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April 2016
10 Valuable Marketing Ideas By Tara Jacobsen

These tactics can be easy to implement in all aspects of your business.

Your garden center may be doing some of the greatest things ever, but if you’re not able to promote and sell your products, your efforts are in vain.

I have a neat handout that I use when speaking at live events called “100 Free Marketing Ideas.”

This January I was asked to speak at the NextLevel conference for AmericanHort. While giving that talk, it became very clear that there were 10 standout marketing tactics that the attendees were eager to jump on.

For Garden Centers

1. Events

Have “local celebrity” events at your garden center or nursery.

Don’t try to promote the event all on your own marketing efforts. Instead seek out people who are already local “celebrities” and who have large followings on social media to draw new customers into your store.

Some examples that I used were to have a feng shui expert come in to talk about using plants for creating a calm home, or invite an interior designer in to talk to realtors about how to use plants to stage empty houses.

These types of events will drive foot traffic into your retail location.

2. Email

One of the main things that I noticed was the lack of regular communication with potential customers.

While some of the retailers were doing great with email, I got the impression that not many were utilizing free email services like MailChimp to grow their contact lists.

One Christmas tree seller was astounded at the compounding effect that adding to her email list every year created.

For example, if she had 1,200 buyers in the first year, and the second year she added just 33 percent more, that would be 1,600 people she could reach out to prior to the season to give “early access” or “pick first” passes to.

In this manner, she could have an idea of the volume of sales she could expect from past clients and avoid having to discount to get a response.

3. Unwrapped

There is something really weird about humans; we like to watch people “unbox” things!

This phenomenon can work wonderfully as you get new plants or retail goods into your store.

Simply take a series of pictures of opening up your deliveries or even shoot a quick video of what you just got in.

These pictures and videos can be shared on your Facebook page, YouTube channel and Instagram.

The really neat thing about this is that you are “pre-selling” items in your store to people eager to buy, not just browse.

For Landscaping and Service Businesses

4. Before and After

Use lots of before and after pictures on your social media channels like Instagram and Pinterest. Because these are such visual sites, it is easy to attract attention and shares by having really neat before and after pictures.

Since Pinterest is such a female-dominated site (and women make 80 percent of buying decisions for the home), pictures of dream landscapes and those transformational graphics are very popular.

5. Be Social

Make sure you are using the social networks that your customers are on.

One woman who was an interior plant architect worked primarily with the accounting department in companies, meaning that even though her business would have been a great fit for visual sites, in actuality her best bet was to use LinkedIn instead.

If you are selling services consider using Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Companies selling home-based services should focus on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

6. Knowledge

Be an “expert” in your industry who is available to work with the local press on making “news.”

Because newspapers, radio stations and TV shows need so much content these days, it is easy to start “helping” them by providing them with your expertise via pictures, articles and in interviews.

Almost every news website has a submission form where you can suggest stories.

For Growers and Grower-Retailers

7. Trends

As a large company, it can seem hard for growers to use social media for selling.

During the NextLevel conference I was struck by how many opportunities big growers have for reaching out and helping the retail businesses that will be selling their products.

Stay on top of topics and trends like the pollinator issue that is in the news.

Because you have more ready access to experts and a wider view of the industry, it is easy to provide your customers with analysis and real information that they may not be getting from the media, which just wants controversy and strife.

8. Ahead of the Curve

Spot trends early and let the retail peeps know what you see as upcoming shifts in plant popularity one, two or even three years out.

Because the growing and sales cycles for plants are long, you know early what are going to be the “hot new trends” in plants for the coming years.

Having that information early can help retailers prepare printed materials, blog posts and social channels.

9. Data

Many growers can and should provide market data for retail sellers.

One of the growers I spoke with had commissioned a large study of retail shopping habits and buying trends.

They were super willing to share that data which will help retailers sell more and then buy more plants in an ever growing cycle of wonderfulness.

If you have this type of study, break out different relevant data points to share as infographics and “sound bites” that local retailers can use in their PR efforts or on their social sites.

10. Photos

If you are a grower for other retailers, be sure to provide photography for those retailers to use. This is huge!

Many small retailers are not great photographers or content creators. Provide stunning photographs and beautifully styled shots for them to share.

Post branded pictures on Pinterest boards and let your customers know that they are welcome to use them in their social media efforts.

For the complete list of 100 Free Marketing Ideas, go to www.100freemarketingideas.com.


Tara Jacobsen

Tara Jacobsen is a sought after marketing presenter known for her "tell it like it is style" and giving 100 mile-per-hour presentations that will keep you engaged and taking notes the entire time. There are a wealth of free marketing ideas available at her website, www.marketingartfully.com.


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