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I was nervously typing the words, “I don’t have any available right now but I can take your contact info and let you know when I do have rabbits available….” I was sweating it out for a few hours thinking they could be upset. Until I finally heard back from someone who submitted a contact form on my (back then) free and somewhat janky website.
“Sure, that would be great.” I was giddy with excitement as I clicked the star next to their name in Gmail.
A few weeks later I had another email, then another…
About one year into dealing with my “waiting list” in this manner it came down to the MINUTE that someone’s form submission came in dictated the order they were in line.
Creating a waiting list for my rabbitry did amazing things for my farm business profits and my sanity. Before I show you how to set one up let me show you how using one will increase your farm business profits.
Whether you are raising show cattle or collecting interest from potential customers to see if you should create that next product.
How A Waiting List Helps Your Farm Business Profits
You can create a waiting list no matter what you sell. The more detailed and hands-on you have to be will depend on your product and what you need to know about that product.
A waiting list creates a bank of customers waiting for your products. It could be something as simple as an email opt-in form hosted by your email provider. — I have this as more of a notification list for people who aren’t ready to commit to placing a depost but are interested in hearing when livestock is available.
Or for something a little more advanced (but not hard to set up) you can create an intake form and embed it into your site so you can get a little more info about what they are looking for. — This is great if you create products with different options. Or you make your product as the orders come in.
A Waiting List Gives Your Product Scarcity
People want to feel like they are getting access to something exclusive. It gives your livestock, handmade item, or service a next-level feeling.
When you create scarcity on something it keeps people from continually pushing it off making a decision and not buying. If they have no reason to buy now they won’t. — It’s not being sleazy or manipulative to have this in place if it is the truth.– You only have so much time to create a product or work with so many people. It is just good business.
A Waiting List Creates Predictable Income
It helps you know how much business you have in coming down the line and it will help you make better business decisions. — You don’t have to wonder (as much) where that next sale is coming from.
When you see the customer base you have built you are able to decide if you can expand, see which direction to take your farm business and so much more when you have the results right in front of you.
Having them on your waiting list develops loyalty
When people know that they are on your waiting list they are far less likely to buy from someone else when they are scrolling the pages of Craigs List or looking in the Facebook sales groups. — Even today I have people say “oh will you let me know when something is available” and sure enough. More often than not they get impatient and end up buying something else.
When someones has a spot on your list they are more respectful of your time and effort.
A waiting list keeps you in control
It keeps you from having to rely on THEIR memory to call you back. Life gets busy and they forget. But, when you have their contact information the ball is in your court to make the move and reach out when something available.
With a waiting list in place, you will have a much better idea of who is serious about buying and who is not.
Keep people excited and anticipating what is to come.
To keep from losing people, do an occasional check-in with them.
I have had some people on my waiting list for over a year because they wanted something specific. However, if you get big enough eventually you will get to the point where people are happy to get anything from you.
If your waiting list involves animals. Send an email when the breedings are done and show the baby preparations. Then again when the babies are born to keep the anticipation going.
Staying top of mind is the name of the game.
If you are making a product let them know when you have started the project and send a photo so they can see how it is coming along if it is a big project. If you are making a lot of small items like jewelry or candles then use something like your Facebook page or Instagram to keep people as a group updated.
How To Set Up Your Waiting List
A waiting list can be set up any way you want. – When you are just getting started keep it easy to get in and a low point of entry. Meaning you are going to struggle to get people to pay you to be on a waiting list if you are new and you haven’t built trust.
Here are some simple waiting list ideas if you are getting started.
- Create a private Facebook group where people have to give you one or two forms of contact info to be admitted into the group. This gives you the ability to update the masses and get one on one contact info at the same time.
- Create an email list using an email service provider with a business email. You can send emails to larger groups and keep them updated.
- Create a Facebook page to keep a larger group updated.
- Create an intake form through something like Typeform or google forms to get people’s contact info.
What You Need To Ask
At a minimum, you need their full name and two methods of contact. DO NOT leave your only method of contact be through social media. People don’t check it and sometimes DM streams just don’t want to work.
Then think about what info you need to know in order to get them what they want. Also, make sure to have a way to tell the date and time they submitted the form because that is how you will tell who was in line first.
So for example I need to know the following things for someone to buy a french lop rabbit.
- First and last name.
- Email address.
- Phone number.
- Mailing address.
- Colors they like best.
- Was sex they want.
I also ask them where they found me so I can get a feel for what marketing efforts are worth the time and effort. This is great when you are getting started.
Tools You Can Use To Set Up Your Waiting List
My favorite to use is Typeform. The main reason is it looks very clean and professional even in the free accounts.
But the main reason to use this instead of the forms that come with your site is that you have to click a button first before you can answer the questions. As well as the information never really goes into your website, it’s hosted through the tool’s internet servers. This keeps things like bots and spammers from sending malware through the form and into the back end of your site.
This is what my waiting list form looks like before they start filling it out. – It used to be embedded on my site but now customers have to pay their deposit first before they get access to the link for the waiting list.
You can get your free Typeform Account here.
With Typeform you can add up to 10 questions for free in the form. So things like email, name, address, and product-specific questions if you have them.
With the free account, you will get 100 form submissions for free PER MONTH as well. So unless your business is crazy busy with lots of people to help make products this will be totally fine.
Another option is to use google forms. They are another totally free option but I just don’t love how they look quite as well.
How to keep track of your waitlist submissions
You can do what I did when I first started and hand write them out on a form you type up and print out for yourself.
Or you can use something like trello or Asana like I do and organize your list in there shown below. – you can use a tool like Zapier to push the answers of your customer’s form submissions to the trello board and have access to the app on your phone where ever you go.
Waiting lists will do wonders for your business and help you to maintain a steady stream of customers. Be patient and listen to the questions you hear people ask you when they come to pick up a product or talk to you in person. That will tell you where you need to be more informative on your website.
It’s time to get your money-sucking hobby to pay for itself!
If you’re tired of your backyard farm eating away at all your extra cash, The Profitable Backyard Farm Kickstart is for you!