During the pandemic, things have changed and changed the ways that people shop, the products that they want, and where they are putting their attention. This has meant that a lot has moved online, and business analysists think that much of it will stay online. That said, people are hungry for authentic and live experiences and relationships, and they are told to support local, and to eat healthy. This has driven a lot of people to eat more organic and local food.
Regardless of the current context, if someone were to ask me, “what is the most important thing for a business to do to increase sales”, I’d say, “build and strengthen relationships and connections”. Marketing requires getting people’s attention and building relationships and trust so that people, who you often don’t personally know, are inspired to take action. This is especially true for organic, ecological and restorative farms, and others in the industry.
To build relationships it starts with trust. Do what you say you’ll do when you say you’ll do it. Also, share things about yourself and be honest about things you mess up! Did you forget to cover your kale and the flea beetle got to it? Share the mishap, and how you have learned from it!
Aim for the highest level of connection with your current and potential customers. See them in person …Ok, perhaps not so much during the pandemic… so call them! You can’t get them on the phone? Send a personal email, or message them directly through an online tool. I know that we all want to do things efficiently, and this typically means through newsletters and social media ads, but start thinking about how you can show interest, appreciation and build trust with your audience.
Could you slip a thank-you note or a gift, like a bookmark, in their orders? This could be eco-friendly, by using paper embedded with seeds, and creative with your logo stamped on! The options are endless, but things like this show you put effort and care into each sale, that you are thoughtful, and really interesting!
By giving them a great experience, showing they can trust you, and showing appreciation, you will develop loyal customers and have them coming back each season!
To learn more about how to make building relationships central to your marketing strategy, tune into my workshop during the Ecological Farmer’s Association Conference on Friday, Dec 4th, 2020 at 9 am. I’ll be joined by Kieran Klassen of Heartwood Farm & Cidery who will speak about their experience with growing their clientele through building relationships.