Saturday, June 19, 2010

Farmer as Marketer

Our goal for December 2010 is to have 100 customers. Customers that are either repeat buyers or first time buyers that made a first purchase of more than $100.

So how do you do that with a small farm?
Show people the picture above and say "wouldn't you like to eat quality beef, lamb, chicken, pork, turkey and rabbit raised lovingly on that beautiful farm?"
Or maybe it's all about word of mouth and help from current customers.
We have to Market your product! Yikes- I never took any marketing classes in school so we better read up on it.

Let me say that we are so thankful for each of our customers. We have 15 CSA families and another 22 families who buy our meat and eggs. We are not at a farmers market so we count on you to come to us to purchase your meat. So that's 37 customers down- 63 to go.

The CSA families this year are even more than customers, they are helping in the garden so that we can say that our CSA is "Community Supported". We love the help and it's going to be part of the program from here on out.

If you read this blog and would like to become a customer, the best way to start is to come to the farm and buy a sampler pack of 10 lbs for $80. You can try out some of the basics like grass fed ground beef, a steak, some lamb, and chicken or pork as we have it. When you buy grass-fed and pastures meats you need to make the commitment to cook differently. The sampler package will give you the different cuts and meats to practice.

Another way to learn about grass fed and pastured products is to invite us into your house along with 10-40 of your friends and families to talk about why grass fed and pastured products are good for you and how to cook them. As part of this talk we'll bring some of our products so you can taste the difference (things like: meatballs, a lamb roast, pork sausage, roasted chicken). We'll bring lots of the sampler $80 packages for folks to buy plus some other cuts of meat. You as the host will get 10% of the final sale to use towards your own meat purchase.

I'm a fan of WIN/WIN/WIN arrangements. So the win for us is meeting new customers and selling some of our meat. The Win for you is that you get some meat for yourself. All the other folks win because they will know and meet the actual farmers who are selling this wonderful alternative product.

We did a test run of this concept last weekend and while we didn't have our marketing pitch down perfectly- we did learn a lot and will be making modifications for further events.
If you are interested in hosting an event- send us an email. It's a way to get yourself a credit for more of our meat as well as get your friends eating some wonderful grass-fed and pastured healthy food. Plus it's an excuse to have a party and see your friends.

You can also send your friends to us to buy meat and if they say that you sent them, we'll also give you 10% of their first order as a credit back to you!

Help us reach our goal of 100 customers.... 63 customers to go in 6 months.
Any other marketing ideas of low cost appreciated- pass them on.


Anonymous said...

Annette I wish we did not live so far away or I would defnitely be all over the all is well with you aren your family

Michele Fliss

Annette said...

I know but think beyond the box my friend-- you have relatives that are not too far from us that did visit us with your parents(who are far) and took a tour and bought a chicken and eggs and loved it.

Maybe I need their email address to remind them that we are here. I've not been good about getting email addresses. Sometimes people need reminders that we exist. Maybe they just forgot about us. Or they really didn't like the chicken and just told us they did (I find that unlikely but could be).
Or sometimes people just don't want to pay more than 1.99/lb for meat or they don't want the 20 minute drive. I'm not knocking that- it's a choice. How you chose to spend your hard earned money is up to you. I just want to remind people that we are another choice so that when they read books like Fast Food Nation and see movies like Food Inc that they realize there is an alternative. When you eat our meat- you oh and ah-- why not oh and ah at every meal?

So maybe you could convince them they should have a little party and have us over to talk... :)
Back at ya babe....

SteveandAlina said...

We just grilled one of your delicious steaks last night... Steve really does know how to cook grass-fed beef. :) And everytime I make hard-boiled eggs for the kids, I mourn the fact all the eggs are long gone! If we lived nearby, we'd be regular customers. (PS: The local vegetable CSA we found starts next weekend; we're excited about that)

PS2: Is there a local LLL chapter? I am a LLL member and at our meetings, the moms are ALWAYS swapping names of sources for good foods such as organic meat providers, farmers' markets, etc...

WeldrBrat said...

Pay a "Dog Fee" to your current customers. Offer 'this month's special' for bringing a customer. Or - offer a 10% Discount off their packages each time they bring one customer that makes a purchase. Hold your classes there at your place - invite your current customers to bring two couples with them. Give them a big discount on your regular charge for the classes hosted at other people's homes. And then give all three (customer/two couples)discount on packages they purchase that day.

Annette said...

excellent ideas-- keep them coming.
it took me a minute to figure out what LLL was... it's been a while since I had to know what that was!

Mary said...

Annette, Happy to be your guinea pig for your first event! It was fun.

In terms of cheap marketing, you can't beat Facebook for pushing out a lot of information to a lot of people fast. In addition to just doing quick updates or pushing out messages who friend your page, you can also have it pick up updates here on the blog, so those get seen by new readers too. Both in terms of the page I manage for our church and my own personal page, I'm always kind of shocked at how far-reaching the stuff I post can go. I feel like it's a good way to be in routine contact with people even when you don't have time to blog--it's also pretty easy to pawn some of it off onto someone else if you've got someone who can do that type of work.

Rain Song Farm said...

Home Sweet Farm in Brenham, TX holds a monthly farmer's market at their farm. They sell their own products and invite other local like-minded producers to set up booths, also. Brad gives a tour of the farm each month, which is probably as big a draw as the food. It taps into the tourism side of local food - the farmers and the farm itself are products, too.

It's a lot of work, I think, but may be worth it. It brings new customers and enhances community.

- Christine

Anonymous said...

I actually really like that last idea by Rain Song Farm. Granted, you may not want that responsibility or even the additional work that it would require. When our family comes down we always have your eggs and chickens or pork. My mother is so interested that she wants to take a tour of "this farm".

Julipet said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
LindaG said...

Your too far from us, or I would definitely be a repeat customer.
As to ideas. Here, we have a couple of radio stations that allow advertising for free. One does what they call, um, Free Ad Friday, or something like that, where you can call in and say what your business is. The other has a program called 'Swap Shop', which is basically an on-the-air flea market where people call in with what they want to sell. Another option might be a magazine like we have called Carolina Bargain Trader which is like a magazine of ads. Certain things under $1500 can advertise free. Other ads are fairly reasonable. Perhaps you have something similar, or a Thrifty Nickle or some such. In Raleigh, they have a big Farmer's Market that's open every day. I don't know how much it costs, but people sell produce, meat and eggs there. A local farm, Nahunta, sells pork products. You may need a license though, I'm not sure.
Check out You may be able to get your blog/farm listed there.
Good luck!
p.s. Found you through Toni's blog. I'd like to follow you. :)

indah said...

nice information..hello from indonesia!! ;)

John said...

Wow thats really nice.