[our 200th post!!] Marketing Lessons From Feeding Birds

5 years illo

A few years back, we moved to a home in White Bear Township, Minnesota. Peering out the picture windows that lined our kitchen, I noticed a line with a hook hanging from the oak tree out back, and guessed that the previous owners must have had bird feeders. So, with visions of colorful songbirds flocking to our yard, I purchased a feeder, filled it and hung it out on the hook.

And waited. Three long weeks. Until finally, a chickadee stopped by for a snack. I was beside myself with joy!

But onslaught of birds, it was not. It took quite a while for other birds to discover my humble feeder. Eventually, they came. I added specialty feeders, a variety of seed types, and a water bath. My yard flourished with activity.

Until a raccoon came. This big son-of-a-gun was so bold, it’d just sit under my feeders, chomping down the seed, and wouldn’t flinch when I stood on the deck and waved my arms at it. At night, it attacked my feeders, ripping them apart to get at the seed. I had no choice but to let all of my feeders sit empty until he went away.

When I finally deemed it safe to fill my feeders again, my birds were gone. Until finally, a single chickadee stopped by. . .

I got to thinking about the experience and realized that I’d learned some lessons from feeding birds that apply to marketing, too. For example: 

Have Patience. Even though I had the right location, feeder and seed, it took time for birds to come. But I stuck it out, and you should, too—it takes time to build a business! Have a marketing plan in place when you launch and give it time to work—the customers will come. Make changes to your marketing, products, or services once you’re able to understand customers’ purchasing habits and are able to get feedback.

Market to Your Target Audiences. Providing specialized seed mixes in specialized feeders allowed me to attract specific varieties of birds to my yard. Understanding your target audiences and marketing to them directly through your product selection and branding will help you to attract the customers you want (and even discourage customers who aren’t a good fit for what you have to offer).

Be Consistent. I was most successful at attracting birds when I provided a consistent source of seed. Letting my feeders sit empty, even for a short time, resulted in a loss of visitors. It reminded me of the importance of supplying a consistent marketing message. Imagine the raccoon represents a hurdle in your marketing efforts (i.e. becoming too busy, feeling overconfident in your presence in the marketplace, or quitting your marketing efforts due to expense). No matter the hurdle, stopping your marketing efforts results in a loss of customers (existing or new).

If you have questions about your marketing efforts, feel free to give us a call (612-226-5717) or check out our blog for some great resources. And if you have questions about feeding birds, by all means visit the folks at All Seasons Wild Bird Store. They’ll get you set up!

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