local brides in the internet era
by Brian D. Lawrence
When many brides think about looking for florists
today, they think first of using a computer.
So the challenge for you, the local florist, is to be
found online by brides.
A flower shop that is recommended by caterers,
has a longstanding reputation, and has prominent retail exposure will
likely be on the radar screen of many local brides.
However, if a bride finds your competitor(s) online and
sees images and pricing that capture her interest but doesn’t see you
there, she may overlook your shop.
Also, it’s important to get the attention of brides who
live close enough to do business with you but far enough away that they
haven’t heard of you.
To start being found online, visit Google.com (www.google.com/intl/en_us/services/var_1.html)
and Yahoo.com (www.smallbusiness.yahoo.com).
These two leading search engines offer free directory
services for businesses and enhanced listings for a modest fee.
A bride, for example, who searches for “Florists,
Wichita, Kansas” on Google will find a list of local florists and maps
of any retailer who signs up for the service, at no charge.
That still puts you in competition with other local
florists. Most brides, however, do not include geographic information in
their searches, which means your shop has almost no chance of being
found by a local bride who types “Wedding Bouquets” into search engines.
Instead of finding your flower shop, that potential
customer will find the first page of search results dominated by wedding
planning resource sites such as The Knot.com.
That potential customer may then find local florists on
those wedding planning sites—but with more effort than if she saw your
local listing prominently displayed in the search-engine results.
The good news is that you can be found by brides living
or working near your shop with the marketing program “Google AdWords” (www.adwords.google.com
Google actually knows the location of the computer on
which the bride conducts the search.
To target your ad campaign most effectively, the
parameters of the geographic areas must be set so that your listing
appears on the right-hand side as a “sponsor.”
Then a separate bid must be placed on each phrase the
bride might enter, such as “Wedding Florists.” You will be competing
against Web-site owners who bid quite high on all national searches.
When your listing shows up, you pay much less for
brides in your target area and only if the bride clicks your ad to reach
You can control your ad spending by setting a budget
each month to limit the number of clicks.
This way, you can test how many of the brides who click
through to your site actually come in to your store.
You can change your budget depending on the time of the
year as well as stop and start again.
Any florist can set up this program on his/her own, but
a professional Google Search Marketer (www.seoforgoogle.com/blog/seo-services)
will be able to offer the development and monitoring of a program that
is more cost effective and get better results.
The time and concentration required to create effective
ads that grab a bride’s attention, to monitor the results, and to adjust
the bids is greater than the average retailer has to expend.
The educational process of embracing all the online
strategies available is absolutely overwhelming.
Once you start generating local traffic to your Web
site, your job still isn’t done. It is important that your Web site
impresses brides enough to pick up the phone to schedule an appointment.
Your Web site should be the front door to your store.
It should paint a picture of the quality and service you offer and
indicate how easy you are to work with so that brides are more likely to
contact you with an intention to buy. Show samples of your work that
whet the brides’ appetites, but don’t overwhelm them with images.
Building the most effective online marketing campaigns
will drive quality traffic to your site and ultimately your store.
Brian D. Lawrence is the author of The Wedding Expert’s
Guide To Sales and Marketing, a manual about offline marketing. The
manual can be downloaded at
A wedding retailer for 15 years in the 1980s and ’90s,
Mr. Lawrence has created Local Traffic Builder (www.localtrafficbuilder.com),
a company that provides Web design, enhancement and knowledge with
wedding industry insight. Contact him at
firstname.lastname@example.org or (201) 244-5969.
PO Box 4368
Topeka, KS 66604
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