COLUMBUS — Whether you’ve got 12 cows or 1,200 cows, the Internet can be a valuable marketing tool, according to auctioneer Kevin Wendt.
With more than 65 percent of Americans using the Internet regularly, the Web is not just a passing phase.
“The World Wide Web is here to stay,” Wendt said during an educational seminar at the Ohio Beef Expo March 14-16.
Aside from auctioneering, Wendt owns and operates a Web site devoted to selling beef cattle embryos and genetics.
The 2003 U.S. Census found that beef producers spend one to five hours online every week. That’s a lot of extra exposure the goods and services on your farm could be getting, Wendt said.
To build a Web site, the auctioneer recommends consulting with a Web designer. Use color, images and personal logos to make the site stand out, he added.
While getting a Web site started is a step in the right direction, it’s not the end of the road. Once you get it going, you’ve got to keep it updated, Wendt said.
It’s also important to make the right tools available. There should be segments of your Web site devoted to services, herd sires, donors/cow herd, cattle for sale, winners, performance data and contact information.
“You’ve got to do a little bit of everything,” Wendt said.
Online marketing is useful, the auctioneer said, but producers can’t stop there. Print marketing is still necessary.
Printed material reaches those who don’t have Internet access and it can be helpful in driving people to your Web site, according to Wendt.
One of the benefits of online marketing is video. It’s inexpensive and easier than shooting a traditional photo, said B.J. Eick of Livestock Promotions, a Web site aimed at comprehensive livestock marketing.
Even though not everyone can get a great photo, it’s simple to shoot a video to be edited.
“I think you’re going to see a lot more videos here in the next few years,” Eick added.
Videos are a benefit for buyers, too, as it allows them to see how the animals move.
In an age where it’s all about convenience, Wendt said the Internet opens a new world to farmers who live off the beaten path.
Instead of driving for miles and miles to buy or sell an animal, the Web allows producers to conduct business without ever leaving the farm.