You want to raise your profile in your local community, drive footfall, reach new customers (whilst looking after the relationships you’ve built with existing ones), AND create loyalty to keep people spreading the word about how great your centre is. All without spending a penny. Not possible, right? Wrong.
Communicating with your customers needn’t cost the earth, it’s all about building relationships and investing time in nurturing them.
Here are some quick tips to help raise your local profile that won’t break the bank!
Identify, locate, communicate – the who, what, where of marketing
- Who do you want to reach?
For most garden centres, customers are in a small catchment area so location is easy. But also think about the demographic and the type of customer you’re wanting to attract. Are you wanting to appeal to keen gardeners? What about those with small spaces or those that simply want it to look nice without hours of work?
- What do you want to say? Be sure to know what you want to say and be succinct so that your message stands out. Also think about your tone of voice and make sure what you’re saying reflects the personality you’re trying to convey
- Where can you reach them? With a customer base in a small localised area this used to just be the local newspaper, but now there are many more opportunities. Spend some time researching the best contacts at the local paper, but also look into any bloggers and online outlets in your area.
Armed with answers to those three questions you’re ready to start talking! Reach out to those outlets and starting building relationships. Invite them to the centre for a tour and meet the team, then take it from there!
The very nature of what you sell has perfect online, Instagramworthy content so make the most of it! Engage with influencers and harness the power of social media.
There are three levels to social media activity. The first, and easiest, is simply having active pages. Whilst this can be time consuming there are quick tricks like scheduling tools so you can set all your posts to go out at a certain time. But that’s not very sociable! Social media is about conversations and engagement. Take time to talk to people, chat to followers and engage with customers. Competitions and asking customers to share photos are quick and easy wins to get people talking! Asking people to share content from your page is a great way to reach new audiences too.
The final element is advertising. Social media advertising is relatively cheap and incredibly targeted. You set the budget and it can be as low as £1 per day but the beauty is you can pick the exact town of the people you want to see the advert. You can even tailor it based on their interests.
Invite people in!
Events and workshops are a great way to get people talking, whilst also positioning you as the local “go-to” source. Your team are knowledgeable experts so utilise that! Invite customers but also use the event to make friends with the media, bloggers and local influencers too. Then at the event, encourage and incentivise people to share it online!
Honest Communications is a PR and social media agency with vast experience in the home, garden and lifestyle sector. Services span the full media, marketing and communications spectrum to shape a brand’s media and online presence. The agency delivers award winning campaigns that generate coverage, increase reach and put brands in front of the right people.