A tree-loving North Carolina family started selling Royal Empress trees (the world’s fastest growing tree) in 2005. At the time it was more of a hobby than a business, one they operated from their back yard. But sales and their product offerings soon multiplied. Marketing shifted from flyers and direct mail to the Internet. By the time they moved to a large rural property in South Carolina in 2013, the aptly named Fast Growing Trees was a thriving enterprise. “It’s a family-run business, small, but very high-quality,” says Justin French, Director of E-commerce. Today they sell over 500 types of trees and plants to customers across the United States.
“So many Internet searches happen every day. You have to be there for people to see you.”
Justin French, Director of E-commerce
The thriving business relies on AdWords, Google’s advertising program. “It’s definitely the number one driver of customers to our website and it has been since the day we launched,” Justin says. “We get a really great return on investment with AdWords.” They also depend on Google Analytics to gain online customer insights that help them keep the website effective, especially for visitors using mobile devices. “If we don’t know what’s going on with our customers on our website, we can’t improve,” Justin adds. “Those insights help us to give them an even better experience when they come back.” A YouTube channel and integrating videos directly into their website lets them share short educational videos about trees with their customers. “In the beginning days of the Internet it was just pictures, but now with video we can tell a richer story,” he explains.
70% of Fast Growing Trees’ customers come via Google.
From three original family members, Fast Growing Trees has grown to over 150 employees. All of their trees are grown in America, with nursery partners across the country offering varieties that don’t thrive in the Southeast. But the biggest rewards of all come at home in rural South Carolina. “There used to be lots of textile mills here, but those largely have moved overseas,” Justin says. “So being able to offer employment to some of the people around this area is something we take pride in.”
For more information on the Fast Growing Trees case study, visit https://economicimpact.google.com.
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