With an agritourism operation you are marketing an experience. Study the agritourism market in your area, determine where you want to fit into that market, identify the customers you want to attract, and develop a plan for promotion of your agritourism operation.
Rutgers Bulletin E337, Marketing 101 for Your Agritourism Business, summarizes the basic principles of good marketing: the need to clearly understand and define the products being offered on your farm, approaches for developing appropriate pricing, the formulation of product placement strategies, and promotion.
This checklist gets you started.
The Market in Your Region
- What types of agritourism activities and goods are popular or increasing in popularity?
- What changes and developments in the agritourism market are predicted?
- What are the going prices for activities and goods that the market has “discovered” for agritourism? Your business plan gives you an idea of your break even point for a particular activity or product – can you make a profit at the “going price”?
Find a Niche
- Is there a market for the particular agritourism activity or product you are proposing?
- Do you need to make changes to tap into consumer demand for a particular activity or product?
- What will set you apart from competitors?
- The family values and goals outlined in your business plan generates the operation’s unique character. Make those ideas tangible by incorporating them in your logo, tag line, and signage.
Your Customer Demographic
- What demographic are you aiming your agritourism activities and products toward?
- What can you do to make your enterprise convenient for customers to visit?
- Is your location easily found?
- Will potential customers notice your farm in passing?
- Are there other “draws” to your area that your desired customer base will be attracted to?
- Your community are your customers also. What will you do to create a favorable public image? How do you plan to combine forces for partnerships, promotion, and publicity?
Promoting Your Enterprise
- How much do you plan to spend toward promotion? A typical beginning agritourism operation invests 10 to 30% of gross in marketing.
- Consider traditional media. Less influential than in times prior to the Internet, traditional marketing methods may still have a place in your plan. Cost continues to be a barrier for use.
- Newspapers and Radio – Farms and Agritourism opportunities are desired public interest stories.
- Brochures – Color, professionally designed brochures are recommended to provide more detailed information about your enterprise.
- Flyers – As opposed to brochures, flyers are inexpensive one page announcements.
- Mail – maintain a mailing and email list. Send at least 2 mailings per year
- Advertise in the phone book if cost effective.
- How can you grow your customer to customer “word of mouth” communications? Word of mouth is extremely important to agritourism operations.
- Happy customers return and tell their friends about your farm. In our fragmented society, customers are looking for a relationship with their farm families – make the effort to remember their names and what they like. This relationship is one of the rewarding aspects of agritourism.
- Recognize the strength of your own stories and communicate them to the media, community members, and visitors to efficiently and effectively market your business.
- Membership in agritourism organizations, business associations, local wildlife and photography groups.
- Participate in community farm markets, fairs, and festivals.
Maintain a Web Presence
- Create an attractive, up-dated website and utilize social media tools.
- Agritourism marketing expert Jane Eckert, states “The Internet is now the primary marketing tool of choice.” In a survey she conducted of agritourism farm operators, “Facebook was the top choice of 51.2% and Twitter had 29.9%.”
- Learn more about Social media:
- Using Social Media for Farm Marketing I
Jenny Carleo explains how farms can learn, utilize and take advantage of social media marketing strategies.
- Using Social Media for Farm Marketing II
Stephen Komar explains how farms can learn, utilize and take advantage of social media marketing strategies.
- Getting Farmers Online Using Social Networking Tools
David Becker offers a nuts and bolts approach to getting farmers online using social networking tools.
- Using Twitter to Market Your Farm
Barbara O’Neill explains how farmers can use Twitter to market their farms.
- Using Social Media for Farm Marketing I