You are busy right now. I get it.
No, I really do.
It is late spring and landscaping, lawn mowing, fertilizing, and everything else we do is in high demand. My family's company has maintenance routes that are totally full. Our install crews are booked into mid-September (at prices that are at least 25% higher than last year). The phone rings constantly and the emails flow night and day.
Does being so slammed mean we are all too busy for marketing?
Not at all, but it does mean we should be focusing on the right things. Now is the time for two very important things. One is the focus of this post, and I will cover the second in my next (when I can find the time!)
No matter how busy you are, now is the time to be getting reviews. You can never be too busy to earn and ask for 5 star reviews of your landscaping business. There are 3 good reasons to make this a priority starting yesterday:
1: Potential Clients Become Convinced TO Be Actual Clients
Online reviews are the new word of mouth. Studies have shown that reviews are often trusted as much as the recommendation of a friend.
Ever try to loosen a rusty nut? That's like trying to get new landscape business online with no reviews. Having 5 star reviews is like soaking that nut in WD40 overnight: so much less effort is now required to get what you want.
And don't confuse a testimonial with a review. Testimonials are hosted on your site and NO ONE TRUSTS THEM. Feel free to use them, but they can't be a primary way of building trust in your service.
2: Reviews are a huge component of Seo
Landscapers with more reviews online will eventually get much more traffic than ones who don't. There is no arguing this.
Reviews are part of the algorithm for Google Maps results. Reviewers use keywords and then these keywords become associated with your business- making it more likely you will rank for them. And if you get reviews and then the little stars show up in your search results more people will click your result.
Get good reviews. Get more search visibility. Get more clicks. Get more work (or charge more for the work you get).
3: Reviews are hard to get
Even if you make all of your clients happy, and ask all of them for reviews, only a percentage will actually leave a review. How many will leave a review?
It depends on the kind of people you work for and the kind of work you do. I have found that younger clients, spending less money, are more likely to review. The older the client or more high-end the project is the less likely you are to get a review.
Reviews are not easy to get, but are super important to your online marketing and the future of your lawn care company. So, yes, you need to start now.
But How Do I get reviews?
First and foremost you have to do good work that is worthy of a review. If you have high turnover and are struggling with quality control then you might want to be very careful about asking for reviews!
Then you have to ask. This can actually start before the project does. Wait, what?
Early in the sales process you can say something like, "My job is to do such a good job that you want to review us on Houzz (or Yelp, Google, Facebook, whatever) when the project is done." Now they know you set the bar high and expect you to request a review later.
Once the project is complete and you are confident they are happy you ask. I do this via email and include links to my preferred review sites. Some contractors have success with review handouts, like the ones Phil Rozek prepares. Services like Get 5 Stars are also very very effective.
where do you want reviews?
Be happy to get a review anywhere a client will leave it. But certain sites are certainly more valuable, since they have search engine visibility and can actual deliver clients to you.
This is Google's world and we just live in it, so having at least 5 reviews there is important. Yelp usually has at least one of the top 3 results for important local searches (like Dallas Lawn Care, for example). Houzz may be the new kid on the block, but they have almost as much a presence in the SERPs as Yelp. Plus, Houzz does not filter reviews like Yelp and Google so you know your work won't be in vain. Depending on your market Facebook, AngiesList, Thumbtack, Home Advisor, and others could be important.
Wherever you can, however you can, you want and need reviews. Start now and reap the benefits for years.
Have questions about reviews? Leave me a comment below: