10 Tips for Optimizing Ag’s Virtual Offerings

David Lazarenko

O Over the past year, we have seen a dramatic increase in the development and introduction of new digital and virtual offerings in agriculture (virtual crop tours, virtual tradeshows, online events, webinars, etc.). While these investments stemmed from the need to connect with ag customers and stakeholders, many organizations have not yet experienced the full benefits of their digital efforts.

Think Shift has over twenty years of experience helping ag organizations build and grow high-performing digital and virtual assets. Here are 10 tips to immediately optimize your virtual offerings:

  1. Enable Exploration – The traffic you generate is valuable. Packing too much poorly structured information onto a home or landing page can lead to a premature bounce. Providing little or complicated navigation can further reduce page views and time spent on your site.
  2. Prioritize Traffic Generation – It’s all too common for ag organizations to underestimate and under-budget what it takes to drive traffic to digital assets continually. Given the uptick in digital touchpoints since the start of the pandemic and the increase in the number of businesses vying for the same audience’s attention, now is not the time to make conservative estimations. A good rule of thumb is to budget at least the same amount for traffic generation and engagement as you’d budget for site development itself.
  3. Encourage Repeat Visitation – Repeat visitation, when combined with individual user tracking, can provide you with an exceptional wealth of data on the specific interests of each user. Giving users valuable and fresh content is critical to encourage them to come back.
  4. Build Better CTAs – With the ability to integrate ‘book a meeting,’ ‘chat now’ and other scheduling and AI functionality into your sites, there is no excuse to limit the amount of call-to-action buttons or sign-up forms.
  5. Integrate Your Digital Stack – Many ag organizations now use CRMs and sales enablement and marketing automation software. It’s worth it to integrate these tools with your digital assets as it allows you to collect valuable user data across touchpoints.
  6. Allow For Anytime Access – While it’s okay to use your digital platforms to engage your audiences live, one of the benefits of digital is that it’s available when the user is. Record scheduled events, presentations, webinars, and more to be available for users who couldn’t attend live.
  7. Treat Content Iteratively – Content creation is another area that many ag organizations underestimate and under-budget. It’s essential to have a solid base of content at launch, but your strategy will fall flat without refreshing and optimizing your offerings.
  8. Build Follow-Up Sequences – If you want to integrate your digital stack into your assets for lead or contact generation, you should consider doing follow-up outreach. These sequences can be as simple as notifications of new site content or as complex as content-based lead nurturing, but it’s not something you should overlook.
  9. Consider Team Content Training – For digital touchpoints such as virtual crop tours, agronomists, field reps, and other subject matter experts (SMEs) are likely going to be creating your content. Knowledge builds capacity. With some smartphone training, SMEs can improve the photos, video and details they are capturing. It’s worth investing in some training to enhance the experience of the end-user.
  10. Re-Imagine User Experiences – Many of ag’s digital and virtual experiences either replace or augment a traditional touchpoint. Look beyond basic reinvention. Seek out ways to incorporate elements traditional touchpoints couldn’t offer (like 24/7 accessibility, direct contact with senior personnel, etc.).
21TSI1143 Digital Replication vs Reinvention Infographic

These tips are a great place to start if you’re looking to generate more significant ROI from your growing portfolio of digital touchpoints. This list isn’t exhaustive, and these are not the only strategies available. If you’ve already integrated many of these into your plans and want to risk good for great, it may be time to give Think Shift a try.

About the Writer:

David Lazarenko - Chief Growth Officer and Partner

David has spent more than 20 years leading strategy and marketing efforts in agri-business. As Chief Growth Officer at Think Shift, he has led successful brand and product launches, re-branding and brand alignment initiatives, sales campaigns, and corporate responsibility campaigns for some of agriculture’s most successful corporations, including ADAMA, Bayer, Cargill, Monsanto, Trimble Agriculture and Westeel. David’s commitment to agriculture and thought leadership in marketing was recognized with his award as the Canadian Agri-Marketing Association’s 2018 Agri-Marketer of the Year.

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