Landscaping is a business that transcends our times. On the one hand, it’s far removed from the glamor of today’s information economy. While most growing businesses are dealing with intangibles like software and services, landscaping is about as tangible as it gets. You’re working with soil, rock, and growing plants, none of which can be replaced by a virtual equivalent.
But just because landscaping is a physical business doesn’t mean you can neglect the online world. Think of it this way. Tech companies pay landscapers to create gorgeous campuses, in order to please their employees and present a more professional appearance.
Similarly, landscapers should use technology to reach customers and grow their business. By harnessing the power of the digital world, you can multiply your company’s reach. Here are a few pointers on how to do this quickly and easily.
Ten years ago, digital marketing gurus were all giving the same advice: start a blog. You’ll generate a ton of searchable content, which will boost your rankings over time!
Is blogging still relevant? Absolutely! But these days, blogs are more useful for boosting your search rankings than for actually driving business. Vlogging, on the other hand, gives you the opportunity to create viral content.
Sites like TikTok and Instagram allow you to show off your work and create before and after images. You can also create tutorials, which have incredible potential to generate traffic. If your retaining wall how-to video gets half a million views, you can expect to get some phone calls!
Remember to brand your vlog, though. Make sure your company name, website, and phone number are visible at some point in the video. Otherwise, nobody will know who you are or how to hire you!
Take Ambro’s Landscaping, in Washington State. They post everything from how-to videos to reviews on the latest Kubota skid steer. With 27,000 YouTube subscribers, they’re not just getting exposure. They’re actually making money from YouTube ads! And every video is packed with branded vehicles, hoodies, and other identifying information.
Localize your business
One problem with the internet is that it’s a global marketplace. If you want to achieve the number one overall ranking for “landscaping” on Google, for example, you’ll be competing with the entire planet. Unless you’re truly a global player, you’re not going to be successful on that level. But suppose your company is located in Fresno, California. Ranking number one for “Fresno landscaping” is a far more reasonable goal.
Localization doesn’t just help you reach the top of the search rankings. It also helps you reach the most relevant customers. After all, if you run a local landscaping business, you don’t need leads from all over the world. You need leads in your local area.
There are three main ways to localize your business: use local hashtags, set up your business in Google Maps, and ask for reviews. Let’s take a closer look at each.
Use local hashtags
Hashtags are perhaps the most powerful tool in your toolkit, and they’re 100% free. But how do you leverage them to your best advantage? The answer is to look for hashtags that are trending locally. A quick search on your favorite social media site should reveal this information.
Remember, the key here isn’t to maximize your total views. It’s to get your posts in front of people in your area. These don’t even have to be relevant to your business, just to your area. If you’re in Boston and the Red Sox are in the World Series use your local hashtags!
Be careful what hashtags you use, though. For example, something like #BostonStrong, #NeverForget, or #BlackLivesMatter can appear exploitative if you’re slapping it on all your advertising. On the other hand, if there was a hurricane and your business is helping people drain their flooded yards, by all means, take some credit!
Set up your details in Google Maps
Google Maps is the most important online listing you should be worried about. The reason is that Google Maps results are pinned to the top of any local business search. If you’re on Google Maps, you’ll appear in this space. If not, people won’t even see you on their map!
Thankfully, there’s an easy way to do this. Go to Google Maps in your browser, and search for your address. In the left side panel, beneath a picture of your building, you should see a link that says “Add your business.” Click that, and you’ll be able to submit your company’s info.
Encourage people to leave reviews
Word of mouth is a huge sales driver for any business, large or small. And businesses with more, better reviews will rank higher in Google’s search listings. Encourage your existing customers to leave reviews, and they can help drive your business.
It can help to offer an incentive. For instance, you can provide a month of free lawn service for anyone who leaves a Google review. Compared to the cost of paid advertising, you’ll be getting a great return on your money.
Create business flyers online
Flyers are a physical medium, not a digital one. But you still need a way to design and create your flyers. Consider using an online graphic design tool like PosterMyWall. These tools are more affordable than something like Adobe Creative Suite, but provide everything you need to create quality promotional material.
Network with social media influencers
If you’re just starting out on social media, your following is probably pretty small. That’s okay! Rome wasn’t built in a day.
One way to get more exposure is to interact with influencers who are relevant to your brand. These can be anything from celebrities to local sports teams. The key here is to build a relationship and promote each-other’s content. Don’t just put an “@” mention for someone in all of your posts. That’s an easy way to get yourself blocked. Talk with them and see if you can form a genuine partnership.
Make Yourself Easy to Reach
None of this matters if customers have no way to reach you. Make sure your phone number and address are up to date both on Google and on your website. Similarly, make sure all your social media is tagged with all of your contact information.
A contact form on your website can also be helpful. There are templates you can buy online and set up yourself in under an hour.
As you can see, there are a number of ways to grow your landscaping business online. But they all come down to one thing: getting in front of customers in your area. If you can do that, you’ll be well on the way to success!