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Tech seminar to focus on building online business

Set for Oct. 19 during Landscape Ontario Expo 2011

Fifth-generation florist and search engine optimization (SEO) specialist Ryan Freeman will present "Are You Hooked Up?", a technology seminar to be held Wednesday, Oct. 19 at 4 p.m. during Landscape Ontario Expo 2011.

Freeman will share his insights into new ways for business owners to use the ever-growing array of technology to advantage.

Freeman is president of Strider Inc., an SEO and online marketing firm that provides consultations to retailers, B2B businesses and nonprofit organizations. He has also developed the popular Florist 2.0 ecommerce platform, and founded FlowerChat.com, a leading online networking and resource centre for the floral industry. Freeman comes from a long line of florists at Martin's, the Flower People, based in Toronto.

"More and more customers are shopping online," Freeman said. "If florists aren't keeping up with the latest trends and online marketing, customers will go to their competitors."

Attendees of the seminar will face their challenges and walk away with new ideas to use technology as a tool to build connections and enhance sales. Topics include practical ways to maximize website content, e-newsletters, email campaigns and how to use Twitter and Facebook to grow business opportunities.

"Florists, like a lot of small businesses, really bank on personality," Freeman said. "Social media gives them a good outlet for that. They don't have to pass their Tweets or status updates through corporate channels, so they can be a little edgy, they can change their strategy on a dime. They have the voice of a real business person, someone who has invested in the company and can speak with authority without coming across as a corporate voice echoing the corporate line."

The technology seminar, open to anyone who wants to grow their business, will be held in conjunction with Landscape Ontario's Expo, formerly Garden & Floral Expo, Canada's fall show for the floral and garden industry. Now in its 12th year, Expo is a one-stop shopping venue for florists, garden center owners, interior plantscapers and mass merchants with boutique floral or outdoor living departments looking for both the plants and garden-related products used to enhance indoor or outdoor living spaces.

Admission to the technology seminar is included with the cost of an Expo 2011 trade show badge. Registration fees until Oct. 7 are $10 for Landscape Ontario members and $15 for non-members. Prices increase after Oct. 7. Registration is now open; visit loexpo.ca for details.

Mark your calendar for the Are You Hooked Up? technology seminar:

When: Wednesday, Oct. 19, 4-5:30 p.m.

Where: Toronto Congress Centre, North Building, 650 Dixon Rd., Toronto, Ontario M9W 1J1

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