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Posts: 73
Location: United Kingdom
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I'm not sure what category this fits into so I put it in this one, hope that's OK. I've started a garden business and want to keep everything permie like but my current advertising isn't getting any joy. What should and shouldn't I say when it comes to trying to persuade people to take me on and to use permaculture methods?

Thanks Permies
 
master pollinator
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It might be helpful if you could share an example of your current advertising.

 
Wenderlynn Bagnall
Posts: 73
Location: United Kingdom
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Sure Tyler

This is what I currently have printed on my leaflets....

"ORGANIC PERMACULTURE-BASED GARDENING – helping you to have a beautiful garden at a lower cost with less work than conventional gardening, whilst encouraging wildlife to flourish. No artificial pesticides or herbicides used – caring for human and animal welfare and soil fertility. Talk to us about designing an edible garden or integrated edible areas within your garden"

I do mention what my business does after that and there's other stuff as well relating to cleaning but I'm more concerned about the gardening side.

Thanks
 
Tyler Ludens
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At what sorts of venues are you distributing these leaflets? Is there a website people can go to for more information? Do you have any photographs of examples of successful work to show or is the advertising purely verbal?

 
Posts: 57
Location: Los Angeles
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I would definitely get rid of the "whilst" it sounds -- well it sounds like someone I wouldn't hire -- it seems unnecessary.
Also, I have noticed a number of permaculturists comment on how it is difficult to convince others of permaculture.
Not that it can't or shouldn't be attempted.
In my experience, my brother in law thought it was crazy, until he saw results.
 
steward
Posts: 3999
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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Wenderlynn, permaculture's so far off most people's radars that I think it might help to give a brief description of what it actually is.
People generally hate feeling ignorant, and rather than ask "perma what?", they'll go off and find someone to mow their giant lawn, or whatever.
Here's a thread with some ideas: http://www.permies.com/t/12796/permaculture/describe-permaculture-sentence-or-two#129724
I'll tie myself in knots to avoid saying 'conventional gardening', but it still pops out sometimes! I'd try and leave it as an unspoken "not" if you know what I mean... Like "less cost...less work...better health...better plants..."kind of thing.
I hope you're ok with me commenting on your stuff, it can feel a bit personal
 
Tyler Ludens
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M Marx wrote: my brother in law thought it was crazy, until he saw results.



That's what I think is vitally important, that one can show results. I would not hire a permaculture designer unless they could show me examples of their results, not just tell me about it. I would probably even want to go see their yard, to see how they have implemented design in a real life setting. But to get attention, some really nice pictures would help, and not just words.

 
Wenderlynn Bagnall
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You've all been really helpful. Your comments have been very constructive. Thank you. I agree Tyler having some pictures to show people is a good idea and I do take them when I start a client's garden and then more as I progress. I have a Facebook page where I put some of the pictures up and a blog too.

Leila I haven't looked at the link yet but I'm not offended by your comments in the slightest, please keep 'em coming

Marx, yes it is difficult to get people on board with Permaculture. I have definitely decided to change the wording. I suppose I think anyone that doesn't do permaculture is strange now but I was them once so understand.

Tyler the leaflets are put through people's doors at the moment. I've put advertising up in local shop windows but nothing has come from either of these methods. Most of my work I get through recommendation and thankfully I've got at least one person who's interested in Permaculture before she's even met me!



 
Tyler Ludens
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I think most people just discard leaflets. For my home business I used to send out hundreds of leaflets to people I thought might be likely customers, there were few responses. Paid advertising in trade publications also did not pay off (not even to pay for the ads). Eventually all work came through word of mouth and a website. Making sure you're listed in any local and regional "eco" directories on the internet might help. Becoming active in local gardening and local food societies also.
 
Wenderlynn Bagnall
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Thanks Tyler. Leila the link you sent was really useful. It's definitely given me some ideas. I even liked the Eden comment in the thread but my husband thought I should keep religion out of it. .

I suppose it might not help that my business is called fairygreen with the logo of a green fairy. I know it sounds flowery but that's exactly what I want. I want something unconventional that people will take seriously, something different. I want it to sound light hearted and non threatening which is how I feel some names for gardening or domestic work sound. It's all about faeries at the bottom of your garden and the hard work they do (now I know i sound like a weirdo but then weirdos go places)

If it does turn out that it really is a problem I will change it but for now I'm determined to make it work. Once it gets of the ground the name will stick in people's minds more because it's different.

I'm currently looking for pictures of my own garden and allotment to put in a portfolio. They won't be current work as we sold our house last year to buy some land but they are still work that we did together from scratch and might be enough for now to give people and idea of what we/I'm capable of.

Thanks permies.
 
steward
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When advertising, make sure to address their perceived needs, not what you perceive is their needs. The average homeowner is spending a lot of money on chemicals and is worried about resell value of whatever they do.

I think part of the problem people have with permaculture is that it is sort of like crossing the Rubicon. You can't go half way, or so often it is portrayed. But, some of the real heros got there by transforming a corner and moving out from there. My zone five is massive (like nearly 900 acres) but within it, I play Johnny Appleseed to bring in more diversity. Also, I move out from our home with Zone One, Two, etc but mainly in herb gardens, walk ways, etc.

Get people started with a starter kit, since I assume you are trying to work in a given area, you should be able to come up with a guild and advertise the guild, but try to keep the idea as simple as possible.

I was once told by a marketing person that if you can't put your idea out in 3 sentences, you need to go back to the drawing board. More information isn't what you are looking for, you are not trying to educate, you are trying to get them to call you.

Heck, I might not even use the word permaculture. I might start with something like this "Declare ceasefire with nature! Let us help you to build an food oasis that is peaceful and tranquil while not adding a big chore to your already busy lifestyle."

Just my opinion.
 
Wenderlynn Bagnall
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Thanks Fred. You make some good points. I have considered removing the word Permaculture and definitely cutting down the wording down but it is a bit tricky when I'm trying to sell the domestic side to my business too. I'm going back to the drawing board anyway. Thanks for you comments.
 
Wenderlynn Bagnall
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I have realised is I should maybe come away from mentioning permculture all together as I don't have any pictures of work I've done that shows permaculture apart from my allotment but there isn't much going on there yet as we are just implementing ideas and there's not much before and after going on.

I'm only just starting out in permaculture and I'm worried that my 'gardening ethics' will be lost because I don't have enough experience or evidence to offer people (from a permaculture perspective that is) I will say the gardening my husband and I were doing in our garden where permacutlure techniques and we didn't even know we were doing them.

So how do I go about running a gardening business without specific before and after permaculture pictures of work but at the same time get people on board? At the moment most of my clients just want conventional gardening done which I struggle with as I know it's 'wrong'.....

 
pollinator
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the best advertising is just do your stuff right and do it good if not the best locally.

quality product sells itself.
 
Wenderlynn Bagnall
Posts: 73
Location: United Kingdom
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How does one go about learning about Permaculture when one can't run to the cost of a design course? I watch and read what I can but this won't give me a qualification. I have a 'volunteer' garden where I can practice techniques as well as our allotment but I'm not sure where to even begin.
 
Tyler Ludens
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There might be other permaculturists in your region whom you could visit with and learn from. You might be able to find folks on this network: http://permacultureglobal.com/

Otherwise, learning by reading, watching videos and practicing in your own space, however small! I may never be able to afford a PDC but I keep trying to learn as best I can from these free resources.
 
Wenderlynn Bagnall
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Thanks Tyler. I've signed up through the link. Yes I read what I can, although I'm a slow reader which makes learning frustrating. We watch quite a lot of transitioney and permie films and we practice it as best we can.

I accepted today that it's going to be harder to persuade people to take on permaculture than I thought. I just have to grit my teeth and beg forgiveness when someone asks me to dig a bed for them. If it's turning grass to plant up things then I don't feel as bad but it's a lot harder to get them to keep saplings in there garden and get them to understand about mulching.

I'll just pray for a break through. Hopefully some new direction in advertising and meeting a few people on 'the edge' will help.
 
M Marx
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I don't think it's too far off -- i mean xeriscaping/zeroscaping was a well accepted term when I lived in New Mexico -- although some still grow lawns -- it wasn't all too radical 10 years ago.
Permaculture might just sound funny to people too e.g. I want a garden, not a culture. What exactly are you pushing here?!?
? Permascaping ? -- it uses existing terms -- that often helps people digest new ideas better.
It's for the busy professionals who don't have a lot of time to weed.
Every gardener I have met hates weeding on their hands and knees.
Saves $ too b/c it can be set up to be self-seeding, self-weeding, with -- ohhh-la-la Heirloom seeds!
This is how I sold my brother-in-law on hugelculture beds. He is a health conscious, former vegetarian, anti-establishment kind of guy who works in green tech -- and moving away from row crops was too far out there at first.
Everything grew so fast, no weeds could compete -- he likes this method of gardening b/c he feels he has limited time to devote to gardening, but he likes organic and fresh produce.
He did balk at mixing all his seeds together when sowing -- so, he put a spot of spinach, beets, carrots at a much more dense rate than specified.
So we talked about monoculutres over the months and weeks.
He is getting great returns, with little input (he has to pick up the pine needles that fall on his beds -- although I told him not to plant vegetables under it for allopathic concerns and high acidity).
In the end, I can only suggest he change he ideas in small bits -- If I told him to rip up his whole backyard lawn from the get go, he would have thought I was crazy.
Then he told me -- you gotta watch "fresh" on netflix.
Then he saw my backyard and said "wow, you're doing full on permaculture!" (It's my urban backyard educational plot).
And recently we toured a suburban backyard food forest -- I had already shown him Lawton's food forest video extras -- Now, finally, after 10 months of slow, persistent, friendly, pragmatic advice, he sees the value of permaculture in the garden area as simply the easiest, most productive, least input option for his busy life.
I started to converse with his sister about permaculture use of vertical space -- the next day, she was badgering me about why I haven't suggested that at least some of the backyard lawn be ripped up.
When we put in the garden -- I laughed and told him in 5 years his whole yard would be a garden -- he thought I was joking, but now he knows it is possible and beneficial.
Maybe that is how permaculture works on some level -- People are ready to hear about the ideas, and some forum/video/book/experiential/conversational chop and drop of ideas happens, where the old thoughts are now fodder for the new crop of ideas.
But until they are ready -- it most likely sounds/looks like the ideas are a mad man with a machete in a jungle mumbling about "biodynamic polyculture" when juxtaposed against orderly rows and miracle-gro.
Anyway, this long post is illustrating my experience sharing ideas with a person who is fairly familiar with outside the box ideas.
And maybe just starting your customers down the path of Hugelculture as a $ saving, waterwise feature is a good place to start (that helps Paul with his hugelculture household word thing too).
As they see the value suggest more changes -- they will probably ask you for ideas -- my brother-in-law now does.
Then send them links to Sepp Holzer videos, suggest they watch Fresh, Lawton's videos. Heck, maybe watch videos with them and lead a discussion -- maybe start a permie group in your area if it's needed.
I think like many things, one just has to be ready to hear whatever info is presented -- until then -- as my wife says, "you should go and talk to the toilet" presumably b/c no one is listening (but I believe people will listen more so each day).
Let's just say, I do a lot of shit talking.
 
Wenderlynn Bagnall
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Marx I loved your post. You are right in what you say that people don't have any idea what it's all about and from my angle they don't seem to want to. I'm doing my sister's and niece's garden. One of them has no idea how to garden but knows what she wants and doesn't have a lot of money to implement ideas....and I can probably get away with trying some permie ideas. The other is kind of on the edge but then says things like she doesn't want a pond because of her grandson and because it'll be too much work.

I'm not very good at being persuasive I suppose. The funny thing is the ideas I suggest for plants are more manageable than the plants she wants to put in as they will take regular deadheading, yet she doesn't have the time to garden. She doesn't want trees in her garden, she had a few ash saplings where the garden has been left to go 'wild'. I have persuaded her though to not cut down a conifer tree where birds are nesting so that's a start.

Anyway I ramble on. I will take your experience on board, I may even start a group although I'm fighting with the fact that I don't have any qualifications behind my name to start one? Silly a.....

 
Posts: 132
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M Marx wrote:I would definitely get rid of the "whilst" it sounds -- well it sounds like someone I wouldn't hire -- it seems unnecessary.
Also, I have noticed a number of permaculturists comment on how it is difficult to convince others of permaculture.
Not that it can't or shouldn't be attempted.
In my experience, my brother in law thought it was crazy, until he saw results.



I can attest to this in spades. I learned about permaculture from this forum site. I came here looking for info on organic gardening and alt energy resources. I perused this site and my first impressions of what permacutlure was very much resembles the hippie commune in Jen Aniston's latest movie Wonderlust. To be quite frank that left me with absolutely no interest in permaculture.

As I have become more familiar with you all I have learned that my initial impressions were probably off a bit. I have recently ordered a few perm books to better educate myself on EXACTLY what permacuture is. I am personally saving judgment as to my opinion of its validity until after I digest the books. (I am from the Show Me State afterall)

I do have to tell you all. Permaculture doesn't leave a good first impression. At least it didn't with me. I have a very Libertarian type "You stay out of my business and I'll stay out of yours" attitude toward other peoples politics and religion but I am very very conservative personally. The initial impression I was left with did not appeal to me. Granted that impression was apparently wrong. But your going to have a hard time convincing folks from the bible belt of your validity unless you can find a way to change that first impression. I have read the statement on this site that some people think permaculture is a hippie religion. It is easy to get that impression.

Please understand, I'm not telling you all this to hurt anyone feelings. I am just being honest about my initial impressions of permaculture left by my initial perusing of this forum. If the people you are trying to advertise too are left with the same initial impression you may find it a hard sell in conservative areas.

In more conservative parts of the country I would stress 1. The financial benefits. 2. Less maintenance. Don't say less work. Conservative people pride themselves on NOT being lazy. 3. Higher yield per square foot. 4. ON the environmental end don't call it green or eco-friendly. Those have become buz words that turn certain conservative folks off. A better way to state that for that crowd is something along the lines of being a better steward of your property creating healthier soil and land (not the earth make it their property or their land).

That's my input take it for what is worth.

Ray


 
Leila Rich
steward
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I think Ray's comments are really important: so much depends on local culture, it may be an idea to just use permie techniques without actually calling it that.
It could be a good opportunity to gain experience without the pressure of "Wenderlynn will turn your place into a permaculture paradise"
OT...I really like reading about people's permacultural 'first impressions'. I've always been a hippy, so it's hard for me to look at things from other perspectives.
My permaculture influences are really scientific and pragmatic, to the point that I (very occasionally) wish they made a bit more room for the...other stuff...
I think a thread about adapting permaculure to local culture would be interesting. I'll go start one...
 
M Marx
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I like Ray's ideas about wording a lot -- and agree a lot of buzzwords will turn off a number of folks.
Do you want to work with those folks? I don't especially want to work with a lot of folks unless the money is good and the time is limited.
For what it's worth -- I didn't want to share this initially, but Bill Mollison really goes off of the Faerie idea in the PDC video.
He tells a great story about a farm in England where this is part of the paradigm -- they are all organic and loving -- and the love is making the garden grow.
And then he looks in their garden shed, it is full of every pesticide that is legal to sell.
They charge admission to come bask in the positive vibrations, so he just snuck in to see what was up and gets blitzed with the founder (if I remember, alcohol is verbotten on this farm).
Anyhow, if you get a chance, those are some great vids, Mollison is a good -- although long winded, rambling storyteller with a TON of info -- Lawton too (but not a rambler).
 
Wenderlynn Bagnall
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I hear what you're all saying and totally appreciate your comments. I'd never really thought about things in such depth before I started advertising. Ray you make some very good points. I think my frustration is that I want to pass this knowledge on to people and can't understand why they want to spend money on conventional compost and manure or why they want to work so hard in their garden when I can show them how to reduce both time and money.

Right now I'm not sure where to go from here. I feel a bit stuck in a rut with how to get myself 'out there'.
 
M Marx
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I hear ya -- I have heard it other places totally outside of Permaculture -- and also in my own experiences.
I saw a recent video interview (and I think in the PDC series with Mollision) with Geoff Lawton, he mentions that when you're doing permaculture "right" resources will just fall into place.
This seems to be a somewhat universal idea, and it makes sense to me.
I have been known to be impatient however.
Like when I plant a garden, I want to see its climax now -- this is partly my nature and partly b/cI live in a fast paced area.
Oh, also, Mollison stridently opposes advertising permaculture services ( I think what he says may be somewhat tongue in cheek -- but I would guess for him, its a matter of fact) -- he seems to think one will end up with waaay too much work -- and then you have too much money, not enough time for sleeping in the potato patch and so on -- he mentions that every time one gets too much money, its time to throw a huge party.
His enthusiasm is contagious -- realistic? I sure hope so!
I'm not sure I totally agree for those trying to establish permanence in a business at least in the initial stages, but for some permies, I can see they don't need to advertise -- that sounds nice!
 
Wenderlynn Bagnall
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Marx I've changed the wording completely and don't mention Permaculture at all. I thought if I can get people to use me then I can introduce my knowledge over time to them, sort of through the back door. I may also do some info leaflets, either to give to clients when I get them or maybe as an alternative to just a general 2 sentenced one through doors.

I don't really want to use too much paper, if at all as one of the ethics of my business is not to use paper where possible and encourage people to email me etc but I know it's not always possible when you are just starting out.

I'm kinda also thinking that I should just leave it to the Gods and see what what happens. They've been more than helpful before, I found my husband that way......
 
Tyler Ludens
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Wenderlynn Bagnall wrote:
I'm kinda also thinking that I should just leave it to the Gods and see what what happens. They've been more than helpful before, I found my husband that way......



Just be sure not to mention Them in your advertising.

 
Wenderlynn Bagnall
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aahah, I won't Tyler although I might mention them at the garden club that my husband and I have decided to start, so we took your advice Tyler kinda and instead of joining a club started one. We took we have been invited to a meeting about a community garden which is going to be organic. This will be the first one in our area. There is no community spirit in the town i live in so it makes things lie this hard to get off the ground.

At the meeting I'd like to have some info ready on issues concerning Round Up. Does anyone know of any research that I can present to them about this devilish product and any others? i know their idea of organic will be to still use some kind of chemicals and I'd like to be able to persuade them not too if possible. I know the company that makes Round Up has something to do with killing bees.

Also are there any examples of Permie gardens, before and after, that I can send them too, pictures or websites I mean online?

Also any suggestions for this meeting would be welcome.
 
Wenderlynn Bagnall
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The meeting was more of a drop in one so it was very relaxed. It was held on the site of the community garden which was good as we could see the before bit before it's gets the after bit done. It was nice to see the plans they had, raised beds, polytunnels, espaliers on the south side of the area and a water collection point with some kind of a composting system, not sure what. A bug hotel was in the plans.

nothing is set in stone as it just for people to see what ideas have arisen. One thing that frustrated me was that it might be an organic site but there is nothing to say that they won't be told they can't use chemicals. Iain and I did make the point that our town needs to be innovative, we even mentioned pigs to turn over the brambles etc as they were thinking of using a rotivator....URRRggghhhhh!!! It did make me well up in side a bit but I realised they are not educated in anyway about permaculture.

Anyway this is getting of the track of the thread but thanks guys for all your help. I'll let you know how my advertising goes.
 
steward
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Problems I see:

1-Flyers on doors
In my experience, people hate this. I sure do. There are enough politicians and zealots banging on my door already. I find something stuck in my door, it goes straight to the burn bin. And don't ever knock on my door-I'm busy and don't want to be disturbed. If I wanted you to come to my door, I'd have called. Door to door knocking and leaflet dropping is inexpensive, but gets the least results. Most people find it intrusive. Consider a different venue. Mailing the flyers gets costly. Publications are expensive. Craigslist is an option.

2-Advertising more than one thing.
You mentioned a cleaning service. Never offer more than one service. It makes you look less professional, begging for work. Nobody wants to hire an amateur. However you advertise, sell one thing only. If you have a cleaning service as well, advertise that seperately, with a different look and logo.

3-Keep on advertising
Put out a flyer, they see it once. If they don't need your service exactly at the moment they see your flyer, it goes in the trash. Putting your name out in front of people repeatedly is what it takes. When they need your service, they will find your name.

4-The Epic Novel
They don't need the story, just your service, company name, phone number. Short and sweet. Sell your service like a used tire.
Used tire, round, black, $20, Wendy 555-1234
Vegetable Gardening, set-up/weekly/monthly, chem free. Wendy 555-1234

3-Keep on advertising
I mean it. They see it once, they move on and forget about you. They have to see it again and again.

Some of my best success from advertising has been a business card sized ad in the classified ad newspaper that is sent out every week to every household in several counties. Around here is the Lake City Advertiser. Runs about 30 bucks a week for a business card sized ad when run for 10 issues. Figure $1500 for a year. How many customers can you get? There is no answer, but if you only get one, and do a fine job, maybe they will tell someone else. It's your job to figure out if the cost is worth the expense.

Once they call, that's when you have the chance to give them your sales pitch. Explain what you do, how you do it, how much its going to cost them. Offer to come out for a free consultation, say, Tuesday at 6. Take some squash and zuke with you.


 
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You might want to consider making your leaflets stand out from the usual junk mail received through the post. An example of this I heard about was for an ironing service run by a lady from home. Instead of having a conventional leaflet she just printed up some simple A5 sheets saying something like "Are your clothes as creased as this? Call [number] for so-and-so's ironing service" (can't remember the exact wording), scrunched the paper up into a ball and popped it through the letter box. Apparently the response rate went from <5% to around 30% on a pretty small distribution although I can't remember how many new clients the lady got in the end.

Another example that illustrates the same principle is of a young graduate who was applying for jobs in graphic design/advertising. Instead of sending in his CV on A4 sheets of paper, he had his CV printed onto a label (like you get on plastic Coke bottles), stuck it on a bottle and sent that in as a job application. This had the added benefit of demonstrating the bloke's creativity as well as making his CV stand out.

The point is you want to avoid your leaflet being just another piece of junk mail that people automatically throw out and, to do this, you need to think outside the box and make people take notice, pique their curiosity or demonstrate that your services are different/better than those of your competitors'. Obviously, unless you have a lot of time on your hands, you probably want to keep the time and materials required for your innovative leaflets to a minimum just so that they don't take up all your time and money...

 
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Tyler Ludens wrote:I think most people just discard leaflets. For my home business I used to send out hundreds of leaflets to people I thought might be likely customers, there were few responses.



Yes. That is par normal. In marketing a 2% response rate is considered normal. So 98% don't respond and just trash the pamphlet.
 
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You mentioned that you already have a blog and Facebook fanpage, all you need to do is to exchange links with blogs of similar niche to spread the word. Facebook fanpage can do wonders too. Upload photos to attract potential clients as they say, picture is worth than thousand words.
 
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From personal experience, I've found word of mouth eventually gets around, but it takes a long time. When I had a business, I went to every meeting that was related, that I found out about, did some public speaking and talked about what I did, even went to shops and malls and put flyers on windshields. I think this would be wasted primarily on most people, and the best place to do in your case, would be where gardeners hang out, or those interested in gardening. Sell people on how much money they will save and the great and healthy food they will have, not just what you do. Just advertising is not enough, be highly visible whenever groups of like minded people gather. Promote yourself by getting to know people.
 
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has anyone tried the whole "putting business cards in library books related to your business then re-shelving the book" thing? its kinda sneaky and maybe not the best use of a public resource, sortof a tragedy-of-the-commons scenario but ...
 
Melba Corbett
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Tom Kozak wrote:has anyone tried the whole "putting business cards in library books related to your business then re-shelving the book" thing? its kinda sneaky and maybe not the best use of a public resource, sortof a tragedy-of-the-commons scenario but ...



Tom, I've even "dropped" business cards in grocery stores on top of produce displays so they would be highly visible. Kind of the same thing, but unless someone is interested, they probably won't pick it up (except for store employees cleaning up). I think the book idea is very good.
 
Jordan Lowery
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I find the best advertising is to have the best and highest quality product(whatever that may be) and to do the highest quality work. Chances are there will be more demand than you can fill.
 
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It's hard to believe that 1415 people have looked here and this hasn't come up. -----------

There's a type of flyer that the whole world can see, but you don't have to distribute it.

Signs work much better than any flyer campaign.
If you have a work truck and trailer, both need a sign on the sides and rear. A vehicle that is moved about regularly, will eventually be seen by every person in town. When you get a contract, your signs are visible to the neighbors. This helps with word of mouth advertising as well. The neighbors are aware that work is being done and they are likely to question anyone who has used your services. Some people will approach you while you are near the vehicle. When you finish a project, put up a sign for whatever period is agreeable to your customer. People like to let the world know when they've improved the landscape. Happy customers usually have no objections to this.

Signs add credibility --- A person who turns their vehicle into a traveling billboard has demonstrated a degree of commitment. They've spent some money and they've picked a particular business, unlike the thousands of guys on Craigslist who say, "no job too small, I'll do anything for a buck, please help, I'm starving". An official looking jacket, turns your body into a sign. The only flyer you will need are the business cards that are stored in the pocket. Get good ones that tell a very short story.

A good sign makes you look just as legit as well financed businesses with a brick and mortar location. Many will assume that you have a store or are part of a garden center. You already own the vehicle. This credibility is a bargain.
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I spent $1000 to label this bus on four sides. Without the signs, it might look like I'm a geezer on vacation or that someone lives on the bus. All pertinent information is there. Another sign is in the works for YouTube videos and the website. Those are the modern flyer. Don't throw away money and trees on 20th century advertising. Don't add to society's scrap heap. Move ahead and help to relegate the flyer to the scrap heap of history.

I spent another couple hundred to put signs on my old van. Wherever I go, I'm wearing my business suit/billboard.
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Well that's weird --- The last photo has a weird line along the top of the bus. When I click on the photo, it cleans up.
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My daughter recently started an internship at 3-yr old organic farm, and mentioned to me that the owner needed help with marketing. Since that kind of stuff is "my thing", I began looking into it. It's still a work in progress. I've focused on website development the most, followed by merchandising sales tips and newsletter ideas. Here's some of what I've come up with so far:


Top 2 Ways People Find Farms:
1. Customer referral, word of mouth advertising
2. Internet


Creating an Internet Presence that Increases Sales:
So an effective internet presence and website is essential to attract more people/ sales.
Effective websites are usually simple in design layout, and convey instantly the major benefits customers want/ need.
This is usually achieved by one or two focal images and large size text and headings.
The best headings usually promise a benefit or value that the customer is looking for.

A complete sales message is conveyed instantly in the example homepage below:

This is a screen shot of the first top half of the website’s home page. The page was intentionally designed to immediately identify the target market, include the major benefits/ reasons to buy, and has a simple “Get Started!” call to action button directing the customer what to do next. It's ideal to have each page of your site have a 'call to action' for what you want the visitor on that page to do next.

Resources for Website Design:
for having someone else do it and for doing it yourself.

You can buy templates at these sites:
(make sure they're compatible with your hosting first), but most of them are already available with basic editors from your web hosting provider as well as email newsletter providers like mail chimp, constant contact, etc.
http://www.dreamcodesign.com/agriculture-web-design-examples-34-pn1.html
https://colorlib.com/wp/best-farming-wordpress-themes/
http://www.templatemonster.com/templates.php?keywords=farm

Sample of a few farm templates:


You can pay these people to do everything for you:
http://organicwebfarmers.com/
http://www.farmwebdesign.com/




For DIY-selfers:

Article about how to increase conversion rates through website design:
http://conversionxl.com/website-flow-conversions/#more-6273
Follow links in the article and other articles on that site to learn even more.




For non-photographers: Farm and produce images for sale (under $5 and $10 each)
http://www.canstockphoto.com/images-photos/vegetables.html#start:150
http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/Vegetables_g63-Mixed_Vegetables_p2128.html
http://www.fotosearch.com/photos-images/produce.html
Note: a lot of pictures here are used in the templates for sale listed above. lol

Random sample of images for sale:



Use Google Adwords to do keyword research... find out what words and phrases people are using to look things up...
then use the words they do in your meta tags, meta keywords, page titles and descriptions.
Example for the farm my daughter is at:
More people in his area use google search to look up "what is a csa" and "csa coupons" then they do "local csa".
Note: I'm recommending using the adwords keyword planner to identify the best words to use on your website, not to purchase
them for advertising. Also, keyword research can be a time-consuming process, but will help attract more of the right people to your site.
How-To Info. Links:
https://blog.serps.com/how-to/use-google-keyword-planner-to-find-new-seo-keywords/
http://static.googleusercontent.com/media/www.google.com/en/us/webmasters/docs/search-engine-optimization-starter-guide.pdf


Here's a list of websites I liked for one marketing element reason or another.
http://avalongardens.org/ The circular revolving image would be awesome on the intern/ volunteer page.
http://www.schnepffarms.com/ Liked overall, cool photos, simple, social plug in, but needs more call to action.
http://tucsonvillagefarm.arizona.edu/ Liked bottom half of their website, photos and links with brief descriptions to their activities, products, etc.
http://greengatefarms.net/ Liked their emphasis on "community", needs photos at bottom of page.
https://www.jbgorganic.com/ Kind of bohemian, it breaks the standard layout design rules but pulls it off through engagement, drawing you in to find out more.
https://www.walnutcreekfarmtexas.com/ Simple basic layout, main photo should state customer benefits instead of "accepting new members now", which is really boring.
http://mayasfarm.com/ I really just liked the garden map on this site.
http://organicwebfarmers.com/ And the interactive farm map on this one. It could be a great way to "engage" customers with the farm, esp. for farms that don't have actual activities and socials.

Click the pic to go to the actual site with the interactive map. Imagine it picturing and describing your farm to customers:
If you go to farmers markets, I would add little booth pictures to click for the address and date.



Advertise for Free on Internet Directories:
Once your website is complete, there are lots of general business, target market and local directories you can advertise on for free.
I highly recommend creating profiles to Google My Business Account and Local Harvest at the very least. Ask your best customers
to leave raving reviews after you've created them. Here's the list I came up with for Kristen's farm:

General Business:

Google My Business Account
Bing Places for Business
Yahoo Local
Yelp
Merchant Circle.com
CitySearch.com (add your farmers markets)
Local.com

When people look for you in google search, maps or Google+, you will stand out from the rest of the listings
with a highlighted box when you have a google business account, like in the pic below.


Targeted & Local:

www.localharvest.org
www.eatwellguide.org
https://www.farmmatch.com/
http://www.agrilicious.org/
https://www.soilmate.com/
http://goodfoodfinder.com/csa/
http://www.localfresh.info/
http://www.the350project.net/home.html
http://agmap.psu.edu/
http://www.farmplate.com/
www.allorganiclinks.com
http://www.sustainabletucson.org/
http://organicfarmfood.org/
http://www.realtimefarms.com/
http://community.naturallygrown.org/
http://www.top10fresh.com/
http://www.usdalocalfooddirectories.com/
http://bajaaz.org/
http://growing.community/local-food-business-listings
www.csacenter.org: http://www.wilson.edu/about-wilson-college/fulton/robyn-van-en-center/csa-locator/index.aspx

Some CSA's have reported getting over half of their members through their profile on Local Harvest.



Other Marketing:

For added value in newsletters, blogs, website, or for extra money, check out this other post of mine about recipes you don't eat:
http://www.permies.com/t/47906/farm-income/Fruits-Vegetables-Dye-Craft-Beauty


For submitting articles and press releases, check out these sites:

Farm Media & PR Kit: http://sustainableagriculture.net/take-action/farm-and-agriculture-resources-for-media-farm/farm-media-and-public-relations-tool-kit-for-farmers/
How to Write a Press Release: http://www.wikihow.com/Write-a-Press-Release
Sample farm press release: (long link, but worth reading)
https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=3&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CC8QFjAC&url=http%3A%2F%2Fplantsforhumanhealth.ncsu.edu%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2011%2F02%2FPressKitTemplate-PressRelease.doc&ei=J5pmVejvBMzaoATh04DIAQ&usg=AFQjCNFGC4iQOhK-6eik51yk_e7gLh8Xlg&sig2=TDhXZYoxvdW1zOAv4ePEYw&bvm=bv.93990622,d.cGU

Press Release Topics, general lists:
http://www.pressblast.com/px_idea.php
http://socialmetricspro.com/social-media/write-61-ideas-press-release/3397/
http://www.ereleases.com/prfuel/press-release-topic-ideas/
http://www.shoestringmarketinguniversity.com/50-press-release-topics-for-small-business-owners/

For Merchandising Displays of Produce:
People buy more when it looks bountiful, so heap them up or put them into smaller containers so that it always looks full.
Layout the produce in alternate colors, textures, height. The ideal is at or above waist level.
Studies show that chalkboard signs increase sales for farmers.
Studies show produce in wooden crates at an angle and in baskets sell better.
Offer free recipes at the booth to induce customers to buy all the ingredients from you.
Instead of csa boxes, sell totes with your logo or give them (or t-shirts with your logo) away free as an early sign-on bonus.
Also, I read somewhere that the plastic bags you find in grocery stores are available for $20 for 10,000 bags.
Colors that psychologically affect food sales: red, yellow, green, orange, earth tones, muted colors (use on website too)
Psychologically, prices in odd cents (49 cents, 99 cents, etc.) means discount or economy sale.
Prices in five cent increments means high quality and premium (25 cents, 50 cents, 1.00, etc.)










Other Business & Marketing Resources:

Farm Business & Marketing Planning:
Building A Sustainable Business: A Guide to Developing a Business Plan for Farms and Rural Businesses
http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/getfile?dDocName=STELPRDC5105316
Small Farm Business Planning
http://casfs.ucsc.edu/documents/Teaching%20Direct%20Marketing/Unit_2.0_Biz_Plan.pdf
Handbook for Small & Direct Marketing Farms:
Regulations and Strategies for Farm and Food Businesses in Washington State
http://agr.wa.gov/Marketing/SmallFarm/Greenbook/docs/Greenbook2014-Complete.pdf
Marketing Your CSA Shares:
http://www.farmmarketingsolutions.com/csa-marketing/
Pricing for Profit:
http://www.agmrc.org/business_development/operating_a_business/direct_marketing/articles/pricing-for-profit/
More Resources List:
http://www.beginningfarmers.org/farm-business-planning/
http://www.csacoalition.org/our-farms/resources-for-farmers/business-marketing/
http://www.agmrc.org/business_development/operating_a_business/promotion/advertising/

Sample Business Plans for Farms:
http://www.dearingdesigns.com/farm/policies_manual.pdf
http://www.fastbusinessplans.com/sample-business-plans/organic-farm-business-plan.html?start=1
http://som.yale.edu/sites/default/files/files/Waiance2.doc


 
You’ll find me in my office. I’ll probably be drinking. And reading this tiny ad.
Wildlife Web Kickstarter: Participate in the Web of Life
https://permies.com/t/100598/Wildlife-Web-Kickstarter-Participate-Web
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