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Marketing Help

Posted by weednfeed (My Page) on
Wed, Jun 27, 07 at 21:24

Hello all, just want to say this forum is great and I'm learning a lot!

I'm trying to spread the word about my business. I thought of using direct mail but that looks like it could get expensive so I may hold off until next year.

I was thinking about getting a website though. That was my main question. I know more and more people are searching for businesses online, but I don't know if it actually helps to have a website. Does anyone have a website for their business now and how has your success been?

I was looking around for something cheap, but I don't really know the rates. I found fresh-web-solutions.com and their prices look good, but I'm not sure how they are. Has anyone tried them before? I'm a little lost here as far as marketing to people searching on the Internet, but I do know from friends that more people are going that way. Any help here as far as marketing to local people searching online would be a help!

Thanks!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Marketing Help

WeedNFeed,

I have a free web-site that I published with software from Netfirms (www.netfirms.com). Actually, it costs about $5/year for shipping the software and maintaining the domain name. It's well worth it because you can then register with places like Local Harvest (www.localharvest.org) where people can find you in your area.

At Netfirms, under Products and Services, click on Basic Hosting and follow the directions. And you might like to check out my web-site below. With free sights there are ads, but with netfirms, at least the ads are relavent to gardening. If you have more questions, email me through my web-site.

Best wishes,
Lisa

Here is a link that might be useful: Pennington Hollow Farm


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RE: Marketing Help

I think it really depends on what you want your website to do. If it is just a cyber brochure for your operation then any lost cost hosting service will work. If you want to sell products over the net or if your site needs fancier photos or some components that are more complex, you would be better served with one of the pricier firms.

I have also spent a lot of time learning about web site construction and after a couple of years of being in business I am shutting my website down. It just takes too much time to keep it up and fresh. I have never had a customer ask me about a website while I am at the market selling. People have stumbled upon my stuff online but it has never generated any income. I do think the web has helped a lot of people but their circumstances were different than mine.

I sell ornamental plants at a small local farmers market. Many of the other vendors have active websites with updates on crops, email reminder messages or newsletters, chat rooms/list serves, what have you. The web may impact their operations but generating all that written matter takes up a lot of time. I work a full time job during the week so I am just too busy to do a good job of it. If your business is the only thing you do, you may be able to make a website really promote your stuff but expect it to take up some time.


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RE: Marketing Help

The free listing on Local Harvest and our state's website has brought me more customers and exposure. I have had National magazine , Local newspapers and local TV stations call me for inteviews and do articals about our farm (FREE EXPOSURE) because they found me on Local Harvest. I also have had invitations to speak at garden clubs , and AG classes etc and Invitations to particpate in Festivals because of these sites. I now have a website (free) through my internet provider very basic stuff easy for anyone to do and Have found more cutomers through this also. My farm is listed on localharvest, newfarm , 2 state websites, a local county website , 2 substainable farm website , 2 local slow food website ,A recipe website,a festival website (where we particapate each year and several other organizations and farms have me as a link to thiers.ALL these are FREE. Any time someone call my house about farm products I ask how they found my farm 9 out of 10 times they found me on the web . Local harvest is currently only for the US but New Farm http://www.newfarm.org/farmlocator/ also provides free listings in Canada .
Thanks
The garlic lady

Here is a link that might be useful: Here is a link to our Free site


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RE: Marketing Help

The biggest thing to think of is that people aren't gonna know about your site unless you advertise it. Don't skip the direct marketing, or put it off. It is a great way of building up, and keeping your current customers. I can't speak from the point of someone who sells produce, I'm just browsing through this forum, but I can talk from the point of view as a marketing student and freelance graphic designer/business consultant. Websites are nice, but you need to have a plan on how to use it and market yourself with it. I can set you up with the best looking website with a very affordable price, but if you don't have a good plan on how to use it, you'll just waste your money.

Haven't heard of local harvest before, gonna have to check it out. If anything, it sounds like something similar to what people like me use, which gives you a great way to find new customers, but you would want to have other media forms going also. I say do the direct marketing because you will get the best return on your investment by doing it. Its focus is to build better relationships with current customers and expanding. Going another route, means spending more on people who may not be interested. Websites can be a form of direct marketing if done right.


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There are some really good ideas here. I really like everyone's pages. I am working on mine now, and learning a lot from y'all. I plan to sell at market, local restaurants (fresh) and online (dried and herbal products). We have BellSouth so, there's my host. On top of all the other ideas, here's more. I plan on using business cards with the website(you can get them really cheap now. Shop around online). Any packaging you use you can put the website on. Also, you might want to get a t-shirt with the website and advertise the website on your car. Online newsletters are a good idea too. You keep your customers informed of what you have available and you don't let them forget you :) I'm going to send one out every 3-4 weeks. Also, for my local customers I plan to list what is currently available (because sometimes Mother Nature has other plans)and have online ordering for the locals for fresh herbs. We're also going to offer free delivery (within a certain area. We have a lot of small restaurants near by). And I was thinking that with the restaurants, when I meet with the chef for the first time, I might give him a little free sample of herb...you know, like the pusher-man do. Get 'em hooked.


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RE: Marketing Help

I purchased my domain name,www.northerntropics.com through yahoo domains, it cost me 2.99 the first year and 9.99 a year after that.
I purchased a sams club business membership for $35 a year and besides the fact that I can go to sams club (don't do that much) as a member you get a free multipage website that's very customizable.I set up my yahoo website so that when you type in my web address, it forwards to the sam's club website, not my little generic starter page.
I sell things on e-bay, and even if they don't always sell, you can mention your website there and that causes several hits a week. I listed 9 foot tall banana trees last week and even though I didn't sell them, that exposure only cost me $1.35 and it's global exposure. Great deal!
If you have specific knowledge on some subject that you'd like your customers to be able to access, post an e-bay guide. Now I'm a top 5,000 reviewer, and that adds credibility too. I sell things which are pretty complicated to care for like lotus plants, and hardy musa basjoo bananas, and then I have a guide there that they can read and no one has to remember what to do.
When I sell things at farmers market, I tell people about my care guides for the plants and give them my card so they can print them or look at them whenever they want to so that I don't get phone calls at 10 pm when frost is forecast asking what to do with their tropical banana plants in Indiana!
Local Harvest only wants you if you're organic, right? So if you post on there, but you're not organic, that's just wrong. So it's not an option for everyone.
Also there is a free sales ad site through our tv station in Indianapolis. I'm sure if they have it, other states do too! There's a link to my site just to show you what you can do with the free website through sam's club, it's not for advertising
Sincerely
Sandy @ Northern Tropics, Muncie, IN

Here is a link that might be useful: northern tropics sams club website


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