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

Ag businesses that focus on proactive customer service are committed to solving customer issues as quickly as possible – sometimes even before a customer is aware there is an issue. This type of customer service lets customers know that they are valued and that their needs are always taken seriously. It also allows a business to stand out among the competition.

Providing outstanding customer service is the goal of every Ag business. What sets the most successful Ag businesses apart from the competition, is their ability to provide proactive customer service.

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.