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:
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.
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.
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.