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Over the past several years a few interesting trends have begun to emerge in the agriculture world. For the fifth year in a row the overall number of farms has decreased while the size of the average farm has increased. From a dealer’s perspective this means there is still a need for the equipment they offer, but the number of potential customers has started to decline.
In addition to this shift in the American farm makeup another market segment is beginning to emerge. What was once simply an afterthought for ag dealers across the country is now becoming more difficult to ignore. The small tractor owner. More land owners are beginning to take the plunge and becoming small tractor owners. While the decrease in American farms may limit potential customers this surge in small tractor ownership opens up the door for opportunities moving forward.
Small Tractors Are Gaining Popularity
Is it really worth it to focus on this type of buyer? The numbers seem to indicate that it is. Consider this. Based on recent dealership surveys, small tractors rank among the “best bets” for dealership revenue in 2019.
What’s the downside to this new trend? These new buyers aren’t farmers, they’re landowners who are out clearing land or working on projects around their relatively small (compared to farms) plot of land. The equipment they buy is going to see limited use over the course of each year. With the quality of today’s machines that means it could be a very long time before this small tractor owner is the market to buy again. To capitalize on this growing trend you have to be ready and catch them early in the buyer’s journey and their decision-making process.
You Must Reach Small Tractor Buyers at the Top of the Funnel
More buyers interested in buying a small tractor are entering the market, but as soon as that purchase is made it’s going to be a long time before they’ll be looking to buy again. That’s why it’s crucial to be a part of their buying process as early as possible.
- Awareness –
The buyer identifies a want or a need (in this case they realize they want a small tractor).
- Consideration –
Buyers begin researching all the possible options.
- Decision –
They make up their mind about what to buy.
This is also where you may get discouraged. After all if they’re not a large company or a previous customer, how can you possibly know who they are to target them? The answer to that lies in how today’s consumer shops.
This graph represents the projected number of digital shoppers in the U.S. from 2016 – 2021(numbers from 2016 and 2017 are real figures while 2018-2021 are projections). Given that the total United States population is currently under 330 million people, this chart tells us that roughly two-thirds of all Americans are digital shoppers.
Obviously all of these digital shoppers are not in the market for a small tractor. But what this tells us is the average American is online shopping. That means that your best bet to reach this new type of customer early in their consideration phase is online.
Reaching Buyers Online
To reach potential buyers online you need to ask yourself what are they doing? How do you start your online shopping process? More than likely with the world’s most popular search engine, Google. When buyers begin researching small tractors their most likely first step is to go straight to Google.
In order to catch them early you want to be in their search results. This means taking a dive into search engine marketing and doing everything you can to make sure any content you put online is properly optimized. Search engine marketing (SEM) and search engine optimization’s (SEO) sole purpose is to help Google recognize your site and display your page as result for search queries.
Bidding on keywords that small tractor buyers are most likely to use (SEM) and making sure Google finds your site relevant to searches (SEO) are both key to trying to catch these first time buyers. But to ensure your marketing is reaching the buyers in your area you can go even further and use location targeting to only serve ads to users within a particular geographic area (your AOR).
This geographic targeting can also be applied across the Google Display Network. Taking advantage of the larger reach of Google Ads and expanding into social media marketing on platforms such as Facebook can make sure that no matter where your target audience goes online you will be reaching them with your messaging.
It is crucial to reach these first-time buyers at the right time…before they’ve made a firm decision. The digital marketing experts at Randall-Reilly can help you do just that. Working together you can craft and distribute effective marketing tools to the audience you’re after.
Regardless of how you have approached this segment of buyers in the past (if you have at all) or how you choose to move forward, one thing is clear if you haven’t begun to target these small tractor buyers you should. They won’t be in the market for long or often for equipment, but if you’re successful at landing their business it could provide more revenue in the months and years that follow by providing loyal repeat service, parts, and accessory customers.