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Learn how this entrepreneur saved her farm by creating new products and using a powerful marketing tool to promote them
By Kristin MacLaughlin May 13, 2020
Naomi De Ruiter is a modern milkmaid who raises Jersey cows and teaches cheese making classes. She had to pivot her business model when new social distancing restrictions stopped her from having in-person classes.
AWeber’s Landing Page Builder allowed her to quickly test the idea of offering an online class and increased her daily subscribers by 75%! De Ruiter was able to launch a new online program that includes multiple products: virtual courses, physical products, and a continuity program of ingredients.
Learn how she pivoted Naomi’s Birdsong Farm to keep it alive and created a new revenue stream, even before the existence of virtual and physical products.
Time to test an essential business pivot to keep her business alive
De Ruiter was dependent on income from her cheesemaking classes, so she knew that she needed to step out of her comfort zone and transition to online courses.
But De Ruiter knew she needed to grow her email list if she was going to pivot from teaching in-person classes at events to online events.
A question to ask yourself: Do you have a passion project or new product idea that you want to test out?
Promote your products and services with landing pages.
To promote her online classes, De Ruiter decided she would look into using a landing page.
“I thought, ‘This is perfect because I can use it to grow my email list, connect with people interested in doing online cheesemaking classes, and reach my target audience,’” says De Ruiter. To learn how to build one, De Ruiter signed up for one of AWeber’s free classes: “How to Create Persuasive Landing Pages That Grow Your Email List — FAST.”
The class provided information and guidance on some items she had not considered — such as simple design techniques to create a landing page that stands out, copywriting tips to write copy that converts, and some of the most common mistakes people make with landing pages.
The training was the push that De Ruiter needed, and she set up her landing page within minutes. The results were incredible. She increased her daily email subscribers by 75%
“I didn’t have any amazing results until I set up the landing pages and promoted it a little bit on social media. It was validation that this is a good direction to take my business. It was just mind-boggling,” says De Ruiter.
De Ruiter even used the AWeber Landing Page Builder to create a thank you page people see right after they complete the form on her landing page. A thank you page only takes a matter of minutes to create, and it makes a lasting impression with your new subscribers.
A question to ask yourself: Is there an AWeber feature or task you need help doing? AWeber has on-demand classes you can view at your convenience.
Use email to seal the deal.
Email is considered one of the most effective digital marketing channels for building awareness and increasing conversion. But the foundation of any effective email is a strong email list grown with an email signup form embedded into your landing pages, website, or on your social media platforms.
De Ruiter uses social media to introduce people to her brand and collect their contact information, but email is how she connects and builds a relationship with her audience. On average, De Ruiter has an over 40% open rate and 8% click-through rate on the email content she shares with her audience.
In her email, “Monthly Moo’s Letter”, she shares stories from her farm, special offers, and upcoming class information.
De Ruiter used email to invite her email list to participate in her free virtual cheesemaking class. After the free class, she asked her audience for feedback on how to improve the class. As a thank you for providing feedback, users were entered into a drawing for a $10 gift card.
De Ruiter incorporates best practices by making sure her list is healthy and engaged. If someone on her list is not actively engaging with the newsletter, she reaches out to make sure they still want to receive it. If she does not get a response from the re-engagement campaign, she unsubscribes them and removes them for her list. As you can see from the example below, a re-engagement campaign only requires a few sentences and a link to track responses.
De Ruiter has unusual hours working on the farm, so she loves that email gives her audience the option to contact her through email at the time and place that works for them. And that she can respond to them when she has downtime from working on the farm.
Question to ask yourself: When was the last time you reached out to your inactive subscribers?
Test out an idea by offering a free class
Before charging a fee for her online class, De Ruiter offered it for free to test out the idea and work out any kinks. She was able to get feedback from attendees on how to improve the class.
Don’t let perfection be the enemy of done. It is easy to get overwhelmed in the details instead of asking and assessing if the test you are doing could be a business pivot.
To launch a free class, you don’t need an elaborate setup. De Ruiter hosted her class in her kitchen using WebinarJam.
Pre-sell online classes while you work out the logistics
If you need income right away, consider pre-selling online classes. DeRuiter is currently pre-selling virtual classes she will be hosting in the following month.
She is specific on the check out page — explaining what is included and when the class will be released. Based on feedback from the free course she presented, De Ruiter opted for an on-demand recorded class versus a live presentation. The pre-recorded option allows students to pause the video and follow along at their own pace.
De Ruiter used email to introduce the paid virtual classes to her audience and had immediate results that confirmed she was on the right track.
“I didn’t know what to expect because I’ve never offered something like this online. I sent the newsletter out on a Friday and by the weekend already had sales. I was ecstatic,” says De Ruiter.
Expand your offering to increase revenue streams.
Connecting with your audience is critical to understanding how you might expand your offerings. DeRuiter took her business to the next level by offering the supplies that her students needed to make the cheese. DeRuiter offers a base kit, deluxe kit, and an ingredient refill option.
The idea for the kits came from audience feedback. A common question from the live classes was, “Where do we get the ingredients to make the cheese at home?” So while the kits certainly increase revenue, they also fulfill a need for students to help source the ingredients that they need to make cheese at home.
De Ruiter has found that 50% of her students upgrade from the base kit to the deluxe package. An additional 10% purchase the refill kit before they even take the online class.
Get time back in your day with virtual products and services.
De Ruiter is married to a third generation dairy farmer and works every other weekend tending her herd. Before offering virtual classes, she would be teaching classes on alternate weekends, which did not leave her any personal time of her own.
“So by using AWeber and transitioning over to online on-demand classes, I’m able to enjoy free time with my family and still earn an income,” says De Ruiter.
Create your own landing page and start sending emails today!
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