Simon Huntley is the founder and developer at Small Farm Central, a technology company focused on farming business success with a website builder designed for small farms, a CSA member management and sales solution, and more. Simon is also the author of the new book, Cultivating Customers.
Small Farm Central grew out of Simon’s work with an expanding CSA program in western Colorado. Simon got into online marketing before e-commerce was cool, and definitely before its use was widespread in the farming community. And serving over a thousand direct-marketing farmers, Small Farm Central and Simon have a lot of direct contact with what’s working and what isn’t in the direct-to-consumer marketplace.
We dig into the world of marketing and relationship-building for small farms, including how to apply the marketing funnel concept in your farm marketing, how to build trust and create a sense of authenticity with your customers, what to do with your website to get customers engaged with your farm, how to get your customers to open your email newsletters, and much, much more.
The Farmer to Farmer Podcast is generously supported by Vermont Compost Company.
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Quotes from the Show
If we compete with grocery stores, we lose.
We’re never going to get a certain place where we’re done and everything’s perfect.
It’s not about what you want for farm, it’s about building your products and services around what your customers want.
It has to be about more than just a box of food… the food has to be infused with your story.
It’s not about taking a picture of the farm with no people in it and posting that on Facebook and expecting it to get engagement.
A farm without marketing is just a big compost pile.
Growing things is just part of what we do as farmers.
Simon’s company is Small Farm Central, which includes the website builder, FarmFan, MemberAssembler, and a variety of free resources for farmers.
Simon spent some time WWOOFing after college – I’ve always known it as Willing Workers on Organic Farms, but they seem to have changed t heir name to World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms.
The CSA Farming Annual Report is available on the Member Assembler website (scroll to the bottom of the page).
The CSA Solutions Hub has a number of great resources for CSA farmers.
Small Farm Central organizes the Facebook Group, “CSA Farmer Discussion.” It’s a great, closed, no-customers group where questions often get ten to twenty responses within a couple of hours. This link goes to form you can fill out to apply for the group.
Simon cited a study by Ryan Galt about why CSA members don’t renew their shares.
Simon’s Farm Marketing Minute is an occasional email that you can use to help promote your farm market.