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Mobile Lawn Care Websites & Mobile Apps

Now that over 56% of Americans now own smartphones…

Should you develop a mobile website or iPhone application for your lawn care company?

Is this even a good idea?

Hi, guys, welcome back. Excuse me. Hello, ladies and gentleman, we actually have a question from a woman today. Thank you for sending it in, Carrie. Carrie asks about iPhone apps. Her question is, “A company has approached us to develop an iPhone app for a lawn care company. Is this a good idea?”

This is a great question, Carrie. Thank you so much for sending it in. Just as a reminder guys, the more information that you give me when you send me a question, if you can tell me a little bit about your business, the more details, the more facts I know about your business, the more specific answer I can give you. Carrie, thank you for sending this in.

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I’m going to assume, since I don’t really know anything about your business, I’m going to assume you’re an average size Lawn Care Company serving residential clients. If you have hundreds or thousands of clients, an app has some benefits. However, you need a strategy behind it.

You need a strategy behind everything that you do. You don’t want to just spend money without a grand goal that you’re trying to accomplish. I really recommend that if you are a larger company that you think long and hard about the benefits that you’ll get from having your own iPhone app versus the cost in developing it.

Because oftentimes, companies will spend money on things that are more sort of, what’s the word that I’m searching for, vanity projects than projects and marketing efforts and strategies that actually generate new business and increase our profits.

Really think long and hard about that. You need a goal. We shouldn’t just spend money to spend money. We want to spend money to get certain results to get x results. If you’re just creating an iPhone app or any web app for your business for the sake of having it or telling people you have an app, that might not be the best reason. There’s better places to spend your money.

Great question and let me back up and talk about it from the idea that you’re an average size residential lawn care company, and somebody has approached you to develop an iPhone app.

A couple of things right off the bat, we need to determine whether or not this is a good place to spend your money because smaller lawn care companies and larger lawn care companies, everybody has limited budgets.

That means we want to choose our battles wisely. We want to make the best decisions we can with our limited budget and spend our money, invest in the areas that give us the highest ROI, the highest return on our investment.

The answer to your question is, are you really maximizing the other avenues that you have at your disposal? Before you get into things like an iPhone app, which, a really well-designed one is with benefits and features to your clients and the ability to pay their bills and all these different things, that’s going to cost you several thousand dollars.

If you’re going to spend less than that, you’re going to get basically a glorified app that’s nothing more than a recreation of your website, which really isn’t useful.

You need to decide if having an app is actually going to bring a larger benefit to your customers and if it’s going to increase your revenue. If it’s not, you probably shouldn’t do it.

When you’re making a decision like this, you really need to ask yourself, could that money be invested in a better place in your company? Are your other marketing channels performing at a very high level? Are you really maximizing your SEO campaign? Are you showing up on all the main Google search results pages? Are you dominating those search results pages? Are you running an email marketing campaign where you’re increasing the customer lifetime value of your existing client base? Are you running a referral program? Are you doing all these other things that require an investment of capital before you get into creating apps and doing these other things that are going to have a significantly lower return on investment?

Keep that in mind. That’s something that you really need to consider and that should make your decision much easier when you think about that stuff and base your decision on results and what you expect to accomplish.

I always repeat it, but if you don’t have a goal, you need to question on what you’re actually working towards. We don’t want to just go and randomly do stuff because that’s what everybody else is doing. That’s a terrible idea. We want a goal and we want to accomplish that goal and reinvest and accomplish the next goal. That’s how marketing works. That’s how we grow our businesses. That’s how we become really good entrepreneurs.

Let’s dig a little bit deeper on this iPhone application topic. Only 56% of Americans have smartphones. Of that 56%, 28% are running on Android, on the Android platform, the Samsung Galaxies, all that stuff. 25% have iPhones and then 4% are still on Blackberries and other devices like that.

If you’re just going to invest and develop an iPhone app, you’re leaving half of your market out in the cold. If you’re going to develop an application, you need to consider all of the different platforms that you’re going to have to develop for and each platform has its own development cost and issues.

Before you jump into developing an app, you really need to think through all of these different things and most importantly is, what benefit are your clients going to get from you having an application? Very important, if there’s not a compelling benefit for your customers to download, install and open and frequently use your application, it’s not going to get used, and then you’re throwing money out of the window.

Let’s say for instance, you’re residential lawn care company, you have a thousand clients, you’re doing pretty good and you develop an iPhone app and now, you’re going to have to market that app to get your customers to download and install and use it. You’re going to have to give them a reason to do that.

At the end of the day, after you’ve gone through all of this expense, develop an iPhone app, develop an Android app, you might find that only 50 people have downloaded and used your applications, out of that 1,000 that you have.

When we’re making a decision like this, it’s really important that we fully think it through. We don’t want to just spend money and take action and waste our time doing things that don’t really get us a return on our investment. No matter what it is, think it through. Make sure you have a plan. Make sure you have a goal that you’re working towards and make sure that you have a way to judge success or failure.

When you do those three things, your decision-making process becomes a whole lot easier. My recommendation is that since 56% of United States residents do have a smartphone, and looking at the metrics, looking at the analytics of our clients, usually about 20% of their visitors are coming on mobile devices, they’re visiting on mobile devices. That is a significant chunk of your customer base that is viewing your website on mobile devices.

Rather than applications, I would recommend  that you invest in a really high quality mobile site that converts visitors to customers and just setting up an application alone is not going to get you new clients. It’s not a very compelling reason without a big benefit to existing customer base for them to download or install it.

Spend your money on a really well-designed custom mobile site before you go into that app territory, unless you have a really big market, lots of customers and a really compelling reason for them to use it.

Carrie, this was a great question. Thank you for sending it to me. Mobile devices, mobile marketing is becoming more and more important. It’s something that we do for our clients and it was a great question. I hope I gave you quite a few things to consider in your decision and good luck to you.

As always, please keep sending the questions and subscribe to our podcast. I would love to get some feedback from you. Please leave me a review on our podcast. I’d like to know how we’re doing. If I suck, let me know I suck. If I’m great, let me know I’m great. I promise I won’t get big head. I can take constructive criticism. All right. Thanks. Good luck. Bye.

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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