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 (www.precisionagnetwork.com). 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. Visit CropLife TV at CropLife.com to learn how (shameless plug No. 5).
  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.

Are You A Fan?

The first person who e-mails me at mthopkins@meistermedia.com with the correct number of shameless plugs mentioned in this column will be recognized as the No. 1 fan on CropLife’s Facebook page.

Leave a Reply

Matt Hopkins Stories

Matt Hopkins5 Misguided Reasons Why Ag Retailers Are Not Using Social Media
June 2, 2014
These most commonly cited reasons for not embracing social media need to be re-examined. Read More
Matt HopkinsHow iPads Are Transforming Customer Service At Dow AgroSciences
March 12, 2014
Dow AgroSciences' Tiffany Galloway discusses how iPads and mobile apps have completely changed the way the company's sales force interacts with customers. Read More
Matt HopkinsPrecision Agriculture: 6 Mobile Use Trends To Watch
March 3, 2014
The convergence of precision agriculture and mobile technology is highlighted by several key trends. Read More
Matt Hopkins15 Best New Agriculture Apps Worth Downloading In 2014
December 16, 2013
These latest agriculture apps are sure to help ag professionals do their jobs more efficiently in 2014 and beyond. Read More

Trending Articles

Green Valley Ag facility
Retail FacilitiesGreen Valley Ag Adopts A.J. Sackett’s Precision Fertilizer Blending® Technology At New Facility
July 8, 2014
Sackett's Precision Fertilizer Blending® Technology is making huge strides around the world. Green Valley Ag adopts the technology at its new facility to support its advancing agronomic needs. Read More
Retail FacilitiesWaconia Manufacturing Builds Facility Designed For Speed, Efficiency
July 7, 2014
To make its new hub facility more efficient, Cooperative Elevator enlisted the aid of Waconia Manufacturing. Read More
EquipmentSummer Show Preview 2014: Superior Sprayers Take The Field
July 3, 2014
In this final installment of our coverage of the major categories of Big IRON that retailers can expect to test-drive at this summer’s events, here is a look at 19 sprayers. Read More
Scouting a soybean patch at Green Valley Ag.
EmployeesCropLife Compensation Survey: Battling Talent Drain
July 2, 2014
Retailers too often lose employees to companies outside of agriculture, while recruiting efforts are most often limited to competitors and other ag-focused organizations. Read More
HerbicidesDow AgroSciences Introduces SureStart II Herbicide
June 16, 2014
The enhanced formulation has improved viscosity and increased stability under heat and controls more than 60 high-anxiety grasses and broadleaf weeds found in corn fields. Read More
HerbicidesBASF Investing $270 Million To Expand U.S. Herbicide Production
June 11, 2014
BASF has invested more than $270 million to expand herbicide production capacities in the U.S., including more than 20 new products to be launched over next two years. Read More

Latest News

HerbicidesWillowood To Market Glufosinate
July 28, 2014
Willowood USA recently announced that Federal EPA has approved its technical registration for glufosinate. Read More
InsecticidesHow To Scout For Corn Earworms In Corn
July 28, 2014
In her weekly report, University of Missouri Agronomy Specialist Jill Scheidt discusses what to look for when scouting for corn earworm. Read More
Crop InputsDuPont Pioneer, Weyerhaeuser Enter Technology License A…
July 28, 2014
The agreement brings together agricultural and forestry know-how to sustainably improve crop productivity for corn growers around the world. Read More
EquipmentAGCO Launches Global iPad App
July 28, 2014
The free AGCO Global iPad App can be downloaded from the Apple iTunes Store and features the full family of RoGator self-propelled sprayers and TerraGator high-floatation spreaders. Read More
Eric SfiligojYuma Centennial Ag Supply Earns 2014 National Environme…
July 28, 2014
Colorado-based ag retailer receives top trophy in 24th annual DuPont Crop Protection/CropLife ceremony. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Forms Alliance With Wildlife Managment, Seed O…
July 25, 2014
The strategic alliance will provide Tecomate with key wildlife products, processing facilities, distribution centers and sales through Pinnacle’s ever-growing retail network. Read More
ManagementFranken Presses White House On RFS Support
July 25, 2014
Al Franken and a group of Senate democrats recently met with senior White House official John Podesta to urge the administration to change its position on an EPA proposal. Read More
ManagementASA, FarmLink To Launch ‘Operation Benchmark̵…
July 25, 2014
The American Soybean Association (ASA) and FarmLink are teaming up to help farmers close the $11 billion gap between what they harvested in 2013 and what they could harvest annually. Read More
StewardshipNorthey: Farmers Commit $1.4 Million to Try New Water Q…
July 25, 2014
The practices that are eligible for funding include cover crops, no-till or strip till and using a nitrification inhibitor when applying fall fertilizer. Read More
Precision AgFarmers Learn How Changing World Will Impact Iowa
July 24, 2014
Technology and understanding global consumer demand for Iowa farm products brought hundreds of farmers and agribusiness leaders to Ames recently for the annual Iowa Farm Bureau Federation Economic Summit. Read More
HerbicidesPurdue: Late Season Weeds May Require Manual Removal
July 24, 2014
Hand-rouging and pulling late season weeds by hand may be the best way to remove them, more so than using a herbicide, a Purdue Extension weed scientist says. Read More
Soybean Field
InsecticidesTransform WG, Closer SC Insecticides Receive R&D 10…
July 23, 2014
Dow AgroSciences has received the award from R&D Magazine for Transform WG insecticide and Closer SC insecticide with Isoclast active. Read More
EquipmentKinze, Raven Team Up On 4900 Planter Monitor
July 23, 2014
Kinze Manufacturing announces a partnership with Raven Industries to develop a standalone monitor solution for the Kinze 4900 series planter. With this new Read More
LegislationNew Farm Bill Continues To Confuse As Growers Await USD…
July 23, 2014
The new five-year Farm Bill eliminates many of the direct payments previously payed to growers and could benefit from USDA clarification, reports a Toledo Blade columnist. Read More
EquipmentPrecisionAg.com Relaunches With Responsive Design For M…
July 22, 2014
PrecisionAg, the worldwide leader in precision agriculture information and analysis, announces the launch of its completely redesigned website, PrecisionAg.com. Read More
FungicidesEPA OKs Two Willowood Fungicides
July 21, 2014
The EPA has approved Willowood Azoxy 2SC and Willowood AzoxyProp Xtra. two widely used broad spectrum, preventative fungicides with systemic and curative properties. Read More
Precision AgFarmers Learning Fast As UAVs Take Off
July 17, 2014
Farmers and others interested in how UAVs can be used in agricultural applications were able to learn more about the technology during the recent Precision Aerial Ag Show. Read More
CropLife 100Bobby Knight, Richard Petty To Highlight Ag PhD Field D…
July 17, 2014
Attendees at the July 24 Ag PhD Field Day at Hefty Farms will learn about the latest agricultural technologies, and get a chance to meet legendary sports figures Bobby Knight and Richard Petty. Read More