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Agvocacy:
Promoting Your Farm On The Web
Trase Passantino
Serenity Acres Now, LLC
Why Promote My Farm On The Web?

How are customers finding you otherwise?

Less people use the Yellow Pages, use web instead

Losing business to farms that do have websites


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People want to be more in touch with their food
sources
Gives customers 24/7 access to learn about your
farm's offerings even if you aren't available
Builds stronger relationships with your customers
because they can personally interact with you and
the farm - even when not at the farm.
Before You Get Started


Get an email address from an “agnostic” provider – so
when your ISP changes, your email address does not. It
will be consistent for any accounts you sign up for and
will save confusion and difficulty in the future.

Gmail

Yahoo

Hotmail
What type of Internet connectivity do you have?

Broadband (DSL/Cable/Satellite/EVDO) are
ideal for updating websites
Before You Get Started

Make your passwords difficult to guess so you don't
get hacked and have your business image
tarnished.

Low likelihood, but better safe than sorry.

Do a long string of random words and a
symbol, like “squashbugslaughter!” or
“c0yotecliffslam.” Length is more
important than complexity.
Before You Get Started



Decide who on the farm will be primary
person to manage web presence, answer
emails, create site content, etc.
Know your current audience/customer base,
give them the information they want.
Decide who you want to add to that
audience. Is there additional info the
additional audience would want?
Where On The Web?

Directory Sites


Social Media


Facebook, LinkedIn
Classifieds Sites


Local Harvest, Farmer's Pal, RealMilk
BestFarmBuys, Craigslist
Your Own Website/Blogging
Directory Sites


Sites that are designed to provide customers
an easy way to search for the farm products
they want
Some examples are:

LocalHarvest.org

FarmersPal.com

EatWellGuide.org

EatWild.com

Specific to raw milk: RealMilk.com
Listing Your Farm On A Directory

Some sites are account based, others are
submission based.

You control all of the listing information on an
account based site. If you want to change
something, you log in and do it.

A submission based site means that you will
contact the site administrator and request to
be listed on their site, providing them the
information. Can be more difficult to update,
so make sure you are sure of what you want
to have listed there.
LocalHarvest



A directory site that is account based
Sign up for an account, then set up your
own listing
You can also set up a store


Shipping options or local pickup only
Customers search by geographic proximity
and types of products offered
FarmersPal, EatWellGuide, EatWild



These are submission based sites. You
submit a request to be listed on the site and
wait for them to add you
Make sure you include what types of
products you offer so that will be included
in the listing
It's important to insure accuracy since you
will be waiting on the site staff to make any
updates/corrections to your listing
RealMilk.com



This site is affiliated with the Weston A.
Price Foundation and promotes the benefits
and protection/rights to raw milk
You can announce the availability of herd
shares from your farm here
This is a submission type site, and it is only
updated periodically, so make sure the info
you submit is exactly what you want shown
Your Farm & Social Media


Keep your personal socializing and your business
social presence separate on the Internet –
maintain separate accounts for each
Make sure that you set up a business-specific
account on the social media site.

For instance, set up a Facebook “Fan”
page, not a personal profile using business
name
Facebook

Set up a Business Profile Page





www.facebook.com/pages/create.php
Use to interact with fans in a personal manner – this will
help attract/retain them as customers
If you farm-blog or farm-Tweet, use tools to link so updates
from those will post to Facebook fan page
Become a “fan” of other farms & businesses

Networking/knowledge

Geographic proximity of fans
Advertise you are on Facebook on your website,
promotional materials, business cards, etc.
LinkedIn


Need to first create a Personal Profile Page
w/farm name listed as employer
Then you create a company page for your
employer (your farm name), with you as the owner

There are farm-themed discussion groups

Networking with individuals and companies
Twitter




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A way to connect in short messages (140
characters or less)
Hashtags highly recommended (#smallfarm #goats
#chickens #realmilk)
Network with other farms, vendors, and potential
customers
AgBlogFeed is a great account to network with –
will broadcast your blog updates
Can post photos of farm animals and activities
Google Plus



Business Pages not yet available – watch for these
G+ Business Page will be a great tool for getting
your farm more results in Google search engine
Do not try to set up right now, Google is policing
for non-personal entities being set up under
personal accounts
Your Own Website


Your website is a virtual extension of you and your
farm. It is there to serve content about your farm
to attract people to it.
Good customer service is a must.

Reliability of site

Interesting, informative content

Prompt responsiveness to contacts

Your “virtual representative”
Your Own Website


Decide upon a domain name – your farm name if
possible, or a variation.
Purchase through a registrar

Registration available for a year or more

Should be about $10 for one year



(GoDaddy)
Discounts offered for more than one year
Your web developer will need access to your registrar
account to tie your domain name to your web host service
Domain name is like registering business name with
state; web host is like the space you rent for actual
business presence, just in virtual/figurative forms.
Your Own Website

Get your own domain name and a reliable, paid
webhosting service.



Get www.greatgoatfarm.com not
greatgoatfarm.somefreehost.com
Free or cheap webhosting have downfalls

Bandwidth restrictions: “This user has exceeded their
bandwidth for the month. Please try again next
month”

Advertising may cause problems on visitor's
computers. May conflict with your message.
Paid webhosting through a reliable hosting service is
your best bet.
Your Own Website

Clean, professional looking design will attract and
keep people browsing your website.



Avoid flashing, moving gimmicks. These were
amusing 15 years ago, but not considered good
design today. Distracting – Internet ADD!
Do you have the skills to DIY your site? If not, it
may be your best bet to hire someone.
If hiring someone, ask for references. Check out
their past work. You need someone who can code
and recognize good design.
Your Own Website

For easiest updating, a Content Management
System is the best route.

Once installed/setup, updates are done through
your browser window in a word processor type
environment. Very easy.

WordPress, Joomla, Drupal are the major CMS
offerings. WordPress most popular.

Most web developers/designers can set this up for
you and then you take over the day to day
updates for the blog, pages, etc.

Lots of free themes to choose from, which can be
customized to your liking.
Your Own Website
What companies are these?
Your Own Website

Farm Logo – your brand identity

Do you have one? You should.

Incorporate into website design

Use on business cards, letterhead, etc. Have
these professionally printed, not printed on home
printer and cut/punched out – need these to be
professional looking.

Keep business cards on you at all times to give
out to potential customers or potential
networking opportunities – most will visit website
if you talk about it.
Your Own Website

Site should include

Your location

A bit of history about your farm

What sort of farming practices you use (natural,
sustainable, organic, traditional, etc.)

Photos of your farm, your animals, etc.

Contact methods (phone, email, etc)

Best to use a contact form with a CAPTCHA
rather than publishing an email address –
this will minimize your Spam issues.
Your Own Website

Site should include

What kind of products you offer


(con't)
Be judicious in how much information you share
online regarding raw milk herdshare programs.
Some information is best discussed directly
with potential customers.
Any animals you have for sale – lots of details


Include link on classifieds sites to sale page or,
if not allowed, then
Embed link on classifieds sites in photos
Your Own Website

Site can include these extras

Blog – gives your customers an extra feeling of
connection/involvement with the farm


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Photos are especially effective to
accompany the stories of daily farm life
Customers are more interested in being
connected to their food supply – this helps
Customers likely to share links to your site
with others
Be prepared to interact with customers via
comments, emails, etc.
Your Own Website

Site can include these extras
(con't)

Photo Album: include lots of photos of your
animals

Cookbook: give your customers ideas of what to
do with your farm products, how you use those

Links: to other sites you find interesting or
informative regarding farming

Shopping Cart: for products you can ship (soap,
bath products, fiber, crafts, etc.)

Test Marketing - float ideas for new products –
get customer feedback
Customer Email List


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Useful to communicate with herdshare owners,
CSA customers, etc.
ALWAYS use BCC (blind carbon copy) field when
sending to a group – proper email etiquette
If you want to include graphics & photos, design in
word processor and then export as PDF, send the
PDF file.

If using graphics/photos, downsize them to
JPG format
Do's & Don't's
Don't Forget




Always include your website in a signature line
when sending email regarding the farm.
Make sure your website is listed on your business
cards, letterhead, etc.
Mention you have a website to your customers –
both existing and new. Web-word-of-mouth.
Check your email daily and respond to emails you
receive promptly.
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