Marketing Ideas for Small Food Producers
Effective Brand Expression
Representing your product successfully is the first challenge, and it’s important to think beyond the product itself. Whether you’re selling a chocolate bar or pastured chickens, a potential customer’s purchase will depend on whether the product is differentiated in a way that creates value. If the chocolate is hand-made, the packaging should express this to your customers without your having to tell them. To help people understand why they should purchase your farm fresh chickens, show how happy they are roaming the fields with a big poster. Brookside Farm of Gardiner, New York lets you know exactly which hens laid your eggs with a friendly note tucked inside the carton. The goal is to make it easy for potential customers to understand why your product is better.
Spreading the Word
Here are some inexpensive ways for small food producers to self-promote:
- Social Media Strategy: cultivate a following around your product. If you have a good product this should come naturally. Make sure you stay connected with happy customers by reminding them to like you on Facebook. Consider giving them an incentive as well, such as a discount on their next purchase in exchange for signing up for your newsletter. Sharing positive testimonials regularly also reinforces the value of your product and promotes trust with your customers.
- Do Something Newsworthy: contact local food writers or bloggers directly and show them how delicious your product is. Cook them a nice meal centered around your product and your hospitality will go a long way. Offer them a gift basket of your products as a giveaway to their fans.
- Merchandising: if you’re regularly attending food shows and farmers’ markets there is a lot of psychology involved in attracting people to your stand. Usually people are intimidated by approaching a table with a person behind it. Instead create an inviting “L” shape by using two tables. Use props that express the culture of your brand. A local cheese producer, The Dancing Ewe, decorates their table with rustic crates, cheese boards, and illustrated signs to evoke a perfect straight-from-the-farm feeling. It’s no surprise their table is always surrounded by people. Free samples also help.
Treat Your Customers Like Family
You have unique insights about your product and you should share them with your customers. Maybe it’s a new recipe or a new way of using the product, either way your fans will love to hear your inside knowledge. You can let them know through your newsletter or blog. Use your Facebook page to let customers share inside knowledge with you and your other customers. Before you know it you’ll be one big happy family.