Nestled in the peaceful countryside outside Fort Valley in central Georgia, Pearson Farm is home to a 135-year-old family farming business that’s been passed down through multiple generations of Pearsons — five generations so far, in fact, with more likely to grow into the role. And, beloved for more than a century by local residents, the family business’s primary crops have long been peaches (sold in season) and pecans, with ancillary offerings including cookies, cakes, pies, condiments, gift tins and corporate gifts.
Pearson Farm was looking to extend its sales territory beyond the local area, and it began offering its goods on the internet in the early 2010s. After five years of handling its own online sales efforts, the family business decided to bring in professional marketing help to allow the family to maintain a focus on what it does best — growing delicious Georgia peaches and pecans.
Growing produce, growing sales
Pearson Farm leadership approached The Brandon Agency in 2018, asking that we help grow the business’s online sales, increase brand awareness, and boost the overall traffic coming to the physical farm and to the Pearson Farm website. And our team was eager to dive in right away! (OK, full disclosure — we may have enjoyed a few tasty samples from the farm before we really got to work. Did you know that pecans are considered a superfood and are loaded with protein, antioxidants, minerals and fiber? But we digress …)
After performing an in-depth analysis of Pearson Farm’s current website and marketing efforts, we quickly identified a handful of strong opportunities for improvement. The farm had an incredible story to tell, an authentic and charismatic spokesperson in family patriarch Al Pearson, and a superior product. They did not have a giant, corporate marketing budget, so our plan was to spread the word in the most efficient ways possible.
Next, our team members put their heads together to develop a few valuable insights that could help us move the brand forward. First, we recognized that Georgia peaches are renowned nationwide as some of the best on the market, and consumers all over the country want them. Further, Pearson Farm simply grows some of the best around. On the other hand, consumers who want pecans have plenty of options, and pecans are generally seen as a commodity.
Seeking to further understand the Pearson Farm consumer, we polled past and current customers and discovered that the business’s peach customers were a completely different audience from its pecan customers — and many weren’t even aware that Pearson Farm sold pecans. This provided a potentially profitable insight: By transferring the strong brand equity from peaches over to pecans and continuing to cross-promote products, we could help to dramatically grow sales outside of peach season. With peach season running only a few months, this presented a large opportunity.
A strategy for success: Pick the low-hanging fruit — and spread the word
Knowing there was a need to generate consumer awareness, we poured our efforts into social media, email marketing strategies (and database growth), and social media advertising. We leaned hard into peach season (generally May through mid-August), and then worked even harder to turn those customers into pecan fans.
The results — a bumper crop of online sales, and a healthy harvest of other impactful marketing-related measurables. Among the gains TBA was able to help Pearson Farm produce:
- 486% growth in annual pecan sales
- 300% increase in total annual sales
- 500% growth of Pearson Farm’s email database
- 296% increase in sales attributed to social media
- 247% increase in Pearson Farm’s Facebook following
- 88,000 impressions on Pinterest
Harvesting added awareness and increased loyalty
When our partnership began, Pearson Farm’s had abandoned its email marketing efforts after seeing limited results. We feared the list had grown outdated and largely unusable — but after an email template redesign that incorporated strong visuals featuring an appetite appeal, we were pleasantly surprised to see a substantial spike in sales from this audience. We focused on aggressively growing the email database and in continues to an extremely engaged group of customers.
Social media offered another great opportunity to share Pearson Farm’s charming and authentic story. We worked to establish and maintain a consistent brand tone and brand voice in line with the Pearson family’s values, and we grew the brand’s social appeal by sharing family recipes. We even helped plan a video series called “Tree Talk” that featured Al Pearson sharing fun and informative stories from the farm. Further, beginning with a limited paid social media budget that we focused on spending during the peak seasons, we achieved strong enough initial results to eventually layer in paid search to fuel even more growth. At the end of the day, we created a wealth of revenue growth for a happy client with a growing business.
Could your brand use the help of a crew of experienced marketing professionals to boost its online sales — and ultimately its bottom line? At The Brandon Agency, our team of certified brand strategists and data-driven marketing experts has helped clients in an array of industries boost the effectiveness of their marketing efforts in both the digital and physical spaces. Further, TBA’s fully integrated marketing firm can cover the full spectrum of your brand’s marketing needs, including brand strategy, web design, creative, media, e-commerce, analytics, social media, SEO, conversion rate optimization, and more. To get started with help ranging from simple website analysis to a comprehensive strategy tailored to boost the performance of all of your marketing campaigns, contact us today.