As the Summer heats up, your phone should be as well. What can you do, as a brick and mortar business or microbusiness to crush it this year? Let’s learn about the digital marketing landscape for your lawn care and landscaping small business.
In 2016, your business needs digital marketing. For landscaping businesses, digital marketing can provide growth, scalable landscaping lead generation and more. In fact, this historically ‘word of mouth’ and traditional advertising industry, is continually seeing more and more success online…when done ‘right’.
Here is a “no bullsh*t” TL;DR…
- Mobile marketing is for microbusiness
- An ugly website is no good
- Social media is the new word-of-mouth
- Internet advertising can work
What does ‘right’ mean? What I mean to ask is…
What does the right marketing mean to your brand?
The “Right” Landscape Marketing Plan
We, as a society, have changed. The way business does effective lead generation have changed. The way advertising works has changed. The way marketing and digital marketing is accomplished has changed. The way the landscaping business, lawncare industry and contracting landscape has grown…it has all changed.
Why the change? The way we learn, communicate, move and even sleep has been integrated into smaller and more mobile devices.
This transition has also meant that businesses primarily brick and mortar, as well as mom and pop small businesses, have all transitioned. Well, if they are effective, they have.
Look, there are no lies here. What I what to make EXTREMELY clear to you is this…
ALL forms of marketing and advertising still return results – offline and online!
Yes, I believe in digital marketing.
I believe digital marketing is the best form of promoting a business and generating leads today, and tomorrow. I also believe that your stats from your campaign are far more defined and the data is better because of the methods used for tracking.
With that said, your landscaping business, in your region, is always yours. You are a better judge of what works, and what doesn’t, based on your unique and particular brand. I’m not taking that away. However, I can give some tips that will take your previous experience at local marketing and turn it into a more favorable endeavor.
Here is our first tip, the hidden gem of using digital marketing for your microbusiness…ready?
Generate qualified leads, by generating qualified traffic into your website.
Okay, this is not mind-blowing. Its also not a new tidbit of info.
But in its simplicity, something gets lost from lips to ears by some people. Remember, if someone walks into a burger joint, they aren’t there to buy a car…they want a burger, right? By sending burger-hungry burger-eaters to your burger joint, what do you think happens? EXACTLY!
If you want to “crush it” for your landscaping business, then embrace the above. Or, if you would like a checklist instead, then here you go!
- Find qualified leads
- Send those leads to your website
- Convert leads into calls, emails or contacts
- Create customers from visitors
- Scale and repeat over and over and over again
This checklist is, no matter how you slice it, THE way to constantly collect and grow your landscaping business.
What we learn next is the real digital marketing landscape for your lawn care, landscaping, hardscaping and construction business.
The World Is ALL About Mobile Marketing
Mobile IS how we live now. You can be on the road, visiting place to place and still be working. Between cell phones, tablets and laptops, along with WIFI, 3G, 4G, 4893849892348923G, etc devices, you can be anywhere and everywhere.
But, one thing to remember…
Your customers are, too!
Mobile doesn’t just mean business. Mobile means everyone.
And this can be where you completely dominate customer acquisition in your area, when its done right!
Think about this as well when you look at the picture above…
Those kids, they aren’t the only zombies on their phones. Your spouse, your boss, your employees and even yourself do the EXACT same thing, but you never noticed.
TV show on a commercial? We’re on our phone.
We are walking into another room? Check Facebook.
As soon as you wakeup or go to sleep? We check emails.
While watching TV, or during commercials, we check email, shop, text, use social media, and even interact with those TV shows.
Mobile is EVERYWHERE, ALL THE TIME, so hit up your customers on the platforms that they are on!
Landscaping mobile marketing and advertising
“We need someone to do …”, That Guy.
Ok, so how many times have you been That Guy? How many times have you determined you needed something, urgently or during planning, and then needed that info?
What did you do?
For most of us, we ‘Google It’, right? We jump on our phones and hit up Google for the answer.
This is a huge opportunity for your business!
What about when you need feedback on a service? Let me guess…you hit up Yelp, or Angie’s List, or some other review site. Or, you ask on Facebook?
Remember what used to happen? We would use word of mouth for staggered reviews. Meaning, it would take some time to get feedback. Now, we ask and have the info in front of us!
Mobile is a local landscaping business best friend, and you should be using it to its fullest!
Mobile landscaper marketing – the right way
When it comes to mobile marketing for landscapers, we look at three separate areas. However, their foundations are EXACTLY alike and aligned. So, keep the content parallel and you’ll be fine.
- Organic search (Google, Bing, etc)
- Social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube)
- Paid advertising (Google AdWords, Facebook Ads, etc)
To secure real business leads from these platforms you need one thing – content. Better yet, you need the right content.
To that end, your focus should be on selling your trusted brand, rather than selling lawn care and landscaping products and services, right?
How do you do this?
First, remember that you are selling to real people. Someone is more receptive to watching a 12 minute video on how you removed, rebuilt and accentuated a classic flagstone retaining wall, rather than watching a 45 second promotional advertising video trying to sell their retaining wall service. Remember, HGTV and DIY has 2-3 minutes of commercials that people tune out for, but homeowners will gladly watch hours and hours of Vanilla Ice flipping houses.
Next, don’t assume that your market isn’t on a particular platform. Mobile users aren’t ONLY mobile users. They are Billy on his bike down the street, Donna the CEO of the machining plant around the corner and Grandpa Joe the retired baker who lives upstairs. Never focus on your existing customers always having been without technology. I can guarantee, even the oldest among them still have a 50% or higher mobile usage rate.
Finally, remember that mobile is both immediacy and impact. You don’t need to be flashy, you need to be right. You don’t need to be the Flash, but you do need to be quick. Your message during mobile shouldn’t be that you are a salesperson of landscaping services; your message needs to be that you are landscaping who has a great service or product to sell.
But HOW can it work on mobile?
The very first place to start looking to place marketing and advertising dollars might be in a paid advertising campaign. The right place for this might be Google AdWords. I know that spending money isn’t a great first step, but I want you to remember something…
When Google AdWords and Facebook Ads are done correctly, their returns are faster and stronger than any other form of marketing.
Plus, these types of advertising and marketing can be extremely targeted. You can literally choose to advertise to specific locations, by age and sex (the normal demographics). However, you can also filter to times of day, likes/dislikes, behaviors and more.
One thing I do want to mention is remarketing. Remarketing helps you reach people who have visited your website or used your app. We can do this in Google (previous link) and in Facebook with Facebook pixels. With remarketing we can target based on previous visits, visits to specific pages, even target non-returning customers and clients.
How sexy is that?
Don’t Let Your Landscaping Business Website Suck!
Look, some real-talk…
A LOT of websites suck.
I’m not talking about having a website with the most awesome of awesome designs, and features, and points of interest. In fact, some might say this website is “too plain”, or “too flat”…but it works.
What I am talking about are websites that…
Nothing “seems” wrong with it, right?
Your current landscaping business website, or another website in the industry, might even look really similar. And, you ‘might’ even think it is good enough to get the right clients, in the right amounts, right now.
However in “Local Lead Generation in 3 Steps: Click, Convert and Cite”, we looked at key issues that every business website needs to thrive, not just survive. CTAs (call to actions), conversion elements, better formatting, color selection and even the content all need a focus. And the above layout just doesn’t do these key things; not well anyhow.
Breaking down that shown layout gives us another pictures on its effectiveness and beauty…
Do you see the same issues?
Do you have any of these?
Creating a better landscaping website
Look, I don’t want to come down on your website. I really, really don’t.
But no matter how you defend it by saying “we really don’t get clients from the website”, “none of our customers have complained about it”, nor any of the other thousands of excuses to not get a better website, these styles of websites are still wrong.
Customers find your website because of visibility and authority. They don’t only convert because you are there, they convert into a call because you tell them to call.
I’m not kidding.
Think about websites and phone numbers. Did a phone number buried deep in the website cause you to call? Or did one, front and center at the top of the first page (and/or every page), with the words ‘Call Now’ translate into you calling?
Think about how potential customers feel. When they come to your website, are they looking for only pretty pictures, or are they looking for the authority? Are they looking for the most basic website you can have just to have one, or are they looking for a place they get informed, feel trust and then call easily?
To create a better website, you have to move past the thinking that a business website is simple a brochure. This just isn’t the case anymore.
As a business owner, you need to know that the difference between a great website, and one that is just good enough, isn’t all about the best graphics, and fanciest animations and features. The difference is conversions, and customers – meaning, revenue.
After all, which landscaping business are you more likely to call…
Or, this one?
Social Media Marketing Is A Small Business’s Best Friend
Social media is a terrific platform to use for ANY small business. But, there is a large caveat to using social media to get more traffic and customers to your website.
You need to actually “do” social media.
Social media only concerns two things, and how well you do them. Accounts on Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest and Instagram that are succeeding do these two things together, with power and well over time.
What are they?
Participate and engage.
Engagement can be defined as the interaction between brands and the general public. Engagement also is defined as both the conversation starter and one in the conversation, right? This means that you are actively creating content that begins the talk, as well as making sure that the discussion continues.
Participation means you actually being there, answering the needs of the public, and responding. Participation is also concerning the number and frequency of your content and those discussions.
How does your business use this more effectively?
Social media for landscapers
For you as a landscaper, social media marketing might be the most cost-effective method of building brand awareness and visibility. What once was “word of mouth”, has now become social media’s reach.
In social media, do you know where the top platform is for landscapers and landscaping? Think it’s most likely Facebook? Then you’re wrong!
Have a look at where the top terms were shared…
Pinterest seems to be one of the most explosive platforms for all things landscaping, hardscaping and lawn care. When you are looking for landscaping leads in your landscape marketing, your focus needs to be on where you customers on, not just on where you think.
Maybe you should start a Pinterest account for your business today.
Social media marketing landscape
Not every business owner is a fan of social media; you might have been in this group. However, the simple fact of the matter is that as time goes on, social media can provide a larger and larger aspect to your landscape marketing and landscaping advertising tactics.
When we talk about how to generate leads for landscapers, really the focus falls on targeted traffic and pre-qualified leads. With social media, you can do this with both your content created and your landscaping advertising. There are tools for both content producers, and for advertisers on these platforms.
So where do you go from here with social media?
I think we can both agree it comes down to three things…
- Conversations aren’t sales, they are about ideas and help
- The content you produce on social should enlighten, entertain or inform
- You can sell, but not every piece of content, post, response or share should be a sale
Real Benefits For You In Digital Advertising
Online advertising can be expensive. In fact, this aspect of local digital marketing might be the single most expensive spend that you have in your budget.
When done right digital landscaping advertising can also provide the most business leads of any other style of offline or online marketing for your brand.
And, it scales!
Think about it this way…
With most marketing and advertising, your expected ROI is between 25% and 50%
How has landscaper advertising changed?
We’ve said it before, and you know it’s true, but times change. Inbound marketing, in all of their forms, have changed with it.
What hasn’t changed is as an advertising agency, we STILL want to use any form or platform of advertising to get clients more customers. As a business owner, that is precisely the same issue as it was 100 years ago, but the name has changed…
“We need more customers…”
“We need more leads…”
Where a soapbox and a loud voice, or multiple flyers in windows could allow a brand to crush it, we now use Google AdWords and Facebook Ads, combined with email marketing list building, influencer marketing and more.
Remember seeing huge billboard ads for the first time, and thinking ‘Wow’? Now when a passenger sees a billboard, I am impressed. Why? Because usually this is what your passengers are doing in the car…
Public radio (FM and AM) have turned into satellite and SiriusXM or satellite radio. Flyers and word of mouth turned into social media. The soap box and loud voice turned into webinars, podcasts and Youtube.
With this change, should you go exclusively new school?
What you should be doing is targeting potential customer where they are, not where they are going to be.
Make sense, right?
Mix and marry platforms, offline and online, to generate a LOT of targeted business leads. Move to digital marketing that can be ultra-focused and specific, rather than blanket advertising – IF, and ONLY IF, it works better for your brand.
The key isn’t early adoption, nor only going with what has worked in the last 50 years. The key is going with what works for the customers that you are looking to sell.
5 tips for paid landscaping advertising
Ready to go out and crush the competition, year-round, with some quality, scalable paid advertising?
Ok, well, maybe not.
But I do hope that you are ready to embrace, in steps, using more and more online paid advertising in your brand. Not only is it scalable, but you can also target and remarket to such specific demos that it could make your mind melt.
This article isn’t about mind-melting though. It’s about taking action.
Here are five, real, actionable steps to take, today even, to nail down your marketing and advertising plan.
- 1 – Do some competition recon to understand how the “big boys” in your region and industry are doing it well
- 2 – Use the correct content to convey the right message in your ads
- 3 – Condense your motto, service and product description and direction down to as little words and images as possible (remember speed!)
- 4 – Learn to use the platform’s tools to get the most cost-effective use from your efforts
- 5 – Marry traditional landscaping marketing like television to digital marketing
Online paid advertising can be expensive…which is why most small business owners shy away from it. However, the expense is outweighed by the speed and scalability of those same efforts. In fact, even though digital landscaper advertising can get expensive, it can also yield a ton of new business leads and increased revenue beyond last season’s levels.
One last thing about landscaper marketing
Your brand could have a fantastic end to 2016, or a slow exit. You could have a booming phone ringing off of the hook in February 2017 and March…or it could be a slow trickle of answering machine hype.
The choice is up to you.
As society changes, as we become not just digital, but we become an internet and networked society, digital marketing is a backbone to your landscaping business growth.
I hope that this information gets your brand in line and gets you crushing it for the rest of 2016, and allows for 2017 to be the most explosive in terms of revenue for you. And if you need more help past this article, check out the free guide below!