We have come up with a list of marketing concepts that you should keep top of mind when it comes to running your own garden center and nursery.

1. Garden Center Curb Appeal
For retail garden centers, it is important to make sure that the outside of your building is appealing. You want to make sure that business is inviting, aesthetically pleasing, and most importantly that your customers can see your products from outside. Some of the best structural advice that we can give is to have your front wall be made of glass. Even though glass can be more expensive, it looks nicer and allows your customers to see clearly into your shop as they walk in or drive by. Also be adding a nice full display garden in front of your property can also attracts customers, as well as give them ideas on how to arrange the plants that they just bought from you.

Your Garden Center Website
Your website is the digital representation of your business. Customers will get the wrong first impression if your site doesn’t look as beautiful as the inside of your retail store. You want your site to be full of colorful images of your products, and the users should be able to easily peruse through them. You also want the contact information and directions to your store easily accessible. You could also want to consider adding a blog to your site. This will give you the opportunity to become an expert that your customers can rely on for how-tos and product information. Now you need to be careful not to constantly push your products onto your readers. Instead you will want to create entertaining and engaging articles, and only advertise your products when relevant to the blog topic. This will help to build loyal followers, who will begin to view you as an expert in your field.

Online Advertising Catches Greenhouse Customers
Google’s search market share has reached a new high over the last few months. If you aren’t doing everything possible to increase your visibility on this search engine, then you are missing opportunity. This is how a huge percentage of your customers are finding you as well as your your competition. Every local business should have a free Google Places listing that is optimized with a description of your business, pictures of product, store hours, and a link to your website. Google tends to display local results to people in your area first, before displaying other less relevant results. Another advertising venue that has seen much success for local businesses is sponsored search results – Google Adwords. You can bid on key phrases such as “buy perennials”, target only customers in your area, and have your website displayed at the top of Google’s sponsored results, depending on how much you’re willing to bid per click. This is a great way to get potential customers onto your website, and ultimately into your retail store. You just need to watch factors such as cost-per-click , bidding only the effective key phrases, and your monthly advertising budget. However, Google allows you to set a spending cap over a certain timeframe, so you can eliminate the risk of accidentally overspending.

Social Media Helps Connect with Gardeners and Nursery Shoppers
As a business owner you should have a large social media presence, that includes a mix of Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Pinterest. Social media is not meant to be used to push products to your customer’s, or blast them with one-way information. Social media should be used to create a dialog and conversation with your customers. Let them be heard, and have them participate in a discussion that you lead. This kind of experience is where the value of social media lives. Find out what they want to see and what they want to know about. Offer them an experience, whether it’s through entertaining posts, informative videos, or amusing pictures. Post content like things that are happening in the store, store updates, sales, product updates, share customer photos, how-tos, and tips.

Direct Mail/Flyers Target Existing Customers and Local Residents to your Garden Center
Over the past few years we have seen a heavy shift to online campaigns, but direct mail can still be an effective way to reach a local audience. By creating a physical coupon that a customer can bring into your store this adds a perceived value in the customer’s mind. Another interesting way to use direct mail is to create an official invitation to an event you’re holding at your business. Whether it’s a product information seminar or community event, receiving an invitation in the mail still has a certain charm to it over other means of communication.

Word of Mouth – Make your Garden Center Memorable
Modes of advertising have shifted drastically over the last few decades, but word of mouth still stands strong when it comes to spreading the word about your business. You want to leave a lasting impression on your customers and an easy way to do this is by having people talk about it. People take advice from their peers and will listen when something is recommended to them by those close to them. In order to be worthy of being talked about you need to consider all the tips listed above but also the store and employees. Make sure you are properly stocked, have a clean store, and have employees that provide outstanding customer service. You also want to make sure your employees are experienced and are able to help your customers with their knowledge of plants and plant life.

In a garden center, making a lasting impression can also be done pretty easily by just arranging a creative display that catches the customer’s eye. Changing the theme of your garden center and decorating for each major holiday or observance will give customers something fresh and new every time they walk into your store. Another great way to get customers talking is to come up with clever and amusing signage. This feature can also tie into your social media presence. Whether you change the sign daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly you can post sign updates onto social media. Or consider holding a sign quote contest that your followers can submit ideas or vote in a poll their favorites.