Feb 5, 2024
Farm Market & Agritourism: Establish your business as a destination

In digital marketing, we usually create a website first and think about the mobile appearance second. It may be time to reverse that practice, particularly if we attempt to develop a sense of destination with our marketing efforts. The market is where you want to be!

Most business searches take place on smartphones, and for certain generations, if your business isn’t on Instagram, they assume you have little of interest for them. This consumer isn’t searching for your website, they are looking at your social media activity, including business information such as hours of operation and products you have posted.

Brian Moyer
Brian Moyer

Creating a compelling destination marketing strategy for retail farm markets involves promoting your market’s unique experiences, products and atmosphere. Here are some tailored strategies to consider.

Identify unique selling points

Promote your produce by emphasizing the freshness and quality of locally grown produce, and highlight the farm-to-table journey. Engage the community by showcasing the market as a gathering and event hub. If the market is on a farm, promote the farm experience with tours and pick-your-own activities. In the retail market, highlight handmade crafts, artisanal foods and unique local-made products.

Content marketing

Use blogs and vlogs (video blogs) to create engaging content about farming practices, behind-the-scenes looks at vendors and recipes using market produce. Social media platforms, including Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest, allow you to share appealing content, market updates and customer testimonials.

Events and promotions

Organize themed events for special market occasions — such as Harvest Festival or Family Fun Day — with special activities, live music and contests. Cooking demonstrations using produce from the market will promote the market and healthy eating. Reward repeat customers by offering discounts and a loyalty program with scannable loyalty cards, and give exclusive offers to repeat customers.

Collaborations and partnerships

Partner with local chefs or restaurants to source fresh ingredients, and to showcase recipes on their menus. Collaborate with local schools and educational institutions for field trips, teaching children about farming, agriculture and healthy eating habits. Work with local tourism boards to feature the market in travel guides and promotional materials.

Online presence

Maintain an informative, user-friendly website with details about vendors, products, events and a blog section. If applicable, create an online platform for customers to pre-order products for pickup, expanding the market’s reach. Ensure the market’s Google My Business listing is accurate and regularly updated with opening hours, location and customer reviews.

Visual branding

Design a visually appealing and memorable logo representing the market’s identity. Signage, in and around the market, should be clear and attractive, to guide customers and create a welcoming atmosphere.

Community engagement

Sponsor local events or sports teams to increase visibility within the community. Seek feedback from customers to enhance their experience and address concerns promptly.

Remember to measure the effectiveness of your marketing strategies through customer surveys, social media analytics and sales data. Adjust your approach based on the feedback and trends to continuously improve your marketing efforts for the market and eliminate less effective strategies, which can save you time and money.

Brian Moyer is an educational program associate with Penn State Extension. As founder of PA Farm Markets LLC and founder and manager of the Skippack Farmers Market, Moyer specializes in assisting farmers markets, retail farm markets, direct-to-consumer sales, and new and beginning farmers with marketing, business and regulatory issues.

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