Increase Sales Direct From The Farm
Items can be easily sold by setting up a basic stand or even selling from the yard or from inside a barn. This reduces the need to carry produce to another location and allows for more relaxed conversations with customers. Some farmers are even able to work on an honor system by simply putting the produce out for customers to get and allowing them to put the money into a money box. The customer would simply write down on the clipboard what items that they took and then they would simply put the cash into the box.
Selling From Farmers Market
Many people love shopping at the Farmers Market. They often will be open weekly but some are only open seasonally. It’s becoming more common for farmers markets to be inside a building so that they can be open year-round. They may reduce hours during off-seasons and increase them during busy seasons.
It’s pretty common for farmers to be able to find multiple farmers markets within a 40 or 50-mile radius of the farm. This allows farmers to sell at the different farmer’s markets on the different days of the week that each is opened. Most farmer markets are very reasonably priced for farmers to set up a stand. Many farmers markets will simply have a farmer pay a fee for the season and some may charge a percentage of each sale.
Depending on the farmers market and their situation you may need a table and in some cases a canopy. In other situations, it might call for a truck or trailer as you will need something to bring your goods to the farmer’s market in. You may have to invest some personal time or have a farmhand to pack everything that’s needed and then to set up at the farmers market and someone will need to be there to handle the sales and transactions.
Sell Direct To Restaurants
Many farmers don’t think of this idea but when you approach a restaurant directly you can develop a relationship with them and especially any chef or restaurant manager and discover which produce items that they need on a regular basis and other items that they may only need occasionally. Many chefs and restaurant owners like using local produce that’s super fresh and you can probably offer them a discount and still come out with a good profit margin. If you have a particular item that’s hard to get elsewhere, you may find that the shop or restaurant owner is willing to pay a pretty fair amount for that exclusive item.
Try The Internet
The internet is an opportunity to sell almost anything and that includes items from your farm. More and more people are seeking out the things they want online and if you can advertise to them and let them know that you have produce and other farm items that they can buy over the internet, then they’ll be happy to do so. You can set up a Facebook page or website or even a Twitter account and people will begin to find you.
Make sure that you have all the needed information for your farm and the different things that you sell. If someone emails you, you should answer swiftly and you should regularly post any type of interesting information or news regarding your farm. The post should not be just about selling stuff but also interesting things that attract viewers to your web properties. Any items that can be shipped can be sold directly online.
Look For Ways To Increase Google Reviews
Because you have a local business you can sign up for a ‘Google My Business’ account and people will find you that way.
Use PPC With Google Adwords
If you have any budget at all for marketing you might consider using some of it for pay per click advertising on the Google Network. You can choose the specific keywords that you think your customers are searching for online to help bring in more visitors to your web properties and help them to get familiar with your farm and what you sell. Depending on the keywords that you advertise, you could be looking at $0.50 to a dollar per click or more. For this reason, it does require a budget and some management skills.
Build And Optimize A Mailing List
It’s important not to leave your customers in the dark when they’re researching your farm on the internet. Make sure that your page clearly indicates the names of staff and products and who works on the farm and even the type of growing practices that you use. The better you get at answering your prospects questions before those questions come up, the more customers that you’ll attract.
Always Update Your Website Regularly
Customers want to know that you’re there and so they look for clues to help them understand that the information their reading is up to date. If someone looks and sees it’s been months or years since the website has been updated then they feel that nobody cares about this web page and therefore they are not going to care about the farm.
Give The Customer Several Ways To Communicate With You
When you run a local farm you should be able to give your customers an email address along with a physical address and a phone number that they can call you on. If you use any type of social networks such as Twitter, or Facebook then you should also let your customers know about those pages as well.
Let Local Media Know About Your Farm
Local media are always looking for special stories to tell to the readers. Make an effort to reach out to reporters and let them know that you’re available for interviews and for quotes and for informing them about any type of agricultural stories happening in the area. You can even create your own stories based on the things that you’re doing on your farm. If you grow new types of vegetables or you have a giant pumpkin, these are all things that can be used as a story for the media.
Use The Post Office System
Put together a postcard mailing to go out to every address within a 20-mile radius of your farm.
Utilize Local Organizations
Often communities will have organizations such as the Lions Club and almost all of them will have a Chamber Of Commerce and these are places where you can meet people who have influence in your area and it’s a great opportunity for you to get the name of your farm out to others. Very often if you join something like the Chamber of Commerce they will then list you as a member and some people will find you that way.
Have Yourself Listed On Localharvest.org
Local Harvest is the most important listing of CSA Farms in the entire country. You will definitely want to have yourself in their database and you’ll want to keep your listing updated every year.
Churches have a built-in interest in serving their community and if you can provide healthy, homegrown produce and other farm items then many churches will be glad to allow you some space and even a public voice to their congregation. Any customers that you already have you can ask them if they’re a member of a church and then that may open the door to you being able to get better known by all the members of the church.
Wellness Centers, Gyms, And Even Yoga Studios Are Potential Clients
Gyms and wellness centers all have a mailing list and many of them have connections on social media as well as having a physical location and customers that are health conscious. If you have fresh produce and other farm items then this is something they may well be interested in. You might even consider giving the facilities a special discount to their customers and coupons that they may be able to set up in a small display stand on the desk.
Established A Yelp Listing Online
Any ‘foodie’ in your area is likely to look on Yelp to see what businesses are available for them.
Use Facebook Advertising And Boosted Posts
Just like with Google, Facebook has opportunities for pay per click advertising to boost a post and Facebook is still fairly inexpensive in the cost of getting the word out.
Sell To Chefs
Chefs are always looking for ways to make their meals better. Using the freshest produce and other farm items is one of the best ways for them to do that. By approaching professional chefs at the restaurants where they work and developing a relationship with them is a great way to start selling directly to them.
In some cases when the produce is exceptional, the chef may be willing to place the name of your farm on the menu as an enticement to the local clientele.
Companies want their employees to be healthy and happy and they like the convenience of having ways to offer them something special especially if it doesn’t cause them any inconvenience. If you can bring fresh produce to the workplace and allow company employees to benefit from buying the fresh produce directly without any hassles, then many companies might welcome this. Begin by simply reaching out to any businesses that you think would have an interest.
It takes a bit of courage to get started with this but once you do you’ll see that it’s really not that difficult. Many people enjoy helping so even if you approach someone who’s not a good candidate they might know a company or person that is. In that case, if you build a relationship with them they’ll be glad to introduce you to a more appropriate company.
List Of Everyone’s Mailing Address In The Neighborhood
There are a lot of organizations that advocate for a neighborhood and often this can be a perfect fit for your farm message. Simply Google your neighborhood organizations and then contact key personnel within those organizations. Ask if they have a way that you could send your information to their list of email subscribers.
Use Your Farmer Markets Stand For Advertising
You should go to a printer and have them make you informational sheets that tell what types of products that you have and other farm items along with your farming practices and so on. You can use these to help you start a conversation with potential customers and to market to people and businesses. You should start gathering email addresses of those that agree to allow you to email them with specials and other important information that you might have.
Billboards At Coffee Shops
Often coffee shops and other similar places have Community Billboards where they allow anyone to post important information to the community that they might be interested in. This is a very classic method of advertising but it still works great. You may even have friends and family or even teenagers who would be glad to go around town posting these on all the community boards.