The biggest hurdle many farmers face when starting with online sales is converting their "offline" customers into "online" customers.
This blog post will explore different channels to increase your customer base and direct them to your online store:
Each channel has different advantages and disadvantages and can be helpful in different scenarios. For example, social media or in-person marketing can be helpful if you're just starting and want to grow your audience. And, email marketing can be really impactful if you already have a large customer base.
Email marketing is one of the most effective marketing strategies for small businesses because it can be both relationship- and profit-building. Unless you have the time and resources to build a personal relationship with each one of your prospects and customers, email is your best marketing friend!
With email marketing and newsletters, you own the channel and, most importantly - your email list.
How to use email marketing to drive customers to your online store
Send a scheduled price list email to your customers
A price list is your “shoppable” list of products on your online store. You can adjust the pricing, pack size, and availability of your products for different sales channels by having multiple price lists.
A scheduled price list email is an email that gets sent from your Local Line account at a time and frequency that you specify. You can customize the email subject and message to feature products, share important details, and help your customers get to know you and your brand!
Local Line users who send a weekly price list schedule see 3x as many orders in their store, and their average order size is 53.1% greater!
Create an Email Newsletter
You may also consider sending a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly newsletter to go with your weekly price list email. Good, regular newsletter content can help your email audience stay engaged with your business. To drive customers from the newsletter to your online store, you must include a Call-to-Action (CTA) to Shop Now.
Content ideas for your newsletter include:
- Updates at the farm, i.e. new staff, animals, crops.
- What's new in your store this month
- Blog posts
- Upcoming events or workshops, i.e. fermenting or flower arranging workshops, farm tours, farm-to-table dinners
- Interesting farm stories
The Direct Farmers' Email Marketing Handbook
The best ways to grow your email list, convert sales and get creative.
Make the most of your email newsletter by writing great content and having clear call-to-actions (CTAs) to connect with your audience. Trust us - it works! Download our free email marketing handbook below! 👇
Social media has become an integral part of marketing. It is no longer optional and is an essential way to reach your customers, gain valuable insights, and grow your brand. Social media increases brand awareness by increasing visibility. It allows you to connect with your audience by giving all-access insight into your farm and production. And finally, it can help generate sales!
So, how do you convert social media followers into customers?
Call to Action (CTA)
You definitely want to use a CTA whenever you post anything on social media. A CTA is an action you want the viewer to take. Whether that is to visit your website, sign up for your newsletter, or leave a comment. Be sure to link your post to a specific CTA. For example, if you show a flat lay of your CSA box for that week, include a CTA in the caption such as "Sign up to our newsletter to stay in the loop for next season's CSA" or "Like what you see? Shop our online store in the #linkinbio".
Sell through Instagram
With Instagram's in-app shopping feature, Instagram Shopping, you can tag products in posts and link your online store through Instagram. Meta (Instagram's parent company) found that 44% of people use Instagram to shop weekly. Instead of sending followers to your Instagram "link in bio," send them directly to your shop and turn them into paying customers.
If Instagram Shopping is something you'd like to try, check out our free guide: How to Sell on Instagram as a Farmer. Sell directly to your Instagram following on the app! Use this easy-to-follow checklist to get set up with Instagram Shopping today. 👇
Digital marketing is often talked about as the only form of marketing. But, as you grow your customer base, in-person marketing is a great tool to convert offline shoppers to online shoppers.
You may already sell at a farmers' market, co-op, or food hub. Or, you sell direct to your customers in another way. Using those interactions to educate about your online store, encourage them to sign up for a newsletter, or to make an account on your online store is a great way to increase sales.
How to use in-person marketing to drive customers to your online store
Talk about Your Online Store at Pick Up
Simple but effective. Customers may not know that you offer online ordering. Use the time at the market to tell your customers about your online store. "Did you know you can pre-order and pick up at the market?" This ensures that customers get exactly what they want faster.
Use QR Codes
A QR code is a scannable image that takes you to an online page. QR codes are great ways to share a link without having to say or write the URL. All they have to do is use the camera on their smartphone, aim it at the code, and they're sent to the online page!
Give out fliers or have a sign at your market stand with QR codes that direct to your online store or newsletter sign-up. QR codes are easily created online using a free QR code generator like QRCode Monkey.
There are many ways to direct customers to your online store!
What is key is to talk about your online store - whether that's on your social media, in email campaigns, or in person. There's a good chance your customers don't know you offer online ordering or don't know where to go online to shop for your products! If we missed any ideas that worked for your business, let us know!