According to a McKinsey report, to weather market volatility, growers and farmers are shifting their purchase patterns, planning to buy inputs earlier in the year and aggressively seeking lower priced solutions. This shift in customer dynamics can make it more difficult for ag businesses to reach their audience using previously effective content. But with the right agriculture content marketing strategy, businesses in the agriculture sector may capture and convert more new prospects.
By following the steps in this article, agriculture marketers will be better equipped to:
- Develop content targeted to your unique audience
- Overcome a traditional mindset common in the agriculture sector
- Develop customer-centric content that is value-oriented rather than sales-oriented
- Create digital content that appeals to multi-level roles
- Create content that increases your conversions, and thus your revenue
Use market research, customer data and keyword research to understand your audience
An understanding of your target audience is crucial to developing agriculture content that captures high-quality leads. Many agriculture marketing teams assume they know the mindset of their buyers and decision-makers. But customer personas built solely on feedback from sales and customer service teams tend to be off base. This is a mistake few businesses can afford to make during an economic downturn.
While internal feedback can help uncover the challenges, goals and driving factors that lead a decision-maker to a buying decision, it’s just a small piece of the buyer puzzle. To truly understand your customer and develop great ag content, you need to perform research and analyze data for various decision-makers, businesses and verticals.
During a recession, it’s common for businesses to cut time-consuming activities like research and planning and move towards execution. Consequently, they don’t get the results that they’re expecting. You pay for the learnings either way – either you invest time and money upfront into the research for accurate targeting, or you invest time and money in off-target executions and learn from efforts that don’t work.
An in-depth analysis of the challenges, opportunities and deciding factors of your different buyers includes surveys and interviews of your existing clients, former clients, prospects and competitors’ clients. At the very least, your buyer personas should be based on data from your CRM and marketing technologies that can help you understand their audience demographics as well as channel and content preferences, etc. Keyword research will help inform the challenges and opportunities that lead buyers to a solution as well as the questions they’re asking.
And buyer personas aren’t one-and-done. Successful content writing in agriculture means revisiting your personas regularly, especially in a down market, when customer dynamics tend to shift to value-based solutions.
1. Incorporate keyword research into your agriculture content
As well as helping you to build your buyer personas, keyword research should inform content writing. Once you understand the search queries that lead prospects to your solution – or to your competitor’s – you can develop highly-targeted ag content that answers their questions.
Providing the content your audience is seeking helps your website rank higher in search engine results pages and drive more of the right visitors to your website. As such, keyword optimization is an important part of search engine optimization (SEO) that is critical during a recession. For agriculture website content, marketers should keyword-optimize blog pages, product pages, and evergreen content (such as FAQs). It can help ag marketers collect more highly targeted leads to close the sales needed to maintain market position.
According to Search Engine Journal, keyword optimization performs well during a recession because it is:
- Highly flexible – targeting new customers in your unique audience with ultra-specific long-tail keywords.
- Integrated – fitting into your social and digital channels to feed into your marketing funnel
- Budget-friendly – requiring an investment in time/labor, not deliverables such as ads and sales assets
We walk you through the step of an effective SEO and keyword strategy in our online guide. To summarize, your efforts should include:
- Using a tool like Semrush or AhRefs to analyze the top-performing keywords for your top-performing pages
- Likewise, analyzing your competitor’s top-performing keywords
- Creating content that addresses your target audience’s search queries
- Tracking page rank, traffic for changes
- Regularly updating web pages with new content and keywords to gain or maintain your page rank
2. Align agriculture content to the buyer’s journey
Not only does data from your CRM and marketing technology help inform the overall audience that you’re writing to, but it also helps you understand who each prospect is. So informed, an ag writer can then customize content for each stage of the buyer’s journey.
Because each audience is unique, your ag content will be different for each business, industry, vertical, and role. However, here’s an example of your content plan might look like:
- For top-of-funnel activities, use infographics, blog posts and eBooks to educate prospects who are researching their challenges and opportunities.
- For mid-funnel activities, use webinars, whitepapers and podcasts to inform prospects who are weighing their options.
- For bottom-of-funnel activities, use whitepapers and case studies to convert prospects who are ready to make a purchase.
- For post-purchase activities, use eNewsletters and how-to guides to delight, engage and retain new and existing clients.
3. Nurture prospects and clients with email marketing
Once a prospect fills out a lead gen or subscription form, it’s essential to establish a relationship and nurture it. Your website content can only go so far. Effective content writing in agriculture includes an email marketing strategy.
Research shows that following up immediately and diligently is critical to converting prospects to customers. However, 93% of companies don’t respond to leads immediately and 50% never respond. A quick response facilitated by an automated email campaign can improve your conversion rate and give your ag business the advantage it needs to win the market.
Email is a versatile and cost-effective means of delivering highly targeted agricultural content to your audience.
For example, if you sell an input that has different benefits to growers in different climates, it would be cost-prohibitive to print and difficult to distribute marketing assets for each different audience. With email marketing, you can segment your agricultural email list by vertical, geography, challenge or role and deliver the right content to the right audience.
Email nurturing is an ideal way to nurture a relationship with existing clients and increase loyalty.
- Use email automation to immediately send a welcome email to each new subscriber
- Develop email campaigns that include a sequence of 4-7 emails for each audience segment
- Similarly, send an immediate follow up or acknowledgment email to each new lead
- Be diligent about sending a regular email newsletter (weekly or monthly) to your subscribers
- Use email to promote videos, webinars and agriculture website content
- Also promote sales and new products
- Deliver how-to information, answer FAQs and provide incentives to loyal clients.
To learn more about effective email marketing, read our article: 5 Essential Email Marketing Best Practices for B2B Marketers.
4. Push your agricultural content with organic and paid ag digital content
In a down market, it’s not enough to just create great content writing and hope the visitors will come. An SEO/keyword strategy (described earlier) is an organic method of pushing traffic to your agribusiness website. Organic social posts can also help.
But where you’ll get the best boost in your web traffic is paid advertising. Paid advertising uses data from your agriculture website, CRM and marketing technologies (your martech stack) to push targeted ads to the right people at the right time on the right channels.
With paid advertising, you can reach your audience in the industry publications they’re reading and on the industry websites and social media channels where they spend their time. Additionally, with paid digital ads, you can remarket by displaying specific ads based on their actions and behaviors on your online channels, such as your website, social media and emails.
Digital ads are highly versatile, disposable and cost-effective. Unlike print advertising, with digital advertising, you can experiment and adjust your ads to get the best results or eliminate campaigns that aren’t performing.
5. Measure the performance of your agriculture content
During a recession, there’s increased pressure to prove marketing attribution and ROI. In fact, 89% of marketers feel the ability to measure and analyze marketing impact is a top priority. Keeping track of your content performance will also help you to adjust your agribusiness content for the best results
Some of the measurements that will help you understand and optimize your content performance include:
- Web visitors
- Duration of visit
- Return visits vs. new visits
- Website rank
- Ranking keywords
- Social shares of your content
- Actions that indicate intent to buy (downloads, subscriptions, clicks and conversions)
6. Work with experienced B2B agribusiness content writers
To get the best results from your agriculture content, work with content writers well versed in B2B agriculture content marketing. An experienced agriculture content writer understands your industry, your lingo and your unique audience to help build expertise, authority and trust, which are critical for online sales.
With over 20 years of marketing experience in the ag industry, Elevation can help you develop a great agriculture content marketing strategy that targets your unique audience with the right message, across the right channels. Contact us to learn more about how our agribusiness marketing services can benefit your company.