Before we talk about “local area marketing”, let’s think for a moment about plain old “marketing”.
The word “marketing” is not just another word for “advertising”, which can be expensive and ineffective. People only seek out things when they have identified a need or want. The trick is to establish a good impression so that when they need flowers they are predisposed to choose your business. Regular ads in the local paper might do that for a florist – but an inexpensive local area marketing campaign can be just as effective.
What is Local Area Marketing?
Local Area Marketing, or LAM, is a term bandied about by franchise-types to describe, well, the act of getting out there and making a good impression in, uh, your local area. Not exactly rocket science. But if marketing is not just advertising, then what is it?
Wikipedia says marketing “is an integrated process through which companies build strong customer relationships and create value for their customers and for themselves”.
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The key word is “integrated”; Marketing is a part of everything you do in your business, from obvious stuff like window displays and business cards, through to little things like the way you greet people when they enter the shop or whether you sweep the footpath outside your store.
How To Sell More Flowers Without Breaking the Bank
OK! So let’s get to the nitty-gritty – here’s a bunch of inexpensive local area marketing ideas to help you sell more flowers!
Get Involved In Your Community – People like to do business with people that they know, like and trust – in that order, so get off the couch and participate. If you can’t think of where to start go visit the local community centre, you’ll be surprised how many organizations are desperate for more people to help. The more locals you know, the more locals will think of you when it comes time to buy flowers.
Don’t Just Talk About Your Business – Talk About THEIR Business – If you’re like me, and kind of hate polite small-talk, get around it by asking people about themselves, their lives and businesses. That usually breaks the ice nicely because most people like to talk about themselves more than listen to you talk about yourself. Strike up rapport and then the little fact that you are God’s gift to the floristry industry should naturally come up!
Update Your Sign – so many businesses have dilapidated old signs that seriously need to be replaced. I always look at this, and will often skip a small business with a tattered old sign, so chances are a percentage of your potential customers would too. Grungy signs equals grungy local area marketing!
Balloons outside your store – As in, on the A-frame sign. I know this sounds lame, but I worked for a successful franchise chain once who swore that they worked. Apparently people would notice the balloons and then look to the store to see what the special event was. Effective local area marketing does not require you to reinvent the wheel.
Branded Freebie Items – like coffee mugs and stationary. Every day on our fridge at home I am reminded of multiple local real estate agents that I’d rather forget about, all because they sent us free magnets that my wife won’t let me throw out. And when I enjoy a coldie I often meditatively contemplate my mate’s construction safety firm, simply because he gave me a free stubby-holder. That stuff works.
Local Area Focussed Websites – there are a lot of local area websites these days, including directories, and you could do worse than get an article, listing or even a small regular ad in these. Most people looking at the site will be locals.
Friendship Marketing – essentially making agreements with other local businesses to include flyers or business cards in outgoing orders. So you might make a deal with the local bookshop to include one of your flyers in the bag with every book they sell, and vice versa.
Research Local Businesses – and take the time to approach them individually. For example, you might discover that there are 18 restaurants in the local area – but how many of them use your flowers on their tables each night? Put together a special weekly package for them at a discounted price and approach them proactively.
That should keep you busy for now. Just remember that marketing is a part of every interaction you have with the buying public – first impressions count!
Now, off to decide who to buy lunch from – by checking out the condition of their signage…
Written by Seamus – Tesselaar’s website manager and marketing nerd.
Lego Photo by Yoppy
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