How to make an Online Floral Look Book

In Flower Marketing by Seamus6 Comments

This week’s post is by Melbourne/Geelong based florist Sarah Wilkinson. We were impressed when Sarah posted her online Floral Look Book to the Tesselaar’s Facebook page so we asked her to let us know how she went about making it. Here’s what she sent in:

eBooks have become next best to the real thing; poking through online eBook sites is like flicking through the expensive, imported magazines at Borders, but without the guilt of having to buy!

Consequently, it is a medium that is growing by the hour. One online provider has a readership of 33 million alone, and 2.4 billion monthly impressions. So, how does one get in on the act? It’s not as complicated as it looks.

 Florist ebooks

eBooks – Free and Easy To Make

There are several websites online that can be the platform for your online magazine such as DocStoc, Google Docs & Scribd. Most are free and easy to navigate. For a couple reasons, I decided to use issuu – a flipbook style publisher. Firstly, I loved the aesthetic: the pages have a gloss sheen, similar to the curve of a real magazine. It is also available as an app for iphones and ipads but most importantly, people could download my publication as a PDF for free – a powerful way of getting my business out there and onto desktops!

I decided to make my publication a ‘Look Book’ for brides to be, an annual online publication that has snap shots of current looks I am doing for weddings (bouquets, styling) and information for the client on what is seasonably available.

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Tools and Tips To Help You Make Your Online Look Book

Adobe Illustrator was my program of choice for constructing my pages. I also recommend InDesign, or Quark Xpress, which are proper page layout programs.

If you don’t have access to these programs, I suggest befriending somebody who does as they are far superior to Word or Microsoft Publisher. Check out community boards such as gumtree or serviceseeking for freelance graphic designers who can help you out from their bedroom offices at a competitive price!

Deciding to use my own photographs started out well enough, but once the cache started to run a bit dry I found that using a few well placed images from istock (a wonderful resource for high-resolution photographs that you can purchase rights to use) really did the trick, with photos that were specific to the theme of the pages I needed.

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You can start, like I did, by sketching a few designs & themes out on a notepad, then using Illustrator to combine your chosen texts and images. I used several ‘artboards’ (illustrator lingo for page) and was mindful of double page spreads (the first time I uploaded my ebook, I didn’t realize the first page would be a single spread, hence all the following page sequencing went out of whack) , and using thick, clear text is very important!

Once I was happy with the layout, I saved the book as a multi page PDF from Illustrator (make sure it’s saved as a High Resolution PDF when you save it). It was then a matter of joining issuu (which is free), following the very clear prompts and uploading the book.

florist look book

Promoting Your Florist eBook Online

After my eBook was online I was then prompted to write a blurb about it, and ‘tags’ for the book so that people browsing online through not only search engines, but on the issuu website, were able to find my publication.  Just a little tip: Using tags specific to your theme such as ‘Wedding flowers’, ‘Melbourne’ and ‘Event Planning’ is a great way to make sure your target audience locate your publication. The more concise the tag, the more traffic to your eBook!

Next – flogging the eBook! By highlighting and copying the web address of the eBook from the address bar, I then pasted it in my facebook status and blog. This is very cool, because when you view the link, it shows up as a mini-version of the eBook that can then be read on the facebook page in miniature or expanded to full screen size.

Another benefit was that it automatically helped my business name be more embedded in search engines; it’s brilliant when this happens for free!

A Great Way to Educate and Engage Your Customers

Initially making the eBook, it was just an excuse to play on the computer and get out of washing vases for a few hours, but once I saw how professional it looked online, I knew I was onto a powerful online advertising medium. Selling flowers isn’t where the service should end in a successful floral-based business, eBooks are a great way of educating our customers on the product itself (seasonal availability of flowers, caring for cut flowers), of our style, and of our ability to keep ahead of what’s new (social networking, eBooks, Apps).

Don’t be daunted, keep you first attempt simple and to a few pages! Once you start promoting it on your website or social networking page, you will be surprised by how impressed your customers will be. And how intrigued and nervous the competition become!!!

sarah wilkinsonWritten by Sarah Wilkinson a freelance floral designer specialising in weddings, events and retail installations. Sarah runs Sinnika Floral Design Studio, servicing Melbourne, Geelong & The Surfcoast.

Check out Sarah’s look book here: (Ed note, 2013 – sorry, Sarah seems to have removed it … Sarah?)

 

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Seamus is Tesselaar Flowers' digital marketing manager. He's a creative marketing geek, writer, musician & accidental flower lover. He helps small businesses with websites and web marketing. If you need any help regarding the Tesselaars website you can contact him on seamuse@tesselaars.com

Comments

  1. This is a fantastic idea Sarah – thanks for sharing your how tos and reasons. 🙂

  2. Thank you Sarah, it’s great when everyone in this industry works together to help each other. You are a gem. Thank you Tesselaars for bringing this information to us all.

  3. So pleased to hear that this article has been both inspiration and help! Look forward to seeing your designs : ) Sarah

  4. been wanting to do this for ages i have heard about this. However spent 2 hours trying to figure out how to do this? How to create the pages without spending $300 and over on software to help design and create this? Any tips and hints as im not computer
    savy and has created one big head ache!! Been on recommended sites to create pages but got lost with how to use it and the cost?

  5. Hi Katherine, for quality publication it is best to use something like Illustrator or Photoshop to generate your pages. You could probably even use a trial version to save on expense. Otherwise, It is possible to use other smaller programs that are based
    on the Adobe programs, as long as you can save the image as a PDF. Perhaps do a shout out on facebook and ask friends or family if they have the program and are up for a design challenge? Best of luck!

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