The Dexter Cattle Journal

6What image comes to mind when you think about advertising signs? Is it the billboard over the highway, the pink and yellow sign in front of the general store, or the letters of the Hollywood landmark? It doesn't matter which sign you remember, because each of these signs did their job. They caught your attention and embedded their message into your brain. And maybe you'll pass that information on to someone else.

Not only will a great farm sign get you noticed, but it lets people find you more easily. How do most people give directions in the country without a GPS? Go to the first corner, make a right, you'll see a big red barn with an apple sign on it… and so forth. Regardless where you are, people use landmarks to find and remember their way around.

But there are more practical "business" reasons for having a good farm sign...

Why do you need signage for your farm business?
Quoting from the US Small Business Administration:

There are many important reasons and benefits to having an effective signage campaign for your farm or business.


  1. Signage is the most effective, yet least expensive, form of advertising.
  2. A sign is the only form of advertising that your company owns; it is a fixed investment for a permanent asset. All other types of advertising are temporary and are repeated expenses.
  3. Signage is also on the job 24 hours a day, 365 days a year promoting and advertising your business.


Customers are continuing to become more mobile, the average vehicle is driven 220 miles per week, for a total of nearly 3 trillion miles of road traveled per year for the entire country, this all equals out to an average of over 540 hours of driver time per year per driver. These drivers constitute a huge audience to your signage marketing. In addition, an average of 18% of households are relocating per year, which decreases the amount of potential repeat customers. So an effective signage marketing strategy can help drive new customers in the door.

"During a two-year study, 165 independent small businesses surveyed between 15 and 30 of their first-time customers or clients to determine what prompted their first visit. In all, 2,475 new customers were surveyed. When asked the question "How did you learn about us?" fifty percent responded that the company's signage was their first exposure to the business. Hence, a business's signage can be estimated to generate between 15 percent and 45 percent of a small firm's revenue."

Sure the stats above were gathered from brick and mortar businesses not farms but the take home is the same - good signs work- and you need one!

Elements of an effective farm sign?

An effective signage marketing campaign can help bring customers through the door (or to the farm). When coming up with a good signage campaign you want to keep a few simple ideals in place.


  1. Be specific A customized sign can give just the right message in the right place at the right time.
  2. Keep it simple The message on your sign should be clear and concise, don't bog down a sign with too much information or it could get simply ignored for being too wordy. We use a general rule of thumb with a 5 second rule, if the message can be conveyed in less than five seconds than you're good.
  3. Call to action Consider using a good call to action, something like a slogan that would drive people to enter your business. (Even if its just a warm "Welcome")
Design tips



  1. Branding or Logo
    Branding, usually through a logo, is how people remember you. What company do you think of when you see the yellow Golden Arches M? Most people connect the Golden Arches branding to the McDonald's™ fast food restaurant. It doesn't matter how small or large your farm is, you want branding recognition included in your sign. You don't need to get crazy with your logo or branding. In fact the more simple - the better. You just want some graphic element that uniquely represents you or your farm, like a logo, or an image that helps to communicating what you do, even if just a simple silhouette of a cow.

  2. Color
    You need to make sure the background colors, lettering, and images flow easily together. You want your farm sign colors to enhance each other and be appealing to one's eye. Some shock in color can be effective to gain attention, but you do not want so much color it becomes a distraction. A distracting sign is an unread sign.

  3. Readability and Contrast
    Can someone read your sign easily as they go by? You want to make sure the words and images are clear, simple, and enhance each other. Simple cleaner fonts are easier to read quickly. Elegant curly fonts may not be readable to someone driving by.

    You don't want competition within your sign. You also don't want so much information on your sign it doesn't get read. Remember, people who see your sign are driving by. They need to be able to read your sign in a glance.

    When it comes to signs... size does matter. The sign itself needs to be the right size for your farm area. Large enough to read, but not so large it makes the farm not look inviting. Lettering needs to be seen quickly from a distance. Keep in mind when choosing lettering size that a 10-inch letter can be read about 100 feet away.

Change it up - think seasonal and keep it current


Having a portion of your signage changeable is very effective at keeping your sign noticed by "the regulars".
Drive past the same sign every day and eventually you do not even notice it. That's why many businesses utilize sale banners or some other way of breaking up the "same 'ol". Change draws attention. How about, "It's Harvest time - pre-order delicious Dexter beef today", and do not forget the important follow-up sign "All Sold out - thanks neighbors!"   
The information on these seasonal add-on signs are designed to be "shared" in conversation.
"Hey, I saw that Farm on the Hill sold out of beef already." 
"Farm on the Hill? who is that?"
"Oh, you know that family that sells those little cows. They are called Dexters"
Oh the beauty of word of mouth advertising!
A great farm sign does not need to cost a lot of money. Depending on your objectives and message you are trying to convey, even a simple DIY-homemade sign (if done right) can serve you well. Bottom line... if you do not have a farm sign already.. you need to get one.