How could email marketing benefit your educational farm diversification?
More and more farmers are having to diversify their farm businesses to deal with the loss of BPS payments and the increasing pressures on their margins from both supermarket buying chains and on the government level. One option that is very popular for some farmers is educational farm diversifications, such as farm schools or similar.
There has been a growing discussion regarding the lack of knowledge the public have about the farming industry and where their food comes from, but TV shows such as “This Farming Life” have highlighted the increasing public interest in the agricultural sector. As such, there is now a clear market for educational farm diversification projects that help to fulfil this desire for knowledge.
Marketing educational farm diversification projects can require different tactics from traditional direct-to-consumer farm diversification options such as meat boxes. In the ever-evolving world of farm diversification, effective marketing strategies are paramount for success. While social media and search engine optimisation are often in the spotlight, email marketing is an overlooked tool with immense power. With its ability to target, engage, and nurture customers, email marketing can be a game-changer for your educational farm diversification.
What makes email marketing effective?
Email marketing is only effective when you can target the decision-makers needed for your business. In the case of educational farm diversifications, this often means targeting school leaders such as head teachers or heads of departments. It can also mean targeting local educational organisations to foster working relationships.
To be able to target these decision-makers effectively, you need to create a mailing list that is GDPR compliant and targets specific named individuals rather than a general email for a whole school or department. Creating this type of mailing list can take some time: it is important to take all opportunities to collect email addresses and obtain consent to use those email addresses. This includes having a clear process for collecting customer data when they book with you, attend events, or make enquiries.
Creating an email marketing audience for your educational farm diversification
Start by implementing opt-in forms on your website, allowing visitors to subscribe to your newsletter or receive updates. Offer incentives like discounts on their next booking or a free guide to enhance their farm experience.
Additionally, consider promoting your email newsletter through social media channels, blog posts and on-site signage. Remember to communicate the value your subscribers will receive by joining your email lists, such as exclusive content, insider tips and early promotion access. Continuously engage with your audience by providing valuable content, consistently sending schedules and encouraging two-way communication through feedback and surveys.
As an educational farm diversification, you are well placed to create engaging content and resources that can be distributed through your email marketing. For example, consider creating worksheets or other educational resources that demonstrate your knowledge and skills as well as promoting your educational farm diversification.
Depending on the type of services you are offering and the age group you are targeting, you may need to consider the seasonality of the curriculum and plan resources around both your calendar and the school’s calendar to create the best response.
You may also want to consider targeting different departments at different times of the year. For example, targeting biology/science in relation to lambing season, but then focusing on the geography department at other times of year in relation to your landscape and any ecological schemes you are involved in.
Remember to stay GDPR Compliant!
We are often asked about who you can contact through email marketing and how can you stay GDPR compliant.
When conducting email marketing, it’s essential to understand the rules and regulations around contacting individuals. In most cases, you can only send emails to people who have given explicit consent to receive marketing communications from you. This means they had willingly opted in to receive emails when they provided their email address.
Avoid purchasing email lists or sending unsolicited emails, which violates regulations and damages your reputation. Instead, focus on organically growing your email list by attracting subscribers genuinely interested in your glamping business. By targeting the right audience and respecting their preferences, you’ll build a quality email list that yields higher engagement and conversions.
In the era of data protection and privacy, ensuring compliance with regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is crucial. If you are a member of the FSB, they can provide advice on this, and we would also recommend further reading through the ICO website, which oversees data protection concerns for the government.
Email marketing platforms like Mailchimp and Intouch offer robust features to help you maintain compliance. These tools allow you to securely collect and manage customer data, obtain explicit consent for email marketing communication and provide an easy opt-out mechanism for subscribers. By utilising reputable email marketing software and following best practices, you can build trust with your customers and demonstrate your commitment to their privacy and data security.
Using email marketing to engage repeat customers
Cultivating repeat customers is vital for sustained success in your educational farm diversification. Most schools will only visit you once or twice a year, and often at specific times of the year. The problem with this is they may forget to rebook the following year or the decision marker may change in this time. By keeping in regular contact you can reduce this issue.
Email marketing is an excellent tool for nurturing and maintaining relationships. Regularly communicating with your customers through personalised and engaging emails can foster a sense of loyalty and encourage them to return. Share updates on new amenities, seasonal promotions, and exclusive perks available only to your email subscribers, consider offering an early bird booking discount for the following year/season. By providing valuable content and maintaining open lines of communication, you can create a community of loyal customers who will eagerly return to your farm year after year.
The time demands of email marketing and wider farm marketing activities can be very draining, particularly if you lack the skills and passion for the tasks. This is where a marketing company can help provide expert guidance or simply manage the farm marketing for you. As farm marketing specialists, we have access to technology, skills and expertise, which means we can be far more efficient in supporting your farm business through its growth journey. To find out more, you can book a consult here. Check out our done-for-you packages here, or if you prefer, have a look at our coaching packages here.