Friday, February 3, 2017

10 Tips To Market Your Small Farm

You've bought the seed, tilled the soil, watered and waited and the crop is ready to be picked. If you haven't lined up buyers already, here are some ideas to bring people to you.

1.) Sell direct from your farm:
Putting a small farm stand at the edge of your property is one way of getting your product easily to the public as they drive past. Make a cute sign that tells people what you're selling. Start smart and small.

2.) CSA: Community Supported Agriculture
If you're not currently offering shares for a CSA you should consider it. You specify how many shares you will grow in a year and then sell them to your customers. Then throughout the year as your harvesting things your customers get to pick up fresh produce or meat products weekly or monthly. This is a great way for people to help you out as you get started and also line up customers. Treat them well and they will come back year after year.

3.) Sell to restaurants:
This is a big step. You have a quality product, be proud of that. You have to be brave and go talk to them. How do you do that? Well, let's look at what they're looking for: quality and consistency. Here is an article that gives specific information on the specifics of supplying to restaurants.

4.) Farmers Markets:
Sell at your local farmers market. The people come to you. Find your local farmers market here 

5.) Be creative:
Tell your story. What makes you different from other farms and ranches? Tell people you meet about how you're different. Ask around and see who you can build relationships with. Ask for referrals, have a field party or a pig roast to get people to your farm stand and paying attention to what you're doing there. Once they're at your party get them to sign up for your CSA.

6.) Internet:
Broaden the range of people you can sell to by using the internet. You can easily create an online presence by having a website. There are many sites out there to do this. Create one with a shopping cart or use the shopping cart feature on farmbrite to sell your products online. Make it easy for people to find you and buy your items.

7.) Create a blog or vlog:
Customers love knowing about you and what you're passionate about. Do you love cows? Write about cows. Is your new found passion growing popcorn? Talk about that. Make these posts fun. Share your excitement about what you're doing and they will be excited too! or or even are great sites to look at.

If the written word isn't you thing, another option that's popular is starting a vlog (video blog). You can create a channel on YouTube and post videos there. Really you can post about anything but again it's your passion that's inspiring to the viewer and that's why they watch. You can be doing morning or evening farm chores, fixing fences or turning a bowl on a lathe. Then you get paid when people watch these videos because there are ads.

8.) Get your tweet on:
Social media is a another great way to get your name out to the public. You want it to be easy for people to learn about where you're located, what you grow and sell, and then how to contact you. Take a little time each day to post a tip, a photo, recipe or just a simple Hello. Some sites to think about, twitter, instagram, and of course facebook. There are other sites, there are more everyday, but keep it simple and just post to a few.

9.) Weekly emails and give-away's:
A weekly email sent out to your past customers is another way to interact with your customer base. Tell them what you're growing, what you're planning and get them involved.

Do you have some extra squash around? Why not have a contest. Who can refer the most people to your farmstand, website or facebook page? Here's an armload of squash for the winner.

10.) Word of mouth:
Talk with everybody you know and tell them what you do and why you're passionate about it! Proclaim it from the highest mountain. When you aren't selling yourself, who is? Then after all your friends understand how passionate you are about your business offer them a friend discount and ask them to refer their friends. This is one of the best ways to get new business.

Maybe you've already done most of these items, great job! If you are still looking for ways to market your farm keep doing what you're doing. The most important part is to keep going and not get discouraged. Keep talking to people and getting your name out there. Show the world how passionate you are about your work and it will reward you.


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