Hello, I’m Holly Michael – farm wife, mother, blogger , DMM crazy headline writer and communications professional who has worked at some of Dayton’s largest companies. I straddle the sometimes equally stinky worlds of agriculture and corporate life, so you don’t have to.
Farming is hard work and most people understand this. But farming is also a business. My farmer husband is worried about the same things as most small family businesses: inventory, keeping the bills paid, retaining and gaining new customers, the competitive landscape, business growth, profits and the price of pig semen. OK, maybe not that last one. While farming isn’t something you do casually—it’s a lifestyle—it is still an occupation.
The point is that our farm needs to market itself and we use some of the same tools that businesses use to reach our customers, find new ones, beat out the competition and generate demand for our products.
We have a pig sale (auction) coming up April 24 in Eaton. Please come and wave your arms around frantically every time you hear that guy talking way too fast. Also, bring your check book.
Just joking. The auction is geared to young people and parents who are shopping for a pig to take as a 4-H project to the county or state fairs. There are several auctions just like ours that also offer pigs for the fair.
To stand out, we advertise our sale in pig magazines. Yes, there are pig magazines. We also have a Web site: www.bonavistafarm.com that has seen its traffic significantly increase since we started buying Google ads and placed a banner ad at www.showpig.com.
We not only advertise the date of our sale but we use customer testimonials. Photos of smiling kids holding a trophy next to their pig goes a long way to letting customers know that buying at our sale gives you the opportunity to become a champion.
We are also sending out a direct mail to our customer database. As sophisticated as that sounds, let’s not get carried away, the mailer consists of a copy of one of our ads folded by my husband and labeled by his two chief helpers.
I just think it’s important to point out that farming is a business. Like any industry, there are trade shows, fierce competition, influential leaders and controversy. So if your annual budget has a line item for boar studs and you get up in the night to check and make sure your inventory hasn’t run off, then you know what it’s like to run a small business like ours.