Blog

Jun 24, 2011

New Help Doc Added - How Do I Request a Payment with Member Assembler?

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Does one of your customers have a remaining balance that you'd like to remind them about (and receive?!)  It's easy to send payment requests through Member Assembler. Check out our new help doc for an easy how-to!

Jun 22, 2011

Logo Design On A Dime

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We hear from a lot of farmers who want to create original logos for their businesses, but aren't sure where to find a designer, or don't have a lot of money to spend on the design process. One of our Small Farm Central customers, Cat Run Ranch Flower Farm, found an easy and affordable solution with a company called 99Designs (www.99designs.com).

To start, you launch a design 'contest' where you provide a simple outline of what you need to have designed (i.e., a logo, poster, t-shirt, etc), and then multiple designers submit their ideas. You provide feedback on the designs so you can get a concept that you like, and then select the winning design. Once you award the contest winner, you will receive your final design and the copyright to the original work.

One of the best parts of this collaborative design service is that you get to decide how much you want to spend on your project. Basically, the more money you offer, the more designers compete in your contest and the more concepts you'll see – but if you aren't satisfied with any of the results, 99Designs offers a money back guarantee.

So if you are looking for affordable, risk-free graphic design work, 99Designs might be a good option for you. Check out their website and let us know what you think.

Jun 21, 2011

Principle #2: Promote

Posted by: Small Farm Central

(This is the second of 5 principles of farm web marketing that I've developed over years of working with farmers. Read more about the principles here.)

You have a farm website! Great! Now what?

No existing or potential customers will ever find your site unless you tell them about it. Compelling content and beautiful design will only get you so far: you need visitors.

This is an on-going process, but some basic ideas include:

  • Put a link to your website in the footer of all farm emails. That means every email you send contains a link to your website and is a constant source of promotion. List your farm in online farm directories like Local Harvest, Eat Wild, or the many local directories that state agricultural associations have set up.
  • Mailing list
  • Business Cards
  • Website flyer at farmers markets

Try to get feedback on how new customers found you: this will give you encouragement that you are doing the right kinds of promotion or it will give you ideas of new avenues to explore.

Be creative and remember to be yourself while you do it!

We recommend carving a morning or afternoon out of your busy schedule as dedicated marketing time. Maybe it is Tuesday morning: write & send the newsletter, post to the blog, update the website, or create new relationships with people that may be able to connect folks to the farm. If time is not set aside, it will get consumed with the day-to-day work of farming. There will always be a semi-crisis on the farm and if those every day crises are allowed to distract from marketing, the long term investment of promoting the farm will never happen!

This is one of truths of web marketing and probably any kind of marketing: promotion is not a mad dash to the finish line. It is a long-term habit that you cultivate -- the benefits will accrue over time and, if you do it effectively and consistently, one day everyone will know about your farm!

Read all 5 principles of farm web marketing

Jun 17, 2011

New 'Check-off Reporting' for Ecommerce

Posted by: Small Farm Central

Based on the needs of one our customers, we have added a new reporting option to our ecommerce tool. We call it a 'check-off report' because it is a concise report to print out and have at your stand for CSA extra product orders or farmers market pre-orders.

This type of report will be most beneficial in situations where there are a fairly limited amount of items being sold. If many, many items are being sold each week, the number of columns could get a bit unwieldy.

The check-off report will look a bit like this:

It's high time for markets and CSAs, so if you would like to step up your ordering and reduce administrative time: consider our ecommerce tools for online ordering. We'll make it easy, just get in touch!

Jun 15, 2011

Baskets are bursting..

Posted by: Small Farm Central

This photo from Ploughshare Farm in Alexandria, MN says it all:


I bet you are starting to fill your baskets just like Ploughshare Farm!

We know it's "go time" from all the calls we've been getting over the last few weeks from farmers making last preparations for their first markets and csa deliveries. (Of course we know that many of you are selling year round and are on a completely different schedule!) Good luck this season! I know how hard it is from ground level and the feeling of racing against the clock to get everything done even in these long Summer days.

We're here to support your work and make your day a little easier. So just let us know if we can help with your site. We are just a phone call or email away. Happy growing!

Jun 6, 2011

Small Farm Central Gets Growers Their Own Corner of the Web

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The Small Farm Central staff is featured in the current issue of Edible Allegheny, a regional publication that celebrates the diverse and dynamic agricultural community of western Pennsylvania.

Victoria Bradley and Aleisha Jones did a good job of capturing the essence of our company ethos, and we had such a great time lounging in the grass on a beautiful spring morning for our photo shoot with Adam Milliron. You can read the full article here:

http://www.ediblecommunities.com/allegheny/online-magazine/june/july-201...

Jun 6, 2011

#1 Be Yourself / Be Authentic

Posted by: Small Farm Central

(This is the first of 5 principles of farm web marketing that I've developed over years of working with farmers. Read more about the principles here.)

The farm is your passion and your work. In your website content and blog entries, let yourself “be a nerd” about eggplant varieties, crop rotations, or small engine repair. People love to hear from people who are passionate and it connects them with your farm because it helps them understand how much skill and patience goes into the craft of growing food.

Being authentic extends beyond the way your write and present yourself online; it is also about the web marketing tools that you use to tell your story. Everyone is telling you that you need a Facebook page, a Twitter account, and what ever social network is on the horizon. Don’t go with the pack: use the tools that make sense for your business and start small.

You only have so many hours in the day and you can’t do it all! If you are completely new to web marketing for your farm, start with a website and then add an email mailing list to connect with your best customers. If you are feeling like entering the world of social media, dip your toes with a Facebook account. But remember! an abandoned facebook page, Twitter account, or website is worse than nothing at all. Make sure you can stick with the marketing goals you make for yourself between all the other tasks that make a farm happen.

In short: make sure the web marketing tools and the content you create reflects the personality of your farm. This part of the job of farming should be fun (at least most of the time), so make sure to find a way to have fun with it.

Read all 5 principles of farm web marketing

May 25, 2011

5 Principles of Farm Web Marketing

Posted by: Small Farm Central

I have been working on some guiding principles for farm web marketing over the past 6 months. These are honest, down-to-earth principles for farmers to help make decisions for what marketing opportunities to spend time on and how to approach this part of your business. These aren't recycled from other industries or the same old boiler-plate: these are principles gathered from helping start and run a CSA farm operation myself and conversations with hundreds of farmers over the past five years with Small Farm Central.

I presented these at a number of conferences and workshops in the Winter of 2011 with really good response, so I thought I would take some time to write them down for the benefit of all our readers.

The following are the 5 principles:

#1 Be Yourself / Be Authentic

#2 Promote

#3 Clean Navigation

#4 Keep it Fresh

#5 Your story is interesting

Look for the first principle with details and examples to be posted during the week of May 30th.

May 23, 2011

New Help Doc Added - How To Attach a File To A Email

Posted by: shannon

Hi all! I've just added a new help doc for those of you interested in sending attachments in your newsletter. It's quicker and easier to send a link, within your email. Check out the new help doc for more info!

May 20, 2011

Needed: Great Web Designers for Farm Website Template Design

Posted by: Small Farm Central

Small Farm Central is looking for a few great web designers to develop new, eye-catching design templates for our service. We are brewing up a batch of new designs in the summer 2011 and we need some help!

This is a tough design challenge. A successful designer must find the middle ground by creating a distinct, bold design and keep it customizable to each farm's needs.

Know a capable web designers that love farms? Send them on to read more about the job and how to apply.

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