Putting Your Farm On The Map
In order for you to succeed as a small farm business, your products or services must be known to potential buyers. Without the awareness that marketing your farm creates, your products may go unseen, or worse, unsold. The goal of your farm is to produce healthy food for your community, and to support you and your family by doing something that you love. By using marketing to promote your products, you give your business that exposure it needs to increase sales, survive, and flourish.
Today’s businesses are thriving by building communities around their products and their brands. Building a community starts with you. You build a reputation around your brand through involvement in your community, producing quality products, and educating the consumer about what you do differently and well. Farm Marketing can help you become a name and a face that people can trust.
It is easy for a consumer to go to their local grocery store and buy something that looks exactly like what you are selling, but at a cheaper price. Farm marketing is primarily education based. You need to educate the customer as to why you are better. Make the name of your farm synonymous with health, quality, and a better life. Let people know why they are spending $5 for a dozen eggs and not $1.29. After all, they often look exactly the same on the outside.
Increase Sales Organically and Sustainably
Marketing your farm puts you on the map and builds your reputation. That gets people talking. Word of mouth marketing is the strongest and highest quality marketing there is. When customers find out about your products and feel loyal to you, word will spread.
Repeat customers will increase your bottom line in a number of ways. Firstly, through the products or services they buy. Next is through the friends they recommend to you through word of mouth marketing (which costs you nothing). And finally, there is the decreased time and money you will have to spend to get new customers. I know several CSAs that, after years of marketing properly, now have waiting lists and do not have to work as hard to get customers. They got those customers through marketing their farm, and they kept them by providing a superior product.
Healthy Competition Between Farmers
The end goal of sustainable farming is to have the world’s population fed and happy without destroying the Earth. Your farm marketing efforts help foster an atmosphere of competition in the slow food marketplace. Competition is healthy no matter what type of business you’re talking about. Competition allows prices to remain fair, it forces businesses to re-invent themselves to the betterment of the customer, and it gives farms/businesses/companies of all sizes room to grow.
Lots of Work Now, Cheaper and Easier Marketing Later
Marketing takes a lot of effort up front. No one ranks #1 in Google the first day their website is online. No farm starts with 300 CSA members knocking on their door waiting for them to open. Not every value added producer has a line around the corner at the farmers’ market they first time they show up. With time, your hard work will pay off by way of increased sales and decreased required effort.
Websites require a lot of work to get up and running. They can be costly to initially build, they take time to populate with quality content, and they take even more time to be found in search engines. However, all that hard work only has to be done once. Once your website is up and running, you do not need to rebuild it, unless you choose to redesign. Once all your information is there, all you have to worry about is keeping it up to date.
Unless your CSA is terrible, you will probably have a lot of repeat customers. You will not have to spend as much time and money advertising to get customers, but you still have to get there in the first place. Once you have them there, it is up to you to produce a superior product and a superior experience. Remember that when a customer is joining a CSA, they often are not just doing it for the food. They want to know what goes on behind the scenes. That is part of the experience. Update them through newsletters, face to face interaction, your website, or social media.
Start Marketing Your Farm Today
The worst type of marketing is no marketing. Start small, think big, and don't get overwhelmed. Good luck and have fun.