Creative Small Business Marketing, Episode 4

Filed in Small Biz Marketing by Matt McGee on June 24, 2009 10 Comments

How do you get a customer to trust you? How do you prove that not only can you do the job for her, but you’ve already done the job for others like her? And you’ve already done it dozens of times in her city/town/neighborhood? I think something like this answers those questions and more:


That screenshot is from a map that’s embedded on Avante Gardens’ web site, and each marker indicates a location where they’ve handled flowers for weddings and other special events. Click on any marker and you’ll get more information about the special event, as well as photos of Avante Gardens’ work.

To a potential customer, it makes a compelling statement: We’ve already done what you’re looking for. We have the experience. You can trust us.

This may seem familiar, in fact. Cathy Hillen-Rulloda of Avante Gardens says she was inspired by this post of mine from a few months ago, a post that showed how a Pennsylvania lawncare company was using Google Maps to show a portfolio of its work.

Whereas the lawncare company can get away with listing an address so prospects can drive by to see their lawncare work, Avante Gardens doesn’t have that luxury; custom floral arrangements usually aren’t permanent. So, they’ve done the next best thing by showing photos with each marker on their map.

Cathy — well done. Looks great. And hopefully it lends new ideas to other small businesses that can benefit from a strong, visual statement of work like this.

Comments (10)

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  1. That is great advice. Presentation is everything… Getting yourself in front of the customer is half of the battle – the other half is proving that you are the man or company for the job. Thanks Matt

  2. Miriam says:

    This is not the first time Cathy Hillen-Rulloda has impressed me with her knowledge and creativity. This lady is clearly at the top of her game in terms of an understanding of Local Search, user trust and…of course…beautiful floral work!

    This post really showcases just how smart small business owners are. Way to go, Cathy! Great post, Matt.

  3. Cathy says:

    @Matt –

    Thanks for the inspiration & the compliments.

    One of the best things about this tool is that new images and locations can be added easily, so there’s a freshness to the page.

    Since these map points and images may end up being found by via G Maps users ‘in the wild’ (as you mentioned in your WiseGrass article), I’m pondering whether we should add a link back to our site to each listing.

    Right now, I see the map as more informational than promotional and am inclined to believe ‘call to action’ links would push the entries into the promotional/spammy realm.

    Any thoughts on this?


    You make me blush. Thank you!

  4. Mark says:

    Oh I like this…well done. It is sticky, makes you want to look at them all and stay on page for a long time, and we all know the benefit of that. However, it is like everything else on the web, double edged. With the lawn care, I gues the competition would enjoy finding all your cients to target, but the upside on selling to new clients is huge. I will definately try this with a client or two who has the time and budget to do this. Nice work Cathy and good inspiration Matt.

  5. Jesse Heap says:

    Great find Matt and brilliant idea Cathy. This can be applied to many businesses and has motivated me to try the same for our cake business.



  6. Matt McGee says:

    If and when you get something up and running, Jesse, please drop me a line, okay? Would love to see how it turns out,

  7. Adam M says:

    Hi Matt,

    Love the idea (your original post that you cited also inspired us to do something similar , also great work Cathy!

    We run a large military veteran website and we are looking to implement something like this where members would be able to pinpoint locations or military bases across the United States. Does Google API MAP Key allow for users to input information (We have had trouble installing the map and are still working on it)!


  8. Jesse Heap says:


    It’s up:

    Here’s some background info:

    Thanks again for a exposing a great idea!


  9. Jesse Heap says:

    Adam – In case you didn’t know, you don’t necessarily need to use the Google API to pinpoint locations like Avante Garden’s did. They used the Google My Maps feature:

    As far as letting users input data, you should take a look at this post:

  10. Dee Ford says:

    Cool Map… what tools do you use to create something like that? I’m not familiar with embedded Google Maps.

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