Continued from Part 2 (or start reading at Part 1)…

Now that you have figured out an item to sell, how it benefits the customer, and established a basis for your business, it’s time to figure out the next part of your marketing.

  • How is your item different than anyone else’s similiar item?

Whether your item is for skin care, metal working, carpentry, or whatever, it must be different to be desirable.  The term different doesn’t necessarily mean drastically, but rather, it could be a simple feature.  Maybe your soap uses more goat’s milk than your competitors.  Perhaps your raw milk or cheese tastes richer or creamier or better flavored than the competitor.  Maybe your cows are a “homestead breed” as compared the local ranchers’ “commercial breed.”  Or, maybe your grade-quality, mixed breed, unregistered goats are exactly the same as all your neighbors, but you still need to find a way to sell those kids produced each year.  If you are the latter, don’t fret!

Differences come in many ways.  You may just need to be a bit creative.  You may want to consider a different type of farm management to set your item apart.  For example, I bought a pregnant, crossbred, unregistered, malnourished doe with nothing special about her.  She had complications kidding, was not particularly attractive, and was wild and unfriendly.  Although I planned to use her for milk, I wanted to sell the kids.  Goats meeting that description around here generally sell for about $30, even as adults in some cases.  Milking does go for a little more.  So, I looked to where our doe came from and our farm management practices to set us apart. 

Within a few months of freshening, our natural style of management had completely turned the doe around.  She was doing great.  One of her kids was a buckling, and the other a doeling.  We decided, based on our principles, that the buckling was not be breeding stock quality, and would therefore be more useful to us as meat rather than sold as a wether.  The doeling, on the other hand, had potential.  The dam had been bred by a commercial production dairy, so the doeling had good production in her blood.  She was also pretty, growing well, and exceptionally healthy because of the methods we used to raise her.  We avoided all chemicals with her, with the exception of a tetanus shot when she was disbudded.  When it came time to sell her, I listed the young, unproven doeling for the same price I had paid for her mother–about 4 times the average grade kid around here.  I also enticed buyers by offering a discounted breeding to our buck.  She sold, at the high price I asked, based on those features.  There is more to this, but I will get into that in the post on setting fair prices. 

If you are a livestock raiser or if you make food or body products, you have realize that what is getting customers’ attention right now is “organics.”  I don’t mean government certified organic products necessarily, but I am collectively referring to products that can truly be considered natural, chemical-free, hormone-free, free-range, grass-fed, unadulterated, certified organic, fresh, clean, safe, and trustworthy.  You may not be interested in providing that type of product for sale.  However, even if your preference is the more traditional grain fed, chemically-processed versions, (which is fine–it’s your business), you have to understand that organics are a major competitor today.  While organic, free-range, and/or naturally raised prices are fetching a premium, more traditionally-made product prices are generally decreasing.  You have to be aware of it to be successful.  If you aren’t marketing organic, refer back to Part 2 in that you will simply have to convince the customer why YOURS is better for him.

So, step two to developing a good marketing plan is to figure out what sets your product apart, and build on that.