Alright, we were not all born with green-fingers and the thought of behaving as a gardener to do marketing whilst trying to grow a digital audience might terrify. But stick with us, a lot can be said for what the likes of Monty Don, Carol Klein & Charlie Dimmock can teach us. Gardeners approach to their work provides a different but valuable perspective. The aim is to invigorate you to open your perspective and explore new approaches to marketing in a digital world where most are leading toward mediocrity.
Let’s start off at a cellular level – we know from Biology that cells evolve, plant cells have adapted over time in order to grow. The cells have literally evolved to survive in the environment they are positioned, amongst other competing plants too. What happens when those cells reach a perfect balance or equilibrium? Well they either adapt or they die. There’s only one direction in which to go.
This is very evident in general business – evolve or die. We have a wealth of case studies to demonstrate this from Blockbuster to HMV, who at their peak were valued at £1 billion but eventually went into administration under a valuation of £15 million. This was mainly due to the rise of Amazon who were valued at $806 billion in July 2018 . Could HMV have gone about their online strategy better? For sure, ignoring the uselessness of hindsight they could have simply plotted a path following tracks already made by Amazon’s massive marketing scale up and constant adaption due to user led insights.
So evolution is paramount but also ignore the environment and neighbouring businesses at your detriment. Some of these will support, others will challenge development, as is the case with selecting the correct plant pairings and placing.
The first menu tab on Gardener’s World Magazine Website is ‘What to do now‘. This is very telling as a) it shows the digital team behind the website know their audience exceptionally well and b) there is a lot of preparation that goes into having a beautiful garden. Let us be honest, if like the author you only really spend the summer months enjoying the garden then this feature of their website is not for you.
Similarly marketing a business can be broken down by seasonal trends and demands. Yes of course it’s not necessarily four seasons but there are predictable times where things are exceptionally busy with huge interest spikes and a lot of custom. And, in contrast there are also certain times of the year where business may not be as ‘rosey’.
We can do a number of things here, throw down quick growth food (marketing budget) to obtain those much needed sales or spend some time doing the groundwork – preparing the beds & plant more bulbs to ensure the best outcome, all ready for when the predictable environmental changes occur.
In literal terms during the ‘off-season’ it’s great practice to review what you already have, the successes, the bites and ensure you optimise this. Look at design assets, trends and keyword research, plot your social media campaigns for when your audience is at their most active etc etc.
3. Trial & Error
Some soil just doesn’t have enough nutrients to grow certain plants and vegetables or requires special preparation. But of course until you try to sew the seeds first hand you can never be sure. What goes mad in your garden? And what needs a lot of TLC? Is this volume of care worth the result?
You have to DO. It is fundamental that you try things to gain better understanding, what might not work in an overnight instant might be a long term gain. Then again it might not, ever, but this in itself can provide a lot of insight. It can shape your marketing campaigns moving forward and steer you closer to the areas that your audience are interested in. Worse case you are still gaining exposure for trying, maybe just not the audience interaction you are looking for. Try and do more.
4. Feed & Water
Overfeeding and overwatering can hinder the development of certain plants. It’s about correct timing, watching the weather and understanding the requirement of the plant.
Audiences are the same across industry. ‘Authority‘ is a huge term associated with being online. Google is using a type of authority indicator as a part of it’s algorithm ranking this means that content needs to be informative and compelling, perhaps even shareable (we love it when our content gets shared – wink wink). Therefore quality over quantity, overfeeding online audience could backfire and result in a lesser following. Yes it’s important to nurture, but ensure that it is quality, informative, helpful and shareable.
5. Share With Other Gardeners
Share a cutting, advise, excess produce and maybe even some seeds. This will undoubtably come back to you. The gardening community are usually a very welcoming bunch, often they are also very supportive to those that are trying to join in. Why wouldn’t they be? Their very ethos is to cultivate. Certainly there is a ridiculous volume of tips to be found online which goes to show that it is not an exclusive club. Being a part of this sharing will introduce you to new things and allow you to support others who are where you once were.
The marketing community is naturally connected as you would expect. There are a number of groups to join on LinkedIn & Facebook as well as communities on platforms like Slack. These too are very welcoming groups, a lot can be learnt from following the conversations and alliances can be made which can support guest blogging and backlinks as well as a huge group who are on hand to try to answer questions or provide their experiences. Obviously your competitors might not be as accommodating, but do reach out to marketers in other industries and follow those that have a wealth of experience for seeds check. For online marketing check out the Moz Blog and Neil Patel’s Blog
We hope we have provided a different perspective in this short read. We would be delighted to hear your ideas and perhaps additions we can make to the post. Get in touch via our social media channels – Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.