Content Is Still King

Content Is Still King

Whether you know it or not, you are in the content business. “Wrong,” you say. “We sell plants.” Wrong! Supermarkets sell plants, box stores sell plants — and for that reason, too many plants have become just a commodity.

“Wrong,” you say. “We’ve got hundreds of varieties of, well … heuchera!” But for most customers, a heuchera is just another plant with a name they can’t pronounce. However, it becomes more than just a name when you tell the story. They become meaningful when you explain, teach and inform. So if you are still selling plants, you are missing the bigger picture.

One of the main reasons people come to you is (I know, you’ve heard it before) to either solve a problem or to seek escape (a more beautiful life). Either way, they need your help. Your help is the years of experience, plant knowledge and design ideas that make you different from your competition. 

Share Your Experience

The experience you possess doesn’t amount to anything unless you are able to share it. However, years of patterned behavior have put too great a distance between you and your customers. You see, advertising and marketing is the process of telling your story. I know, we all get caught up in the “story” part, but the “story” is an encapsulation of what your business is all about. Unless you are encouraging a response from your customer (what ad does that?), you are just talking to yourself. This type of monologue has been going on for years, or at least since the 1970s.

But it isn’t the ’70s, is it? There are better ways to connect with retailers and consumers. Web sites are one of those rare opportunities to create a marketing message that “interacts” with the audience. You publish information on your Web site and people can point and click, mouse and move, e-mail and, better yet, even buy stuff. So if your Web site is still being managed by that friend of a friend, buddy, best customer or whoever, it is time for you to get involved. What separates a good Web site from a so-so one? You guessed it — content!  

Concentrate On Content

When you take a close look at your Web site, there are a few points to concentrate on:

- Content. The reason people will come (and come back) to a Web site is fresh content. Is your site current? Up to date? Does it have information or access to information that might be helpful?

Your Web site is a great way to establish yourself as the expert. Think about contributing an article or editorial to your site. Look at it this way: You can talk to one person at a time, or you can put it out there for tens of thousands to read.

Does your Web site create opportunities for visitors to interact with you? Can they ask questions? Get directions? Make it easy for people to contact you. In many respects, you are your business. Initiate an “Ask The Expert (you)” section. Respond quickly to questions. Add a sign-up form for follow-up e-mails.

- Images. Let’s face it, a picture is worth a thousand words, but a great image is priceless. Web sites need a careful blend of information and eye candy. People are inspired by beautiful photos of beautiful gardens. Where do you find them? With the number of stock photo Web sites, it is easier than ever to get access to great imagery and graphics. Digital cameras are great, but you might want to get a few pointers to make sure you are presenting your best self.

- E-Mail Newsletter. A monthly e-mail using a tool such as Constant Contact will keep your customers in the know about your latest business news and will drive traffic to your Web site and blog. Make sure you create as many opportunities for readers to link back to your site.

- Blog. This is one to think about down the road. You see, spam filters are going to continue to impact e-mail deliverability. The answer is RSS (reader subscriber service) feeds. Ultimately, people can subscribe to feeds that will automatically update them when you publish a post to your blog. Of course, you can also post video feeds, audio tracks, etc. When you think about it, you can create your own TV and radio ads directed to your customers. You have to think about building visitors and readership now! This will be the best way to reach your customers in the future (which is not that far off). See the Sunrise Marketing blog at www.sunrisemarketing.com/blog. Blogs are a great way to establish a casual, more comfortable dialogue.

- Speed. People might read blogs, but scan Web sites. They see with their mouse. Use bullet points, bold fonts and color, but be careful with underlining (underlined text can be confused with links). This can help your readers get to the good stuff. Keep your visitor moving; make the navigation simple and easy to understand. 

Under The Hood (The Techy Stuff)

- Keywords. Create a list of words and phrases important to your site. The best way to find out which words are important is to take a look at the source code of sites you like (on your browser go to “view,” “page source”). Within the first paragraph or two will be a listing of keywords, descriptions and meta tags. Take your list and then run them through a tool such as WordTracker, the Google keyword tool or Yahoo Overture Keyword Selector Tool to see what the volume of search activity is and find alternative phrasing to add to your list.

- Searchability. Keywords are important in tags, but the important part is to make sure the keywords you select are represented in the content of your page. That means the title of the page, plants.html rather than annuals.html; (nobody searches for “annuals,” they want “plants”). They should also appear in the headlines (specified headlines) of the page, and of course, in the content of the page. You can also increase the relevance to keywords by clearly naming your images — e.g. echinacea_plants.jpg rather than per_18.jpg).

Of course, there are probably a hundred other ideas that you could come up with — one of the benefits of a blog! Read my blog and tell me what you think!

Leave a Reply

More From Marketing...
Gaillardia x grandiflora 'Arizona Apricot'

February 25, 2015

National Garden Bureau Designates 2015 As Year Of The Gaillardia

Gaillardia, also known as the blanket flower, is a member of the sunflower family (Asteraceae) and a long-blooming pollinator plant. It is fitting that the National Garden Bureau has specified 2015 as The Year of the Gaillardia.

Read More
IPPS Sharing Plant Production Knowledge Globally Logo

February 25, 2015

International Plant Propagators Western Region Sets Annual Meeting Date

The annual meet for the International Plant Propagators' Society (IPPS) Western Region has been set for this September. It will take place September 23 to 26 in Modesto, Calif., and will include learning sessions, tours to local nurseries, a research poster display and poster presentations, various networking opportunities and an awards banquet to close the event.

Read More
Evolvulus Blue My Mind

February 24, 2015

Blue Ribbon Bloomers For Greenhouse Production

Grow what consumers want! Surveys show that blue is one of the top preferred colors of today’s consumers. Here are twelve top recommended blue-flowering Proven Winners annuals and perennials to suit your spring production cycle.

Read More
Latest Stories

February 18, 2015

Range Of Nursery Inspections To Protect Patented Plants…

Plant patents are under protection, and breeders are fighting for their rights to keep growers from illegally propagating protected varieties. It's something you don't want to take a chance on, because the risk is far higher than the reward. More than 300 inspections were carried out last year from New York to British Columbia and from Ontario to Florida to protect plant patents, Plant Breeders’ Rights (PBR) and branded programs.

Read More

February 4, 2015

TPIE 2015: An Electrified Industry Vibe Boosts Cool New…

The general feeling at the Florida Nursery Growers and Landscape Association's 2015 Tropical Industry Exhibition (TPIE) was upbeat and positive. Attendees were inspired by exciting new products and varieties, as well as creative new displays and innovative ideas and left energized for the season ahead.

Read More
Costa Farms Website

January 21, 2015

Costa Farms’ Launches New Interactive Website

Costa Farms is making efforts to educate consumers while pushing horticultural digital marketing forward with the re-design of its website. The new website features a fresh design and improved navigation, as well as a plant finder that gives gardeners easy access to plant information.

Read More

January 5, 2015

Growers Are Successfully Marketing The Benefits Of Pla…

Growers who are already marketing plant benefits and gardening as a lifestyle say they think this could be the best angle for the floriculture industry to promote our products.

Read More

January 5, 2015

Plants Love You Campaign Raises Plant Benefits To Foref…

Plants make us feel good. It’s a no-brainer, backed by numerous studies, but there’s more to the story. And it’s one the Canadian Ornamental Horticulture Alliance (COHA) hopes its Plants Love You campaign will tell in such a way that it will inspire people to make plants a part of their life, and on a bigger scale. COHA is an alliance between the Canadian Nursery Landscape Association (CNLA), the Fédération Interdisciplinaire De L’Horticulture Ornementqale Du Québec (FIHOQ) and Flowers Canada Growers (FCG). Inspiration for The Plants Love You campaign came from COHA’s research, which revealed that 96 percent of consumers surveyed have a favorable attitude toward plants. When COHA delved deeper into the numbers, one thing stood out loud and clear. “It quickly became apparent that while consumers like plants because they are pretty and make them feel good, few understood the environmental and health benefits plants offer.” says Frank […]

Read More

December 9, 2014

New Website For PanAmerican Seed

PanAmerican Seed's new website is mobile-friendly and has a fresh look and enhanced navigation.

Read More
What’s a pumpulent? It’s a pumpkin planted with succulents, and it’s also one of the ways Altum’s is catching customers’ attention with new products and modern marketing.

December 1, 2014

9 Digital Marketing Resolutions For 2015

Whatever your experience with digital marketing, here’s some advice for keeping your business progressing into the new year.

Read More

November 25, 2014

Conley’s Launches New Website

Conley’s Manufacturing and Sales recently launched its newly designed website, which was redesigned to create a user-friendly digital environment for customers to explore Conley's products.

Read More

November 17, 2014

Canada’s Plants Love You Campaign Educates Consum…

In a cooperative effort to promote the benefits of plants to consumers, the Canadian Ornamental Horticulture Alliance (COHA) recently launched its Plants Love You campaign to make consumers more aware of the health, environmental and economic benefits of plants.

Read More
Supertunia® Vista Bubblegum™ Petunia from Proven Winners

November 11, 2014

Plantbid Offers New Tool For Growers, Plant Buyers

Plantbid is touted as a revolutionary new tool that allows plant buyers to purchase their whole plant list at one time, from growers who provide their complete availability online. According to the company, this new offering could change the way growers and landscapers do business.

Read More
Dahlia Dahlinova Temptation Lavender from Dummen Fides Oro

November 10, 2014

Bas Pellenaars Takes On New Role As Brand Manager For D…

Dümmen group announces the transition of Bas Pellenaars from area manager to brand manager.

Read More

October 28, 2014

Zombie Adventures Are Back: GGS Releases Premiere Of Ne…

What's good for plants, but bad for zombies? GGS structures. The company released a new promotional video to get growers in the spirit of Halloween. GGS Structures ran a series of zombie movies last year, and this year, something new was released October 24.

Read More
Suzanne McKee

October 27, 2014

Use Your Data To Make Smarter Marketing Decisions

Learn which marketing metrics are important to your business, measure successes and learn where changes are needed.

Read More
Sara Tambascio

October 2, 2014

How To Measure The Success Of Your Digital Marketing

Take a look at these metrics in your digital marketing to see if you’re connecting with your audience or just adding to the clutter.

Read More

September 26, 2014

How To Get The Digital Generation Into The Garden: Gard…

Capture millennials’ gardening interests with these marketing tips.

Read More
The Joseph Shinoda Memorial Scholarship Foundation

September 9, 2014

Shinoda Foundation Contributes Nearly $15,000 In Schola…

Based in California, the Joseph Shinoda Memorial Foundation's mission is to encourage educational opportunities for young people interested in entering the industry. Since 1965, the foundation has awarded $790,000 to more than 660 undergraduate floriculture students.

Read More
Salvia 'Playin the Blues' from Proven Winners

September 9, 2014

Grand Gardening Show On Mackinac Island Draws Huge Audi…

Dates are already set for Proven Winners' 2015 Grand Garden Show after the great response the 2014 show received in late August.

Read More

August 27, 2014

New Gardening App GrowIt Connects Community Of Gardener…

Thanks to Ball Horticultural Co.’s Mason Day and Seth Reed, gardeners can now share photos of their plants, interact with other growers and learn about what grows best in their area with the duos new app, GrowIt!

Read More