Farmers Market Marketing Series #3: Five Solid Ideas for Online Marketing

homestead-tomato-bean-coop-booth

There are two main ideas, outside of thoughts on social media (which are coming next in this series) that could make the biggest long term difference for you and your farm.

IDEA #1: Be Googleable.

If you have something you’re offering that people are searching for online, make sure that they can find you. Bottom line, have a website – there are plenty of free tools you can use that are incredibly easy to create your own site for free if money is an issue and you’re just getting started. The main ones are: Yola, Weebly, SquareSpace and Wix.

Also make sure you get yourself listed on google.

Note: If you have a website with a blog built into it (wordpress is the best for this) and you update it regularly this will help your ranking in google. It’s worth booking time with a local online marketing expert to have them assess your online profile and see how it can be tweaked. Best of all, you can likely pay them in a meal at your farm or basket of your finest wares.

Hannah Hamilton shares why this matters, “So often I visit a vendor at a farmers market only to go home, look for them all over the Internet and can’t find them.”

IDEA #2: Make a video of your farm.

Consider getting a 3-7 minute video done that tells the story of your farm in a beautiful, evocative and compelling way. It can speak to the deeper reasons that drove you to start it and that still drive you today. It can lift up the unique perspective and approach you bring to farming. Can you show people how you grow food, where your food is served and have well known locals speak about it?

Here’s a video from Meadow Creek Farm.

Here are five examples from Calgary’s Verge Permaculture:

Please leave any thoughts, tips, resources or ideas that could help farmers grow their businesses in the comments section below. After a few weeks, I promise to read through them all and weave anything relevant and useful into the blog itself so that they can be of the most use to the most farmers.

IDEA #3: Have an email list.

You might not send out emails that often. But, in this day and age, why not have it for the people who want to sign up and hear what’s going on for you? MailChimp.com is free up until you have 2000 people on your email list and so that likely means it will be free forever for you. Just a clipboard and pen out on your table where people can sign up. Even if you just got one email per week, that’s 50 emails in a year. That’s 50 people who want to hear more about your farm and business. Your email list, over time, can be a huge asset.

Shelly Juurlink suggests, “Start a “friends of the farm” electronic newsletter where they send out a quarterly blast on what’s happening on the farm.

You could let them know:

  • where you’ll be showing next
  • developments at the farm
  • what’s on sale
  • what’s thriving
  • what crops fails
  • recipes
  • what challenges you’re facing

Again, it goes back to story telling.

IDEA #4: Be an Advocate and Help Your Customers Be Advocates Too.

My guess is that locally and regionally there are issues that affect the land, water and economic viability of your farm (and all of the farms).

Being an active and vocal advocate on those issues will not only win you more attention and respect but also create a deeper bond between yourself and your customers as they feel, more deeply, that you’re both on the same team working for the same goal.

Simon Sinek gave a powerful TED talk about this notion that ‘people don’t but what you do, they buy why you do it’:

If you want some help in honing in on what your bigger why is, here are some questions you can ask yourself.

Let your customers know how they can take a stand on local issues affecting farmers. Give them petitions to sign, pre-written Facebook posts they can share, phone numbers they can call and rallies they can attend. Let them be a part of the solution. I promise you that they want to be.

You could have petitions you invite them to sign at your booth. You could mention it on social media or on your email list.

IDEA #5: Hire a Photographer & Graphic Designer.

Having beautiful photographs of your wares, yourself and your farm can go a long way.

Kelsey Falle suggests a way to save money in this, “Find a local graphic or web designer who will work on trade, and have them do business cards, flyers, website, social marketing, etc. I am a hoping to find a farmer in my area to do just this!

Trade them for produce or a big dinner at the farm.

For more thoughts online marketing for Farmer’s Markets, I recommend reading Adam Helweh’s piece on Online Marketing Tips from the Farmer’s Market which explores how lessons learned from the Farmer’s Market can apply to social media .

Please leave any thoughts, tips, resources or ideas that could help farmers grow their businesses in the comments section below. After a few weeks, I promise to read through them all and weave anything relevant and useful into the blog itself so that they can be of the most use to the most farmers. 

Guest Post: Eco-Friendly Advertising: Good for Business, Good for the Planet

by Darren Leach

In the nature of the beast, the advertising industry is about as trendy as high school. With larger corporations leading the way, executing these “hip” marketing campaigns leads to infectious awareness, leaving everyone talking.

As the popular proverb goes, actions speak louder than words. Same goes the world of advertising as of late. No longer can companies get away with simply plastering a message on a wall and expect it to resonate with the audience. Over the past decade consumers have begun holding brands accountable for their strategies and tactics, essentially forcing these companies to “practice what they preach.” 

This can prominently be found in a company’s stance on the state of our planet’s well-being. Brands big and small from across the globe have vowed to become more environmentally conscious and the idea of “green” advertising is becoming more popular in order to target a new wave of ecologically savvy consumers. 

Seeing as billboards provide businesses with an optimal combination of size and visibility, brands from around the world are approaching outdoor advertising services with creative, eco-friendly advertising campaigns. What is it about this “greenvertising” movement that has eco-friendly ads sweeping the globe? Most likely its versatility and cost-efficiency. Take a look around you – when it comes to leveraging the environment to sell a product/share a message, Earth is your canvas and nature is your palette.

As I mentioned earlier, the advertising industry is a very trendy niche. Staying up to date on what’s working and what’s not is essential when it comes to managing a successful ad campaign. Within the realm of eco-friendly advertising there are some significant trends that companies have been capitalizing over the past couple years.

Trend #1: Consumers like shiny things: If there is one thing that is sure to capture the attention of your audience it is cool gadgets. As I mentioned previously, advertising is a trendy industry controlled by fads and the latest crazes – and sustainability is “in” right now. In all reality the functionality of a product could mean very little to the consumer as long as they get to jump aboard the eco-train. By taking advantage of a trend driven society, companies are able to appeal to the masses by marketing their products under the guise of sustainability.

Trend #2: Imagination: For the most part, the direction that the green movement is headed is largely unprecedented. Because of this, companies are able to take advantage of the unknown and use it to excite their audience. Whereas things such as electric vehicles and solar power are far from being new technology, we are still yet to see them as an accepted norm in society. Although this green movement has been years in the making, it is the unknown factor that opens the door for limitless innovation – like a block of marble waiting to be turned into a masterpiece, all it takes is a little imagination.

Trend #3: Facts Facts Facts: You can’t cheat science. When it comes to making claims about how environmentally conscious your company is, it’s pretty easy to slap on a tag word such as “green” or “sustainable”, a practice commonly referred to as ‘greenwashing’. This worked for a while, however consumers are beginning to challenge said claims and question the validity behind these so-called green standards. In fact the FTC has actually begun producing “green guides” that serves as a guide for what is fact and what is fiction when it comes to environmental claims. 

Trend #4: Green = Green: At the beginning of the green movement consumers were willing to pay steep prices as long as it meant saving the planet. As the eco-friendly ideology became more popular, less people were willing to pay top price for achieving the same endgame when they could just opt for the cheaper product.  In response to this change in dynamic, environmentally friendly products have not only seen a decrease in pricing but changes in advertising strategy as well. By lowering prices and marketing with a message, these companies aim to get their customers to stick by their cause for the long run.

Trend #5: Take Action: As Gandhi famously said, “be the change you want to see in the world.” Like I mentioned earlier, no longer can companies get away with petty claims of making a difference and saving the Earth. That’s because the consumer is standing on the other end of that message saying “prove it!” By taking part in service projects and designing campaigns around environmental causes, brands can show the public that not only do they stand by their claims, but that they are actively working towards making a difference. 

Here are a couple examples of some recent green advertising campaigns that really worked:

Screen Shot 2013-10-17 at 12.41.10 PMUrban Air

“UrbanAir transforms existing urban billboards to living, suspended bamboo gardens. Embedded with intelligent technology, UrbanAir becomes a global node – an open space in the urban skyline… An artwork, symbol, and instrument for a green future.”

Complete with Wi-Fi and climate transmitters, Stephen Glassman’s UrbanAir project is designed to provide a fresh reprieve from the noxious environment of Los Angeles. By converting old billboard space into hanging bamboo gardens, Glassman says his intentions are to “put a crack in the urban skyline so that when people are compressed, squeezed, stuck in traffic and they look up, they see an open space of fresh air.”

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Patagonia – The Footprint Chronicles

As a company that relies heavily on environmental changes, Patagonia prides itself on its sustainability and its identity as a “responsible company.” 

In an effort to be as transparent as possible, Patagonia’s Footprint Chronicles outlines the details of the company’s supply chain, as well it’s social, environmental, and industrial impacts. Leading by example, the company hopes to see other brands catch on and actively work towards reducing their impact on the environment. 

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Cotton – Blue Jeans go Green Denim Drive

There are many people out there that are unaware of the sustainable properties of cotton. Even more so, many people out there are unaware that denim is in fact cotton. By utilizing college campuses, the Cotton Blue Jeans go Green campaign aims to educate the public on the recyclable properties of cotton, specifically denim, all the while making a difference in their community.

Each Fall Cotton selects a handful of college campuses from across the nation to represent this campaign. The students then design a full scale sustainability focused PR campaign in order to educate their community while collecting old denim. Once the denim drive is over, the material is sent back to Cotton where it is broken down to its original fiber state and used to create UltraTouch Denim Insulation for low-income housing.

Screen Shot 2013-10-17 at 12.50.21 PMAbout The Author:

As a veteran media planner, Darren Leach has spent many years specializing in outdoor marketing strategies. He currently writes on behalf of Billboard Source and in his spare time Darren enjoys exploring the colorful neighborhoods of NYC. Darren is also into HR and is currently writing about business feedback for company staff and their clients.

 

 

caged hens in your bus stop

The Coop grocery chain put out a great ad at bus stops that educated it’s customers (and prospective customers) that it was doing a good thing. And it did it in a funny (but poignant) way that helped people relate to why they were doing it.

I think a great indirect consequence of this kind of ad is that it’s not only the kind of thing people will share on social media because it’s so simple and clever but it also raises the bar for what people expect from any grocery store.

After seeing this ad a few times, people might be a bit more likely to ask their own grocer if their eggs are from caged hens.

Living the New Economy

If you’re a social entrepreneur, critical of the political and economic systems of the world (but also visionary about other ways we could do things) and tend to lose track of time in conversations about those things – you might want to come to Vancouver this November for the Living the New Economy event.

It’s all about how do we relate to this thing called ‘money’ and economics in a new way.

I’ll be presenting there and I’m pretty excited about it.

I did a little interview with Nicole Moen who’s one of the main organizers of the event to give you a taste of it.

*

What is the name of the project we’re featuring here?

Living the New Economy: 7 Days of Events

What’s the story of how this came about? What was the need you saw in the community that it emerged from?

At 3 am on May 19 I woke with the dream-like download that the next big project had to be about money and it had to involve bringing Charles Eisenstein to the West Coast. That was really all I knew at the time, I just went with it, and I emailed my business partner in event production, Geoff Gosson, to ask if he was in. He was.

It was in retrospect that I realized what that hit grew out of. I’d just completed a series of interviews of mostly entrepreneurs and one of the main themes from that was that each person had struggles of some sort with their financial worlds.

I’d been on a personal mission to learn more about money and increase my own financial literacy and decrease my own inner “stuff” on the subject for the prior year. I had also become aware of the book called Sacred Economics by Charles Eisenstein and was intrigued by his work to shift our economic paradigms. And of course, everyone is speculating about where the economics of our world are heading. All that had been rolling around inside and voila! a 3 am hit.

The Healing Cities Institute was interested in hosting the event as the subject is in alignment with several of the Dimensions of a Healing City, particularly Healthy Prosperity. Right away, Geoff and I determined that we would start small and sustainably, just Charles initially (fortunately he agreed to come!), and allow the project to grow as it needed to along the way. A few conversations later with key people and it grew FAST! and is now a week of events for entrepreneurs, entrepreneurial groups and anyone interested in learning about what is emerging. It is called Living the New Economy.

Here for more:

 

 

Can you share a few examples of how your project works?

Although the event is open to everybody we are putting special attention on the needs of entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial groups such as social enterprises and co-ops. The week will guide participants through a set of skill-building workshops and networking opportunities to help clarify their project idea, refine their business approach and potentially pitch to investors.

Events include Financing the Future, Marketing with Integrity in the New Economy, Easing the Money Struggle, Making the Pitch, the Fish Bowl (happy Dragon’s Den), Opportunity Fair, Mentoring… plus a concert, poetry slam and film screenings.

What’s the response been so far?

We’ve been blown away by the response from people. It’s like there’s a ravenous hunger out there for opportunities, ideas, people to talk to, collaborations, reassurances, new models, new mentors about money and our economy.

Who do you find it’s working best for?

Social entrepreneurs and enterprises.

How did you promote this in the beginning? What were the top three most successful approaches at the start of it?

Well, this IS the beginning and we are experimenting with the most successful approaches. Reaching out to aligned organizations and individuals and exchanging in-kind value, i.e., offering event partnerships and E-passes.

What are the top three most effective current ways you’ve found to market this?

Through personal connection.

Through outreach to aligned organization and their networks.

Through social media.

What are the three biggest lessons you’ve learned along the way?

Stay calm. Keep working. Take time out. Pray. And don’t follow the instructions to only list 3 things.

What’s the next level for your project? What are you most excited about that’s coming up?

We hope to do another similar event in May 2013 and monthjy one day events in between November and May. There is a need for an ongoing conversation to keep developing, manifesting and funding new ideas.

At it’s heart, what is this project/business really about for you? (beyond money, status and such).

Responding to a need. We are convenors and we are hearing that people need to come together to talk about economic options, to talk about their fears, to come up with new ways forward, to connect with and support each other, to dig deeper into their minds and hearts and really live their gifts.

What parts of the new economy event are you personally most excited about?

When two or more people come together with the same intent, our wisdom and energy expand exponentially. We all benefit and those benefits ripple out to those not directly gathered with us. 

Specifically, we are excited about The Fish Bowl, a gentle version of the Sharks’ Tank or Dragon’s Den when a number of our E-Pass participants will have the opportunity to pitch their ideas to investors for prize money.
 

What’s your biggest hope of what might come out of this event?

 
My biggest hope is that LNE will inspire and transform the people who attend. That the skills, resources and relationships each has gathered will help bring great ideas into manifestation faster and with resilience.

If people want to find out more about your project, support it or get involved – what should they do?

Contact us at
Check out the web site www.neweconomy.ca
Follow us on Twitter @NewEconomy_ca
Like us on Facebook

Joel Solomon: “The Unlikely Revolutionary”

I recently went to the Social Venture Institute hosted at the Hollyhock Center. It was an amazing event. And one of the people responsible for it happening is Joel Solomon. And I also met marketing genius Aaron Vidas. Imagine my delight to see this new, beautifully done video of Aaron interviewing Joel about the notion of social entrepreneurship.

 

if you don’t feel very successful today

If you’re not feeling particularly successful today, these words might sooth you.

In a world full of self help books and online courses exhorting us to be ‘successful’ I found this quote from this article by David Orr to be a healing balm. As Jiddu Krishnamurti put it, “It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” To be ‘successful’ in the global game of Monopoly and own Boardwalk and Park Place does not make the world better.

“The plain fact is that the planet does not need more “successful” people. But it does desperately need more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers of every shape and form. It needs people who live well in their places. It needs people of moral courage willing to join the fight to make the world habitable and humane. And these needs have little to do with success as our culture has defined it.” – David Orr

financial permaculture

If you’ve followed my work for a while, you’ll know I’m a huge fan of permaculture. I think it’s a framework that might just be one of the more important things in the world right now.

What is permaculture? Permaculture is to gardening what yoga is to stretching in the morning. It’s one of the most beautiful and sophisticated perspectives on working with and healing the land that I’ve ever come across. Watch this video and I can promise you be more hopeful about the world by the end.

And my colleague Rob Avis just sent me a link to a conference about a conference that was held on financial permaculture.

Money (one of our world’s deepest wounds) + permaculture (one of our world’s greatest hopes) = something I think we can all get behind.

the roots of all business

A quote from The Necessary Revolution (shared with me by my colleague Julia) struck as right on theme for this theme of figuring out the deeper cause our business is about. It invites us to step back and consider the underlying cause of business itself:
“…the new generation of mission-based businesses builds on some very old ideas, ones that predate the Industrial Age. They seek, as an essential part of their purpose, to contribute to the health and well-being of living systems.  They reject the notion that the sole purpose of business is to make a profit and they regard the quality of relationships between members, suppliers, and customers as the true indicator of success.  In so doing, they are returning business to its origins.  The oldest Swedish word for business is narings liv, “nourishment for life.”  In ancient Chinese the concept is expressed by two symbols that translate as “life meaning.”   And the root of the English word company derives from the Latin com panis, “the sharing of bread”- the same root as that for the word companion.”  

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sustainival – the world’s premiere green carnival

One of my dearest friends, Joey Hundert (pictured right), is rocking it out hard with Sustainval.

What is it?

Says his website:

Sustainival has been designed to become the world’s premiere Green Carnival & Festival, bringing in all of the coolest stuff that you can possibly imagine.  The world of “Green” is pretty huge these days, and it includes all of the greatest things about our future on this planet.  We like to think of it as: cooler cars, better food, fitter bodies, happier neighbors, awesome toys and cleaning up the mess that we have inherited.  Sustainival seeks to tap you directly into the experience of a vibrant tomorrow.  We are all about bolstering the local economy, long-term sustainable food & energy, lifestyles that allow us to avoid disease, empowered learning & innovation and community building.  Sustainival is an umbrella for all of these things to happen underneath.

Here’s a quick video to give you a taste:

 

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the economics of happiness

A new documentary looking at economics through a whole new lense.

‘Both hard hitting and inspiring, ‘The Economics of Happiness’ demonstrates that millions of people across the world are already engaged in building a better world – that small scale initiatives are happening on a large scale. The film shows that countless initiatives are united around a common cause: rebuilding more democratic, human scale, ecological and local economies – the foundation of an ‘economics of happiness’. Going local’ is a powerful strategy to help repair our fractured world – our ecosystems, our societies and our selves. Far from the old institutions of power, people are starting to forge a very different future… Featuring  Vandana Shiva, Bill McKibben, David Korten, Michael Shuman, Juliet Schor, Richard Heinberg, Rob Hopkins, Andrew Simms, Zac Goldsmith, Samdhong Rinpoche

For more info and to find a screening near you go to the link below:

http://www.theeconomicsofhappiness.org/

 

If you’d like get cool posts like this in your inbox every few days CLICK HERE to subscribe to my blog and you’ll also get a free copy of my fancy new ebook “Marketing for Hippies” when it’s done.