Made in collaboration with Mieko Ozeki of Radiance Studios LLC and Taylor Katz of Free Verse Studio.
Hi again! Ready for round 2 out of 3 of e-farming marketing?
A couple of weeks ago, we talked about defining your brand identity and working on your marketing strategy. Catch up and read part 1 of “What is e-farming marketing?” right here if you missed it!
This week, our journey into the mystical world of e-farming marketing leads us into the land of digital! For your farming business to bloom in this day and age, you at least need the most basic form of online presence: a website.
When marketing your farming business, picture your website as your basecamp and your social media as amplifiers for your brand basecamp: every social media and online trace you leave needs to lead back to your website. This is where present and potential customers will find all the information they need on your business.
Now come on, let’s go create a website!
Why your website is essential
Having a website is essential for many reasons:
It allows you to be in control of your brand and the information on your farming business;
It allows you to build a reputable and trustworthy identity;
You can sell products online, not just on location;
It’s more affordable than traditional advertising;
It can help you find new local customers.
Also, I personally really like the fact that most website platforms have a tool for you to see your website traffic. You, therefore, have access to data and feedback that you wouldn’t otherwise have access to in real life. This additional data and feedback can show you which aspect of your farming business piques the most interest and which can be worked on to entice them to come back!
Numbers you should know about
It may be bothersome but know that your website layout will play a massive role in your present and potential customers’ engagement.
Indeed, it takes 0.05 seconds for users to form an opinion on your website and 94% of first impressions are design related. Not only that, but 38% of users will stop using a website if the layout is unappealing to them! So yeah, be well prepared for what you want.
But the layout isn’t just about appearances. It’s also related to logistics — such as can the customer navigate and find information smoothly? — and access it. A website that loads in more than 3 seconds will be considered as hard to access and will turn off a majority of consumers.
Now that we have this information in mind, let’s explore our options to build a website!
How you can build your website
You have 2 options to build your website.
Option 1: Custom
The custom option implies that you would program the website yourself or hire a web developer to do it for you. This is ideal if you’re seeking customizations for your site that are functionally or aesthetically specific and can't be achieved with All-In-One platforms.
You get a website with customized features and functionality.
You will rely on web developers to maintain the site when the platform updates;
Hosting, domain and platform subscriptions may be separate.
Option 2: All-In-One Platforms
All-In-One Platforms are user-friendly as a way to build a website. You have access to templates as well as functions and features that most businesses need. Some examples of All-In-One Website Platforms are Squarespace, Wix and WordPress.
You don't need to know how to code.
The platform is close-looped and updated frequently.
Hosting, domain and platform are part of the subscription.
Templates and features might not always fit your needs.
Elements to plan for your website
Whether you build your website with an All-In-One Platform or hire a web developer, here are the elements you need to address:
Functionality: What will the customer get from visiting your site? What will you get from customers who visit your site?
Aesthetics: What is the visual presentation? What is my colour scheme? Does my website aesthetic fit with my brand identity? How can I show my personality?
Message: What do you want them to remember the most? What tone are you trying to convey to new and returning customers?
Your website’s architecture
One of the first things you need to plan is the outline of your site navigation. Websites usually have 5 or fewer main menu items. It is not recommended to put more. The classics of main menu items are:
The main landing page also called the “Home” page;
The “About” page;
The “Contact Us” page.
The rest of the subpages are up to you! You can have a forum, a blog, a shop section or even a page where you gather all of your customers’ positive testimonials.
After deciding on the outline of your site navigation, create the page layout. You should always break up text with pictures and video content. A website with mostly text and barely any visuals is considered boring and will lose your customer’s interest rapidly.
Don’t forget to include a small section to put links to your social media profiles!
Finally, you should always consider the size of the screens on which your website will be searched. 73% of mobile Internet users will switch out of the site if it’s poorly designed.
52% of mobile Internet users are less likely to engage with a company and brand if the mobile experience is bad. The best would be to have a website that is compatible with both computers and mobile devices.
Your website will be a continuous work of improvement. Therefore, you should always collect and curate content that can be used on your website, such as:
Photos: High resolution is strongly recommended.
Video: Well edited and posted on video platforms.
Articles: Blog articles Links to stories, reviews and features about you.
Testimonials: Customer testimonials about your farm and products.
Newsletter: The primary call to action (CTA) for your website is to collect email addresses for your farming business newsletter. Newsletters are an opportunity to update customers on products and services, your farm, operations, events, etc.
If you intend to have a newsletter, follow these guidelines:
Identify your ideal customer and speak directly to that person;
Develop stories to share in your emails;
Decide your email flow: intersperse sell emails with story emails;
Vary email length;
Gather your best photos & have them ready;
Plan 6 months out - you will love yourself later;
Be YOU! Don't feel pressure to sound like everyone else;
Don't send too often: no more than 1x weekly for logistical emails and no more than 2x/month for sell and/or story emails;
Do not underestimate the value of your newsletter list!
Don’t hesitate to get funky with the content, but make sure it still aligns with your brand identity and tone! Let your personality shine coherently.
We’re one step closer to taming this wild animal that is marketing. How are you feeling so far? Any questions? If yes, I would love to read them in the comments!
You now know how to make a wonderful website in which you can let your brand identity shine and your e-farming marketing strategy fly. But only having a website is usually not a sufficient online presence.
Our 3rd and last part of this blog series will focus on visibility and engagement. More precisely, we’ll see how you can create more visibility and engagement for your farming business by optimizing your content management with Google and social media.