Connecting with Rural Audiences
OUTdrive Episode 22
It’s fall and it’s a great time of year out here in rural America. The temperature is starting to cool off at night yet the days are still warm and sunny. The evenings are perfect for bonfires, cornhole games and sweatshirts. To many, the fall season is a favorite for the rural American way of life because there’s so much going on.
There’s actually a lot going on throughout the country today, as today is election day. Please exercise your right and responsibility as a United States citizen, and vote.
Back here in rural America, our row crop farmers are working to bring in the last of their corn and soybean harvest. In good years, harvest season can be an opportunity to celebrate. Everything our farmers work for throughout the year all comes to a head during harvest season and from what I’m hearing from some of farmers around our area in Missouri, it’s been a pretty good year. Unfortunately, just north of us in Iowa, thousands of acres of corn were leveled by the Derecho inland hurricane in August. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with those affected by that natural disaster.
For those of us marketing to an audience of farmers, harvest season means there are opportunities to connect with farmers in new and innovative ways. Our farmers are working long days and long nights in the fields and in many cases working around the clock to bring in their crops– to provide for their families. While this audience may be more difficult to reach and connect with during this time, there are still opportunities to make meaningful connections and create an impact with your marketing investment.
Email marketing to an audience of crop farmers may not generate the response levels that it does at other times of the year. Other forms of digital marketing and advertising may also see similar lulls in results because farmers just aren’t spending as much time online and connected. They’re working with a mindset of “all hands on deck” and getting through harvest will be their number one priority until it’s complete.
But just because farmers may seem out of reach, it doesn’t mean you should stop communicating with them. Email is still a very effective method to drive consumer action and I’m certainly not suggesting you stop sending emails during harvest. I’m just saying that you may see a short-lived dip in performance. Most recipients on your lists will still see your emails, just maybe not in as timely a fashion as you’d like to hope for. I’d also suggest that this communications challenge also brings with it opportunity, and I would encourage you to try new methods to connect with this audience during their busiest time of year.
One strategic way to stay in front of farmers during this time is radio advertising. Radio still works and it can be really effective with this audience, especially this time of year. Farmers will be spending 12 hours a day or more in their combines, tractors, trucks and other equipment, listening to local radio stations for extended periods of time. Incorporating a strategic radio campaign for a few months can be a great opportunity to stay in front of your audience at a time when they may be less connected.
Messages of Gratitude
As far as messaging goes, messages of gratitude should resonate well with an audience of farmers. Let them know you appreciate what they do to provide the food, fuel and fiber to keep our world running. Right now, we have an opportunity to thank farmers for their hard work and dedication. Many will likely be exhausted and run down and would welcome the pick-me-up and acknowledgment of their efforts from a brand they know and trust.
It’s also a busy time of year for our ranchers. They’re hauling in their last cutting of hay and weaning and preparing to market spring calves. Like our crop farmers, those that have spring calves are seeing their whole year’s work come to fruition with their calf crop.
Opportunities for Growth
We’re now in the fourth quarter and it’s an important time of year to be in front of farmers and ranchers if you’re looking for an opportunity for success. If you’re marketing to farmers, there’s always a need to connect with them in strategic, creative and innovative ways, but the timeframe of now until the end of the year can be really important from a marketing perspective, because of cash flow. Payday comes for farmers and ranchers with their harvest and their calf crop. Between now and the end of the year, this audience is more likely to make investments in consumer goods or for operations. Farmers and ranchers may be ready to invest in new equipment and their land, especially if their situation provides tax incentives for them to do so in this calendar year.
We’re also in the heart of hunting season. Here in Missouri, there are great opportunities for hunting whitetail deer, ducks, turkey and a variety of other birds and fur-bearing animals. There’s also a variety of fishing opportunities at our lakes and rivers. For those that enjoy an outdoor lifestyle, which encompasses a large percentage of the rural American audience, it’s a great time of year, with plenty of opportunity for outdoor sports and recreation.
If you’re marketing to an outdoor sports and recreation audience, now is also an important time of year. Outdoorsmen and women are gearing up for their favorite hunting season. They’re buying clothing, equipment and accessories to make their favorite season a memorable one. The fourth quarter can be equally important for this audience and there are lots of opportunities during the fall and this time of year for businesses marketing to this segment.
We’re also getting closer to the Thanksgiving holiday, an opportunity for us all to be thankful for our blessings and to celebrate our hard work and success with our families and friends. I think that Thanksgiving will take on a whole new meaning this year after everything that we’ve been through with the COVID-19 pandemic. Certainly, we all can find something to be thankful for. For me, I’m especially thankful for the good health of my family, friends and business. In fact, many of you have asked “how’s business”? I’m pleased to be able to say that business is solid and we are blessed and I have to thank our clients and our associates for that. Early on in the COVID-19 crisis, we did a lot of research about how to best approach marketing through a pandemic and we went to every client to see how they were doing, how they were reacting and how they were responding to what was going on. We talked about the challenges of people staying at home, not spending and all of the uncertainty. But we also talked about the opportunities to continue and in some cases expand their marketing to take market share from competitors who may be cutting back on their spending. Every one of our clients who could took the position to remain steadfast with their marketing efforts and the feedback from our clients now is that it was the right decision. I’m so thankful for the trust our clients have in our partnership and for the relationships we share.
Folks, there are an abundant amount of opportunities out here in rural America. Are you making the most of it? I hope you’ve found this information useful as you navigate your brand and your life through the busy fall season.
Listen to this episode of OUTdrive now and join us next week for more entertaining and educational insights as we drive down the roads of rural America.