10 Digital Marketing Ideas for Garden Centers
Posted November 20, 2015 by Jessica Kegerreis in Digital Marketing, Marketing Strategy, PPC, Responsive Web Design, Search Engine Marketing, SEO, Social Media
Digital Marketing for Garden Centers:
10 ideas to get new customers and increase foot traffic to your Garden Center
There are numerous fun, creative and engaging digital marketing ideas for your garden center to consider in order to boost your online presence and increase foot traffic to your store.
While print still has a place with your core audience, gaining new customers and engaging current ones are best achieved using digital marketing without the hard cost of print materials. Check out these 10 ideas to elevate your garden center’s digital marketing today:
1 – Optimize your garden center for local searches
One of the best digital marketing tactics you can do for your garden center is optimize it for local searches. Your customers likely live within a 10-15 mile radius so location is a major purchasing factor. Customers usually don’t travel more than 25 miles out of their way to buy plants, so it’s important to be at the top of the search result page when they’re in your area.
Some website elements to keep in mind are to ensure your address is prominently displayed throughout the site, use location specific terms in your website’s content, create a Google Business page, create a Google+ page for your business. When it comes to succeeding in “Local SEO”, having a consistent and accurate (business) name, address and phone number throughout the various business profiles on the web is the foundation for success.
2 – Promote limited-time sales to get foot traffic
Unless you also sell products online, getting foot traffic to your garden center is still one of the biggest hurdles your business faces. Therefore, a large portion of your digital marketing efforts need to support the goal of getting people in that door so they can buy your product. Luckily, there’s social media and it can be pretty powerful if used appropriately.
Consider having flash sales that you promote on Facebook and Twitter. For example: “Pansies are Buy 1 get 3 FREE from 5pm to 6pm this evening ONLY!” These short-notice, limited-time offers should be worth the effort for the customer and enticing enough to make them want to share it with their friends online – adding more exposure to your message. The idea is to get them in that door to buy one thing but leave with a bunch of other products. And, they start to follow your garden center more closely so they don’t miss a deal but in the meantime, you’re engaging them with other content.
3 – Use Instagram to promote product and engage your followers
The great thing about garden centers: they are so beautiful. Gorgeous blooms, vibrant color and interesting textures are literally everywhere you look when visiting a garden center. Improve your digital marketing by simply sharing more of that. Take photos of fresh products and post it to your Instagram account. Caption it with the name of the plant, the price, what kind of sun it likes and how many you have in stock. Chances are, you’ll get more questions or your followers will tag friends, and you will get more people in the door to buy that pretty plant you posted. Either way, pictures are powerful and your garden center is full of amazing subjects to share.
4 – Hold a gardening competition on Facebook
People love prizes and gardeners are no exception. Consider holding a competition with a unique prize to show you are inspired by your customers as much you inspire them. A competition shows you value their expertise and is a way to truly share your passion for gardening. Maybe it’s a competition for the best porch pot arrangement using a particular plant (that you happen to be carrying at the moment). Set out a few parameters and then promote the competition and encourage people to share it. Think carefully about your target audience though and how you present this to them. Be sure you are getting their input on the winner, and then follow up with who won and a little bit about them.
5 – Tweet or post to Facebook regularly
Social media can be a real time suck which is why so many garden centers are either afraid to even start, don’t know where to start, or fizzle out after awhile. The truth is though, being on social media is incredibly important to your digital marketing. Gardening is considered a hobby, something people do in their free time to relax and enjoy themselves but there’s something threatening that time – social media. People are on their phones all the time now checking in on all the social media sites. If you aren’t there reminding them why they should be gardening and that you are their resource for it, they’ll forget about it and you. Posting regularly keeps you on their radar. But fear not, posting regularly can be simple with resources like Hootsuite that help you schedule out posts.
6 – Send emails with products, tips and inspiration
Email marketing is a fast and cost-effective digital marketing tool that will help your garden center succeed. Sending emails to your customers that keep them informed of your products, classes, promotions and gardening inspiration will keep them engaged and interested with your business. You can take it a step further and offer exclusive deals to only your email subscribers making it more valuable for them to stay on your list while motivating them to open and read your future emails.
7 – Invest in a responsive website for your garden center
A responsive website is one that adjusts how it is displayed based on the device in which it is being viewed. Having a website that does this is important for many reasons. The biggest being that your customers are likely looking you up on their phone. If they have to pinch and zoom to navigate your website, they’ll probably get frustrated and it will be a bad user experience – they may not even be able to find what they are looking for. A responsive site makes it easy for them to find and see the information they seek.
The other reason a responsive website will help with your digital marketing is that Google has recently changed how it ranks your website when a user searches on a mobile device. It now factors in the “mobile-friendliness” of your website. If it comes up as not very mobile friendly, it ranks your website lower. That means a lot of opportunity missed because your website is not meeting industry standards anymore.
8 – Make it easy for customers to share your products and pictures
In the day of Pinterest and Facebook, sharing products, posts and pictures is vital to growing your brand and rounding out your digital marketing strategy. Look at your website to see if you are making it easy for visitors to share your products, blog posts and pictures. This can be achieved by adding a “Share This” bar to the page. Make sure you have a Pinterest account for your garden center, add your products to it and frequently update it as you add content to your website. Remember to generate content and add photos that are worth sharing. People love tips, tricks and DIY ideas for the garden.
9 – Use pay-per-click (PPC) to Your Advantage
Use Google Adwords to supplement your digital marketing strategy where your organic SEO may be lacking. With Google Adwords, your garden center can zero in on location, time, weather, keywords and even income to reach your buying audience. Set up a PPC campaign to run during 4pm to 6pm to grab the attention of commuters headed home on weeknights or limit your ads to run only when the weather is nice. These campaign parameters will help drive foot traffic to your store and get people purchasing products. Google Adwords can be dialed in to accommodate whatever strategy makes sense for your garden center.
10 – Engage with Your Customers
Social media has become another channel in which customer service needs to be on point. If a customer posts a complaint, address it immediately and quietly. Try to take it private as soon as possible and never fuel the fire. Likewise, if a customer provides a shoutout be sure to thank them, “like” the compliment and respond with a friendly comment in return. Maybe even show your appreciation to them by offering a discount the next time they come in. Staying engaged with your current customers and followers brings you closer to them and begins to build trust, loyalty and a relationship – which become major deciding factors when it’s time to go buy plants for their garden.
Many local garden centers want to manage their digital marketing in house rather than use a digital marketing agency. The trick with that is, you’re also having to run a garden center. These tactics take time to set up, manage, assess and improve and oftentimes, garden centers let it slide during the peak selling seasons – which is exactly the time your digital marketing should be ramping up and going full throttle.
If you decide to keep your digital marketing in house, be sure to pre-plan, schedule out posts and do as much as you can during the slow months at your garden center.
If you are ready to get back in the garden and let professionals elevate your digital marketing, let’s have a conversation.