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...
Luxfloraflowerrun17

July 20, 2017

Luxflora Attracted Even More Participation to its Second 5k Flower Run

More than 170 runners kicked off Cultivate'16 on Sunday, July 16, with Luxflora's second annual 5k race. It was a great way to start the week, participants said.

Read More
National Garden Bureau 2018 Year of the Calibrachoa

July 15, 2017

National Garden Bureau Announces Featured Plants for its “Year of the” Program

Plant classes recognized include bulb crops (tulip), annuals (calibrachoa), vegetables/edibles (beet), and perennials (coreopsis).

Read More
cut flower arrangement

July 5, 2017

Congress Designates July as American Grown Flowers Month

Last week, Congressman Salud Carbajal (CA-24) introduced a bipartisan resolution designating July as “American Grown Flowers Month.” Co-sponsored by Rep. Jamie Herrera Beutler (WA-03), Rep. Jimmy Panetta (CA-20), Rep. Duncan Hunter (CA-50), Rep. Chellie Pingree (ME-01), Rep. Don Young (AK-1), Rep. Jared Huffman (CA-02), and Rep. Darrell Issa (CA-49), House Resolution 413 declares July as the month to celebrate the economic and cultural impact of America’s cut flower and greens farmers and demonstrate Congress’ commitment to support America’s flower farming families. Congressman Carbajal spoke from the House Floor, introducing the legislation and encouraging fellow members of Congress to support American Grown Flowers Month. “I have seen firsthand the value the grown flower industry adds to our economy and communities during my visits with our Central Coast growers,” said Rep. Carbajal. “California produces three quarters of all cut flowers grown in the United States. I am committed to recognizing their contribution […]

Read More
Latest Stories
Luxfloraflowerrun17

July 20, 2017

Luxflora Attracted Even More Participation to its Secon…

More than 170 runners kicked off Cultivate'16 on Sunday, July 16, with Luxflora's second annual 5k race. It was a great way to start the week, participants said.

Read More
National Garden Bureau 2018 Year of the Calibrachoa

July 15, 2017

National Garden Bureau Announces Featured Plants for it…

Plant classes recognized include bulb crops (tulip), annuals (calibrachoa), vegetables/edibles (beet), and perennials (coreopsis).

Read More
cut flower arrangement

July 5, 2017

Congress Designates July as American Grown Flowers Mont…

Last week, Congressman Salud Carbajal (CA-24) introduced a bipartisan resolution designating July as “American Grown Flowers Month.” Co-sponsored by Rep. Jamie Herrera Beutler (WA-03), Rep. Jimmy Panetta (CA-20), Rep. Duncan Hunter (CA-50), Rep. Chellie Pingree (ME-01), Rep. Don Young (AK-1), Rep. Jared Huffman (CA-02), and Rep. Darrell Issa (CA-49), House Resolution 413 declares July as the month to celebrate the economic and cultural impact of America’s cut flower and greens farmers and demonstrate Congress’ commitment to support America’s flower farming families. Congressman Carbajal spoke from the House Floor, introducing the legislation and encouraging fellow members of Congress to support American Grown Flowers Month. “I have seen firsthand the value the grown flower industry adds to our economy and communities during my visits with our Central Coast growers,” said Rep. Carbajal. “California produces three quarters of all cut flowers grown in the United States. I am committed to recognizing their contribution […]

Read More
PlantHaven Team 2017

July 2, 2017

PlantHaven Wins Medal of Excellence Award for Marketing

After 20 years of making the world a more vibrant, colorful place, PlantHaven wins Greenhouse Grower’s Medal of Excellence Award for Marketing for its groundbreaking ability to connect breeders, growers, and consumers through personable advertising campaigns.

Read More

June 1, 2017

Reimagining a Brand: How Did We Do With Greenhouse Grow…

Changing the design and content strategy of a brand isn't easy, but we think the new Greenhouse Grower will help carry our innovative industry forward and allow us to better serve your information needs.

Read More
NICH Plants Do That infographic feature

April 11, 2017

New Infographic Highlights Economic Impact of Plants

A new report from the National Institute for Consumer Horticulture shows how horticulture positively affects people’s lives wherever they live, work, shop, and play.

Read More
National Garden Bureau New Website

March 22, 2017

National Garden Bureau’s New Website Features Mobile-Fr…

The new site is designed to serve as a home base to drive traffic from NGB’s social media community to one central location.

Read More

March 7, 2017

Local Florists Celebrate Women’s Day and SAF Prom…

Florists across the U.S. are celebrating International Women's Day, March 8, and raising awareness for non-profit organizations. The Society of American Florists is raising its own awareness of what happens when women receive flowers with a new video for International Women's Day.

Read More
Savor New Website

February 16, 2017

Pleasant View Launches Updated Website for its Savor Ed…

The site is designed to offer a friendly and informative vehicle that delivers product information in an easy-to-navigate format.

Read More

January 24, 2017

Beekenkamp Plants B.V. to Take Over Marketing Sunny Ost…

Beekenkamp Plants B.V. will take over Sunny Holland B.V.'s marketing activities as of July 1, 2017, and begin offering Sunny Osteospermum to the supply chain.

Read More
gg-january-2017-cover-arizonaeast-feature

January 5, 2017

Why ArizonaEast Is Expanding Its Succulent Production T…

In Greenhouse Grower's January cover story, learn how Brian and Joe Vitale of ArizonaEast saw a chance to expand and diversify their New Jersey-based succulent operation, and why they jumped at the opportunity.

Read More
dummen-orange

October 18, 2016

Dümmen Orange Buys Rose Breeder, Participates In Petal …

Dümmen Orange will be hitting the streets of Columbus, OH, this week, handing out some of its favorite flowers as part of the Petal it Forward program in partnership with the Society of American Florists.

Read More
media-day-at-altman-plants

October 17, 2016

Altman Plants Hosts Media Day To Highlight Its Water Sa…

This month, Altman celebrated more than 100 million gallons of water saved since its water recycling program began operation.

Read More
OSU ATI Greenhouse

September 21, 2016

Your Support Is Essential For Current And Future Studen…

September is back to school time, and that means renewed opportunity to support the young people who are electing to pursue careers in horticulture. I continue to hear from growers of all sizes, from all over the country, that there just are not enough qualified graduates of two- or four-year horticulture programs. We also need to be active in promoting careers in horticulture to those who are not aware of the opportunities available. There have been some great success stories in this area recently. At University of Florida (UF) last fall, Anna Ball and Dr. Marvin Miller of Ball Horticultural Co. joined UF’s Dr. David Clark in an introductory environmental horticulture couse that’s open to any major. After the class, the line of students waiting to talk with Ball, Miller, and Clark was out the door. It is so important, Ball says, for each of us, individually and collectively to […]

Read More
Dual Income No Kids (DINK) Young Couple

September 16, 2016

What You Need To Know About DINKs

DINKs (Dual Income, No Kids) are quickly becoming one of the fastest-growing demographics that marketers are targeting.

Read More
Cavicchio Greenhouses

September 6, 2016

Cavicchio Greenhouses Wins Inaugural Sustainability Awa…

The Sudbury, MA, growing operation sustains more than 250 acres of annuals, perennials, and nursery stock, with a number of practices to mitigate its impact on the environment.

Read More
Laura Drotleff

August 10, 2016

Customers Need Hand-Holding And TLC [Opinion]

If we want customers to use our plants, we need to provide basic information about the plants we produce.

Read More
Luxflora Flower Run

July 20, 2016

First-Ever Flower Run Was A Big Success, Luxflora Says

Kicking off Cultivate’16 on Sunday, July 10, Luxflora’s first annual 5K saw nearly 150 participants racing through the picturesque Scioto Audubon Park in Columbus under clear blue skies and perfect conditions. It was a great way to start the week, participants said. Congratulations to the winners of the first-ever Flower Run: First Place: Jacob Griffith Gardner Second Place: Mike Goyette Third Place: Jack Ford The top three winners — and all of the Flower Run participants — were showered with flower petals when they crossed the finish line, making for a colorful and fragrant finish to an invigorating experience. “Personally, I would consider it a grand success,” says Luxflora President Rebecca Lusk. “The overall mood was fantastic, from start to finish. There were many high fives and group hugs, numerous duo phone selfies and postings to social media, while participants enjoyed their bananas and bottled water donated by Experience Columbus. Most […]

Read More