For Ham Farms and Produce 2016 was a year of change and growth. New hires, new customers, and new babies highlighted our growth in 2016. As a result of this growth, we were able to implement positive changes that helped us achieve our goal of engagement, unification, and expansion. This year we were able to increase engagement with our customers, unify our ‘new’ brands into one organization and grow the sweet potato market both domestically and worldwide.
In my rebranding press release, which you can find here, I explained that our new website, logo, and communication efforts were all aimed at engaging our customers. After launching the website and implementing the aforementioned communication strategy, I am happy to report that we accomplished our engagement goal. We now have over 600 subscribers to our weekly newsletter and a 100% response rate to all of our customer communications through our website. Another aspect of this strategy was a stronger social media presence. Through increased social media presence, we were able to boost Facebook likes and shares by 300% as well as, amplify the awareness of the sweet potato market and North Carolina agriculture.
Prior to 2016, Ham Farms, Ham Produce, Yamco, Natural Blend Vegetable Dehydration, and Covington Sweet Potato Vodka were referred to as five different companies. With our new hires and marketing strategy, we were able to effectively communicate the unification of these companies. Now it is a common occurrence for a customer to order both fresh and processed sweet potatoes from us.
As a company rooted in Eastern North Carolina, Ham Farms has a Tar Heel State responsibility to continue the growth of the Sweet Potato Market domestically and even worldwide. We take this responsibility very seriously. In 2016, we added numerous new customers and extended our reach into half a dozen new states and five new countries. Not only did we add new customers, but our retention rate with our current customers is the highest it has ever been. Pride was a major factor in accomplishing this goal in 2016. Growth in sales is not just the product of good salesmen or women; it is a result of the pride of quality work from the planters, to the pickers, to the shippers. That is why, “no matter the destination, we take pride in delivering all our products from our family farm to your table”.
2016 was a great year for us indeed.
While we achieved our three goals of engagement, unification, and expansion, our work does not stop there. Stay tuned! In a couple of weeks, I will introduce our strategic goals for 2017 and a roadmap to success in the New Year.