Digital Marketing for Agriculture: 6 Tips to Follow in 2021
Marketing has always been just as important to agricultural companies as any other.
And yet, for many of these businesses, old-fashioned marketing tactics are still as effective now as they were decades ago.
Maybe the same is true for yours.
But that’s beginning to change.
More and more, buyers are going online for the agricultural products they need.
That’s why digital marketing is no longer an option for businesses in this age-old industry.
Fortunately, as many companies have been slow to adopt these online strategies, bringing your agricultural marketing plan into the Digital Age could become a powerful competitive edge.
6 Ways to Market Your Agricultural Company in the Digital Age
At IWD, we’ve helped agricultural companies utilize digital marketing – from building them new sites to creating SEO strategies – so we know what really works and, just as important, what absolutely doesn’t in this unique industry.
So, if you want to start out on the right foot with your organization’s efforts, here are six marketing tactics that are proven to work.
1. Give Your Business a Powerful eCommerce Site
Building your agricultural company’s business on the foundation of a strong eCommerce website is essential. If you settle for a second-tier platform or try to build your site by using the same cookie-cutter approach that other businesses in other industries do, the rest of your eCommerce efforts are going to suffer.
This is why we generally recommend agricultural companies invest in Magento website development – specifically, Magento Commerce (now known as Adobe Commerce) is usually the right option for the kinds of robust websites that have become the norm in this field.
Magento is one of the most popular eCommerce platforms on the planet for a number of reasons, but one of the biggest is the degree to which you can customize your site. In short, you can offer the exact experience your market wants most – and the kind that will maximize your sales.
Prioritize UX for More Traffic and Sales
Magento isn’t a requirement for success with agricultural marketing. Other platforms like Shopify and WooCommerce can be effective, too.
Whatisa nonnegotiable for your company’s website is fantastic UX (User Experience).
While UX is vital to sites in every market, this is especially the case with agriculture. If your customers are like many our agriculture clients target, a large number of them are still very happy to order out of magazines. They’re used to it and find the process easier.
So, if your website isn’t as user-friendly as possible, you may attract traffic (more on that in just a moment), but you’ll struggle to convert it.
As an eCommerce optimization agency, our team of developers has done everything from building these types of user-friendly websites to making them more accessible to mobile users (essential these days) to creating custom solutions like internal search tools and a long list of other unique features.
2. Take Cues from Other Agricultural Companies
But where do you start with UX?
How do you figure out what kind of user experience your market expects?
Well, that’s where an experienced team like ours can help.
But if you decide to go at it on your own, here’s my recommendation: conduct in-depth competitor analysis.
Luckily, this might be the easiest part of digital marketing for your business. It’s never been easier to see exactly what your competition is doing in order to attract customers and convert them. In fact, that’s the best way to get started with my next two tactics, too.
Don’t reinvent the wheel. Look for opportunities to outdo your competition, but let them first show you where to get started so you’re not wasting time and money on strategies that won’t work – from UX to PPC to SEO (lots of acronyms in digital marketing).
Even though the agricultural industry has been a bit slower to fully adopt online marketing, there are still plenty of successful companies that can serve as inspiration for your approach.
3. Start Small with PPC
Alright, now let’s talk about some actual marketing channels, starting with PPC (Pay-Per-Click).
So, while SEO can take time to show results (I’ll get into that next), PPC can bring traffic to your site immediately.
You have to pay for each of these visitors, though, which is why I recommend agricultural businesses start small with PPC. If you’re brand-new to paid search, you could end up spending A LOT of money without actually seeing any returns.
As I mentioned earlier, one way to skip much of the learning curve with PPC is to look at what your competition is doing. Among other things, we use Semrush for this kind of PPC analysis.
Should You Target Other Agricultural Company’s Branded Keywords?
Now, that being said, one PPC strategy you need to approach with caution is targeting your competition’s branded terms.
For example, let’s say “ACME Agriculture Company” currently rules the tractor industry. It’s a brand people know, which is why their branded terms are so popular in Google. People search for “ACME gauges”, “ACME engine parts”, “ACME wheels”, etc.
If you also make tractor parts and are hoping for some quick wins with PPC, you might decide to target “ACME engine parts.” That way, when people search for that term, they find your ads for aftermarkets at the very top of Google. So, even though users intended to buy from one of your competitors, they might end up buying from you instead.
Such is the magic of PPC – something you generally can’t pull off with SEO.
Most of the time, these branded terms are among some of the cheapest queries to target, too.
But before you start targeting your competitors in the agricultural industry, let me offer a quick word of caution.
If you become successful at taking business from ACME Agriculture Company, there’s no way they won’t notice.
And they might decide to fight back by running the same exact strategy against your agricultural company – meaning they start taking your branded traffic.
What’s worse is that if ACME Agriculture Company has significantly more in their marketing budget, they’ll be able to quickly outspend you in this war – and beat you handily.
So, by all means, use PPC to quickly grow your company’s business, but consider speaking to an expert first to make sure you don’t make any costly mistakes.
4. Invest in Long-Term Results with SEO
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) entails a number of different tactics all designed to attract “organic” (meaning “unpaid”) traffic from Google and other search engines.
While there are upfront costs to optimizing your site for these search engines, the big advantage to SEO is that, for the most part, these are one-time charges.
For example, you may use a blog to attract visitors. Once you’ve paid for it to be written, it may go on to consistently attract traffic for years and years without costing you another dime.
According to HubSpot, search traffic is also more stable compared to PPC, better for building brand authority, and more effective for targeting the entire sales funnel. Overall, SEO services are also cheaper in the long run.
SEO is a fairly straightforward concept, but effectively executing it requires years of experience. As such, once again, it’s probably best you hire an expert for help.
However, I’ll leave you with two very important SEO tips that will help your agriculture company.
Take Advantage of Every Product and Category Page to Drive Traffic
Just about every single page on your website can be used to generate organic traffic.
This means writing product descriptions with SEO in mind – not just sales. Each of these pages can be used to draw qualified traffic that will lead to greater conversions. They can also work in consort to help your category pages rank better, too.
Let’s quickly talk about those.
Many businesses neglect their category and subcategory pages. They see them as little more than opportunities to organize their inventory in a user-friendly fashion.
And, yes, as I’ve covered, UX is definitely important.
But just like product pages, category and subcategory pages can also be optimized to attract the kind of traffic that comes from general queries and often gets the most monthly searches.
Don’t Assume Your Agricultural Company’s Website Needs a Blog
Obviously, we’re big fans of blogs around here.
But I can tell you from firsthand experience that they’re not always a company’s best bet for producing large amounts of traffic.
This happens a lot in B2B, especially in the agricultural industry. That’s becausecontent marketing (using blogs for SEO) is largely about gaining traffic from people who have questions before they’re ready to buy.
Because most – though certainly not all – agricultural buyers already know the product (or at least the type of product) they want to buy. A farmer who needs parts for their tractor every few years probably doesn’t have a ton of questions unless it’s about individual products themselves. And those are questions best answered on the actual product page, so customers can hit the “buy” button the moment they have the information they need.
So, here’s another example of when you should do some competitor research. See if there’s actually any demand in your agricultural segment before going to the trouble of creating an entire blog.
5. Case Studies, Case Studies, Case Studies
Perhaps more than any other buyer, those in the agricultural industry are, above all, practical. There’s still plenty of room for exciting marketing strategies and well-written product descriptions, but farmers, engineers, operation managers, chemists, etc. care about actual results more than anything else.
That’s why it’s a good idea to not only create case studies for your brand but to drive traffic to them, as well.
By the way, here are a couple of ours for the agricultural industry:
- How We Migrated QC Supply to Magento 2
- How We Created a Brand-New eCommerce Experience for High-Mowing Organic Seeds
Nothingproveswhat your products or services can do like a good case study. They put the evidence right in front of your prospects and show them exactly what they have to gain by becoming a customer.
There’s just one problem.
Most people who need your products or services aren’t searching for case studies specifically about how other companies use them (e.g., “How Our Product Increased Sales for ACME Agriculture Company by 20%). You need an intentional strategy to get eyes on these powerful marketing assets.
How to Put Your Case Studies in Front of Agricultural Prospects
So, how do you put case studies in front of your prospects?
The first way to target a keyword theydo search for with a relevant post and then work your case study into it.
Here’s a great example from Ahrefs:
The post targets the very popular phrase “how to get backlinks” and sets forth a step-by-step case study that shows how other companies can do the same.
Of course, the entire case study also shows the reader how easy it is to follow these steps using Ahrefs. It’s essentially an SEO-friendly blog post working as a sales letter.
You can also opt to leave out the case study from the actual keyword-targeting blog post and simply link to it instead. That’s what I just did above with our own agricultural case studies. If you’ve made it that far into this post, you clearly care about marketing your agricultural company online. As such, you’re likely to click on those posts, read those case studies, and contact us for help with your business.
Because of how specific those case studies are, it’s less likely you would have simply found them by conducting a search through Google.
Finally, you may also want to consider using your case studies as gated content. This is content that your website’s visitors can only access after they provide you with contact information.
This is why gated content can be so powerful for fueling effective email marketing campaigns, so let’s cover both next.
6. Leverage the Power of Email Marketing for Your Best ROI
Email marketing offers the best ROI of any channel, with one study finding that it returns $38 for every $1 spent. For 1-in-5 companies, the ROI is an astounding 70:1.
However, the type of email marketing strategy that will bring in these kinds of results for your agricultural business will depend on your unique segment of the industry.
You may find that you can use email much like blog posts – offering helpful information that establishes your authority.
Other times, the best approach may be to simply market your list with special offers and discounts.
And, of course, many agricultural companies use a combination of these approaches.
They regularly email their lists with helpful content. This makes it more likely that their recipients will continue opening these emails again and again, which, in turn, produces a better open rate when it comes time to send out an email aimed at earning sales.
Again, some level of experimentation is almost always necessary.
That said, before you can take full advantage of what email has to offer your agricultural company, you’ll need a means of driving traffic to your site – SEO or PPC – so you can get those all-important addresses.
And, once they’re there, you’ll need a way to collect their emails, which is where gated content comes in.
Using Gated Content to Power Your Email Marketing Campaigns
As we already covered, gated content is when you trade helpful agricultural information for your prospect’s email address, so you can then market to them.
HubSpot built an empire on this strategy. Check out this post on YouTube marketing and you’ll see that, at the very bottom, there’s an offer relevant to this topic:
Click on it and HubSpot will require your contact information before you can access this helpful guide:
Even though you won’t pay a dime for that information about marketing on YouTube, HubSpot receives extremely valuable information about your company – information they can use to better understand their market and, of course, include you in their email marketing campaigns.
Immediately Leverage Digital Marketing for Your Agriculture Business
While many agricultural businesses are still doing well by sticking to tried-and-true channels like magazines and trade shows, that’s no reason to completely ignore what digital marketing has to offer yours.
At IWD, we have experience working with agricultural companies, from building them custom sites to creating unique solutions to running effective marketing campaigns.
If you’d like to learn more about how our agency can help your business grow, contact us today.