5 TIPS TO BETTER MARKET YOUR LANDSCAPE OR HARDSCAPE BUSINESS
If you’re a small business, you want to see a return on any investment you make. So it’s hard to rationalize spending big bucks on a billboard ad or radio campaign when you’re unclear on the results (a.k.a. sales) you’re actually going to achieve. Well, here’s some good news … we have five simple ways for you to promote your landscape or hardscape business that won’t break your budget! Following these tips will not only help you when it comes to acquiring new customers, but also help you to put your best foot forward with your existing customer base. Because let’s face it, your future success starts with those who already know and love what you do! So let’s begin...
1. Establish your brand.
The key to successfully marketing your business starts with a cohesive brand. According to the American Marketing Association, a brand is a “name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller's goods or service as distinct from those of other sellers.” And in order for your brand to become memorable to your target audience, it must be consistent. Elements like your logo, color palette, fonts, message, and the tone of your writing should carry over across all marketing channels. Consistency will not only lead to brand recognition, but a higher level of professionalism as well! If you need some guidance on better defining your brand, be sure to read HubSpot’s, “The Marketer's Guide to Developing a Strong Corporate and Brand Identity.”
2. Freshen up your website.
It’s no secret. People use the Internet a lot! According to a study conducted by communications agency Fleishman Hillard, “89 percent of consumers use search engines for purchase decisions.” So that leads us to ask you this very scary question: When was the last time you updated your website? And by update we mean more than just changing some copy and/or pictures. Review our short list of website essentials below and then decide whether or not it’s time to make some improvements!
Your website should:
- Be optimized for search engines
- Be mobile-friendly (According to Interconnected World: Shopping and Personal Finance, 61% of global Internet users research products online. And the 2015 Global Internet Report published by the Internet Society predicts this number to hit 71% by 2019.)
- Accurately represent your brand (colors, fonts, messaging, etc.)
- Not take forever to load
- Feature a clean design (no distracting images, videos, or pop-ups)
- Offer easy navigation
- Clearly tell visitors what you’re all about (and provide ways to contact you)
- Include social sharing buttons
- Be updated frequently
On a side note, with websites like SquareSpace and Wix, you can create a beautiful website all on your own. These website building platforms not only offer an array of visually appealing (and mobile-friendly) templates, but provide support and tutorials as well.
3. Simplify your social media.
The thought of managing social media can be overwhelming. Many small businesses simply do not have the bandwidth to successfully maintain a presence on a multitude of different channels. That said, be great at keeping up with just one or two! Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or maybe even Houzz.com, focus on creating an engaging, fun-to-follow social presence ... even if it means sticking to just a single platform. Whatever platform you choose, just be sure it’s one that your target audience actually uses. You can do a little Internet research or even poll your existing customers to find out which network(s) will give you the biggest bang for your buck. To get started, check out the “Social Media for Business: 2016 Marketer’s Guide” by BusinessNewsDaily.com.
Now that you’ve simplified your social media plan, you can dedicate some time to blogging! Before you even ask the question, we’ll tell you why you need to blog in the first place. Simply put: because it will drive traffic to your website. Each blog post you publish will do two very important things: 1.) Give you something to share on social media; and 2.) Create a new indexed page on your website that will help you rank in search results. So now you’re probably saying to yourself, “I’m not a writer! How can I possibly be expected to do this?” Well, while you may not be a writer, you are an expert in your field (or else you wouldn’t be in business, right?). You also know first hand what questions your target audience frequently asks. Begin there! Your articles can be simple and written in the same conversational style you would use with a customer over the phone! Do not be afraid to blog … be confident! After you’ve crafted a few pieces of educational content, you’re going to feel like a pro.
5. Network the old-fashioned way.
Yes, we live and do business in the digital age. But the power of meeting new people and expanding your professional network means more now than ever before. Word-of-mouth continues to be one of the best forms of advertising … and it’s completely free! Help spread the word about your business by attending community events (i.e. Chamber of Commerce, Business After Work, Rotary Club, etc.), trade shows, personal development sessions, or anything else that provides an opportunity to meet new people who could benefit from what your business has to offer. Remember to bring business cards (that accurately and professionally represent your brand, of course). Your business card should be like your American Express card … never leave home without it. You never know who you’re going to run into and who will become your next great customer.
And there you have it … five simple marketing tips that will help grow your small business into something greater than it already is! Now it’s time to execute with confidence. You’ve got this!