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Bring customers to your front door: increase your sales with a website.

As the price of food, fertilizer, and gas keep skyrocketing, it keeps getting harder to sell enough to stay in business. The good side is that the public wants farmstead and handcrafted products, but it is hard for them to find your products if you don't have a website. Think of the website as a full color catalog. Just like you prefer looking at a full color catalog over a one inch by one inch advertisement, customers prefer to see all your products and how you make them. Although websites used to be cost prohibitive, they are now a very cheap and effective method to advertise.

When a potential customer is looking for a unique product they can't buy at a "normal" store, they usually turn to the Internet. Why? Because the Internet has become a very useful tool giving them tons of information at their finger tips. Unless you have a website, it is difficult for a customer to find you and your products. You may have a unique product that many people want, but can't find. Unless you spend a small fortune advertising, not enough people will know about your product to make it profitable. Once the customer is at your website, they usually are curious and look at your other products. When it comes to the ordering time, they often buy more than one product, reasoning that they will save money on shipping.

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Many customers like to see where the product came from. Unlike conventional advertisements, websites can have many full color pictures explaining things and informing the customer. Seeing the product helps them realize that this isn't just some mass-produced product, but that it is a quality product that you took time to make. It gives them a sense of security and personalizes the product when they are able to see the ingredients, look over the pedigrees, and watch you as you make it. On our website (FiddlersRidgeDairy. com), we list all the blood tests done on our animals, the appraisal scores, milk tests, pedigrees, and photos. We include planned breedings, reservations, and a nursery to inform our customers. When we advertise in a goat newspaper, we can't show as many animals as we would like to. But because we put our website address on the ad, the people who are interested look at the color pictures of that goat (and many others), and can see for themselves all the other goats related to it.

The main difference between a successful business and a failing business can be consumer awareness. Don't keep limiting yourself to your local economy--what is stopping you from selling nationwide? The website can be seen by anyone worldwide, anytime. All you have to do is sit back and let your interactive, full color catalog do the work for you 24/7. If you have an inquisitive side, there is even a free counter that tells you where the people came from (www.clustrmap.com). The Internet has brought clients to our website from four countries, and we have sold animals to owners in Missouri, Wisconsin, and Ohio, to name a few.

Before we had a website, we were selling our excess kids at discounted prices to people just for the meat. We soon decided that we needed a different market to sell to, so we tried our local newspaper. The local newspaper was okay, but we got only a few words to describe our business, and it cost us an arm and a leg to advertise. The next year, we decided to try something totally different. We put up our website, and waited impatiently for spring to come. To our surprise, we pre-sold six kids before they were even born. In the end, we sold all our available doe kids, and all but two of our buck kids. Many of them went to farms outside of our state! Obviously, we couldn't have ever contacted the people outside of our state, but our website did it for us. All we had to do was post a few advertisements on some forums, and we let the website do the rest.

CALVIN EASTWOOD

UNION GROVE, WISCONSIN

WWW.FIDDLERSRIDGEDAIRY.COM
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Author:Eastwood, Calvin
Publication:Countryside & Small Stock Journal
Date:Jan 1, 2009
Words:696
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