Most people have been to a farmers market at one time or another. The fresh produce, homemade crafts, and lively atmosphere make for a fun afternoon of tasting and shopping. For some reason, the atmosphere puts consumers in a relaxed mood, making them willing to try new things and meet new vendors.
Can you recreate that same type of atmosphere in your business? If you’re trying to attract new customers, here are some tips you can learn from the farmers market:
- It’s all about the samples. Whether it’s a freshly baked treat or other sample product, vendors at farmers markets usually have something to give away. It’s a great way to test new products and offer discounts for future purchases. Offer samples in your store to draw customers in or give a coupon for a freebie later. Have a service business? Demonstrate what you do with an online video on your website, and then invite consumers to make an appointment to learn more. For more video tips, read "Visual Marketing, Starring: You!"
- Show your expertise. Most farmers market vendors have some sort of certification showing their produce is organic or testimonials about their products. For your business, it’s important to show your expertise. You can do this by providing valuable content on your website and blog or on other blogs, by giving speeches to relevant groups, or by being active on LinkedIn and answering group questions. Testimonials on your website and in your marketing materials are also a good way to bolster your business’s credibility and authoritative reputation.
- Be a part of the community. Farmers markets are made up of local businesses showing off their wares. Consumers feel good about shopping locally, and vendors know the local angle is a smart marketing strategy. Contact your city’s business development office and find out what buy-local campaigns are in place that you can join. Many cities have “Shop Local” stickers you can place in your shop window, banner ads you can put on your website, and even lists of local businesses on the city’s website. The shop-local trend has moved way beyond just food. Businesses from tech support to repair shops tout their local roots to compete against the chain giants to attract customers.
Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at [email protected], follow her on Google+ and Twitter.com/Rieva, and visit her website, SmallBizDaily.com, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva's free TrendCast reports.