You, no doubt, realize that marketing is important. But given the myriad obligations of a small-business owner, you might not always give shop promotions proper attention.
Nothing like a new year to inspire a fresh start! For 2019, why not resolve to prioritize marketing? Here are four goals to put you on the road to success.
- Create a Content Calendar
A lot of brilliant ideas fall by the wayside when you get busy. The solution? Plan ahead before pressure hits. Pull out a calendar and fill in seasonal promotions then back out a few weeks and mark when you need to start marketing them. Valentine’s Day starts, well, now. Prom kicks off in March or April, depending on your local schools’ schedules, with Mother’s Day quickly on its heels. Petal It Forward should be on your customers’ radar by early October.
Once you’ve filled in the year’s major events, you can visualize when you have blank slates. These periods are excellent opportunities to schedule some non-time-sensitive marketing ideas, be it an in-shop event (think: design workshop, fundraiser or block party) or an online activity, such as a contest or a poll. You can fill in remaining voids with continuing themes (#weddingWednesday, #throwbackThursday, etc.) or plugging in info from SAF-sponsored research studies.
According to Allison Boccamazzo, a California-based content marketing professional, creating a clear plan — and keeping track of which content performs most effectively — will streamline your marketing strategy for the long haul, so you’re less likely to fall off the wagon.
- Rate Your Most Successful Social Media Platforms
Not all social media platforms are interchangeable. For instance, Twitter, a great place to read pithy comments and GIFs, doesn’t do floral photography justice the same way Instagram does. Likewise, the biggest players (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) might not necessarily be the most valuable tools for your particular audience.
Social media coach Bill Evan Bell noted that, for the first time in nine years, social media use actually declined. His hypothesis? Young Americans are embracing more private platforms, such as WhatsApp, Messenger and Snapchat, migrating from the more mainstream sites that their parents use.
Marty Loppnow, owner of Waukesha Floral & Greenhouse in Waukesha, Wisconsin, has found a successful marketing niche through YouTube, where he posts comedic and educational videos.
If you’re finding that Facebook, Instagram and Twitter just aren’t cutting it, think outside of the box and experiment to find the best social media fit for your business.
- Revamp and Rebrand your Website
In the age of online shopping, your website is absolutely an extension of your brick and mortar business. Jessica Scanlon, founder of Hot Dog Marketing, endorses investing in smart web design and strategic development to make sure you’re not turning off prospective buyers. Give your site a critical assessment as if you were a customer. Does it take more than seven seconds to load? Does it perform well on mobile devices as well as desktop computers? You want the browsing experience to be seamless and enjoyable.
For in-depth tips on improving your website, check out some of the industry’s digital experts’ advice in “Rank and Style.”
- Boost Your Search Engine Optimization
In mere weeks, scores of customers will make, perhaps, their only floral purchase of the year. These non-regulars will likely choose their florist with a simple Internet search. Make sure you show up prominently in the results by devoting some time to improve your search engine optimization. Visit SAF’s “Your Brand Online,” where you’ll find a few crash course videos you can watch during your lunch breaks.
Mackenzie Nichols is a contributing writer of Floral Management.