Plant Nursery 1 Page Marketing Plan

Nurseries offer improved living and work quality for homes and businesses. The market for nurseries is increasingly competitive and companies should focus on their customers and brand with a 1 page marketing plan. Let your plants breathe life into your customers and let the Profitworks team grow new business for your nursery.

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We empower nurseries to reach their best clients

We've heard time and again how nurseries want advisors that take the time and care to manage their marketing as if it was their own business. Work with the Profitworks team to help more clients discover your garden centre business.

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Executive summary

 - The key components of a 1 page marketing plan include messaging and channels

 - The 1 page marketing plan can be summarized as qualities my customer cares about, who is my target customer, what is my brand statement, what is my marketing budget, where will I reach my clients, and what are my marketing goals

 - The nursery industry is highly competitive with little differentiation between stores, meaning a company with the right marketing plan and execution can be the market leader

The most important thing about your 1 page marketing plan

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Use your 1 page marketing plan as a compass rather than a map. As part of starting a new business and creating a marketing plan, the aim is to create something unique that others in the industry don't have. That is what truly makes an effective marketing plan that is positioned to help your team grow in starting the relationship on the right foot and getting buyers connected to your brand and team. Using this 1 page marketing plan will require periodic contact with buyers and organizational planners to understand where their needs are currently and how they might change.

Our interpretation of a 1 page marketing plan as popularized by Successwise revolves around two crucial areas:

  • Message - what the predominant themes are that your target customer should know about your nursery
  • Channel - where these messages should be delivered in a unique or fresh way

Creating a message that resonates with commercial buyers, homeowners, and renters

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In order to create a message that resonates with clients, it is important to understand what is valued and how they would articulate these aspirations and needs in their own words. One of the best sources for this is to use Google, Yelp, or Yellowpages reviews to determine what customers find to be important when they are raving about nurseries or what expectations often go unmet and where =disappointment stems from. 

Both reinforcing these needs and addressing unmet expectations are great ways to create brand messaging that can help you better connect with your customers. Based on a search in the Toronto area, here are some things that customers really appreciate about nursery wholesales and stores.

  • Knowledgeable staff that spoke and looked experienced (including seniors on staff)
  • Locations away from busy intersections were appreciated, as well as accessibility of parking
  • Wide variety of selection helped inspire new ideas
  • Quality of plants was incredible
  • Staff were helpful and not afraid to take time (up to 1 hour to help) with customers or load the car after a purchase
  • Well managed customer flow is essential to brand and shopping experience - customers sometimes complained about long lineups or crowded stores
  • Healthy plants and clean location added to the brand experience

The nursery and garden centre is competitive because of the sheer number of centres available in the GTA region along with the changing tastes of residents. Nurseries need to be laser-focused on harmonizing marketing from an outreach and inbound service perspective. Now that we know what resonates with customers we will establish a brand statement in 1-2 sentences.

Describe your nursery in 1-2 sentences

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Being able to describe your nursery in 1-2 sentences is a great way for you to quickly connect with customers and also give people an easy way to understand how your garden centre is unique and the top choice for homeowners, renters, and commercial buyers.  For example, based on the Google feedback we've just covered, a business owner will want to highlight a team's knowledge and care for the plants and customers.

"Our nursery ensures our plants look good so that your home and office looks modern and striking, with friendly and comprehensive service that works for you." 

A nursery could emphasize cleanliness, ease of parking, and positive shopping experience.

"Our modern nursery centre is located at X with ample parking and great service so there's space to be inspired, leading to the best plant placement and arrangement for your home and office."

Given these examples, it is important to conduct first-hand research into what homeowners, renters, and commercial buyers value in a garden centre. Having gone through the process, one develops empathy with their customers, helping define who you're trying to serve based on a resonance of challenges and aspirations.

Finding the right audience to reach and where to reach them

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Garden centres customers are people and often do not enjoy being categorized, but as part of empathizing with those you are trying to serve, there are important insights to draw from understanding these categorizations, some of which are detailed by business plans for nurseries.

There are generally a number of types of nursery shoppers, including

  • Homeowners: homeowners defer to garden centres in order to create character and captivate the imaginations of house guests. Some homeowners enjoy the bounty of having fruit trees in their own yard for gifts and festive recipes.
  • Renters: this segment of residential customers are focused on lifestyle and adding green and lively plant life to their homes or balconies to ensure their comfort and peace of mind.
  • Commercial buyers: commercial buyers include contract builders, architects, event planners, and farmers  - for the adept, each of these segments could very well have their own one page marketing plan as they are small in number but often acquire a large volume of plants or nursery stock.

Select the top segment of customers that you would like to target as well as the plants that your centre has the most expertise in. It is important to note that choosing a specialty may provide you with a way to have a dedicated following, but, as conventional knowledge holds, common low maintenance houseplants are a large portion of sales. 

As you consider what themes impact plant and nursery stock buyers, you are now creating a brand. A brand is more than just a message; is a core set of themes and values that are held true in every aspect of your garden centre. It is the standard to which your service is held that constitutes a brand, and it is one that can help provide the most excellent level of service.

Set a marketing budget

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Whether you are starting up with little money to spare or are an established centre looking to serve more customers, setting a marketing budget is important and is actually accessible to all garden centres and nurseries of all scales. Typically a business will dedicate 6-8% of their total budget towards marketing and outreach, though we understand that dedicating this amount of dollars may not be feasible for all.

This means that a nursery that makes $400,000 a year should look to spend at least $24,000 (6%) on marketing. Now, the second difficult choice is how to spend that budget, which we explore further in our next section of the marketing plan.

It is to be noted that larger nurseries will tend to have even greater spending on marketing, not because they can better afford it, but because they've seen its impact on growing their business.

Determining means for delivering your message and brand

For your 1 page marketing plan, the next section is to determine the channels through which to reach your target residents and commercial buyers with your message and brand. We cover classic channels that are used by nurseries and explore other ones that could deliver your brand and create a lasting connection with buyers.

Here are some classic channels in which clinics would seek to promote their services so as to help owners incorporate these into their plan:

  • Website - is the standard for marketing and is the primary means in which centres are discovered by new residents.
  • Media ads - media ads like commercials and radio spots are another method to get on potential customers' radar.
  • Social media - is another way to interact and stay in touch with residents.

Here are some other great ways to reach residents and commercial clients that may help you cut through the noise:

  • Send out small pouches of air packages featuring different plant varieties to provide homeowners with a "refreshing" reminder of the big difference a small plant can make.
  • Create a blog featuring tips on how to improve air quality of home and office.
  • Offer appointments in-person or via Skype for homeowners to get tips on caring for and tending to house and garden plants.
  • Lead the movement on a local green initiative like rooftop gardens, office composting, or recycling.
  • For each holiday and season, create a comprehensive campaign on how living and workspaces can be styled to match the seasons.
  • Offer plant rental service where residents and offices can have a rotating series of plants on a subscription basis.

Set goals for your marketing plan

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One of the main challenges that garden centres run into is a fixation on sales alone. Often sales and clinic growth occur not in response to a sole focus on the bottom line but through a focus on learning and curiosity. As part of that approach, we often encourage business owners to focus on driving insights and applying those to quickly improve service or communication, which ultimately lead to growth.

Example goals for garden centre and nursery owners:

  • Learn 5 things about residential owners each quarter and seek to implement at least 2 related insights.
  • Find at least 2 new potential platforms, communities, or apps that plant lovers and buyers are using to make their lives easier.
  • Get at least one Google review (or choose your top review site) a month for each location.
  • Grow sales by 10% each quarter.

Identifying monthly goals often times is more actionable than setting quarterly and annual goals. Depending on how dedicated a garden centre is, however, this rule is flexible.

1 page marketing plan table of contents

Now that we've covered the basics of a 1 page marketing plan, here is an outline to help you get started on your own:

  1. Key needs and expectations I want to focus on for homeowners and commercial buyers
  2. Who are the key customers that I want to serve
  3. What is my brand statement (1-2 sentences about the nursery)
  4. What are the main ways I will reach these customers
  5. What are my goals and expected outcomes that I can review

Sample 1 page marketing plan

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Download our 1 page nursery marketing plan here or contact us to help you tailor the plan.

Growing your business by using marketing as customer service

A one page marketing plan is a great way to quickly identify key priorities in reaching the families and businesses that need your centre's help. Marketing, done well, is customer service because it allows a nursery to reach and engage in an effective way to better the living and work environment of all in the community. Our hope is that our one page marketing plan for nurseries can help more professionals serve more families and professionals.

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