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Neville MacKay On the Level with Neville: Have U Upgraded 2 the Internet?

Have U Upgraded 2 the Internet?

Written by Neville MacKay
I’ve seen a lot of new technology in the few years I’ve been an adult (ha!) and it’s hard to keep up with, but as business people, we have to. I’ve witnessed the birth of colour television, affordable microwave ovens, the CD player, (eight tracks for that matter) and cellphones that weren’t in Maxwell Smart’s shoe! I remaember when we got our first computer at work, and how important we all felt . . . now I feel funny when I don’t have my Blackberry and laptop within reach at all times. What a world, eh?

Now, I know there are many of us who either don’t use the Internet to our advantage, or don’t even have a web page, so pay attention as I tell you of the aches, pains, fun and torture that I went through (and still go through) when I travel along the cyber-highway.

Over the years I’ve had our website changed so many times it made me crazy! (And you thought it was genetics that made my hair fall out.) The thing is to find someone who can not only set up a website, but also is knowledgeable, can translate computer talk, and doesn’t seem to cost an unreasonable amount. This can take time, so research other sites in your local area, ask other florists who set up their sites, and be sure to listen to what others tell you about what’s worth and not worth having on a site. Call me . . . there are things I can’t express clearly enough on any paper!

When we worked on the website we have now there were things we wanted and didn’t want on it. One thing we decided early on to leave out were those awful “intro” things that are on so many sites! We are in the “age of instant” and most skip all the fluff and music on a site. As a person who works a lot with the media, there is a phrase that I always think of
when advertising either online or elsewhere: “information tells, while emotion sells,” so remember this for your sites. Flowers are a wonderful source of emotion, and we must use this attribute to our advantage whenever possible.

I have also done a few “how-to” videos that I use a lot for promotional purposes, and they have been very helpful, especially for those out of the country who don’t know me or my work. I have a link for them not only on my site, but on my agent’s site (imagine, me with an agent!), where they can go and have a look. There are also some that I have posted on YouTube that are specifically about flowers in different places in the world. I get good feedback from these posts: they cost nothing as I shoot them with my camera and are another possible revenue source. Check them out by searching “Neville on the Level” . . . see it worked already!

The goal for me, and hopefully for you also, is to get your name out there in as many places as possible and as often as possible, so whenever folks are on the hunt for flowers in your area, they automatically think of you! Our store name is all over the web with our work on charitable events, wedding sites, and blogs from clients. These have all proven to be great (and once again, free) promotional tools for us.

E-mail has, for my business, become a must-have now, and I freak when it goes down. Every day there are inquiries that come in about doing an arrangement, an event or a wedding (often from a person sitting at an office desk!) and it’s here where I can offer advice, suggest a call would be better, or direct them to a website . . . or therapy.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I use the Internet to do a lot of my buying now. I get many e-mails, e-newsletters and e-specials on products and services that I would otherwise lose out on if I waited for the mail version. Oh, and for those environmentally sensitive folks that we all deal with, let them know this is a much more responsible way to communicate because there is no paper used, etc. (Insert peace sign here!)

One last, but very important, thing to mention about using the Internet to our best advantage is to spell “evrythng korectly”!  How annoying it is to get an e-mail with all sorts of grammatical and spelling errors? Now, I’m no English major, but for goodness sake, put an effort into it! People pass judgment on how intelligent a person is by the way they write. (Don’t you say a word, Arman Patel, not a word!) It took forever for me to figure out that “lol” meant “laugh out loud” and not “lots of love.” I thought Duane from Staalduinen was making a pass – oh well, a boy can dream!

C U next time :)!
 
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February/March 2009

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