David and Stacia Kohler's regular hay customers know by 7 a.m. if they'll be baling hay on a particular day, thanks to email newsletters that help clients gain access to quality hay out of the field.
The Kohlers, of Westerville, OH, like this quick, efficient method of marketing hay.
“We send out our email newsletter when we're baling and some customers email back immediately,” David Kohler explains. “I usually get phone calls all through the day from people who have received the newsletter and are either coming to pick up several hundred bales right from the field, or are asking for delivery from that day's baling.”
The newsletter is sent to nearly 80 customers, most within a 50-mile radius of Kohler Farms.
“This method works a lot better for me than putting ads in the paper,” says Kohler. “People seem to be very ready to buy promptly. When I spent money to put ads in the paper in the past, I would only get a few responses.”
The newsletters start going out around May 1, kicking off with a greeting that lets customers know it's almost time to put up hay and directing them to the farm's Web site, www.kohlerfarms.com.
Thanks to the newsletter, the Kohlers often have all their hay sold shortly after it's baled. All 20,000 bales they produced last summer were sold by September.
The majority of the Kohlers' business is with horse clients.
“Our customers range from people with one to 30 horses,” Kohler says.
The farm's most popular hay products are 60- to 70-lb bales of timothy, orchardgrass-alfalfa and timothy-alfalfa and 50- to 60-lb bales of reed canarygrass mixed with orchardgrass. The Kohlers also sell alfalfa to meat goat breeders, and orchardgrass-alfalfa to alpaca owners, plus they operate a 40-horse boarding stable.