A few years ago most florists and other bricks and mortar businesses did not need to think about online marketing all that much.
After all – what was the point? If a potential customer in your area typed “flowers” into Google five years ago they would probably have just seen the big online florists and a bunch of other non-local results. To get your business to the top of this highly competitive bun-fight was virtually impossible.
This has all changed – the Internet is now becoming increasingly hyper-local and this is leading to the rise of “location marketing”.
The Internet – Coming to a Florist Near You!
Location marketing means targeting people using computer technology within a certain area. The fact that all internet-connected computer devices report their whereabouts to any site they visit is becoming very useful to location driven businesses of all sizes. So, that in mind, here are 7 reasons why florists should be thinking local when they think about the Internet:
1. Google Now Strongly Favours Local Results.
This means that the same customer who a few years ago would not have seen any local results when he typed in “flowers” into the search box, will now see any number of local results for the same search. These results could either be from your florist website (assuming it has been set up correctly so that Google will find it), or it will be on Google’s map results. You can make sure your florist shop shows up in relevant map results by claiming your Google business listing here.
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2. Google Advertising Can Be Geo-Targeted
Geo-what? This simply means that If you pay for Google advertising (Adwords) you can set them to only show up for searchers who are based in your local geographic area. This can mean that for a relatively small investment, much smaller than print advertising, you can really make sure that you are front and centre anytime somebody local searches for flowers.
Beware: Adwords can be tricky and so can some so-called Adwords experts offering to manage them for you. Email me (link) if you’d like some advice on what to ask a potential Adwords manager to make sure he or she knows their stuff.
3. Facebook Advertising Can Be Geo-Targeted
You can advertise on Facebook only to people who live in your own city. You can’t currently get more specific than that but you can lessen the amount of clicks (which are what you pay for) by mentioning your suburb name in the ad.
4. Facebook Check-ins
Speaking of Facebook – why not offer a small discount or some other enticement (a nice cuppa?) for anybody who used Facebook Place’s “check in” function when they visit your shop. That way, all they need to do is pull out their iPhone or similar and make a couple of clicks while they’re there – meanwhile they are advertising your business to their friends, many of whom are likely to live nearby.
5. Mobile Internet Usage Is Skyrocketing
The incidence of people using their mobile phones to access the Net is going through the roof – just look around next time you are out and about on the street – every second person is head down eyeballing their screen and the majority of these people are either already connected or will soon enough be (if they don’t first walk in front of a bus while merrily texting up a storm).
So what does this mean for florists? Well, the busy man on the go suddenly remembers it’s his wedding anniversary so he Googles “flowers” on the fly. Google will dutifully serve up any local website that is set up properly just like it would on a desktop computer and local business listings as well. So again, claim your local business listing and also it’s a great idea to make sure your website is configured to look readable on a mobile. If yours isn’t and your competitor’s is – guess who gets the sale?
6. Foursquare Marketing
If you haven’t heard of Foursquare yet there’s a good chance you soon will as it is on the way up and fast. It’s a location based social networking site that involves broadcasting your location to your online friends. If you think that sounds like a great way to get your house burgled while you’re out, I agree, but nonetheless it is hugely popular in the US and growing rapidly here too.
The reason you may end up caring about this is because it has a very clever marketing device built in – as a business owner you are encouraged to attract local foursquare users by broadcasting invitations to come and check in to your shop in order to get a discount or whatever. If this sounds familiar, it’s because it is, Facebook unashamedly copied it.
7. Twitter Marketing
Loads of small businesses already use Twitter to engage with customers in their local area. It is common to read about things like a baker who “tweets” every time they pull a fresh batch out of the oven. Why not encourage locals to follow your business twitter account and then tweet every time you send a beautiful bouquet on its way? You can even tweet photos out these days too – not to mention coupons and offers.
Well, seven is my lucky number, so I will stop there. Well, almost…
There is another form of location sensitive online marketing that is very popular (at least with consumers) right now, but we here in the Tesselaar’s marketing department are not so sure it’s much cop. I am talking about Group Buying sites like Spreets, Cudo, Stardeals, etc.
While they can be very effective in drawing in locals looking for a bargain (I scored a super cheap car-service the other day) there is an increasing backlash against these deals from business operators themselves and we reckon with good reason too. I will write about that in detail very soon – but meanwhile be very cautious about entering into one of these arrangements. Do some Googling on the subject before you say yes to the salesman.
Ok the information above is enough to keep you up till midnight for the next 3 months in a location-based online florist marketing frenzy – and speaking of midnight, it’s 20 past that right now – so good night and good luck!
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