Silly post, right?
Here you are, reading a blog on online marketing for your landscape business, and I am going to tell you the benefits of marketing your business online.... You already know that, don't you?
Obviously you appreciate that potential clients can find you online. That's great and hopefully I can help you make that happen.
But the benefits of having a robust online presence, with your awesome website at the center of it, go way beyond that.
Here are 5 ways your marketing will help you:
(Spoiler: #5 is the best one.)
1- Better clients.
It is exciting when you start getting more clients, maybe even a little scary when you start getting too many calls. But that should be your goal: Get your website working to the point where it brings in more calls and emails than you can easily follow up on.
Now you can start aggressively qualifying these leads, weeding out the people that won't make great clients for you. How do you do that? It will vary by business. But here are a couple examples to get you thinking:
Imagine you want to eliminate people looking for the lowest price. You can post sample prices to scare them away. You might even say on your home page, or above a contact form "We are not the cheapest, but you can be sure we are the best". Start emphasizing quality over price or value and the type of people who contact you will change.
What if you only want to add clients in a certain area? Emphasize that area on your home page. Require an address on your contact form. Create a whole new page dedicated to that area. Link to it prominently on your home page. You will start to get less and less people who are outside the area you want.
Perhaps you want to capitalize on a specific service, like paver patios. You realize this is a great profit driver for you. So you feature it prominently on your home page, both in text and pictures. Then you go to all your business listings and make sure they mention "paver patios". You also create a page specifically dedicated to paver patios. Have a blog? Then you do 3-4 posts on pavers. Within just a few weeks you should be getting a lot more calls and emails from people looking for pavers.
The initial goal may be more leads, but the long term goal is better leads!
2- Become an expert.
Know your stuff? Good for you.
But how do potential clients find out you are so knowledgeable? You try to show off a bit when you meet them, then do good work if they hire you, and a year later they may realize that their lawn guy really knows his stuff. Isn't that right?
There is a better way. Use your website to show people what you know before they contact you. When they schedule a first meeting they believe an expert is coming to help. Doesn't that make selling easier?
How do you establish your authority as a lawn guy or landscaper? You have to be willing to give knowledge away. If you have a blog this is really easy. Just write a couple posts a month that answer questions your typical clients ask. For example:
"How Often Should I Fertilize My Lawn?"
"How Much Does A Water Feature Cost?"
"What Are The Benefits of Aeration?"
The posts don't have to be long. They just need to be clear (and correct). Don't underestimate the power of blogging. My blog at rossnwwatergardens.com is the single most powerful marketing tool we have.
What if you don't have a blog? That is ok. Make sure your home page emphasizes your experience and expertise (#humblebrag).
Your service pages should be meaty. Don't just have a little page that says "We do aeration." Make that page full of information and pictures. Answer all the questions your client might have about the service.
Give away what you know and clients will be begging to work with the master. Yeah, that's you.
3- Better employees.
Having a hard time finding good employees? Most landscapers are. Your website can really help.
Potential employees are often searching much the way potential clients are. They analyze your projects and reviews, read your "About" page. Why would they apply just anywhere when they can do a little looking and find a company that fits their style?
How can you use your website to find better employees? Look at your current site from their perspective. Are you giving a good impression? Are you giving enough information? Here is how to do it:
Have an "employment" page. Spell out everything you are looking for and any key company policies. Sell yourself as an employer. Consider having a current employee write a testimonial.
Make sure your "About" page is done right. Potential employees (and clients) visit an "About" page to learn two things: (1) who is behind the company, and (2) what is the company culture. Does your "About" page just repeat the same information that is on the home page? That is not good enough.
Make sure your "About" page has your name, key managers bio's, and pictures of as much of your team as possible. Tell potential employees who they would be working for and with. Tell the world what makes your company different from all the other guys in your area.
Does this really work? At our landscape firm we are not actively hiring. But I get calls and emails from people looking for work frequently. They are often moving to the area and have been surveying the local industry online. Sometimes owners of companies in other markets send me introductions to an employee moving to Portland. I even get contacted by students looking for summer internships (yes, they are willing to work for little or nothing, just because the website impressed them.)
4- Be more flexible.
In the past many businesses, even small ones like mine, were like cruise ships: steadily steaming ahead but very slow to change directions.
Your online marketing makes is much easier to change or expand the focus of your business. Want to go from "mow, blow, and go" to full service maintenance with yearly contracts? Change your website and key business listings and you are on your way.
You can also add services easily. Add a page dedicated to ornamental tree pruning. Done right it will bring in clients looking for that almost immediately.
It is not complicated. Want to add a service or change the focus of an existing service? Change your website, which will change your client base, which will change your business.
5- Charge More.
Saved the best for last, as a reward for reading it all.
When you increase your number of potential clients you have three options: (1) expand, (2) increase your prices, (3) both.
As we increased our leads at Ross NW we did a bit of both, but mainly #2. In the last three years we increased revenue (and profit) greatly and added two part time employees. Our prices, for many projects, are double (or more) what they would have been four or five years ago.
When you are getting more leads you can charge fearlessly. No one job is going to make or break you- another new client is probably browsing your site right now. That's a great way to operate.
You probably have a system for pricing projects right now. That's great, but pricing really comes down to supply and demand. If you can increase the demand for your services then you can increase your prices as well.
Have as a goal decreasing your close rate. Yes, work towards closing less of the leads your pursue. Instead of getting 6 leads a month and closing 4 at a "reasonable" rate (whatever that is) you want to get 14 leads a month and close 4 at a rate you really love. A rate that lets you take your kids on more vacations.
Is your website doing these things for you?
If so, keep up the good work! See how far you can push all these advantages.
If now, try to figure out why. Are you getting enough traffic to generate lots of leads? Focus on implementing solid SEO practices for your landscape site to make sure you are.
Are you getting traffic and leads but not the bump in credibility and ability to raise prices? Look at your website with a critical eye. Ask others to look at it for you. Subscribe to this blog for advice on how to make it happen.
Keep working on website. First to get lots of leads, second to bring in the right kinds of leads, and third to make those leads know you are the only landscaper they want to work with.
Then you will using your online marketing to the full.
Have a question? Want me to take a look at your website? Leave a comment below: