The landscaping industry is growing — fast. In the last 5 years, the industry has grown an average of 3.3% per year. With more than 39 million individuals homeowners hiring professional landscapers each year and $99 billion in projected total revenue in 2019, there’s plenty of room to grow.
A landscaping marketing plan gets you over that hurdle to attract new customers.
No matter the size of your operation, marketing is critical to grow your business and profits. Marketing strategies for a landscaping business don’t have to cost much to pay off. Here’s how to get started.
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7 economical and effective marketing strategies for your landscaping business
Before you sign any new contracts, you have to let people know you exist.
An effective landscape marketing plan helps your potential customers find you, then shows them why you’re the best.
If you have the budget, a small, local marketing agency or freelancer can help you create and run ads.
But first, a warning: paid advertising is harder than it looks. It’s possible to run ads that bring in new customers, but still lose money. There’s no guarantee that the new customers you attract will spend enough to pay for that advertising.
That doesn’t mean that paid advertising is a bad idea. Just do your homework and consider working with a professional.
The tips here are a great starting point for your landscape business marketing strategy, even if you’re on a tight budget.
1. Build a modern website to boost credibility
Landscaping is a highly visual business. Your website should reflect that. You want it to be just as appealing as the grounds and lawns you work on.
Platforms like Wix and Squarespace make it easy for anyone to build a quality site without breaking the bank. These platforms are designed for the DIY-type. You don’t need a website developer to make something impressive.
Having an attractive site builds trust. It shows that you take all aspects of your business seriously.
- Show off your work. Post high-quality photos of completed jobs. Better yet, post videos to showcase your best projects. You could tell people how good you are, but seeing is believing.
- Add a page to showcase customer reviews and testimonials.
- Include an easy-to-read pricing page that shows what you offer and how much it costs. You can still begin each job with an estimate, or course. Publishing your prices inspires trust.
- Your website is more than a postcard. It’s an opportunity to start communicating. Offer your visitors something they want (like a coupon or an interesting newsletter with gardening tips) in exchange for their email address. You don’t need much tech knowledge to set this up since most website builders have built-in lead capture forms.
- Make sure potential customers can reach you through your website. Post your contact information clearly, and if you use a contact form, test it to make sure it’s working.
2. Build your email list
Landscaping email marketing is often overlooked, but it can be powerful. Once someone has given you their email address, it’s your job to keep in touch.
However, be warned: just because someone gave you their email address doesn’t mean you can spam them over and over.
Be mindful of how often you send emails to your list. Make sure your messages are interesting or useful, because nobody likes reading sales pitches.
Think about it — when was the last time you read your junk mail for fun?
People will unsubscribe quickly if they don’t get a solid benefit from reading your emails.
Here are some topics to get you started.
- Talk about the upcoming month or season. What should homeowners do to keep their yard in top condition? (Sure, your services will be one of the suggestions, but make sure you’re also giving advice they can use without having to buy something from you.)
- Promote upcoming events and garden shows. Your subscribers will appreciate you as a source of inside information. If you’re going to be a participant, even better. Point out where you’ll be, what you’ll be doing, and how they can connect with you in person.
- Share tips that help people save money. Recommend low-maintenance native plants. Give examples of landscaping features that look nice and don’t cost much. Share your best tips to increase curb appeal on a tight budget.
It might feel counterintuitive to teach people how to spend less on landscaping, but you’re more likely to develop trust and earn new and repeat business this way. It’s likely that some people reading your advice will want a professional to implement it.
3. Boost your visibility with reviews, recommendations, and referrals
Getting your existing customers to recommend your work is one of the most powerful ways to market your business.
Reviews are free. It just takes a little extra work to remind your customers to share their thoughts. You might consider rewards for people who refer their friends, too.
Doing great work isn’t enough. Even your happiest customers won’t remember to leave you a positive review or spread the word without a reminder. You need to encourage them.
- Email customers asking for honest feedback to generate testimonials for your website. Make it easy to respond. Tools like Google Forms or Survey Monkey are good for creating and sending questionnaires. Asking for a direct reply to your email may be intimidating for someone who wants to share a concern, but it’s an option, too.
- Timing is important. Don’t wait too long to ask for a review or referral. Give them a day or two to experience your work, then send an email asking for their review. If they don’t do it, it’s okay to follow up with another email five to seven days later. Email them more than a few times and they might feel like you’re a spammer.
- Encourager reviews on popular platforms like Google My Business, Yelp, and Angie’s List that will help you boost your online presence. Once the positive reviews start to roll in, you can link directly to them from your website or social media channels. Good reviews are crucial for your online presence because of online search. When potential customers look on Google for landscapers like you, they’ll probably see a list that includes review scores like this:
Cultivate even more good word-of-mouth advertising by starting a referral rewards program. Give a discount or other incentive to your customers when they refer their friends.
Make sure you post the details of your referral program on your website, and make it very clear if there are any special requirements. If you only reward referrals after the new customer has made a payment or signed up for a specific service, for example, explain that upfront.
4. Start marketing at the right time
Time your marketing efforts well. You don’t want to waste money on marketing that won’t pay off, so a little planning helps.
Wait too long, though, and you’ll lose customers to the competition.
The key here: don’t wait for spring to start advertising.
At the beginning of the season, your potential customers probably already have someone in mind. You’ll be more likely to win their business if they’ve heard of you by that point.
Many of your competitors advertise all year. You should consider that, too, if you have the budget.
- Do you offer seasonal services like leaf or snow removal? Marketing your seasonal services helps you stay visible year-round.
- If you’ll only be operating in warmer months, plan to keep in contact with your customers in late winter. Use your newsletter, website, blog, and social media channels to keep up.
- Even if your off-season services are less profitable, keep marketing to new customers. You can gain new business during the slow season when there’s less competition, and those people are likely to stick around when things get busier.
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5. Use social media the right way
There’s great potential in social media marketing for landscaping. Do it right, and your best advertising is mostly free.
You can try your hand at paid social media ads once you get the hang of things. Boosted posts are a good starting point. Paid ads can get expensive quickly, so keep an eye on your costs. You don’t want to spend too much on ads that don’t bring in new jobs.
The key to social media success is to stick to a strategy. Stay relevant and do something that your competition isn’t. Think about what people want from you, not what you want from them.
Here are some ideas to help you get started.
- Share lawn care and gardening tips on your page. Just like your emails, your social media pages should give people something they find valuable.
- Look for local community pages about gardening or home improvement. Introduce yourself as a professional landscaper and give pro advice or answer questions from members. Most groups will kick you out if you leave comments promoting your services, so be mindful.
- Start a YouTube channel. Create videos that walk people through difficult (or easier DIY) landscaping projects. You can also use your YouTube channel to show off some of your best work. Landscaping inspiration videos take some effort, but they’re great advertising.
6. Create something people can hold onto
Having an online and social presence is important, but you should think about old-school methods, too.
Landscaping and lawn care is a hands-on business. In smaller communities, neighbors will see you working, and they might be curious about your services.
This gives you the perfect opportunity to use physical items to spread the word and make yourself memorable.
- Door hangers are quick and cost-effective. Most printing companies have templates you can use to get rolling. Be sure to use color to show off your brand and make your company stand out. Check neighborhood rules before you leave hangers. Some homeowners’ associations don’t allow soliciting, and you might lose work if you break the rules.
- Business cards are cheap and easy. Carry a stack with you wherever you go. Your staff should have some, too. There’s no need to personalize your business cards for every employee. Instead, create a generic company card that has your contact information.
- Brochures let potential customers dive deeper into the services you offer. Give them out at home and garden shows, add to community bulletin boards, or ask the owners at your local gardening and hardware stores to keep a stack by their doors. Make sure they’re colorful, easy-to-read, and eye-catching.
- Include your phone number, email address, and website address on all printed materials. Give people a way to learn more about you, and make sure they can get in touch for an estimate.
7. Level up with paid advertising and Google ads
The strategies we’ve talked about so far can pay off, even if you don’t have a big marketing budget. Now, let’s talk about how to use paid advertising to grow your landscaping business.
You’re ready to start investing in marketing when you have a good grasp on your budget numbers.
Start with a customer lifetime value calculation. The basic calculation looks at how much a customer is probably going to pay you in total landscaping services, then deducts how much you spend in labor, supplies, and other overhead. That tells you how much profit you are likely to make from a new customer.
Figuring out the average value of a customer tells you how much you can spend on marketing.
If it costs you more to attract new business than you’ll make on the job, that marketing channel is too expensive.
First, keep track of where your customers come from. If you’re paying for ads that don’t bring in new business, stop using that ad channel and invest that money somewhere else.
Consider working with a small marketing agency to run your paid marketing strategy. An agency can help you find opportunities, test different ads, and show you data about your results.
Here are some good places to start your paid advertising strategy:
- Google search ads. Bid on keywords that someone might search if they’re looking to hire a landscaper, like “best landscapers near me.”
- Social media ads. Facebook’s advertising controls make it possible to target homeowners in your area who might have an interest in professional landscaping.
- Print ads. Local magazines, community newspapers, and even the local grocery store usually sell advertising space. Before you make any long-term commitments, run an ad with a special promo code or different email address to see if you get any responses. It can be hard to track new customers from print advertising.
- Radio advertising. In some areas, local radio stations are popular and ads are reasonably priced. Ask the radio station to send you a press kit first. That will include information about their listeners like average ages, estimated income levels, and whether or not they own homes.
Now it’s up to you
Marketing your landscaping business helps you compete.
Try some or all of these tips mentioned here, and spend more time on the ones that work for you.
Above all, be authentic, share your love of landscaping, and make sure you’re putting your customers — not your profits — at the center of everything you do.