New online marketing methods key to success

Putting more effort into marketing pays dividends for farmers, delegates were told at the inaugural FWi forum users weekend on Saturday.

Guest speaker Heather Gorringe, who runs the Wiggly Wigglers natural garden supplies business, urged farming families to make more of online marketing.

As well as communicating direct to customers via websites, there are great opportunities with social media using such tools as Facebook, blogs and Twitter. “As farmers, we used to take our products to market every week – that was marketing. We haven’t replaced this.

“Look at an organisation like Colgate – they speak direct to the consumer through advertising and we can do this with social media,” she told visitors to the event in Oswestry.

“It enables us to chat with people as if we’re sitting opposite them in the village pub. It makes isolated people in rural areas completely equal to those living in a city.

“These tools are free to use – although you have to be a bit patient, because they take a little bit of your time.”

Social media is incredibly powerful, added Heather. “I don’t think hunting would have been banned if farmers had used it more. Similarly, the badger debate would be very different if farmers had used it more. It’s up to us to get engaged.”

Marketing is an area that farmers can improve upon, agreed Dr Barrie Florey from Harper Adams University College.

“While many are brilliant at the production side, they may not be natural marketeers,” he said.

“Some have formed marketing groups, but there is more to do. Austerity is the keyword for the financial outlook in 2011, but there are opportunities and many farming businesses are investing in the future,” he concluded.

See what those who attended the event had to say about it.

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