Why You Need to Market Your Farm/Ranch For Long Term Success

6-23-14marketing

Market or Die?

This post will seem like a rant to some people, and quite honestly it is.

We’ve got a problem as small family farms and ranches. We aren’t good at marketing. We aren’t that great at selling either. We are good at caring for our livestock, our families, our crops and our land. But, if we want to continue to live and work on the farm, we need to get serious about our marketing. All good marketing starts with that scary word, advertising.

If you ask a group of small family farmers “who is the best marketer you know?” I’m guessing 99% would say Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms. I don’t disagree.

The reason Polyface has had so much success is due to Joel’s passion, speaking ability and the fact that he is a highly effective communicator. Think about it. Thousands of other people, just like you and me, are using his farming practices, but we aren’t nearly as successful as Polyface Farms. Why, I ask?

To me, the answer is clear, it’s marketing. Which, I define as the ability to educate, inspire and motivate people to buy.

Most people (myself included for a period of time) thought marketing was a dirty word. Something only evil corporations took part in. I’m here to tell you, that belief is simply wrong.

It’s our moral obligation as stewards of the earth to become not just good marketers, but great marketers. Without marketing, how will our communities support us? How will that mom, who is desperately searching for healthier food, be able to find it if we don’t shout from the rooftops, “Here we are! Come over here, we have exactly what you need!”?

Most of us are “too busy” or “don’t want to learn a new profession” or “don’t have the time.” Those are all excuses. We are the hardest working people in the world, we don’t make excuses, we get the job done. Period.

So I’m challenging you to make a commitment and improve your marketing, which all starts with…

Advertising

Here comes that evil word again, advertising! Many people dislike advertising, myself included (sometimes). However, if someone is advertising products or services that I’m interested in, I appreciate them spending money to reach out to me. Thanks to Facebook (which is another “evil” in the mind of so many) we can now target our advertising to people who have specifically expressed interest in certain topics, which relate to what it is we are selling. The power of this should not be underestimated, or disregarded.

For example, let’s say you produce pastured eggs that are on a soy-free, gmo-free and corn-free feed ration.

Next, you head over to Facebook, and target people within 20 miles of your farm who are between the ages of 25-45. You scroll down a bit, select “Weston A. Price” foundation in the “Interests” category and take out the ad for your pasture-raised chicken eggs.

You know that:

1. Weston A. Price people LOVE pastured meat, dairy and egg prodcuts

2. You know that you are reaching people most likely to have kids, ages 25-45

3. You are only advertising to people within 20 miles of your farm

4. Your advertisement is highly targeted, increasing the odds of success

We need to realize that if we want to compete with the “big boys” we need to be proactive. We need to market (educate, motivate, compel) people. There is nothing wrong with it, in fact, we are fulfilling our duty by letting our community know that we have healthy, humanely raised food that doesn’t destroy the earth. In fact, we are regenerating it!

As I said, my challenge to you is to start advertising and marketing your farm more aggressively. If you are an honest person (which you probably are if you are reading this blog), then you have nothing to fear. There is nothing wrong with advertising your products.

Right now, I’m creating a very detailed course on farm marketing. What are some things you’d like me to include? Also, what have been your most successful marketing experiences? Let me know in the comments below.

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