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

Farmers on Tablet
Matt Hopkins6 Mobile App Trends Worth Watching In Agriculture
May 9, 2016
The agricultural industry is being transformed by the use of data. It is everywhere, and over the next several years, Read More
Social media
Matt Hopkins7 Social Media Trends Shaping Ag Retail In 2016
April 22, 2016
After writing my last column on why social media is a must for ag retailers, I heard from several readers Read More
Farmer on social media
Matt Hopkins6 Compelling Reasons Why Social Media Is A Must For Ag Retailers
March 17, 2016
The evolution and growth of social media use among ag retailers since 2010 has been nothing less than astonishing. In Read More
Wheat Growers
Matt Hopkins16 Most Diversified Ag Retailers In 2016
January 8, 2016
Diversification. It’s the battle cry for financial planners everywhere. Many will preach that spreading your investments across market sectors, industries, and Read More
Trending Articles
Corn Field
Eric SfiligojFacing Ag Industry Challenges
September 26, 2016
At the 2016 annual Mid America CropLife Association (MACA) meeting in September, a pair of crop protection company representatives discussed Read More
Bayer Monsanto
Crop InputsBayer-Monsanto Mega-Merger: 6 Things You Need To Know
September 14, 2016
Mega mergers have become almost routine in the agricultural industry. Right on the heels of Monday’s news that fertilizer giants Potash Read More
Potash Corp Agrium
Crop InputsAgrium, Potash Corp To Merge To Create $36 Billion Company
September 12, 2016
Canada’s Agrium Inc. and Potash Corp of Saskatchewan Inc. have agreed to combine in a deal that would create a Read More
Osage Co-op Elevator Osage, IA Finished Building
OpinionAre We Crazy?
September 8, 2016
At some point in the first few months of my employment here at CropLife® magazine, I started getting curious about Read More
ManagementMAGIE 2016 Highlights and Deere Anti-Trust
September 1, 2016
CropLife Editor Eric Sfiligoj discusses the recent Midwest AG Industries Exposition and the Department of Justice’s objection to John Deere Read More
ASMARK 2016 Retailers Live! Tour - CPS
CropLife 100CPS Acquires Texas Retail Operation
August 23, 2016
Crop Production Services (CPS) has acquired the assets of Larry’s Chemical and Spray, Inc., for an undisclosed amount in an Read More
Latest News
Pat Bowe The Andersons
CropLife 100An Eventful Year For The Andersons
October 1, 2016
On November 2, 2015, Patrick Bowe was formerly appointed the new President/CEO of The Andersons, Inc. He became the first Read More
Engenia soybeans
Special ReportsResistant Weeds Continue To Confound Control Efforts
October 1, 2016
In the annals of weed scientists, 2017 will mark a milestone of sorts. This will be the 60th anniversary of Read More
CHS St. Paul, MN fertilizer terminal
CropLife 100Farmers Union Oil Co. Votes To Join CHS
September 30, 2016
Eligible voting members of Farmers Union Oil Co., a diversified agricultural retailer based out of Oslo, MN, have cast affirmative Read More
EmployeesOABA Program Develops Future Generation Of Agribusiness…
September 29, 2016
The Ohio AgriBusiness Association will select up to 25 promising leaders to participate in a leadership enhancement program early next Read More
ManagementThoughts on CropLife America and the PSM Appeal
September 29, 2016
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj talk about the recent CropLife America annual meeting and the successful appeal of the Read More
Corn Field
Industry NewsMarrone Bio Innovations’ SVP And Chief Sustainability O…
September 29, 2016
Marrone Bio Innovations, Inc., a leading provider of effective and environmentally responsible pest management and plant health products, announced today Read More
Young Corn Field
StewardshipStudy: Ohio Farmers Doing ‘A Good Job Of Managing…
September 27, 2016
Leaders from Ohio’s largest grain farming organizations announced today that Ohio farmers are doing their part in effectively managing phosphorus Read More
Growmark FS Outlet
Industry NewsGROWMARK To Purchase Suncor’s Share Of UPI
September 26, 2016
GROWMARK and Suncor have reached an agreement in which GROWMARK will purchase Suncor’s 50% interest in UPI, Inc. in Ontario, Read More
Corn Field
Eric SfiligojFacing Ag Industry Challenges
September 26, 2016
At the 2016 annual Mid America CropLife Association (MACA) meeting in September, a pair of crop protection company representatives discussed Read More
Syngenta Seedcare Institute
Seed/BiotechSyngenta Opens New North America Seedcare Institute In …
September 23, 2016
Syngenta unveiled its new Seedcare Institute in Stanton, MN, during a recent grand opening celebration. More than 150 industry leaders, Read More
StewardshipMonsanto Invests $1.6 Million In System To Quantify Gre…
September 23, 2016
The USDA – Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS) recently awarded the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) and its Soil Health Read More
Pipe rack
LegislationCourt Sides With Ag Retailers On PSM
September 23, 2016
The D.C. Court of Appeals has ruled the Occupational Safety and Health Administration violated the Occupational Safety and Health Act when Read More
ManagementPacific Coast Fertilizer Announces Interest In Longview…
September 22, 2016
Pacific Coast Fertilizer LP (PCF) announced at the Cowlitz Economic Development Council board of directors meeting its interest in developing Read More
Young corn plants in soil
UncategorizedCool Planet Raises Additional $9 Million To Commerciali…
September 22, 2016
Cool Planet has announced the first close of a new financing round to commercialize the company’s Cool Terra Engineered Biocarbon Read More
Crop InputsJim Loar Promoted To President And CEO Of Cool Planet
September 22, 2016
In a move that reflects and reinforces the company’s commitment to the agricultural market, the Cool Planet board of directors Read More
BlendersNorth Dakota Coop Debuts Dry Fertilizer Plant
September 22, 2016
North Central Grain Cooperative has begun operations at a new dry fertilizer plant at its Rolla, ND, site. It is Read More
Crop InputsMonsanto, Bayer Officials Defend Proposed $66 Billion M…
September 21, 2016
Top officials for Monsanto and Bayer defended their proposed $66 billion merger before skeptical senators on Tuesday, insisting that the Read More
ManagementUpcoming Shows & Recent Events
September 19, 2016
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj talk about upcoming trade shows and events and review the Mid America CropLife Association Read More