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Lawn Care Summit 2013 – Keynote – Lawn Care Marketing Expert – Andrew Pototschnik

I don’t think we envisioned, four years ago when we first had this discussion, that it would be as successful and as important an industry event as it’s become. It wouldn’t be possible for it to be as successful or as important as it’s become without the partnership of the very fine folks here from Planet; Sabina, Tom, raise your hands. We thank them for everything they’ve done to help make this happen, but it also wouldn’t be possible if we didn’t have the very generous support of sponsors, and we’ll put the sponsors slide up; we want to give a lot of credit to all of them.

We talk about this stuff all the time and say, it wouldn’t be possible to put on a meeting without the generous support of a sponsor and it sounds kind of like something that you just say to say it, but it’s true. These meetings, these opportunities to advance the industry, wouldn’t occur if it weren’t for the foresightedness and the generosity of the people who help sponsor and make it possible.

There’s nobody that does more for advancing the lawn care industry or who cares more about ensuring this quality programming and good education opportunities available to lawn care operators than the folks from Real Green. What I’d like to ask is that, Joe, do you want to come on up? Really, seriously, give him a big hand. Give them a big hand for all they do for the industry. Not just this event, but everything they do.

This is extremely modest. I think it’s the Washington Monument or a facsimile of the Washington monument. Joe, thank you very much for everything that you do. Again, give them a big hand.

Well Bob said, this is the fourth year of the lawn care summit and this year is the biggest yet. Real Green has been very involved since the beginning. We’re proud to be the platinum sponsor again this year. We think this is important for our industry that we have a chance to get together, network, learn together and promote our industry. Real Green will continue to be a big sponsor for this and we hope that you will tell your friends about the conference and next year, let’s make next year the biggest conference we had. Thank you very much.

What I’d like to do is go ahead and introduce our opening general session speaker. He was kind enough, and I think that if he had not been kind enough to do this I would have a serious problem, but actually to phonetically spell his name for me. If I can spell P-O-T-O-T-S-C-H-N-I-K, which is, tell me if I get this wrong, Pototschnik.

That’s perfect.

That’s perfect? First of all, Andrew Pototschnik is going to talk about how to get found on the Internet and make your website sell. Andrew is the founder, if I can pronounce the name again, founder of Lawn Care Marketing Expert, the leading online marketing agency for lawn care and landscaping businesses throughout the US and Canada.

Over the last 17 years, he has developed countless online marketing strategies for building small and large companies online. In 2012, they started serving clients outside the US – New Zealand, Australia and the UK. His team of lawn marketing experts, who’ve built their reputation for honest and ethical practices, delivered quality, scalable, marketing plans with real measurable results.

Their industry leading practices have helped cement Lawn Care Marketing Expert’s reputation as the go-to-agency for lawn care and landscape entrepreneurs, helping growth us to $1 million in sales and beyond. Anyway, Andrew, come on up. Give Andrew a big hand. Thank you.

Thanks a lot. Thank you. Good morning. Can everybody hear me okay? Everybody hear me? Yes, good? Online marketing website that gets found and make you money. I think you guy are going to take away a lot of good things from this. This is a topic that doesn’t get a lot of attraction in the market. Oftentimes, we’re not a very technical market, so we don’t know what to do and we know that we should lean on something simple, but we don’t know where to start. That’s what I want to talk about today.

Like he said, I am the founder of Lawn Care Marketing Expert. We are the official marketing ad agencies for service type of products. We have clients across the globe – US, Canada, Australia. Obviously, they are our biggest markets. I’m also the co-creator of Lawn Business Blueprint, and a consultant to a compliance organization, a fine organization, hopefully, everybody is involved in.

Marketing solves problems. Three key problems that you can solve are: Acquiring the best customers at the lowest price. That means no price shoppers; no one-time sources, we want recurring customers and we want to keep them for years; keeping customers for a longer period of time; and increasing the value of your existing customer-base. Increasing the customer lifetime value, your add-ons, upsells, seasonal services, referrals and everything else that they know of.

When it comes to our industry, as compared to other markets, we’re slacking, when it comes to our market. This is the area that we could be a lot stronger in. One of the problems that I see is that often times, of all the companies that I talk to, we don’t understand that our marketing is an investment in our business. It’s an investment. It’s an expense, of course, of our businesses. In order to grow our businesses to quicker, we need to invest in our marketing.

I represent putting money in a bank. If you put money in a bank, you’re going to get interest back. If your market is running full speed and you’re doing the right things, and you have a good marketing program, you’re going to get return on your investment as well. It’s the same thing. If you’re not getting a return in your marketing investment, you’re marketing’s broken and you need to re-think the strategies that you’re implementing.

Secondly, customer lifetime value. Do we understand that our clients are worth more than that first service that they hire us for? We want to keep our clients for years. We need to understand that our clients are worth all of the services that they’re going to buy from us during the length of their relationship with us, and all the referrals that they’re going to bring us by telling their friends how good a job that we’re doing.

Do we plan and budget our marketing in advance? Are we setting a monthly budget? Are we setting a marketing budget? Are we investing in our business? Are we planning our marketing ahead of time, so we know what we’re doing in March when it’s already January? We know what we’re going to be doing in June when it’s February? Do we look at other industries and see what’s working for them and implement that into our industry?

A great example of this is drive-throughs. I think most people in here probably think that the drive-through came from the fast food industry. But in fact, it came from banking. In 1928, the first business to implement the drive-through was a bank, and it was such a good idea that the fast food industry took that into their own industry; implemented it. Now it’s ubiquitous, every fast food chain has a drive-through.

Look at other industries, look at their marketing, see what’s working, try that in your business. If it works, stick with it. What do we see other industries do? If we look at doctors, lawyers, insurance companies, the most competitive industries, when it comes to online marketing, what are they doing? What’s effective for them?

They’re doing offline marketing, which is what we do. They’re doing multiple lead generating website. They’re doing local search, they’re doing search engine optimization, they’re doing pay-per-click, they’re doing email marketing, they’re doing social media. They’re using multiple online marketing strategies all at once, in a coordinated effort, and their marketing budgets are increasing as their business grows.

What our industry does, typically, we’ll do offline marketing. Across the board, that’s what most people do. With a generic website that we put up five years ago, we haven’t change it much. We’ll do maybe some pay-per-click, we’ll do some Google AdWords, something along those lines, but none of the marketing that we do is coordinated.

We don’t have a marketing calendar and the budget is the same as when we started five years ago. We haven’t increased our budget as our business grows.
Online marketing is your biggest opportunity to compete and grow with the leaders in your markets and it’s for the very reasons that I just said.

The bigger companies in your market are not fully implementing all the strategies that they could. They’re not doing multiple lead generating websites. They’re doing one or two things, and this is your opportunity to attack them and get market share that they’re not accessing.

Some of the common questions I got; I looked at my phone logs from 2012. I talked to over 300 different lawn care owners last year on the phone from 15 minutes to an hour of phone conversations. There are three common questions that would come up over and over. “I know we should be doing something online, but I don’t know what to do or where I start. I did some Google AdWords, cost me a fortune, I didn’t get many calls, so I quit doing it. I set up a search map page, I set up an Angie’s list page, it got me price shoppers and clients that I didn’t want. What should I do?”

Let’s start at the beginning. Your website. Your website is the center of your marketing universe; it’s the most important thing that you are going to be doing as a marketer. Whether you’re doing offline or online, people are going to check on your website. They’re going to be going online; they’re going to read reviews about your business. They’re going to check out your website and decide whether or not they want to do business with you, if they want to take a chance with you, if they want to spend money with your business.

The first question on the website was: Why do we have a website? Do we put it up because we want something that looks pretty? We want to come up with some design boards, maybe we want to get compliments from our friends, saying we have a great website, awesome; or did we just check off the box on our marketing checklist? “Okay, we’ve got the website taken care of, we’ve put it up five years ago; that’s done. I never have to think about it again.”

Perks from a website. Get visitors to call you or get visitors to email you, request an estimate, fill out a form; that’s it. This is the only reason we have a website. This is exactly what I’m telling our designers, when we’re developing a website for clients; everything that you do when you’re developing a website for a client needs to lead visitors down one of these two paths. How you position their phone number, where you position the form on their webpage, everything that you do as a designer needs to the lead visitors down one of these two paths. If they don’t take one of these two options, we’re just wasting money; we have a website for no reason.

Oftentimes when we put up a website, we get caught up in how it looks and that’s the deeath of our website developing. We want to have the best looking website in our market, that’s all fine and good. How it looks is important, but we need to focus on what it’s for more than how it looks, because ultimately it needs to be generating us revenue.

Your website is not a glorified business card. I see this over and over. You guys might recognize our incredible software here. I think you might be using it, in fact, in some of your own marketing. Your website isn’t a business card, but what we typically see, when you look at the different markets, where your service area is, look at your competitors, there’s generally nothing special about your website.

If you compare your website, or you compare your competitors’ websites, to the other people in your market, everybody’s generally doing the same thing – name, address, phone number, “we’re the best in the market, give us a call.” That’s about it. What happens when you copy your competitors in your market or even look the same as everybody else in your market? When you sound the same, when everybody in your market says, “we’re the best company, use us,“ and the message, the way that you appear, and the way you look sounds the same as everybody else in your market; the only thing that separates you from your competitor is how much you’re charging.

If you don’t want to compete on price, you have to do a better job by identifying what’s unique and what’s special about your business. Why somebody needs to choose you over one of your fifty competitors in your market, and this is the problem that marketing is very good at solving.

A great example of this is Apple and Samsung. We all typically are using an iPhone or an Android phone; Samsung has grabbed a lot of market share this year. They have the most popular phone now, the Samsung Galaxy SIII. If you look at the two companies, Apple is significantly more profitable than Samsung. They’re more profitable because they charge a premium for their devices.

If you use both devices, would you actually say that an iPhone is better than Samsung Galaxy SIII? Is it really worth the $150 plus that you pay as a premium to use it? I don’t think so, so why did I buy an iPhone versus the Samsung device? The answer is Apple has better marketing; they have done a better job in convincing me that I need this versus a Samsung phone. When you have two products or two services that appear to be the same, the company with the better marketing is going to win.

Your website is your most important salesman. It’s not just a glorified business card. What would a salesman need to sell your services? Would you want yourself to show up at one of your clients’ offices, or clients’ homes, wearing cutoff jeans, flip flops, tank top? Would that help sell your services? Or should they be presentable, should they look professional? Would it help if a salesman creates a trustworthy and personal relationship with your perspective customers? Would that help them sell your services? What if your business had a reputation for high quality service? What if your salesman had counters to all the objections a consumer would have to using your services, would that help them sell your services? What if your business had public recognition? Would it be easier for him to sell your services? What if you have lots of satisfied customers? A portfolio that exemplifies the projects? What if your salesman was really responsive to answer the phone personally? Who responded to all estimate requests very quickly, would that help him sell your services?

Your website is your number one sales team; your website should do all of these things. You need to have a professional design; you need to have professional video that’s personal. This is a great way to put a human face on your website because ultimately consumers would be doing business with other people, not a company. They’re going to be doing business with your staff, not a business.
Certifications, licenses, rewards. Something that amazes me is that there’s a lot of consumers out there and even markets that require you be able to—your company to be licensed to perform different services, to use different chemicals and when I look at these companies that do business with these markets, they’re not advertising that fact. They’re not advertising the fact that it’s dangerous to hire a company that’s not licensed, that’s not certified to perform these services at your home, and they’re not telling people the risk of hiring companies that aren’t licensed or certified, so that’s very important. Are you a member of the organization by MBNA, any organizations that bring you credibility in your market?

Do you have a strong guarantee? Do you guarantee your work? If you don’t feature a guarantee on your website, I have to ask if a client is unhappy with the job that you performed, are you not going to fix that job? Are you not going to go back and fix the work that you did until they’re happy? I think everybody in here is going to answer, “yes,” today. You’re going to fix the project until the client is happy.

Inherently, you already have a guarantee. The one thing you’re not doing is telling people that you have a guarantee and that is something that you need to feature on your website. You inherently have a guarantee, so advertise it. Make it public, let people know that they’re not going to make a bad decision if they choose you. They’re going to be happy with your service; they’re going to be happy with the product that you deliver to them.

Local news. Maybe you’ve been pitching the local news TV or media; this adds a lot of credibility to your business. This lets people know that you’ve been around in business for a while, that you’re trusted and you’re the leader in your market, that you’re the expert in your market. Positive reviews and testimonials from other real customers, from clients in your market that are like the type of customers that you want to get, so can prove, very powerful.

Photos of your work, status complete. This also adds credibility to to what you do. Can you demonstrate that you successfully completed lots of different projects and you work looks great? You have a large staff. You have a fleet of trucks. You’ve been doing this for a long time. You have the resources to deliver.

Think about what your unique selling points are for your business. Every company is going to have different, unique selling points and you need to take down, find out what those are and you need to do a better job in marketing them, and letting people know about them.

Your website’s nice. Like I mentioned, most people set it up and forget about it, but it’s something that you need to improve over time. You should make it mobile friendly about what they see on offline sites, visitors of offline sites, on average about 23 percent of them are accessing their websites on mobile devices. That’s Android phone, that’s iPhone, that’s tablets. Twenty-three percent; that number is rising, year after year that’s going to continue to rise, so it needs to be mobile friendly.

Test everything. As I mentioned in the last slide, how you position your stuff on your page, how visible you made your phone number, how you position your estimate forms, where you put them, how useful your website is, has a direct impact on how many people give you their information or give you a call. Even if you improve that number by half of a percent, if you increase your conversion rate on your website by half of a percent, that means more profits in your pocket, that means more phone calls, that means more leads that you get, so test everything that you do on your website.

Of course, your website should get better and better. Don’t just set it up and forget about it. Don’t just check off the box on your marketing checklist. Continually update it, add new content to it. It should improve just like a salesman. Your sales people should be getting better over time, they should have better track record, they should be able to close sales better.

It’s something that is also worth mentioning, I tell our clients that we can make their phone ring, we can make their phone ring all day, but at the end of the day, it’s up to your staff – it’ s up to you and your own team to close the sale. I think it’s worth mentioning so many things that we need to consider when it comes to closing leads.

Let’s start with your phone. Your phone always needs to be answered live, no voicemail. Don’t let your phone go voicemail, get a live receptionist in times when you have peak call volume, don’t let them fall over to voicemail. Even after hours, I say get a live receptionist, let them talk to your human voice and have an internal process. Enable your phone people with a vet sales rep, everything that they need, frequently asked questions, everything that they need to help the people that are calling them.

Train your team, your team should be trained. The people who are answering your phone are representatives of your company and they’re going to be the face of your company as far as that call is concerned. You don’t want to sit somebody on your phone to hasn’t been trained or doesn’t have the tools that they need to be successful in that role. Your responsiveness is obviously very important.

If anybody here tonight, if anybody has used these tools, you know that if you’re the first responder, if you’re responding to estimate requests for all of your competitors, you have the best shot at closing that deal and getting that account, so you want to be very responsive. If people do leave you a message, you need to be calling them back asap. You need to be responsive to estimate requests, you need to be responsive to service requests, and audit your team.

Any modern phone system is going to let you have them play pre-recorded message when you get incoming calls and notify callers that you’re recording your phones for training purposes. In most states, you can do this. Check with your state wherever you’re at. But in most states, you can do this legally and then you can track your team, you can see how your team is doing, you can see everything, you can improve, you can find out if they’re hurting your sales or improving your sales because the people that are on your phones, they’re having a direct impact on your business – on growing it or hurting it.

We have a great website now, that’s taken care of, our phone staff is great at closing sales. Now, we have to get it growing. If you think you’re just going to put up a website and it’s automatically going to write well in Google, those days are pretty much over. You’re not going to be tweaking a couple tags here and there and get yourself on Google.

You need to get traffic, you need to get visitors, you need to get them in, and there are six main ways that you can do that. Offline marketing, obviously, we’re going to be publishing our website address on our pre-mailers, on our direct mail pieces and you’re going to get traffic from that. Consumers are going to be checking your website; they’re going to be checking review sites before they make an educated decision. Local search sites, another great way to get traffic to your site; it’s very popular these days. They’ll bring a lot of traffic to your site as well. Search engine optimization, we’re going to get into that. Pay-per-click advertising, email marketing and social media.

Local search sites. We’ll start at the beginning. Let me back up for a minute here. We’re going to talk about each of these different strategies in the way that we implement it for our clients. The only difference between how you implement these strategies for our smaller clients, or clients that are less than $250 K a year, and our clients that are doing over $8 million a year, is how much we’re doing at once.

They all go through the same process. They’re all going to be doing offline marketing, they’re all going to be doing local search, they’re all going to be doing search engine optimization. The scale of what they do based on the size of their budget; it means they can do more of each of these individual strategies.

Local search sites, let’s start here. Google Local Plus for business – Yelp, Yahoo, local Citysearch, Bing; these are some of the popular sites and you need to have your business listed on here. What we do at our company is we usually publish our client’s business information to about 65 to 75 different sites that we’ve targeted that are going to be specific to their market, that are going to be specific to their services. Our clients in Canada have different sites that they use. Our clients in Texas are going to have different sites that they use.

Seventy-two percent of the consumers said that online reviews are as trustworthy as personal recommendations. Fifty-two percent of them said that positive online reviews about a local business make them more likely to pay a visit. That’s very powerful, that’s social proof. This is why you need to pay attention to what’s being said about you online and actively get customers to leave you positive reviews online; it makes a difference.

Local search, what are some of the problems that we see with local search? When companies try to do everything themselves and so they kind of do it halfway, they don’t do everything correctly. Inaccurate, inconsistent information across the sites; they’ll have different phone numbers, they’ll have different addresses and different locations, the name spelled slightly differently. That will cause problems with how well your Google Local Place page ranks. It’s going to cause problems across the board, it’s going to confuse your customers.
Maybe you have some outdated info on the site with the wrong phone number. Somebody tries to give you a call, but they can’t reach you because your information is out of date and you don’t have the username and password to log into the site to fix it. This is stuff that needs to be done professionally and accurately; it’s very important.

No reviews. We just mentioned this, it’s very common. Even if you set up a Google Place page, time after time I’ll go to the biggest markets in the states and there’s no reviews on the top ten businesses in that market. Think about if you are a business in that market, how much more powerful it would be if you had 18 positive reviews on your Place page in Google and your customers don’t have any? Who do you think is going to—how do you think is going to be clicked on first, versus the competitors who don’t have any positive reviews?

This is because companies do not have internal procedures to acquire reviews and testimonials. This should be a process in your company. You should be reaching out to your customers on regular basis in prompting them and asking them gently to leave you a review, leave you a positive testimonial, and publish them on your website and encourage them to leave them on Google, on Yelp, on the other search sites that customers go to to make a decision about using your services.

Paid reviews. This is a shortcut that companies try to take. Every single time you’re going to try and take a shortcut, you’re going to get bit. Great example, Facebook, I’m sorry, Yelp. Recently, they set up a sting. They set up a fake website selling fake Yelp reviews. I don’t know, maybe some of you heard about this happened about three months ago. They set up this sting where you could go to a website and buy fake Yelp reviews to make your business look good on Yelp.

A lot of companies did and as it turns out it was Yelp that set up the website, they documented all of the companies that went and tried to participate in reviews. If you go to any of these companies’ pages on Yelp, a giant window/banner pops up says “This company tried to buy fake Yelp reviews to fool you.” It has a link to the proof, it has a link to the people and the information of the company that tried to buy those fake reviews.

Do you think those companies are ever going to get clients that saw that on Yelp? Rather than getting shortcuts, rather than buying paid review, rather than setting up ten fake Google/Gmail accounts and leaving reviews on your own page or having all your friends and family, cousins, second cousins and third cousins leave you fake reviews, set up internal processes that get real reviews from real customers. Put that energy into something that’s going to get you real reviews from real customers. Put that energy into something that’s going to get you real reviews.

Let’s talk about search optimization. Google is still the dominant force in the market. Sixty-seven percent of the market share; Bing is 16 percent, Bing is slowly rising. Fifty percent, fifty-three percent of businesses say that SEO makes the biggest impact on lead generation followed closely by 28 percent for PPC and 19 percent for social media. Big deal; big deal to show up on the first page of Google, everybody wants to.
I want to dig in to some specifics, some details, and some terms so that everybody is on the same page and everybody understands what the different areas of search results page are.

Organic search, organic listings. If you look over here on the left-hand side, the lower area, 85 percent of clicks are on this area, this is organic search area. You will get there by having content in tags, it links to your site that Google likes; that’s the organic listing area. The top on the right-hand side, pay-per-click, AdWords alongside, as well; that is 15 percent of the clicks on page.

Of the 85 percent of the clicks on the page, the number one result gets fifty percent of that 85 percent; second result, 15; third result, 10; on down the page. If you see below there at the very bottom, that’s the local listing area, that’s Google Places, and this is where reviews become so important. Those top ranked, those top listings have more reviews, they have a better chance of getting clicked on.
Page search. Of the 15 percent of search results page clicks, 59 percent go to the top, 15 to the second, 9 to the third, 4 on the side, all the way down the page.

SEO maps. Google changes its algorithm every 17.5 hours. Every day they’re making changes in their algorithm and their algorithm determines where you rank on that first page of Google. If you think you’re going to just change the title tags on your website, and add content here and there; and not do anything on active basis, on monthly basis to rank well on that first page of Google, you’re just not. If you did use some SEO once, if you bought some sort of service where they optimize your website once and you got into position five, you’re going to be dropping off there slowly.

Every time Google updates their algorithm, there’s a shift in the rankings and you’re either going to go up or down. This is why it’s so important to have a regular SEO campaign where you’re regularly building links to your website and updating your website with fresh content.

Something that a lot of people don’t know is 65 to 75 percent of what we do, as an SEO company, is offsite. It’s not just about what’s on your page, it’s all about the websites that are linking to your site. This is one of the most manpower intensive things that we do in our company, it’s building links to your website.
There’s a lot of companies out there that will sell you a cheap monthly service where they give you thousands of links to your website every month, that are doing shady tactics, that are doing what we call a “Blackcat Methods”. They are using Bots, they are using spamming techniques to get links to your website.
If you’re doing any of that stuff, you might be getting some temporary results. But over the long term, when Google updates their algorithm, it filters out those results, your rankings are going to bomb. If you’re doing really sketchy stuff, you can have the potential to be the de-indexed by Google.

Beware of fake SEO companies, you need to do your research. You need to have some education on what you can and you can’t do with SEO and have a realistic idea of what goals you can accomplish; there’s no shortcuts. Just the other day, other week, I receive an email from an SEO company in India telling me that our website is not optimized and they can get us the number one ranking guaranteed and you need to be aware, be wary of companies like this. You need to be wary hiring somebody on fire to build new links. You need to be wary of hiring somebody in Elance to do this stuff for you.

Pay-per-click. Predominantly, Google AdWords is what everbody uses, Bing ads are becoming more and more important, you can get some cheap traffic over there. In Bing, that has access in Bing, many of you might notice, your ad will also appear on Yahoo. Yahoo and Bing have a partnership, so you can appear on both search engines now.

Also, Facebook is becoming more and more important. Facebook is interesting because it has such incredibly detailed demographic data about its users; that’s going to be very powerful. Also, what we expect to see this year with Facebook is you’re going to start to see Facebook ads appear off the network. You’re going to start to see Facebook ads appear on websites, not just within Facebook.
When you can combine Facebook ads with the websites your customers are visiting and their specific demographic data – are they female, are they of a certain age, they live in a certain area; this become very powerful. What we recommend to clients right now, depending on the size of your budget, your dollars are best spent on Google AdWords, right now across the board, and that’s probably what most people in here are doing, but Facebook is something that we’re definitely watching and it’s going to become more and more important.

Another fact that you should be aware of, 89 percent of traffic generated by pay-per-click advertising ads is not new traffic; it’s new traffic outside of organic reach. That means, if you’re running pay-per-click ads alongside of your number one organic ranking website within the search results page, 89 percent of the clicks that you’re getting on that ad are new clicks. They’re not clicks that you would have gotten had you not been running that ad. They’re not clicks that you would have got by just having the number one organic rank, so pay-per-click is great at supplementing your organic SEO campaigns as well.

Common problems we’ve seen when companies try and manage to pay-per-click himself. Google has done a great job of creating a very simple front engine to the AdWords application. Anybody can go on there, set up an ad within an hour or two, be up and running, ads will be showing up at the top of the Google search results page. Because they put such a simple interface on that, it’s easy to make mistakes and it’s easy to waste money.

Frankly, Google doesn’t really care. Google gets paid every time somebody clicks on your ad, so they want the maximum number of people as possible to click on ads, all that they care about. By hiding a very complicated system under easy-to-use interface, they’re increasing their clicks, they’re increasing their revenue, but it’s wasting your money.

Common problems that we see are companies targeting the wrong markets, they’re too broad of a market, so they’re wasting clicks on areas that they don’t want customers to begin with. They have too small a budget for it to be a very effective campaign. They don’t test their ads, they don’t have leading pages specific to that ad message; both of these things will impact. They click their ad that means a percent of people who will click on your ad and the conversion rate. That means the number of people who give you their information after they visit your website from one of these ads. Both of these things you want to have that – higher conversion rate, higher clicked-on rate means more profit.

Every single time a company comes to us that has been managing their own pay-per-click campaign and hired us to do it for them, after they have paid our management fees, we still save them money and that’s because appropriateness of feeds.

You really need either to have an expert working on this, either internally or you need to hire an expert to do it for you; otherwise, you’re going to be throwing some money out the window.

Email marketing and social media. Many of you use AWeber, constant contact, mailchimp, those are all great mail programs. Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Pinterest; those are the social networks that we should be most—have to have the best presence on.

91 percent of online adults use social media regularly. Seventy-seven percent of our consumers want to get marking messages via email versus nine percent for direct mail. Consumers prefer to get marketing via email. It’s less intrusive and most junk mail goes into the junk file anyway.

The emails and the social media. Some common problems that we see, who’s your target? Who’s really your target when it comes to emails, social media? Who’s on your list? Who’s on your email list? Who’s liking you on Facebook? Who’s following you on Twitter?

If we look at the numbers across the board, the majority of the people that have given you their information or have followed you on Twitter, or liked you on Facebook, they’re your consumers, they’re your customers already. If they’re already your customers, you need to have a marketing message that’s appropriate to them. Your marketing message is going to be different than what’s on your website, what’s on your pay-per-click ads, everywhere else.

If you’re marketing to your consumer you have a different message and if they’re your existing clients, you’re going to be selling upsells, add-ons, seasonal services; you’re going to be encouraging reviews, testimonials, referrals. Sixty-eight percent of customers will leave a business because they feel unappreciated or ignored, or taken for granted. Their business isn’t that important to you; you don’t contact them enough, not enough. You don’t reach out to them enough. You don’t ask them if they’re happy with your service.

Email and social are a great way to engage your customers, to touch-base with your customers, to check-in and create a relationship with them. The question that I get asked quite frequently is, “How many times a month should I email our customer? Should we email once a week? Should we email them two or three times a month?” I always say, it’s less about the frequency than it is about the relevance of your message.

Don’t get the idea in your mind that every time you talk to customers, every time you call a customer, every time you email a customer, you’re bothering that customer. If your message is relevant, if you’re reaching out to them, if you’re trying to help them, if you’re offering them something that they would be interested in, they’re not going to be offended, so keep that in mind.

Another common problem we see is email lists that aren’t segmented. That means, are there groups of different types of people in your list? The three most common ones would be: Leads that haven’t closed, that haven’t become customers, customers, and past customers, of course.

Leads. You need to be following up with. If they’ve gotten into the pipeline of your website, they’ve left you their email address at your website, they called you, they requested an estimate. If they haven’t signed up, you need to reach out to them. You need to follow up, you need to call them, you need to email them a second chance offer. It’s a great way to easily capture some a new business that you aren’t capturing now.

Do you send over-friendly or graphic heavy emails? Twenty-seven percent of consumers are reading their emails on their mobile device, so you need to format your emails and send out emails that are easily digestible in a mobile-friendly format. Don’t get so caught up in having the prettiest looking video newsletter on the block. Focus on the message; focus on the offering that your consumer is going to respond to.

Marketing calendar. Do you have a marketing calendar? Do you know what you’re going to be doing in your email newsletter and on your Facebook page come March, when season starts, or the end of February? Do you know what you’re going to be posting in April and June? We plan everything at our company three months in advance, so we know exactly what our customers are going to be posting on Facebook in March. We already have all the emails written in advance. This is what you need to be doing, don’t clap this using your hands; plan everything in advance.

I like to call what we do “Goal-Based Marketing.” All of the strategies that we talked about, they’re just tools to accomplish a goal, so don’t get wrapped up in using the latest and greatest, don’t get wrapped up in jumping on the newest social network, don’t get wrapped up in doing what everybody else in your market is doing; focus on results, focus on accomplishing marketing goals. Let your competition waste their money first, find out what works for your business in your market for your customers and go down that road.

Old school marketing. A lot of people will talk about marketing techniques that people were implementing 15-20 years ago as old school, no longer effective—yes, we’re not going to do directly, we’re not going to do print anymore; everything is going online. People are all getting their customers online, so we’re just going to do online work. I do not want you to take that away from this presentation.

You need to be doing multiple strategies all at once, and what works for one company might not work for another company. Focus on what works for you and what doesn’t. Focus on the results. Focus on getting the return on your marketing investment.

When we focus on accomplishing goals then it just comes down to choosing the best tool to achieve that goal, the best tool for that job. Let me give you a couple of examples of some common goals that we might have as lawn care and pest control companies.

One of our goals might be to get as many leads as possible for as cheaply as possible. We’re going to implement a number of different strategies. We’re going to implement local search, SEO, pay-per-click, multiple lead generating websites targeted offline marketing, all at once. Maybe our goals are to build up density, was it near our targeted direct mailers? With these door hangers, we might have a gift card referral strategy? We’re going to do some targeted and very optimized fine tuned pay-per-click advertising.

Maybe our goal is to increase customer lifetime value through referrals, so we want a very strong referral campaign. We’re going to implement some referral gift cards to our ideal clients. We’re going to have a referral form on our website. We’re going to run a social media campaign, an email marketing campaign that is constantly reminding customers how valuable they are and how much we would appreciate if they told their friends and family about how good job for them that we’re doing.

Increasing the customer lifetime value through upsells. Once they implement target personal phone calls, don’t be afraid to call your customers, offer them a special service. Maybe you have a new chemical that works wonders, a new treatment that would really help out their particular situation; don’t be afraid to pick up the phone. Post card mailers, social media campaign, email marketing campaign; all working at the same time, all coordinated.

Lost customer reactivation. We’ve used the targeted mailers, made new personal phone calls, “We’re sorry, we messed up. We’re have you been? We’ve been trying to reach you.” Send an email, try and get them back as a customer.

Why do we need multiple marketing strategies? This seems like we’re really over complicating things, why don’t we just do SEO? Why don’t we just do pay-per-click? Why don’t we just choose one of these and do that?

I want you to think about like this. Think about all the direct mail that you get, think about all the emails that clog up your inbox, think about all of the posts that come on your Facebook news feed. You don’t read every one; you don’t digest every piece of mail that you get. You don’t read every email that you get, oftentimes, you’re browsing the headlines in your inbox, and you certainly, hopefully, you’re not reading every Facebook post that comes to your news feed.
If you’re not paying attention to every marketing message that’s coming your way, you need to have a wider net. You need to be reaching out to your customers using multiple channels and by reaching out to your customers using multiple channels, you’d get a higher response rate. If any of you guys are doing direct mail, you know this is true, a one part mailer is not going to be nearly as effective as a three-part mailer. Your response rates is going to go up as you repeat your message and reach out to the same consumers over and over, so marketing matters.

You’ve got to understand that marketing is an investment. You’ve got to increase your budget as you grow; your marketing scale with your company. When you decide or you want to hire somebody to implement some of these different things for you or you want to hire somebody internally to do it for you, you need to have a basic education. You need to understand what you can do with SEO, what it’s best for, what some of its drawbacks are. Same with pay-per-click, same with email marketing; you need to have a basic understanding of each of these different strategies, so you can make the best decision as an entrepreneur.
Something that we see every year is I’ll get an influx of calls every January, February, March. We’ll get a lot of calls and I’m spending some time on the phone with business owners who don’t end up signing up at the beginning of the season. They’ll call us in June and my first question to them is: What made you decide to hold off, call us in June, and not start your marketing in January? It’s because they don’t know what to do. They’re unsure. They have haven’t dug deeper on their own, they haven’t gotten a little bit more education and so, they sat on their hands, they didn’t do anything.

They’ve missed out on all of the leads and all the customers that they’re going to get in the prime season in March, April, May, and that’s thousands of dollars. Because they sat on their hands and they didn’t go and educate themselves for further to make the best decision possible, they didn’t do anything. They left a lot of money on the table.

I really want to encourage you guys to do that. Get some further education on some of the strategies that we talked about and start somewhere even if it’s small. Even when you’re just implementing one of these strategies at a time, start some work and start today.

Thank you.

Andrew Pototschnik is the founder of Lawn Care Marketing Expert, the largest online marketing agency in North America specializing in marketing strategies for the lawn care and landscaping industries.

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