In today’s ultra-connected world, it’s easy for your message to get lost in the noise. You want to communicate your value, show your competitive advantage and deliver customized solutions, but how do you attract your customers’ attention and secure a sliver of their time?
It all comes down to effective marketing.
Unfortunately, marketing may not be a top priority for your ag retail business as you juggle demanding day-to-day operations. We’re here to offer some recommendations to boost your marketing edge.
It’s a misconception that marketing has to be costly to be effective.
One of the most compelling (and inexpensive) ways to secure new business is through customer referrals. McKinsey & Company reports that word-of-mouth marketing is the primary factor behind 20 to 50 percent of all purchasing decisions. Consumer-to-consumer marketing is often most influential when products are expensive (hello, ag inputs) because people tend to conduct more research and seek more opinions than they otherwise might.
Consider reaching out to some of your most loyal and valued customers to ask for a referral. Farmers are generally happy to share their positive experiences with their colleagues, and new customers trust referrals from people they know.
Referral marketing can take other forms beyond two farmers having a conversation. The digital revolution has amplified customer voices, so business reviews posted online are reaching more of your potential customers. The bottom line: take care of your customers and reap the rewards of a positive referral or review.
Promotions are a proven marketing strategy that can entice new customers to give your business a shot.
Everyone in the agriculture industry has seen different variations of promotions – whether it’s a rebate when a set amount of units are purchased or a loyalty program that offers incentives like trips or farm equipment.
In some cases, farmers even expect some type of program or offer when they agree to do business with you. Consider what you’re doing today to reward loyal customers and compare that to what your competitors may offer.
Promotions shouldn’t be complicated or require customers to jump through hoops to redeem their reward. Farmers are busy and don’t want to deal with more administrative work just to cash in on a rebate for products they purchased. Find ways to simplify your programs, so they’re easy for you to manage and attractive to your customers.
Think outside of the box to get attention for your promotions. For example, host an online giveaway or contest on social media to increase engagement.
One of the keys to a successful marketing strategy is being where your customers are.
With such a demographic range in the agricultural industry, it can be challenging to find a marketing strategy that reaches everyone. That means you may want to hit up the younger generations on social media. Those that grew up with technology will be more comfortable making purchases online, sealing the deal over an email or communicating via text messages.
Other farmers may prefer to tune into ag radio or read the newspaper to get their information. They may choose face-to-face meetings for gathering information and making decisions. Ag marketing can be challenging because there is so much diversity in how people consume information in this industry.
The key is to cast a wide net, repurpose your messaging across channels and meet customers where they are.
The digital revolution has made it easier than ever to reach your customers but harder than ever to stand out in the crowd. People are bombarded daily with text messages, emails and social media ads trying to sell them something. A strategic digital marketing plan can help you stand out and win the right customers’ attention.
Email has become a staple for communicating in ag retail. It’s a great way to stay at the top of your customers’ minds and provide valuable information to support their businesses. Consider developing email marketing campaigns that offer timely solutions to your customers’ seasonal challenges. For example, if you’ve had a high-disease pressure season, you could create an email campaign alerting customers of the diseases in your area and offer a fungicide product to help protect crops. Email is also a great way to distribute quarterly newsletters that showcase what’s happening at your ag retail location and the new products or services you plan to offer.
A consistent social media presence is a great way to showcase your industry knowledge and thought leadership. It enables you to reach new customers and expand your marketing opportunities. If you use social media, develop a strategy and stick with it. Offer a mix of content, including in-field videos, customer testimonials, new product information, agronomic bulletins and anything else that boosts your credibility. Plan to post at least once a week to stay relevant. Take a peek at what your competitors are doing on social media to ensure you’re sending the right messages and track engagement to measure your progress.
The USDA reports that in 2021, 77% of U.S. farms had access to a smartphone. That means most of your customers are doing business over their cellular network. Text messages are a valuable tool for communicating with your busy customers, wherever they are. Similar to email campaigns, it’s easy to set up a text messaging campaign to send timely updates and notifications to your farmers.
The GROWERS Connect™ platform is a way to simplify text message marketing. It allows ag retailers to build text message campaigns to send to their customer and prospect lists. You can group customers by likeness (say, those that purchased dicamba) and send messages straight to their phones to promote products and discounts, send event invitations and even alert them of scouting concerns that arise in a specific region. GROWERS Connect offers user-friendly interfaces, so it’s fast and easy to execute a marketing program with just a few finger taps.
It’s never too late to invest in your business’s marketing strategy. With strategic thinking and execution, you’ll extend your marketing reach and ensure your message is breaking through the noise.
Contact us for more information about GROWERS Connect or additional marketing support.