One of the best ways to spread the word about your garden centre is to create excitement and get people talking. Here are a few ideas to generate a positive buzz for your shop.
- Get customers competing – Leading up to an occasion such as Mother’s Day, hold a contest where you ask your customers to tell you why their mom is the best. If you post it on Facebook or Twitter you can encourage new followers to vote for their favourite.
- Start a ‘Random Act of Kindness’ program – Trendwatching.com cites Random Acts of Kindness as the number 1 trend for 2011. Send a surprise plant to a Facebook friend or a follower who’s having a bad day. You’ve got the perfect product to cheer people up!
- Give shoppers the scoop – Post your latest products or container designs to your website, blog or social networks. Showcase the funky combinations that people may not think to put together, and demonstrate all the different things you can do.
- Donate for ‘Likes’ – If you’re already involved with a certain charity or group, turn your annual contribution into a promotional campaign. Offer to donate $1 to your preferred cause for every new Facebook follower. Specify the time period or the maximum so that you don’t blow your donation budget.
- Join the coupon train – Coupons are all the rage right now, thanks to sites like Groupon. Create your own coupon to take advantage of this wave – doing it independently means you can control the costs and you aren’t losing money to a third party.
- Get noticed on the street – Change your sign to something eye-catching, humorous or featuring a fun pun. Train passersby to always take an extra look at your garden centre.
- Support your fellow businesses – Give local businesses or those related to your market a positive shout-out on social networks. Hopefully, they’ll return the favour.
- Offer a quick sale – Keep shoppers on their toes and on the lookout for a sale. If you’re having a slow week, offer a limited-time-only sale one afternoon to entice shoppers to swing by for the deal.
- Follow up with new buyers – Call or e-mail new customers to see how their experience was at your garden centre. Ask them for feedback and work to establish a relationship so that they’re sure to come back again.
- Celebrate the loyal ones, too – Show your longtime customers how much you appreciate them. Honour them as “Customers of the Month,” post their names or pictures in the garden centre and send them a free product. Don’t forget to share this with all of your followers online so that they’ll have yet another reason to continue shopping with you.
Amanda Ryder is editor of Canadian Garden Centre & Nursery and can be reached at