(Here's a teaser video with 1 example of each of the 10 tips mentioned below. Read on for 30 more tips.)
Over the past two years I’ve spent a lot of time scouring YouTube and the Internet. I’ve wanted to get a really good sense of what kind of marketing tips are out there for lawn and landscape companies.
I’ve made a few general observations…
- The large majority of content addressing marketing for landscapers is geared towards entrepreneurs and businesses under $2 million in annual revenue.
- Most of the people offering these tips are either A) well-intentioned small business owners sharing their personal advice or, B) landscaping marketing agencies that specialize in small businesses.
- And lastly, most of the popular "influencers" make money by producing videos (ads on YouTube, product endorsements, selling software, franchises, or courses for startup businesses).
None of these things are bad. However, these landscaping marketing strategies may not apply for companies with an annual revenue of over $2M or for companies pursuing aggressive growth goals. These tips are aimed at the bulk of the landscape industry, small startup businesses.
Just like you don’t want to be Just Another Landscaper, I don’t want this to be just another article about marketing for landscapers. These are not basic tips. They are specifically for companies that plan on surpassing $2M in annual revenue (or are well past it already).
Advanced Marketing Strategy for Landscapers
Strap in. I’m about to show you the difference between a marketing strategy that will leave you floundering and those that have proven to work for dozens of rapidly-growing landscaping companies (anywhere from $2M-$30M+).
1. Refine Your Positioning Strategy
Look at the biggest and most profitable landscaping companies and you’ll notice one thing. Their landscaping marketing strategy shows they’re not trying to do everything for everyone. Plus, there are some obvious differences from their competitors.
How Another Landscaper Positions Themselves
- Is full-service, offering every service they can (even some odd ones)
- Tries to work with both residential and commercial customers rather than identifying their “ideal client”.
- Has a client concentration problem, taking on jobs of any size
- Covers an enormous service area out of a single location
Advanced Positioning for Landscapers
- Stops performing services that are unprofitable and focuses on their core competency
- Chooses a lane, either residential or commercial
- Has a profitable minimum level of engagement and knows when projects/clients are too big
- Limits services areas to where they are the most efficient and profitable
(RELATED READING: The Right & Wrong Way to Diversify Landscaping Services)
2. Create a More Compelling Message
Research a dozen or so landscaping websites from around the country. You’ll find most companies use the same phrases, confuse their prospective landscaping customers, and really don’t stand out. This has a huge impact on their marketing success.
Just Another Landscaper Messaging
- Speaks in first person (“we” and “us”) in their marketing communication
- Focuses too much on awards and credentials
- Highlights features of their services over benefits to their customer
- Overcomplicates the process for customers to work with them
Advanced Messaging for Landscapers
- Talks 10x more about their prospect than themselves
- Focuses more on empathy for their prospect than touting their own authority
- Clearly and concisely explains the main issues and solutions
- Makes it simple for prospects to request a consultation/quote
3. Implement a Better Branding Strategy
Brands that are a hot mess often stand out for the wrong reasons. If you ever intend to excel in this area, it may be time to have a pro refresh your branding.
Just Another Landscaper Branding
- Has a busy, typical, outdated, and confusing logo (clipart of grass and a tree and font from the 80s)
- Has a dull or confusing landscaping company name
- Either has A) tiny truck logos on doors or B) vehicles that look cluttered and busy
- Has little consistency across various print materials (brochures, direct mail, job signs), and marketing assets are cluttered, trying to accomplish too much
Advanced Landscaping Branding
- Clean, simple, modern logo that adheres to best design practices
- Has a company name that reinforces positioning, differentiates them from competitors, and leads to favorable consumer perceptions
- Tasteful vehicle wraps with clean, recognizable branding
- All company assets adhere to a defined brand-style guide and focus on getting a prospective customer to call or visit the company website
(RELATED READING: A New Logo Won’t Fix Your Problems)
4. Track & Analyze Marketing Performance
So far, all of the landscaper marketing tips above have focused on critical, foundational strategy. The tips that will follow this one will get more into specific tactics. However, this is a very important step to explore before you do so.
It’s extremely common for companies to waste money on landscaping marketing initiatives because they don’t measure results. It’s time to get a plan in place to prevent this.
Just Another Landscaper Marketing Analysis
- Uses gross revenue growth as their measure of success
- Focuses primarily on vanity metrics such as overall website visits, ad impressions, social likes, search engine ranking position (“first page of Google”)
- Relies on “gut-feeling” or subjective feedback from others
Advanced Landscaping Marketing Analysis
- Focuses on bottom-line profit numbers for their most profitable landscaping service divisions
- Focuses on increasing more important indicators of success such as the amount of local website visits, quantity of qualified leads generated and value of sales closed
- Establishes measurable goals and benchmarks
(RELATED READING: 5 Meaningful Website Metrics to Understand & Track)
5. Utilize High-Quality Professional Photography & Video
I’m sure you’ve seen it...tacky and underwhelming images and videos. If you’re going to look like a big dog, you’ve gotta well...look like one. It’s time to spend money and put some thought into your visual marketing assets.
How Just Another Landscaper Approaches Marketing Photos & Videos
- Uses DIY photos with bad lighting, random objects in shots, that feature unimpressive projects
- Creates long, boring, poorly-produced videos
- Hires a pro, gives them a list of properties and tells them to just go “get stuff” and tries to figure out where they can use it later
- Haphazardly spends money on photos and videos
Advanced Landscaping Photo & Video Marketing Strategy
- Pro photos with great lighting, props, and people using your most impressive projects
- Insists on engaging, concise, and compelling professional videos that reflect important client-focused messaging details
- Hires a professional, carefully plans the photo shoot with all of its details to create assets with intentional uses
- Creates and executes a plan to invest money in new visual assets each year
(Image Source: Rock Water Farm Landscapes & Hardscapes)
6. Create a Website That is a Lead-Generation Machine
Your landscaping website should be one of your most-valuable marketing assets. If it’s doing its job, website visits from within your local service area should be increasing as well as a constant flow of qualified leads for your sales team.
Just Another Landscaper Website
- Basically a virtual brochure using hyperbole and industry jargon
- Confusing and frustrating to use
- Either A) cannot be easily found in search results for dozens of popular search terms or, B) utilizes awkward search engine optimization (SEO) tactics which are a turnoff to website visitors
- Thoughtless written and visual content appears ametuer and confusing
- Very few qualified leads generated
Advanced Landscaping Website
- Provides concise information about services and also utilizes high-quality content such as blog articles, interactive tools, and downloadable resources for deeper research
- Easy navigation for prospects to do their research and request a quote
- Found in search results for hundreds of search terms yet designed for a human to use
- Written and visual content is easy to mentally digest and encourages a great website user experience
- Consistently generates more qualified leads, year over year
(RELATED READING: 12 Essential Ideas to Implement on Your Landscaping Website’s Homepage)
7. Only Use Paid Advertising with a Proven ROI
It’s very common for landscaping companies to waste time and money on ineffective advertising campaigns. Larger, more successful landscaping companies often approach advertising differently.
How Just Another Landscaper Advertises
- Cannot clearly state how much they spent on various campaigns and what is working (or isn’t)
- Spends money on costly sponsorships, print, and digital ads that don’t generate many qualified leads
- Invests a lot of time and money into exhibiting at events and sees very little benefit
Advanced Advertising for Landscapers
- Can easily understand and prove ROI based on website visits, calls, form leads generated, and ultimately sales closed
- Discontinues advertising that has proven to be ineffective and invests more money into winners instead
- Only participates in events that create legitimate business opportunities on a consistent basis
(RELATED RESOURCE: Marketing ROI Calculator & Annual Marketing Budget)
8. Create an Email Marketing Strategy That Actually Produces Leads
We get them every day. The spam emails that clog up our inboxes and we unsubscribe from. It’s a constant barrage of “blasts” and promos that are of little interest to us. Don’t be that brand.
Just Another Landscaper Email Campaigns
- Blasts entire contact list with annoying, self-serving promotions
- Sends long, boring newsletters with dull subject lines
- Doesn’t use an email marketing platform
- Emails customers too much or erratically
- Uses email templates that look terrible on certain devices
Advanced Landscaping Email Campaigns
- Segments contact lists to send topics of interest to the right people
- Uses short, visually-compelling email to drive contacts to their website or to call
- Can track opens, clickthrough rates, landing page form submissions, and calls generated
- Finds the right frequency and sticks to a consistent plan
- Designs emails that look great on any phone, tablet, or computer
(RELATED VIDEO: 7 Reasons Your Email Marketing is Failing)
9. Leverage a Formal Customer Referral Program
Virtually every company boasts that they get landscaping customers from word-of-mouth. However, most of them cannot tell you exactly how it’s happening or have a strategy to improve results.
Just Another Landscaper Referral Program
- Randomly offers up various credits or gifts for referrals
- Doesn’t directly ask for referrals on a consistent basis
- Can’t attribute the amount of referral revenue generated
Advanced Landscaping Customer Referral Program
- Has a defined referral reward and meticulously keeps tabs on referrals
- Promotes its customer referral program regularly across various marketing channels
- Can give detailed reporting on proposals generated and business closed on referral opportunities
(RELATED READING: Customer Referral Programs - Tips & Examples)
10. Improve Your Sales Organization to Close More Leads
Leads are great, but if your sales team is overburdened or processes don’t allow for a great customer experience, it means landscaper marketing dollars will be wasted. Just addressing marketing isn’t enough. Your sales process needs attention.
Just Another Landscaper Sales Process
- Reps take too long (hours or even days) to respond to marketing inquiries
- Salespeople send out a lot of proposals with minimal to no follow-up
- Only focuses on sales goals, not opportunities that are lost
- Rarely (if ever) talks to prospects again
- Overwhelmed sales reps with manually-executed sales-related tasks
Advanced Landscaping Sales Process
- Has sales team members instantly fielding inquiries or diligently follow-up contact attempts
- Qualifies initial interest and makes repeated attempts to close proposals
- Regularly evaluates closing percentages and uses data to help improve the skills of their salespeople
- Has a detailed process for re-engaging prior prospective customers
- Uses sales automation to increase efficiency and improve the prospective customer experience
(RELATED PODCAST: Is Your Sales Process Leaving Money on the Table?)
Just Another Landscaper or Are You Ready for Advanced Marketing for Landscapers?
Now that you’ve seen the difference between being Just Another Landscaper and a company utilizing these advanced approaches, I hope you can clearly spot the difference. Knowing this will help you maximize your success.
If you’re ready to dig into these landscaper marketing tips in greater detail, click on any of the links above in this article to learn more. Or, if you’re reading this, and are ready to create a landscaping marketing strategy that works specifically for companies in the $2M to $30M+ annual revenue range, be sure to schedule a meeting to learn more.