As the main source of food for the planet, the agriculture industry is one of the world’s most crucial. In that sense, it sells itself. There will always be a market need, but with growing competition and changes in consumer tastes, marketing is particularly important. For example we’ve seen the National Livestock and Meat Board champion their ongoing “Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner” campaign as beef consumption declines year after year. We’ve also seen the Corn Refiners Association air campaigns to promote corn syrup as the general public increasingly turns to health-conscious options.
That kind of marketing seems like an obvious choice, but those associations are massive. Not every agriculture business can drop millions on a national TV spot, and digital marketing can offer a more budget-conscious—and more effective—approach, particularly for B2B (business to business) companies that aren’t targeting the greater population. The truth is that for the past couple of years, people have actually spent more time online than they have watching TV, and state-of-the-art agricultural equipment and software are constantly changing. Digital marketing allows you to swiftly adapt your approach and target specific audiences with a message that will resonate.
If you’re looking to create a winning digital marketing strategy for your agriculture business, here are some ways you can find success.
Invested in targeted ad campaigns
The agriculture industry is facing a generational divide. While younger decision makers are moving up the ranks, established decision makers are still holding onto their leadership roles. These demographics—whether they’re growers, suppliers or producers—don’t look at marketing the same way. A message that resonates with a tech-savvy Millennial buyer may not have the same effect on an industry veteran used to the traditional bottom line. Instead, you need to find a delicate balance, and that’s how targeted ads can help.
Whether it’s a pay-per-click (PPC) campaign with Google or a simple Facebook ad, targeted ad campaigns increase ROI by only showing your advertisements to the highest quality leads. For example, if you’re trying to sell a combine harvester to wheat farmers and place an ad in a trade publication, that ad will also reach livestock farmers who have no use for your product. Instead, digital ads can be targeted specifically to buyers who have already shown an interest in growing wheat crops.
Adopt a content strategy—a really good content strategy
According to Meaningful Brands’ 2019 report, 90% of people expect brands to create content. Unfortunately, most of that content is just internet clutter. Too many brands fall into the trap of creating content just for the sake of it.
It’s true that most decent SEO content will help boost your organic search results (which is especially important, because 70% to 80% of users ignore paid ads), but creating meaningful content that actually helps your audience will establish your brand as an authority in the industry. It’s all about positioning yourself as a meaningful brand and creating a culture around your company that buyers can connect with.
Just how important is creating meaningful content? Meaningful Brands found that there’s a 72% correlation between content effectiveness and the personal benefit a brand has to consumers. In other words, the more meaningful your brand becomes, the better it makes your customers’ lives. All in all, they’ve found that meaningful brands outperform the stock market by 134%. People are willing to spend more on the brands that make their lives better.
Venture into video
Flatly put, video marketing is effective for every industry. 84% of people say they’ve been convinced to buy a product or service by watching a brand’s video, and social video generates 1,200% more shares than text and image content combined. In the agriculture industry, videos can also help build a level of trust that wouldn’t otherwise be attainable without an in-person sales visit.
Video is one of the simplest ways to build widespread emotional connections, whether you’re showcasing your staff or your expertise. For example, a livestream Q&A can act like an actual conversation between your brand and buyers. Beyond that, a virtual tour of your facilities or a product demo can give wary buyers a sense of confidence, which is absolutely necessary in the B2B sales cycle. B2C (business to consumer) brands can at least marginally rely on impulse purchases, but B2B buyers are spending more, with more decision makers impacting their purchase, and it all happens over a longer period of time.
So, what does winning agriculture video content look like? Let’s take a look at Stronga, which builds renewable energy and agricultural equipment. This brand is known for its value and modern engineering expertise. They also have a YouTube channel that serves as a virtual catalog and shows (not tells) farmers how their equipment can truly make a difference. For example, the video for their FlowSteama shows how farmers can transform low-grade soil into high-value sterilized soil. It’s an obvious value-add.
The flexibility of digital marketing helps the agriculture industry
Agriculture is one of the most diverse industries in the United States, from food manufacturing, to crop and livestock farming, agribusiness services, and equipment and software development. Though rapid technological advancements have transformed the core functions of many businesses in this field, most still find themselves falling behind in their marketing strategies.
The truth is that old school advertising may show some results, but it’s often cost prohibitive. It fails to reach younger buyers who are increasingly rising into decision making roles. Rather, digital marketing is cost effective and has the flexibility needed to target specific sectors. With a digital strategy, you can position yourself as not just a thought leader in the world of agriculture, but also a thought leader in the world.