Sharon McGukin

Smithers-Oasis North America Design Director Sharon McGukin, AIFD, AAF, PFCI enjoys sharing floral tips and techniques for celebrating life with flowers.

“Digital marketing is not a ‘Lone Wolf’ effort,” says Renato Sogueco AAF, PFCI, BloomNet’s Vice President of Digital Strategy. Post pandemic business has changed, requiring a new digital strategy that includes social.

“Social media is a complimentary strategy of digital, not a main strategy,” explains Renato. “It's all about being found on search.” How can your business ‘be found’ in digital space? Renato shares business trends and practical ways to promote your business online.

Renato Award Winner

Renato Sogueco AAF, PFCI recipient of the SAF -
Society of American Florists 2022 Paul Ecke, Jr. Award

“In the course of 20 years, marketing has changed much in the digital space,” explains Renato. “Florists think ‘if I wasn't doing this 10 years ago, I may have missed the boat. That's not the case.” Everything has sped up and the learning curve is fast, but If you learn to implement current digital trends - you can catch up quickly.”
First, look at your digital strategy holistically. “People will arguably say, I need to be on TikTok and just totally jump onto TikTok. But, you have to really ask yourself where do I close my sales in business?” Where am I found on 'search?' You also have to consider your website, which is a key part of your digital strategy.
Your website is your 24-7 virtual store. It’s where you:
• Drive and capture leads
• Connect with new customers
• Inspire interest
• Close sales
"Remember the sale takes place on your website,"
Renato reminds us.

Establish a Consistent Brand

Though walk-in traffic has declined for many florists, in-store design displays can still help establish your brand. Statistics show that many customers check your website first, before walking into your store. Pay as much attention to your digital storefront as you do your physical storefront. It’s important that your brand is consistent in-store and online. If a consumer goes online first to check the website and it's not interesting – you’ve also lost a potential customer. If they go online, see a wonderful website, then come to your store and are disappointed, you've lost a customer.

It's important to represent the brand in both spaces equally. Well-established florists may make the mistake of thinking it’s enough to be well-known in their community. “I hate bursting their bubble because a lot of florists take pride in the fact that they've built a local brand.”

Well-established florists may make the mistake of thinking it’s enough to be well-known in their community. “I hate bursting their bubble because a lot of florists take pride in the fact that they've built a local brand.”
“But, what's the number one online search in the area?” When someone is looking for flowers in your area, they won't necessarily type in ‘Your Flower Shop.’ Often, they type in flower delivery, city, and state. If you are not the number one in search, you miss potential sales. Especially younger customers that may not be familiar with your brand. “You absolutely have to focus on the search engine optimization of your website,” advises Renato. “That's how you're found.”
“Here is a really interesting stat,” he explains. “When you search for anything, there are about nine listings that appear on that search page. If you do a search for ‘florists in your city,’ you’ll see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. Approximately 40% of people click on that first link - and only on that first link!”
“As they scroll down, that percentage drops like a cliff,” Renato continues. “I think the third one would be 16%. And when you get down to that eighth position, it's only about 1.8%. and this is not me making up numbers. These are statistics - facts from Google.”

A Numbers Game

In essence, online business is a numbers game. It isn’t enough to appear on the first page. “If your competitor is in position one and you are position eight, think of the percentage of orders they're getting,” explains Renato. “If you took a thousand clicks or a thousand visits to that search page, that number one person will get 400. Now you … that eighth person will get two.”
This is the conversion rate, with most average conversion at 4%. So out of the 400 visits, you're getting four sales.
“How long will it take that person who's ranked 7, 8, 9 to get anything close to what the #1 or #2 ranked positions are getting? It's amazing.” Below on the page it says “more views.” How often does someone clicks on that? “No one ever clicks to that second page!” adds Renato.

Drive clicks to your website by using photos and videos on your social pages:
• Behind-the-scenes stories of daily business
• Lifestyle use of your products and services
• In-store or on-line promotions and community events
• Design staff offering flower tips and tricks
• Host a blog filled with user-friendly content
Seek guidance from Google Analytics for growing your e-commerce sites:
• Set up a free account
• Log into Google Analytics
• Go to the behavior section
• Search site content
• Discover what is popular
• Place those items on your front page

Every website should be pre-configured to accommodate Google Analytics data. If you’re unsure of how to access this information, work with the people who set up your website to uncover the data.
Determine which products are hot on your website. Place those items front and center on your first page like you would position products in a visual display inside your store. Increase conversion through marketing and merchandising. Marketing drives consumers to your website. Merchandising creates sales and helps close the deals. Create impulse sales online and in-store by promoting seasonal, holiday, and event related flower designs.
Inspire sales by using ‘Generational Marketing.’ Create niche sales by using different social sites to drive age-related groups to the specific sections of your website that will interest them. Create landing pages that will interest each group – Boomer, Gens - X, Y, and Z. There are many online opportunities. Facebook. Instagram. Twitter. Tumblr. TikTok. Snapchat. YouTube.
Tailor additional ways to connect with your customers:
• Mobile Marketing
• Direct Marketing
• Video Marketing

Digital marketing is not a ‘Lone Wolf effort,’ so be proactive. As Renato reminds us, “First, you’ve got to be found”.

How can you adapt your digital strategy
to help customers find your flower business?