Starting your online marketing strategy

ON NOW copyFor some that attended the recent Agricultural Science Association Social Media training session, the topics discussed around the use of Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook are an everyday reality but the fact of the matter is, for most in our sector, it is not an everyday reality. There is a definite sense that Agribusinesses need to embrace Digital Marketing and Social Media but may be nervous about how to approach it.

So you already know that marketing online is crucial for your business, but before you embark on the journey, have you really thought about why this is the case. Is it just to do what everyone else is doing, or is it to deliver on a specific objective?

Online presence has opened onto a motorway of fast traffic, and lots of it. Don’t get pulled along and lost among all the other traffic. Be strategic in your approach.

Have a clear objective and don’t let it overwhelm you

The most important word I have mentioned so far is ‘OBJECTIVE’. Without a clear objective of what you want to achieve, you cannot know what the right thing to do is. It reminds me a bit of driving out the gate, but with no destination in mind; how will I know to turn right or left, what road to take, how will I know if I am on the right road and how will I even know when I have arrived!

Digital marketing can be somewhat overwhelming and I have been there right at the top of the queue wondering what platforms I should be using, how many I should be using, and how do I use them. The best exercise you can do is sit with your team (or just you and a cup of coffee!) and figure out what you are trying to achieve. If it is about getting a particular message about your product or brand to your customer, well then you need to think about where your customer is hanging out. It also helps to ‘follow’ the people/companies you admire, and see what they do. Facebook and Twitter are particularly useful for that.

Online marketing is about interaction and on some platforms the hard sell is frowned upon by many users. It is about the story and personality behind your business or product. It is about giving the customer something extra. The great thing is, unlike traditional marketing, digital marketing can be measured and you can quickly identify what you are doing right and wrong by using the right tools.

Getting assistance when you need it

For marketing departments who want to clarify their objectives or want to know the best online mediums, don’t be afraid to ask for external help. Use digital marketing professionals who have tried and tested the many platforms and tools available, who know what google likes, who can help you uncover what are the best platforms for you, and who understand SEO and how it works. It will certainly make the journey far easier and more productive.

Let me put all this into perspective. You wouldn’t go out to sell animal feed, fertiliser or such products without knowing the products inside out or you will be soon found out. Treat your Digital Marketing plans like this; hire or use the right resources to deliver what you have identified as the overall objectives of your plan.

Green Acre Marketing provide a broad range of services to assist companies with their Digital Marketing Strategy and we continue to pop in along the way to ensure you stay on track.

Photo tips for Agri sales teams

Regularly reminding sales staff to build a bank of photos when they are out and about visiting farms, walking crops, etc., is a great way of capturing content, particularly when company products or services are evident and there is opportunity to demonstrate how they have benefitted their customers. The images can be used immediately on Social Media such as Twitter and Facebook to give a snapshot of events as they happen on that day, promoting your customer, their business and, in turn, your business.Grass with clover

Taking photos also generates images for your Marketing staff to use in promotions, brochures, and on social media.

An easy way to ask your sales team for images is to use WhatsApp. WhatsApp Messenger is a cross-platform mobile messaging app. You send the message, for example, ‘I need a pic of winter barley’ and if anyone has a photo or can snap one, they send it on.

Taking the photo

You don’t need the latest high tech camera to take good photos. Camera phones today can take high resolution photos (usually in the file format .jpg) and produce good results however there are a few simple techniques on how to take and edit photos that can make a difference.

Composition

Humans look at the world in a few predictable ways. Our eyes follow lines and are drawn to, apart from the centre, four areas of a photo.

Use of lines – A path or fence in the shot draws the eye across the photo or cubicle shots leading into the barn. Think of lines leading the viewer into the photo.

Rule of thirds – Think of your photo divided into three lines horizontally and three lines vertically. The four intersection points where these lines meet are areas of an image that our eyes are drawn to, darting between them. (Picture shows silage rake placed at one of the intersection points.) Field in Grid2

Also check what you want photographed is what the camera has focussed on. Try the zoom function, if needed, to get close-ups if you can’t move closer for farm safety reasons.

Light

The sun is great for shots of fields and crops but avoid shooting straight into the sun. Let the sun come in from the side. But you don’t need a sunny day to get good photos. Cloudy days give less dark shadows and have a pleasant feel to them.

Taking photos at the start and end of a day gives a warmer tone to a photo. Middle of the day photos have a bluer tone.

When to take your photos

All the time, throughout the year. In agriculture everything is constantly changing and growing. If you work with crops, photograph a field of winter barley at the early stages and then later in the season. In the dairy and beef sector, all stages of the cattle life cycle and best practice outcomes from the use of your products and services should be captured.

Tidying up your image

You took the shot, had to run and now looking at it during a quiet time of the day have realised something has gone wrong. If you got the shot and it is pretty much in focus, don’t panic.

The most commonly used tricks by photographers are to check the Brightness, Contrast and then Crop a photo. If you need to work the image more, use a picture editor software like Adobe Photoshop Elements or Photos, an app available with MS Windows 10.

For example with Photos, you can do basic fixes: Rotate the image, Crop it, Straighten it up, and correct Red eye. It has Brightness to make the photo lighter or darker and Contrast which makes darks darker and lights brighter.

You can use Temperature (to make the photo cooler or warmer i.e. more blue or orange) or change the Saturation (A little extra saturation may be needed for a photo taken on a dull day. No saturation makes a photo black and white).

Get the shot

Finally, like family photography, it’s better to capture an image, any image, than worry if it has been taken correctly. Get the moment recorded and then decide how best to use the photo to promote your customers achievements and your business.

Running a successful event for your Agribusiness

SeminarPhotowebGetting an event organiser to run your workshop, launch, business opening, and exhibition frees up your sales staff to achieve the best in their roles and do what they do best: network with clients, find new customers and make sales.
Here are some tips to help you run a successful Agri seminar or workshop.

Why run an event?

There are many things you need to think about when planning an event, however a very good starting point is give a great deal of thought to the following two items as these will give you the seminar topic and help you build an engaging programme.

Start by asking your team what your business will achieve from it and what is the overall objective in running the event. Reasons include: to build awareness of your business and products/services, to reach new customers/clients, to keep in touch with your current customers, to boost your brand’s reputation, and to showcase your products and the technology associated with them.

Secondly, who do you want to invite and what are the benefits of attending this event for the invitees? This will determine what will be included on the electronic and print media before, during and after the event.

Your event

Picking a date – Time of year is crucial for Agri events. Think of your attendees and what suits them and the timing of the message you want to give.

Venue – Location is key. Your customers may be travelling from all over the country. Consider having more than one event if trying to appeal to a larger region. Also, consider the room size, too big and it looks empty, too small and it is crowded.

Speakers – Consider your overall message that you want to resonate with attendees. This will help you determine internal or external speakers that will spark interest in your event.

Start and finish times – Consider how long attendees have to travel to and from the event and pick start/finish times to assist this. If it is a full day, plan for refreshments; snacks or lunch.

Attendee list – How you target the right people for the event depends on the aim of the seminar. Your sales staff will have built up lists of customers and these can be a very good starting point. Then start to think about influencers that would be of value.

Advertising the event – You’ve got the date, venue, start/finish times, a topic and possibly a programme and you’re ready to start promoting the event. Promote an event too early and people forget it, too late and people are busy. A nice balance is to start with a ‘Save the Date’ email to your attendee list. Then send the official Invitation about three weeks before the event and follow up with a phone call a week before the seminar. I cannot stress the importance of this follow up phone call. Unfortunately with the busy lives people lead they may have forgotten to reply or assumed someone else did it and before you know it you have 10 extra people planning to attend that you were unaware of! It is worth noting, making these calls is more time consuming than you think, so don’t leave it last minute. This call also gives sales staff a reason to call/catch-up with their customers, to promote themselves by selling the event and use the opportunity to book time to meet the customer in the near future if they are unable to attend.

Programme of the event – Ask your speakers to send their presentation summary and bio in advance to help plan the programme timings and bring balance to the day. This also gives you material for a seminar brochure.

Promotions – Check the branding in the room on company banners and stands, and put together promotional items to give to customers i.e. brochures, pens, notepads etc.

Photographer – Book a photographer to document the event or take key group shots for press releases after the event. Invite the media as well.

Why use Green Acre Marketing to run your Agri event?

Running a large industry event like a seminar, from launch to final press release, takes time away from your sales staff. Using an event organiser frees up sales staff to network during the event, make contacts and sales.

Green Acre Marketing will take care of everything. We will develop a customised checklist for your event with deadlines for all activities to help everything run smoothly and make the most of the event, leaving time for you to be with your customers.

Green Acre Marketing representing Waterford entrepreneurship

Cropped profile pic resizedWaterford based business person Aileen Barron from Green Acre Marketing has been selected as a participant on the inaugural Acorns female entrepreneur programme, funded by Department of Agriculture and the Marine. The programme will run from September 2015 until March 2016. Participants were selected, on a competitive basis, who best demonstrated potential to advance their businesses.

The programme has seen 48 rural based female entrepreneurs, from all over Ireland selected from hundreds of applicants and Aileen from Green Acre Marketing is the first Waterford business woman to partake in the programme, which will run over the next 6 months.

Green Acre Marketing is a company that provides marketing services specifically to national and international Agribusinesses. Aileen has worked in senior marketing and management positions in the Agri sector for many years and it is her wealth of knowledge of the Agri sector that sets Green Acre Marketing apart. Aileen explains ‘When I work on projects for clients they are confident in the fact that I understand their industry, communication challenges and their clients. I can work seamlessly with existing marketing teams who in some cases are based in other countries but need a representative in Ireland that will understand the market here. It also gives me the opportunity to work with the vast array of Irish Agribusinesses who are doing great things both home and abroad to help them hone their brand and all that it represents’.

Speaking about the programme Aileen said she was honoured to have been awarded a place and have the opportunity to work with and learn from some of Irelands most promising and established businesses. ‘There is a real connection between the participants on the programme, as we are all female entrepreneurs, with the same challenges, working towards the same goal; which is to build a sustainable, profitable business. The specific aim for Green Acre Marketing is to build a strong business and attract the best people to help it grow’.

From Waterford Chamber’s Members News 8th Oct 2015.

About ACORNS
Acorns are an innovative programme funded under the CEDRA 2015 Rural Innovation and Development Fund through the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine (DAFM), aimed at Accelerating the Creation of Rural Nascent Start-ups. It is for early stage female entrepreneurs, living in rural Ireland.

Digital marketing – have a clear objective and don’t let it overwhelm you.

Unless living under a rock for the past number of years, you will know that marketing online is crucial for your business, but before you embark on the journey, have you really thought about why this is the case. Is it just to do what everyone else is doing, or is it to deliver on a specific objective.

There are many reasons for online presence but let me just mention 5 basic reasons why someone searches for you online:

  • Want to know where in the country you are based
  • Want to get directions to your premises
  • Want to verify that you are who you say you are
  • Want to get a better feel for what you do
  • Want to make contact with you

While having this content is absolutely fundamental, online presence has moved way on down the road from these basic needs and has opened onto a motorway of fast traffic, and lots of it. Don’t get pulled along and lost among all the other traffic.

The most important word I have mentioned so far is ‘OBJECTIVE’. Without a clear objective of what you want to achieve, you cannot know what the right thing to do is. It reminds me a bit of driving out the gate, but with no destination in mind; how will I know to turn right or left, what road to take, how will I know if I am on the right road and how will I even know when I have arrived!

Digital marketing can be somewhat overwhelming and I have been there right at the top of the queue wondering what platforms I should be using, how many I should be using, and how do I use them. The best exercise you can do is sit with your team (or just you and a cup of coffee!) and figure out what you are trying to achieve. If it is about getting a particular message about your product or brand to your customer, well then you need to think about where you customer is hanging out. It also helps to ‘follow’ the people/companies you admire, and see what they do. Facebook and Twitter are particularly useful for that.

Digital marketing is about interaction and on some platforms the hard sell is frowned upon by many users. It is about the story and personality behind your business or product. It is about giving the customer something extra. The great thing is, unlike traditional marketing, digital marketing can be measured and you can quickly identify what you are doing right and wrong by using the right tools.

For marketing departments who want to clarify their objectives or want to know the best online mediums, don’t be afraid to ask for external help. Use digital marketing professionals who have tried and tested the many platforms and tools available, who know what google likes, who can help you uncover what are the best platforms for you, and who understand SEO and how it works. It will certainly make the journey far easier and more productive.

Creating a Brochure

3 Fold_1100013949 (Custom)Some brief simple pointers when creating your brochure.

Have you ever picked up a brochure or flyer, looked at it, and still know very little about the product or service? This is something seen far too often, and is so easily avoided by following a few simple steps.

  • Never assume the customer is already informed about your product, or has a basic knowledge. Your brochure should provide the basic knowledge so that the customer is informed enough to want to find out more.
  • Bear in mind that it may not be the person reading the brochure that is your potential customer, but in fact the person they relay that information to. If they do not understand the information they will not pass it on.
  • Ask someone outside of your sales and marketing team to glance over the brochure and to tell you what the key messages they got from it are.
  • Use clear language. Too often text is written too elaborately, and the key message is lost among it.
  • Be concise – say what you have to stay and then stop!
  • Use relevant images. Cliché, but a picture does paint a thousand words!

These are just a few of the short tips to bear in mind when creating your next brochure or ad campaign. For further assistance or advice contact Green Acre Marketing, who will ensure your message is clear.

 

An Intro to Green Acre Marketing

Depositphotos_35029099_xl (Custom)As this is the first BLOG from Green Acre Marketing, I want to take the opportunity to introduce ourselves and give you a better understanding of what we are about and what we can bring to the table of any Agri-business company, or association.

Having worked in the Agri sector for what I can only describe as my whole life, (this extends to slave labour on the family farm as a child!!), I can see how much the sector has evolved. The great thing is, that it is set to continue to evolve, and is most likely to take an unprecedented path. The role of Green Acre Marketing is to assist companies appeal to their customer in a more effective way as their market and customer evolves.

Marketing your company is two-fold – as a basic need, it should attract new customers and support the retention of others, however it is also about attracting the right resources into the company in terms of staff. This is all done as a direct impact of how your company or product is perceived.

When we look at helping a company, we firstly need to examine how the company is perceived by its customers, and is it consistent with the message the company has been trying to portray. Marketing is simply about portraying the right message in the most appropriate way. There is a sense that if a company wishes to embrace the role of marketing, that they need to be blogging, on facebook, tweeting, etc, however, very often it is about developing the marketing function from the very basic level. Green Acre Marketing helps companies put a simple road map in place to market themselves more effectively, and will mentor existing staff if the resources are already present.

Start by thinking about your brand or product, what you want to say about it, and who you want to target. We then roll out the appropriate tools to deliver this message. It is that simple.

For companies that have a well-defined marketing function, but are limited by their resources at particular times of the year or month, Green Acre Marketing is available to support the existing marketing team by working as an additional team member to get the job done.

We welcome the opportunity to work with you in the near future.