August 7, 2017

The Simple Marketing Trick One Farmers’ Market Vendor Uses To Keep Customers Coming Back (PODCAST)

We’re doing things a little differently today with a short podcast about something I noticed recently at my farmers’ market. It’s was a simple, yet effective, way to generate return customers.

The dirty little secret about Seattle, where I live, is that while yes, it rains a tremendous amount of the time – the Summers here are truly glorious. At some point in June (or, in really bad years, in July), the rain tapers off and we don’t see another drop until late September or October. What’s more, every single day is, on average, sunny and 74-degrees with no humidity. I am convinced this is the only reason why the first settlers to Seattle actually stuck around. The Summers are glorious!

This means that our farmers’ markets in the Summers are also outstanding. There is a tremendous amount of produce that’s brought in from family-farms that operate less than an hour outside the city and we have a ton of artisans who are doing really unique, interesting thigns with new products. Seattleittes love their farmers’ markets (remember, our famous Pike’s Place Market was one of the first official farmers’ markets in the country!) and for many a trip to the market is a weekly tradition.

While our markets generate big crowds, the downside from the point of view of the vendor, is that there is also ample competition at the market for those consumers’ dollars. There’s not just one person selling radishes – there are 5 different local and organic farms at my neighborhood farmers market that sell, amongst other things, radishes of all different types and varieties. There is not just one or two people selling desserts – there’s an ice cream vendor, an ice pop vendor, a handpie vendor, a cookie vendor, a gluten-free bakery, and someone selling vegan baked goods. And, right now with berries at the height of their growing season, there are literally 8 different vendors selling raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries. The completion is fierce.

So the other day I was looking for berries – and honestly was a bit overwhelmed about which farm vendor to choose from. Ultimately I chose one for no particular purpose and made my purchase – thinking that next time I would make a purchase from another one and spread my money around a bit. However, as I was checking out the person working that market stand told me to hold onto the berry boxes because if I brought them back next time I would get a $1 off per box my next purchase.

That caught my attention. From a consumer standpoint, organic berries aren’t cheap so I’ll take a dollar off where I can get it. This also reminded me though that this is a small operation I was purchasing from as the fact that their ability to recycle their boxes would help their bottom line and the reinforced for me personallyt hat this was the type of small farm I wanted to buying from. Lastly though, in order to get my $1 off I actually have to go back to that exact same market stall to purchase my berries – there’s a very real reason for me to return there and since the anme of the farm is printed on the berry boxes I currently have in my hosue, I know exactly where I need to go.

This is just one example of great marketing. So often when we talk about marketing we think about things like social media strategies or television ads but essentially marketing is all about getting the customer to remember your name and to come back and purchase from you again. In this case the family farm is achieving this in the simplest of ways by encouraging me to bring my boxes back to them for a future discount.

Marketing doesn’t have to complicated or convoluted – good marketing is that which is fairly easy for you to execute, is within your budget, and stands out to your customers.

I’d love to know what simple things you do to keep your customers coming back. Share your thougths and experiences by emailing me at info (at) smallfoodbiz (dot) com. And until next time, thanks, as always, for listening.

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