Jessika Yates is figuring out how to attract more customers to her small, family-owned apple orchard in Monkton.
Yates Family Orchard, which includes 300 trees and 26 varieties of apples, was purchased in 2008 by Yates and her husband, Steven. The orchard was already established when the couple purchased it, and they started grafting apple trees to offer more varieties to customers. (Grafting involves taking a bud chip cut from the desired parent tree and physically placing it onto a compatible rootstock.)
Now in their second year of running the orchard as a full-time enterprise, Yates is growing her business’s social media channels, aligning content and SEO, and ramping up email marketing efforts.
She learned how to incorporate digital marketing into her business by enrolling in the UVM Digital Marketing Fundamentals Professional Certificate Program. The eight-week, online digital marketing training covers everything from SEO to paid search to email marketing.
“We knew it was time to start marketing our business and creating a brand,” says Yates, a UVM alumna with a degree in nutrition and dietetics. “Last year, when we took on the orchard full-time, I knew we needed a digital marketing presence. But I embarked on that without a whole lot of knowledge as I set up a website and social media accounts. So, I started looking at different digital marketing programs because I wanted to develop my business and develop my knowledge and skills.”
UVM’s award-winning digital marketing program allows professionals to learn the holistic value of digital marketing through research and development of an actionable marketing plan. Every week, the program highlights a specific digital marketing topic, from mobile and email to SEO and web analytics.
Digital Marketing Training: Learning from Experts and Peers
Yates was born in Austria and moved to Vermont when she was five years old. After graduating from UVM in 1995, she worked in outdoor recreation management and outdoor experiential education. Later on, her career transitioned into real estate and property management. Yates Family Orchard, now in its eleventh season, sells not only apples, but also cider donuts, creemees, raw honey, jam, hand-pressed cider, and local art.
“We landed in a really unique spot that we love, and our goal is to share the orchard with everyone,” she says.
Yates found UVM’s online digital marking training to be highly organized with just the right balance of hands-on work and presentations by marketing experts.
“As an online program, it’s structured in a way where you can work and collaborate with peers from all over the world,” she says. “You learn from the presenters and you have a real opportunity to learn from your classmates.”
As Yates dives into marketing her orchard with the tools she learned from UVM, she continues to navigate the complex world of paid search, SEO, analytics, and social media.
“What this course did was introduce me to the fundamentals and different tactics out there. Now it makes me realize how much I want to dive even deeper into digital marketing,” she says. “For me, it’s the ability to integrate everything, so all the different tactics are working to help each other or support each other. Whether you’re analytical or creative, every business needs digital marketing no matter what. You won’t run out of opportunities presented to you.”