Friendly Advice on How to Start a Farmers Market

If you would of told me that I would be managing a farmers market a year ago I would of thought you were crazy. The opportunity arose quite suddenly to be the manager of our local farmers market. I am no expert on how to run a farmers market, but the following are important concepts to consider when you are thinking of starting a farmers market for your community or taking over one as a manager.

Before you even begin to formulate your location, vendors, layout, marketing strategies you need to have a board of directors. This board will be the governing entity of your market. You will need people who are experienced in urban planning, business, the agricultural scene, and active with your community. It is also a good idea to talk to other farmers markets; how did they start their market? What advice do they have? Would they be willing to help you? Once you have your board members selected, you need to come up with a mission for your market. What do you stand for? What do you want your community to gain by your presence?

You can’t have a farmers market without vendors. The type of vendor for your market really depends on your location. Here in Asheville, artisan vendors don’t do great. Produce vendors those are the vendors you want. You need to make sure that they are not all selling the same crops. Variety is key. At our market we have five produce vendors. They all have different items for sale. With the new craze of food trucks, it would be a great idea to recruit one or many for your market. My market is a smaller farmers market and I found that it’s best to try to reach out to food trucks that are just starting out. The ones that have been around for a longer period of time may consider your market – if it’s on the small scale or just starting up – a waste of their time because they may not make what they would consider to be a good profit for their time.

Marketing is a deal. Based off data the best way to market is using social media; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram,etc. These are valuable assets to any business. You can also use Google Business to let people know about your market. Social media posts are free, which is great when you are just starting out. Once you get your market sustainable cash flow, you can look into boosting posts on Facebook and Twitter. Both Facebook and Twitter offer you to set your advertising budget which allows for less stress; once your budget has been spent the advertising stops until you reset it. Another great idea is to partner up with local businesses that are willing to promote your market using their social media. From my experience going and talking to local restaurants, breweries, kitchen supply stores that do food demos are all great prospects.

Location! Location! Location! This is very important to farmers markets. Last year my market was behind a church in their parking lot. There was no road visibility. We lacked new customers due to no visibility. During the off season we worked diligently to find a new location that was more visible, had walk ability, as well as good parking. We are now partnering with a local business to use their parking lot which has road visibility, parking as well as walk ability for our neighborhood. This move was a win-win for everyone involved. Our customers are now their customers, and their customers are now our customers.

If you want to start your own farmers market here are some resources to consider reviewing before starting the process. There is a course you can take through the Farmers Market Federation of NY, Cornell University Cooperative Extension of Broome County and SUNY Cobleskill and funded by NYS’s Fresh Connect Program. This program costs $200, after taking the certification course you will be a certified Farmers Market Manager. It is an online course. I plan on taking it in the near future. Another great resource is ASAP. They have a section dedicated to how to become a farmers market manager with Powerpoint slides, PDF’s on farmers market rules and regulations. The best part is that this is a free resource.

Resources:

http://www.nyfarmersmarket.com/fmm-pro-suny-farmers-market-managers-certification-program

http://www.asapconnections.org

Digital Marketing Lessons From Yoda, Luke, Princess Leia & Han Solo

Marketing inspiration can be gleaned from many sources, and in this case, we look to the famed characters of Star Wars to help us on our way. Let’s review a few pithy quotes from likes of Han Solo, Princess Leia and the great and wise Yoda, and see how they might apply to digital marketing.

LESSONS FROM HAN SOLO

“Punch it.” Take your content to the next level, make it relevant and continually review and refine. In other words, punch up your content!

“Look, I ain’t in this for your revolution, and I’m not in it for you, princess. I expect to be well paid. I’m in it for the money.” Though most organizations are in it for the profit, the goal of many digital marketing campaigns is to establish credibility and to build an online rapport. This is especially true for considered purchase items. So… focus on educating and helping first, and selling second.

“Great, kid. Don’t get cocky.” If your business is growing nicely, now is the time to invest in new ideas, technologies and resources to continue that growth. Don’t get cocky and think that you can continue to sell and market the same way you did a few years ago (or more).

“Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid.” Old school thinking may not appeal to your progressively younger buyers. Innovate and stay ahead of the curve. That said, we never want to use an email “blaster” mentality. Always follow email marketing opt-in best practices.

“Traveling through hyperspace ain’t like dusting crops, farm boy.” Email marketing to thousands of prospects list is a giant leap from a modest list of a few hundred. Keep this in mind when creating new, aggressive email marketing initiatives.

“Great shot kid, that was one in a million.” Any given campaign can prove to be a home run, but consistent, educational campaigns should be the goal for every business.

“Laugh it up, Fuzz ball.” It’s great to have fun with your marketing initiatives, but many B2B businesses should err on the side of professionalism with educational and relevant content. Explaining the origin of Foosball, or the best recipe for New England clam chowder in your business blog is unlikely the best way to engage your audience.

LESSONS FROM YODA

“Patience you must have, my young Padawan.” Marketing, including digital marketing, takes time and patience. Execute, Measure, Refine. Execute, Measure, Refine. There is no substitute for an experienced digital marketing professional. Don’t trust your digital marketing to a novice or treat it as a part time job to be completed by a salesperson, producer or account manager when and if they have time.

“Mmm. Lost a planet, Master Obi-Wan has. How embarrassing.” Though it must be very embarrassing to lose a planet, forgetting to include a working call to action link can be embarrassing too! Double check all your links before launching campaigns.

“You must unlearn what you have learned.” Just because something has worked in the past doesn’t mean you should continuing doing it in the future. Sometimes you need to step back and assess marketing initiatives, even if they’ve been successful in prior years and for many years.

LESSONS FROM LUKE SKYWALKER

“It’s not impossible. I used to shoot womprats with my T16 back home.” Laser like focus can be invaluable for marketing campaigns. Defining a target market, determining a buyer persona, creating a prospect scorecard and ensuring that your company has a robust prospect list are all crucial to effective and efficient marketing. Whether you’re targeting womprats or trucking executives, make sure you have the data and methodology in place when embarking on your next campaign.

I’m Luke Skywalker. I’m here to rescue you.” Are some of your marketing initiatives going so poorly they need to be rescued? How are you determining which plans need to be rescues versus those that need to be jettisoned? Marketing initiatives need to be reviewed on a regular basis, and culled when they are beyond rescue.

“I am a Jedi, like my father before me.” My father founded this company, so I’m going to run it the way he did. As companies transition from fathers to sons and daughters, there are important elements to keep, and many to throw away. When it comes to marketing, look at what has produced recent ROI, and look at innovative approaches for future ROI. A simple example might be the website your father (Jedi or otherwise) created ten years ago. It might have been great then, but the time has come and gone to create a new, mobile responsive website.

LESSONS FROM LUKE DARTH VADER

The force is strong with this one.” Once you earn a positive digital reputation, the force will be strong with your company, and can remain strong with high quality content and consistent communication.

“It is your destiny. Join me, and together we can rule the galaxy as father and son.” Though ruling the galaxy may be beyond the scope of your business, you can dramatically increase your book of business with innovative marketing initiatives, leading edge tools and the talent to execute them. Considering outsourcing certain marketing initiatives to compliment any missing in house staffing or skills. Outsourcing can be a more effective solution than internal staffing for many organizations, especially smaller businesses.

LESSONS FROM PRINCESS LEIA

“Help me Obi-wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope.” Though marketing can often be daunting for many companies, particularly small businesses, it’s not as hopeless as it might initially seem. And there usually isn’t just one silver bullet that will solve a problem(s), but rather many options which can provide successful outcomes. When initiatives are going poorly, start with the basics such as market, profile, persona, delivery options, etc. Use A/B split testing (or multivariate split testing) to better optimize messaging and calls to action.

“Aren’t you a little short for a storm trooper?” Just because your budget is small doesn’t mean it can’t be effective. For example, leverage less expensive tools and platforms to expand reach. Use LinkedIn long form publishing as opposed to paid press releases. Cross pollinate your digital content by using free or inexpensive social media platforms. Small businesses and startups can use sweat equity when they have insufficient capital available.

“I have a bad feeling about this.” Well this one seemed quite obvious. If you don’t have a good feeling about your marketing campaign or initiative, think out of the box (or “poke the box”) and try something new. How about whiteboard videos, or a social media based referral program, infographics for digital content, on demand webinars, a new app, or pod casts. There are so many tools and technologies available today, there is something for companies both small and large.

LESSONS FROM OBI-WAN

Strike me down, and I will become more powerful than you could possibly imagine.” If at first you don’t succeed, measure, refine (or overhaul), and execute. Repeat!

Marketing inspiration can be gleaned from both traditional and innovative sources. Businesses need to embrace innovative marketing ideas and new technologies. And if your business is looking to “punch it” when it comes to marketing, you may wish to consider outsourcing some or all digital marketing to a professional and proficient marketing agency.

Supernatural Marketing

“Make the HEART of this people fat, and make their EARS heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their EYES, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed” Isa 6:10

“For this people’s HEART is waxed gross, and their EARS are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them” Mat 13:15

There are three dimensions of marketing: FrontDoor Marketing, BackDoor Marketing, and Supernatural Marketing. Much of what is known and practiced in the marketplace is FrontDoor Marketing! Very little is known of BackDoor Marketing and much less is known of Supernatural Marketing! In marketing generally, the “Eyes,” “Ears,” and “Heart,” of potential customers are the major targets of all marketing efforts!

These three targets hold the key to prosperity and lack for businesses and their products and/or services in the marketplace! If these three important targets of your potential customers are closed against your products and/or services, you and your business will suffer neglect, lack, insignificance, and poverty in the marketplace! Conversely, if these three targets are opened in favour of your products and/or services, you and your business will enjoy unprecedented patronage, abundance, significance, and prosperity!

Satan has a mandate to close the “Eyes,” “Ears,” and “Heart,” of potential customers/clients in the marketplace against your business, products and/or services because you are a Christian doing business in the marketplace! This explains why many Christians struggle with business in the marketplace! Supernatural Marketing seeks to help Christians doing business in the marketplace to overcome this siege of the devil.

Why The Ears, Eyes & Heart Of Your Potential Customer Is So Important!

There are six fundamental reasons why the Ears, Eyes & Heart Of Your Potential Customer Is So Important!

Let’s check them out!

1. VISIBILITY

The first purpose of marketing is “Visibility.” Marketing makes your product or service perceptible or noticeable to the eyes, ears, and mind of your targeted client or customer, depending on the medium you employ. The eyes and ears are gates to the “Mind” of man. The more people see or hear about your product or service, the more it is ingrained into their mind until it is deep-rooted. Because your product or service is a seed at this initial stage of marketing, it soon begins to germinate when your marketing efforts is sustained.

If an organization sustains its marketing effort, before long, it would bear fruit. Take note, human response rate differ according to their personality. The reserved (introverts) ones are laggards, they are naturally inclined to foot-dragging. In contrast, the outgoing ones (extroverts) are naturally inclined to respond first to your marketing effort.

The above reasoning presupposes that if you do not embark on a sustained, focused, and targeted marketing, the public will be oblivious of your product and services and that could translates into eventual stagnation or collapse of your business.

2. AWARENESS

Visibility of your product or service in the mind of your targeted customer over time creates a consciousness or awareness in the “Heart” of your targeted customers when sustained and spirited marketing is the watchword. Remember, conviction takes place in the heart. Until the customer is convinced in his or her heart to accept your product and service, there will not be patronage and repeated buying, which is the goal of every entrepreneur.

When you emphasis the unique value proposition or unique selling point of your product or service long enough through sustained marketing, your target group will understand its usefulness and this is how a market buzz and frenzy is created.

When the public are persuaded in their heart that your product or service is the first and best choice, they’ll respond voluntarily and positively to your organization’s offerings and that is what eventually attract your clients to you, when he or she have “Genuine” need of your product or service.

3. CONVICTION

When your product or service is projected strong enough in the minds of your target customers through sustained marketing; it gets ingrained in their minds! After sometime, because the product or service remains constantly in focus, he begins to believe the benefits of the product or service is real. It won’t take long before he receives a suggestion from his mind to give the product or service a try.

Unconsciously, the customer has accepted the product or service because of the conviction in his mind that the product or service is worth giving it a try. Now, at this point, if the product or service is worth its salt, when the customer gives a try, he is convinced that the product or service is worth it. When the customer makes another effort to patronize the product or service again, he will be hooked because in the mouth of two or three witness, every product is established in the heart of the customer!

4. ACCEPTANCE

The resultant effect of visibility, awareness, and conviction of your product or service by your targeted customers is a positive “Mental attitude” – created by the Holy Spirit – that your product or service is believable, credible, and trustworthy and therefore, the customers accepts it as true and eventually prefers it above other products and services.

The question you want to ask yourself is, when people generally think of using the kind of product or service you are offering on a scale of 1 to 3, where does your offering stand. Instructively, the product or service that occupies the first two rungs of the scale will be more favoured in the order of their standing. It is your responsibility to get your product or service to this position!

Assuming the product you’re offering in the marketplace is a detergent and we have 50 potential customers in your “Coverage area” – and that varies in scope – that wants to buy one each. When they think in their mind of the best and preferred detergent to buy, where does your company’s brand stand in their mind? Where your brand stands in their minds, will be determined by three factors: the quality of your marketing, the quality of your product, and your customer service.

5. BRANDING

Sustained marketing gives your product or service a positive flight that galvanize it above others in your industry. Persistent marketing ingrain your brand permanently in the heart of your target customers. When the image or brand identification is ingrained in the hearts of your targeted customers; after they’ve used your product or service and found it satisfactory, they’d over time become habituated to it, which makes it a first choice in their decision making process.

6. SPREAD

When steps, 1-5 assumes a rhythmic flow in your business efficiency and effectiveness, your products and services will begin to find its way to more home, hands, and families. Over time, your product or service distribution begins to expand and extend over a wide sphere due to visibility, awareness, conviction, acceptance, and branding.

Your customers will begin to do word of mouth publicity of your products and services to friends, neighbours, and family. This is because they are satisfied with your product or service, because they believe that your organization have delivered on its promises!