You know you can grow great produce – your next challenge is telling people about it. This is where your marketing plan comes in. It will help you identify who will be interested in your products, where you can reach buyers, and how you’ll promote your farm and products.
Follow these basic steps to create an agricultural marketing plan:
- Identify what makes your farm special. Do research to learn what makes your farm and products different from those of other, similar businesses in the South Fraser Valley. This is also known as your competitive advantage. The Canada Business Network has a great page about how to get started on market research.
- Figure out who is most likely to buy your products. Will it be individual consumers? Restaurants? Supermarkets? Promotion can be costly and time-consuming, so you need to make sure you direct your marketing strategy at the right people. For example, if you can produce a consistent product, delivered daily, restaurants may be your best target. Whereas if you harvest small amounts of several crops, you might want to focus on farmers’ markets and individual consumers. Create a detailed list of all the places you might sell agricultural products, including how often and for how long each year.
- Determine marketing goals and tactics. Ask yourself how you’ll connect with your customers. From there, come up with a strategy, and specific ways to market your product, including how much you’ll spend promoting yourself and your products. There is no formula for how much you’ll need to spend on promotion, but it’s better to budget too much than too little. Pick platforms most likely to reach your buyers. You’ll want to consider newspaper, radio, television, and online advertising – as well as brochures, websites, social media, signage, local farm-marketing associations, and events such as fall fairs and harvest days.
For help with marketing in your specific industry, connect with a growing association through the BC Agricultural council.