A good farmer knows that if he wants to get the best yield he needs to rotate his crops every year. Planting the same thing year after year actually drains the soil of important nutrients. So to keep yields high, the crops are rotated.

Right about now you are probably thinking, “Well that is nice to know if I ever decide to close my business and buy a farm”. But don’t leave yet! Business owners can learn an important marketing lesson from farmers.

In many ways marketing is a lot like farming. We plant seeds, carefully nurture our seedlings and hope for a good crop of sales at some point. We try one strategy, and if it works we try it again and again and again. The problem is eventually the yield starts to decline.

The first time you send an email, the open rate is high. Many people who have never received an email newsletter or update from you take a moment to check it out. They may even click through and read the additional information on your website. After several issues however, interest starts to decline.

So what do you do? Do you abandon email marketing because it isn’t producing the same high yields it used to? Well as someone who has been using email consistently month in and month out for 13 years, you won’t hear that advice from me.

You do, however need to shake it up a bit. So here are a few ideas on how to rotate your crops and add a bit of fertilizer to increase your yield:

Plant in another field.

Take some of that informative content you have been creating for your newsletter and share it somewhere else. Consider doing a content trade with someone else who sells to your customers but isn’t a direct competitor. Plumbers and roofers both want to reach homeowners, florists and caterers have a shared interest in brides and wedding parties, and lawyers and accountants each have something of value to share with the other’s clients. In return, invite them to plant a little content in your field too.

Expand your fields.

If you have been attending the same networking group look for another event to add to your month. I am not suggesting you abandon your core, but attending other events adds two types of nutrients to your marketing soil. First you meet new people who may have an interest in your product or service. Second, and even more important, you may find ways to make connections between some of the new people you meet and those you have long time relationships with. The benefit of these introductions will strengthen your entire network.

Try an entirely different crop.

Maybe it is time for a little direct mail or online advertising. If your web traffic is declining or your social media program is falling a little flat, consider a well-planned, focused paid program. It may be just the extra boost your overall marketing needs to introduce your product or service to a wider audience or send a more focused message.

It is not too late to plant seeds for a better second half. Check out some of the suggestions in our marketing toolkit.