Customer loyalty programs are all the rage. And it’s no wonder. These programs are not only an outstanding way to retain customers, they also generate a great deal of revenue. If you are an Ag – based business it is important to remember that farmers and ranchers are as likely as any other market segment to be influenced by such loyalty programs.
So why are customer loyalty programs so effective? Here some important reasons:

  • Loyalty programs shows you value your customers. Consumers want to know they are appreciated by the businesses they patronize. Loyalty programs are a great way to show them that you appreciate their business.
  • Loyalty programs encourage repeat business. If you get a free item for every ten items purchased, you are likely going to work toward that goal. After all, free is a very big motivator.
  • Loyalty programs increase referrals. Loyalty programs that reward customers for referring family and friends are a great way to get people to talk up your business.
  • Loyalty programs can garner online reviews. Offer additional points for online reviews and you’re more than likely to get takers.

Customer loyalty programs – provided they are well run and provide real benefits – are a great strategy for standing out in a crowded Ag marketplace. After all, farmers and ranchers have more choices than ever before so any incentives you can offer should be employed. It is important to remember, however, that if your loyalty program falls short of expectations it could backfire.
In light of this, make sure to follow these guidelines when implementing a customer loyalty program for farmers and ranchers:

  1. Don’t assume that a loyalty program is all you need to keep your customers happy. If you aren’t providing what your customers want and need, no loyalty program will make up for that.
  2. Not every farmer will want the same reward. Loyalty programs – especially for farmers and ranchers – need to be tailored so that each customer receives what they believe to be a worthwhile reward.
  3. While it is tempting to add a lot of bells and whistles to a loyalty program, this is almost never a good idea. Instead concentrate on making sure that your loyalty program is easy to enroll in, is mobile friendly and that award redemption is a breeze.

What marketing technique should you use to promote your Ag-based business? Sounds like a pretty straightforward question. After all, it basically comes down to two choices: inbound or outbound.

There is no shortage of marketing gurus who will tell you that they know the answer to this question. No matter how much marketing experience these experts possess, however, if they don’t know your target audience, they can’t possible know the answer.

Take a look at the most successful businesses in any industry and you will find that they all have one thing in common. A laser-like focus on marketing to their target audience. This focus remains constant regardless of all the new and innovative marketing tactics available. For example, maybe a particular social media channel is all the rage but none of its customers use it. How likely is this business to gain customers through this social media channel? Not very!

Once you understand the audience you are marketing to it is essential that you remain focused on your marketing plan. Without focus, your marketing plan will be all over the map. In other words, it may be doing a lot but it certainly will not be accomplishing much.

If you are trying to build relationships with your Ag customers and you want them to see you as a thought leader in the industry, it is your best interest to focus on inbound marketing. Trying to get in front of a large number of farmers and ranchers and get your brand recognized? Outbound is the way to go.

Inbound marketing incorporates things like social media, content creation and SEO, all of which offer an opportunity for more targeted marketing. Not only does inbound marketing reach the right people, it allows a business to build relationships. This type of marketing will require a little more patience because it takes longer to see results.

Outbound marketing is a more tradition form of marketing which relies on things like cold calling, broadcast ads and direct mail. This form of marketing allows you to get out in front of larger number of people and build brand awareness much faster than inbound marketing. Outbound marketing is known for its speedy results but it is important to remember that those results usually only last as long as a campaign runs.

The way to achieve marketing success—no matter what the so-called experts tell you—is to know your audience and understand what you are trying to achieve. Only then can you focus on implementing the best marketing strategy possible.