Use a 12-month communication calendar to fortify landlord relationships
How often are you communicating with your landlords? Likely, its not enough.
“A top goal in marketing is to be top of mind for your customer,” says Mark Faust, business author and columnist for AgPro. “You have to touch a customer a minimum of eight times a year to have top-of-mind awareness.”
Regardless of your current strategy (or best intentions), you can do more. “I’ve never heard of a landowner getting too much information from their grower,” he says.
A Proactive Plan
“Regular communication helps build and strengthen relationships,” says Sara McClendon, content strategist for marketing agency Rhea + Kaiser.
Develop a yearlong marketing calendar. For most months, aim to have some form of interaction with your landlords. These can vary from calls or messages to newsletters or appreciation events.
"A calendar allows you to look at the year all at once and think strategically,” Faust says. “You want to mix it up, as that variety makes all the difference in being top of mind.”
Think about your audience, McClendon suggests, and consider the information they would find helpful. Maybe one month your dive into your farm’s sustainability efforts and the next time you share a new piece of technology you’re using to be more efficient.
With any message you send, she offers these suggestions:
- Be authentic instead of perfect.
- Personalize the message as much as possible.
- Capture your farm’s story. Create a paragraph that highlights what you want your landlords to know about you and your operation. Include that message in every piece of communication.
Include your contact information and ask for feedback. “You want to be as transparent as possible and over communicate,” Faust says. “This is all part of proving you are an excellent farmer.”
A 12-Month Marketing Plan
Borrow an idea from the business world and create a yearlong marketing calendar for your farm, suggests Mark Faust, a business coach and author. A primary audience would be your landlords, but other key suppliers and partners could benefit from regular communication from you. Shoot for at least six touchpoints a year, Faust says. Here are a few ideas.
January: State of the union of your business. This can be written or presented in person. Include your financial philosophy, production practices, future plans, etc.
February: Bi-annual farm newsletter.
March: Postcard from a personal or business trip. Write a few sentences to let your landlords know you are thinking about them or you are studying up on the industry.
April: Off month.
May: Phone call with planting update.
June: A copy of an article your landlord would find interesting, along with a brief note of your perspective (could be emailed or mailed).
July: Landlord appreciation event.
August: Bi-annual farm newsletter.
September: Off month.
October: Phone call with harvest update.
November: Farm-branded gift (ex: work gloves and a note that says: “Thank you for working with us!”
December: Calendar with photos from their land