As the calendar is building toward growing and harvesting season, it time to think about marketing to attract new customers. In this article we’ll review the latest trends in local food and outline 3 steps to attract new buyers.
The latest research is positive for those involved in growing and selling local food and food products. More and more consumers are making economic decisions that point to toward sustainable consumption. According to Nielsen, a global data analytic company, “Nearly half (48%) of U.S. consumers say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment. “ As further evidence, every age group, from 16 – 64, is seeking to make environmentally conscious choices (GlobalWebIndex 2018). Some generations more than others are engaged, but the trend is promising, and something that you can tap into.
In order to attract these eco-conscious consumer, your first step is to #1. Develop your marketing message.
Over half of consumers surveyed in the US and UK believe that the responsibility for environmental sustainability lies with food producers or product manufacturers (GlobalWebIndex 2018). If there ever was more of a bulls-eye on this trend, it’s small farms and food producers using sustainable growing and production methods. But no one is going to know about your sustainable practices unless you tell them.
Ultimately, this moment is made for you. You, as stewards of the earth, are at the cross hairs of eco-friendly and sustainability. Don’t pass up this opportunity to connect the dots for the buyer. Furthermore, be specific when developing your message. Think big and small. If you employ bio-dynamic methods, talk about your overall philosophy while giving examples of how the philosophy is put into practice.
Additionally, don’t overlook small details of sustainability. These seemingly small examples give something that consumers can grab onto and relate to in their own life. For example, if you offer eggs and ask your customers to bring in egg cartons for re-use, you are creating a small but impactful connection with a customer. When a customer has used all of the eggs, they will think about saving the egg carton to give back to you. This seemingly small aspect of sustainability can create a direct, ongoing connection between you and your customer.
Here’s a question: If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around, does it make a sound? Tip #2: Make some noise!
Now that you have your message and know your talking points, it’s time to announce it to the world, or at least your local community. The top three ways to get your message out are:
- E-mail newsletter
- Social media
We’ve written articles about the importance of e-mail newsletters, social media and blogging in your marketing strategy. To be clear, in this day and age, you need to have an online presence. Your online presence is equally as important as your presence at a farmer’s market.
Take two steps to initiate an online presence. First gather e-mail addresses of interested buyers for an e-newsletter. Station a sign-up sheet at your farm stand or farmers market booth, saying something like “Please provide your e-mail address if you’d like to stay up to date on our products”. Then send an e-newsletter to your e-mail list. Your e-newsletter is the best way to deliver your message to interested buyers.
Second, if you don’t have a website, open up a Facebook business account. Inevitably when someone hears about your awesome products, they will go online to check out your business. If you haven’t had time to set up a website, the next fastest way to be found online is through a Facebook listing.
Now that you have your messaging and a way to spread the word, Tip #3 is to make your message easy to share.
According to a UC Davis Study (Galt, 2015), the number one way to acquire a new CSA customer is through word of mouth. Now more than ever it’s easier to enable people to help spread your message by using share icons within your e-newsletter.
We highly recommend using an e-mail newsletter service, such as MailChimp or Constant Contact. Both have free versions of their product which will likely suite your needs. Their simple share buttons, such as the ones displayed above by MailChimp, making it easy to grow your audience of potential customers.
In a nutshell as the year gets underway, grow your business by following these three easy steps: create your message, get you message out, and allow others to work on your behalf by making your content easy to share.
We wish you all the best this season.