For centuries the family farm has been the backbone of the global food market. Many farmers have lived their entire lives never selling their products to more than one or two customers. The internet has changed everything, including how consumers access their information. More family farms are finding opportunities to expand their reach beyond the local market.
Having a global consumer at your finger tips is both exciting and daunting. In order to grow and succeed in this internet economy digital marketing is essential. Family farm owners face the unique challenge of getting the word out on who they are and what they do on what often with little or no budget, digital marketing is a great way to reach consumers for lower investments.
Of all the digital options available to family farms these days there are a few strategies that should be part of every farmer’s marketing plan.
Optimize your website for mobile devices and Search engines
Having a website is essential in today’s economy, but if nobody can find your website then it is a wasted opportunity. Having a website that can be found by Google and other search engines will help you organically grow your consumer market.
70% of Canadian consumers will be on a mobile device when they find your website. If your pages are not set up with large enough font, scrolling (stacked) content, and buttons that can be clicked by a thumb, your visitors will leave the site. Often within 3 seconds.
Put your Farm on Instagram and Other Social Media
When used properly, social media is a highly effective tool and offers farms a great way to connect with consumers. Social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter have made it possible to reach people who are actively searching for information you have to offer. A consistent social media presence can increase the awareness of your farm almost immediately, and drive traffic to your website.
Build a list of subscribers for email marketing
Email marketing offers the highest return on investment of all digital marketing tactics. It is the most commonly used way to share news with your audience. Build a segmented list of people you would like to reach out to with great content.
Invest in marketing automation software
Finding time to market your family farm while performing all the day to day task which keep it running is a challenge. Marketing automation takes the repetitive task and automates them, giving you more time to work on other things.
Social media post scheduling
Webforms add leads to your CRM
Send a series of templated nurturing emails
Change lifecycle stage based on interactions with your content
Create workflows based on "if"___ "then" ___ statements.
Even the 5th generation family farm, which has been around for over a century, needs to keep introducing themselves to new consumers. New market opportunities are opening up daily thanks to the internet. Attending networking events like the Connected Farmer Virtual Trade Fair will help you meet new consumers in markets you could never reach in the past. Networking allows you to share your farm story and build a list of new consumers to sell your products to.
If the ideas in this article seem overwhelming or too much for your family farm to handle let us help you. Here at the Connected Farmer, we bridge the gap between gate to plate by creating opportunities for consumers and Canada's Agriculture Community to meet, mix and mingle.