Developing a Marketing Plan

Your Business Plan should contain a section that includes your Marketing Plan. Keep your plan simple, define your audience, define your service, and develop a plan for getting information about your enterprise to potential clients. You must remember to budget each year for marketing.

As you develop a marketing strategy you will want to identify the two or three strong selling points of your service or operation. It might be the organic practices, exclusivity and solitude, facilities, location and access to area attractions, special food offer, educational program, price, or other services you provide. Determining your audience first will help choose the key selling points for your marketing strategy.

Marketing Your Business

The type and amount of marketing you use in your on-farm education enterprise will depend on the specifics of your operation. Marketing can be as simple as word-of-mouth referral, or involve an intensive regional, national, or international media campaign.

Your marketing style and message must be directed to your identified audience. If you are providing dude-ranch activities, for example, you may emphasize the experience of riding horses and outdoor activities. Anything you print must reflect these selling points in neat, high quality, and tasteful presentation.

The three basics of advertising include: the message (the two or three strong selling points and additional information about your service), the medium (publications, radio, online, etc.), and the target audience you're trying to reach.

The Message

Your message should tell about the type of activity or enterprise you offer; additional goods and services; directions to your location; costs of the activities; and how to make reservations. Try to be original in your marketing. Keep your message simple. Always check dates, fees, addresses and phone numbers for accuracy. Make certain the goods and services advertised represent what you can deliver. Contact someone experienced in desktop publishing to assist in design and creation of printed pieces if you don't have this experience.

The Medium

Marketing includes a wide range of activities, from public relations and advertising, to promotions and trade shows. Advertising is the most expensive approach. You should carefully consider all the following media and focus on those that fit your budget and reach your target audience. The medium is the method by which the message is delivered to your potential clients.

They might include:

  • Billboards
  • Local outdoor goods stores
  • Trade journals
  • Magazines
  • Trade shows
  • Brochures
  • Newsletters
  • Travel agents
  • Chamber of Commerce
  • Newspapers
  • Radio
  • Regional Visitors Bureau
  • Direct Mail
  • Word-of-mouth referral

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