Remember the days when you’d open your mailbox in the morning and find a bunch of postcards and flyers advertising local services?
You’d collect them all, put them on the kitchen table, and two days later throw them in the recycle. And two days after that you’d be looking at your lawn, wondering why it had all these yellow patches and think, ‘Didn’t I just see a flyer for lawn care services?’ Then you’d spend ten minutes digging around in the trash trying to find that flyer.
It was a routine. A ritual. Something no one enjoyed, but everyone misses. And the fact is, it used to work really well. In those pre-Internet days, most landscaping companies were able to generate leads by forcing potential clients to rummage through the trash!
But those days are long gone. For better or worse, the internet has fundamentally changed the way consumers spend their money. It’s now virtually impossible to build a business without an online presence and an active marketing strategy.
We know that building a successful online marketing strategy for your landscaping company can be daunting. But it’s not complicated!
And to prove it, we’ve put together 10 simple tricks to build a successful online marketing strategy for landscape companies.
Get Yourself a Killer Website
It’s not possible to run a business nowadays without a website. It’s the basis of your online presence. It shows potential clients who you are, what you stand for, what kind of work you do. It’s both a billboard advertising your services and your storefront.
It’s well known that in business, first impressions are lasting impressions. In online marketing, this translates into the first 15 seconds that a person spends viewing your site. That’s all you can count on. 15 seconds. In that time, you need to:
- tell them what you do
- provide your contact information
- seduce them with a professional and visually interesting design
Think of it this way. Most people that visit your site are already interested in the services you’re offering. They’re probably shopping around. They might have seen your ad and looked you up. People nowadays will see an advertisement on a truck and, rather than calling the number on it, they’ll look you up online first. You need to turn this interest into a sale in 15 seconds. If you can’t, the competition will.
Unless you’re a web designer yourself, it will be next to impossible to maximize those 15 seconds. So, contact a web design company and get a professional to do it for you. The initial investment will bring you massive returns in the long run.
Include a Picture Gallery on Your Website
You’re a landscaper. That means your clients need to trust, or better, to know, that you do good work. Until recently landscapers relied on word of mouth recommendations. Family, friends, neighbors, colleagues. In many ways that’s still the way it works today. But the internet has an extra trick to create trust: photo galleries.
Landscapers need to show that they’re good at what they do. Do you mow lawns? Take pictures of an impressive lawn you’ve mowed or the stripe patterns you’ve created. Do you build hardscapes? Take pictures of a retaining wall or a pavers patio. Do you design gardens? Try to capture the curves and colors of a garden you’re proud of. Including a picture gallery shows that you’re proud of your work and you stand by it. Whatever you do, document it!
Another trick with photo galleries is to include images of your crew at work. This will give online visitors a direct connection to the people they’re going to hire. It creates a sense of connection and builds trust. Images of your crew can help consumers identify with your company.
Plus, if they recognize the people they’ve worked with in the past, these images can actually make clients feel like they’re involved in your company rather than just purchasing a service.
Add a Short Video About Your Company to Your Website
One of the tricks we marketers have is to find gaps in other marketing strategies. Then we exploit those gaps. So the question is: what do most landscaping companies not include in their marketing strategy?
Anyone that’s been using the internet for the past 15 years can tell you that online videos rule the internet. Just think YouTube. Think Facebook. Think Instagram. Videos are everywhere. And they’re very effective at drawing users in, giving them something they can interact with.
A personal promotional video is a great way to make your landscaping company stand out.
Follow these rules:
- The video should be no more than a minute long. Any longer and your clients will lose interest.
- Include your company name right at the beginning.
- Talk about what you do.
- Show your work. Include still images or video recordings of previous projects.
- Keep it simple and direct. The goal is to efficiently deliver information without making the client do any work.
- Finish with your contact information.
Start a Blog
Creating a blog has two basic goals:
- It brings in customers who are simply looking for information.
- It makes your website searchable on Google and other search engines.
For the first, internet users may not be looking to buy a scheduled lawn maintenance package while reading your blog. But later, when they are, they’ll already know who you are and trust you. Offering content that people want to read will help give you followers. These followers might share one of your blog posts on Facebook or other platforms. This will spread your influence and give people a great reason to visit your site.
The flip side of this is that Google’s search engine tries to provide users with content that’s relevant to their search queries. Google’s search engine works by scanning every piece of written content they find on the internet. Then they figure out what pieces of content are relevant to which searches.
By writing a blog, you’re showing that your company is relevant to search queries. And since 93% of all online activity starts with a search engine query, it’s an important part of every marketing strategy. Simply include keywords (the search terms people use to find things on Google) like ‘landscaping services’, or ‘retaining wall construction in *enter city*’ right into your content. It takes a little creativity, but the results can be dramatic. Watch your website jump from the 5th page on Google to the first in no time!
Remember, you are a pro in your field. You know landscaping inside and out. Write about it! Your passion will shine through. And if you’re not sure what to write about, just do a Google search for blogs on landscaping and get some ideas.
Finally, be consistent. Try to write a short blog post (with pictures if possible) once a week. It’s a small time commitment that will bring in great results.
Create a Google My Business Account
We can’t advocate enough for creating a Google My Business (GMB) account. A GMB account is the most effective way to get people in your local area to find you. Here’s how it works.
When someone searches for ‘landscaping services’ in Google, this generic keyword is supplemented by a bunch of information about the searcher. The most important for GMB is the place that the searcher is searching from. If they are in your area, your landscaping business will show up in their search!
Because landscapers depend on local business, GMB is an invaluable marketing tool. Add pictures to your GMB to make your profile more professional and personable. And every week or so, add a post to your profile. When people find your GMB profile in a Google search, the pictures and posts will show up with it.
Plus, Google notices activity—especially on their own platforms! Adding pictures and posts once in a while is a great way to make your business more searchable.
Manage Your Reputation Online
Recent research shows that well over 50% of internet users always or often check online reviews before making a purchase. In that same study, only around 10% said they never check reviews. These statistics confirm one thing: online reviews are hugely influential.
Nowadays, reviews can make or break a small business. And as everyone knows, clients are more likely to leave a review if they’ve had a negative experience. This is the same for landscapers as it is for every industry. But there is a way to fight it.
Make sure you ask your clients to leave positive reviews if they’re happy with your work. Do it in person or send them a follow-up email asking them to rate your services. Most people are happy to do it, they’re just forgetful.
Keep tabs on your GMB, Facebook, Yelp, and Yellow Pages reviews. These authoritative review sites carry a lot of weight online. Having positive reviews and regular activity can help you rank well on Google searches.
Finally, make sure that you respond to all your reviews. On GMB, this is an effective way to increase your search ranking. It’s also an important part of engaging with your clients. If you have a bad review, offer contact information to get in touch. If you get a good review, thank them for it!
Use Facebook, Often
Facebook is an incredible resource for landscapers and other small business owners. Everyone is on Facebook. Literally everyone. Don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s not important.
Each thing we’ve covered so far is important for one aspect of marketing. The website, photos and promo video, were important for turning interested visitors into clients. The blog and reviews were important for making yourself searchable and relevant on Google. And Facebook?
Facebook is crucial for direct engagement with past, current, and future clients.
The first step is to create a profile. Sometimes Facebook will have made one for you already using information it found online. Usually, that information is wrong. So, claim that page and update it. Add photos, videos, a description of yourself, contact information. Update your profile with posts that encourage your followers to Like or comment. Ask questions, talk about current projects or current trends in landscaping.
Facebook is all about creating a following. People will notice your personality and how informative your posts are. Take advantage of it and make your posts shareable. You might even attract a following of DIY landscapers who share your tips and tricks and spread the word about your business in the process.
Remember that Facebook is all about shares and likes. Encourage readers to comment and in turn, respond to their comments! Make it fun and enjoy yourself.
If all Else Fails, Hire a Marketing Firm
At the end of the day, you’re the professional landscaper. Marketing can take a lot of time and effort. Some parts of it can get pretty heady. So, if you feel like the most work you want to do is respond to reviews (something you should do!), you might find yourself in the market for a marketing company. As you know, there’s no substitute for a qualified team that knows the ins and outs of an industry.
A good marketing company can build you a professional website that’s fully optimized for conversion. It can manage your social media presence on Twitter, Facebook, GMB, and more. It can write custom content, blogs, and the specialized landing pages you need to become searchable and provide relevant information to your clients.
Either way, the important thing is to focus on online marketing to get leads and make sales. In 2018 there is no substitute for online engagement. Your reputation and future sales depend on it. The internet isn’t going anywhere, so make sure you’re on top of it. And if you have any trouble, contact LinkNow Media and we can help!