About a month back I outlined my wife's terrible experience with 1800Flowers. One of my comments I received was from a local florist who outlined the behind the scenes payment and delivery they received from 1900Flowers. Now I have no idea whether what she wrote was true or not, but I tend to believe her. So it got me thinking, what's a local florist supposed to do in order to avoid being a 1800Florist partner and fight them on their own.
Old School Facelift #11 What's A Local Florist Supposed to Do?
- Look You Need a Decent Website - I'm not a huge fan in spending a ton of money on a website unless you are planning on taking online orders. If you do, then you need a good local website designer and programmer. If not, you need a good, cheap brochure like site that drives to a phone number. If that's your path you take, it is much more important for you to get a good URL that is search engine friendly, choose good titles, and write content carefully; all of these are critical in making sure your site is search engine friendly (ChesterNJFlorist.com) Your goal is to get listed very high in Google's organic search results for say "florist 07930" You need to out maneuver the giant advertisers by being smarter about your listings.
- Capture Your Google Local Business Listing/Places Page - You know those great map listings that appear between the paid search ads at the top and the organic listings, make sure you edit your listing (for free or I can help you) because I've found that owner verified listings are placed ahead of the unverified listings. Upload photos, coupons, plus you can pay a flat amount per month to have your listing stand out from every one else. Finally, the Place listing comes back into play later on.
- Updating Your Content - Again, I'm not a huge fan of building a blog right into the website, but if you can afford it, go for it. However, if not, make sure you go to Wordpress or Typepad to get a free or cheap blog; it will work just as well as long as you link back to your main website. You don't have to go crazy, but posting 1-2 times per week with pictures would be a good start. This keeps your site(s) fresh and makes the search engines visit your sites more often.
- Facebook if You Can - Now I see tons of local businesses with their Facebook pages and this is a good start, but just having a page is only the first step. If you really want to make it work, you need to post regular updates because if you are an active Facebook user like myself, you will miss that once per month post and fade into obscurity. Infrequent posts on a Facebook page will only get you a word of mouth endorsement if one of your potential customers has a Facebook friend who also happens to be a fan of your page. Twitter is even more difficult because it offers you little to no utility from infrequent updates, I would however, update and capture your Yelp listing.
- Google AdWords - You knew this was coming, however you have a leg up if you link your AdWords and Places account. By doing that you can enable local ad extensions so that when people are searching in your area for a florist, your text ad will show an address and phone number. You should keep your paid search campaign very tight and focus your campaigns in your geo target. Plus, you should geo your keywords (florist chester nj, florist 07930, etc) and put those words into regional geo targeted campaigns to get people who looking to send flowers to someone who is not in your immediate area (ex - sending flowers to a sick relative). Next, I'd DEFINITELY make sure you set up a separate mobile campaign to capture people on the go. Finally, if you can afford it, extend your Google campaign out to Bing-Yahoo because by the fall the merger will have gone through and you'll be able to capture an additional 30% of search volume.
Those are my quick tips to help the local florist. If you are smart and set this up properly, Google is the great marketing equalizer where a well organized highly relevant campaign can compete and win versus the much larger advertiser. Good luck,