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The Marketing Homestead Products series offers market gardeners and homesteaders tailored advice for selling their goods. Consider the benefits and drawbacks of joining up with a CSA, renting a farmer’s market stall, and the various forms of advertising available to your farm-based business.
When it comes to operating a farm business, your ability to grow product is only half the responsibility. In order to become successful, you must also sell your product. Creating a brand for your farm is essential to your marketing success.
Farm branding is an essential piece of marketing homestead products. When you build a farm business, you are also building a brand. Your brand is how your customer views your business. It informs how you communicate with your customers and the values they associate with your products.
There are several considerations to keep in mind when establishing your farm brand. From your tone to your mission statement, you want your branding to be consistent and easily communicable. Let's examine how to build a brand for your farm or homestead products.
Your brand influences how consumers make purchasing decisions. Your brand should be exciting, engaging and empathetic. It should work for you, making it easy to market your product. The characteristics of your team should be apparent in your branding. For example, if you are light-hearted and funny, you want to share that in your branding.
Like personality, tone informs not only the message you are sharing but how you share it. You want your branding to be consistent and easily recognizable to your target audience.
Developing a consistent tone helps your customers remember your voice. Setting the right tone can also help you with internal operations by providing a set of guidelines to adhere to.
Especially when it comes to fresh produce brands, you want your tone to elicit an emotional response that reminds the buyer why they chose you. Is it because you are especially transparent about your growing practices? Is it because you offer entertaining tidbits of farm knowledge that they find amusing or useful?
The last thing you want to do is confuse your customers. If your target audience is met with repeated confusion when purchasing your product, they will be less likely to invest in your business in the future. When you establish your brand, ask yourself how you can best communicate your story and values. The clarity of your brand is essential to improving transparency for your target audience.
Clarity goes beyond having a readable logo and a memorable farm name. For prime optimization, your branding should be evident in every corner of your marketing plan. Every environment, campaign and interaction with your customers should serve as an extension of your brand.
One of the best ways you can promote your brand is through investing in nameplates. Nameplates are a great way to improve brand consistency. For example, if you have an on-farm office next to your market stand, adding a customized nameplate to the building adds an extra degree of professionalism.
People want to feel like they can relate to you.
With the boom of social media and consumers seeking authenticity in the brands they support, it is vital to communicate to your customers that you are a real person. For example, you may think that your best sales strategy is to post picture after picture of your available products. But this approach doesn't give your customers any information on who you are, why you sell this product or why you are passionate about what you do.
The way you communicate with your customers, whether via the written word or otherwise, has a direct impact on your perceived relatability. Small farms and homesteads can often seem more accessible to the public than multi-owner corporations. People want to know the story behind the person who picked their apples and harvested their pumpkins. They want to know they can trust the person who harvests their spinach and cucumbers.
You want to communicate consistency in every interaction you have with your customers. Developing a brand for your farm business allows you to set goals for yourself and manage expectations for your customers. This can include anything from stellar customer service at your on-farm market to reliably fresh produce every time they buy from you.
You want your brand to serve as an extension of your mission statement. If you emphasize the importance of always going above and beyond for your customers, you are setting the expectation that this characteristic is a part of your farm's brand.
Marketing is just as important as growing when it comes to running a successful farm business. It can be tempting to forget it and focus only on the ins and outs of running a farm. But at the end of the day, you have to have a market for your products to stay in business.
Branding your business increases the credibility of your farm. Selling a quality product or service is at the heart of any successful business. But unless you have effective branding, your consumers will be skeptical of whether they can trust you.
Establishing a brand allows you to formulate which attitudes and values you want customers to ascribe to your farm. From the homepage of your website to your product labels, you want your passion to shine through every element of your branding.
Your mission can be communicated as a tagline, a list of values or a short sentence. In the end, you want your mission statement to answer three questions for your target audience — what you do, how you do it and why.
An essential part of any business is establishing what it is that sets you apart from your competitors. Regardless of your product, you want customers to be able to differentiate between your product and someone else's.
Setting yourself apart from your competitors isn't always easy. You don't want to seem like you are forcing customers to believe you, or making promises you cannot keep.
The best way to differentiate your farm business is to proactively focus on sharing the best parts of your business. Instead of focusing on how you measure up to your competitors, turn your attention towards changes you can make to your brand to better communicate the value that you have to offer.
Farm Branding 101
When the core of your business takes place outside of an office, it can be tricky to figure out how to create a brand. After all, the majority of your time and energy is invested in quality products, which should easily sell themselves, right?
Establishing a brand is an integral part of any business, whether you work in agriculture or finance. Creating a farm brand can be an introspective process that allows you to evaluate what you most care about and how you want to communicate that with your customers.
Building a brand for your small farm or homestead will make it easier to work on your marketing plan in the future. Knowing who you are, what you have to offer and the environment you want to create for your consumers is essential to your success.
Kayla Matthews writes and blogs about healthy living, sustainable consumption, eco-friendly practices and green energy. In the past, her work has also been featured on Grit, Mother Earth Living, Blue And Green Tomorrow, Dwell and Houzz. To read more from Kayla, follow her productivity and lifestyle blog: Productivity Theory. You can read all of Kayla’s Mother Earth News posts here.
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