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Private Lands Stewardship Program

Producer Perspectives

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Direct Marketing Lessons from Glenn Elzinga

by Kate Rasmussen
In 1993, Glenn and Caryl Elzinga began their direct-to-consumer business by selling conventionally raised beef in retail stores, restaurants, and farmers’ markets. Glenn admits these outlets were not financially profitable but were invaluable learning opportunities that would pay off later when the couple began selling beef products online. “Selling in farmers markets helped me understand not only my customers but also what their interests are and helped me conceptualize how they wanted the product presented,” Glenn said. The Elzingas learned there was a demand for organic, grass-fed beef raised on sustainably managed land and that selling locally wasn’t going to pencil out.

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The Elzingas have over 25 years of experience marketing their beef direct to consumers. They created a free guide to help producers start selling their own frozen beef products online in response to the COVID-19 crisis: www.alderspring.com/grassrootstartup/shipping-in-five-days/ Photo credit: Melanie Elzinga
The Elzingas hire range riders to move yearlings through Alderspring’s summer range using a management style they refer to as “in-herding”. Photo credit: Melanie Elzinga
The Elzingas’ land stewardship practices became Alderspring’s online brand identity and differentiated its products in a crowded market. Photo credit: Melanie Elzinga
Consistent work on the website’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is their main online marketing strategy. SEO increases traffic to a website through search engine results. Photo credit: Linnaea Elzinga
The Elzingas’ land ethic differentiates Alderspring beef and customers are willing to pay a premium for Alderspring organic beef finished on diverse, high-country grasses. Photo credit: Melanie Elzinga
“Selling in farmers markets helped me understand not only my customers but also what their interests are and helped me conceptualize how they wanted the product presented,” Glenn Elzinga. Photo credit: Melanie Elzinga
Glenn’s main recommendations are “understand who you are selling to, test your product on the market, build relationships with customers, and have a great photographer on hand.” Photo credit: Melanie Elzinga
The Elzingas learned there was a demand for organic, grass-fed beef raised on sustainably managed land. Photo credit: Linnaea Elzinga
Glenn and Carol Elzinga run the Alderspring Ranch in May, Idaho with their seven daughters and son-in-law. Photo credit: Linnaea Elzinga
Range riders keep the Alderspring yearlings on fresh, high-quality forage, and manage wolf predation as well as prevent over grazing and damage to riparian areas. Photo credit: Melanie Elzinga
Most Aldersping customers are health conscious, and many suffer from chronic illness and prefer beef raised and finished in a natural, chemical free environment. Photo credit: Melanie Elzinga
The main page of the Alderspring website reflects the ranch's brand identity and reads “Wild wellness. Delivered.” Photo credit: Melanie Elzinga
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