8 Digital Do’s And Don’ts

As online editor for the CropLife Media Group (CLMG’s) and long-time employee at its parent company, Meister Media Worldwide (MMW), I’ve had a front-row seat to the evolution of our brands. I’ve witnessed CropLife and CropLife IRON transform from magazine-only products into the successful multi-media properties they are today. While printed magazines remain a staple at MMW, they are now neatly integrated with live events, award programs, e-newsletters, Web sites, and more.

The “more” part is often digital in nature. It’s also the area I spend countless hours immersed in such things as social media, video, Webinars, and other technology-driven tools. These digital components are now part of our DNA at CLMG. For example, PrecisionAg, sister publication to CropLife and CropLife IRON, offers its audience an online community at the PrecisionAg Network. Our Web sites are loaded with video content. Webinars are becoming routine. And, of course, there’s “more.”

But “more” hasn’t come without its share of “aha” moments. The lessons learned are plentiful. In fact, you may be able to use some of them in making your own ag retail business more digital-centric. Thus, I present to you eight digital do’s and don’ts to consider for 2010 (in no particular order):

  1. DON’T procrastinate developing your Web site. How would you like your customers to think of your business? Robust perhaps? Secure, with a clear mission? Easy to contact and to deal with? Well, shouldn’t your Web site reflect these qualities? No longer is procrastination an option when it comes to Web development. Plus, the cost to develop a Web site has never been lower than it is today. You no longer need a Webmaster or IT person to have a Web site. The software available today makes running a Web site easy and nontechnical, which leads us to our next item.
  2. DO give ownership of your Web site. Anytime a business spends money, no matter the cost, someone should be accountable for the return on investment. A Web site is no different. Speaking from experience, designating someone in your operation to be responsible for your Web site is an absolute must. This is particularly important when your site features e-customer tools and the mounds of customer data tied to them.
  3. DON’T overlook your Web site as an important customer service tool. Your customers are flocking to the Web to save money. That means sales opportunities for your business. Are you taking advantage of them? Customer relationship management (CRM) is a widely used strategy for managing and nurturing a company’s interactions with its customers. It often involves using Web-based technology to organize and automate business processes — principally sales-related activities, but also those for marketing, customer service, and technical support. Consider investing in a CRM tool for your business.
  4. DO subscribe to an e-newsletter(s). In the fast-paced world of e-everything, you demand information that is convenient, timely, and easy to understand. E-newsletters can deliver vital business and technology news right to your desktop via the Web. They offer an opportunity to stay up-to-date with the latest industry news, trends, and insights. Subscribe to CropLife e-News today (shameless plug No. 1).
  5. DON’T dismiss the value of social media. Social networks may have been prospering long before the Web, but only in the last few years have they crossed into the mainstream. So why use social networking? To tell stories. To make sense of the information we share. To put it in context. THAT is the value of social networking. So many people dismiss the need to network in this way, yet we see how critical it really is. Social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter have presented several new ways to promote your business … especially locally. These opportunities can drive new traffic to your Web site. Are you ready? Consider joining our online community for precision agriculture at the PrecisionAg Network and/or become a fan of CropLife on Facebook (shameless plug Nos. 2 and 3).
  6. DO attend a Webinar. There are a number of benefits to attending a Webinar. You don’t need to leave your office or home (I’m actually attending one as I write this column). The entire Webinar is conducted from the convenience of your desk or meeting room. Fancy technology is not required. All you need is a computer with a high-speed Internet connection and speakers. You don’t have to waste time traveling to and from a specific location. You will gain insights and information from professionals knowledgeable in their fields. Consider attending CropLife’s State of the Industry Webinar at www.croplife.com/soiwebinar (shameless plug No. 4).
  7. DO use video as an educational tool. One of the reasons YouTube is so incredibly popular is because creating videos is faster and easier than ever. Why not use video as part of your dealership safety and security training program? You can post these training videos on your Web site, or company Intranet, and make them available on-demand. At CropLife, video has allowed us to reach our audience in a whole new way.
  8. DON’T be overwhelmed by technology. The Internet is allowing us to do things we’ve never been able to do. Many routine tasks can now be now automated through Web technology. It’s truly amazing. The downsides are that it’s addictive and you can become tied to it in ways that are exhausting. The wireless age has opened the floodgates of momentary distractions. The barrage of e-mail, phone calls, text messages and new info from Web sites provides a steady flow of interruptions we can tap — or that can tap us — at any given second. Try to not get caught up in it 24/7.

Leave a Reply

Matt Hopkins Stories

Ag retailer at computer
Matt Hopkins5 Lessons Learned From Launching An Agricultural Data Business
October 7, 2015
Like many other industries, agriculture has witnessed big data rocket up the corporate agenda. And as an ag media company, Read More
Ribbon cutting at 2015 National Farm Machinery Show
Matt Hopkins5 Key Takeaways From The 2015 National Farm Machinery Show
February 14, 2015
Celebrating its 50th anniversary, the largest indoor farm show in the country didn't disappoint with the latest in technology and trends on full display. Read More
12 Things You Might Not Know About The CropLife 100
Matt Hopkins12 Things You Might Not Know About The CropLife 100
February 11, 2015
These facts and figures about the top 100 largest ag retailers provide insight into our most popular list. Read More
Matt Hopkins5 Bold Predictions For Ag Retail In 2015
January 21, 2015
This past year was filled with ups and downs for the nation’s top ag retailers, but what will 2015 have in store? Read More
Top 100 Articles
CropLife 100United Cooperative Acquires Four ADM Wisconsin Facilities
November 12, 2015
United Cooperative, based out of Beaver Dam, WI, recently acquired four grain and agronomy locations from Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) Read More
CropLife 100BRANDT Car Makes NASCAR Xfinity Series
October 29, 2015
BRANDT will join JR Motorsports with driver, Justin Allgaier, for the 2016 NASCAR Xfinity (NXS) Series season. Allgaier will pilot Read More
CHS Building exterior
CropLife 100CHS Leaders Help Shape Succession Report
October 22, 2015
Succession planning was listed as a main concern of cooperative leaders at this summer’s 15 regional CHS owner town hall Read More
Fall Harvest
CropLife 100Pinnacle Purchases Eight Regional Seed Companies
October 12, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings has announced the purchase of eight regional seed companies to advance its seed business. Pinnacle has acquired: Read More
MRM Agricultural Service
CropLife 100Pinnacle Acquires CropLife 100 Ag Retailer
October 8, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings, LLC has successfully acquired the Missouri-based agronomy business of MRM Agricultural Service, LLC and its affiliates (MRM). Operating Read More
Eric Jenks, Wilbur-Ellis
CropLife 100Wilbur-Ellis Opens Dry Fertilizer Storage And Blending Facility In Washington
October 8, 2015
Wilbur-Ellis Co., ranked No. 4 on the CropLife 100, has constructed and opened a 22,000-ton dry fertilizer storage and blending Read More
Latest News
HerbicidesBREAKING: EPA Pulls Registration On Dow’s Enlist …
November 25, 2015
EPA on Wednesday withdrew approval of a controversial new weed killer to be used on genetically modified corn and soybeans, Read More
FertilizerYara Tampa Ammonia Terminal Garners ResponsibleAg Honor…
November 25, 2015
Yara has received its first ResponsibleAg Certification for its Tampa, FL, Ammonia terminal location. This achievement demonstrates Yara’s commitment to Read More
ManagementReviewing The Top Ag Stories For 2015
November 24, 2015
Editors Eric Sfiligoj and Paul Schrimpf discuss the most noteworthy events from this past year in agriculture. Read More
EmployeesAgriculture Jobs May Be Plentiful, But New Grads Are Sc…
November 24, 2015
Close to 60,000 jobs are set to open up in agriculture each year for the next five years, but there's not enough grads to fill them. Read More
Radish cover crop
StewardshipCover Crops Guide Helps Growers Improve Water Quality
November 23, 2015
A publication that teaches growers the advantages of using cover crops to improve soil health and crop yields has won Read More
Crop InputsThe Andersons’ Products Receive California Organi…
November 23, 2015
The Plant Nutrient Group of The Andersons, Inc. announced today that its Humic DG and Black Gypsum DG products are Read More
Eric SfiligojNew European Study Seems To Support Glyphosate Safety
November 23, 2015
Looking at any international news over the past few years, it might seem as if the European Union (EU) is Read More
Toggle Biostimulant corn roots
Crop InputsTwo New Biostimulants Added To United Suppliers’ …
November 20, 2015
Winfield US announces the launch of two new products in the United Suppliers portfolio for the 2016 crop season, Optify Read More
StewardshipNRDC Report: Cover Crops Contain Vast Benefits
November 19, 2015
As harvest season ends and farmers in the United States ready themselves for winter, one small change could make a Read More
Fall Harvest
Seed/BiotechArysta Launches New Seed Protectant
November 19, 2015
As spring wheat growers begin planning for a strong start to their season, Arysta LifeScience North America announces RANCONA V Read More
Crop InputsInocucor Receives U.S. Patent For Microbials
November 19, 2015
Inocucor Technologies Inc., the Montreal-based agriculture biotech company, was issued patent No. 9,175,258 by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to protect Read More
ManagementSyngenta Rumors and ARA 2015 Preview
November 19, 2015
CropLife Editor Eric Sfiligoj looks at the latest rumors involving Syngenta selling its crop protection business and talks about events Read More
EquipmentAGCO Announces Finalists For Operator Of The Year Honor
November 19, 2015
AGCO Corp. has announced the four top operators chosen as finalists for AGCO’s 10th Annual Operator of the Year program, Read More
High Plains Aquifer
StewardshipStudy: High Plains Aquifer Overall Usage In Decline
November 18, 2015
A new Kansas State University study finds that the over-tapping of the High Plains Aquifer’s groundwater beyond the aquifer’s recharge Read More
Golden Harvest Corn healthy leaves
FungicidesArysta Launches New Corn And Soybean Fungicide
November 17, 2015
Arysta LifeScience North America has recently launched ZOLERA FX Fungicide. The highly systemic, powerful fungicide delivers broad-spectrum disease control with Read More
Young corn plants in soil
Crop InputsBioAg Alliance: Microbials Targeted For 250-500 million…
November 17, 2015
Monsanto and Novozymes have announced a new 2025 acreage target that will guide the companies’ microbials business for the next Read More
Syngenta Sign
Crop InputsSyngenta Still Being Eyed For China Takeover
November 16, 2015
China National Chemical Corp. approached sovereign wealth funds including China Investment Corp. to help pay for a potential acquisition of Read More
Cedar Country Cooperative
Eric SfiligojCooperative Consolidation Continues
November 16, 2015
As I put this enewsletter column together, we’ve just put the finishing touches on our magazine’s annual CropLife 100 report. Read More