Dealer Spotlight: Lamoure Feed & Seed

It’s not always what you know, but who you know. That held true for some North Dakota teens with a show heifer that went off feed at their county fair, but they knew the late Dorothy Orts, BioZyme® Area Sales Manager extraordinaire. Dorothy introduced a young Trevor Wendel to a product called Amaferm®, and his heifer started eating, and that is a lesson he never forgot. Years later when he returned to his family’s feed store, LaMoure Feed & Seed, he knew that Amaferm and the BioZyme products needed to be part of their offering.

“Amaferm is the one thing that sets us apart from all of the other mineral companies out there. It’s a magical powder that once our customers try, they don’t want to go without,” said Wendel, feed manager at the store, which is owned by his brothers.

Wendel relies heavily on word-of-mouth marketing for the success of the business. He looks to larger scale, successful cattle producers who take pride in their operations to try the products with the Amaferm advantage. Those producers are happy with the results and in turn share the information with friends and neighbors, who then also want to try the products as well.

The Gain Smart® mineral is by far his most popular product, although he said it isn’t always used on strictly stockers. He said many of the cow-calf operators will mix Gain Smart Balancer in to their TMRs to give their cows the vitamins, minerals and Amaferm they need through the winter months.

Another popular product is the VitaFerm Concept•Aid® 5/S. He makes a custom blend with that and rumensin for producers to use during calving season and prior to breeding.

LaMoure Feed & Seed hosts a producer meeting each fall prior to weaning time to show appreciation to its customers and educate customers on anything new. Otherwise, they take a no-frills approach to conducting business and rely on the quality of products to sell themselves. He advises newer dealers to lean on their ASMs as a resource and always find those good customers.

“Customers that have good cattle are proud of their cattle and will spread the word about the products they use. They will also pay the bills, and that is important,” he said.

Thankfully Dorothy ran across that struggling 4-H member all those years ago with her magical Amaferm! That young 4-H member remembered Amaferm and has evolved into a long-time, multi-year VIP BioZyme dealer. That is care that comes full circle!

Dealer Spotlight: Shoberts Feed Supplements

Sharing personal experiences that they’ve had with products has helped Shoberts Feed Supplements of Hennessey, Oklahoma, excel as a DuraFerm® dealer. Chad and Amy Charmasson, owners of Shoberts also own Charmasson Club Lambs, where they run 200 ewes, and have had had a fantastic experience with the nutritional products from BioZyme. Their experiences combined with positive experiences of existing customers, helped propel them to the number two DuraFerm store front dealer in the company in 2020.

“The DuraFerm products have proven themselves over and over for us. It’s not hard to sell a product that has such great results from a production standpoint in terms of healthier ewes that are in good breeding shape. Our conception rates are better, and that helps make it easy for us to sell this product,” Charmasson said.

He added that not only does he talk about his own flock’s health and reproductive status to potential customers, but he also feeds off of the results that his customers have had with the DuraFerm products and shares those results. Potential customers want to hear about outcomes, especially when they might already be using a product and not be getting good results.

He said the majority of his customers are not new to a mineral program. They have simply used a competing program that doesn’t work.

“They are willing to try something new, and BioZyme® products have a good reputation based on consistency. It is extremely important to me that these products are backed by science. I like the idea that research trials have been conducted and nutritionists have formulated the products to benefit our industry,” Charmasson said.

He said the easiest product for him to show instant results on is the DuraFerm Sheep Concept•Aid® HEAT® mineral because regardless of the time of year, the sheep don’t stress much due to the hot temperatures when they are on the HEAT formula. However, he said the DuraFerm Sheep Concept•Aid Protein Tubs are probably the most popular product he sells as many producers choose to leave those out year-round, except for maybe right at weaning.

Charmasson advises that dealers that are acquiring new DuraFerm customers tell their customers to be patient and explain that since their sheep or goats are likely mineral deficient, they will consume a lot of the mineral at first. The animals are just regulating themselves, but once they even out, the DuraFerm program will be a cost-effective mineral program.

“Too often, the customers see their animals overconsume the DuraFerm mineral and think it is too expensive, but once they level out, the producers will actually spend less money on the DuraFerm products and have healthier ewes and does that are in better shape with higher conception rates than they were when the fed mineral from the competition,” he said.

Happy, healthy flocks and herds are made of nutritionally sound animals backed by the Amaferm® advantage. Thanks to dealers like Shoberts Feed Supplements, flocks and herds are being taken care of by the Charmasson family who show care that comes full circle!

Dealer Spotlight: Kenneth Regnier

Kenneth Regnier Builds Business on Trust and Reputable Product

For long-time BioZyme® dealer Kenneth Regnier, having a quality product to help his customers is a top priority. The product combined with a strong relationship built on trust and loyalty is what has kept him selling BioZyme products for more than 20 years.

“I like people and I like to talk to them. I’m going to keep going as long as the good Lord will let me,” said Kenneth, who turns 74 in August. Kenneth, who runs his own cow-calf herd near Kinsley, Kansas, started as a BioZyme dealer in 2,000 because he had heard that VitaFerm® carried a superior product, and he was unhappy with the nutrition company’s product that he had previously sold when they made a corporate switch. He started selling the VitaFerm, took his existing customers with him and has never looked back.

He said the quality of the VitaFerm products that he sells speak for themselves, and he has had numerous customers share their reviews with him. If he has a potential customer approach him about the products, he suggests they try the VitaFerm products on just one set of their cows and keep using their current mineral and compare where they are in six months. That will usually get them hooked.

“One customer on the HEAT mineral told me he can see that the HEAT is working. His cows are out grazing, and he drove by two groups of his neighbor’s cows and they are grouped up and not out grazing. That is all it takes to know the product is working,” Kenneth said.

Helping others is important to Kenneth, and the loyalty he’s given his customers has been returned to him. He said he is now selling products to the second generation of producers. His customers’ kids who used to help him unload feed are now his customers.

Service and trust are important traits to Kenneth. He still delivers most all of his product to his customers with his one-ton Ford pick-up and a flat-bed trailer. Often times he doesn’t even see his customers, but they know he will use their skid steer loader and have their VitaFerm in place when they get in from the field or pasture.

An annual producer meeting each spring allows Kenneth to share new product information with his customers, gather customer orders for the next few months and provide fellowship among area producers. It’s something he and his wife and business partner Jacque have been hosting for years.

“Our producer meeting is a way to show we care. We give them a steak meal, and everyone can get around the table and talk. It’s the fellowship of doing business. It’s a good time for them to order their summer mineral,” he said.

And with typically dry summers in Southwest Kansas, the HEAT products are very popular; however, with a wetter than normal spring, flies are heavy. Kenneth is glad to have a product with ClariFly® to offer his customers this year. His own cows have been eating the HEAT with ClarFly and he notices that there are no flies on them.

A love of people and a love of good nutritional products for cattle and horses is what drives Kenneth Regnier to keep selling the BioZyme products. He said the business has been a good outlet for him to “slow down” since he quit farming and also since a bad ATV accident in April 2020 that required physical therapy. As long as he can keep helping people help their animals, he’s going to keep on keeping on. We’re certainly glad to have you in our Dealer Network, Kenneth!

Dealer Spotlight: Earlybird

For one dealer, keeping education at the forefront of its customer service is key. Earlybird, with three Illinois locations and one in Missouri, has a sales and marketing team of individuals who grew up in the livestock industry and know the importance of youth programs. That is why it is imperative that they continue to provide education, training and support to their young customers today.

“No question is a bad one. We encourage you to ask us all the questions about your livestock. It is our job to do everything we can to get you on the right track. Nutrition, animal management and prepping for a show all goes hand in hand, and how you handle one or the other will affect your outcome,” said Codee Schmidgall, Marketing Specialist at Earlybird. “The beauty about our team is that they grew up raising and showing livestock and many of them go home and put the exact same efforts into their own. They live it, breathe it and know what it takes to be successful. All you have to do is ask!”

In addition to answering customer questions, Earlybird takes a proactive approach to educating its customers and supporting the youth. They have conducted and sponsored several multispecies clinics and shows around the Midwest. Recently, they conducted a show pig clinic in southern Illinois where a few of their feed specialists talked about “how to take care of and manage show pig projects from the time they enter the barn to the time they reach their target show.”

“When we do host a clinic, we encourage the whole family to come especially if the kids are just starting out! Showing livestock is a family affair and we think that if everybody has a little insight on what to do then it takes the pressure off just one family member,” Schmidgall said.

Creating partnerships with companies like BioZyme, helps Earlybird when it is time to provide educational opportunities. BioZyme will help sponsor an Earlybird show or donate products for events like the Illinois Beef Expo and other shows.

“Not only do we enjoy working with the BioZyme team, but we believe that their products work! Vita Charge® HydraBoost™ has been an absolute HIT with many of the pig breeders around Illinois and has become more and more popular with our out of state customers. Around this time of year, many families walk away with products like Vita Charge® Liquid Boost®, Climate Control Gel, and the Stress Tubs because that is what they use to #preptowin,” she said.

And, what sells their Sure Champ and Vita Charge products? Amaferm®, of course!

“The Amaferm Advantage is key! BioZyme has done such a great job at pushing information out there that backs these products up which makes our jobs easy. I cannot speak for all the feed specialists because they have their own preferences and experiences, but I know my family does not leave for a show without a bag of Sure Champ Cattle in our trailer,”Schmidgall said.

Earlybird is around for the long haul, for its seasoned customers and for its younger customers who are just getting started in the show industry. In addition, they offer two summer internships to students interested in youth and the feed business. According to Schmidgall, the interns are also great at interacting with the youth at as many events possible and help promote their customers’ successes via social media.

“The Earlybird mission has been based on providing a variety of highquality feeds that exceed the needs of our large customer base, but most off all we have put a strong emphasis on our service, and our ability to help families achieve their goals. This family-owned business has always had its sights set on supporting and promoting the next generation of the agriculture industry; and we will continue to make it a priority!”

That’s care that comes full circle.

Dealer Spotlight: Maryville Vet Clinic

Vets Provide Year-Round Nutrition Plan

Care that comes full circle is more than a motto. It’s the way we live, taking care of the livestock and animals that take care of us – livestock that provide a livelihood and protein products to feed the world and companion animals that provide joy and friendships to many. An ideal candidate for a BioZyme® dealer is a veterinarian – they are providing care to animals in multiple ways – both preventative care to keep the animals healthy and restorative care when an animal needs healed.

Maryville Vet Clinic, LLC, Maryville, Missouri, has been a BioZyme dealer since the 1980s. Dr. David Frueh and his original veterinary partner were dealers, and when Dr. Frueh became a single-vet practice, he liked the products so well, he continued to sell them. Today, all three veterinarians within the practice, Dr. Frueh, Dr. Patrick O’Connell and Dr. Gina Stoll, like the benefits of the products and recommend them to their clients.

“Here, we try the product first. We never want our customers to be the guinea pig. So, if there’s a new product or a different product we feed it to our own cattle. Dr. Frueh has seen how products like the Concept•Aid® has increased conception rates and how the condition of his cows has benefitted from the mineral. He’s a believer in the product. Once you see how the product works, it really sells itself,” said Stacy Liebhart, Office Manager of the Clinic.

Liebhart said that 90% of their practice is large animals, and a majority of those clients are cattle producers. Therefore, they have formulated a nutrition program they recommend their customers stay on throughout the year to maximize their herds’ health. Their program includes the VitaFerm® HEAT® mineral.

From January through about March or April, during the bulk of calving, customers are recommended to feed VitaFerm Concept•Aid® 10; then during grass tetany season, they advise switching to VitaFerm Concept•Aid Mag/S. During the hottest months of the year, which can vary from May or June to September or November, it’s HEAT season, and that is when they sell and advise their customers to use VitaFerm HEAT. Once the temperatures consistently cool down, they put their cows back on the regular VitaFerm Concept•Aid.

Just like with any new product, Liebhart said the doctors tried the HEAT line when it was introduced. She said they were conservative with their first order of HEAT mineral to feed their own cows, but it didn’t take them long to see the benefits and wanted to get more to offer their clients right away.

“It only took one pallet of mineral and they were like wow this stuff works, and now that’s all we recommend during the summer months. So just like all products we had to make sure it worked before we recommended it to our customers,” she said.

Liebhart said their dealership is unique as their main source of income isn’t from supplement sales; however, those sales have made the animals that the doctors take care healthier and more productive over time.

She also recommends for every dealership, regardless of its situation to stay current on all the BioZyme products, which she says is her responsibility. She often recommends the products that she knows will work well to the doctors during various seasons because she is the one who makes the time to keep up on all the training. For instance, during calving she often recommends Vita Charge® Clench Gel to accompany treatments for scours or Vita Charge Gel when a calf is has digestive issues or Vita Charge Drench at weaning.

From preventative health care to making an animal feel its best, veterinarians are busy people. They work on animals big and small, and they make great BioZyme dealers, providing that care that comes full circle. Thanks for being fantastic dealers, Maryville Vet Clinic!

Dealer Spotlight: National Roper Supply and Shawnee Milling

Equine Enthusiasts Share Passion for Products

This month we shine the spotlight on two individuals who represent themselves and their respective dealerships as outstanding ambassadors for the Vitalize® line. Later in March, you will have the opportunity to hear from these men as they share their passion for the Vitalize products, how they position the products to their customers and some of the benefits their customers like too.

James Smith has been involved in agriculture his entire life, starting from a very young age. He grew up in Washington state, Oklahoma and Texas, where he graduated from high school.

Horses have always been a part of his life, and he started roping calves and team roping when he was 15. He learned to shoe horses as a way to pay his rodeo entry fees and to help finance his way through college. He graduated from Oklahoma State University in 1984 with a bachelor’s in Agriculture. He was a member of the OSU rodeo team and was the team captain his senior year.

After graduation, he began his start in the feed business, working as a salesman in central Oklahoma for ACCO Feeds, selling equine, swine, cow-calf and stocker feed; however, his emphasis was working with dealers and the dairy industry. He started his career with Shawnee Milling in 1994 as territory manager, covering Oklahoma and the Texas panhandle and still sells dairy, cow-calf, stocker and equine nutritional products.

Horses remain a passion for James. His wife Dawn’s parents are heavily involved in the Quarter horse breeding business with Belle Mere Farm in Norman, Oklahoma, standing great stallions like Easy Jet, Bully Bullion, Mr. Eye Opener, Marthas Six Moon and many more. They often breed as many as 1,200 mares a year.

James and Dawn live in Dibble, Oklahoma, where he still sells feed and enjoys team roping. He says he has three of the best horses he has ever ridden. They also own a commercial cow-calf operation, using Angus, SimAngus and Hereford Bulls. Their family includes two grown and married daughters, one granddaughter and one more on the way.

Jason Brooks is the Vice President of Marketing for the National Roper Supply, headquartered in Decatur, Texas. A Texas native, Jason attended Texas Tech University where he received his Master’s of Business Administration and bachelor’s in Finance and Business Economics.

Jason started working at NRS in 2007 as the Head of the NRS Buying Team before moving into his role as VP of Marketing.

Growing up, his family ran a purebred cow-calf operation in Texas where he developed his passion not only for the cattle industry but the equine industry as well. While at Texas Tech, Jason trained saddle horses and team roped; to this day he is currently still a competitive team roper.

Jason and his family reside in Krum, Texas, where they are actively involved in all aspects of the animal agricultural industry. He is a proud stock show dad and thinks there is no better place to raise his family than on the back of a horse and in the showring.

Be sure to tune in, March 18 to learn more about Jason and James, their enthusiasm for the equine industry and how they market and position the Vitalize products to their customers. We are blessed to have industry professionals that use and understand the products that work as dealers in our network, providing care that comes full circle.

Dealer Spotlight: Weiss Milling

You wouldn’t feed your friends and neighbors something you had never tried before, would you? That was the sentiment that long-time family-owned-and-operated feed mill shared when approached about selling Amaferm® and the BioZyme® product lines several years ago. However, they decided to give Amaferm a try on their own livestock and soon after became BioZyme dealers. That’s been four years ago, and they are pleased with their decision.

“We had been hearing a lot of good things about Amaferm for a long time in the industry and it was presented to us as an option. So, we tried it out for ourselves, and it is one of those products where we actually saw results. A lot of the products we try promise good results, but you don’t actually notice it; that’s one of the things we noticed and liked about Amaferm is that you see results,” said Abby Shoen, who works with her dad, Dean Weiss, and also raises cattle and goats.

Dean and Kathy Weiss purchased the local feed mill in 1987. Today, Dean runs the business with his daughter Abby and son-in-law Jake Shoen. Weiss Milling provides animal feed and nutrition to all species from cattle and goats, sheep, hogs, horses and poultry, with an emphasis on providing high-quality products and high-quality customer service.

“What is important to us is dealing with a very competitive market, and people come to us for the highest quality products and knowledge, and that is what we provide,” Abby said. “What VitaFerm has helped us provide is the highest quality products and the best knowledge as far as the industry and animal health.”

One unique service that Weiss Milling provides its customers is ordering chicks during the spring, a service Dean has offered for 34 years. Abby said she coordinates the customers’ orders in May, so the chicks are delivered to the mill for pick up, but they don’t actually stay there for any length of time. Then, the customers can also purchase any feed and supplies they will need such as feeders or waterers for their chicks, making Weiss Milling a one-stop shop. Since COVID-19, she has seen a significant increase in the demand for chicks.

“Especially after last year there is an increase in interest for people raising their own food as well as having projects for their kids to get involved in. It was extremely hard to order chickens this last summer, especially with the pandemic,” she said.

With the number of backyard poultry producers on the rise, and a larger percentage of them in urban areas, Abby said many of them are focused on providing their chickens optimum health and nutrition, not just a generic product. A product like Backyard Boost™, with the Amaferm advantage should help these new-age protein producers reach their goals.

“This new generation is really looking at what is going into their feed products and how they can care for the health of their animals. They are looking into how to increase production by giving them the healthiest products. They are looking into mineral programs. It’s not so much price anymore; they want the healthiest animal they can get,” Abby said.

That’s good news for BioZyme and its newest line of poultry supplements. And it’s good news for progressive dealers like Weiss Milling who has its customers’ best interest at heart and is always looking for a way to keep their customers’ animals productive and healthy. Thanks for showing that care comes full circle!

Dealer Spotlight: Dakota Mill and Grain

Helping Others Helps Make the Sale

In a world where one size does not fit all, it is vital to provide customers with the individual information and resources they need to succeed. Paul Jons, location manager for the Dakota Mill & Grain in Murdo, South Dakota, said getting to know his customers and helping them with their challenges makes them more receptive to him. He puts forth the effort to really know his customers and understand their specific challenges.

“There’s no such thing as a cookie cutter program when it comes to feed because neighbors could live two miles apart and do things completely different. So, to be able to take the time and listen to both those guys and get them on different tracks on where they need to go, not only helps me as a dealer, it helps them succeed so they tell their friends, and their friends tell their friends,” Jons said.

Service with a smile is something Jons picked up when visiting the local feed store with his dad and grandpa as a child, and he has carried on that tradition today. However, he goes beyond that smile, to offer education and options to producers on the products that can best help them achieve their production goals. One thing he likes about being a BioZyme dealer is the wealth of information available to him to share with his customers, both from the website and the Online Dealer Center.

“I feel like I have good information to pass along to my customers. Anything I don’t know, I can go to the website and find in about 10 minutes. I also go to the Online Dealer Center all the time to fact check and get pricing,” he said.

Jons became a BioZyme dealer more than a year ago, after feeding the VitaFerm® products on his own operation for two years. As a fifth-generation dairy farmer, he was thrilled to discover a beef cattle mineral with prebiotics and chelated minerals, similar to what they had fed their dairy cows.

“I like the quality and proven performance of the product. So, when I first discovered there was a product out there that is similar to what we do with milk cows but targeted toward beef cows, I got really excited about it. Not a lot of people realize how important chelated minerals are in their breed-back program. Coming from a dairy farm, we used chelated minerals for 10 to 15 years, so being able to pass that information on to these guys Is worth a million bucks to a lot of them,” he said.

He hosted his first BioZyme producer meeting in mid-December and credits those gatherings as another great way to provide information to a group all at once from outside experts. Producer meetings also provide opportunities to learn from others and think about deeper questions that they wouldn’t think of during a trip to their feed store.

“Producers have more than ample opportunities to raise their hand and ask more serious questions that I can’t answer. Or they come into get mineral on a daily basis they are more concerned about weather, weaning calves or moving cows to a different pasture. When in a producer meeting, and we start talking about specific products, they say instead of weaning my calves this year, maybe I should try the Gain Smart® program and keep them for 45 days” Jons said.

When it comes to selling a product, Jons exemplifies care that comes full circle. He’s there to help his customers succeed before he is there to only sell them a mineral product. Here’s why.

“The reward is equal to the work you’re willing to put into it. If you don’t want to learn and read and get the knowledge behind you to be able to explain to people why this product is good for them, why this product will work for them, there’s no point in doing it. Be enthusiastic about it. People see you care, they feel that you care about them as well, and that you’re not just trying to shove a bag of mineral down their throat. I believe in this product because it is superior and is going to help you on your farm.”

Dealer Spotlight: Roy Umbarger and Sons

Focus on Quality, Family Priorities for Show Feed Manufacturer

Jackson Umbarger is the fourth generation to own and work at Umbarger Show Feeds in central Indiana. Although this family-owned-and-operated feed business has remained in the family for more than 80 years, he said it isn’t just blood that is considered family. The employees, the dealers and the customers are all considered part of the Umbarger family.

“We strive to have that feeling of family. We really do care about your kids and their show livestock. Our company has a family feel and our employee retention rate is high, with a lot of our people having been here 15 plus years. That’s how its always been, and that’s how we like it,” Jackson said.

Jackson oversees the daily operation of the feed company that places its sole focus on show feed manufacturing. A new state-of the-art mill was completed in November to better ensure a consistent, accurate product. All Umbarger feed is manufactured on-site and shipped to its dealer network on a regular basis to deliver accurate, fresh product. For dealers within a two-day driving range, the company uses its own dedicated truck line to deliver to customers. They work efficiently in their dealers’ favor since they are so specialized with low seasonal minimum orders, like this time of year for example. They will also mix products within a pallet.

One of the customer services that Jackson takes great pride in is partnering with like-minded high-quality companies with a show focus whose products they can also distribute to Umbarger dealers. That is one of the reasons their partnership works so well with BioZyme®.

“The BioZyme product line compliments ours. It matches what we believe in. We also put Amaferm® in a lot of our feeds,” he said. Umbarger Show Feeds also distributes Weaver show supplies to its dealers at no additional freight fee – another service to assist its dealers. As Jackson said, if an exhibitor is looking for a big item like a showbox or fitting chute, and his or her local Umbarger dealer can get that item for that person, that person is more likely to build loyalty to that feed dealer instead of taking his or her supply and feed business to a competitor.

One area that Jackson said he would like to focus more on is marketing; however, providing apparel that is trendy and recognizes winners has been effective over time. When he assumed a leadership role in 2008, the company awarded about 40 winners’ jackets that were personalized with the exhibitor name, show name and the Umbarger logo. In 2020, more than 1,500 jackets were awarded, showing the growth of the company and creating even more walking billboards.

Family. Quality. Customer service. For a company whose logo is “we feed champions,” it’s no wonder that they also provide “care that comes full circle.” A partnership like that is just one reason BioZyme values a customer like Roy Umbarger & Sons.

Dealer Spotlight: Valley Vet Supply

Valley Vet Supply is a name recognizable to many in the livestock and equine business as a go-to for their animal health and nutrition supplies. And rightfully so. A pair of veterinarians recognized the need of its customers and created the mail-order retailer for veterinary supplies in the small north central Kansas town of Marysville in 1985. In 1999, their online store, www.valleyvet.com went live, making them one of the early adapters of e-commerce, and today, they sell livestock, equine and pet products from coast-to-coast, including BioZyme® small pack products.

Keeping at the forefront of their customers has always been a priority for Valley Vet and is one reason they have adapted so well to technology. Although this nationally recognized company has a massive web and social media presence, personal service has always been a priority, explains Kori Simmons, Director of Marketing. She said that the veterinarians, Drs. Ray Shultz and Arnold Nagely, still come to work daily, and are available to answer customer phone calls, something they both enjoy. 

However, with the number of clients that Valley Vet serves and the diversity of their products, it has adapted its marketing program to include more information through video on its social media platforms. Simmons said this has proven to be a successful way to partner with its vendors and reach its customers. 

“Do not underestimate the power of video. In today’s day and age, people are less apt to read and more apt to watch a 30-second video – short, quick and to the point. It’s better to have five 30-second videos that are broken up than to have a five-minute video,” Simmons said.

Simmons said their marketing team realized the power of video compared to a typical post when they were analyzing engagement. So, they started using more video with simple giveaways and sweepstakes by partnering with some of their vendors. However, with COVID-19, the realization that their customers were looking for information, helped them transition their video content, and they saw an even greater boost in their customer engagement.

Prior to COVID, Simmons said their vendors and partners would come in to train the Valley Vet call center and marketing teams to ensure everyone was saying the right things to end-users. Once that came to a halt, they realized the need to continue to get their messages out to their customers, so they started producing Facebook Live sessions with their vendors.

“We started partnering with our vendors, and what we started doing was less of an infomercial and more of an educational focus. With a product focus versus topic focus that fills in with some product information, the engagement was night and day different. Since COVID, our engagement is up about 50%, and really and truly the only thing that has changed is our video engagement,” Simmons said.

Valley Vet typically has between 50 to 100 people watch each Live video, with a growing number of those being a regular following. She said it is not unusual for them to have 30,000 views after the Live is over. They have had great success keeping a regular time and day for their Facebook Lives, Tuesday and Thursday at 3:30 p.m. This helps them measure and compare engagement by keeping a consistent time and cadence.

Simmons recommends getting all speakers online about 30 minutes before your Facebook Live to test sound, lighting and background. Make sure that the background isn’t distracting; you might need to clean your office or go to a room with fewer windows if it is too bright. Make sure you have a speaker with a good personality, and one that can answer the questions that are asked. And make sure you have a person to monitor questions, even after the Live program.

“Make sure to actively monitor customer questions. Put yourself out there to answer questions. Make sure it happens,” Simmons reminds.

Although Valley Vet sometimes does prerecord and edit videos to post, the engagement on their live videos is just too good. Simmons said their engagement is usually quadruple on a live video what it is on a prerecorded video that they put on social media. She advises keeping prerecorded videos for product focus on your website, but to keep them short and to make sure they are updated as any changes are made.

Regardless the size of your business, you can make a big impression with Facebook Live and prerecorded videos. Follow the advice that Simmons offers to grow your customer engagement. Video is a tool that is here to stay!