Re- Brand your brand.
Take control of your livestock marketing
Re-Brand your brand.
10 ways to effective livestock marketing.
Marketing livestock isn’t like it used to be. The evolution of the Internet has leveled the playing field for primary producers globally.
Sourcing the next elite sire is no longer limited to what’s available at the up coming On Farm Sale, or through a call to your local livestock agent – it is now a global search.
With acceptance of this comes the reality that your genetics are competing on the same stage as the world’s most established livestock producers – but it also comes with the reality that you can present yourself as a viable prospect amongst the worlds buyers opening avenues for semen, embryo and live animal sales that are above your own expectations.
1) Get your online house in order.
Your online presence is your new shop window. The days of buyers traveling to see you are over. Their first port of call is an online search. Whether it be your stud website, or an online profile, the impression they gauge from your online presence is equal in measure to the impression a buyer has when he drives up your driveway. Do I want to do business with these people?
What you offer and the client’s expectations have started to form.
2) Photographs are everything.
Who ever said a picture is worth 1000 words – underestimated them by the 10’s of thousands!
Good quality photos of your stock can build a reputation for your breeding that goes far beyond your traditional marketplace and achieve global exposure.
There is a population of millions of agricultural faithful that share, tweet, poke and like on social media. This can be your greatest asset or your biggest curse – you instantly loose control of content online, so put your (very) best foot forward.
I never fail to cringe when a breeder tells me ‘ I have a good camera, I’ll take the pictures’. To a professional livestock photographer that is equivalent to hearing ‘I have a trowel, I’ll build the house myself’. In every occasion that is an opportunity lost to present yourself properly.
This is not the place to cut corners. Market opportunities have changed and this is a necessary undertaking to leverage online opportunities. Use professional photographers – the value the pictures will give you will far outlast the lifespan of the animal in the picture.
3) Position yourself
Develop a clear understanding of what your breeding philosophy is. In most cases, that’s your point of difference.
You need to articulate this clearly and simply to the market place. Remember with global reach come diverse cultural difference many of which are not English speaking. So you need to demonstrate your message visually and consistently. All your outgoing material should re-enforce your philosophies.
This will also determine how your stock is managed and presented to the public and in what condition.
Align your management inputs to the marketplace expectations of you. Nothing confuses and disappoints a marketplace more than overfed, trimmed and pampered livestock available for commercial purposes. Keep your message constant.
“We breed small numbers of elite genetics”, “we are a large scale commercial breeding facility with 1000’s of animals to choose from”, “we breed show winners” or perhaps our location/health status is your key point of difference?
Embrace it, practice it and re-enforce it.
4) It all starts with a logo
Your logo is the visual reference that a buyer will associate with all your material. Marketing without a logo is a wasted opportunity.
Your logo will begin to paint the picture of your studs focus. It will then become associated with your level of quality and your place in the market. The logo is the stamp in which your entire efforts stand behind. This isn’t an opportunity to whip something up in a word doc. Think carefully about what you want it to say about your enterprise and seek professional input – it will be with you for a long time, it will pay for itself repeatedly.
5) Your livestock is your business card
Understand the clients requirements and supply stock that you are confident meets their requirements. Remember, that animals ear tag and progeny associates itself with your stud, long after the cheque has cleared. Many sets of eyes will appraise the animal over time. Will the quality of the animal, the price paid and the value that the animal brings, stand up to third party scrutiny?
Each animal is your business card and will represent you (positively or negatively).
6) Build a network
I have never met anyone who got rich from selling livestock in a single transaction.
Agriculture is the longest of all long-term commitments.
You need to sell to your clients this year, next year and the year after that. Forget a good business. To build a great business they need to bring a friend every year also.
Follow-ups and ongoing support go along way to establishing long lasting relationships (not just at sale time).
Of course part of this is determining the clients that will never be properly appeased and are a distraction from you spending time on the relationships that will matter most. Some clients are better off referred elsewhere.
7) Knock down obstacles to purchase’s
Make it easy for clients to buy from you. Chances are that if you have been contacted via online means, they have contacted many others. Initial contact demonstrates that you have appealed to the buyer and they are interested in the prospects of working with you.
Make their purchase decisions easy by providing them with enough information to make a decision. A timely and professional response will place you at the top of their list of prospects.
Note – there is a balance to providing enough information to assess alternatives and too much which will confuse a buyer. Information, which is not pertinent to a purchase decisions, is not relevant at this point.
- Provide breeding records (Sires, Dams, Progeny)
- Have your stock ClassiMate assessed- a third party appraisal of your stock changes the dynamic from them accepting your appraisal to feeling secure that an expert has made an appraisal- this removes any element of doubt and begins to build long-term, working, relationships.
- Objective measurements- these are vital ingredients in a decision for some buyers, consider if objective measurements are required to compliment your breeding philosophy.
- High quality photos/ Videos
- This is often where the decisions are made in your favour or otherwise. And usually where you wished you hadn’t ignored point 2 and engaged a professional photographer!
Frequently the hassle of accumulating this data, at the end of a long day, for each inquiry leads to days or weeks before a response is sent. This makes you look like you don’t have your ‘ducks in a row’.
By uploading all this information into the ClassiMate network, you can send a link of the suggested animals to the buyer and provide complete information in a professional, palatable format.
8) You are your product.
Have you ever walked out of a shop due to an attendant’s attitude?
There is no greater shame than missing out on a sale opportunity because you didn’t leave the client with the best impression of you! They are not only interested in buying your stock; they are interested in an association with you.
These people are not ‘lucky to have your attention’. Be professional, courteous and approachable in your correspondence, or give the task to someone who can be- it’s too important.
If you have had a big day at the yards arrange an opportunity to speak when you are in a more helpful frame of mind.
9) Think about next year
Selling breeding stock to clients gives a great opportunity to provide follow-up genetics in preceding years. If they have used your genetics and you feel your breeding has since progressed – touch base with the buyer, ask how the last purchased worked out for them. Chances are they have had the same results as you and you and that can lead to an opportunity to provide some additional genetics that can form a breeding plan over many years.
Their feedback amounts to your market research, always seek it. This might lead to an evaluation of the package you are offering, or how effectively you are delivering it.
10) Always think of your clients.
It’s amazing what effect this can have on the reinforcement of a purchase decision. In addition it can build a relationship that will sustain any ‘bumpy ground’ you might have in your dealings.
- Pass opportunities to clients that they might benefit from
- Personally share correspondence/articles or information that might be of particular interest to them
- Value your client’s role in your success and make sure they feel appreciated.
These efforts cost you nothing and will lead to long-lasting relationships and longer lasting friendships.