Interesting and informative blog posts on farmers and ranchers from US Farm Data.

By now, we all know that farmers are on social media. In fact, today’s farmers are as tech savvy as any other demographic. That’s why if you are looking to connect with farmers for the purpose of generating leads, social media is a great way to do just that. Nine out of 10 people, including […]

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.

Marketing to farmers can be tough. To successfully market to farmers you need to know who exactly your customers are, what they need right now and how you can best meet those needs. But it doesn’t end there.

Even if you have what your customers need, you need to figure out how to let farmers know that you have it. This means communicating with them in such a way that they want to purchase what you are selling at the price you have set for it.

One challenge all marketers face is that many times they spend so much time in the office trying to figure out how to best do their job that they lose touch with the very people they need to know about-their target audience.

If you are an Ag marketer, perhaps the best way to jump start your marketing efforts is to get out among the people you are trying to connect with. By doing so you will gain a fresh perspective on marketing to farmers. Here are some places you are likely to find inspiration:

  1. On the road. Drive by fields, visit Ag dealers or consider a university field tour. Whatever gets you out among others in the Ag industry.
  2. Farm shows. Talking to farmers at Ag shows can do wonders for your perspective. Study what farmers are interested in right now. What products or displays are attracting the most attention?
  3. On the farm. Visit family, friends or customers who live and work on farms. These are the people in the trenches. They know what works, what doesn’t work and what they are looking for to make their jobs easier. Further, they are more likely to be honest and open when they are on their own turf.
  4. Industry events. Talking to other Ag marketers and sharing stories of success or failure can help you see things more clearly. What worked for one marketer might work for you. You also may hear cautionary tales about something that didn’t work for them.
  5. Non-industry gatherings. Sometimes you need to get outside your own head and your specific industry. How about attending general marketing events or talk to people who are marketing to people completely outside of the Ag industry? Doing so will allow you to think about marketing in different ways and will help to get your creative juices flowing again.

Remember, great marketing doesn’t happen in a vacuum. The surest way to be out of touch with your target audience is to remain behind a desk all day or on the phone. Instead, get out there and discover what is going on in the world of Ag and beyond. Then when you do get back to your desk you will have a whole new perspective on how to best market to your target audience of farmers.

More than 80 percent of Americans are on social media today. That is up 5 percent from just one year ago. And make no mistake, farmers and ranchers are as likely as anyone else to be on social media.

So what does that mean if you are looking to market to farmers and ranchers? It means you must have a strong social media strategy in place. Unfortunately, social media – while wildly popular and an extremely effective marketing technique – often falls flat when it comes to attracting new customers and promoting brands.

If you are using social media to connect and engage with farmers and ranchers but your efforts seem to be falling flat, don’t give up. Social media is too important to ignore so you need to work at it until you get it right.

In order to improve your social media performance you must understand what you are doing wrong. Read on to learn about some of the most common reasons social media isn’t doing its job.

  1. You don’t have a plan. You wouldn’t start a business without a business plan so make sure you have a social media plan. You need to decide what your goals are when it comes to social media success. Are you looking for a particular number of followers, for example? You can’t succeed with social media if you don’t know what success looks like.
  2. You’re spreading yourself too thin. There are a lot of social media platforms out there but more isn’t always better. Figure out where most of your customers and prospects are hanging out online and concentrate on those sites. If you are on every social media platform it is going to be extremely difficult to succeed on each and every one. Remember, you want to engage with people through social media and if you are on too many sites that will be difficult to accomplish.
  3. You’re ignoring metrics. People may be liking your posts but you need to know much more than that. You need to be tracking things like conversions, engagement and reach. Once you get a handle on this data it will be easier to measure the ROI of your social media efforts.
  4. You fail to integrate. Social media should never exist in a vacuum. Make sure your social media efforts are integrated with your overall marketing strategy. Doing so will allow you to become seen as a thought leader in the industry while solidifying your brand’s particular voice.
  5. You don’t use calls-to-action. It may seem obvious to you that you want people to comment and share your posts but you need to ask them to do it.

Social media is a powerful, cost-effective way to promote your brand. Make sure you are taking full advantage of it when marketing to the countless farmers and ranchers who are using it.

In today’s agricultural environment it is becoming more and more difficult to find a farm that is not specialized. Therefore, if you are an Ag-marketer it is important to understand how to approach specialized farmers.

American agriculture and rural life has seen a significant transformation in the past 100. In the early 1900s agriculture was labor intensive and there were a large number of small, diversified farms in rural areas. These farms employed close to half of the U.S. workforce and produced an average of five different commodities. Times have changed, however, and today, there is a small number of large, specialized farms in rural areas where less than a fourth of the U.S. population lives.

Many modern farmers are drawn to the idea of specialized farming for a variety of reasons. Specialized farms are more efficient because unlike a diversified operation there is a focus on a single product so no time is lost while workers switch from one process to another. There is less overhead since fewer products mean fewer supplies and less equipment. There also is less waste. Farmers also are able to obtain an in-depth knowledge of a particular product which allows them to become a specialist in that product. Finally, the operation’s financial records can be more easily maintained.

Of course, there are drawbacks to specialized farming as well. When a farmer only has one product to sell they have nothing to fall back on if market conditions are unfavorable. If a farm specializes in a particular crop there also is a danger of nutrients in the soil being depleted. These nutrients will then need to be reintroduced through chemicals or crops that aren’t part of the farm’s normal operation. Another significant risk of specialized farming is that a single infection or parasite could wipe out the entire operation. Many times specialized farming operations are subject to an irregular income stream, as well, since the farm’s particular crop or product may only be in demand during certain times of the year.

If you are an Ag-marketer, specialized farming requires a unique approach. Unlike diversified farms which consist of a large number of crop or non-crop enterprises, specialized farms makes it easier for you to define your customer’s particular problems and offers solutions to those problems.

When developing a marketing strategy for specialized farms, segmentation is essential. It is essential that identify a prospect’s demographics, geographical location, revenue and product. Since specialized farms are so narrowly focused it is also crucial that you understand what makes them different and capitalize on those differences.

Using video to market to farmers and ranchers? Chances are that a majority of those farmers and ranchers will be viewing these videos on their mobile device.
If your marketing videos don’t translate well to mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, you are going to have a tough time going up against your competitors. This is especially true when you are marketing to farmers and ranchers who have little time to waste trying to get a video to work on their mobile device.
The best practices for mobile video continue to evolve at a staggering rate. Here are some things to keep in mind right now when it comes to getting farmers and ranchers to view your videos on their mobile devices.

  1. Don’t repeat yourself. For example, if you are running a 30-second television ad do you really think a farmer or rancher (or any consumer) is going to click on it so they can watch it again on their mobile device? Short videos made specifically for mobile devices are a must. Recycling broadcast ads won’t work.
  2. Frequency is a thing of the past. Users tap videos because they are interested in what that video promises. Once they find out, don’t expect them to keep watching it over and over. You need to continually create new videos.
  3. People must be able to hear your message (even if there’s no sound). Many times ads on mobile pages use a preview loop with no sound. You will need to caption your video or make it so visually compelling that sound is not necessary.
  4. Timing is everything. Many of the most successful digital marketing videos are less than five seconds long. This is in part due to the fact that views can skip an ad after five seconds. Sure, you can make a longer video but it must be of tremendous value if you realistically expect people to watch the whole thing. In other words say what you have to say in as short a time as possible.
  5. Keep things in perspective. Your video is going to be viewed on a small screen so plan accordingly. Long rows of crops are beautiful to behold but on a small screen they will be difficult to decipher.

Finally, according to Google, 61 percent of mobile users say they won’t return to a mobile site they had trouble accessing and 40 percent say they would visit a competitor’s site instead. That’s why your videos must be specifically designed to look great on mobile devices