Industry: Small Farm Garlic Producer
Contact: Bart Nagel
Garlic farmer Bart Nagel only has about 3 months of the year to do the bulk of his sales. He starts this process by attending local Farmer’s Markets as a vendor where he also encourages people to add their email address to his mailing list so that he can keep in touch through e-newsletters and keep folks up to date on new products he’s got for sale that will extend his selling season. He uses Facebook to connect with his existing and potential customers. The passion he has for his product and the authentic voice in which he tells the story of his farm makes people feel connected and engaged.
The day I visit Bart and his family at their farm, they’re expecting customers and friends alike: people he’s invited through Facebook to come and harvest garlic scapes and enjoy a potluck dinner. Here is the invitation he posted: “ Free garlic scapes! Free garlic scapes available at our Garlic Scape Potluck Party this Saturday July 5th. We’ll start at 2pm with some weeding and breaking scapes and we’ll have a potluck party with garlicky goodies and lots of scapes of course! Then go home with a big load of scapes. When? Saturday July 5th – Where? 368 Dorion Rd, Tiny – Time? Starts at 2 pm – Price? Free”
The above Facebook post received 58 likes and 28 shares. For a page that has 396 fans, that number of likes and shares seems remarkable and speaks volumes about the effectiveness of Bulbs of Fire’s marketing technique. Bart’s posts on the Bulbs of Fire fan page regularly receive high levels of engagement. He told me that he doesn’t really like selling per se, but “if selling means that I can yap about stuff that I like and while we’re doing that, I give you garlic and you give me money and everybody’s happy, then selling is awesome.” Bart’s selling and marketing philosophy seems to be working. In addition to the website, check out the Bulbs of Fire Facebook page for some wonderful recipes and photos.
Lessons for Others: Create avenues to keep in touch with your customers and employ the personal touch
Submitted By: Shelby Mulligan, University of Waterloo
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