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Which Lawn Care Marketing Plan Should I Choose?

The question I have today is from a gentleman named Roger. His email is, “I’m getting calls from outfits in California to get me on Google Places. They want a monthly subscription. I’m also getting calls from other marketers, again, for a monthly subscription. This one will build a website and do SEO. At a landscape industry trade show, another company asked for a lump sum to build a website. Which is best? Is just having a website enough?”

Hi, everyone, Andrew here with Lawn Care Marketing Expert. If you’re just joining us for the first time, I am the Founder of a lawn care marketing agency based here in Miami. We service strictly lawn care and landscaping companies. We help them get customers online.

That would include a number of different things: search engine optimization, lawn care websites, pay-per-click, email marketing, social media. Everything that revolves around getting clients and new fresh leads online, we manage that for our clients. We’ve been very successful at it.

One of the things that I do in my free time, the little free time that I have these days, is I try and answer some questions from lawn care entrepreneurs and business owners that aren’t necessarily our clients, but need help nonetheless. I record these responses and put them online for all of you out there to try and implement in your own businesses. Or, if you decide, you can give us a call, 786-309-7898, and you can hire us to do it for you.

The question I have today is from a gentleman named Roger. His email is, “I’m getting calls from outfits in California to get me on Google Places. They want a monthly subscription. I’m also getting calls from other marketers, again, for a monthly subscription. This one will build a website and do SEO. At a landscape industry trade show, another company asked for a lump sum to build a website. Which is best? Is just having a website enough?”

So, basically what Roger is asking me is, here, he’s been approached by three different marketers, and they’re all offering something slightly different. The most common one that you get offered is from people soliciting their business on the phone. Oftentimes, what they’re trying to sell you is Google Places or pay-per-click advertisements, which we’ve gone over in some of the other videos.

There’s unfortunately a lot of shady businesses out there, shady business practices. You don’t, oftentimes, get your money’s worth. That’s why you really need to pay attention to who you’re doing business with. Pay attention to their reputation and all those other factors that come into play when you’re making a decision about spending your marketing dollars.

Just to recap, one of them wants to do just Google Places, which are the local listings that have address and phone number and the map there. When you search for “lawn care Los Angeles,” you’ll see that list of ten business names and phone numbers and addresses. That would be what they call Google Places. So that’s what one of them wants to do. Now, the other one wants to do a full website with SEO, with a monthly subscription.

So basically, they create a website, they do the SEO, and then, I’m assuming from month to month, they’re going to be doing ongoing maintenance and what we call backlinking, which is very time-consuming. That’s part of the monthly subscription service. If you’re in a competitive market, that’s really what’s going to get you to those top positions.

If you’re not on a monthly subscription plan, and you’re in a competitive market, you’re going to be very hard-pressed to just get up to that top position organically. You’ve got to be working on a month-by-month basis to get you quality leads to your website, which helps boost those rankings. That’s where the monthly subscription comes into play.

Then the third one wants to do just the website. So, we have three different offerings. A Google Places, local listings, we do that as well. One’s a website with full SEO, we do that as well. Then one just wants to do a website. They’re going to design him a website for his lawn care business.

So honestly, he wants to know which one is the best out of those three options. Well, really, the best would be sort of a combination of those. There are benefits in starting out and just doing Google Places initially. If you’re a small company, you don’t really have a budget, and maybe you don’t even have necessarily a website yet. Maybe you just have a really crappy website, and it’s just a basic template. But if you’re just getting started, the best place to start, and the place that we tell our smallest clients to start, is local listings. That includes Google Places, but it’s not just Google Places.

A lot of companies will sell you Google Places, but they need to be selling you more than that. You need to be listed on Yelp, City Search. There are probably about 60 to 70 different sites that we use. Those are different in the United States, they’re different in Canada. There’s a different group of sites that we use in the U.K., Australia, New Zealand. It’s going to be different, based on your geographic region, which sites those are. A good local listings agency that does Google Places, they’ll know the best places to get your business listed.

So, that would be the first place to start. That would generally involve a monthly subscription, because they would be making updates, they’d be making changes, they’d be making tweaks. A perfect example of that is a situation where – and this is a memo that we sent out to all of our clients about a month ago – Google made a huge change to Google Places. So, Google Places no longer really exists. Google Places is actually Google Plus Local Pages. It’s basically, they’ve tied their – I’m going to go through this in a different video – but they’ve basically tied in their social network to what was formerly their Google Place pages.

That’s where that subscription really comes into play, because we’ve actually had to do quite a bit of work on some of our clients’ Place pages that were automatically converted over to this new system that Google put in place. That’s one of the benefits of having a subscription. Not to mention, when you do the local listings, you’re generally spreading that work out over many months, because it is very labor-intensive.

It’s something that you have to do manually. So you’re literally sitting there for hours. I mean, our guys sit there for hours filling out forms, uploading client video, images, data, and making sure everything is very consistent from site to site. Very important, the consistency. So that’s part of having the subscription.

I would say when it comes to Google Places and local listings, yeah, a subscription would be worthwhile. But you need to pay attention to exactly what they’re offering is. If it’s just Google Places, you need to weigh the price point that they’re selling versus what you’re getting. The offering that we sell, as far as local listings – like I said, again, it’s between usually 60 and 70 sites that we targeted that are going to be specific to each client’s geographic region. That’s really the best way to do it, and we’ve had great success with it.

If you’re just getting started out, do the Google Places. Again, a monthly subscription on that plane would be a good idea. But again, like any marketing services, pay attention to what they’re really selling you, and what you’re getting for your money in return.

The next thing that he mentioned is, another marketer wanted to do a full website SEO. A full website – actually, let me back up just a step, here. In regards to Google Places and local listings, Google Places is specifically, you’re entering in one address. So, generally, you’re going to show up strong for that address, for the city that that address is based in.

So, let’s say you put in a Beverly Hills address for your lawn care business. You’re going to show up better for “lawn care Beverly Hills” searches than you are going to show up for “lawn care Santa Monica” searches, because you have different addresses, and you’re going to be closer to people searching from Beverly Hills than people searching from Santa Monica. So, that’s another thing to consider.

The way we describe Google Places and local listings is, you’re kind of really targeting one city. That brings me into the second part of this question, which is, “Another marketing agency wants to do a full website and SEO.” Something that you can do, when you have a full website and a good search engine optimization, is that you can target all of the cities that you do business in, geographically, across the board, and all of the additional services that you do as well.

So, you’re really going to, an SEO campaign done right, you’re going to get a lot more leads through a full website and search engine optimization than just doing Google Places by itself. It’s the difference between advertising in five cities versus advertising in one city. That’s pretty much a good way to break it down.

 

Then the third part was, “Another company just wants to do a website.” Well, if they just do a website for you, and they don’t do any SEO – or they don’t write the copy in an SEO-friendly way, or do the tags in the proper way, much less publish to the search engines properly, site map, XML, all of these different factors – if they’re just throwing up a website and it’s a pretty design, that’s not really going to get you very many leads, because you’re not going to rank.

 

So, you really have to rank, and you really have to make sure that the website they build you meets all of those credibility factors that we always stress in our videos. They have to, people, when they come to your website, they feel like they have to know you, like you, and that they can trust you. Then they’ll give you their money. So just keep that in mind.

Basically, Roger, what you’ve sent me is a fantastic question. But out of the three different options that you’ve presented, really none of them is necessarily ideal. The reason I say that is, the way that we do things, and the way that we set up our plans, is that one builds on the next. You might start out with a local listing plan. That’s going to be our cheapest offering. Then, you’re going to move up there.

Once you’ve paid for that program, once you’ve gotten enough leads that that program pays for itself, you’re going to increase your marketing budget. You’re going to do a full website with search engine optimization. You’re going to get even more leads.

In fact, I was actually just talking to one of our recent customers today. They got four lawn care leads yesterday. They’re getting about 60 to 70 new leads a month and they’re not even in a major metropolitan area. This is sort of in the rural areas, outside of a major metropolitan area.

You have a lot more possibilities when you’re in a good market and you have a full website and you’ve done your search engine optimization properly. So, you start out with the Google Places. You move into the website with the full SEO. That’s the steps that I would go.

In regards to, “Is it necessary to have a subscription?” Yes. Yes, it is. Unless you’re in a market that has no competition, you’re never going to get into that number one spot unless you’re doing the backlinking, and that takes month-to-month work. If there’s even the slightest competition, just setting up a website and doing optimization once, you might get up there for your second or third month. You might get up there, but you’re going to start to fall soon after, because all of your competitors are trying to do similar things to what you’re doing as well.

So, it’s really a matter of who is going to be the most determined, who’s using the right tactics, and really, who has the biggest marketing budget. Unfortunately, that’s what it comes down to. If you take two lawn care companies in the same city, and all things being equal, they’re both using the same marketing agency.

Well, whoever is going to have the bigger budget to throw at their marketing, they’re going to win, because if you have a bigger budget, you can do more backlinking. You can do more stuff to build your website. You can do blogging. You can do social media. You can do email marketing. You can do so many things that really just take your business to the next level that it really transforms your business.

That’s kind of the ways that we step through things. Yes, I would say, you want a subscription for local listings. Don’t just set up a Google Place page. You need to do a full spectrum of local listings sites, business listings. Then full website SEO. Again, I would have a subscription on that, but pay very close attention on the SEO company that you go with.

There’s another video I posted on some of the hazards. A lot of the clients that we get, we’re oftentimes not their first marketing agency. They’ve gotten burned by somebody else, and then, fortunately, they found us the second time around. But, unfortunately, they’ve already gotten burned for $4,000 by the last company who ripped them off.

Just to recap, the way that I would step through it is, a local listing plan, which would be Google Places, Google Plus local, then a bunch of other local listing sites that are targeted to your geographic region. Then the next step, the next thing that you’re going to do is, you’re going to really have a professional, kick-ass website that really sells your services, that really gives a professional look. That gives the professional image that you want to portray, and sells yourself in a professional way.

You’re going to fully optimize that site. You’re going to get leads from every city that you’re doing business in through that site. You really want to optimize it to capture those leads. There’s a number of different ways that we do that. We have a very tight process that we go through with all of our clients’ websites that’s very successful.

Then, after you’ve done the full website with SEO, I would say, probably once you get around 150 – if you’re a small lawn care company, and you only have maybe 150 clients or so, around 150 or so – it might be time to start thinking about doing some social media stuff. Some blogging and some email marketing as well. Around the 150, you’re starting to get somewhat of a respectable list, that you can start marketing to them.

I’m actually going to go over some of the things that you can do with social media and email marketing that’s really cool, that, unfortunately, a lot of lawn care and landscaping business aren’t really taking advantage of. But it’s really critical, and it’s really one of the things that sort of take you to the next level, once you’ve done your optimization and you’re getting a bunch of leads in every day for your lawn care and landscaping services. But I’ll cover that in another video.

 

Just to recap; local listings, Google Places, website, professional website, fully optimized SEO. Then we go into probably some social media, some email marketing. Somewhere in between here, we definitely want to turn on some pay-per-click advertising as well.

So we have about six different things going on all at once, and that’s just your online marketing. We’re not even talking about all of the cool stuff that you should be doing offline, with your door hangers, and every other way that you can be getting clients offline as well. That’s just online marketing. That’s just getting passive leads coming to you, and then selling your services to them.

So, a lot of cool things to be doing, but that’s the order that we do them in, and it’s been very successful. We have a process that we go through for every single client, and it’s just been phenomenal for their businesses.

Roger, thank you again for your question. I hope I answered it. I know I can get a bit long-winded with my answers, but I hope I answered it properly. Again, if anybody out there ever needs some help or would like some assistance growing their lawn care business, getting more leads online, feel free to give me or my staff a call at 786-309-7898. Good luck to everybody. I will see you again soon.

Thank you for all the questions. Keep them coming. Bye.

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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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