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Hey there and welcome back to another episode of the Profitable Mindset Podcast.

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Welcome to the Profitable Mindset, a show dedicated to teaching you the skills you need to build a profitable product-based business that makes you feel free and fully in control. Here’s your host, Charlotte Smith.

Hey there, welcome to episode 23 of the Profitable Mindset Podcast. You guys, I’m so excited to be here continuing with the branding strategy that I introduced you to in the last episode number 22. Be sure to listen to that episode right after you listen to this one. They go together so well. As I explained in that episode, what you’re wanting to do on your farms is you want to create a personal brand for your farm. Now, this is different than the corporate brand that I actually see most farmers trying to create with their website and their marketing materials. A corporate brand is really a nameless, faceless corporation. Think of places like Starbucks or McDonald’s or even Amazon. You aren’t buying from a person and so there’s no relationship with a person there. They don’t do relationship building as a rule, they’re just sending out sales emails, right? You are buying from a corporation.

They don’t have to build a relationship because they have this huge advertising budget so they can spend millions of dollars each year getting in front of you. Also, corporations, they are more convenient usually. Their prices are usually cheaper and they know that we’re going to buy from them. Okay. What’s happening in today’s world is a lot of people are trending toward trusting personal brands more than corporate brands, which is wonderful for us because we are a small business and a personal brand and that is the trend in our society. People are trusting making purchases from businesses that look like individuals like us over corporations. This is why you want to build a personal brand to be competitive. As a matter of fact, I see lots of large corporations now trying to personalize their brand and bring some relationship building into it and it is very difficult for them.

I’ve actually been called by a couple to help consult with them and it’s just not something I want to do. It even feels fake, okay? Do what you and I can do really, really well and that is learn how to build a relationship with your customers because it’s really easy on our scale, on small family farms, in smaller businesses that aren’t making millions of dollars, okay? Even if you’re in the two, three to five million dollar range, you can still totally build a personal brand, okay? Now, what a personal brand is? Is that means that you are your brand. You, who you are, your image, how you help people, the people you actually help, your dream customer, this is all part of your personal brand. I’ve got a couple of resources today included in the branding bundle. If you didn’t get that last time, get it now, it’s going to help you start the branding process and really show you what’s important in making your brand stand out.

The branding bundle is at 3cowmarketing.com/branding. I’ll also link up to it in the show notes so you can check those out on iTunes and get it right there. Then what I’m going to do today is I’m going to walk you through the worksheets and answer some of the questions that come up when people are trying to do them so that you don’t have to feel intimidated whatsoever. Also, when I answer these questions, it will help you trust the process and feel confident that this is a process that’s going to work for you. Then you can get out there and get to building your personal brand, which includes connecting with the people you want to target so that you can get to that profitable farm. Before I go on, I want to pause and read a fun review that came in on iTunes. Be sure if you haven’t done it yet, take two minutes and leave your own review on iTunes. I would love to share it here on the episode too.

Also, when you do that, you’re helping the podcast stay in production. Go over there and write that review if you haven’t yet and then maybe I’ll be able to give you a shout out here on the podcast. Today I get to shout out to MM Beef, which I know is Kevin Brooke and he’s a cattle rancher. He and his wife, I should say, cattle ranchers in Colorado. He titles his five star review farming in winter. He says, “Charlotte conveys a real world approach to farm business. She shares her own farming experiences to help others. Her podcasts are informative and well-organized. Keep up the great work.” Thank you Kevin for taking the time to do this. I am always so honored to be able to read your notes that you all write. I have the best audience. I swear.

Since I’m teaching farmers marketing for eight years now, some of you I’ve known for years and years. I just love that we can have these connections online like this. Thanks for taking the time to do that Kevin. Now let’s get back to branding, the second episode or part two. The first important thing about branding is that you’ve got to know who you are helping or who you are serving. Who is your farm for? Okay. I’ve got help for you. That is the first worksheet in that branding bundle that you download. Of course, that’s free. Make sure you get it. That is all about defining your ideal customer, which in my book I call your dream customer. You might’ve heard it referenced out in the world as your ideal customer avatar too. This is what is going to help you focus your marketing, know who you’re talking to.

Now what happens today is people will come to me for some consulting for the first time and they’ll say they need some help because their marketing isn’t working. People aren’t buying or people aren’t even opening the emails. What I know right off the bat is that they have skipped this step. This is a very important first step in any business. You’ve got to know who your products are for, who do you decide they’re for. What I mean by that is you get to decide who you want it to be. Therefore, anyone you choose can be your dream customer. It’s not like there’s some magic dream customer out there. That’s a myth that I want to dispel right away. It’s not like you’re looking for the perfect person who’s going to make your farm profitable and then you won’t have that profitable business if you don’t find the perfect dream customer. Maybe you’re afraid the next farm over discovered the perfect dream customer but not you, but that’s not how it works.

You are going to create your own dream customer. This is that one person, maybe they’re already in your customer base. That one person that you wish all your customers were like and you love working with. What’s interesting about this is I teach my Farm Marketing From The Heart course, which of course is coming up in less than a month and I’ll have a hundred people in class. We go through this module. There are several hours of instruction related to the dream customer and then what happens is everyone posts their description to get my feedback and suggestions. What we end up with, which I love when my farmers in that marketing course see this is we end up with a hundred different dream customer descriptions. What that means is everybody is marketing to their own dream customer, which means this is how the playing field is even. This is why I can say there is no competition when you learn how to brand your farm like I teach and when you learn how to market to your dream customer, okay.

There’s no competition when we’re all marketing to our very own, very specific dream customer. This is a wonderful thing because if there are five farms on my street up and down the street, which there are. If we expand that to my community and we are all marketing to our own individual dream customers and we’re connecting with our own tribe of people who relate to us, then there’s no sense of competition. That’s what we’ve created in my community here in Oregon. What this means is we collaborate, we work together. It doesn’t feel like anyone’s a threat. Even if they move in right next door, because they have their own dream customer they’re marketing to and I have mine, it just creates this wonderful, vibrant, collaborative community. Again, no competition. I encourage you that if you feel like there’s too much competition in your area or at your farmer’s market, this step right here is a start to what’s going to help you stand out.

It’ll differentiate your farm’s marketing even if you sell exactly the same product. Most of our marketing students report that when they are at a farmer’s market, there are usually multiple vendors selling the same product that they are, and they are almost always the highest price vendor in that product at that market because they’ve learned how to market their products properly the right way. They’ve learned how to connect with their dream customers. They don’t even think twice about competition, doesn’t matter that their products are sometimes twice as much as anyone else because they’ve done this work. I explain here in this episode it, it doesn’t matter. They will still be successful. Okay? Now I want to make sure what you know that this does not mean that your customer base all looks alike, okay? Just because you choose that one person that you wish all your customers looked like, what that’s going to do is help you focus your marketing.

How marketing works is when you get that specific in who you’re marketing to, you actually have a broader appeal and then the more diverse your customer base will be. Even though you choose to market to this one dream customer, this focuses your marketing so it’s appealing to many people. Your customer base will actually be full of, it’ll be full of men and women, young people and old people and everyone in between. People with kids, people with no kids. Okay? I don’t want you to worry that you are just creating some elite customer base of a person. You know, this base of people that all look the same. No, no, no. This just helps you focus your marketing and so you will have a very broad and diverse customer base once you do this. Now print out the worksheet and what you’re going to notice is that at the start we just have some basic demographics. Okay?

It’s broken up into demographics and psychographics. For instance, gender, I have you choose right on there. Are you marketing to a man or a woman? Guess what? I’m going to give you a little help here. I’m going to give you a hint. Did you know that statistics show that women make 80% of the buying decisions in this country? Another way to look at it is women influence where 80% of the purchasing dollars in this country go. Now, I don’t know about you, but in my household my husband would say this is true. Usually when I say this in front of an audience, most people snicker and say, yep, that’s true in their houses too. Even if the man is working outside the home, bringing home all the money and the woman is staying at home raising the children, not bringing in an income, she is still deciding how 80% of the dollars are spent. There’s a saying that goes along with that that I love. The saying is, if she doesn’t like it, he doesn’t get it.

Again, my husband laughed when I told him that. He was like, yeah, that’s pretty much it. I’m sure your heads are nodding out there too. Therefore the reason I share this is because chances are your dream customer is a woman. That’s what the statistics show. I talked to tens of thousands of people a year and most of them agree that it’s true in their businesses too. The interesting thing about this is for instance, we have a lot of men will still come to our farm store and shop with us, but they’ve often got a list from their wife. They show up, their wife sent them with a list and they purchase only what’s on the list, only what she sent them to buy. Even though she’s not there, she’s still influencing the dollars and how they’re spent. I’m sure once I have now explained this, you’re going to start realizing that yeah, this might be true for your farm store or your farmer’s market booth, whatever it might be. All right.

Then back to those demographics, you can choose a man or woman, but most likely you are marketing to a woman. Remember, it’s okay to choose because your customer base will still be broad and diverse. I know this to be true because of my own experience. Now 11 years in business, but also because I work with hundreds of farmers each year who report the same thing. Don’t worry about having a narrow customer base. It’s going to be very broad and diverse once you focus your marketing. Then let’s just keep going down the worksheet you printed out. You are going to fill this part in yourself. Is this person married? Are you targeting a woman who’s married or a woman who’s single or a woman who’s divorced? Do they work? If so, what do they do? Okay? You don’t have to ask people this. This is a part you do on your own, but give an idea of what is their income range.

You can just guess this. For instance, if they’re a teacher then you know what their salary might be versus if they are a lawyer or we have a pilot who shops with us. I can guess what their income range might be. You could even Google it. This is just important demographics that help you put together this image of this person you’re marketing to. Also, if you’re already one of my Farm Marketing From The Heart students, there is the video in the very first module of me actually interviewing my ideal customer on camera or my dream customer. You can see exactly how I do it, how comfortable I make them feel, what kinds of questions I ask, which questions do I follow up on? Make sure if you didn’t see that the first time around or if you need to, go revisit it because you can model exactly what I do. I just know a lot of people are afraid to talk to their customers about the things I mentioned you need to talk to them about.

That video example will comfort you and let you know you can do it and feel really good about it too. Now once you have figured out your dream customers demographics that are all there on that page, what I want you to do is to meet up in person with two or three of your favorite customers. I want you to do this one at a time so you’re not meeting with a group of people but just one at a time. This way you can learn what exactly you love about them and what they love about you and your products and how you can attract more people just like them. Another cool thing, in that branding bundle I give you the email verbiage to use to invite them to meet with you. I threw that in there because some of you will email me and say, I know you say to talk to our dream customer in person, but I don’t even know how to set this up or how to do this. What do I even say? Now you know how, okay?

Just copy the email verbiage in the branding bundle worksheet and email your favorite one or two or three customers and invite them to meet with you in person. How I start is I just think about who is my favorite customer and why are they my favorite. I might think of one or two or three women that I really like because they’re there regularly, they’re very reliable, they never challenged my prices and they’re pleasant to be around and I wish everyone else was just like them. Okay. Those are the three people I’m going to interview upfront. I actually did this in years past. That’s where I started. I make sure I’m interviewing an ideal customer regularly, like every few months for 11 years I’ve interviewed my ideal customers. It’s something you’re going to do now for the first time along with me here but you never stop doing this because you will continue to learn how to focus and fine tune your marketing.

Then when I talk with these women one at a time, they teach me with their answers how to attract more people like them. I’m just going to send them this email, invite them to help me out with this project. In 11 years of asking dream customers to sit down with me, I’ve actually never had anyone decline doing this. Everyone’s done it. Sometimes I invite them to come into my house and I’ll just sit down and have tea with them. Or I will meet them in town in a coffee shop, or I’ll have them come to our farm store maybe just as it’s closing and ask if they can just meet with me there right afterward. Whatever you can do to pin them down and get them to meet with you, do it and make it obviously really welcoming and inviting and offer to buy them a cup of coffee. Like I said, I’ve never had anyone refuse. Then what you’ll do is you’ll start asking them some of the questions that I’ve got listed there and you’re going to find out all you can about them.

These questions are going to act as a guide. Okay. Really, you’re just going to have a conversation with them and you’ll ask them things like, where do they read their news and what books do they read. It’s okay to ask these questions because you’ve set it up with that email that you could copy the verbiage exactly. Just know that when you use the email example I have in there, they are totally comfortable with you asking these sorts of questions. Okay? You’re going to find out things like what are their favorite blogs that they read or their favorite podcasts that they listen to. Why is that their favorite? All right? You’ll know if they even listen to podcasts or if they even read blogs or read books or where do they get their news, where do they get their information. It’s really super important. One of the ideal or dream customers I interviewed for instance is an avid athlete.

She’s a runner and so she listens to a lot of running related podcasts that I didn’t even know were out there. Now, that is really important for me to know because I can do a little research and learn a bit about things that they talk about and who some of the more popular ones out there are. Another one of my dream customers that I interviewed is an avid baker. She bakes bread almost every day and she actually wrote a bread cookbook. She’s really into photography and food photography because of that. That gives me some ideas of what kind of things I can reference in my marketing. Then another one of my ideal customers that I interviewed listens podcasts along the lines of the Weston Price Wise Traditions Podcasts, and Real Food Podcast and Chris Kresser Podcast.

This is all really important for me to know. It tells me what they’re going to be interested in hearing from me about, okay? Now what you’re going to ask them about, we continue on down the worksheet, their hobbies and their interests. What do they do in their free time? Again, this is important because you can reference things like this in your emails. They will connect with your references and they feel like you get them and you understand them. Asking that question, what is your biggest struggle around the products we raise? For instance, that is going to give you so much information. You’re always trying to help them solve their problems or reach their goals. They want your products for most likely one of those two reasons.

For instance, a question that I would ask is, what is your biggest struggle around raw milk? This was years ago and she said, well, coming out to the farm every week is actually a struggle because I come from Northeast Portland and you’re an hour drive one way. I recognize the law requires that I have to pick it up at the farm and so my biggest struggle and my dream is if it could be delivered to my house, that would be awesome. Now, knowing that information is super helpful to me because I can’t fix it. I can’t break the law and deliver it to her house, but I can still address this struggle in an email, in my marketing materials, in my blog posts or my Facebook and Instagram posts.

I can talk about things like, I wish I could show up at your front door with your raw milk like the milkman used to do in the old days, but of course that’s against the law. I’d do anything to be able to do that, but I’m just so grateful you all are willing to drive out to our farm and pick it up each week. Do you see how knowing this information about her biggest struggle around my product is that she has to plan two and a half hours every single week to come out and get it. What this does is then it lets me put potential customers at ease by saying these things like I wish I could do this but I’m bound by law and I really appreciate you coming out here every week and going out of your way to do it. What this does is this educates them through my marketing emails and my social media posts, which does a lot for relationship building.

Just the fact that I’m acknowledging her struggle, something she thinks about that I didn’t even realize was weighing on her. Okay. Whenever I can mention their struggles or their goals in my marketing materials, what happens is then other people will connect with it and will be drawn to buy from us. Because if one person is struggling with something or has a goal around something, chances are there’s a lot of others that have the same struggle and the same goal too. They will be drawn to my marketing because I talk about it. Just know that. There is no pointless information. There’s no filler information in these worksheets. Every question on there and every topic has a reason. You want to gather that information. Again, these few podcast episodes I’m doing are all targeting building your brand and they are also getting you ready to take my marketing course when it opens.

I’m getting you set up for success in learning to build your own marketing strategy. Okay. I’ve mentioned that on here before. Class starts again in February. The first thing you’re going to work on is your ideal customer or your dream customer description. If you can start now, it’s going to help get you set up for success. All right. Once you have that worksheet filled out, you can even bring it to class and you’re going to get a lot more feedback on it too. The other thing I do is I keep a written description of my ideal customer including a made up name that I give her and I keep that in a Google Doc. You can see my written description of my ideal customer in that worksheet too in the branding bundle. That’ll give you an idea of how to create your own description.

Then, when I go to post on Instagram or if I needed to post on Facebook or write a blog post or an email, I have tons of ideas in there on what to write about. All those questions are getting you information on what she wants to hear from you about. It’s just tons of ideas of what your customers want you to write about and want you to relate to them about. Keep that description handy. Like I said, I keep it in a Google Doc and you’ll always have content to write about. Then another question I get as time goes on is people will say, well, can your ideal customer change? Yes, definitely. Your ideal customer will change over time. As you grow and you evolve and your farm grows and evolves and changes, the dream customer description is going to change too. Just keep that in mind. Just because you write this description today, you’re not locked into that. What’s fun is inside Farm Marketing From The Heart, you can bring that dream customer description.

I can often look at someone’s description and I can easily see 25 ideas of email topics which can easily be a hundred different social media posts that your dream customer will want to hear about. What that means is with this worksheet and this effort you’re going to put in at the end of this podcast and my feedback, you can easily have a whole year’s worth of marketing planned out. It is amazing how this works. Now let’s move on to the second worksheet in there. That one is titled what you’re really selling. The reason I title it that is because you’re not selling what you think you’re selling, and this worksheet is going to show what you’re really selling. It’s going to, again, require you to interview a couple people in person, but you can combine this with the questions on the last worksheet. All right. You can try to keep these interviews.

I usually keep them at about 30 minutes. Now sometimes I know my dream customer really well or we get along so great that we easily chat for an hour, but out of respect for them, I try to keep them at about 30 minutes. Send that email to invite them to get together with you. Then you’re going to ask this series of questions that I have on this worksheet about what you’re really selling. Questions like, what is it about my product that matters to you? For instance, if you’re a farmer and your product is grass-fed beef and it doesn’t matter what you raise, put whatever your product is, fill in the blank there with that. Say you raise grass-fed beef, you could say, what is it about the grass-fed beef you buy from us that matters to you? You might think, what a silly question, why would I even ask that?

You think they’re going to tell you because it’s local or it’s organic or it’s rotationally grazed or it’s sustainable, or I like the breed. If you’ve ever seen me do this exercise live on stage, I always love pointing out that my dream customer I interview never once brings up farming practices and they also don’t bring up price. I’ve never had anyone say they buy from us because of our price ever. Instead, they’re going to tell you things that you never imagined. In these interviews they will reveal to you that your customers buy your products for very different reasons than you and I thought. When you ask things like when you buy our grass-fed beef, and like I said, could be fresh flowers or vegetables, what does it do for you? What does it do for your family? How does it solve a problem for you? How does it fulfill a need?

You will hear such a wide variety of answers that really show you how people are using your products. The things you’ve been marketing your products on are not the reasons people buy from you. It’s really eye-opening and these questions help you show the real reasons. For instance, earlier this year I was in Vermont teaching a workshop on stage, interviewing my dream customer. I’d never met her. I didn’t prompt her. She didn’t even know what she was getting into, but she let me bring her up in front of an audience of farmers to show them this process I’m teaching you now. One of the main reasons when I asked her this question that she buys farm fresh food is she’s new in town and she’s single. Her kids are grown and gone and she’s a little lonely.

Buying farm fresh food at the market allows her to get out and meet people and then feel really proud of the meal she’s made for these new friends she’s making little by little. Get this. She buys farm fresh food and it doesn’t matter what product you’re selling, to feel a connection with people, to feel less lonely, and to nurture new friends by making a farm fresh meal. Notice, there is no mention of price. There’s no mention of convenience. There’s no mention of organic or GMO free or any farming practices. There never are when I do these interviews, yet those are the number one ways I see farmers marketing their farm fresh products. They’re marketing them based on price or convenience or farming practices, and that is never what the dream customers I interview all across the United States tell me. Here, I just want you to really be aware. You’re not selling what you think you’re selling. These interviews right here that I’m talking about, we’ll show you this.

I will really underline this for you. If you have any doubt, once you talk to the people and ask them these questions, you’ll really start to understand it. Then once you get these answers, like I just explained, you can use them in your marketing. You’ll update your website, your emails, your blog posts, your social media posts. You’ll update all of these things to reflect how your products are helping other people solve a problem or reach a goal. You will take out most of the reference to your farming practices. What this is going to do is it’s a really going to make you stand out in your industry and people will be more attracted to your product because you’re using their terms to talk about your products, their ideas, the things they’re thinking about, not the things that you and I as farmers geek out about.

Now another one of my dream customer responses when I asked what do you like about buying this product from our farm. She said, I love your integrity and that you don’t cut corners and that you truly believe in your product. This person didn’t even comment at all about the product itself. She was commenting about me. She said, I love your integrity. I love that you don’t cut corners. This is what I mean when I say you are your branding. See how that works. You are your brand. Then I can reference what she said in my marketing materials and that helps me support my pricing, which probably like you is top of the line and more than any other farmer in the area. I’m able to charge that price because of a lot of reasons, but in this case our integrity is what’s important to our customers. Because we don’t cut corners and because we believe our product is going to help them in their lives.

When I take this person’s words and I use them in an email or a marketing post, other people get it. They connect with her words. They want to buy from us. Now, someone else said that when they started buying from our farm, they were able to stop buying vitamins and supplements and instead they just bought the best food they could get their hands on, which included our products and turns out she was spending $400 a month on supplements. That’s really the only time cost has ever come up as she said, I can’t believe the money I was spending on supplements and now I get to put it into real food and I feel so good about that. I hope this is making sense to you that number one, my customers are giving me the answers of the things I need to put in my marketing materials.

Number two, I don’t sell raw milk and meat. All right. We don’t sell our products. Instead, I sell a product of such great integrity that will completely nourish your body. No vitamins, no supplements needed. I sell connection with a farm and a farmer and the land that makes it as much about the experience and the person as it does about the food they’re buying. You’ll notice the same thing. You’re not going to get the same answers I got, but you’re going to get answers that are very different than what you expect. Then when you start incorporating these answers into your marketing copy, when you start putting her words into your marketing materials, it is amazing how other people are now attracted to your products. People will land on your website and I swear they’ll call you up because I got this all the time.

They would say, I love what I’m reading here. Where can I buy from you? I’ve got to meet you. I hear this from our marketing students all the time. I know you’re going to have the same experience. Again, if you want to develop your personal brand, work through these worksheets, listen to both podcast episodes. If you want feedback on your ideal customer and how your product helps people, once you fill out these worksheets, bring this information to class at Farm Marketing From The Heart. We start in February. I will show you exactly how to put it together. You’re going to learn who it is you help and how your products help people solve their problems and reach their goals. Like I said, that is a huge part of your branding. Okay, good luck with this. You guys go do the work. There’s no way to take shortcuts with this work. All right?

You can’t ask another farmer why people buy your products or you can’t ask someone on Facebook. You’ve really got to do the work. People don’t give you these answers. They’re pretty personal and they don’t give it to you in email. You got to sit down with them in person. Like most things I teach you to do, it’s that simple. It’s not easy, but it is simple. Make the decision you’re going to do this work and get started. I’ve really laid it out here. You can find motivation with your thoughts. Go through the worksheets, you’re going to love it. Like I said, keep your eyes peeled for Farm Marketing From The Heart. Registration opens on Valentine’s day. Also, you can work with me one-on-one anytime. That information is at 3cowmarketing.com/workwithme. Of course, the branding bundle. If you haven’t got that yet, 3cowmarketing.com/branding. That’s it for now, you guys. I will see you next time. Thank you so much for being here.

Thank you so much for tuning in to today’s episode. For more great resources, check out the profitablemindset.com. See you next time.

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