it a good way to connect with my customers. This video is geared toward people who have or have thought about using Facebook. There is a certain combination of content that works best for us farmers and I give some examples besides my own.

Following through applies in so many areas of life. From baseball, to golf, to farming, you need follow through. What does that mean? Following through with farm marketing means tracking your results, staying in touch with your audience, and in this case I went back to check on my fliers and see how they were doing and if they were attracting any business.

I have now scheduled workshops at local schools, a nature center, and more. Getting in front of people, not just to sell mind you, is important as a step to making friends and establishing relationships in your community. The more good you put out into the world the more that will come back to you.

I mentioned a little earlier that I use Facebook a lot. Well I recently found this video, Facebook Fraud, and I've been doing some digging. It turns out that Facebook has been doing some pretty sketchy stuff. Even with that there are a lot of benefits from being on Facebook. This only means that you shouldn't invest in a certain type of marketing. You're being honest, open, and establishing relationships so you have nothing to worry about!

My farm website has been critical in my farm marketing so farm. I love when people are prepped with knowledge about myself and my farm so that we can cut the small talk and dig in a little deeper. This helped recently as a newspaper reporter contacted me and kept saying, "Don't worry, I know. I already read your website." It was a great feeling.

I have been in Home Depot, out hanging up fliers, or out with my family and I always wear a farm t-shirt. You never know when or where it will come in handy. Even if you run out of business cards you can have them take a picture of your logo.

We keep crop records, plan grazing rotation, and do budgets. Why not do the same for marketing. I only want to plan this once, so I am going to be busy tracking my progress so that I cna replicate the good stuff in the future, and cut out the bad stuff.

Stay Connected

Like me on Facebook: Every day I re-post the YouTube videos on Facebook with some exclusive content on what else I did on the farm that day.

Subscribe to my YouTube Channel: Every day I post a new video in the evening after Mabel goes to sleep. That’s when I have a little computer time.

Visit the Hub: I will be keeping all of this content organized at the How to Start a CSA hub on FMS.

How to Start a CSA Days 8 Through 14

While I did a few things to continue to build my marketing infrastructure this week I did start to put the farm's name out there and gain interest. The following videos highlight the strategies I used this week to work towards filling out my CSA. Not every day focuses on selling. I have accomplished a lot while marketing my farm. It's a necessity after all that I grow the products in order to sell them. It's obvious for me to say that growing and marketing go hand-in-hand but I have found that a lot of farmers tend to ignore the marketing part. That is the goal of this series, to highlight farm marketing as a necessary part of business, but to do it in a way where everything else gets done on the farm as it should.

I have a lot planned for the coming weeks. I find great joy in meeting and interacting with other people. Marketing my farm helps me meet new faces and learn new names. It just so happens that those faces and names become customers and support the farm through their purchases. You are not just building a customer base, you are building a community.

Shares sold:

Full: 8

Half: 1

Fliers are an effective way to grab a potential customers' attention. There are some easy tips and tricks that you can use to make them more effective. Since initially hanging up some fliers I have gone back to check and there are tabs missing. Some customers have contacted me and I am waiting for more. I will let you know how it goes as the weeks roll on. Have you tried hanging fliers? Where would you go to hang them?

Local businesses can benefit each other in so many ways. I share a guerrilla marketing strategy for finding other local businesses to work with. You should always look for the win-win-win in any situation. A win for you, a win for the other business, and most importantly a win for the customer. What local businesses are around you that serve the same demographic as you?

The focus of this week has been building community. I will be building community through all of my marketing. When you extend a helping hand instead of an asking hand you will get more in return. It's counter-intuitive but it works. What can you do to benefit others and may (or may not) directly help your business? Build relationships not because it is good business, but because you are a good person and friends and family are important.

Creating a logo or video is easy if you have a design background, but if you don't here's a cheap solution. I have used a number of times to much success. The intro and outro for all these videos came from Fiverr. The point is that all you need is an idea and $5 and you can get many services that you might not be able to provide yourself. What design project have you been putting off that could be solved with $5?

Local bloggers have become a great source of marketing for food-related businesses (like farms). Reaching out to these people and starting a relationship can benefit you and them in several ways. Since creating this video the owner of has contacted me and is coming to the farm to see for their self what is happening on the farm. They are also adding me to the site. I will continue to search for websites to network with. the more relationships I build the more businesses I can recommend and the more that can recommend me. Remember the "win-win-win". What blogs cover food topics in your area that would benefit from befriending you?

If you are planning on any on-farm sales it is essential that you register with Google Places. This will help people find you on Google Maps, plain and simple. Google is the most powerful search engine and working within their system to increase your farms' visibility is a good thing. I take you through all the steps in this video. What does your listing on Google Maps look like?

The video intro that I sent out for earlier in the week came back in. It is simple, professional, and fits my branding. I will incorporate it with my video branding in the future. More on that in the weeks to come. If a picture is worth 1000 words, what is a video worth? Are you prepared to do video for your farm?

Stay Connected

Like me on Facebook: Every day I re-post the YouTube videos on Facebook with some exclusive content on what else I did on the farm that day.

Subscribe to my YouTube Channel: Every day I post a new video in the evening after Mabel goes to sleep. That’s when I have a little computer time.

Visit the Hub: I will be keeping all of this content organized at the How to Start a CSA hub on FMS.

How to Start a CSA Days 1 - 7

The first week of my CSA marketing was spent primarily on setting up my sales infrastructure. The same way you wouldn't buy cows without buying any fence, or plant vegetables without buying seeds or preparing bed space, you marketing needs preparation as well.

CSA shares sold:

Full: 7

Half: 1

Below are the videos from the first week of CSA marketing.

There are many ways that you can market your farm. Having a diverse marketing strategy is as important as maintaining diversity on your farm. If you only count on one ting to bring you all of your business you are not prepared when that one thing falls through.

I have also found over time that people digest information in different ways. Some people read bulletin boards, some people just walk right by, some people spend half their day on Facebook, some people don't have accounts. You get my point. The thing is, everyone needs to eat. Defining your target demographic and then strategically planning different marketing strategies to advertise to them is an important first step.

Creating a marketing timeline will help keep you on track. The effort you spend up front to create a timeline will pay off when you don't have to think of "what do I do next?" You already know.

I create timelines for my pasture rotation, planting schedule, and other business objectives. Having a marketing timeline ensures that my CSA marketing is an important part of my day and I dedicate time to it.

I found that setting goals when I am doing anything is important to keep me focused and on track. Without a goal there is nothing to shoot for, and you don't know when or how you are progressing. SMART goals will help keep your marketing where it should be.

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Timely

You e-mail list will become your business year to year. I already have a jump start on my CSA marketing because I put effort into creating my e-mail list in the past. These are people that have given you a hugely valuable way to get in touch with them. With access to e-mail on computers and on cell phones it has become the best way to reach some people. Think of how often you are near someone that hears their phone beep and checks it because "it might be important". Just think, you could be that e-mail and that sale of your farm goods could be what's important.

Having a  farm website to handle the information and sales for your farm is a very valuable thing. How many times have you had the same conversation, "we grow this, it's available at these times, here's a picture of the farm, etc..." Putting all of that information online doesn't take the place of that conversation, rather it prepares the customer for a conversation with you where you are already one step closer to the sale.

We live in a digital age, and if you aren't willing to adapt you are going to have a tough time competing with those who have adapted. This is one area of farming where technology has worked wonders with no foreseeable negative effect.

I got my very first CSA member on the first CSA I started in a new town from Facebook. No lie. Since that day I have used Facebook and YouTube in conjunction with my farm website to engage with my customers, build value into my products, and increase customer retention.

As a farmer I found that my target demographic is mainly on Facebook and YouTube. I also use Instagram to take photos, add fun filters to them, and then share them to Facebook.

Registering your farm with websites like Local Harvest and Real Time Farms increases your exposure online and also helps with Search Engine Optimization. Both sites are free to join and help people find you. Why not do it?

Thanks for Following

I have had a lot of fun doing this project so far. It's more work creating a video a day but I am getting more efficient every day. At the end of it all I'm planning on putting a tutorial together on how to easily create YouTube videos like the ones I am creating here so that you can add video into your marketing efforts as well. YouTube is the second largest search engine online, so it certainly helps with website traffic.

Stay Connected

Like me on Facebook: Every day I re-post the YouTube videos on Facebook with some exclusive content on what else I did on the farm that day.

Subscribe to my YouTube Channel: Every day I post a new video in the evening after Mabel goes to sleep. That's when I have a little computer time.

Visit the Hub: I will be keeping all of this content organized at the How to Start a CSA hub on FMS.