By their very nature as a business, many greenhouses, garden centers, florists, and nurseries are family-run businesses.
They have often been in the family for generations, getting passed from one to the next.
For many, once the foundation has been developed, you have a client base that comes back year after year. Complacency is easy to settle into, allowing yourself to welcome these few back, make a sustainable overhead, and move on towards the next season.
After so many years, what could go wrong?
Changing With the Marketplace
In today’s world, small family-owned businesses are starting to realize that they do not own that corner of the market. They have to compete with big-box stores that cater to people looking for the best deal.
This is where online advertising comes in and why it is a must. Targeting radio and newspaper ads simply won’t cut it anymore. You rarely reach out to even half of your potential audience by using these methods.
When you are a brick-and-mortar business such as a garden center, it is essential to have an online presence. Beyond that, it is equally as important to be drawing people to it and driving up sales.
The truth is that 91% of customers visit a store because of an online experience (Fundera, 2019).
Another fun fact is that there are about 35% of small businesses don’t have a website because they believe they are too small to have one. This often pertains to family-owned businesses, like a greenhouse, who operate in a local area.
Even if you are small, if 91% of customers need a positive online experience before visiting a store for the first time, then you are losing out on new clientele.
Expanding Your Client Base
Working with the same people year after year is a great base to have for a greenhouse. However, as more places like Home Depot and Wal-Mart offer greenhouses with cheap greenery, you may find that you start to lose these consistent customers.
Expanding your client base isn’t something you do only if you are looking to grow your business. It is also a method of maintenance as the competition comes ever closer.
Reaching out to people through social media is one great way to get your business right in front of them without them having to pass by your storefront.
Some businesses are under the misconception that online advertising is expensive.
In actuality, 47% of businesses invest less than $10,000 into digital marketing.
If you are a very small garden center, start small and you can find yourself spending less than $1,000.
Appealing to the Right Audience
What is your focus as a plant retailer? Do you have a specific audience you are trying to appeal to?
If not, then figuring out the prime audience is the best way to make your money count in marketing. Figure out your demographics, who buys the most from your garden center? How could you convert demographics that you currently have trouble reaching out to?
Online advertising can not only help you reach out to a wider pool of potential customers, it can also make it clearer who your main audience is.
For example, Facebook uses its advertising algorithm to give the user insight into what kind of people click on the links. They also allow you to specify the demographic you want your advertisements to appear in front of since you do not want to waste money on appealing to non-potential customers.
Maintaining Contact Outside of the Season
Many family-owned plant retailers, such as a greenhouse and a nursery, primarily run a seasonal business. This means that the rest of the year, they fall to the back of people’s minds until the next season comes up.
While this hasn’t been a big issue in the past, it is becoming more of one now. Easy trips to the local superstore end up in buying plants because they “don’t even know if so-and-so is open yet.”
Maintaining contact and building on those customer relationships for a greenhouse during the off-season helps keep them coming back consistently. Customers feel more loyalty, and that loyalty leads to an increased number of visits.
Examples of Integrating an Online Advertising Scheme
Understanding why online advertising is essential to a small business’s survival isn’t enough. You need to know how to do it. While there are plenty of resources to enhance and develop your online advertising scheme, here are a couple of ideas to get started.
Ideas for Integrating an Online Advertising Scheme
We already briefly touched on Facebook’s advertising campaigns. Why is it useful?
The average user on Facebook clicks on about 11 ads each month (Hootsuite, 2019).
The wonderful thing about this option is that it works very well for beginners in the advertising scene.
They have a highly user-friendly tool to make it easy to set up a new advertising campaign and keep track of the statistics to make sure it is having a prime effect.
Send Out E-Newsletters
Email is one of the top marketing tools used by small businesses, topping the charts with 54% use.
This is one of the reasons that it is valuable to get a visitors email when they come onto the page. Follow this up with informational newsletters to let your customer base know what your greenhouse is doing.
Promotions Through Social Media
Since social media is such an influential aspect of online advertising, it must be included in the top suggestions to implement. Cultivating social media channels helps to set the stage for better results when you try to run promotions for your garden center.
Instagram is one of the best platforms for social media marketing, followed closely by Facebook and Twitter.
Engagement rates are 58% higher on Instagram than Facebook and 2,000% higher compared to Twitter (Big Commerce, 2020).
One essential aspect of finding success is enlisting the right person to strategize and implement your online advertising scheme.
While this might be someone on your current team, there are companies like Bloom who can partner with you to bring your online engagement up to the standard you want it to be. Contact us today to get started on your path to successful digital marketing.
Amanda Williams is a freelance writer that specializes in topics on gardening and online marketing. As a graduate with an honors degree in Horticulture and experience working in greenhouses, she understands the marketing challenges within the plant production industry. She has a background in content marketing, which she uses to help small businesses and enterprises enhance their advertising schemes. Find her work at clearvoice.com/cv/AmandaWilliams3.