Hosting farm events in my early days of farming was the perfect way for me to attract customers and turn a profit.
As a new farmer, getting customers to know who you are and what you sell is an obstacle in and of itself but don’t let that deter you from trying.
Getting customers to the farm even if it’s one or two is worth it — trust me.
1 turns into 3…
3 turns into 6…
And so on…
It’s absolutely possible and on today’s Profitable Mindset Podcast, I give you event ideas, questions to think about and what you need to host an on-farm event and to have it go off without a hitch.
I can’t think of anything that worked better or faster to attract devoted customers than hosting farm events.
Did I mention that events were crazy profitable too…
Food in our society is a commodity. In other words, the cheaper the better. That’s what the average shopper expects.
As a farmer, it’s impossible to compete with the low prices and convenience of any industrially priced food.
Unfortunately, many farmers try to compete on price and convenience and it just doesn’t work. Within two years, they’re shutting down the farm and selling the land. Or, they continue pumping money into the farm from their off-farm job or savings.
Again, completely unsustainable
As farmers, though, we do have an opportunity to level the playing field that isn’t about price or convenience.
We have the advantage when it comes to starting and building relationships with customers face-to-face.
And what’s the best way to build a face-to-face relationship — you got it — host farm events!
Many farmers overlook this great opportunity. When you can connect with your customers, from the heart and face-to-face, they will be loyal and the price is no longer a concern.
How can you get new customers and gain exposure to your farm?
Give people a reason to drive to your farm, see what you’re doing and interact with you. The event itself is not as important as the opportunity to interact with current or potential customers.
Most of our customers drive 30-60+ minutes one-way to pick up their order at our farm. Many of them would never drive out of their way for a dozen eggs. The reason they do is that I’ve made a connection with them.
How did I build this relationship with customers — Hosting farm tours!
Here are all the events I’ve hosted through the years to build a strong, loyal (and profitable) customer base from the start:
- Cheese/home dairying classes
- Bread baking classes
- Farm tours
- Kids camps
- Teen camps
- Farm to table dinner
- Milk the cow class
- Yoga (without goats, or with if you prefer)
- Book club
- Wine tastings
- Nutrition classes
- Lard making classes
Want more ideas for hosting farm events?
And I didn’t need any special training to host any of these events! Being a dairy woman, I already knew how to make butter, yogurt, and several kinds of cheese.
So I started inviting people over to make it with me and it soon morphed into classes at $150/person.
Then, I invited my girlfriend over to teach bread baking. Boy, did we have fun baking, eating our way through class, and every one of those women couldn’t wait to come back to shop with us.
Plus, they told all their friends.
Do you know how many people have “cow milking” on their bucket list? That was one of our most popular events!
Pet a kitten, feed the horse a carrot, get snotted on by a cow — when these things happen to people they are connected to you for life.
And the cost is no object when it comes to real-life experiences. They are happy to leave the “city life” and pay your prices even if it’s double what the local farm stand or store is charging.
If you’re looking to grow your customer base and build a profit — plan and host an event where you give customers an experience of a lifetime.
Have you hosted events at your farm? Tell me in the comments what type of event it was and if you gained new customers from it…
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