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Florists & Fiscal Fitness – Recommit To A Marketing Plan!

Marketing = Communication = Sales

Effective marketing is all about establishing a relationship with your customers. More so than money, time and planning are the crucial marketing components needed. Engaging your customer is the key. As a result, everything you say or do is a marketing tool and directly related to your sales.

Whether you engage your customers face to face, online or through written communication, it is imperative that you know your customers’ needs, wants and expectations.

How To Find Out What Your Customer Wants

  • Greet Customers. Acknowledgment is essential. It makes the customer feel valuable. Whether your form of communication is through a website, a blog, an email or in person, you must acknowledge the importance of your customer. It must be all about them. It is not what you provide, as much as it what you can do for them.
  • Listen. You hear what your customers say every day, but do you really listen to what they say? Instead of reading between the lines, you need to “hear” between the lines. Understanding what your customer is really trying to say will help you fulfill their wants and desires, while endearing them to your store.
  • Ask. Sometimes the simplest way to find out what customers want is to ask them. Put a suggestion box in your store, ask questions using your Facebook page or blog, or simply engage your customers in a conversation by asking them about their life.
  • Share. You are an expert in your field. Share your knowledge. Volunteer to be a guest speaker for a local organization or civic group. These open forums expose you to new and potential customers where insightful conversations can take place.

Utilizing multiple methods of reaching customers will increase your chances for success. Some marketing tools cost money while some only require time. Some marketing tools create a one-sided conversation; other promote a two-sided conversation.

13 Effective Marketing Platforms For Florists

  1. Internet Advertising Platforms. Directories like Flower Shop Network, Wedding and Party Network and FSN Funeral Homes give you online exposure, while combining your marketing with your advertising. Although a one-sided form of communication, this marketing tool will help you build trust and authority.
  2. eCommerce Websites. More and more customers are making purchases online. Having an eCommerce website is the best way to give customers what they want online – an easy and convenient way to purchase flowers 24 hours a day. Although they are, usually a one-sided conversation. However, websites created by Flower Shop Network give you the ability to have a two-sided conversation through the testimonial and social media features.
  3. Direct Mail or Handouts. This marketing tool is very beneficial during holidays or special events. It can help you reach specific niches with a “striking while it is hot approach,” while keeping your name in front of the customer. It is a one-sided conversation and best if done in combination with other tools.
  4. Facebook. This marketing platform has a dual purpose. You can engage customers in conversation and promote shop activities, specials and services. It is more of a two-sided conversation when you actively ask for customer input.
  5. Blogs. Similar to Facebook, but a more permanent way to market your shop, build trust and brand awareness, while engaging customers in conversation. A blog is one of the most effective forms of two-way conversation.
  6. Twitter. Keeps customer in-tune with real-time activities. This marketing tool allows you to promote specials and follow customers trends. Depending on how you use Twitter, it can be either one-sided or two-sided.
  7. Yard Signs, Banners & Posters. When cleverly placed or with clever slogans, these can be inexpensive marketing tools. They are one-sided conversations.
  8. Email Marketing. Using emails to remind customers of upcoming holidays or store promotions is still one of the mostly commonly used marketing tools. A one-sided conversation.
  9. Delivery Vans. Think of your delivery van as a moving billboard for your store. Keep in mind it is a one-sided form of communication so the message should be clear and simple.
  10. Business Cards. Think of these as mini-billboards. Everyone you meet is a potential customer. Giving out your business card is a friendly way to remind them later of your face-to-face conversation.
  11. Events. Whether the event is hosted in your store or off-site, events allow you to interact with customers and subtly promote your business. One of the best forms of two-sided conversations.
  12. Telemarketing During Holidays. These are courtesy calls to long-time customers reminding them of past holiday orders and established before the rush of the holiday.  This is a two-sided conversation that lets the long-time customer know they are receiving preferential treatment.
  13. Traditional Advertising. Newspaper, TV and radio are still valuable marketing tools, if used in conjunction with other marketing tools such as Ecommerce websites, Facebook, blogs and events.

Using more than one marketing tool increases customer engagement. Be realistic in your plan regarding time and money constraints. Planning is the key. Summer is a great time to develop a marketing calendar.

The first step is assessing what you have in the way of printed material. Make sure all printed information about your shop includes the urls to your websites and social media sites.

Set goals you can easily follow through with, and keep it simple in the beginning. For instance, commit to updating your status on Facebook each week with something about your shop.

Think ahead. Now is the time to start working on direct mail for upcoming holidays. By October 1st, have direct mail pieces designed, printed and ready to mail.

Develop a calendar of to-do’s with time lines and most importantly, commit to spending a little time each day or week to monitoring your plan and tracking your progress.

Marketing is more about investing time to cultivate relationships rather than money. With the right combination of marketing tools, you can drive business to your shop. The important factor for success is deciding and implementing the right tools to achieve your goals.

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