From the January issue of Drovers CattleNetwork. This is part one of three articles.
So, you thought all you had to do was breed quality genetics? Wrong. You have to market them, too.
Advertising medias available for cattle producers trying to market their genetics are seemingly endless. But what is going to give you the most bang for your buck? How do you make your operation stand out from the crowd in a sea of seedstock operations? How do you reach your target customers?
To help sort this out, we caught up with Eric Grant, president and general manager of Angus Productions Inc., to get his unique perspective as a buyer and seller of advertising. The journalist-turned-public-relations-maven has learned a trick or two in his years of managing the media branch for the country’s largest breed association, consulting breeders on anything from sale books to marketing campaigns.
Step 1: Professional website
Grant says the first order of business is have a professional, interactive website.
“In the old days, and I’m talking even in 2010, we looked at websites for cattle operations like a brochure,” he says. “Once it was set, it was set. But the reality is technology is so fast, we can no longer take that approach.”
First impressions are a huge factor in the success of a website, with a professional looking, clean and easy-to-navigate format a necessity to keep people interested. Equally as important is the content itself, which Grant suggests be centered on what seedstock producers have to offer their customers, and how buyers can benefit from their genetic program.
“The biggest problem I see with cattle websites are producers often make it about themselves instead of what they have to sell,” he says.
“About Us,” “History” and “Philosophy” sections are okay, but Grant says front and center needs to be what you actually offer the customer.
Going hand-in-hand with content is a user-friendly format on multiple platforms. These days, websites need to be formatted to adapt to whatever media a customer is using: phone, tablet or computer. This is called “responsive,” and it's very important. On Oct. 1, 2009, not a single view on angus.org was made from a mobile or tablet device, Grant says, but by Oct. 1, 2015, half of angus.org’s traffic was on mobile and tablet devices, not to mention that the website’s page views had also doubled in that time.
This biggest lesson, Grant says, is to not only have a website friendly to multiple devices but also make it responsive so that it works across all platforms. In other words, can you click the phone number on the website with your thumb while you’re in a hurry to make a phone call to the breeder?
Same goes with mailing addresses for easy import into GPS devices, along with the ability to click on an email address on mobile or desktop platforms for an automatic popup of a message draft.
“A lot of breeder websites have gone out of date in the last 18 months since they aren’t optimized for multiple platforms, making a rebuild necessary,” he says. “And while that may seem a little extreme, there are a lot of hidden costs in not revolutionizing a website, because if you aren’t making the investment, your competitor is.”