Hi everyone,

This was another awesome week and I have some inspiring and fun news to share, including:

  • an informative podcast interview about tanning animal hides,
  • my weekly farm marketing tip,
  • commentary on the most interesting thing I read this week, and
  • current farm and food safety news of interest.

First up, this week’s podcast with Sarah Scully from Vermont Natural SheepskinsWhen Sarah sent one of her lamb hides off to be tanned, she discovered she had an allergic reaction to the chemicals the tannery used and wondered if there was a better way. When she couldn’t find any organic tanneries in the United States, she rushed off to the U.K., where she learned the art of organically preserving sheepskins. She returned home to Vermont, quit her job as a librarian and started Vermont Natural Sheepskins. 

This is an inspiring entrepreneurial story, so LISTEN TO THE EPISODE HEREOr, if you have an Alexa device, just say: “Alexa, play podcast Small Farm Nation.”

This Week’s Podcast Episode Sponsored by
Farmers Web: Software for Your Farm

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Farm Marketing Tip of the Week:

Stop looking for your ideal customer. Stop wasting time defining your “avatar.” I gave you five reasons why this isn’t necessary in my article/episode, The “Ideal Customer” Myth, so I won’t rehash them all here. It’s just one of those phrases that people hear and start repeating until they believe it.

Please! This notion of focusing your farm marketing on an ideal customer avatar will set you on the wrong path.

As I said in the article, I sure as hell didn’t start that way on my farm, or in any business I’ve started. And I know from conversations that Joel didn’t start by looking for an ideal customer at Polyface. Neither did Greg Judy, Will at White Oak Pastures, Paul at Primal Pastures, Greg at Gunthorp Farms, Jordan at J&L Green Farm, Curtis Stone (the Urban Farmer), John Suscovich or anyone else I’ve interviewed.

Instead of thinking about what your mythical ideal customer may look like, do this:

  • Nail down your mission and values, making sure they are clear and concise.
  • Take a stand for or against something.
  • Regardless of whether you stand for or against something (likely it will be both) make sure you inspire people to take a positive action.
  • Reach under your bed, pull out your soapbox, hop aboard and promulgate your values. Loud and repeatedly.
  • Always ask for the sale! But you don’t phrase it that way…you ask people to HELP you end factory farming (or whatever). The way they help is to buy from you.

That means that every social post, every blog post, every newsletter should start a dialogue with your audience centered on your values. So stop posting so many pics of your piggies frolicking. That’s cute and all but makes it easy for people to thumb and swipe to the next meaningless item in their feed.

Instead, ask provocative questions or make strong statements that force people to stop, think and react. Even if they react negatively (hey, maybe they love CAFO’s). Give people something to react to and get involved with.  And ask them to take action to support your cause (by buying from you).

The successful farmers you’ve read about didn’t start by creating an ideal customer profile. And they didn’t create one later, either. Instead, they all TOOK A STAND. By doing so, they inspired others to hop aboard their train and buy from them. Those who did, by default, became their “ideal customers.”

So be the conductor of your own train and inspire people to seek you and join you, rather than you trying to find them. Because you’ll get way more marketing leverage by becoming a magnet than becoming a hunter.

The Most Interesting Thing I Read This Week

The Bloomberg headline,”Cows Get Own Tinder-Style App for Breeding” got my attention for a couple of reasons. For one, I didn’t know what the hell Tinder was. I soon learned it was a dating app of sorts. Here’s their description:

“With 30 billion matches to date, Tinder® is the world’s most popular app for meeting new people. If you’re here to meet new people, find a Valentine’s day date, expand your social network, meet locals when you’re traveling, or just live in the now, you’ve come to the right place. We’re called “the world’s hottest app” for a reason: we spark more than 26 million matches per day.”

Of course I’ve never heard of it. I’m very happily married and the only dating I think about is who to breed my milk cow too.

Apparently I’m not alone, and that’s what the Bloomberg article was about. There’s a new “tinder” style app called “Tudder” that allows farmers to find dates for their cows. Here are some screenshots from the app:

cow dating app

So, technology is alive and well in the world of farming.

Farm & Food in the News 

thanks for your kind words

  • A review of Small Farm Nation Academy: “Tim’s feedback helped me focus on what needs to be done and the steps I need to take to get there–all before even following the first course. His knowledge and desire to help his fellow farmer shines through! I’ve been extremely impressed with the content of the academy!” – Teresa, Bracken Belle Creamery

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