Facebook. Twitter. Tumblr. Optimized for iPad. LinkedIn. Smart phones. YouTube. Argh!
Unless you are an Internet expert, it can be almost impossible to sort through the seemingly endless options for selling your company – and yourself. It’s a full time job just to read everything that’s posted, let alone keep your own digital presence up to date.
Or is it? According to Andrew Pototschnik, founder of Lawn Care Marketing Expert (www.lawncaremarketingexpert.com), the right use of the Internet can grow your company exponentially IF you have specific goals and implement the right marketing strategy.
“Your website has one purpose, to get a lead to call or email you.”, Pototschnik says. “Anything that doesn’t help accomplish this goal should be questioned.” As the founder of Miami, FL based Lawn Care Marketing Expert, with seventeen years of Internet marketing experience, three years ago Pototschnik set his focus on helping landscaping and lawn care companies exclusively. With the global reach of the Internet, several of his clients are California companies.
Before you reach that client finds and contacts your company, you need a website that reflects your professionalism. Don’t be afraid to promote yourself. “Does your website say you are the best or does it show that you THE best? Do you demonstrate what you can do with before/after photos? Are you involved with credible organizations like BBB and CLCA? Do you have outstanding customer reviews and testimonials?” Pototschnik asks. If you’ve been featured in any newspaper or magazine articles or have been appeared on television, let them know. Likewise, if you’ve worked on “celebrity” landscapes, highlight them.
“Even better than photos, I recommend that all my business owners shoot a personal video,” Pototschnik says. “Introduce your company, introduce your staff, tell them why you are different for all of the other options in your marketplace. Video is also very powerful for putting a personal face on your company. After all, customers do business with people (you or your team) not a ‘company’.”
Testimonials and reviews from your clients increase your credibility even further. And it is critical to emphasize that you provide quality work and are trustworthy.
Most important of all, “Make it as easy as possible for them to give you their information via a phone call or estimate form,” he advises.
When your web site is ready to go, you need to “attract eyeballs.” First and foremost, you need to be found where your customers look. “What do they read? What do they buy? Where do they look for services like yours?”, Pototschnik prods.
Google, Bing, Yelp and other sites come to mind, but television, magazines and newspapers also hold some marketing promise, depending the client and their particular goals.
This is one place where an expert can help. One acronym you might hear kicked around is SEO – search engine optimization. This process makes your website pop up at the top of the list when someone uses Google to find “Los Angeles landscape contractors”. SEO can also refer to a search engine optimizer. This is a company or individual who can make your site more “search engine friendly.” This process can include modifying the design, menu, content and even the “source code” of your web site.
A whole industry has sprung up around SEO. But choosing the wrong one is a waste of your hard-earned marketing dollars. “Seems like anyone with a web browser and a ‘Google for Dummies’ book is a SEO expert these days,” cautions Pototschnik. “Choosing a half priced ‘SEO company’ that takes shortcuts for temporary results or that makes unrealistic guarantees is not a healthy or long-term marketing strategy and could end up getting you banned from Google.”
On the other hand, be careful how much you spend too. “All of your marketing must be profitable over the long term, regardless if that is a direct mail or PPC (pay per click) campaign. At the end of the day it’s all about your return on investment,” he says.
“Whatever you do, start somewhere,” Pototschnik counsels. “Online marketing is only going to become more expensive. Those who start sooner have the advantage. Start small, start somewhere — just start!”