How To Grow Your Landscaping Business
Chances are your services are great and you do the best work in the area, but people aren’t beating down the door to work with you. If you “build it they will come” isn’t working, so now what?
This article covers the ways you can get your business in front of your ideal customer, sell your services, and grow your company.
Who is your ideal customer?
It’s important to know who your ideal customer is so you can tailor your outreach efforts and speak to them in a way they will respond to.
This can be as simple as sitting down with a piece of paper and write out who they are, give them a name, where do they live, are they male or female, what’s their household income. Write down everything you can think of to help you nail down exactly who they are and what they will respond to.
Feel free to make as many personas as you need.
Here’s a handy tool from Hubspot to walk you through creating your personas.
Once you have this information you can make sure whenever you are marketing, social posting, or just speaking to people, you are filtering everything through that Persona.
Understand where potential customers go to look for your services?
How do customers find you? Where do they look for other landscapers you may know?
Start by asking customers how they found you. This is a great way to track what outreach efforts are working.
Simply add “How Did You Hear About Us?” intake forms and even to the scripts your receptionist may be running through while answering intake calls and scheduling estimates.
Ask other business owners in your industry (and outside your service area) where their customers are finding them. This can be useful to help you expand your advertising and marketing efforts to channels you may not have thought of before.
How are you nurturing relationships with your existing customers?
On average, it costs you 5 times as more to acquire a new customer as it costs to nurture retain an existing one.
What are you doing to stay in contact with past customers and make sure they have an experience they want to come back to?
Email Marketing is an easy way to stay top of mind with past clients and tell them about your other services. Be sure to collect their email address when you start working with them.
Start off by sending updates about the status of their project and any milestones that have been hit. This helps condition your customer to look for your emails and view them positively.
Once the project is completed send a “Thank You” email and include valuable information related to the project. Special care instructions, what to expect next, how to contact you with questions, and a link to your website listing other services.
Then add them to your email list that sends valuable content. How-to’s, updates about your business, and even seasonal updates.
Services like Mail Chimp, Active Campaign, or Mailerlight are perfect for managing your lists and creating emails your customers will want to read.
If you use your email campaigns only to sell your services and talk about how great you are, you will be marked as spam and they will unsubscribe. Provide value first and foremost and your past customers will call you again for additional services.
Won’t regular emails bother them?
Typically no. They can always unsubscribe if they don’t want your emails, but most people won’t even go that far. They will probably at worst, just delete it. However, even people who are not reading all your emails and deleting them or letting them sit in their inbox are still seeing your name and helpful subject line. They are being reminded that you exist and that they had a positive experience with you. So when they need your services, you are naturally the provider they think of.
Google Ads are a great way to ensure your company shows up at the top of Google results when people are searching for your services.
Search Ads are typically based on keyword results and you pay per click or conversion. These ads are great for driving people to your website or lead capture forms when they are in the research phase (researching who can do the work in their area) and when they are ready to buy.
Display Ads are great for getting your name and message in front of people who show behaviors related to people who are looking for your services. Display Ads show up on websites all across the internet and are typically pay per impression or when someone views the ad.
You can set your budget and how much you pay per click and impression is based on an auction system that takes into account your bid budget, how much other competitors are willing to spend, and the relevance of the messaging on your website or landing page.
The more relevant your landing page typically the less you have to spend to outrank competitors.
Google Ads is an amazing tool to get customers coming to you and asking about your services, but this is a very high-level view of what can be done. It’s best to hire a company like Wild Oak Media to set up and manage your campaigns, but for DIY’ers here are some resources to help you get started.
Facebook Ads are a great way to boost your social media exposure, market to your ideal customer, and ultimately grow your landscaping business.
Using Facebook Ads, you can target your customers by location as well as demographics and interests.
Do you have a list of past customers or people who’ve interacted with your page in the past? You can use lookalike audiences to reach people who have the same interests and behaviors as your past customers.
Use Your Facebook Page
Remember, it’s social media, so be social. If someone is commenting on your posts or messaging you from your ads you need to respond. Build relationships with these people and you’ll find selling them your services become much easier.
Post regularly on your business page. Facebook Ads is a great tool, but when someone comes to your page and sees that it is empty or that you haven’t posted in 6 months, they start to question if you’re a legitimate operation.
Post valuable resources on your page, tips, how to’s, as well as your work. Did something interesting or funny happen at your office or on a project site? POST IT. By making emotional connections with your followers they become loyal to you and naturally come to you when needing landscaping services.
Don’t focus on vanity metrics. Likes are great, but you really want interaction and shares. People engaging, sharing, and commenting on your content is a much better indication that you’re doing something right than a simple “Like”.
Add Facebook Messenger to your website and monitor it. If someone asks a question, respond.
Facebook Messenger makes it easier for customers to contact you and ideally makes it easier for you to ask and answer questions and close the deal.
However, this can backfire. If you don’t respond, you can typically consider that lead as gone and the potential customer thinks you don’t care enough to talk to them. Even though you didn’t intend for them to feel rejected, they will still feel that way, and no one likes to be rejected.
So if you’re going to provide messenger as an option, you need to be committed to responding to inquiries and if you can, assign someone in your company to monitor messenger and respond, even if they have to get back to them and escalate the lead to an estimator. Good customer service is just as important on social media as it is over the phone or in person.
Show Your Work On Instagram
As a landscaper, typically your work is very visual. Telling someone about the new Koi Pond, rock wall or flowerbed is not nearly as good as showing them.
Instagram is a great platform for displaying your latest work and even the progress of ongoing projects.
So grab your iPhone and download Instagram. If you haven’t already done so, set up a business profile and start posting pictures of your work every day.
Hashtags are keywords preceded by a # symbol. For instance #landscaped #beautiful #auroralandscaping etc. Hashtags allow your posts to be found by people who aren’t your followers and help provide context to what you are posting about.
You should be using hashtags related to your industry and tags your customers would be interested in learning more about.
If you aren’t sure what Hashtags you should be using here is a great tool to help you come up with some to get started. If you’re still not sure what to use, try looking at your competitors or other Landscapers on Instagram. If you see their posts are having good engagement, write down their hashtags and use them yourself.
Don’t forget to write a decent paragraph in the description describing what is happening in the image or video.
There are other great tools you can use on Instagram to get people’s attention, such as Stories, Videos, and also ads. Plus since Instagram is owned by Facebook you can post to Facebook from Instagram.
Instagram is Social Media
Don’t forget to be social. Respond to comments on your posts and messages. Also, comment on other people’s images and follow and comment on people’s posts. If you see someone just had some work done by another Landscaper and the work looks good, comment on the post. You might just be on their new shortlist when the other Landscaper turns out to not be that great next time they need services.
Build relationships and they will pay off in the future.
Post frequently and consistently. Social Media of any kind is a long game. You never know when it’s going to pay off, but if you aren’t consistent, it never will.
Leveraging word of mouth
Don’t be ashamed to ask customers if they know anyone who could use your services. Consider incentivizing referrals. 10% off their next service, free weed treatment, something you know they need that will encourage them to tell people about you.
Your customer’s friends will trust them way more than you, so leverage that trust and reward those who are helping you grow your business.
Billboards don’t work as well as they used to. Passengers are looking down at their smartphones. But putting a small sign in the front lawn of your recent project is a great way to show your customer’s envious neighbors who did the work.
Small yard signs are relatively inexpensive and most customers won’t have an issue with you putting a sign up in their yard for a week or two if they are happy with your work.
Show Your Work
Don’t hide your talent. Show it off. Post your work on your website and update it at least quarterly. Post projects on Instagram, Facebook, or any other social media platform and do so consistently.
Create case studies or project profiles on your website showing before and after. Why the customer wanted the change, challenges you faced during the project, and the final outcome.
Your work should be out there for the world to see and selling for you 24/7, even while you sleep.
Additionally showing what you’ve done will both answer questions and lead to new ones from potential customers. Someone might see you’ve created a beautiful installation with a rock wall and then ask if you can do the same thing for them but in a different color. Now you’ve got a lead and an opportunity to build a relationship and ultimately close the deal.
Branding (or Rebranding)
Having a recognizable brand is crucial for attracting new business. Most people will have to see your branding and messaging seven or more times before finally buying.
Let’s be clear here. A logo is not your brand. Your logo is part of your brand, but your brand includes colors, layout, and the feeling people get when interacting with your company and advertising.
Be consistent across all your marketing efforts so people will recognize that it’s you and that they’ve seen you before.
Now on to rebranding. Does your brand illicit the feeling of cheap or “welcome to 1995!” then it’s time to rebrand.
If your brand has grown stale or you did the branding yourself and it’ not resonating with your customers, it’s time to bring in a professional. Rebranding will not be cheap, but it is an investment and will yield returns for years if done right.
Once you have your brand squared away, you need to make sure your messaging, customer interactions and even little things like the pens you give out at trade shows are on-brand. Don’t confuse your customers and leads by working from two different brand guides. Consistency is key.
How’s your website?
Your website needs to be an asset. It needs to convey the value you provide to your customers, so other people will want to become your customers.
When you first started out you may have had your little brother who likes computers design your site. This may be okay to start, but we’re talking growth now.
You need to partner with someone who understands more than how websites work. You need someone who understands how your customers work. What they are wanting to see, how they are wanting to contact you and how to support your efforts long into the future.
An attractive well-designed website is an investment. It will not be cheap, but it will pay you back. Customers are becoming more and more used to going to your website long before they choose to contact you.
They want to see what you’ve done, who you are, and that you can actually help them. Whether they know it or you know it, they are looking to make a connection with you. People buy on emotion and your website design and messaging need to make a personal connection. Not just be a menu of services.
So, find a web design agency, like Wild Oak Media, who will work with you to create a website you can be proud of and be prepared to invest some time and money working with them to get it right. You won’t be sorry you did.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
If you’ve had a website for long, chances are you know the frustration of your site not showing up on Google. It seems to take forever to show up on page 1 or you find your site on page 8 position 4, wayyyyy behind all your competitors and contractors who are not in your area or have anything to do with landscaping.
There are several things causing your site to not rank well on Google; your site not being indexed by Google yet or it’s too new, your website has “no index” tags or your domain has been penalized.
Another common reason you are not showing up for your desired keywords is that you don’t have the keywords on your site. Search engines read, index, and categorize text. If you don’t have enough text on your site or the right text on your site, it will not show up.
Since you are busy running your business and focusing on growth, you need to hire a company that specializes in SEO. However, if you really want to dive into the world of SEO and try it yourself, Search Engine Land is a great resource to learn basic to advanced concepts behind SEO.
Start a Blog
Blogging is a way any company can improve their Google rankings and provide value to customers and potential customers at the same time.
Use your website to provide tips, tricks, how to’s, as well as write about your recent projects and the outcomes of those projects.
Blogging is a great way to show people considering using you that you know what you are doing and that you can do it for them as well.
Be consistent in your blog. Choose how often you are going to write a post and stick to it. If you are going to write a post once per week, put it on your calendar. Consistency shows both search engines and people that you are active and relevant.
The time you invest in consistently adding to your blog will pay off in more leads and more trust than your competitors who are not willing to take the time to do it.
Local Listings and Citations
Check your business listings on Yelp, Angie’s List, Yellow Pages, Houzz, Google My Business, etc. Make sure your information is correct and if you don’t have a profile create one.
These listings will help people find you and can help provide social proof and build trust with potential customers considering your services.
Check your local citations.
What is a citation?
“A local citation is any online mention of the name, address, and phone number for a local business. Citations can occur on local business directories, on websites and apps, and on social platforms. Citations help Internet users to discover local businesses and can also impact local search engine rankings. Local businesses can actively manage many citations to ensure data accuracy.”
Make sure your citations are accurate. Check your name, address, and phone number or NAP information and fix errors. You want consistency across all citation and listing platforms. This will help you with Local SEO and again, make it easier for people to contact you.
Google My Business
Google My Business is:
If you haven’t already, sign up for a Google Account and verify your business listing and create one if you don’t have one yet.
Once your listing has been verified fill out as much business information as possible.
- Add all applicable categories
- Services areas
- Holiday Hours
- Phone Number
- Short Name
- Website Address
- Appointment URL (if you have scheduling app)
- Services and Products
- About Your Company
One item that is usually not filled out on Google My Business is Labels. Labels are there to help you organize your locations, but in talking to Google we have found that those labels are also useful for listing services and keywords.
For instance, listing specific service types not provided in the “Categories” section. Or adding your city and location along with your services.
In addition to filling out all your information, you should also add as many photos and videos as you can to your GMB listing and continue to add media monthly or more often if you can.
Showing your work, your team, process, your location will go far in building trust and connections with potential customers.
Respond To Questions, Comments, and Reviews
You need to respond to people who have taken the time to reach out to you. Whether that’s on social media, your website, email, as well as review sites like Google My Business.
Being active shows you’re a real person who cares about your customers. Helping to close deals as well as showing others that you are active.
Responding appropriately to reviews is also important. Monitoring your reviews is a good way to get ahead of issues and show both reviewers and potential customers that you are a real person and that you take customer service seriously. Even negative reviews are an opportunity to fix a bad situation (if possible, some people will be too mad to come to a resolution) and show people who read that review that when you mess up, you own your mistakes and correct them.
As You Grow Your Team, Show Them Off
As you hire more people, buy more equipment, or move to a larger facility, show people.
Write up posts for social media, add images to Google My Business, create a teams section on your website, or write a post on your blog.
Show people you are an active company and that you are growing. This is an opportunity to make a connection with those who may be following you and show newcomers that you are improving and growing and they should be a part of it.
Track What’s Working (and What’s Not)
Google Analytics and Facebook Insights is a great way to track what you’re doing and what efforts are resonating with your audience.
To implement these systems you will need to install tags on your website. If you are familiar with web design and development this will be simple. If not, you should hire a developer to add the necessary tags to your pages.
Once you have one or both of these systems in place you can see how many visitors are coming to your website, age and sex demographics, their location (city/state), and how long they are viewing pages on your site.
You can also set goals and conversion actions. For instance, if you create an ebook about choosing “How to choose your next Landscaper” and want to see who’s downloading it and which of your ad campaigns they are coming from, this can all be done in Google Analytics.
You can see how many people downloaded your ebook vs how many people viewed the landing page and “bounced” or immediately left without taking action.
You can also track conversions like phone calls made from your site and forms completed.
Once you can see the data you can start improving what’s working and when you try something new, you can see if it’s helping your bottom line.
Incentivize Upsells Made By Employees
Let’s face it, there is only one of you, and even if you have a sales team, they only have so much time in the day.
However, sometimes the person on-site completing the project sees things you and your sales team can’t.
Incentivize your staff to look for upselling opportunities through commissions or incentives.
An example of this could be selling a customer off-season snow removal services or continued weed control treatments.
If your staff in the field to help you grow your business by selling a recurring service why not give them the first month? This is a great way to build revenue and encourage non-sales staff to keep their eyes open for opportunities.
Keep Going (even when business slows down)
Consistency is key and you will reap what you sow.
When business slows down or you don’t feel you’re getting the traction you should after posting on social media for a month, keep going.
Consistently show up and you will stand out from your other competitors when people start looking for a provider and see that you are the one who is active and consistent.
So keep posting, replying to comments and reviews, recording new videos, producing how-to content, and whatever else makes sense to provide value to your ideal customer and you will be noticed.
Referrals are great. But people are selfish.
It doesn’t matter how happy they are and how great your work made them feel, if there’s nothing in it for them, they will probably forget to tell their friends about you.
So give them a reason to remember you.
Referral programs work and are a great way to reward your fans for spreading the word and helping you to grow your business.
Some things to try:
Percentage or Fixed Amount off their next service
Commission on referrals (up to a certain amount)
You could also try a personalized “thank you”. Look over the referrer’s social media account and see what they are into. Then send a thank you gift you know they’ll love. This helps make a personal connection and makes you hard to forget.
Develop Offseason Services
Keep your business going in the winter months by offering Snow Removal, Cutter Cleaning, Winter Yard Prep and Treatments, Power Washing, etc. Christmas Light Installation and Removal, Leaf Cleanup, etc.
Be creative and look for ways to keep your team busy during the off-season to prevent layoffs and having to retrain staff in the spring.
Partner With Other Providers
Does your concrete contractor also refinish driveways? Do you have a good relationship with a pest control company? Discuss possible referral opportunities and look for ways to send them business. You will get returns on investing in the success of other businesses and going the extra mile for your customers as you see they have needs beyond your capabilities.
Here are more collaboration ideas from Fast Company.
Sponsor Local Events
Events in your community that draw a crowd are great ways to get your name in front of new people and help them remember you.
Additionally, it’s a great way to give back to the community. I’m sure your city has many nonprofits who need help and would be grateful for any financial help you can give them. They also tend to not be afraid to publicly thank those who have made it possible for them to complete their mission.
Are you feeling overwhelmed yet?
This is a large list and may feel overwhelming. Don’t panic, pick a few of these items that resonate with you and commit.
Don’t try to do everything at once. Start with Google My Business, Instagram, or your own website. Schedule tasks on your calendar and commit to consistency. Once you have some momentum and are starting to see the needle move, pick a new item and go to work.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Chances are you are not a marketer or a web designer. If you need help there is no shortage of agencies who can take those items off your plate including Wild Oak Media.