Farm and foods

Ideas to help agricultural and food business market themselves better, expand their customer base and boost profits.

Monday deadline for Adirondack food guide

A local food guide for Warren, Washington and Saratoga Counties is being prepared with funds from USDA. Adirondack Harvest will include farms and processors,  farmers’ markets, and CSA programs, as well as  stores, food cooperatives, and restaurants that feature locally sourced ingredients. To submit your listing information by email, follow these directions. Deadline is Monday, March 28, 2016.

Boost revenue from farmers markets

Agricultural producers can boost their profits by learning marketing sales strategies  at workshop sponsored by Cornell Cooperative Extension  in Canandaigua on March 29, 2016.  Both market managers and farmers will be able to enroll at the workshop to increase their customer base by becoming SNAP/EBT program eligible members.  Read more and register.

Farmers market manager certification offered

Farmers markets boost rural economic development. That’s why New York State recently announced creation of an online program to train managers of farmers’ markets, who typically are volunteers, in how to meet the needs of both consumers and producers for their mutual benefit.  Participants must complete all 22 sessions within 12 months. Get details here.

How could your business adapt this idea?

For 10 years, Cornell Cooperative Extension  of Jefferson County has held Agriculture Literacy Week in local elementary schools using reading and writing activities with an agriculture focus.

How could you make a “literacy week” for a topic related to your business? How about transportation literacy week? Food literacy week? Solar literacy week? Theme weeks offer PR opportunities, especially when they involve photogenic children.

Catskills Food Guide available now

Never overlook the opportunity to learn from other businesses in your sector. Free copies of the 2016 Catskills Food Guide can be picked up in over 100 locations in Delaware, Greene, Schoharie, Sullivan and Ulster counties. If there’s no location near you, buy a digital edition for $4.99 to read on your device.

How to find new growth opportunities

If you want to grow your farm or food business, you need to keep looking for new customers. Check out these seven key initiatives  for every company seeking new sources of growth.

Capitalize on environmental issues

General Mills Canada has  yanked its iconic mascot from its Honey Nut Cheerios boxes. In  place of  Buzz is the white silhouette of a bumblebee. The company says the move is to  draw attention to the worsening global reduction in natural pollinators, such as honeybees, and the world food shortage that could result.

What popular environmental cause related to your farm business or your food business make part of its marketing?


#email #marketing

Email is a fact of life. Make better use of it to build your rural small business with these suggestions.


Tips for building a better newsletter

Email marketing has the highest return on investment of any type of marketing: 43 percent. If your email isn’t building your business, you’re probably doing something wrong Learn three ways to improve your email newsletter and five ideas to write about to build a better email newsletter for your small-town businesses.


Don’t give away free WiFi: Exchange it

Wavespot offers a way to get something of value for the WiFi service you may be giving away. Customers login to WiFi with social media and automatically enroll in your custom loyalty program. No downloads, no apps, no key cards. You follow up by email. The basic plan is free.  Read more about Wavespot.


How to sound more personal in email

Make the smallness of your small business an asset..Write your email newsletter as if you are speaking personally to the individual reading your it. Here are tips for achieving that personal voice in any business emails.


Increase signups with these website tips

Getting site visitors to give you their email address isn’t easy. Here are some tips to encourage signups that are used by people who sell newsletter subscriptions—their income depends on knowing what works.



#B2B #marketing

Brand growth. User pain point. Search intent. Brand voice. Lead capture. Learn how they apply to a business-to-business operation.

5 drivers of profitable brand growth

If you have very little time to read about marketing, look at BrainJuicer’s distillation of behavioral science in five facts. The flip book is illustrated with marketing cartoons from Tom Fishburne, whose free Marketoonist newsletter was mentioned in RuralNYSBO last year.

Problem first, not product first

If you read many small business websites, you may notice that most all of them focus on the product or service the business sells rather than on what brought the customer to the website in the first place.

If you want visitors to convert to customers, you need to show them how to solve the problem that brought them to your site. Learn how to go about that, how to test how well you website does it, and some tools to use in that testing from this post by content marketer Tim Matthews.

Smart SEO satisfies search intent

If your business has a good website, a substantial number of your site visitors will be folks who had never heard of your business until description of one of your pages was returned in response to a query they typed into a search box.  Google calls this search intent.

Knowing what your visitors are looking for—their search intent—lets you build a strategy for marketing to the folks who come to you via organic search. Your website is wasted without strategies and materials to convert visitors to customers.  Check out the basics of inbound marketing.

How to find a non-boring B2B brand voice

Most B2B marketing (and most B2C marketing!) is boring reading. To learn how to find a voice that makes your B2B distinctive, personable, and really resonates with your audience, check out this article by Chelsea Baldwin.

How to have a successful exhibit

If you are going to take the time to have an exhibit and a trade show or regional business expo, you ought to do put in a serious effort to make sure you get some business as a result. Tips for pre-show, show time, and post event follow-up are succinctly presented here in an infographic.

Easier way to get @RuralNYSBO

If you’d like to get business tips curated every week expressly for rural New York businesses with 10 or fewer employees, you can follow this blog at the top of the right hand column. WordPress will send you each week’s issue as it is published. No ads, no spam, and an opt-out in every issue.



#econdev for your business

Bring economic development home with the draft brewery trail, window displays, odd holidays, expert advice, more.

Infographic for local lead generation

America’s rural population is shrinking. Rural small businesses won’t survive unless they keep growing new customers. YEAH Local’s simple visual introduction to 10 top tips for generating leads to new customers can help.

March 8 webinar for women business owners

At a free webinar Tuesday, March 8, at 3:00 p.m. (EST), a panel including experts in marketing, business formation, financing and investments will provide advice for women entrepreneurs attempting to grow their companies. Get more details and register here.

Craft brewery trail on tap for NNY

State Senator Patty Ritchie announced passage of her bill (S.518-A) creating the “North Country Craft Beer Trail,” linking craft breweries in Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties. The trail is an economic development tool similar to wine trails further south.

FAQs about a handmade business

Customers have somewhat different questions when buying handmade products than when buying commercially produced ones. Prepare a FAQs page on your website that includes answers to these 9 questions from  handmade goods customers.

14 ideas for storefront window displays

Putting fliers for community event in your window is a friendly gesture, but if your rural business is fortunate enough to have a storefront, use it to get business in to your store. If display creation isn’t your forte, skim these 14 ideas for window displays.

Build retail sales around obscure holidays

Take advantage of the many obscure holidays that can be tied to retail specials and sales, especially those that occur during traditionally slow times of the year. This article gives tips on marketing around odd-ball holidays, including how to find them.

Why Zappos is starting its own holiday

Zappos wants to make February 29 a national holiday. It would require congressional approval, and would happen only every four years. Why bother?

 Easy fixes for 5 website visitor turnoffs

Done right, your website can be a huge tool to generate more leads, and more customers, whether or not you sell online. Learn how to fix five problems that cost you customers.