Promoting Your Brand at a Farmer’s Market

July 5, 2016

Along with the explosion in popularity of artisanal foods has come a surge in popularity of local farmer’s markets. From 2008 to 2014, the number of farmer’s markets in the U.S. increased by 180 percent, presenting massive opportunities for small business owners to get their products in front of new audiences. The farmer’s market industry is now big business, with more than $1.3 billion spent at farmers markets each year. As we move into the peak selling season, here are three tips to ensure that your product stands out from the competition.

Embrace the Power of Sampling

There’s a reason Costco gives out so many free samples, and it isn’t out of the goodness of their heart. Market research has shown that stores that distribute free samples experience as much as a 2,000 percent increase in sales. While the scale is different, there’s no reason you shouldn’t employ the same strategy for your product at a farmer’s market. Cut up your goods into tiny squares with toothpicks inserted. If the product is a liquid, pre-portion it into small, half ounce servings. When people approach you to try a sample, take advantage of the opportunity to engage with them. It may not lead to a sale that day, but you are building awareness.

Develop Compelling Marketing materials

Establishing a recognizable brand is as much about your visual identity as the product you sell. It’s worth investing in signage that clearly displays your name, logo and includes your website. Having something tangible to give to customers will also help build your brand. Brochures and business cards should also be mainstays in your booth. And while your brand may not be a household name (yet), the quality of the materials should be highly professional. You may only have a few seconds to make an impression, so put your best foot forward.

Think Outside the Market

Find out if there are local networking opportunities for brands like yours. Food incubators like the Hatchery in Chicago or Union Kitchen in Washington D.C. are increasingly common throughout the US. These organizations offer seminars covering topics like business strategy and branding, and may provide opportunities for free or reduce-priced kitchen space for food production.


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