If you want your floral website to sell more flowers, then you need to think about how this is going to work. Many florists I have spoken to know very well what to say to their customers when they walk in to the shop and what it is their customers are like – how they buy, the way they shop – the way they think! You need your website to be just as intelligent as you are – it needs to communicate with your customers and present your wares in the right way. This does not take mega-bucks but it will most definitely take effort.
Whenever I see a florist or an event co-ordinator’s website (and social media presence) that is really together, I can tell that the reason they are kicking goals is because they have done three things…
1. Stop and Think
Firstly, they have devoted time to thinking good and hard about what it is that makes the difference between a good online marketing presence and a lacklustre one. They have considered the fact that it is impossible for you to simply hire somebody who “knows the Internet” for a grand or two and expect them to add any real value to your business without some serious input and guidance from you. Website developers and online marketing gurus do not know the floral industry or what it will take to make your customers buy from your shop.
Sure – they know how to build a floral website, but you can only hire marketing professionals to do one third of the work for you – the other two thirds (points 1 and 3) you have to do yourself.
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You need to think about:
– What am I selling exactly?
– To who?
– How do they think? What are they looking for? What problem do I solve for them?
– How can I clearly communicate these benefits to them?
– How can I make it easy for potential customers to find what it is they are looking for?
Then you need to think about basic website structure. This is not that hard, get a pencil and an A4 piece of paper and draw a vertical line across the top about a ruler width down and the same but horizontal down one side. Now map out your website content design – what pages are featured in the menu across the vertical line? Do you have a logo to go into the top left hand corner? What do you want down the horizontal sidebar? What should your main home page communicate? Draw boxes if you want. Look at other websites that you like; what do they do? Just copy that.
Then you need to write out the messages to your customers that you will place on every page. If you are not much of a writer then just draft it in bullet points or record yourself speaking and then hand these over to a copywriter or a friend who can write.
2. Find the Right Professionals
You don’t need to remortgage the house – but it is vital that you do spend enough to get your floral website look and functionality up to speed, otherwise you’re wasting your time. But by doing stage one you will get a lot more bang for your buck – because graphic designers, website developers and marketing gurus cannot know your business. All they can do is help you with the fiddly computer stuff.
Please refer to this older blog post about how to commission a website you won’t regret.
3. Settle in for the Long Haul
Successful online marketing of a real world business is not something that you can simply set up and forget. You will need to learn to do a few things regularly to get the most out of your investment.
Some of these things are:
- Come up with fresh content as often as possible. Content means pictures, words, videos – the stuff you put in your website or social media page. Old, stale content will not attract as many new or repeat customers. Keep it relevant to your current business incarnation. Also Google favours frequently updated websites.
- Monitor your website traffic and respond to what your page stats are telling you. Get your technical guy to install Google Analytics so you can see how many people visit your site, how they got to your site and what they did on your site. If you see 65% of visitors leave your site at Point X without buying anything – then change Point X until the stats improve!
- Engage – don’t forget to check in regularly with your website, emails and facebook pages (etc). If somebody comments or has a question – respond! If you can help somebody (out there in the Big Conversation) by offering some free relevant advice or pointing them to a useful link – do it even if it doesn’t lead to an immediate sale. People like to buy from people they like and trust. Turn your marketing volume knob right down and just be useful. People hate being slammed with sales hype online and will not respond to it.
- You will need to address questions like: Can your floral website be found on Google? Do you have a mobile phone friendly website? Should you set up and maintain an email marketing program? These things may require further financial investment further down the track, but again the more research you do, the more you will know what is worth spending money on and what you can reject, delay or do yourself.
You might be feeling put off; this is a lot of work. However, it is not a massive financial investment, especially after the initial hurdle of setting up a decent website is done with. That’s why the Internet has been such a great leveller – you don’t need to spend mega-bucks to be successful at business online, you just need to put in the grunt work.
Setting up and maintaining a successful online florist marketing strategy is a lot of hard work; it will require some serious investment of thought and effort. However you should not view this as a problem but rather as an opportunity. The fact that you do not need to be wealthy, a computer whizz or a marketing guru to make a go of it is a good thing. And the sad truth that most people out there will not make the effort to make this work means that, if you do, you have a very good chance of doing well online.
Some qualified help would be nice – right?
Over the last year or so as we have been blogging about how to market your florist or wedding & events coordinating businesses online, we have been regularly asked if we can help. We have been asked to set up websites, facebook pages, and to help with email marketing, e-commerce and SEO (i.e. “get me to number one on Google”).
If you were to receive assistance from a Geek Squad who also knew the florist industry intimately, could this work to your advantage? We are considering providing such a targeted service – however we need to know how many people are genuinely interested.
So whether you are or not would you please do us the big favour of filling in this very short, easy, anonymous survey? It’s as simple as clicking a few buttons; will only take 2 minutes.
Written by Seamus – Tesselaar’s website manager and marketing nerd
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