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

Articles/Press Releases

After the Fall

By Jane Eckert

For some of you the fall season and October 31 brings the farm to a close.  However, for many more of you the farm market season extends until the end of the year holidays.  Let’s consider some easy marketing ideas that you can do now while you are still enjoying the large crowds of October to increase your revenues the last two months of the year.

Your fall season customers are just the people that you want to return in November and December, but often, they don’t even know that you are open after Halloween nor do they know what you offer them after the fall.

Marketing ideas to implement now!

  1. Make sure every customer leaves with an insert in their bag telling them about your hours and events the final two months of the year.   Be sure they know the variety of things you offer, such as free-range turkeys, pies baked to order-or ready to bake, Christmas gifts, and Christmas trees and wreaths.  Do you offer free hot chocolate or apple cider to shoppers?   I don’t see the big box stores offering that kind of customer appreciation!
  1. Provide coupons at your checkout for a return visit with an offer good for November and one for December. You make the offer to suit yourself and the redemption period can be for a specific week, a stated month, or good until December 31.
  1. Create a prominent sign up station so you can obtain their email addresses for future e-newletters. Whether you have already committed to an email newsletters or not, now is a great time to get started collecting their email addresses.  Let them know you’ll be sending out special offers in just a few weeks. 

  2. Increase your number of Facebook followers by creating your own QR code that could be prominently displayed on signs around the farm.  Smartphone users are increasingly using QR codes to LIKE you on Facebook.  The simplest way to get started with this is to go to  www.qrcode.kaywa.com. You can get your QR code at this site and then find out how to link it to your Facebook page.

The next ideas fall under a category we call “cross-seasonal marketing,” which means you want to feature what will happen and what is available at the farm the next two months.

  1. Such as, if you are a Christmas tree farm or even if you just have a tree lot, put up a decorated Christmas tree now with a sign giving the dates of when they will be available.  The tree could even have small ornaments for the taking that includes a coupon offer. Many of your fall season customers may not even know that you offer fresh, live Christmas trees. 

  2. Be creative with your ideas to cross promote your other Christmas products and events.  If you offer any special event with Santa during the holidays, consider having someone  dress up during a late October weekend as Mrs. Santa.  She can greet the children and tell them Santa is busy in the workshop now but she is here to let them know that Santa will be visiting the farm on specific dates.

  3. If you offer any type of classes at Christmas—whether it is wreath making, holiday appetizers or pairing wine with you Christmas meal--preview it during the end of October.

  4. Create a sampling station for your pumpkin pies.  Why? Get people to sign up if they want to be contacted to purchase your pies for their Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner.  You may even be able to take advance orders now with a special offer.  Be creative here because our bakeries are often the biggest revenue producers for the holiday seasons.

We all know that there can be a big let-down in our staff starting November 1 because of the rapid decline in activity and customers. While sales during the final two months of the year might not ever equal our October sales, we still must make every effort to grow these revenues. The best method to increase these sales is to get your October customer to come back and visit you again the last two months of the year. 

For many farms, the failure to get our October customers to return in November and December is simply because you didn’t tell them what you offer or that you are even open.  Our marketing efforts get so focused on the fall that we often neglect the final two months of the year.  Don’t let this happen to you.  Put on your thinking cap now and get the benefit of your big weekend crowds to return again in 2013.

Jane Eckert is the founder of Eckert AgriMarketing (www.eckertagrimarketing.com), a full-service marketing and public relations firm that helps farmers to sell directly to consumers, diversify operations and become tourist destinations. She is also CEO of www.RuralBounty.com, a search directory for agritourism farms and ranches in North America. Jane can be reached at 314-862-6288 or you may email her directly.