Marketing Plant Health Care: Making the Invisible Irresistible
You’re a wizard in the world of trees and shrubs—capable of bolstering blooms and flushed foliage, as well as curing the worst plant ailments.
Yet, the irony? Convincing customers to invest in plant health care programs is like persuading kids that veggies are better than candy. It's invisible magic, and the trick lies in making this magic seen.
One major thorn in my side (and likely yours) has been dealing with thousands of home and business owners who don’t pay attention to their trees and shrubs until they’re dead! If my 25+ years in this industry have taught me anything is that selling tree and shrub programs is tough!
And, the greatest tree service marketing challenge before us is getting that point not just across but stuck into the conscious minds of consumers.Today, I’m going to outline some tips for you to get more plant health care leads (and sales) for your business.
Image Source: Tropical Gardens Landscape
The Green Industry's Dirty Little Secret
Plant health care isn't just about identification, fertilizers, and pesticides. It's the therapy session your garden never knew it needed. So, why do many people see it as an "extra" rather than a necessity? Because it's the industry's worst-kept secret—most don't know they need it until it's too late.Image Source: Limbwalker Tree Service
Plant Health Care Marketing 101: Your Messaging
Ever watched a dog food commercial and found yourself tearing up? (yeah…me neither LOL).
That’s an emotional appeal at its finest. Use the same strategy to make plant health care irresistible to your future tree care customers.
- Emotional Appeal: Create tree service marketing campaigns that tug on the heartstrings. Show images or videos about the special moments created under and around trees. Think tire swings, kids, and puppies. Never underestimate the cute factor. Or just a frosty beer at the end of a hard-working professional’s day underneath (you guessed it) the shade tree over their deck.
- Intellectual Appeal: Offer some brain candy. Share compelling statistics about how plant health care can increase property value or what the cost of failure is. Replacing that one mature boxwood is merely impossible. They’d have to rip out the whole row and start over. And the prospect of replacing that oak tree on the front lawn? Forget about it!
Image Source: Kingstowne Lawn & Landscape
I get it…we’re all tree nerds and want to share our wealth of knowledge. After all, that ISA Certified Arborist test was a doozy! But the majority of your prospective clients really don’t care. They just want to preserve these moments and their investment. Start with that. There will be plenty of time to impress them later with your vast technical knowledge.
[RELATED READING: See How Easily You Can Use These 5 Elements of Storytelling to Get More Work]
Sprucing Up Your Marketing Images
You know what they say—a picture is worth a thousand words.
- Importance of Visual Content: In a world of scrolling, the perfect image can stop people in their tracks. Use before-and-after pictures to demonstrate the results. Show your friendly team interacting with clients. Paint a picture of a preserved property primed with perfect pines, Pin Oaks, and Prunus (okay, enough with the P’s).
- Tips for Powerful Imagery: Use high-res images and insist on hiring a professional photographer. There are enough poorly-lit, terrible smartphone pics out there. And you’re not going to easily find free-use stock images of leafminers and anthracnose. Create your own library. Trust me, you’ll find multiple ways to use those images over the coming years.
[RELATED VIDEO SERIES: Photography for the Green Industry]
Image Source: Lawn Buddies
Crafting the Narrative With Tree Care Video Marketing
Tell me a tale, and you'll have my ear. Tell me a great tale, and you’ll have my business.
- Storytelling in Marketing: Tell the tale of plants. Videos can help tell the story of a prized specimen’s decline. Make this an exciting transformation story of how you’re going to not only prevent damage but also how plants can improve over time. Videos are an excellent counterpart to written content. Let’s face it, there are a lot of articles out there. Frankly, a lot of people hate reading. Position a helpful video toward the top of a blog post or website page for a deeper, more visual explanation.
- Case Studies: Share success stories from satisfied clients. Selling plant health care programs is not just about spraying and injecting. It’s about how a client grew to trust you and how they can now count on you to do what is in their best interest. The only transformation in this story isn’t about trees and shrubs. It’s the tale of your client’s experience with your company.
[RELATED READING: 1 Fatal Flaw of Tree Service Marketing Videos & How to Fix It]
Check out the Oasis Turf & Tree video below used to promote their tree and shrub care services.
Packaging & Pricing Plant Health Care Programs
Let's talk options—the “trim levels” of the plant health world. When you shop for a car, you’ll most frequently see three trim levels, each carrying its own set of features.
A core principle of pricing methodology is based on the fact that people have “extremism aversion”. They don’t want the cheapest option for fear of missing out. More may be inclined to go for the top option, but the bulk of consumers choose the middle option. This is why three tiers of tree and shrub care programs work so well. Image Source: Joshua Tree Experts
And a word about pricing plant health care programs. Stop being so cryptic. I get it. Some of you will have to do a plant inventory to create a customized plan. But you can give a client a starting point with example pricing. Scare away the cheapskates that want two annual sprays. Attract the buyers who understand they’re investing in the long-term value of their plants.
[RELATED READING: Packaging & Pricing Services - They Psychology & Strategy]
Tree Service SEO: The Unsung Hero
Ah, tree service SEO—the wizard behind the curtain. It makes sure people find you when they go down the Google rabbit hole.
- Website SEO for Tree Services: It's not enough to have a great service; prospects need to find you online. This means certain keyword phrases need to be found on specific website pages. For instance, if you have one page about “tree fertilizing”, the page name, its description, and text on the page should be honed in on that phrase and related terms.
- Tackle More Topics with Blogging: Even though you have a tree service website page that talks about “tree fertilizing”, there are also dozens of other terms you should target. This is where a tree service blog really helps. You could nab that number one spot for “how much does tree fertilizing cost” by creating an article uniquely addressing that topic.
Remember, the goal of SEO is to establish topical authority over time. No other tree service website should address all of these topics better than yours does!
Below is an example of how Seacoast Tree Care uses their blog to not only improve SEO but to educate prospective clients.
[RELATED VIDEO SERIES: SEO Tips for the Green Industry]
Digital Advertising for Tree Services
I’ll be honest. This is a tough nut to crack. You’re really going to have to keep an eye on a few things when it comes to tree service Google Ads:
- Track Your Cost Per Lead: Aim for a target under $40/lead. If that’s not happening your digital marketing agency may be asleep at the wheel, not making monthly improvements to ad copy, bidding strategy, and landing pages. And, make sure you’re actually getting appointments for estimates.
- Allocate Ample Budget: I’ve found that tree services are pretty aggressive with PPC ads. Think of this as a game of poker. You have to have enough daily budget. If you only have $1k per month, that’s only $33 per day. A few clicks could exhaust your daily budget by the time you finish your morning coffee. I recommend allocating a minimum of $2-3k per month (even more if you can).
I’ve seen Google Ads work best for acute problems you can actually fix, not necessarily preventative care. So, if you target keyword phrases centered around pests like Japanese Beetles or some pest that comes in a frenzy, you may get your foot in the door.
Just make sure your sales team knows how to find all of those additional problems on their property they’re likely unaware of. That’s how you sell a comprehensive, proactive plan!
[RELATED VIDEO SERIES: PPC for the Green Industry]
Social Media Savvy
Social isn't just for political rants; it’s for making your brand buzzworthy and being seen as a helpful expert as it relates to tree care.
And if you’re doing a great job at producing valuable content on a regular basis, you’ll have a lot of great articles, videos, etc. to share on your social media channels.
Kingstowne Lawn & Landscape regularly posts helpful blog articles to their social media channels.
Personally, I don’t think paying for social media is a worthwhile investment for tree care. The cost per lead is often very high and users are not often in a position of searching for this service when mindlessly scrolling through their feed. Just use your platforms to educate and raise awareness.
Email Marketing for Tree Services
Whether your sole gig is tree care or you’re a lawn care company adding tree and shrub services, your brand should have the heart of a teacher.
Just have realistic expectations when it comes to email marketing. Remember, your customers often don’t care until it’s too late. Tease them with knowledge.
Don’t ramble on in your email newsletter with 150 words about Phytophthora on the Colorado Blue Spruce. Just feature 15-20 words about 3 different issues going on right now. Then have a button and links in your email to drive them to more written content and videos that you created. Image Source: Turf Pride Lawn Care
Recipients may not open every email. They may not click on links. But they’ll remember you’re a helpful expert when they start to raise an eyebrow at that browning bunch of needles down the line.
[RELATED READING: The 7 Deadly Sins of Email Marketing]
Selling Tree & Shrub Care Programs
Every tip I’ve given you so far is going to be for naught if your sales team isn’t doing the following things.
- Site Visits: Whether it’s responding to an inbound lead or just a “quality check” on an account, you know your arborists can find other compelling examples of why your prospective plant health care customer needs a program. I used to love doing the ol’ “bug-in-a-bag” trick. Go take 4-5 clippings of problems around the property. Leave a note (or even better, include a proposal) and it’s hard to ignore the present problems. Heck, you could even send them a 1-1 video.
Image Source: Joshua Tree Experts
[RELATED VIDEO SERIES: Using Personalized Sales Videos to Sell More Work]
- Calling Campaigns: Have a ton of customers and not sure who would be the most interested? Create some calling campaigns based on interest. If you send out an email (and have a good email marketing tool), call the people who opened and clicked the links first. Just tell them you’re touching base to see how things are going and then casually offer up a free inspection. Likewise, you can let them know you’re reaching out to clients about a present issue you’re seeing a lot of in the area.
- Follow-Up, Dammit: One of the biggest wastes of marketing dollars comes from poor follow-up on leads. You have to call every inbound inquiry at least 3 times, email them, send a carrier pigeon, whatever! Don’t call one time and then abandon the opportunity. Likewise, don’t give up on outstanding proposals. People get busy and then lose interest. Keep emailing and calling them. They’ll probably have questions about your proposal and then you can impress the urgency of getting the right tree and shrub treatments done at the right time (like NOW dude!).
Making Plant Health Care Marketing Magic Happen
Selling the invisible isn't a Houdini act; it’s about making the invisible seen, felt, and most importantly, valued. Plant health care is not just a service—it's a mentality change that begins in your target client’s mind.
Image Source: Seacoast Tree Care
Alright, here's the big reveal—like pulling a rabbit out of a hat, but better. You've got the knowledge, the tips, the tricks, and even the emotional and intellectual appeals to get your clients not just nodding but reaching for their wallets. But all this is just pre-show buzz until you make your move.
Start implementing these tree and shrub care marketing tips and you’ll start seeing more plant health care leads on a consistent basis.
Ready to branch out and grow your tree and shrub care programs to towering heights? Subscribe to our blog for more tree service marketing tips. And when you’re ready for a comprehensive strategy to grow your entire business, request a consultation.