One of the best ways to bring in new customers is through the use of digital marketing. While traditional channels like print ads, direct mail, flyers, and cold calls are still relevant in 2021, digital avenues have opened up a whole new world for businesses interested in marketing their services.
As a landscape company, your leads probably come from a variety of sources—word-of-mouth referrals, email outreach, or Google searches, for example. But are you taking full advantage of the possibilities digital marketing provides?
Whether the phrase "digital marketing" scares, confuses, or excites you, it's an element of your marketing strategy that's not going away any time soon. Here's some advice for landscape contractors interested in upping their digital marketing efforts.
Use Google My Business
If you don't already have one, set up a free Google Business profile. This allows customers to find you easily when searching for landscaping services on Google.
Once you've created a profile, keep it up to date. Add links to your website, contact information, and details about the types of service you offer. Invite customers to give your business a rating, and respond to any reviews that come in (both positive and negative).
Create digital ad campaigns
There are plenty of services available for building digital ad campaigns, but the two with the broadest reach are the Google and Facebook ad networks. When you set up ads through Google, you can run search, display, or video ads that show up on YouTube, in Google search results, and on web pages across the Internet. Facebook's ads manager allows you to create ads for Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and the Facebook Audience Network.
- Search: Search ads show up as sponsored content at the top of most Google searches. They encourage people who are looking for a particular solution to visit one of your website pages.
- Display: Display ads are images that can be found on most website pages promoting a company's service or product. They're like digital "billboards."
- Video: Video ads typically play before or during the content a user is watching on a particular platform.
- Social: Social media ads can take many forms, from videos and images to boosted events, stories, and galleries.
If you're managing digital campaigns yourself (as opposed to working with an agency), the key is to start small. Pay attention to what works and what doesn't, then gradually grow your efforts based on what you find. And if you're not sure where to start, Google Skillshop offers free, short courses that can get you up to speed.
Stay active on social media
You might not need to be as active on social media as more B2C companies (businesses that primarily sell directly to consumers, not to other businesses), but maintaining a steady presence is still important.
Come up with a social media strategy that includes a list of audiences, the networks you want to focus on, how frequently you plan to post, and the types of content you'll share. If your customers don't spend a lot of time on Twitter, for example, you could choose to focus on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram. The content you post doesn't all have to be original. People love seeing behind-the-scenes pictures and videos of employees because it makes businesses seem more personal, but you can also share links to news articles or events your customers might be interested in.
No matter how much time and energy you decide to invest in social media, try to stay consistent. If you can only post once a week, that's fine. Just stick to the schedule as much as possible.
Finally, in addition to posting regularly, make sure you monitor any questions or comments that come in through social media channels. Don't let a direct message sit unread for more than a business day. Even if you don't have a complete response ready, let the user know you're working on it and plan to get back to them soon.
Use a CRM to track leads
A customer relationship management tool (CRM) can help you manage leads by organizing them in a kind of digital address book.
With a CRM, you can import lists of leads, tag contact records, create segments of prospects to target with specific marketing initiatives, personalize communication efforts, and more. While there are plenty of software options available, using a landscape CRM that's fully integrated with the rest of your business management system saves time and provides you with additional insights and opportunities.
Create valuable content
Marketing used to rely on a largely outbound approach that involved pushing a message "out" to potential customers. This methodology—seen in traditional advertising—involves using sales-focused messages to convince prospects to purchase a good or service.
While outbound marketing is still prevalent across industries, a new approach known as inbound marketing has recently gained popularity. With inbound marketing, companies work to establish a strong enough presence (often digital) that potential customers actually come to them. There are lots of reasons to embrace inbound marketing—not the least of which is significantly higher ROI accompanied by a lower price tag. (If you want to dive deeper into the inbound versus outbound conversation, HubSpot has a great article on the subject here.)
The building blocks of a great inbound strategy are valuable content (blogs, white papers, etc.), engaging social media posts, and search engine optimization efforts. If you're able to produce content that is helpful for potential customers, it helps them find you online—and starts a relationship that hopefully leads to a contract.
Boost SEO efforts
Search engine optimization (SEO) involves making sure your website gets as much high-quality traffic as possible. Optimize your site by keeping it up to date, using alt tags for images, regularly posting new content, including contact info, making it responsive, and using keywords potential customers are searching for.
While SEO can seem complicated and difficult to master, even small adjustments to your digital marketing strategy can make a big difference. For a quick guide to improving your site's ranking, check out this article from Michigan Tech.
You may already be familiar with the concept of key performance indicators (KPIs) from managing other areas of your business. Just like KPIs are necessary to evaluate employee performance or a job's profitability, they're also needed to measure the effectiveness of your digital marketing efforts.
What KPIs should you use, though? Well, that depends on the goals of your campaign. If you just want more people in the community to know about your business, you could use views as a KPI since that tells you how many people saw your ad (and therefore heard about you). If your goal is to increase demo requests, though, you'll care more about how many people clicked the link in ad than how many saw it.
Whichever KPIs you choose, make sure they match the goals you've set for a particular ad, blog series, or social media post.
To summarize, here are seven tips for boosting your landscape company's digital marketing strategy:
- Use Google My Business
- Create digital ad campaigns
- Stay active on social media
- Use a CRM to track leads
- Create valuable content
- Boost SEO efforts
- Identify KPIs
Want to see how Aspire Software can help your business succeed? Sign up for a free personalized demo of Aspire below.