From time to time, we highlight great blog posts and articles that are written by other professionals in the Agritourism industry. This week we are highlighting an article written by Joanna Burton MacArthur from MacArt Studios. You can find more great articles and content from Joanna at AgritainmentWeekly.org.
Brand Engagement, as it’s often referred to by marketing types, is an ongoing, yet subtle conversation that your farm brand is having with its customers everyday. Brand engagement is a genuine expression of one’s commitment to a message. Engaged customers are emotionally connected to your farm and display loyalty to your purpose and story. And the thing is… it’s almost impossible to fake. Brand engagement is very very real.
It is sparked by the quality of your product offerings and fueled by consistent content and connections between your farm site, your website, your products, your social networks, and all your paid and unpaid communication channels.
Online Engagement is an important metric in 2016, quite critical indeed to your S.E.O. rankings. We’ve discussed online engagement metrics before in this previous post.
6 Key Ways to ENGAGE Your Customers
1. Tell your story. Sounds simple enough, but so few of us do it well. This is not the place to be shy. Sharing the farm’s history as well as the goals for the future will bring it home… quite literally. Make them care by telling them why you do.
2. Spread joy. Above all else, you want your farm to nurture people, so it’s important to connect with every customer – but not possible for you to be the one to make each connection. Insist that your staff connect with warm eye contact, and brilliant smiles each and every chance they get. We like to play a smile game where you get a point for every smile you create. Smiles, like sneezes, are contagious.
3. Communicate often, through many channels. Today’s customer wants to hear from you and reach you on their own terms. Be sure to use relevant online portals and media channels to update key target groups. It’s also critical to continue the 2-way conversation and react/respond to all questions/comments that come in.
4. Exclusive offers, clubs and events for brand promoters. People like to feel special, and will always respond by spreading the special feelings around. V.I.P. clubs/ or fan lists will help you foster your own community of farm promoters. Open an extra hour early on a key day, or provide a special discount for your club of exclusive followers.
5.Reward loyalty and ask them to spread your message. Technology can really be your friend here. Many P.O.S. systems will integrate this kind of customer management for you. Either way, it’s important to recognize loyal customers and give them rewards they can redeem themselves, or even better yet, share with friends. As they are already loyal customers, the rewards are more about encouraging word of mouth, than incentivizing more sales.
6. Integrate engagement programs into the product and marketing, to provide a little structure for the passion. Captivating farm-to-web ideas will provide a place for your customers to put their energies. Some ideas to try: Trivia Quiz programs, Photo contests, Other contesting like: ‘Guess the Weight’, or ‘Name the baby sheep’, Customer Surveys, Photo Opp, Games with mobile/data collection components
As entertainment farms, we have a huge opportunity to create genuine, lasting and powerful engagement. Your public is already on your side. Seize their interest, foster their devotion and motivate them to help you grow your business.
Our thanks again to Joanna and Agritainment Weekly for this great Article. We also hope to have Joanna on our podcast in the very near future to talk more about what MacArt Studios has to offer.