Telling Your Farm Story to Create a Deep Relationship with Customers – Melissa Ballard – Carrot Cashflow Episode 8


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Episode Summary

In recent years, more and more consumers have been purchasing online as opposed to buying things in person—and that’s been especially true when COVID hit. With the bigger online shopping companies making the move into selling produce and other food items, why shouldn’t small growers do the same?

In this episode of Carrot Cashflow, we’re talking to Melissa Ballard of Bluegrass Beef in Kentucky to walk us through her initial reservations about opening an online store, why she made the move to sell online, and what the experience has been like for her and their business.

Today’s Guest: Melissa Ballard

Melissa and her husband Josh started Bluegrass Beef in 2011 when they finished their first grass-finished steer, initially selling it to their family and friends. Today, Bluegrass Beef sells grass-fed, grass-finished beef all year round, with Melissa handling all aspects of sales and marketing in the business while Josh manages the herd while also practicing full-time as a veterinarian.

Relevant Links

            Bluegrass Beef – Website | Instagram | Facebook

            Bluegrass Beef Shop

In this episode of Carrot Cashflow

  • Diego introduces the episode’s guest, Melissa Ballard (00:39)
  • Higher sales after opening an online farm store (02:21)
  • Melissa Ballard’s initial sales outlet for grass-fed beef (03:31)
  • The experience of selling beef at farmer’s markets (04:34)
  • Percentage of farmer’s market sales (06:31)
  • Farmer’s markets are a big time commitment (07:00)
  • Melissa’s initial reservations about moving online (09:00)
  • Successful product listing on Local Line (10:46)
    • Creating a product experience without pictures (11:48)
    • Making transactions easier with package pricing (13:45)
  • Intentionally putting up the stock level on the online store (15:40)
  • The adjustment of staying on top of online store inventories (17:58)
  • What Melissa and Bluegrass Beef do to help customers stick around (21:23)
    • Sharing the good, the bad, but not the ugly (23:26)
  • Recognizable product marketing and story marketing (24:11)
  • The gamechanger: the Show Now Button (26:43)
  • The role a webpage plays for an online store (28:02)
  • Being crystal clear with the purpose of the website (29:54)
  • Adding the farmer’s faces to the website (31:14)  
  • How much of the sales pie are online sales? (32:44)
  • Melissa’s thoughts on selling online (34:12)
  • Offering potentially more convenient shopping options (35:05)
  • Offering incentives to customers to shop online (37:01)
  • Melissa’s advice for the farmer who’s hesitant to go online (39:09)
  • The increase in sales after selling online (41:39)
  • Higher sales with less exhausting work (42:54)

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Arielle Roxas

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