Simple smart marketing for your small farm business

Every small business needs customers; this includes your small farm business. Customers come from marketing. Here are some simple, smart ways to market your farm business to keep that flow of customers coming.

Here's some tips for marketing your small farm business:

1. Make your business cards say 'open for business'

2. Take a flyer on this

3. Sign your e-mails for maximum effect

4. Build a web-site that works

1. Make your business cards say 'open for business'

Business cards are just about the easiest and cheapest marketing tool you will find. But you want your card to be effective in getting the word out about your small farm business. Here are a few tips for a good business card:

  • Go with a color theme and logo appropriate for your business. Color cards are no longer expensive, and many print shops can make you up a logo from stock images if you don't have one. This is a nice design touch that makes your card stand out.

  • Put your 'unique selling proposition' (USP) or slogan on your card. My cards have the slogan 'from our family farm to your family's door', which sums up what we do in our home veggie delivery business.

  • Use both sides of the card for maximum exposure; one side can have all your contact information, the other can have a map to place of business, or perhaps a coupon offering a discount.

A good business card is a must have for your farm business; bonus: you can give yourself a cool title like 'President for Life' or 'Director of Fun'

2. Take a flyer on this. My experience says that space advertising - e.g classified ads - doesn't work very well for home or farm-based businesses. What does work? Flyers!

Mailout flyers are a great marketing tool for small businesses; here's why:

  • Flyers give you lots of room to get your message across; a 1-page, 2-sided flyer can hold a lot of information about your business.

  • Flyers are targeted; you can choose exactly where you want flyers distributed, so no wasted effort marketing to the wrong crowd.

  • Flyers are inexpensive; a simple photocopied 1-page flyer costs just pennies to print, and a few more pennies to mail. You can even get the kids to deliver them door to door for you.

So use flyers and get the word out to your prospective customers

3. Sign your e-mails for maximum effect

You may be aware that you can automatically add a 'signature' to all your e-mails. A signature is a specific piece of text, written by you, that can be used to promote our small farm business. The 'help' function in your e-mail software will show you how to add one to your e-mails.

Here's what to put in your e-mail signature:

  • Include your USP or slogan in your signature file

  • Use it to promote 'specials' or offer a discount

  • Use it to promote time-limited or seasonal offers

  • Put a link in it to your web-site

Think of all the e-mails you send; each one can contain a mini-marketing message for your farm business.

4. Build a web-site that works

A web-site has become a 'must-have' for small businesses; for many people the first place they look for information is the Web. Fortunately it's not hard to build a 'web-site that works' these days. You don't need to know HTML, or SEO, or any of those other acronyms. Here's what to look for:

  • Find a web hosting service that offers templates and a content management system for web pages; with pre-designed templates you can just add your own text and the software takes care of building the web page for you.

  • ts important to get your web-site listed in big web directories - e.g. Google, Yahoo - so you want a hosting service that can handle submitting your website to them. This is critical to getting 'traffic' i.e. potential customers to your site.

  • You want a hosting service that understands how to structure your web pages with keywords so you 'get found' when potential customers are searching the web. This is known as Search Engine Optimization (SEO); a good hosting service will help you with this.

  • And of course you want reliability; the service should have been around for a while and have a proven track record in helping businesses build a web presence.

One final point: I don't recommend the 'free web-site' services for small businesses, including work at home businesses. If you want to be taken seriously, get a real web-site with your own domain name. It's a small investment that can pay off big.

That's it, four simple smart marketing tools anyone can use to build their small farm business. I have used all these tools successfully in building two businesses. There are other marketing tools, but I believe these four are the place to start to build your business.

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