how to promote a small farm?

part of my job here is marketing and I am pretty much constantly thinking about advertising priorities.  what makes sense to invest in?  should we print more materials?  build more signs?  take out more ads?  pay for brochure distribution?  it is hard to make these decisions, and moreover it is hard to evaluate the efficacy of one route versus another.  since our small farm store is not staffed with a cashier, we can’t ask every customer where they heard about us.  this summer I posted a sign in the farm store asking customers to check off how they heard of Cricket Creek.  I included 8 boxes, “Word of Mouth”, “Vacation Village”, “The Advocate”, “Berkshire Visitors Bureau”, “Local Restaurant”, “Farmers Market”, “Sign on Rt 43”.  The other options listed on the graph below were written in by customers in the “other” section.

so – it looks like Word of Mouth is the best draw for customers to the store.  good thing that’s free!  Vacation Village is a resort in Hancock, MA that sends many guests our way.  we are very grateful to them!  the other most popular draws were the local farmers markets, our sign on Rt. 4 and two local publications – The Advocate, and Edible Berkshires.

this fall I will do a repeat and see how the results compare.  only 135 people commented on it this time around, so hopefully we will see more customers respond next time.  thanks for the info everyone and stay tuned for more data…