Promoting Your Market

Research from across the U.S. has consistently found that marketing and outreach are among the most important parts of maintaining a successful farmers market. This section highlights tools that can help you promote your market effectively and efficiently. Look through the tabs below to learn more!

Crafting Your Market’s Brand 

Branding a farmers market is a way to carry across the values and goals of the mission statement into the outreach, advertising, and promotion of the market.  

A brand is more than a logo, a font, or a business name; it is the implicit and often subliminal messaging to the customer about what the brand represents. The feelings, imagery, and words conjured up by thinking about a favorite brand are examples of implicit messaging. 

A successful brand encapsulates the story, history, perspective, and values described in the mission statement, evoking a positive emotional response from the customer with the goal of developing trust in the brand, resulting in loyal customers. A brand uses these elements across all market platforms (website, social media, advertising, and signage) typically through print, illustrations, and photography to communicate these messages to customers.   

When developing the brand, think of all the ways that your farmers market is unique. These qualities are what will define and direct how the brand is used. Remember, farmers markets are the ONLY place where shoppers have access to multiple farmers in one location with the opportunity to interact with those responsible for producing the various foods they are purchasing.  

There are many online resources available to help you develop your market’s brand, including those listed below. 

Signs and Logos 

One of the most effective, low-cost opportunities to bring people to your market is the use of signs. Sandwich board directional signs posted around town on market days are very helpful in publicizing the market. Many towns will hang banners across Main Street or throughout the town during market season. Posters in local businesses and tourist attractions can advertise special events. Another advertising opportunity is reader boards for schools, banks, and other visible locations. Consider creating market event bookmarks to be distributed at the local library or inserts in shopping bags at partner retailers or on restaurant countertops. Most signs and flyers can be created at a low cost and then distributed with volunteer labor.  

Creating a market logo for these signs helps build recognition and consumer awareness. You can hold a community contest to design your logo or ask a professional artist to create one. Use your logo on everything the market distributes. From letterheads to t-shirts, aprons and ads, your logo is an effective way to build awareness of your market. 

Below are a few examples of market logos in Montana that do a good job of conveying what is unique about each market:

Red Lodge Farmers Market Logo

Red Lodge Farmers Market Logo

Bozeman Winter Farmers Market Logo

Bozeman Winter Farmers’ Market Logo

Capitol Square Farmers Market Logo

Capitol Square Farmers Market Logo

Social Media 

Social media is a great option for marketing and outreach. It is free, easy to use, and has the capacity to reach a wide audience. Time-sensitive updates about your market can be effectively communicated via social media platforms. Time and location posts on Facebook or Twitter can let customers know (or remind them) when and where they can find the market. Instagram can be a great way to share mouth-watering photos of your market products. Social media can also be a great way to give customers ideas about how to use market products by sharing recipes and gift ideas. Here are a few tips and best practices to keep in mind: 

  • Make sure that social media accounts are linked to your market website and vice versa. You want to make sure it is easy for customers to find you on all social media and marketing channels. 
  • Stay current – post content relevant to upcoming holidays, seasonal produce, etc.  
  • Usual visuals such as photos of products from the market or create colorful posts using free online templates through Canva 
  • Stay Engaged – check your social media accounts regularly so as not to miss any messages. 


Graphic Design for Non-Designers Webinar, Farmers Market Coalition Website
This resource is to help guide market operators on how to use free online web tools like Canva and Adobe Spark to make branded, high-quality graphics for their website, print, social media, and other promotional materials. 

Seven Social Media Tips for Farmers Markets, Wholesome Wave Georgia Website

(direct pdf download)

Social Media for Your Market, Washington State Farmers Market Management Toolkit Website

A Website for Your Market 

Websites can also be a low-cost option for promoting your market. If you find a volunteer with website management skills who is willing to update the website, your only might be your web hosting service. Most farmers markets have embraced the internet as a means of promoting their market and their vendors, be it through a market-related website or a social media account. If you do decide to have a market web page, keep the following in mind:  

  • Post all your critical market information: when, where, time, and rain or shine!  
  • Update weekly with special events and product availability, or include recipes, farmer and customer profiles, and gardening tips. 
  • Set up a vendor page with a list of vendors at the market and their contact information. 
  • List your website on search engines such as Abundant Montana or update your business profile on Google through Google Maps 

Recruit Vendors through Your Website 

Many markets in Montana consistently cite difficulty with recruiting fruit and vegetable vendors – so make it easy on yourself and the vendors and have this information located on your website. Include information about vendor qualifications or requirements and consider making available a downloadable vendor application and rules sheet so potential vendors can get all the information easily in one place.  


Willimantic Farmers’ Market Website Development Guide, Farmers Market Coalition Website

 (direct pdf download of above resources)


Abundant Montana  

Abundant Montana is the most comprehensive online local foods directory in the state. AERO began the directory in 1999 as a print booklet and now houses the directory online, featuring a Geographic Information System to provide interactive maps.  

The directory includes more than 785 farms and ranches, farmers markets, food pantries, grocery stores, restaurants, and institutions that provide local food, and the processors, distributors, institutions, and organizations that support Montana food system.  

The directory can be explored with its full listings, or is searchable by product, region, payment option, or growing practice. It provides free advertising for those who submit their listings and consolidates local food opportunities and agritourism into a single, easy-to-use resource for consumers looking for Montana-grown food and experiences.  

Abundant Montana is a great way to get your farmers market advertised widely across the state, and as of 2022, Abundant Montana is offering marketing services in addition to the basic business listing in the directory. You can learn more at the Abundant Montana website. 

Click Here to Register Your Farmers Market on Abundant Montana  

Paid Advertising 

In general, you can purchase classified or advertising space on social media sites, in newspapers, seasonal publications, and local magazines, or you can purchase ads for radio, billboard, and movie screens. To find out about specifications and costs, contact the business with which you wish to advertise. When placing an ad, be sure to ask for discounts. Many businesses will offer a nonprofit rate. There are search engine optimization tools on the internet to get your market to show up when people search online for “local food” or “buy local,” etc. Many farmers markets in Montana have developed partnerships with their local paper or radio stations to promote their markets. For example, each week the Havre Chamber of Commerce distributes a newspaper form for vendors to indicate what they will have at the market the following week. Vendors complete the form and submit it to the paper by Wednesday. 

Free Advertising 

Press Releases can also serve as effective advertising strategies. Press releases are essentially a bulletin sent to media outlets that lets them know you have something newsworthy going on at your market. They are a great way to have articles written about your market or to bring the local television station out to film your special event and, other than the time it takes to write and circulate with media outlets, they are free.  

Public Service Announcements (PSA) are free radio and television ads for community activities. They are 10- to 30-second messages that could announce a special event or simply advertise that the market is open. You’ll want your PSA to be short enough to be read out loud and written to the radio station’s specifications. Don’t forget to send the announcements to both public radio stations and commercial stations.  

Most television stations in Montana use their Community Calendars as their PSA venue. It is helpful to create a media list each season, complete with all the reporters that might cover your market. Your press release will be more likely to be accepted if it is directed to an individual.  

Include on your media list: food, garden, and agricultural newspaper editors; local TV and radio reporters; and state and local agricultural organizations.  

 Other free advertising ideas include:  

  • Word of mouth: Create a buzz: establish a superior market and word of mouth will help the good word spread fast. Encourage customers to bring a friend or family member next time they visit – you can create promotional campaigns around this theme.
  • Community events sections: Place a notice in the community sections of newspapers. Many papers have sections dedicated to what is happening in the community each week. Be sure to list your market each week and include any special events or produce that has just come into season. Many community calendars, both in print and online, offer free postings, so be sure to list your market on them.
  • Service Clubs: Visit local community groups to talk about your market. Service clubs (Rotary, Lions, Elks, etc.) and senior centers are always looking for interesting presentations. Create a market slide show and a list of special events and visit these groups.
  • Letters to the Editor: Write an editorial or letter to the editor for your local newspaper
  • Website Listings: Contact Abundant Montana, the Montana Department of Agriculture, Travel Montana, and local tourism agencies, and make sure your market is listed on their websites and in their publications.
  • Local Churches/Civic Bulletins: Ask local churches and civic organizations to include a notice about the market in their weekly bulletin or newsletter.


How Markets Can Help Farmer Vendors: Advertising & Signage, Farmers Market Coalition Website  

Download a Free Press Release Form, Farmers Market Coalition Website 

Department of Tourism, Montana Department of Commerce Website

National Farmers Market Directory, USDA Website  

Hosting Special Events or Contests at the Market 

Holding events at your farmers market is a sure way to attract customers. Events serve to entertain your regular patrons and to draw in new customers. Whether they are regularly scheduled or special events, they can be a mechanism for market growth. Here are some tips to keep in mind when organizing events:  

  • Hold different types of events to attract different groups in the community. For example, target children at one event and seniors at another.
  • Hire an event coordinator or designate a volunteer who likes to coordinate special events. Although events are fun, they can involve a lot of work and can reflect poorly on the market if they fail.
  • Keep trying new events! If you’ve held an event that did not do well, try a different one. It may take some practice to find the kind of event that works best for your community. Since there are almost as many kinds of market events as there are farmers markets, your options are endless. 

Special Event Ideas 

Chef in the Market: Invite a local chef to the market to give a cooking demonstration. Often, the chef will shop for ingredients at the market, use them for the cooking demo, and then give shoppers the recipe for the meal that was cooked. Or you could combine the demonstration with a cookbook signing. Having a chef in your market provides great exposure for the chef and their restaurant while teaching market attendees how to use certain produce.  

Seasonal Festivities: Some ideas include celebrating Spring by having cute baby farm animals at the market. For mid-summer, hold a National Farmers Market Week celebration. For late summer, organize a Harvest festival with hayrides or a pumpkin-carving contest if your market runs into October.  

Participate in National Farmers Market Week: National Farmers Market Week is an annual event that is sponsored by Farmers Market Coalition. It serves as a great opportunity to show the nation how much value markets bring to their communities. With fun events, specials, contests, and activities, the week helps to boost market attendance and visibility – while at the same time being loads of fun! However, FMC knows that it can be a lot of work to plan a festive week like this, so they offer plenty of resources, tools, and fun activities for market managers, vendors, and attendees alike to use for planning and participating in National Farmers Market Week. Every year, an updated toolkit is developed and shared with market operators.  

Other ideas include: 

  • Events centered around holidays: Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, etc. 
  • Customer Appreciation Days 
  • Opening and Closing Celebrations 
  • Live Music at the Market 
  • Children’s Day 


Consider holding a contest to draw people to the market. Perennial favorites include baking, gardening, cook-offs, vegetable art contests, or scavenger hunts. Contests can be a great way to involve kids or local celebrities while providing excellent story opportunities for television and newspaper coverage.  


Cooking Demonstrations: Providing the Perfect Ingredients to Season Your Farmers’ Market, Farmers Market Coalition Website

(direct pdf download for above resources)

Music in the Marketplace: An Introduction to Music Copyright Law, Farmers Market Coalition Website 

Having Fun at Your Local Farmers Market Coloring Book (direct pdf download), AMS- USDA Website 

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