Summer is not the time to skimp on promoting your herd for potential income. If anything, you should advertise even more now. Start with free and easy sources and build awareness of what you have to offer. The following are 11 tips to help you.
- Word-of-Mouth Turns up the Volume
Experts say that word-of-mouth is 10 times more effective than other marketing tools such as advertising, special events, and direct mail. Always, always, always keep friends, family, neighbors, and others up to speed on what you have to offer in the marketplace. Are you putting up new facilities? Are family members winning on the show circuit? Have you raised your production levels? Is your farm winning production awards? Are you promoting bio-security or green protocols? Give people something to talk about. Better yet share it on Facebook and let it go viral.
Every person who sets foot on your property as friend, acquaintance, business supplier or animal handler, should be able to see a sign with each animal letting them know who it is and why they are special. Think about it. If you are starting into genomics, polled cattle or red genetics, make sure that you have a sign saying so. Everyone associated with you should be able to answer the question, “Who’s selling polled Holsteins these days?” or whatever variation of the market you are targeting. Set up the appropriate signs and update frequently.
- Go Beyond Magazine Ads
There’s a very true saying that goes something like this, “If you can afford to advertise, you don’t need to.” Old fashioned ads in breed magazines can set you back $1000 to $3000 for each package. They reach a specific demographic and, not necessarily, the buyers the movers and shakers who are out there moving cattle around. Furthermore, although a picture is worth a thousand words, today`s big spenders want to get up-close and personal when evaluating their next purchase. Don’t rely on this resource exclusively.
- Digital Marketing
The opportunity to grow your business with digital marketing services has never been greater. What is digital marketing? Defined, it is promoting your company or brand by using all forms of digital advertising channels to reach new customers. Remember it’s the new customers that you want to connect with. It can be as simple as email, Facebook, or twitter. Every time your prefix is printed make sure your sales niche is there too! “Huntsdale Farms – Your source for Top Genomic Heifers” for example.
Increase attention and increase traffic to your dairy business through your association with 4-H, Holstein clubs and other agricultural and conservation groups. This next decade will see huge changes in consumer awareness and demands relating to food production and animal treatment. Reputation starts at home. Make sure that yours is associated with the good animal husbandry and quality products. These are the cornerstones of why you are in dairying in the first place.
- Be Political
It`s too late when you read the 2012 Farm Bill or the CDCB proposal after they have been passed and you see that it negatively affects your cattle business. It’s unreasonable to expect any political representative to be 100% aware or even 50% knowledgeable of what our industry is all about. When was the last time this person had any experience directly relating to agriculture? It is time for the farmers to take responsibility for keeping the communication going both ways. An informed government decision (that you have put input into) is better than one that is based on hearsay, pressure groups or political positioning.
- In the News
Agricultural is on radio, TV and in news headlines these days. It isn’t always cast in the best light. Make friends with the reporters who cover these topics in your area. If you have expertise in something that is getting headlines don’t keep a low profile and then become frustrated when your side of the story is misrepresented or worse completely inaccurate. Make yourself known to the local, provincial and federal politicians who speak for or against agriculture. It doesn’t cost anything to invite local media or agricultural representatives to your events but how often do farmers assume that they will just show up at that sale, cattle show or open house? And once you’ve extended the invitation, provide a two to six hundred word report on what happened and why it is not only great for agriculture or cattle breeders but for the community as well.
- An Effective Website
Nearly 55% of all small businesses have a website, but yet less than 2% of dairy breeders do. Believe it or not, it works for farm businesses too! You don’t need to be fancy with it or pay a lot of money. For a minor investment your website becomes your hardest-working employee, working around the clock daily to promote your farm, cattle and embryos. Your site can work as a super sales tool. 24-7 is the new advertising success code.
- Be an Expert
Are you an expert at some aspect of the dairy industry (i.e. polled, genomics, health traits. etc)? Write articles about your expertise with a small link to your website or Facebook page at the end. Are you a cattle judge? Show fitter? Do you provide sale services or buy and sell cattle or embryos globally. Be the media source for your market segment. As a professional service, you can position yourself as the go-to authority. It is all about positioning your prefix, your products and yourself for success.
Online or offline, networking groups abound. Online, I would suggest joining effective sites like Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, and LinkedIn. Most consumers search the web before making a purchase. Phone books are nearly obsolete. Magazines and newspapers are not 24-7 accessible at the touch of your fingertips. The world is now your marketplace, so you can sell your cattle or their genetics anywhere. This means more money, opportunity, and a more professional image for your farm.
- Video Marketing
There is a tremendous opportunity here. Thanks to modern technology, it’s never been easier to make your own video. You probably own several devices which are capable of capturing high quality videos that you can then edit and burn onto DVD or upload to the Internet. This is a very simple process that doesn’t take long to learn. You can highlight cows, heifers, show cattle or embryos. These videos can then be used on the web, at shows and sales.
The Bullvine Bottom Line
These days, dairy producers need to have as much confidence in handling their advertising as they do when handling their high-producing cows.
To learn how to get your farm on Facebook download this free guide.