The number one livestock marketing mistake!

As promised in my first marketing post I am going to jump right into the number one mistake I see almost everyone in the livestock industry making. It is so common in fact you are not going to believe it when I tell you.

What is the biggest mistake?

Not having an email list!

Think about it; people are visiting your website for a particular reason. They might be interested in your sale. Maybe they saw your genetics win and wanted to know more about what you offer.

They come to your website, catch a glimpse of what you offer and leave your website perhaps never to visit again. You may have just lost a potential customer. Pretty powerful right?

Now let's add one step to this scenario. This same customer sees you have a mailing list where they can sign up to stay up to date and learn about your sales. They signup because they love your livestock! You just earned their trust and more importantly a ticket into their email box and the easiest way to speak directly to them!

Why is an email list the easiest thing you can do?

Adding a mailing list will give you a chance to have a conversation directly with your ideal customer. No middle man, a heart to heart personally with them. Your visit from them may have just turned into a lifelong relationship you can grow with trust and continued outreach.

When sale season is here YOU have the power to reach the people most interested in your offering! Your sale won't be lost in the inbox with the other 25 sales going out that day (and usually ending up in the spam folder).

You won't be relying on the marketing of another company. You won't have to trust that they are doing everything correctly and your email is reaching their inbox. You get to speak to them from your heart and give them value.

So how do you do it?

It's pretty simple. Signup for an email list! The most user-friendly and cheapest (free for the first 2,000 subscribers) is probably MailChimp. When you signup they give you a bunch of ready made templates and signup forms for you to integrate into your own design. Here is an example of my email list signup form. You can have special fields for different kinds of information even!

If you don't manage your website talk to your designer and have them integrate your email form right into your website or just have them add a link to your form. You can also add a tab on your Facebook page right inside MailChimp and get signups from your followers there as well.

After you have an email list take the time to sit down and design an editorial calendar. Plan out when you want to send emails and add value to your customer's life with tips or advice for their project. If you have a sale coming send a few sneak peeks and talk about how excited you are. If you had an update done to your website include special congratulations to those winners and link to the page so everyone can see the excitement.

I really can't put enough emphasis on this. If you think it is too hard give it an honest try. It won't cost you anything and it really is the best way to communicate with your ideal customer. If you have any questions please leave them in your comments and I will do my best to answer them!

After months of thinking about this series, I have finally decided I am going to do it. I am not a marketing genius, but I think my experiences could teach others. I feel like this is almost a forbidden topic, one that you aren't allowed to talk about unless you come from a marketing company and have attended school.

Many of you know me as the person behind Stock Show Boutique, but I have another business licensing art to retailers. I also have founded, made them profitable and then successfully sold several online businesses.

Last fall I hired a company in our industry to run a marketing campaign for me. It was several email blasts targeted around holiday gift giving. Their email list should have been an ideal customer for my business. I had high expectations.

Hard Numbers

Let me give you the facts here: I spent $600. I was told the combined lists would be more than 50,000 subscribers. The hard truth. I earned a measly 69 unique visitors and 123 total visits over a three-month period and $0 in revenue. You read that right. Not a dime was earned on a $600 investment.

I knew the blasts were performing so poorly I had canceled the very last one before it was even created. Numbers don't lie, and those numbers weren't enough to continue the pattern. It made me dig into it a little deeper. I noticed a trend with this particular companies email. Every email they sent ended up in my spam box. I challenge you to check your spam folder and see if you have email from livestock marketing companies in your spam box. Think about how someone is investing in their business and look where their hard earned dollar is going. It might even be you (I am not ashamed to say it was me).

I truthfully believe this companies email has been blacklisted and is automatically sent to spam folders on most email services (Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, etc.). If you are spending hundreds or even thousands each year on this type of service that just isn't smart business.

The cold hard truth

Don't rely on other people. Take your business seriously and control your fate. We are involved in an industry that doesn't always take itself as seriously as it should. Think about it; people literally spend thousands of dollars a year buying animals. They invest hours upon hours studying genetics to improve their program to just shift their marketing to a company that is only interested in a paycheck.

You are in this industry because you love it. Maybe you love the people. Maybe you love the lifestyle. Perhaps it's your family heritage. No matter what it is this is a lifestyle you live, it isn't just your paycheck.

What can you do?

It is sale season for much of the livestock industry, and I see so many opportunities for growth. I know you are saying I simply don't have time for this but I am here to tell you it is not hard and it does not have to take substantial amounts of your time.

I want to help you grow your livestock business and take charge of your online presence. Empower yourself with a little knowledge, and you will go far. Over the next few weeks I will be covering these topics (I would be happy to take your suggestions for others, leave them in the comments):

  1. The number one mistake I see almost everyone making
  2. Find your customers
  3. Taking control of your marketing
  4. How can you add value to your customers life?
  5. Are you not getting results?
  6. Niche down and fine tune
  7. What to do when things just aren't working