(Disclaimer – This blog is just an account of our entry into the internet world, and our opinions. These are not the keys to guaranteed success, nor is it meant to take away from how others market their livestock.)
The internet is a great way to sell cattle. We have now been using the internet to sell cattle for over 10 years. We are a small operation, and cannot afford a large advertising budget, so the internet only made perfect sense.
Our first step to selling cattle on the internet was to set up a website. Thank you to my wife, Traci! She took the time to learn how to make our initial website, and all the updated versions and formats over the past decade. She probably saved us thousands of dollars by doing it on our own, versus paying a firm. If you can not do it yourself, give Ranch House Design or Encore Visions a call, and they will more than happy to assist you with your web design and advertising needs. Currently we use the blog format from blogger.com. Do take the time, or even spend the money to make a nice Header for your website. This is the first thing that the visitor sees when they visit a website.
The next step we took was getting our link to our website out to the public. 10 years ago the options were limited, but today, there are numerous free and paid websites to list your website. The first link sites we used were www.showsteers.com and www.texasshowcattle.com. We have also made it a point to put on website address on everything we publish such as magazine ad’s, business cards, and flyers. We also have our address on our farm sign we use when displaying cattle at stock shows. Our focus was to push everyone to our website to find out more about us, what we raise, the services we provide, along with the cattle we have for sale.
Since we push all of our customers to our website, it is critical that we keep it updated. The key is to have a site that people make a habit of visiting. But the only reason they will make a habit of visiting any site, is because they want to see new information. We try to keep our “for sale” page fresh with new cattle and new pictures. There is nothing worse than visiting a website and finding a page full of cattle that the ranch had for sale 2 years ago. I myself will not visit the website again.
Enough about websites, now it’s time to sell the cattle! First step is to get good pictures and videos of the cattle. People do not want to see words, they want pictures to get them to justify paying $4/gal for diesel to look at the cattle in person. We like to stay transparent to our customers, so we include prices when we put cattle for sale on our website, or in classified ads. I do not believe in the philosophy of withholding information to get the people to call for the information. Let the potential customer make the decision if they are interested in an animal with all the information.
Lastly, we have tried to differentiate ourselves from the rest. We were one of the first to set a “load and go” price on our cattle in a private treaty sale, we substituted an open house for a sale, and we were one of the front-runners of bloggers in the cattle industry. Just because all your neighbors are having internet sales, doesn’t mean you have to. Do it because it is right for you. Even better, do something new and different that will get people’s attention.
We wish everyone the best of luck! Happy Marketing!