If there was one hard and fast way to market successfully, our jobs would certainly be a lot different, not to mention easier! The good news is that as fresh produce marketers, we’ve found a marketing methodology born for the digital age, and it makes us better AND more effective marketers. Look no further than inbound marketing.
Google the phrase “Inbound Marketing” and you’ll find an array of explanations and definitions. But for fresh produce companies, Inbound Marketing is a way for our industry to 1) connect to our audiences more effectively by 2) being available when they are searching for information about the products we grow so that they 3) opt into receiving more information from us and 4) become the preferred choice/brand for the products and services that we sell.
Still unsure this is right for your company? If you answer yes to most of these realities below, your company is probably ready for Inbound Marketing.
You might be ready for Inbound marketing if:
- You have a Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest account and want to know more about the individuals in your networks.
- You seek to establish a connection with buyers (companies and consumers) that prefer your products.
- You want to position your products as fresh food items rather than commodities.
- You want to know which of your competitors and potential buyers are scoping out your website.
- You want to know when your sales leads open or click on one of your emails.
- You want to send out personalized emails to consumers who buy your products in specific geographic areas.
- You want to better understand the challenges of your buyers and what they look for in a fresh produce solution.
- You want to be more helpful to your buyers by offering them tips on product handling, food safety, merchandizing or preparation.
- You acknowledge that your marketing team must adapt to the challenges of the produce industry as it changes and you are comfortable with making necessary changes and trying new things.
- You understand that it’s important to reach buyers and consumers on their preferred terms (i.e. at certain times of the day or week, via phone or email, Facebook or Twitter).
- You want to generate more sales leads without cold calling or begging for the opportunity to make a presentation to potential buyers.
- You have compelling information to share that demonstrates your expertise (ex. thought leadership on sustainability, How Tos, Recipes, etc).
On the flipside, if you find yourself answering yes to most of these points you may not be prepared to take this step in your marketing journey, just yet.
You may NOT be ready for Inbound marketing if:
You aren’t using social media channels.
If you don’t already have a presence on social media, you’re going to have difficulties sharing your helpful content and driving traffic down your sales funnel organically. Even if you are focused on B2B marketing strategies you should be using channels like LinkedIn or Twitter to connect with prospective leads.
You aren’t ready to expand your sales process.
Inbound marketing makes the lead nurturing process more efficient by informing your sales team as to where leads are in the buying process based on their activity and interest in the content you share. The sales process becomes more of an informed progression as you learn more about your leads over time rather than shooting in the dark about whether or not they are ready to talk to you.
You do not believe a company blog is effective marketing tool for your business.
According to Hubspot, the average company that blogs generates 55 percent more website visitors than similar sites without a blog. That means more people find you online when they search for companies like you… and that means more sales leads. Here are some other reasons your company needs a blog.
Your company is not willing to step out of their comfort zone.
Inbound marketing works best when brands are willing to share thought-provoking, outside the box ideas that set a brand apart from others (i.e. your approach to sustainability, food safety or customizing product solutions). We get that many companies are scared to share their “secret sauce” or inside information. But, you don’t have to give away your deepest company secrets in order to share solutions with your buyers and consumers that will nurture them to depend on you and verify that you’re a boss at what you do.
You rely ONLY on outbound marketing practices and are not ready to explore new marketing methods.
Tradeshows, print advertising and direct mail are still important, but these tactics push information to customers whether they want it or not, which can annoy them and deter them from buying from you. Inbound marketing allows your buyers to choose when and how they receive information from you, which delights them and earns you their business.
We get it – not every company is going to be ready to jump right in. Up until 2012, we weren’t ready either. However, our commitment to the discipline of Inbound Marketing for our business has been a game changer. We work directly with fresh produce companies to launch their own Inbound Marketing strategies, so if you want to learn more, download our latest Intro to Inbound Marketing eBook to discover if Inbound is right for your business. When you think you’re ready, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more and try a 30-day free trial!