Many businesses, farms included, spend tons of time working on marketing messages and strong branding, but they don’t spend enough time thinking about why their buyers actually buy. Uncovering this simple truth simplifies marketing strategy and helps generate more sales.
So why do buyers buy? Brian Morgan from Think Deeply, Write Clearly believes that customers buy because they want you on their team; they believe that your products and services make them better. When it comes to farming, your customers buy from you because they see your produce as healthy and beneficial for their bodies.
Focus on Your Message
Business advice often focuses on the wrong things. It tells you to focus on Facebook ads and funnels, but those are useless without the right message. In fact, the first thing you should focus on is how you can present your business in a way that clearly shows customers how you serve them and the value your business delivers.
When developing your messaging, remember that customers don’t want to be sold to, guilted, or manipulated into buying products. Instead, customers prefer to buy from vendors they trust, and by cultivating this trust, you can charge the prices you need to earn the margins you want - all without using deceitful marketing tactics.
To get to that point, you need to build a team relationship with your customers. Show them how you are helping them work towards their goals and how you will support them; don’t prey on their fear or try to manipulate them.
As with all other relationships in your life, a healthy relationship with your customer will be built on a foundation of trust that feels genuine. You want your customers to feel like you are on the same team and that you support them towards their goals.
To continue with the relationship metaphor, you need to develop a two-way dialogue with your customers as you would with your spouse, especially when you might disagree. For example, if you only focus on touting the message that organic blueberries are the healthiest berry, then you will only get sales from customers who agree with that conclusion. However, if you take the time to share why blueberries are good for you and really focus on building a relationship with the client, even those who do not agree with your conclusion will purchase from you because they trust you and see the quality in your product.
Trust Does Not Happen Overnight
While you may have sales funnels that can convert sales within 30 minutes, you will never be able to build trust in such a short amount of time. Trust is something that is built over hundreds of points of contact with your customer, showing them that you are part of their team by demonstrating that you act upon their feedback and care about them consistently over time.
Transparency of process is another vital factor in building trust with your customers. People like to see the wizard behind the curtain and get to know the real humans they buy from. They like to know that you are an expert, and they like to see how the things you do adds value to the finished product that they get to enjoy.
Use video to build transparency and trust - your audience will love to see the human faces behind their produce
A powerful way to build transparency is through video. Consistent video posts on social media pages that share how you operate will go a long way to develop trust. Believe it or not, customers will care about soil care if you can show them why it matters to the food they eat.
How to Create a Message that Resonates
Think about why you bought the car you did. Likely, it was not because of the hundreds of features and benefits - it was because of the 3 or 4 main factors that really met your needs. For example, you might have picked the car you drive because its wheels were big enough for snow tires and it had 4WD, so it is perfect for when you go skiing.
Likewise, customers will buy your products for 3 or 4 primary benefits. You need to find out what the driving factors are that convince customers to purchase from you rather than a supermarket, and then you can ensure your messaging communicates those factors clearly. For a farm, customers may be interested in your products because your produce is more nutritious, they like to support local businesses, you employ local people, or organic food is safer because of reduced chemical use. The benefit that is most important to your customer is the benefit you want to promote in your messaging.
How to Promote Your Message
Use Social Media Effectively
Many business owners will be reluctant to use social media because it seems like a wasteland of people vying for attention, and they’re not entirely wrong. However, because of that, it is really easy to stand out for doing social media the right way.
Use social media to build your credibility, add value to the customers, and create a space for yourself and really show the benefits of what you produce. If you look at social media objectively, it is 200 words of space that you are given to convince customers why organic food bought from the farm or farmer’s market is more nutritious than that in a supermarket. And when you think about how expensive billboards and focus groups are, you really can’t turn down this free platform.
Use social media to show your customers how your processes add value to the final product they receive.
Stop using social media to compare your followers and post interactions to celebrities. If you went to a conference and spoke in front of a thousand people and got a hundred customers from that, then that would be a massive win. The same goes for social media. Every time you post something, you are giving yourself a chance to speak to thousands of people who are interested in what you have to say.
Add Value Instead of Just Adding to the Noise
Influencers like Gary Vaynerchuk really operate on the concept that the more you put out there, the greater audience you will grow. However, when you focus on producing more and more social content, you lose sight of the purpose of your social media page: to add value to your customers and take the time to really give heartfelt information and communication.
If every time you post, you give your audience interesting or useful information, they will be more likely to stop scrolling and read what you write. On the other hand, if only one out of every ten posts is interesting, then they will likely miss the one post that adds value because they can’t see it through the noise you helped to create.
By separating yourself from the noise, you will stand out more than if you jumped on the multiple posts per day bandwagon. You can’t compete with supermarkets that have teams of people dedicated to managing social media websites and posting multiple times a day. Instead, move the competition to a playing field where you have a chance—building a human connection. Show your audience the people behind the business and show them that you are human. This is something that large corporations cannot do.
Work With Short Attention Spans
Today more than ever, people have really short attention spans. Your audience doesn’t want to sort through pages of information about why it is more beneficial to allow food to ripen in the ground rather than at the supermarket or at home. Instead, they want the answer in a short, digestible tidbit.
You can build credibility with sources and storytelling, but know that most people won’t read your posts if they are too long. To combat this, present the key piece of information and then present the next piece of information in the next social media post.
Think of presenting messages in the form of elevator pitches instead. Every word you write increases the obligation for you to make it worth their while. The more time you take from them, the more value you need to give.
Think Long-Term Instead of Short-Term
The place a lot of businesses go wrong with their marketing is having a short-term mindset. They think, if I spend $1 today on advertising, I want to make that $1 back today. This is an unsustainable way of thinking.
Remember that you are ultimately trying to build a relationship with every contact with the customer and relationships take time. With this in mind, look to add value first and avoid littering every piece of writing with calls to action and sales speak. Doing this will create longer lasting customers that ultimately bring more success to your business.
Remember to use your social media channels to build relationships, and engage with your community to build trust.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should you include pricing in a post or will it scare customers away?
There will always be places selling the same goods for more or less than you, so the real question at play here is whether or not your price makes sense in the context it’s in. If you create the right context, then you can charge whatever you want. When you do choose to advertise your price, focus on telling the story that will make people willing to buy produce at your price when they could buy similar produce in a supermarket for cheaper.
The trick is to tell this story quickly, to fit into consumers’ attention span. You can’t have pages of testimonials and sales speak because people will tune out.
Can you post just pictures of your farm or should those pictures have thoughtful captions that add value too?
You need to look at the effectiveness of your posts. If your images alone are causing a lot of buzz and causing people to come and buy your products, then by all means continue to post images. If not, then you need to think of the picture as the thing that grabs your audience’s attention and the caption as the part that builds the relationship by adding value.
If you are in doubt, you can always run a-b testing to see what has the most impact.
Should you offer discounts for bulk buying or repeat customers?
If your price is high enough to justify the discount, this technique may be appropriate. You still need to be serving customers, though, and this should be offered as a thank you for their support rather than manipulating them into a first sale.
The danger with discounts is that when you get customers to buy from you for the first time with a discount, they may view your products as not being worth the full price, and they may be unwilling to pay the full price in the future. You don’t want to inadvertently tell your customers that you are not worth the full price.
Can I still add a call to action on a thoughtful social media post?
Yes! Using calls to action such as “Learn more” or “Download this resource” are great ways to drive engagement and deepen your customer relationships. Steer clear of calls to actions that offer discounts or “limited time offers” as those are really salesy and, again, try to get people in the door with discounts.
Do these strategies work in different countries and cultures?
Yes, because humans are humans. It doesn’t matter where a client is from; we are all bombarded with the same tired marketing techniques that feel pushy or salesy. We all long for that human contact. You know, why do you go to a local café instead of a chain one? You long for that connection with the barista or waitstaff; you feel good supporting people rather than faceless companies.