I’ve only been to this store once.
It’s a shame, really, because it’s on what my friend would call my “Saturday Circuit.”
Here’s what’s got my knickers in a twist.
(They’re moving locations and currently closed, so I snapped that pic through the window one night while walking to my car after EATING SOMEWHERE ELSE.)
Ok, so first of all, I don’t like that sign because it feels like I’m getting yelled at the second I walk up to the counter to pick something out.
Second, it’s real dumb.
Real, real dumb.
Want to watch me ascend into orbit? Send me a [REDACTED] marketing example. Ryan did that one night while I was out to dinner.
“Ryan, I love it that I was the first person he thought of when you saw this.”
Back to the sign.
What’s that quote. . .
A PICTURE IS WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS.
Wikipedia reports that, “The modern use of the phrase is generally attributed to Fred R. Barnard. Barnard wrote this phrase in the advertising trade journal Printers’ Ink, promoting the use of images in advertisements that appeared on the sides of streetcars.”
Didja catch that?
We’re living in the age of influencers.
Of “Do it for the ‘gram.”
WHY. ON. EARTH. WOULDN’T. YOU. WANT. SOMEONE. TO. TAKE. PICTURES?
I’m in orbit. I might have to do a lap. Or take a Bogart break.
We received an email (GO EMAIL MARKETING!) from Bogart’s daycamp. “Father’s Day Nose Prints. Get yours this week.”
Here was the sign at the front desk:
It got the job done for us. Yes, we want a nose print and foot print and a keychain with our dogs on it. Yes. Every time.
However, this is what got the job done for everyone else:
Bogart has a pretty boopable snoot.
But, mainly, by seeing the example, dog parents were like, “OH! THAT IS SO CUTE! I WANT ONE!”
Hmmmmm what’s that saying?
Oh yeah, a picture is worth a thousand words.
I’m gonna have to ask you to delete those.
What do the shopkeepers in the first “no pictures” picture sell?
I’d show you what they look like but. . . .
Have you ever tried to make macarons? After one attempt or three you’ll understand why they’re always $3 each.
I guarantee you that all the photos in the world couldn’t make MY attempt at macarons look like the shop’s.
However, I guarantee you that my pictures, shared on Instagram, would have sent a few people to buy theirs.
“I can’t even draw a stick figure.”
I was sitting in the Acacia Passage at Longwood, sketching.
Visitors walked by and some took a peek at what I was doing.
“I can’t even draw a stick figure,” one said.
Guys, that sounds super dumb.
Real, real dumb.
Everyone can draw a stick figure.
HOWEVER, I feel a deep memory bubbling up of my mom receiving comments about my “coloring skills” in first grade.
“Handwriting” is the only subject I ever got a “C” in.
“You’re so talented,” a bunch of others said.
“Not really. I just learned how and practiced. Drawing is a skill. Anyone can do it.”
(Amy Stewart has said that for years and years, and I decided to believe her and learn.)
“Oh, but no, I can barely even write my name nicely.”
“Let me prove to you that you can learn. Hold on.”
I dig around on my phone.
“Here’s the first flower I ever drew when my Mom and I started learning to draw in 2020,” I say and show them this picture:
“And here’s the first garden I drew and painted. This took me an hour and a half.”
This is what I was painting that day that the visitors were looking at:
“Oh. I see what you’re talking about.”
That’s generally the reaction I get when I show my first pictures.
Followed shortly by, “Oh but I like both!”
Me too, dear reader, me too.
What you can see in this sequence of photos is that I learned things in between the top two and bottom one. Perspective, for one thing. I took a 6 week perspective class on zoom in 2021.
Not actually doin’ it for the ‘gram
I don’t really do anything for the ‘gram. My job is not to be an influencer.
However, when I like something a lot, I make it everyone’s opportunity for fun.
- Broke my ankle in 2014. Started prone paddleboarding. So did a bunch of other ladies.
- Became very vocal about the wonders of Harry Styles. Created many new fans. (Including my husband Joe. The way I found THAT out is a funny story. Write back if you want to hear it.)
- Started drawing and painting and sharing every gnarly step. Now friends constantly tell me they’ve started or started back up.
I like sharing things that I like because maybe someone else will discover the great joy that I have gotten from the things I share.
I like showing the process because it allows people to understand that they, too, can learn.
What’s that saying? 😉
On With the Show
What can you show people that you currently only tell them about?
As a writer, it pains me to say this but. . .
A picture (or a video or a real life example) really is worth a thousand words.
Here are some ideas and one super funny example.
- Open the box – let people see what’s inside
- How to water hanging baskets
- How to dig a hole (Shout out to Bill!)
- How to combine colors
- How to place an order
- Where to make website edits (nifty tool for that below)
- The steps you followed to create something (nifty tool for that below)
- What the terrarium kit in the box really looks like (Sacrifice one for marketing purposes and actually MAKE IT and have it sitting out.)
- The way a shirt fits on several different people
- “Shipped as shown” pictures to demonstrate what a plant/picture/thing will look like straight out of the box. Here’s an example from our client Murphy Citrus Nursery. (They sell REALLY NICE trees. I bought one and, indeed, that’s what it looked like out of the box!)
I’m sure you have more examples. What can you show instead of telling? Hit “reply” and share.
And if you’ve successfully baked macarons, fancy cakes, or anything else, send me a pic. I’d love to see it.
AI Corner: What’s Next?
I’LL SHOW YOU!
You can and will need to understand AI. Here’s why.
Now, What’s Next?
- First major city to open up to AI: The City of Boston installed Bard on their Google Workspace and issued very thoughtful guidelines with examples for how to use and how NOT to use AI.
- Get more out of GPT: OpenAi, creator of ChatGPT released their official GPT Best Practices. Very helpful. Read that here.
- AI and Search: SEO as it currently exists is going out the window. YES, certain SEO components such as alt text on images, meta titles and descriptions, and headings within text are still important – primarily because they make websites accessible. Good website structure and information hierarchy are more important than ever to allow your customers to find the info they need. But “gaming the system” with junk content is over. Here’s more from Google.
See You this Summer!
Who’s excited for summer trade shows?
I have a packed schedule at Cultivate and I’m also speaking at the Garden Center Conference & Expo, and will attend the GardenComm conference.
Will I see you there? Email me if you want to get together.
I hope to see you at one of my talks! Here’s the schedule:
Retail Traveling Workshop: Turning Your IGC Into Your Customer’s Third Place – Their Home Away from Home
Saturday, July 15 • 7:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Live Inventory: Embracing Opportunities and Avoiding Pitfalls
Sunday, July 16 • 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM
In the Lab and Out in the Field: Consumer Perspectives
Monday, July 17 • 9:30 AM – 10:30 AM
Taking 3rd Place: Garden Centers as Gathering Spaces
Monday, July 17 • 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
TextEd – SMS Marketing for Retail Garden Centers
Monday, July 17 • 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM
09:00 AM – 10:00 AM
Taking The Fear Out Of Talking Tech
From SMS to AI to data analysis and more, there are exciting opportunities for garden centers on the market. But how do you navigate this new world of technology and feel confident in your investments? In this session, Katie Elzer-Peters will translate computer-speak into language we can all understand. By examining examples of tech opportunities in our industry, you’ll walk away from this session feeling confident about exploring how new tech can improve your business.
Each newsletter always has a mix of fun and functional links.
Summer Book List
I’ve read all of these lately and loved them.
American Mermaid (This now might be my favorite book, ever.)
Go as a River
Don’t Speak, Dear
The Perfect Golden Circle
Symphony of Secrets
What are your new favorites? Reply and tell me. I’m always on the hunt!
I paid $25 for a one gallon Proven Winners Ruby Spider daylily plant three years ago and I have never regretted it. It makes me so. happy. when it blooms. And it is vigorous and has a zillion flower buds each summer. Blooms for a month.
Showing Our Work
Yesterday we sent this newsletter and we’re thrilled with how it turned out! Take a peek, because there’s cool info re: Cultivate in here:
Bailey Nurseries Bulletin
Tips for Using Animated Gifs in Emails
Wendy shared this super helpful article from Litmus.
Which is another great tool! Did you know that marketing emails can look vastly different depending on whether you open them in Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo, etc.? They do! Litmus is a tool that we use to make sure the emails we send look as similar as possible across email services.
Drawing a New Life
A gift link to the New York Times Modern Love essay from last Sunday. One of the more perfect essays I’ve read in a long time, about a father and a son.
Need help? We are available for for projects and also enjoy getting to know you and referring you to trusted providers if we can’t help. Grab a call slot here.
I asked for all kinds of things – book recs, pictures of baked goods, if you have tried ChatGPT, but really, I always like to hear from you, so if you have something fun to share, reply and make it opportunity for fun!
Art P.S.: I guess sharing recent arts is now a thing. Here’s an acrylic gouache painting of one of my favorite views at Wrightsville Beach and a watercolor painting of my friend’s house at night. I learned the techniques for painting watercolor nocturnes from Katie Woodward. She has a great book out here. Follow her on instagram here.