Tuesday, June 12, 2012

How to Make the Most of Marketing Your Farm

Cranberry Hill Farm at the market
We started our Beginning Women Farmers Program in an effort to educate and connect farmers who are just starting out so that they can be successful selling the products they offer.  At the Beginning Women Farmer Conference on March 22-23 in Amherst, MA, beginning and established farmers alike came from all over to hear experts in the field speak about how to successfully run a farming operation.  One of our past member farmers, Sherry Simpson of Cranberry Hill Farm, shared her marketing expertise in a recent article by one of our Accredited Organic Land Care Professionals, Sanne Kure-Jensen.  Sherry's advice makes marketing a farm or related business much less overwhelming.  Here are some key points to get started:
[Sherry's] three-step approach was simple, inexpensive and successful: Tell your story, Create a logo and Accessorize. Everything the consumer experiences, from the way your phone is answered, your business card, Farmers’ Market display or website, to a story in the paper is part of your business marketing. Make sure the message says what you want it to say.
Tell Your Story
“You are Local!” said Simpson. Be sure you remind customers and sell your farm and farm family. Tell what you grow and how; explain why are you a farmer and when you started farming. Assume that your customers are not home gardeners and will need details.

Create a Logo
Design a logo and use it on everything. Make it simple and clear. To improve your credibility, use every appropriate partner logo on your brochures, fliers, website and Facebook page. Include your state department of agriculture logo, Harvest New England and Slow Food USA. If you are a member of NOFA, a Chamber of Commerce or other associations, include their logo as well. Be sure to request permission from the organization and have them send you a high resolution image rather than just pulling it from their websites.

Create business cards, product signs, tri-fold brochures, rack cards and signs. Each spring, or for special events, print and mail post cards. Place your Farmers’ Market or Farm Stand hours in the free calendar listings in your local newspaper, Patch and other online calendars. Check with your local or state Visitors’ Bureau, tourism office or Chamber of Commerce to investigate their listing options. Establish a presence on the internet. Take advantage of all the free listings you can: your state’s department of agriculture and any member associations you belong to like a livestock association or Chamber of Commerce.
And that's only a small taste of the wealth of knowledge Sherry offers in her article.  We are always trying to get the word out about tips to help farmers be successful, so if you have any information you think other farmers would like to know about, send us an email and we'll review it to post on the blog!

Best of luck with your marketing!

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