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

Reactive and Proactive

The ultimate goal of customer service is to make customers feel well taken care of and to quickly resolving any problems that may arise. However, it goes further than just problem solving. The best type of customer service involves a business being proactive, or making the first move, when a customer has an issue. A good customer service agent knows the difference between reactive and proactive customer service.

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.