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Updating Online Content

Fri, Mar 4th, 2022, created by Alicia L. Rihn

We are in a virtual world. The pandemic sped up the exchange of information via online platforms and more consumers are seeking information through Google and smartphones than ever before. Paired with increasing demand for plants, it doesn’t take a lot to realize that an online presence is essential to reach new markets and engage more plant purchasers. People seek gardening and plant information online starting in early February (see the green bars in Figure 1). Their online garden searches peak in the first week in May (as indicated by the red bars in the figure). As a result, information needs to be online, available, and updated before people go online to make sure they have the most relevant information. There are many ways to use online platforms to engage customers, expand markets, and provide appropriate content. These are a few suggestions to help you and your firm as you consider your online content this year and in upcoming years.       

  • High-quality visuals. Plants are very aesthetic and high-quality pictures are more valuable to consumers than text descriptions. A picture will capture attention faster and keep attention longer than a text description.
  • Easy to interpret content. People skim information online to identify relevant content. Keeping the content easy to understand helps people efficiently find the information they are interested in. If people can use your online platform easily, they are more likely to revisit it.
  • Value-added content. Plants alone cannot tell your story. Use online platforms to highlight and educate customers about what makes your company or products unique.
  • Personality. People are interested in being engaged and knowing where their products are coming from. Getting to know the grower, his/her history, and information about his or her farm is one means of adding personality while engaging the customer.
  • Online review recency. Reviews are the new word of mouth advertisements. Good reviews and responsive companies are viewed positively. More recent reviews are more important than old reviews because a lot can change in a company in a short amount of time. Keep on top of reviews, address concerns, and remove outdated reviews to keep customers coming back.

Happy updating!

About the Author:

Alicia L. Rihn

Assistant Professor, University of Tennessee

Alicia has been at the University of Tennessee since July 2020. Her area of expertise is in marketing and consumer behavior with an emphasis on ornamental horticulture products. She also addresses niche markets, value-added ag, willingness-to-pay, and promotional strategies to encourage plant purchasing behavior. 

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