Sign up for our Email Newsletter

My Focus...

"I want the family farm - the backbone of our country's heritage - to thrive and survive for future generations."

Articles/Press Releases

 

Best Marketing Ideas in 2013
By: Jane Eckert

Many of you attended conferences this past winter and were able to share your results of the 2013 season in terms of what worked and what didn’t. 

This is also a favorite question in my end of year survey, and thought I would share with you some of these replies just in case you weren’t able to get off the farm to get your ‘personal battery’ recharged.

These aren’t necessarily new or big ideas, but they work and they take just a little additional time to implement, while making a significant difference in revenues.

  1. Participate in a partnership.  One farm partnered with their local YMCA in their maze design and received some significant media attention for doing so.  They felt the group affiliation also brought them more new customers.  Many non-profit organizations are looking for ways to expand their reach and visibility in their community, and including their logo as part of your maze design can be a win: win for both of you.
  2. Place a farm sign/billboard at the local arena, rodeo, or ball field.  Getting our message off the farm with signage at places where people gather is an ideal way to expand your brand without a lot of dollars being spent.
  3. Appear as one of several farms with a local weekend trail event.  Many areas are now working together to bring more people to their rural area through county or regional events.  Wine trails are a prime example. Be sure to participate in one of these, if you are asked, because bringing more people to your area will not only help you but the entire region become recognized with tourism operators.
  4. Utilize Facebook advertising.  Facebook Advertising can be used successfully to expand awareness for the farm and bring in more customers. It may take some time to learn about the Facebook advertising program, but it can be worth your time.  It’s all online for your study, and their advertising program allows you to target viewers very specifically by age, sex and zip code.
  5. Use FREE coupons and offers to build traffic on traditionally slower weekends. Most farms need a minimum of staff just to open their doors.  Therefore, offering customer incentives to come early, stay late etc.to increase your daily attendance is often worth the free exchange.  Once you get the customers on to the grounds then they will purchase your products and eat your food concessions.
  6. Use special programs to show appreciation for military families.  Several farms had appreciation days and discounts for military families.  These discounts are welcomed by the military families and word seems to spread about this gesture. Farms that are near military bases place signs and flyers visible to target these families.
  7. Use your Farmers’ Market stand to tell more customers about the farm and activities.   Many of you participate at a local market but don’t always take advantage of getting these customers out to the farm. Talk up your farm—hand out flyers, maps, coupons etc. to tell your story. 
  8. Participate in a PAID AD TV program that markets the region.  One farm indicated that they had this unique opportunity for a regional broadcast.  The production company did seven minute segments on each business.  A camera crew came to the farm to obtain the footage and showcase what they offered.  This farm reports that phone calls were started coming in before the program had even finished airing.
  9. Try QR Codes.  Farms reported that QR codes on farm signage to “Like” the farm on Facebook doubled these farms followers this year.  Most all farms report Facebook to be a very important media to tout the offerings of the farm on a frequent basis.
  10. Direct mail, once the standard for information distribution, was brought back by a farm, and they reported much success.  Going straight into the home via the mail allowed the farm to spread the word about upcoming special events and crops.  Sometimes the best idea can be the old idea!

You will notice that only a few of these ideas involved the Internet. It seems to me that we have all gotten a bit carried away with using the newest and fastest Internet tools, when, in fact, many of the old standards can still work for you. Maybe it’s time to dust off some of your old traditional ideas and give them a try again this year.

Jane Eckert, a national speaker, author and agritourism expert, is principal of Eckert AgriMarketing (www.eckertagrimarketing.com), a firm that helps farmers sell products directly to consumers and develop their operations into tourist destinations, and Farm Web Design, an Internet marketing firm specializing in agritourism farm websites.  She is also CEO of RuralBounty.com, a consumer based directory of agritourism farms in North America. Jane can be reached by phone 314-862-6288 or at jane@eckertagrimarketing.com