Whether your operation is focused on delivering quality beef, or your family has a knack for growing award-winning broccoli, the farmer’s market is an ideal venue for showcasing your products. As summer shopping starts heating up, don’t pass up the chance to connect with new customers. Now is the perfect time to create long-term relationships with buyers in your area.
If you’re a regular at the local farmer’s market, you have great opportunities to build a consistent stream of loyal customers. Follow these easy tips for smart marketing to make the most of your time at the farmer’s market:
1. Tell stories.
Setting up your market stand is just part of hard day’s work for you, but your customers love coming out for the change of scenery. You can help make sure that they have a great time (and that they’ll keep visiting) by sharing some stories about the last week on your farm. Never underestimate the power of a fun anecdote as people browse — these stories help your shoppers feel more connected with your operation and produce!
2. Share pictures.
Social media is perhaps the easiest way to find additional support and loyal followers. If you’re just starting out with social media, think small. You don’t need to sign up for every social media account at once. If you have a smart phone with a camera, Instagram might be the way to go. Then you can snap pictures of the bustle at the market or sunset over your apple orchard. Whatever strikes your fancy will usually grab the attention of your online followers and future shoppers, too.
3. Give thanks.
You probably already have a handful of customers that stop by your stand every weekend. Consider offering them a special gift next month to show your appreciation. Canvas tote bags with your company name or logo on them can be both thoughtful and practical. Bonus: Shoppers can use the bags to haul their produce home. Even an extra carton of berries can make a big difference. Plus, these types of items work to promote your business to new customers around the market.
4. Help neighbors.
The other vendors at your market can be great champions of your products. Generational farmers might even give you some sound selling advice of their own! Work to build these relationships by referring your own shoppers to sellers with quality produce. Got a customer buying a couple pounds of strawberries? Let them know about the baker’s tasty shortcake around the corner, or brag about the vendors on either side of you. The more action around your farmer’s market location, the better.
5. Get input.
When it comes to your property, you’re obviously the professional. But sometimes it can be nice to include your customers on upcoming decisions. Thinking of adding a new fall crop to your rotation? Your farmer’s market shoppers are the perfect people to consult first. A quick poll during checkout (or on social media!) or even just having a piece of paper available for “future requests” can help ensure you’re growing exactly what people want to buy.
6. Stay covered.
Most farmer’s markets are open rain or shine. Be sure to keep your stand covered with a sturdy overhead setup to give people some shade or a break from the rain. In the case of an unexpected event, you don’t want to leave your products at risk either. Highly effective farmers and ranchers understand the value of having a detailed review of their business and insurance policies. Reviewing your policies with a Farm Bureau agent can help you stay covered for a great season.