This year, Rachel and I took the kids to a Christmas tree farm. I wasn’t familiar with the local options, so I turned to Facebook for recommendations. After a half dozen responses, several friends pointed to the same establishment, and we went on our way to cut a tree.
From the viewpoint of a small business owner, that’s a significant story. Why did we choose that specific Christmas tree farm? It was purely based on recommendations from friends. I had never heard of the place, or seen any advertisements for it. But I trusted that it was a good choice, and wasn’t disappointed.
Now, why did several people recommend the same place? It seems simplistic to say it, but it must be because they themselves were happy with the experience. And they were confident enough in the establishment to recommend it.
With that in mind, where would a small business in agriculture best put its customer-acquisition efforts? I don’t think the answer is yellow pages or advertising anymore. I would venture to say that the product (whether its bacon, apples or a tree-felling experience) is the key, now more than ever. I would suggest sampling ones own products (and the competition’s products), and surveying all the guests who do the same thing. (Most important survey question: Would you recommend us to a friend?)
Figure out how your products (experience) impact your customers (the good and the bad), and make them better. Once your brand clicks with your guests, it will spread like wildfire.