“If you build it, they will come (if they know about it!)”
- Field of Dreams/Sean Riley
Event planning on the Farm can take on a life of its own but it’s important to put just as much effort into marketing as you do planning and preparing for it. After all - if a tree falls in the forest and there isn't anyone there to hear it, does it actually make a sound?
In this case - the barnyards are clean, the alpaca products are priced, the alpaca selfie booth is setup and the free popcorn is popping - but if there isn’t anyone there to appreciate it, does it actually make an impact on your business? The answer is NO.
With the growth in web and social media advertising over the last 10 years - many are quick to focus solely on these forms of new, hip outreach methods. Although they can certainly help you promote your farm, business, and finished products - sometimes they fall short when advertising events in “meatspace.”
Here are some tried and true “Old School” methods of helping spread the word about your upcoming Farm Event or Open House!
USPS Every Door Direct Mailing - Sending out event postcards using USPS’s services to your neighborhood and beyond is a great, cost effective way to ensure your neighbors and friends know about your upcoming alpaca event. Target your entire town, zip code, or even specific mailing routes to pinpoint your target audience.
Event Flyers @ Local Businesses - Talk to your local businesses and community centers that reach a similar audience to your target demographics. Event Flyers displayed at businesses with solid foot traffic are a great way to get the word out - just be sure to include a big beautiful photo of your cutest alpacas to make it irresistible! Think breweries, breakfast places, fast casual lunch spots, coffee shops, your favorite bar, the local YMCA, youth center, or place of worship.
Co-Marketing with other Vendors - Bringing in other local vendors with similar, non competing products is a great way to help spread the word about your upcoming event. Established vendors will promote to their customer bases and audience to help bring foot traffic. They also will round out the offerings available at the farm event, making people feel it’s something that can’t be missed! You already have your favorite vendor friends that you see each week at the pop up markets - invite them to vend along side the alpacas on the farm!
Signs - You found out about neighbor Tom’s recent Yard Sale by seeing his handwritten sign posted up, now let Tom know about your alpaca event by utilizing the same method. Take it to next level by putting together a large poster or lawn sign and having them printed. Make sure it’s readable from a distance, has the most important information on it, and include your alpacas for their brand recognition.
Radio Ads - Radio Ads are often an overlooked “oldschool” form of advertising that in recent years has become more affordable and surprisingly effective, especially in more rural parts of the country. Contact your local radio stations that resonate with your audience to learn about what they offer and their pricing structure.
Local Media / Newspaper Articles - Many local media outlets and newspapers are always looking for fun upcoming events they can share with their audience, especially a family friendly event like an Open House on the Alpaca Farm. Put together a quick press release with all the most important information and reach out to your local media outlets, many of which will display your event free of charge in their Upcoming Events section. This may even lead to local news coverage coming out and showcasing your event which can result in a huge influx of visitors!
Word of Mouth - Your best, most loyal customers are your greatest resource in helping to spread the word about an upcoming event. Use your email list and social media posts to let your biggest fans know what’s going on at the farm. You can also offer a small incentive for people to bring their friends and family: Bring a friend and get entered into our Alpaca Sock Raffle Giveaway!
As with any form of advertising, be sure to ask your visitors how they heard
about the event! With so many different avenues available to reach your audience, it's more
important than ever to have your finger on the pulse of what works and what doesn't. You
want each dollar spent in advertising to give your business the very best bang for your buck!