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Online Marketing for a Lawn Care Business

Let’s talk about online marketing, why it matters, why it is important, why people need to focus their business on this so I want you to tell us what are the different ways that you can market your business?

Well online marketing has become a lot more important specially since yellow pages are dead and a lot of traditional ways that people use to get customers have changed. Obviously since the internet has come up everybody turns to the internet when they are searching for a specific product, for a service in their area specifically, everybody pops up in their laptop, types in a couple of words on their phone or laptop where ever and finds exactly what they are looking for. it is the quickest way to find exactly what you want as instant and so that being said, you need to target your advertising dollars and go after where people are actually searching to find your product, your service and the internet is where everybody is going these days and so you are seeing everybody from the largest and multimillion dollar companies down to your mom and pop, seven eleven, corner store, whatever, everybody is realizing the value of marketing online and they are turning their budgets towards that.

That is a good point, so I would also say that you know we both agree that offline marketing, print marketing is still huge.

Yes

A lot of people are moving away from it but it still works but * makes a great point because like you are saying, if one of the problems with marketing and print marketing is a lot of times, you are sending out* and you don’t know if the person has a need so if you are like a lawn care guy, you don’t know if they need a new lawn care company or if you are * pest control and you have no idea if they have termites and you are just constantly having to market where as online is all about being there when they are desperately have a need.

Exactly right

Yeah

That is the difference between you know, basically trying to sell a service to somebody who you don’t even know if they need your service that day or whatever need your service in the future

Yeah

If they are doing the search online, they are looking for something that they want at that instant, that moment, in the best way you get a new client is to give them what they want at that instant when they want.

Yeah

So when you are searching for a product service, they want it right now. So the easiest, the easier that you can make it to get your contact information in front of them or to even sell your service online, the better.

Yeah that is great. You kind of said something earlier, kind of unrelated here but what you are seeing in the way of mobile, I know so I have done tons of SEO stuff, paper click on my own and now I work with you  a lot on this stuff but now we are really seeing that, it feels like everybody is using their iPhone and their iPads, or do you have to do anything different in online marketing or what, you know, what do you see in with mobile

You’d want to, in terms of your website, the business website, you want to take definitely, take in to account whether you have an existing website or you are getting new website, you want to take in account. A lot of people and this number is going to grow, a lot of people are pulling up your website or searching for products and services when they are out, when they are on the phone, you know maybe they are out in the street and they been looking for a good restaurant or maybe they are adjusting in the neighborhood and they are looking for a dry cleaner. People are more * are using their phones, their iPads to do this.

Yes

You definitely want to take that into account in your design, in building your website, make sure that they work across the broad spectrum devices in the broad spectrum of different browsers and there is a number of different techniques that you need to keep in mind as well. For instance Google places as you know in March of 2011, they really bumped up their local business listings. Google places is just simply, think of it as the replacement of the final nail in the coffin for yellow page ads. Nobody uses the yellow pages anymore, our generation doesn’t use it. You know maybe people, maybe people in their late fifties, sixties, you know our parents you know might use it. Ours don’t any more but people of that age group maybe they still use it. I doubt it but everybody is going to the web and they are searching of their stuff there and so back to local listings, you want to definitely definitely be listed in Google places being local and these are services that the search engine giants have created specifically not for just at home laptop users or computer users, but for mobile users as well. If you are using the search tools for bing or Google, if you are pulling them up in your browsing, iPhone or whatever, you type in, you know tellus lawn care, tellus dry cleaning, you are going to get customized list of businesses that are close to where you are with your cell phone or your GPS enabled device. So it is very important and I you know, tell all of our new clients that are, that come to us, first thing you need to do today claim your Google places page

Yeah

Create one, consult an SEO expert to make sure that even your Google place listing is optimized. There is different things you can do. there is different techniques that you can do to help you rank above your competitors in Google listing. There is different things that we can do with Geo tags including your latitude and multitude and your actual website can also play a role on you know, listing your ranking local. Lots of stuff we can do but Google places has, here is the past, just the past few years local listings, Google places is being local to have really made a huge change to the way SEO * do things. Traditionally it would have just been more traditional SEO work for you, trying to get your website that is marketing specific service to rank high on net.

On the page

On the search engines result page, exactly but now since Google made their huge change in march for a lot of search terms, for a lot search terms that main pages dominated by local businesses and it is great in the sense that it really sort of dropped the cost, the entry level cost barrier for small businesses, who can’t really afford a full aggressive SEO and online marketing campaign that they could have some visibility you know previously unless you are, you know had a really well optimized website, a lots of back links, even better if you had multiple websites targeted, targeting different niche markets, those were the people who are dominating the search results page and since they, since they integrate the local listings, they have really opened up the opportunity for you know small shops

show up

to show up and even

I find the local little bit concerning now I don’t know if you are seeing this. One thing I know about local link, if say you are service company and you serve one city but you also serve five other cities, I guess it is their strategy these days for trying to get. Let’s say you know, you are going to shop in that one city or maybe have a physical presence

Yes

An address or an office

Yes

But is there a whole strategy around getting yourself to show up in the other cities or are you just out of luck

Yeah

Not* go into it now because we will talk about it but is that a

Well, I will touch on it briefly. The Google local listings obviously bing has their own product but we are talking mostly about Google because it is the dominant.

60 something percent I believe

Easily, Of all search results are going Google and so that is what we typically talk about the most but we in our own, for our own clients, we never collect other search engines being, we take that into account as well. So, for Google local, yes it does, initially when it was launched, it was drastically favoring businesses, brick and motor locations that * exactly and where you are searching from

Right

When you do a search online, Google knows your IP address and think of your IP address if, it is basically, it is essentially, it can tell Google you know in a block radius where you are searching from

Right

So Google knows your approximate location when you are using, when you are using their service. Even when you are not on a GPS enabled phone

Right

They know approximately where you are at

Right

And so originally when Google places was launched, they were favoring, brick and motor businesses that had a mailing address not a * box, a mailing address and they were local, they were close to you and so when you do the search those distances would be favorite and they would show up more because they have an address. That was causing a problem for a lot of businesses for instance consultants or people who provide services at your business, yeah, where you are not coming to them. You are going to them and that was big problem and that was a resolved in March

Okay

That was resolved in the end of March. They are still, there is still, is a little bit of favoritism. We see that in our testing but it is not as bad as it used to be. Now in Google places you can mark a actual service area, a radius.

Okay

So but we have seen in our testing is that it still does sort of sue the results based on where your office is. for instance, say you are lawn care company, plumber, you have a business address often times probably your home address

Yeah or if they are not in a good location because they are outside your service area you can’t afford it

Right and this is a problem

Yeah

You can’t enter a peel box in the Google places

Right

So if that is a little bit of problem but we usually work with our clients and can find ways around that you know in trying to get an address where they can be sort of acted at the city centrally.

You know back in, years back when I was doing a bunch of stuff, I used a fake address * in the field somewhere, can you still do that stuff.

No, no, they came down back in March as well. They came down hard on that. So every new listing has to be verified with a postcard

Okay

Still if you add a new, if you claim a listing on Google places or if you add a new listing, they are going to mail you a postcard. Usually they show up for us in you know three or four days. Sometimes it will take two weeks and they will send a postcard to the address that you have listed on that, on your Google place listing and they won’t accept peel box so that is not now an option. So you have to have a mailing address where you can receive it. One of the things that you can do that if is, if you are in a scenario where it is your home address and you have concerns about sharing your address.

Yeah

You can choose to hide your address.

Oh really but now if they do, say along those lines if they, if you are doing Google and you look at the street would it then show your house on the street view.

It would

It would give the address

No, no. If you are having your address, they are not going to see your address and so therefore they would have access to the street view or to see you around

That is cool

It is cool but Google is sort of talking

Okay

Companies who hide their address

Okay

Which isn’t quite fair for a service businesses. If you are consulting or whatever and your people are never coming to your office, you are going to them. It is kind of unfair but that is the rules that we have to abide by so I always even when it is, it is clients who are using their home addresses as their mailing address, I always still recommend, I leave it up to them but I always still recommend that they don’t hide their address. It, because Google does dock it a little bit you know I always suggest our clients, let’s to do everything in our absolute power to get that high rank

Yeah

And I really personally don’t think that it is something you have to be extremely concerned about personally but I know some of our clients do have concerns about having seeing their home address

Yeah.

The other thing is, going a little bit further, for instance if you are a business doing, say you are service business doing business in multiple cities, you only have one location. I would also recommend that you, however we have to do it, you know, maybe use a point addresses but we also recommend that you also have a mailing address in each of the different cities that you are dealing not post office box, you can use a post office box at all. That is not even, not even an option

Okay.

And that is just the way it is and phone numbers as well. You know, it would be good to have multiple phone numbers but we can go and there is, we can really talk about the Google places and local listings for hours.

Alright so let’s talk about something different.

 

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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