Business

Member News - ASAP Acquires Fawcett Tractor Supply

In National Tractor Parts Dealer Association News, All States Ag Parts (ASAP) has acquired Fawcett Tractor Supply of St. Mary's, Ontario giving the company a ASAP Logo new outlet in Canada. The acquisition will allow ASAP to market ag parts to Canadian farms, ranches and dairies and it is their 13th retail location.

Asked about the acquisition John Dyke, CEO of All States Ag Parts said, "This is a great acquisition for us. We currently have 10 salvage yards, but this will be our first location in Canada. Up until now we were not able to serve the Canadian farmers with the prices and product selection we would like by shipping from the U.S. The Fawcett operation will allow us to ship more quickly and at a much more economical rate to farmers throughout Canada.”

Dyke added that the Fawcett family will continue to manage the St. Mary’s Ontario operation and all current employees will be offered employment with All States Ag Parts.

Fawcett Logo“Being part of All States Ag Parts is a great opportunity to improve our ability to take care of customers.” said Jeff Fawcett, “We’ll have access to our current inventory, but also the inventory from 9 additional salvage yards along with hundreds of thousands of new aftermarket parts. There’s not a part that we shouldn’t be able to supply.”

When contacted by NTPDA Jeff Fawcett added that he is looking forward to the new opportunity and will be with us in Phoenix for NTPDA20 in January

The St. Mary’s, ON location will continue to operate under the Fawcett Tractor Supply name.

If you've got NTPDA Member News make sure to share it with us: Michael@NTPDA.com

 


We REALLY Want You!!

OK, so you missed out on the free registration last month. Don't be sad. We get it...everybody is busy. But wait!  There's more!  Early But Wait Theres More
registration ends on November 30 and what does that mean for you?  Simple we'll knock off $150 bucks from your NTPDA20 Registration!  Rather than spending $450 (after 12/31) each registration is just $300.

Look, we really want you to join us for the business opportunities, networking and fun we'll have in Phoenix. Registration is easy and right here

Over the past week we've been on the phone with a number of our members who have already registered. The number one reason they've made plans to attend in January?  "Increase business!" and at the end of the day...isn't that what this is all about? Getting to know each other better and having more access to our suppliers and our fellow members. Sure, we'll have a great time, (just like we do every year) but the bottom line is YOUR bottom line. After all, we exist to bring value to our members...all our members!

So, don't delay. Register here for NTPDA20. Watch our Facebook Page for regular updates and if you use Twitter you can find us @NTPDA

And, yes, we'll keep bugging you because we've got a great line up of events and business education.  Plus...some special opportunities for you and your business to get noticed that you can use well after the Annual Conference and Trade Show. We'll be recording radio and video spots that you can take back with you...to promote your business on your social media channels and if you use radio spots back home.  The value of that exceeds $1,000 a crack.

Hope to see you in Phoenix in January!


Twitter Basics

Several weeks ago we shared with you that we've done a "social media audit" of our NTPDA members. Just to see what social media platforms they are using and what we might do to better help our members communicate with their customers. We've already looked at Facebook now a peek at Twitter. Twitter Logo 2019

We found a minority of our members on the Twitter Platform. Most likely that's because they may not be aware of how many people in agriculture are already there and think it's not worthwhile. Nothing could be further from the  truth. If you go to Twitter and search for #Farming #Agriculture #Harvest19 you'll find a host of farmers and ranchers there talking about their experiences. You'll also find some of the major equipment retail centers using Twitter to inform folks about their offerings, pricings, etc.

In other words: Twitter is a happening place.

So, let's set out some basics for Twitter use...ready?

  • Have a Plan - Just like with Facebook you need to have a plan for Twitter. What you want is to share information that farmers and ranchers find useful. That is a BUNCH better than using the platform simply for selling stuff. So, think about what you know about parts and agriculture that others might find useful and then create a calendar of what to talk about;
  • Your Business Blog - We've said for YEARS that every business should have a business blog that is attached to your website. That gives you more power from search engines AND you get to tell YOUR story in your own words. But then...what do you do with your blog?  Share it on Twitter. Again if you are sharing information farmers and ranchers find valuable...you win;
  • When to Tweet - We've always thought that the best times to Tweet is when your customers are active on their computers...makes sense right? However with so many farmers and ranchers using their phones to interact that means your customer isn't tied down to a computer screen. He or she might be waiting at the grain elevator or on the combine scrolling through social media and making comments.  Bottom line is that if you are active so too is your customer;
  • How to Tweet - You can jump on Twitter and create an account for FREE. However we think it's wise to purchase a subscription to a system that will allow you to manage your Twitter stream more effectively. There are several out there. We've used Hootsuite for years. It gives you the flexibility to follow others, schedule your Tweets and see what is going on at a glance;
  • Use Images - People respond to images more than just words. Make sure your Tweets have images most of the time; 
  • Tweet Often - Twitter is like a message board that constantly is moving. If you Tweet, say at 6:00AM but not again until Noon you've lost six hours of "eyeballs". We recommend tweeting at least eight to twelve times a day. By using your automated system that's pretty easy to do;
  • Don't Link to Facebook - OK...we know some of you do but your Tweet shows up like this: "facebook.com7476982" or something like that. The reader has NO idea what you've posted. Facebook and Twitter are two very different animals. If you are going to link to Facebook make sure you post what it's about;
  • Re-Tweeting - One of the best ways to engage is by retweeting posts you think are interesting and/or valuable. And, as a favor, always RT our Tweets...please;
  • Using the Hashtag - Once you've been on Twitter for a bit you'll get the hang of Hashtags. It's how to search for something or to keep a topic fresh. You can even set your search for a # Hashtag. For example, like in the opening of this post... #Agriculture put that into Twitter and see what people are talking about when it comes to topics.  This is really handy when you are at a trade show and there is a Hashtag for the event. NTPDA uses #NTPDA20 as the Hashtag for our upcoming annual meeting in Phoenix.

There you have it...some very basic thoughts about Tweeting for Business. As always let us know if you've got questions or comments. You can leave those here on this post!  Thanks for reading and being an NTPDA Member! 


Right to Repair Makes National News

The National Tractor Parts Dealer Association support the concept of "Right to Repair". Recently, during a campaign stop in Iowa a Sestak Farm Iowapresidential candidate spoke about "Right to Repair". Here is that story

Last week Insight on Business the News Hour was covering 2020 presidential candidate Admiral Joe Sestak (right in the photo) at a farm just outside of Des Moines, Iowa. Sestak was there to outline his agricultural policy. One of the highlights of his presentation was the "Right to Repair" issue. Following the talk the Business News Hour reported the following story: (To listen to this clip, click on the player.)

Right to Repair Clip NTPDA Sestak 2019


It is impressive that "Right to Repair" is on the radar screen of at least one of the 2020 presidential contenders. NTPDA is not endorsing any candidate for public office. We are simply sharing what was heard recently in Iowa and then shared across the county.


Social Media & Business - Facebook

Welcome back to our ongoing series of posts regarding social media and business. Recently we conducted an audit of our members and what social media Facebook Thumbs Up tools they seem to prefer when attempting to reach their target audience. That led us to this attempt to help our members, and really anybody else reading, to learn some best practices and "how to" engage consumers with social media. Our first piece on this was "The Business Blog" and you can read that here.

When we looked at our membership the social media platform of choice seems to be Facebook. That's no surprise because the social media giant had, as of
the second quarter of 2019 a bit over 2.4 billion active users!

Oh But The Changes

Perhaps you've noticed that, over the past couple of years, your Facebook posts haven't been getting the traction they once received. Three years ago you could post something about your business and you might get hundreds of impressions and interactions. Today that number has shrunk. Why? Because Facebook wants you to pay for your content to be seen. It's a smart business decision and one of the reasons that Facebook stock is, today, trading at $183.70 a share. So, what can you do to make sure your content stands out on Facebook?  

Video singleVideo and Facebook

In a recent study of over 777 million Facebook posts it was found that video remains the number one driver of consumer engagement. On average video posts on Facebook rack up at least 59% more engagement than other types. Looking at the content of the top 500 Facebook posts of 2018 we find that 81% of them were backed by video. Only 18% were backed by static images.

So, it's a clear indication that you should be spending some time posting short video clips about your business. And, because video is so easy to shoot...why not. Plus you don't need all kinds of fancy gear to make this happen. You can start with your cell  phone video. (We'll have an entire blog about that coming up.)

Reactions to Facebook Posts

The same study looked at reactions to Facebook posts and found that emotion rules. People interact with content they find funny or inspirational. That doesn't mean that everybody loves funny or inspirational content and you have to be careful, given the social climate we find ourselves in, what you post. Remember the goal is to polish your brand. It's always best to know what your target demographic finds engaging...which really is rule number one when it comes to social media marketing.

Prime Example of Engaging Content Norfolk Police Lip Sync

Last year the Norfolk Police Department received more than 3.2 million engagements and grew their audience to well-over 180,000 fans. How? The Lip Sync Challenge. Here is a link to their video. But, promise to come back!

OK, that's pretty cool and I'm not suggesting that you get your crew together for a lip sync challenge but what consumers want to see is the human side of your business. Sure you might be selling an axle but what else goes on in your company that is engaging and fun?

How Too - It's Big

We've got a couple of members that do some excellent "How to" videos. And, according to the study this stuff works well too. When you are helping your customers find ways to fix something not only do you get the credit but it's likely that post will be shared with others. I know you have some "fixes" that could benefit others.  It's not always about "selling" but it is about connecting.

Behind the Scenes

Engage your customers in the "behind the scenes" of what goes on in your business. People buy from people they know, like and trust. You've got to have some great stories that you can record and then share. Right?  It takes work but it really does work.

This post has already gotten a bit long...so let's break it off here and next time some suggestions as to how you can take some great video with excellent sound on a budget you can live with.  

Thanks for reading!

Michael Libbie, a long time member of the National Tractor Parts Dealership Association, creates content for our association. If you wish to comment, feel free. And, here is a link to that 2019 Study of Facebook in case you want a deeper dive. 


Social Media and Business - The Business Blog

In an earlier post for the National Tractor Parts Dealer Association I wrote about doing an "audit" of our member sites and their use of social media for business. This is a continuing series that I hope will help our membership fully understand, appreciate and utilize the power of social media to promote their Blog Image
business and sell more products and services. Each post will cover a social media example that you may wish to incorporate into your marketing efforts. Let's go!

The Business Blog

This can be the building block and cornerstone of everything you do regarding social media content. Creating a blog for your business allows you to do a number of things like:

  • Telling Your Story - Nobody knows your business like you. Writing a blog about your business allows you to share your story with customers old and new. The best thing is that you have control over the story line and that is important.
  • Improving Search Engine Finds - If you have a static website, something that doesn't often change, your site will be overlooked by the search engine algorithms that are constantly seeking new content. If your site doesn't change search engines will pass it by and if you can't be found you can't do business.
  • Giving the "Back-Story" of Business - Look, your customers know what you do but so many are interested in how you do...what you do. With a business blog you can tell real stories about how you've impacted customer needs. You can even use the words of your customers to polish your brand.
  • Creating Content for Other Platforms - By writing short blogs and then using other social media tools to point customers back to your website becomes a win for connecting those tools back to your business.

OK...but "How do I go about getting this done?" I hear your pain and frustration. Let's start with the basics:

  • Find A Blog Host - This might involve getting your IT people involved. NTPDA uses Typepad as our source but there are many more. If you are using a WordPress design they have a blog "plug in". Costs for blog hosting range from free to $20 a month. It's an investment if you use it.
  • Incorporate the Blog - Once you've found a comfortable format have your IT professional or "webmaster" incorporate it onto the homepage of your website. That way the first few lines are always seen and you are always updating your site. You can see how that is done on our NTPDA.com site.
  • Know Your Audience - You know who your customers are and who you want to reach. Keep your blog posts directed to your target. And, remember this isn't always about "selling" it's about telling a story that meets the interests of those you want to reach.
  • Create a Calendar - This is the strategic part of blogging. If you write it down, it gets done. Let's say you want to write one blog post a week. Set aside that time on your calendar and write a draft in a word document. Keep it to under 400 words. 
  • Take Notes - I often hear, "But, I don't know what to write about!" That's why you should be taking notes between blog posts. What happened over the  past week that folks might find interesting? Jot it down and then go back to it during the time you've set aside for writing.
  • Use Photos - People respond to images. Incorporate photos into your post. Once you get it going you might be able to embed video. The creative side of this doesn't have many limits.

I know it sounds like work...and it is...but if you want to expand your sales and polish your brand the Business Blog can go a long way to that goal.

Thanks for reading and if you've got comments or questions feel free to drop them into our comment section.

Michael

 

Michael P. Libbie is a marketing professional who has been a member of NTPDA for nearly 20 years and has been the author of many of our blog posts.

 

 

 


Social Media and Business

Over the years, according to our count, we've done maybe six or seven seminars about business and social media. We've had our NTPDA members speak to the Speaker Seminarissue and brought in some social media experts. It was all meant help our members better engage with their customers and, in the end, sell more product.

Last week we thought it might be interesting to do a social media assessment of our regular members. You know, see what social media channels they are on, what they are doing with social media and get an idea of the utilization. It was very informative. We looked at blogging, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

The results were mixed.

We didn't find many of our regular members who blogged. There were some that use YouTube and fewer who used Twitter or Instagram. It seems the social media platform of choice is Facebook with over 60% of our members engaged there.

We next looked at how often our members posted and what they posted about. We found, not surprisingly, that most were featuring products for sale and some special sales they were having. Very few members who posted on Facebook posted much else. The YouTube users, and there were a couple, did a Social Media Images July 2019mixture of "behind the scenes" and "how to" videos and many of those were done well.

We did find lots of Twitter accounts that were started a couple of years ago but then abandoned after only a few dozen tweets. Some members link their Facebook posts to Twitter so when they post on Facebook those posts automatically go right to their Twitter feed.

It was enough data to get us to thinking that maybe it's time to do a refresher, here on our Blog, about best social media practices. What each platform is good at and what they should be used for. You see, each really has a different audience.  

So, that's what we're going to do.  Over the next several weeks we'll post some helpful thoughts about each platform and offer up some best practices. We're hoping it will help and we promise not to go too deep into the weeds.

In the meantime if you've got thoughts about the use of social media for business let us know with a comment here. Just go to the comment section and post your thoughts about social media. We'll not make those public because, well not everybody wants to air their laundry. Right?

Thank you for being a member of NTPDA. We hope you'll find this information valuable. 


On To Sioux Falls

This weekend your Board, friends and family and other members will be in Sioux Falls, South Dakota for our Summer Meeting. We've got much on our plate from Sioux Falls Rapids Board decisions to a site tour of All States Ag Parts and, yes, some socializing. In advance of our trip to South Dakota we reached out to our Board Members and asked this question: "What is the highest value you receive by being a member of the National Tractor Parts Dealer Association?"

To a person we were told that the networking and relationships that are built at any of these NTPDA events more than make up for any cost of becoming a member. One told us, "I can share with you that business coming to us because of our many relationships is 25 times that of what my membership costs are." That is a pretty good endorsement.

Other members told us they learn new things, find new products and compare ideas to help their business grow.

This weekend we'll be talking about ways in which we can do better when it comes to adding value to an NTPDA Membership including better efforts for outreach to retain existing members and recruit new members.

We just thought you should know. 

Safe travels as you head to Sioux Falls!  Wait...what? Rapids in Sioux Falls?  Yep, and it's a big draw for folks...


Member News from Down Under - Parts Express in Australia

The phone conversation with Mike Winter, president of long-time NTPDA Member Worthington Tractor Parts, Inc. started here when asked about the launch Mike Winter Parts Express July 2019 of their wholesale company, Parts Express scheduled for later this year in Australia: “Any business that doesn’t constantly find ways to improve its level of service to the market is bad news for the longevity of that business.” He went on to say, “Our goal is to build a global brand that will bring high quality parts at affordable prices with great speed and accuracy to the dealerships and repair shops that need them.”

Parts Express has a history of success as a wholesale supplier of agricultural parts in the United States and this launch of strategically placed warehouses throughout Australia will meet the increased demand on the continent. Winter added, “To this point products have been available through Neil’s Parts which we acquired in 1996. Now, with additional resources going to the wholesale market we believe we’ll become a world leader for the agricultural market.”

Bruce Parts Express July 2019Bruce Jacobsma, Director of Parts Express added, “Our goal is to make Parts Express a globally recognized name in the agricultural spare parts market. This operation takes us one step closer to achieving that goal.”

Parts Express currently has four distribution centers in the United States and a bonded warehouse in Germany. Dealerships and repair shops are able to buy direct from Parts Express by using the B2B online website or by phone.

The addition of Parts Express into Australia is all about service, speed and affordability according to Jason Atkins, Jason Atkins Parts Express July 2019General Manager/Director of Neil’s Parts, “When we’re able to deliver quality products that are affordable and do so quickly and accurately our customers and their customers win. This move will deliver that outcome. “

Congratulations to the entire team from NTPDA!

If you’ve got news from your member business, make sure to connect with us at NTPDA@NTPDA.com!

About Parts Express - Parts Express is a leading wholesale supplier of agricultural parts in the United States. It carries a wide range of new aftermarket parts for tractors, combines (headers), grain heads (fronts), cotton pickers, and skid steers. Parts Express stocks parts for most brands of equipment including John Deere, Case IH, Ford, New Holland, Massey Ferguson, AGCO and more. To accommodate the local market, they will be distributing wholesale: CAMSO track systems, Gulf Western Oils, Redekop Mav systems, cane harvester parts and Chamberlain parts in Australia.

Parts Express USA can be reached at 800-247-1237 or online at www.Parts-Exp.com 


Member News - Rock Valley Tractor Parts Expands

We love telling stories about our members and their businesses. Today we've got an update on the expansion going on at Rock Valley Tractor Parts from our Scott NFMS Crop
NTPDA President, Scott Schelling. It's a story with an interesting twist. (You can click on the images to enlarge.)

Last year Rock Valley Tractor Parts acquired a company called Iowa Cutter Supply. It's a forage cutter company that, ironically, Scott helped get off the ground back in 2010. The company is in the niche business of supplying parts for forage harvesting. These are the machines that are most often associated with dairy feed. While most of us are accustomed to grain farming we had
Iowa-cutters-supply-logoto ask Scott about the dairy business. "You would be surprised at the number of dairy cows there are here in Northwest Iowa", said Scott. "It's sort of a secret because of all the attention given to corn and soybeans. In fact, just down the road about 34 miles is Wells Blue Bunny an ice creme giant in the United States." 

Scott tells us that he's selling forage cutter parts not only in the North America but also in Puerto Rico, Central America  and Australia. 

To incorporate the acquisition into Rock Valley Tractor Parts headquarters has required a major expansion of the company footprint.

"We're sort of land-locked here so our expansion plans centered on buying three homes near our offices. We then tore down two of them but the third we Rock Valley House Movecouldn't destroy. You see, it was the first house my wife Vicki and I lived in after we were married."  Rather than demolish their first home Scott had the house picked up and moved about ten miles away. "It wasn't that we were just sentimental; it was a good house and will make a fine home for the buyers."

In its place will be a new 21,000 sq. ft. building that will house Iowa Cutter Supply plus a brand new tractor parts teardown room. "The room we use now was built back in 1968 and tractors have changed just a bit since then. We need the room!"

Rock Valley expansion photosCongratulations to Rock Valley Tractor Parts and we loved the story about the house!

If you've got a story about your business we'd love to showcase it. Drop us a line at NTPDA@NTPDA.com and let's talk.