I used to believe getting more customers for my flower business was all about getting famous. I thought the more popular I was on Instagram, the more customers would come my way. It's like "posting to Instagram" and worrying about engagement = marketing = attempting to get customers.
That thinking led me to spend A LOT of energy trying to get more exposure (but not getting more customers).
I experienced the same struggles so many florists find themselves in, trying to just "get my name out there", doing all the things but not really feeling like I was making much progress.
Yep, I used to do styled shoots. We paid for print ads in fancy magazines. Yes, I even walked around the neighbourhood and hand-delivered cute little brochures in the fancy neighbourhoods.
Guess what came of those things? $0.
Chasing exposure but not seeing results is exhausting.
It's what leads so many florists to call it quits because it's really hard to keep going when you're not making enough money and barely making ends meet.
And when you see all these florists showing up on Instagram, bragging about how busy they are...but your business feels like a hot mess – you don't have enough customers, not enough enquiries and you're not doing the work you dreamed you'd be doing, you wonder what you're missing.
I spent years in that spin cycle, stuck in the spiral of waking up each day hoping today is the day when I finally crack the code, the day when everything has miraculously sorted itself out.
It finally all came crashing down in November 2017, when I hit burnout and realised something had to change. I was saying yes to everything that came my way. I wasn't charging enough and I was stuck in the thought process that getting exposure = getting customers.
Albert Einstein once said: "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting a different result."
That quote has served me so well in my business. It's what lead me to figure out that the right marketing strategy for florists isn't about getting exposure. It's not about being popular, getting famous or trying to get more followers (as much as this is what this industry wants us all to believe those things matter).
There is a Right and a Wrong Marketing Strategy for Florists
It's easy to think that getting customers is directly related to getting exposure. Like more followers = more customers or having a shop front = more orders. The exposure game is how marketing works in a lot of industries. But it's not how marketing works in the floral design industry.
Yes, it works for Toyota and Chanal and Cadbury. And yes, worrying about engagement and followers and likes matters for businesses whose followers = customers.
But there is one major difference between selling flowers + selling anything else: you only do flowers in a very specific footprint.
You cannot ship your designs around the world. You're not going to do a wedding on the other side of the country and you're not going to deliver Mother's Day flowers in another state.
This geographical constraint is what makes the marketing strategy for florists unlike marketing in any other industry.
If you're focused on daily flower deliveries, most of your customers don't actually live in your local area...but they want flowers delivered in your local area.
Yes, your clients for weddings and events might be in your local area but they don't plan a wedding or event because they followed you on Instagram. They book their event date and venue first. And then go looking for a floral who can design for their event on the day and time of their event.
Once you understand that we need to approach marketing differently (what works in other industries doesn't apply to us) you'll start to see where you're wasting your time, energy and money.
The Real Secret to Getting Customers
I'm proud to say I am probably one of the most unfamous florists on the interwebs. But I've also made millions of dollars in my flower business.
How did I figure out how to make it work? I shifted my focus and started focusing on where my customers were actively looking for a floral designer. I put myself in my customer's shoes and asked myself what mattered to them.
Marketing strategy for florists isn't about getting exposure or getting more followers. You don't have to invest in a single styled shoot if you don't want to.
The right marketing strategy for florists is all about being in the right place, at the right time, with the right message. Be where your customers are actively looking for designers and make it easy for them to buy from you.
No more posting to Instagram without a clear plan. No more worrying about engagement or stressing over the algorithm. You don't need to do Reels and you don't need to start doin' TikTok (unless those things are fun and creatively fulfilling for you).
No need to play the popularity game and if you don't wanna worry about getting published...then don't worry about getting published.
Getting more customers in your flower business isn't about getting exposure. It's about putting yourself in your customer's shoes, getting really specific about where they are actively looking for a florist and showing up in the most helpful way possible.
Essentially you gotta ignore how every other designer is showing up and learn to play a different game. But this is a game you can win – it's a game that has nothing to do with being popular or being the best designer.
You don't need more qualifications or more credentials. You just need to put yourself in your customer's shoes and make it easy for them to buy from you.
It's so fun!