Deer Creek Beef cooperative sells at the Bel Air, Maryland Farmers Market
Deer Creek Beef cooperative sells at the Bel Air, Maryland Farmers Market. Photo by Edwin Remsberg.

The two most important points to include in any advertising are:

  • Customer Benefit: What’s in it for the consumer? Does it taste better or is it better for the environment?
  • Call to Action: After people have seen your ad, what next? Do you want them to call for more information, buy now, or look for you at the store? End every ad with a call to action.

Effective advertising can actually be done in a number of ways. Beyond paid advertising, consider using public relations strategies: having articles written about you in newspapers, magazines, radio and television; product sampling events; or speaking engagements. The most important thing to remember is: Do not spend any time or money promoting your product to people who are not predisposed to buying your product and who do not have an avenue to do so.

We know of one struggling beef co-op that actually provided free samples to a state fair, even though less than 1/10 of 1 percent were potential customers, and even worse, less than 1/30 of 1 percent had an avenue in which to buy their beef. It cost them thousands and thousands of dollars to reach a tiny percentage of their potential target customers.

Here is a good rule of thumb regarding advertising: When introducing yourself to a new market, your advertising should create a 15-percent increase in demand (com-pounded) with each showing, and plateau after about four showings. The percent varies depending on industry and maturity of market, but it is a good place to start.