The agriculture industry in the United States has grown to represent a market of roughly $390 billion in terms of products and produce. Farming and agribusinesses have evolved in their complexity to include subsectors such as agricultural machinery, precision agriculture, chemicals, farm equipment, crop production, supply-chain services, and more. As agriculture-related businesses continue to expand and to modernize, the measure of operations that happen online will grow as well.
The agriculture industry gets a bum rap for being backward when it comes to technology, an accusation which is neither fair nor particularly accurate. Farmers and their suppliers are among the tech-savviest people you’ll meet anywhere, in terms of automating their daily work schedules and keeping their livestock and crops in tip-top shape. Nonetheless, it’s a reasonable generalization to state that the industry as a whole is somewhat behind the times when it comes to employing digital marketing techniques.
Since farming and agriculture-related businesses tend to lean heavily on non-digital and more traditional business growth strategies, digital marketing is viewed as more of an accessory than a necessity. At present, the agricultural sector has the lowest adoption rate for digital marketing at just 78% – uncommonly low when compared to the average 88% across all other industries.
As digitization and improved internet access continue to change the course of agriculture forever, many in the industry are struggling to keep up with the new methods available to stay in touch with their customers. Simply put, the time is ripe for agriculture-related businesses to transition from traditional to digital marketing approaches in order to seize their full revenue potential.
4 Ways Farming and Agricultural Businesses Can Harness the Power of Digital Marketing
A solid digital marketing strategy provides farmers and other agriculture-related businesses with a unique opportunity to increase visibility and reach across the industry and generate business-to-business leads more efficiently than ever before. Here are four proven methods for doing just that:
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
According to BrightEdge, 51% of all website traffic now originates from organic search, while another 10% comes from paid-search advertising. Search engines like Google and Bing have become such important channels that they now drive more than 40% of online revenue!
Search engine optimization (SEO) can help improve the quality of traffic coming to a business’s site by targeting high-value, high-traffic industry keywords and infusing site content with those target keywords.
Ranking in Google’s #1 spot for target search keywords can help elevate average traffic share to 32.5%, and first-page search listings garner more than 90% of traffic – as searchers favor more prominent results.
Here’s but a sampling of all the amazing benefits of SEO marketing for farming and agribusinesses:
- Boost sales and revenue inexpensively, with or without an advertising budget
- Sustain or enlarge industry market share, ensuring long-term business growth
- Cultivate brand recognition in an effort to establish a loyal base of customers
- Gather performance, traffic, and sales data to optimize their overall digital strategy
Google Analytics – a popular digital analytics software tool – allows farming and agriculture-related businesses to monitor their pageviews, sales and revenue, form fill-outs, advertising performance, conversion rate percentage, and much more. This info can be used to track user interest and gauge how well the business’s online presence is growing.
Farmers and agribusinesses can obtain comprehensive statistics on their website’s performance with tools from Google Search Console. This data helps clarify, maintain, and calibrate the business’s digital marketing efforts by examining info regarding how visitors are arriving at the website, which search terms the site is performing best for, and the average click-through rate (CTR) for high-value search topics. Over time, this data can be exploited to further enhance the site’s SEO as well as to increase revenue.
Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC)
Search engines like Google and Microsoft’s Bing offer search-advertising options for paid listings that show up on search pages alongside regular organic results. Paid ads occupy the top 3 spots on Google searches and are able to absorb 46% of search traffic. Site visitors who click on a search ad are also 50% more likely to convert.
In 2019, paid search ads surpassed regular search traffic in terms of revenue, with PPC ads generating 33% of revenue in the retail channel. For web-based businesses, paid strategies were responsible for as much as 46% of total revenue.
Pay-per-click advertising (PPC) delivers much quicker results than organic optimization strategies such as SEO. It does so by focusing on high-value, industry-relevant keywords with bidding strategies that weigh cost-per-click with the business’s specific objectives.
PPC provides a wealth of outstanding advantages for farmers and agricultural suppliers, including:
- Increasing website traffic for particular industry keywords, and during the holidays or other short seasonal periods
- Boosting brand recognition and online visibility, especially when branching out to new business sectors and/or geographical markets
- Maximizing revenue through improved CTRs and site conversions
- Targeting traffic in certain regions, countries, states, or cities
Paid Social Media Marketing
Popular social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram are among the fastest-growing marketing channels on the internet. By advertising on social media, farming and agriculture-related businesses are able to grow their online visibility and boost revenue in fun, functional, and interactive ways.
Paid social media ads work on the same cost-per-click basis as search engine ads and have been proven to be extraordinarily effective for a wide variety of businesses across many different industries.
Social media platforms allow businesses to clearly define their marketing goals – whether it’s increased revenue, brand awareness, website traffic, or conversions – and to narrow down their target audiences in order to achieve the best results. Social media ads are capable of targeting audiences based on interests, income, occupation, location, and much more.
Amplify Their Online Presence
In addition to having a professionally designed website – a nonnegotiable element in today’s world – it’s important for farming and agricultural-based businesses to have a solid online presence across the board.
Here are several tips on how to develop and optimize a solid online presence for agribusinesses:
- Claim their Google My Business listing and fill out the business profile.
- Ask for email addresses or customers and supporters at the point of sale and at farmer’s markets.
- Take advantage of this email list to send out weekly updates about the farm or agribusiness, denoting which products are currently available and what’s coming up next.
- Use social media to advertise sales or promotions, build relationships with customers, network with other agriculture businesses, participate in niche communities, stay current on industry trends, and solicit customer feedback.
- Start a blog on the business’s website. Give updates about the farm or upcoming business projects, share insights into farm life or company culture, provide how-to’s on relevant topics, post photos, and share recipes.
While digital marketing might seem like a tough row to hoe for farmers and agribusinesses, it’s clearly where the industry is headed. Digital is the future, and the future is now. But you don’t have to go it alone.
If you’re looking to boost your business by deploying one or more of the digital marketing strategies outlined above, HighClick Media is here to help! Our marketing experts are experienced and knowledgeable about all things digital. We’d love to talk to you. Give us a call at 252.814.2150 today!