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Suggest an Article: Car Wrapping

HollyHock2Not too long ago, we asked our member florists to submit any ideas they had to use in future blog posts. We intentionally didn’t specify what kind of ideas we were looking for, and as a result, we received suggestions encompassing all aspects of the business. This will be the first in a series of articles wherein I take those tips and present them to you!

Car Wrapping Tastefully

As a business owner, effective and affordable advertising can be difficult to find. For Heather Aleksonis, the owner of HollyHock Flowers in Weare, New Hampshire, one solution came in the form of car wrapping. The process involved taking her vehicle to a local professional and having it covered in stickers advertising her business. This effectively turned her car into a moving billboard.

Heather says that it’s the best thing she’s done as far as advertising:HollyHock Stickers

“Forget the newspapers. You can do your car for the price of 2 ads in the newspaper. When your customers see your car all the time, they think you are busy. And then they want to do business with you also.”

Looking at her beautifully decorated ride, I can see why it works! That looks awesome Heather!

Come back soon for even more Suggest an Article tips! And if you missed the first opportunity to suggest an article, leave some ideas in the comments below. You never know, you might find your idea in the next Suggest an Article!

Documenting Your Work – Photo Tips for Florists

Petal Closeup As a florist you are creating beauty everyday for others to enjoy and to help celebrate moments in their lives. But how often do you get to enjoy and celebrate your own work? Rarely, right? Between filling orders, making last minute rush deliveries, and trying to promote your shop, you are busy trying to run a business. But a passion for beauty got you into this industry so don’t let a hectic workday stop you from documenting your hard work.

Pictures tell your story, record your work, and become the strongest calling card you can have for new business. Photographing your arrangements is hands down the best way to promote your shop.  Here is a guide to help you make the most of every arrangement by photographing your orders on the go.

Cameras for Flower Photography

You’ll be surprised to learn that you don’t have to have the best and most expensive camera to take good photos of your flowers. The easiest and most beneficial place to share your photos is online so the images don’t have to be huge. Newer smartphones like the iPhone and many Android devices have excellent built-in cameras and photo aps available. This is a camera is always in your pocket so use it!

Point And Shoot CameraAny general digital camera that takes at least a 5MB picture can meet your needs as well. These cameras are often called “point and shoot” cameras because they offer very basic auto settings and are usually under $100. These cameras do not have a detachable lens or manual settings.

If you are ready to step up your game and have more control, a basic DSLR with lens is around $200 and up. These cameras have various auto settings as well as fully manual settings so you can adjust your focus and exposure yourself.

Consider This…

The goal of taking flower photos yourself is to take images of your work often, so a camera that you will keep with you and can use with ease is key. Think about what you are likely to use most often with the least hassle and start there. Familiarize yourself with whatever camera you decide to use. Actually spend a few minutes thumbing through your manual. Learn how to focus, use the auto settings and turn on/off the flash and date stamp. Mastering these basic tasks will immediately give you results you can see.

Digital SLRTips For Photographing Flower Arrangements

  • Clean Composition – The easiest way to make your photos look more professional is to pay attention to your composition. Make sure the table and background is free of clutter or distractions. You might even create a special table in the corner of your work room where you can quickly set an arrangement and snap a few shots. [Read more…]

Avoid the Hidden Cost of Online Images

Hey, isn't that our image?Just like everyone else, I like to spruce up my blog posts and news articles with a few images. After all, who wants to read block after block of text with no visuals to break it up? Nobody, that’s who.

So after I compose a brilliant (even if only to me) article, the next logical step is to search for an equally brilliant image to complement. Easy right? Not exactly. While Google has made things simple by adding an images archive for us to pour through, those images are often copyrighted, and using them without permission could result in some stiff penalties!

Online Does Not Equal Free

Just because an image is posted online does not mean that it is free and clear to be used. Contrary to popular belief, that is not what the law means when it says “public domain”. In this context, public domain means that the copyright has run out and was not renewed or was inapplicable to begin with. It has no bearing on where the image is located or discovered. A photographer who posts his pictures online has just as much right to be compensated for their display as one who sells them in a gallery.

This means that it is NOT okay to right-click any image you see, save it to your hard drive and upload it to your blog or website. If you do, the copyright holder can request you take it down, send you a bill, hire a lawyer to draft a cease and desist order and/or take you to court to sue for damages! And no, attribution* will not save you. Nobody wants to be stuck paying hundreds or even thousands of dollars for use of some erroneous image they only snagged because it looked good and helped illustrate their point.

Is There No Such Thing as Free Images?A stiff penalty.

Do not despair; there is hope! I’m not going to slap your hand and walk away, that’s not how this blog operates. Now that I’ve told you why it’s bad to grab random images, let me tell you where to go in order to find some images you can use. I should first say that these sites are not perfect and it’s possible to run across a copyrighted image here. However, your chances of avoiding them are much better than just pulling something you found randomly.

Also, it is a good idea to attribute back to the site you used at the bottom of your post. Some of these sites don’t require attribution*, but it’s just polite. You should ALWAYS read any disclaimers or policies around the photo or site you are using. They are pretty short, and it will be time well spent.

Free Images Online

  1. morgueFile – Free photos. Need I say more?
  2. Creativity103 – Photos, designs, and videos.
  3. pixel perfect digital – Free stock photography. This site does require attribution*!
  4. Photo Pin – Free photos!
  5. openclipart – Free clip art!
  6. pixabay – An outlet to both share and find free images.
  7. stock.xchng – Free photos!
  8. Creative Commons – This site is a collaborative page for creatives of all types. You can find images, text, and even videos with a varying level of copyright. Creative Commons offers free copyright licenses to creatives who would like to share their work on limited terms.

Don't be this guy.As you can see, there are plenty of places you can go online to find what you need. It’s true that many of these sites post images by amateur photographers or have photos that the pay sites have already rejected. That doesn’t necessarily mean that these images are bad, but they may not be up to the same level of quality as images for which payment is required. You know the old saying, “You get what you pay for.” Still, there are some good amateurs out there, and every professional started out as one, so don’t discount the option of finding something you can use here.

Using online images is a dicey proposition, but hopefully this post helped you to see some of the pitfalls and provided you with a few options to avoid them. If you have any suggestions or know of another quality free site I didn’t list here, put it in the comments below!

All images are courtesy of morgueFile.

*Attribution is the act of giving credit to the site from which you uploaded your photos. The morgueFile link is an example of attribution.

Flowers, Florists, and Random Acts of Joy

Bouquet on a Park BenchAll florists face the challenge of getting people to visit their shop outside of traditional flower-giving holidays. It’s standing room only on Valentine’s and Mother’s Day, but at other times of the year, manning the counter is akin to running the second most popular hotel in a ghost town. It’s not that flowers become any less beautiful, delicate and amazing, it’s just that, without the commercialized holidays or traditional events to remind them, people tend to forget.

It’s not hard to see why. In this world of hurly-burly hustle and bustle, it takes a rare person to stop what they’re doing and smell the roses. And yet, that’s what is being promoted in a new movement. People are being asked to not only smell the roses, but pass them on to others!

The Lonely Bouquet – Spreading The Love of Flowers

This movement, with roots sunk deep in the soil of the Netherlands, is called the Lonely Bouquet. The original idea was to leave a bouquet of flowers on a park bench, or any other public area, with a visible note attached saying, “Take me.” The point is to spread joy and happiness to some unknown stranger through the anonymous gift of flowers. This idea has gained traction quickly and is now grown into an international event! If you want to leave a lonely bouquet of your own, any day is good, but June 30th is the official day all across the globe!

Although not intended as marketing for florists, the awareness raised by anonymous bouquets found around town has proven very beneficial. In fact, many newspapers, blogs and television stations covered the event this past year, spotlighting individuals who organized groups to place bouquets in public. As you know, anything that puts flowers in the spotlight is valuable to everyone. Florists get much needed business, and more people get to open their doors to a vase full of fresh and beautiful blooms.

Even so, this event only happens once a year, and though annual events are nice, they are limiting. So what can florists do to make an idea like this work for them?

Spreading JoyBouquet on a Table

Leaves Floral Design and Gift Boutique in Greendale, WI chose to place multiple gorgeous and well-arranged bouquets around the city, but instead of the single note that says, “Take Me,” she added a second note encouraging the finder to take a photo and share his experience of finding the bouquet on the florist’s Facebook page. Excellent idea!

For each person who posts on her page, she gets a photo of her arrangement and a touching story of how the finding of it improved the recipient’s day in some fun way. She knew that whoever found the bouquet would be thrilled because flowers are alluring, peaceful and offer she who holds them a chance to reconnect with the natural world. Something that is increasingly more difficult to do every day. Those testimonials are guaranteed to be interesting and touching to both the florist and her readers.

On the business side, quality content on her site will ensure more and frequent traffic. Also, each of the poster’s friends see the post and have the opportunity to like and/or share it. Not all will of course, but of those that do, all of THEIR friends now have the same access. This florist was lucky enough to have a newspaper article published about her campaign. Because it was original, the local paper was interested in the concept. For the cost of a handful of bouquets, she has brightened the day of the few people who found her flowers and the multitudes who read about them after the fact. Her business has been advertised far and wide, and the potential results can be significant.

This same idea is already being implemented by multiple florists across the country, including MaryJane’s Flowers & Gifts in Berlin, NJ who was kind enough to submit all the photos you see in this post. Thanks MaryJane’s!

Letting Joy Spread ItselfBouquet on a City Bench

Another florist chose to use Twitter for his marketing campaign. His idea was to give away a bouquet with the stipulation that the person he gave it to could only keep it for one hour. Once the time had passed, and that person had now had time to be seduced by the intoxicating aroma of flowers in her work space, she had to then pass the flowers on to another person with the same stipulation. She would then post about the experience on Twitter using the hashtag #passthepetals.

Again, this florist chose to use the awesome power of flowers to do his marketing for him. He didn’t have to mount a large campaign, he just had to give someone a bouquet of flowers. Everyone who received the bouquet was overjoyed, took pictures of the flowers and had a wonderful time doing so. Receiving flowers is special; it shows that someone cares about you and wants to bring you joy. If you’re curious what kind of response this florist received, go to twitter and type #passthepetals in the search box to see the results!

Ideas of this nature are excellent grass roots marketing campaigns, and the incorporation of social media offers even more potential exposure. Don’t forget, Instagram also uses hashtags and Pinterest is a visual format as well, giving you the opportunity to share photos of your creations.

It’s not necessary to duplicate what the people above have done, feel free to explore your own ideas and use all that social media has to offer. And there’s no need to limit this kind of outside-the-box thinking to one day a year. If you’ve been in business for long at all, you know when your downtimes are. Don’t be afraid to generate some buzz with a well thought-out and fun event when things are moving slow.

But it’s not all about business. We know that though florists deal with flowers, they’re real business is that of making people happy. Flowers are as much a tool to accomplish that end as they are a source of revenue for the men and women who choose to operate in this industry. The giving and receiving of flowers is a long-held tradition for a reason, it never gets old. If you’re not a florist, but want to spread the joy of flowers to those you love or maybe as a random act of kindness, partner with your local florist to see what’s available.

It’s a concrete jungle out there. So much of life is lived away from nature and its wondrous bounty. Sometimes people need to be reminded that flowers are available and that the local florist is still there, offering fragile beauty and contagious smiles with each purchase.


Just4Florists: How To Reach Out With Community Workshops

Teach What You KnowHow involved is your flower shop in the local community? (No blank stares, please.) The more you put yourself out there, the more you will get back!

Do more for your public image by offering workshops to your community. This engaging approach cements your business in the minds of customers, and can be highly rewarding.

By developing simple, one-day sessions, you can reach out to your neighborhood to offer an event that is completely original.

Your customer base will increase, not just from workshop participants, but word of mouth as well. Think of it as summer camp for flower enthusiasts!

Host Workshops in Your Area

Flower Arranging 101 – Teach the basics of flower arranging to the DIY crowd, and make sure they know they can get the best loose stems and flower accessories from you to build their own custom creations.

Grow Green Thumbs  – Show how to care for all the houseplants you offer in your shop by demonstrating various pruning, re-potting and watering tips.

Cocktail Flower Hour – Offer a wine tasting paired with a floral design lesson for a relaxed and sophisticated evening mingle.

Posy Pals  – Make use of bright, summer blooms and appeal to all ages by teaching young flower lovers how put together a beautiful flower arrangement. (Great just before family-oriented holidays, such as Grandparent’s Day.)

[Read more…]

4Florists: Mardi Gras Promotions (Just in Time for Valentine’s Day)

You don’t have to live in New Orleans to celebrate Fat Tuesday.  Officially, Mardi Gras is on Tuesday, February 12th, but you should start your promotions by at least the 4th, if not sooner. I know what you’re thinking… “but but but.. that’s VALENTINES DAY. I can’t be bothered with Mardi Gras.” While that’s true, I’ll show you some quick and easy promotions you can do that won’t get in the way of your Valentines Day marketing plan. Because this holiday occurs so close to the biggest floral holiday of the year, take advantage of this time to spread the word about your flower shop!

"Mardi Gras" Flower ArrangementFind Your Target

You know your community better than anyone else. What groups can you promote Mardi Gras flowers and gifts to and be the most effective? If you live in an area where the holiday is widely observed, this will be easy, but if not, you might need your marketing thinking cap for this one. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Restaurants
  • Bars
  • Coffee Shops
  • Collegiate hangouts
  • Hotels
  • Casinos
  • Anywhere!

What They Want/Need & How To Make It Work For You

Contact all of the above businesses in your area, and anyone else you think might want a little more ‘fun’ with their [Read more…]

The 14 Days of Love – Marketing for Valentine’s Day

Florists, Valentines Day is less than a month away. If you haven’t turned your attention to Valentines Day, it’s time to start now! This could be your biggest year yet! Here we’ve composed 14 great ideas for the 14 Days in February. You can do them all, or pick and choose your favorites. If you have even more ideas, let us know in the comments below!

Valentines Day Marketing TipsDay 1. Tell your customers you love them.

Use your promotional outlets, blogging, social media, etc, to tell your customers what they mean to you. Create a special email or graphic; maybe give away coupons. This day is all about showing love to your loyal customers.

Day 2. Day of love contest

Give away an inexpensive, but desirable product in a quick and easy contest. It may be as simple as asking “I love my sweetheart so much because ____” on Twitter and giving away a prize for the best answer.

Day 3. Decorate, and decorate again.

Your front window should scream, “VALENTINE’S DAY,” but don’t stop there! Stick cut out hearts and doilies all over your walls and windows. Use red, white and pink ribbon to decorate your house plants, gift items and anything else. Catch love fever and go crazy!

Day 4. Send Valentines

Collect Valentine’s Day cards to be taken to local hospitals, nursing homes or even sent to soldiers. Advertise to your community via press release in radio, newspaper and even your own online promotional outlets.

[Read more…]

10 Easy New Years & Winter Marketing Ideas For Florists

The holiday season is a very busy time for florists. However, there are a few quick and easy things you can do that will make a big impact on your last sales of the year. Keep these tips in mind as 2013 draws near.

  • Winter Flowers1. Let customers know about special holiday hours by using your website/Facebook

If you’re closing early or will be closed during normal business hours, it’s a good idea to let customers know by doing more than taping a note to the door.


  • 2. Use holiday-themed profile pictures

The branding of your business is important, but if you’ve got time, add a Santa hat or snowflake to your logo to make it more festive for winter. Don’t forget to change it back when it’s time to!

  • 3. Host a photo contest with giveaways

Consider hosting a sunshine-themed art or photo contest to chase away the winter chill. Your customers can bring entries by your store or share them with you online. 1st Place gets a cozy winter-themed arrangement.

[Read more…]

Have You Claimed Your Bing Listing?

Bing Getting Started

It’s very important to make sure all of your information is correct and consistent across all web profiles and listings. If you have not claimed your Bing listing, what are you waiting for?

Claiming your Bing Local listing is another of the FREE services that you can use to make your shop’s presence known and control the information that search engines see about your flower shop. It’s as simple as that. Actually, FSN has made it even easier for florists. We have a Checklist for Claiming Your Bing Listing you can print out to keep the information you provide for your own records. We have also recently updated (just yesterday!) our Complete Guide to Claiming Your Bing Listing that will walk you through, as a florist, with examples and screen shots.

FSN is committed to helping florists promote themselves and their businesses, both on and off the web.

5 Ways You Can Ensure Your Business Visibility Online

Importance of Online Business Visibility

Trust is a major component of the algorithm used by the search engine. As a result, search engines look for consistency when evaluating your business on the web. Consistency in your NAP info (Name, Address and Phone number) is a critical component in establishing this trust. More importantly, trust is a crucial factor when consumers are purchasing products online.

5 Things Business Need To Do

1. Establish Official NAP Information

NAP information is your Name, Address and Phone number. The search engines are confused when your name has different versions. [Read more…]