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

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
Matt Hopkins10 Best New Agriculture Apps For 2015
December 15, 2014
Has the app market reached a saturation point? Consider Google Play and the iTunes App Store combined have more than Read More
Top 100 Articles
CropLife 100Allied Ag Distributors Adds Four New Owners
July 30, 2015
Aligned Ag Distributors LLC has announced the addition of four new customer/owners to Franklin Holding Co. LLC. They are: The Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Purchases California-Based Specialty Crops Retailer
July 20, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings has successfully acquired California-based NH3 Service Co.  Operating as part of Pinnacle’s Performance Agriculture brand, the new locations Read More
Asmus Farm Supply liquid fertilizer facility features 20,000 square feet
CropLife 100Slideshow: Asmus Farm Supply Shows Off Its New Liquid Fertilizer Facility
July 15, 2015
Asmus Farm Supply, Rake, IA, recently added a new liquid fertilizer facility to its company operations. The new liquid fertilizer Read More
CropLife 100Wilbur-Ellis Feed Division Facilities Receive Safe Feed/Safe Food Certification
July 13, 2015
Wilbur-Ellis Co.’s Feed Division, a marketer and distributor of value-added feed ingredients for the aquaculture, livestock and pet food industries Read More
CropLife 100BRANDT Expands To Brazil With Acquisition
July 8, 2015
BRANDT has acquired a majority interest in Target Brasil Fertilizantes Ltda. through its Brazilian subsidiary. Target Brasil manufactures, distributes and Read More
Milan Kucerak, president/CEO, West Central
CropLife 100West Central Cooperative And Its New President Are A Match Made In Deviation
June 29, 2015
To appreciate just how unique West Central Cooperative is in the world of ag retail, an observer need only consider Read More
Latest News
CropLife 100Allied Ag Distributors Adds Four New Owners
July 30, 2015
Aligned Ag Distributors LLC has announced the addition of four new customer/owners to Franklin Holding Co. LLC. They are: The Read More
FungicidesReport: Sudden Death Syndrome Symptoms Appearing In Soy…
July 30, 2015
Last week, symptoms of sudden death syndrome (SDS) began to appear in April 15-planted soybeans at the University of Illinois’s Read More
Seed/BiotechAdvanta Seeds Adds New Phoenix Corn Hybrids
July 30, 2015
Corn growers in the High Plains and Western states have new options available for the 2016 growing season from Advanta Read More
ManagementTechnology and agriculture: a Futurist’s Perspective
July 30, 2015
Futurist David Zach, speaking at this week’s InfoAg Conference in St. Louis, shared thoughts on the benefits and limitations of Read More
Biofuels Plant in Lousiana
Industry NewsIdle Biofuels Plant In Louisiana To Reopen As Ammonia F…
July 30, 2015
A Lithuania-based company plans to spend $265 million to reopen an idle biofuels refinery in Grant Parish as an ammonia Read More
FFA at Monsanto Booth at the 2015 National Farm Machinery Show
Industry NewsFive Students Receive The 2015 Monty’s Plant Food Compa…
July 29, 2015
This fall, five college-bound students will have financial support through the Monty’s Plant Food Company FFA Scholarship. All five scholarship Read More
GYPSOIL Blendable Pellets
Crop InputsBeneficial Reuse Management Launches Pelletized Gypsum …
July 29, 2015
Beneficial Reuse Management (BRM) announced this week at Ag Media Summit that its GYPSOIL Pelletized Products Division will open a Read More
StewardshipOhio Water Quality Project To Determine How Much Phosph…
July 27, 2015
Researchers with the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University are looking for farmers in Read More
FertilizerKoch Agronomic Services Launches N-TEGRATION Technology
July 27, 2015
Koch Agronomic Services, LLC (KAS) has launched  N-TEGRATION Technology, a process technology platform designed to enable production of enhanced efficiency fertilizers at Read More
HerbicidesExpert: IARC Herbicide Classifications Leading To Confu…
July 24, 2015
Few people in the crop protection industry had heard of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) before this Read More
ManagementFCI Trade Summit Update & Precision Tank Turns 50
July 23, 2015
Editors Dave Frabotta and Eric Sfiligoj discuss the upcoming FCI Trade Summit in Las Vegas, NV, and how Precision Tank Read More
Palmer pigweed seedhead in cotton
HerbicidesUSDA Deregulates Dow AgroSciences’ Enlist Cotton Trait
July 23, 2015
The USDA today issued its decision deregulating Dow AgroSciences’ Enlist cotton trait in the U.S. The USDA has now completed its Read More
Industry NewsVerdesian Life Sciences Showcases Versatile Product Por…
July 23, 2015
Technology has revolutionized agriculture by bringing farmers, retailers and distributors to the forefront of the digital age. To meet the Read More
FertilizerWSJ: Cf Industries Exploring Merger With Dutch Chemical…
July 23, 2015
U.S. fertilizer maker CF Industries is in advanced merger talks with Amsterdam-listed chemical company OCI NV, the Wall Street Journal Read More
HerbicidesNufarm Releases New Panther SC Herbicide
July 23, 2015
Nufarm has announced the availability of new Panther SC herbicide. Panther SC is the first liquid formulation of flumioxazin available Read More
EquipmentFarmLink Launches Farm Equipment Sharing Program
July 23, 2015
FarmLink has introduced a new online farm equipment sharing community – MachineryLink Sharing – leveraging this new economy business model Read More
HerbicidesCould The South’s Most Troublesome Weed Represent A Thr…
July 22, 2015
Palmer amaranth is undoubtedly the most troublesome weed in the southern United States, taking a devastating toll on both cotton Read More
Industry NewsH.J. Baker Hires New Director Of International Sales
July 22, 2015
Global Agriculture firm H.J. Baker announced today that Steve Langley has joined the company’s Crop Performance Division and Animal Health Read More