Marketing Your Farm #2: Customers

Now that you’ve had ample time to consider why you do what you do, we are going to take a look at the type of customer you need to attract in order to continue doing what you do. You want your customers to not only return, but to become enthusiastic proponents of your business.

If you haven’t already, watch Seth Godin’s TED Talk on The Tribes We Lead. Yes, go ahead. I’ll wait…

There are a group of people out there who believe just as you do, that locally-grown food can change the world, or that horses can teach kids great skills, or that your business will provide the best customer service. But traditional marketing methods really won’t work to reach them and will cost you entirely too much. Let’s explore how to find that group and interact with them.

Start with your current customers, if you have them. Why and how did they start buying from you? Do you know? What keeps them coming back? Ask them and see how they answer.

If you are trying to start a business, you won’t have current customers to rely on. Start instead with some deductive reasoning. Let’s take the example of a specific rural business – a horse stable. Stables have a number of possible services available for horse owners and those who wish to learn more about horses. If I were the owner of this establishment, and wished to increase the number of young people taking horseback riding lessons, how would I do this?

  1. Make sure you engage with the real customer. Where kids are concerned, the true customers are the parents.
  2. Put yourself in the parents’ shoes. Why should they let their child sit on top of a potentially dangerous, thousand-pound animal? Children who learn horsemanship are better able to creatively solve problems, they become better with communication, they gain confidence, and, in many circumstances, become more outgoing. (Okay, maybe that’s just what it did for me, but I digress…)
  3. Find parents who are concerned about teaching their kids to be more self-reliant. They are going to be the ones who are active with their kids in sports, scouting, music, etc.
  4. This is where you get to do some detective work. You’ll need to discover where these potential customers get their information. What drives them? What do they feel is most important? This is going to be the toughest step, especially if you’re more of an introvert. It’s something you just have to do.

Armed with this information, you can start to put a marketing plan together. So, the next step is determining how to reach people. What method do you use? How can you be sure people will see your marketing materials? Will they be effective?