We’ve all seen the successful lawn and landscaping companies that dominate the online space. How are they doing it? What is the “ace up their sleeve” bringing them results? Here’s the answer: Your successful competitors invest in and execute an all-inclusive marketing strategy. Basically, they are doing everything because there is no smoking gun when it comes to being successful with your online marketing. Think of your online marketing like collecting spare change. Over time, the change you collect can add up to a decent amount of money, but there is no individual coin that makes a huge difference.
In this article, I’m going to break down the individual aspects of Lawnline Marketing’s all-inclusive strategy that we execute for our clients. We’ll cover SEO, websites, Google Ads and social media just to name a few. This strategy balances quick wins with long-term efforts and has proven most effective after managing millions of lawn and landscape marketing dollars. Let’s dive in!
1. Paid Advertising - Search Engines, Social Media & Video
When it comes to the Internet, Google dominates as the place to generate your best leads. Other sources like Facebook and YouTube can also provide a decent stream of leads. Luckily, you can buy your way onto these platforms through their paid advertising programs.
Utilizing paid ads is like building a fire with gasoline. When executed properly, you’ll get instant results. However, when those ad dollars burn up, you’ll have to add more to keep the fire going. This doesn’t build a sustainable fire, but it can defintely keep the leads coming in while you wait for wood to start burning. Let’s look at the different types of paid advertisements that are most effective for lawn and landscape companies.
Search Engine Advertising
Search engine advertising means that you’re buying top rankings o
n search engines when potential customers in your area are looking to hire your services. There are three primary platforms that control search engine ads:
Google Local Service Ads (LSA): A Google advertising platform where you pay for phone calls instead of clicks. This requires a background, license, and insurance check before running ads.
Google Ads: These are traditional pay-per-click (PPC) ads. You’ll bid on keywords for searches within a location, then pay Google if someone clicks your ad and goes to your website.
Microsoft Ads: These are exactly like Google Ads in every way, except the ads run on all search engines except for Google.
In the lawn and landscape industry, these types of leads should have about a 50% closing rate. The cost-per-lead (CPL) for search ads will range wildly based on your services and competition. We have seen lead costs as low as $15-$20 for lawn care while landscape construction can exceed $200 per lead. On average, we typically see lead costs in the $30-$60 range.
Social Media Advertising
Social media ads are similar to search engine ads in the way that you’re paying companies like Facebook and LinkedIn for visibility to your potential customers. The biggest difference is the audience. Customers don’t tell companies like Facebook and LinkedIn that they want to buy your services, they tell Google that. The costs are also very different. You can reach hundreds of people on social media for the price of a single click on Google.
The keys to success with social media advertising are proper audience targeting and your message. The most common type of campaign is a new audience outreach. This type of campaign targets people who are not familiar with your business.
When running new audience outreach campaigns, you want to target people based on their interests and buying behaviors that mimic your ideal client. Where do your customers buy their groceries? Where do they vacation? What types of careers do they have? What hobbies do they have? What groups are they in? These types of interests, paired with geographical targeting, demographic targeting, and the right message/creative will likely result in a successful campaign.
Once you’re running a successful campaign, generating social media leads on Facebook are pretty cheap. Often, we’ll see social campaigns deliver leads from $10-$20. The problem lies within the quality. We see much lower contact and closing rates from social media leads compared to search engine leads.
As video becomes the preferred way to consume content, YouTube ads enable you to get in front of people as they watch other videos. YouTube ads are managed from the Google Ads platform, but has a billing model that enables you to reach a large audience for low costs. The key to success with YouTube ads is your hook, which is the first few seconds of a video to grab the viewer’s attention.
While YouTube ads can be extremely effective, they are more difficult and require significant efforts from your team to create the video content. There are various ways to target audiences including interests and demographics like social media, but also topics and keywords similar to search ads. If you didn’t know, YouTube is the second most-used search engine and is owned by Google.
While YouTube does present additional challenges, the video content produced for ad campaigns can provide enormous value for your search engine optimization, or SEO.
With proper data tracking, utlizing a combination of these paid advertising platforms will produce quick leads and a fast ROI on your marketing investment. This portion of the strategy is the gas on the fire and will help bridge the gap until you can get wood burning - your SEO.
2. SEO - Website, Content, Google Business, Reviews & More
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is the process of getting your website and business ranked higher on search engines organically. Many refer to SEO as the “pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.” This is because most customers scroll past the paid ads and search the organic listings, resulting in far more leads compared to paid ads, and for free! In fact, we aim for SEO to account for 80% to 90% of our customers’ entire lead volume.
Although SEO delivers the ultimate ROI, it’s like the wood in the fire. Wood will create a sustainable fire, just like SEO creates a sustainable way to keep your sales pipeline full. The problem is that wood doesn’t burn immediately and SEO doesn’t bring immediate results. To be successful with SEO, you’ll need consistent efforts to improve your authority and content. Let’s talk about how to do that.
Properly Built Website
Your website is the most critical piece of SEO. It’s the foundation to your entire online marketing strategy. It’s what ranks on Google, it’s what holds your authority, and it’s the one thing you own and control on the Internet. Most of your marketing efforts drive leads and engagements to your website. Here are a few important tips to optimize your website for search engines:
Ensure each of your pages has unique, high-quality content that adds real value, not fluff or filler content.
Create a page for each individual service (fertilization, patios, etc.) and service category (lawn care, hardscaping, etc) that you offer.
Create a page for each city/town in your service area. Be sure to write unique content for each.
Create dedicated landing pages for your paid ad campaigns focused on differentiators and calls to action.
Include clear click-to-call buttons and quote forms in the top-view of each page.
Make sure it is secured with SSL, loads quickly, and is mobile friendly.
Consistently create new pages and content (discussed next).
When building the website, your company’s brand and image needs to be considered as well. The visual aspects should immediately communicate the type of customers you work with. The brand image becomes even more important if you’re a landscape/hardscape company that is focused on a niche customer.
Always remember that quality websites done properly take time to develop, usually at least 30 days, sometimes longer. Be sure to consider this in the timeline of your marketing plan.
Ongoing Content & Blogs
Another critical piece to SEO is consistently creating new written content on your website. Each time you create a new piece of content, it’s another opportunity to rank on the search engines. There are various types of content you can consistently create over time to attract leads to your website.
Service Pages: Along with creating pages for your primary services, you can create pages for services on the granular level. For example, lawn pests/diseases you treat and property types (residential, commercial, HOAs, etc) you service.
Project Case Studies: If your company focuses on outdoor living or landscape services, create a section on your website to showcase your projects. Each of your projects can have it’s own dedicated page that outlines the details/scope, products used, price range, timelines, process, location, and a full media gallery.
Educational Blogs: These pages should be hyperfocused on a specific topic and loaded with detailed information. Common blog topics include answering frequently asked questions, making comparisons, discussing trends, providing ideas, and more.
All of the written content you publish can be supercharged by creating a video version as well. These videos can be uploaded to YouTube and embedded into your website pages. This combo of written + video content is extremely powerful.
Executing ongoing content is one of the most impactful aspects of SEO, but requires significant effort to plan, write, publish, and promote content consistently. The companies that dedicate resources to this type of marketing will see the most success in the long run.
Google Business Profile
Your Google Business Profile, or GBP, is your business listing on Google. This profile is what ranks on the local map results, holds your reviews, and is tied to your Local Service Ads account. Over the years, Google has placed more emphasis on local map results and this listing can drive a huge amount of leads. Here are the things you can do to optimize your GBP listing:
Fully-populate your profile with your name, service areas, categories, services, hours, website, phone number, logo, etc.
Populate the products section using your services and link to your website pages.
Upload new photos and videos monthly.
Post content to your profile at least weekly.
Generate positive reviews consistently.
Reply to all reviews - good and bad.
Answer all questions asked on the profile.
Create multiple profiles with valid addresses for your business.
There are many other things that go into optimizing your listing including authority building and engagements. There are also some ranking factors that you can’t influence, such as your location’s proximity to the searcher, one of the most impactful factors.
Your online reviews will influence your authority and ability to rank on search engines organically. The key to success is consistent positive reviews. Having too many poor reviews or no reviews at all will hurt your ability to rank. You also don’t want to build large amounts of reviews a few times per year. Google will often find bulk reviews as spam and remove them.
At Lawnline Marketing, we help our clients build reviews by sending feedback requests to their customer base weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. We send a plain-text email that has a personalized message containing a link to provide feedback. This strategy often results in a positive Google review. You can also use SMS to to request reviews, but be careful that you don’t over do it if you’re also using SMS for upselling (discussed later).
Citations & Listings
An overall goal of SEO is to clearly communicate what you do and where you do it to the search engines. One of our many strategies utilizes citations, or business listings. Using trusted online business listings such as Yelp, Angi, Yellow Pages, and many others, you can create a profile that clearly identifies your business and communicates critical information. To get the most out of citations, remember these tips:
Your name, phone number, and address should be consistent with your website and Google Business Profile information.
Your website should be linked in the profile.
Each profile’s description should outline your services and service areas.
Create the most important listings manually and use software for the less important listings.
For SEO, we outlined websites, content, reviews, citations, and your Google listing. These are just some of the aspects of SEO. Other aspects include link building, social signals, offline prominence, and many others. If you hire the right team and make the investment, SEO will eventually generate more leads than all other sources combined and give you the best ROI.
3. Retargeting & Funnels
The purpose of retargeting (also known as remarketing) is to nurture your leads and visitors. You want to stay in front of people that have already looked at your website or engaged with you on social media. There are two primary types of retargeting to nurture your leads: display banners and content.
Display Banner Retargeting: These are the ads that you see on the sides and tops of websites around the Internet. These types of banners limit the amount of information that can be displayed and redirect the user to your website upon clicking. Like you, most people never click these ads so some believe they are a waste. What you may not realize is these are pay-per-click ads. Therefore, if the person doesn’t click them, you just received free advertising.
Running display banner retargeting campaigns is highly recommended for all companies. The costs for these campaigns are very low, most clicks cost less than $2 per click.
Content Retargeting: Content retargeting is where your SEO efforts cross with your paid advertising efforts. These ads run on platforms that enable content delivery such as social media and YouTube. Our recommended strategy is to use targeted marketing funnels. A targeted marketing funnel is a series of ads that deliver content that targets a person’s previous engagements with your company.
In this strategy, you’ll create a funnel for each of your major services. In each funnel, you’ll group all of the content that you’ve created relating to that service. For example, the funnel for your patio construction service would hold all of the blogs, project case studies, videos, testimonials, and more that are about your patio service. Each of these content pieces becomes its own advertisement. You’ll also want to include some cultural content showing who you are, as well as a pinch of sales ads. When people visit specific pages on your website, place them into these funnels and have the collection of relevant content delivered to them.
Implementing retargeting and funnels into your marketing strategy is more important for landscaping companies or any company selling project work. Basically, the services with longer sales cycles will see the greatest benefits.
4. Email & SMS Upselling
Marketing isn’t just about bringing in new customers. We also want to focus on maximizing the lifetime value of your current customers. When it comes to upselling your customer base, email and SMS/text messages dominate as the most effective strategies. Every lawn and landscape company should be upselling their customers because:
It’s easy to execute and track.
There are virtually no customer acquisition costs.
Services you upsell are high-margin services.
Most companies we work with do a poor job of upselling. We recommend sending a monthly email + SMS combo to your customers. Using this strategy properly, we often see a 15% quote-request rate. Here are the key insights:
Segment the audience by service and send more personalized messages to those more likely to buy.
Use a trigger link in your email that automates the quote request.
Allow a “Yes” reply to the SMS to trigger the quote request.
Send the email as plain-text, no graphical layouts.
Send the SMS message a few minutes after the email
Don’t exceed once per month.
Ensure you set up tracking and reporting.
Like many of the other marketing strategies, it’s best to hire a marketing agency that already has the necessary tools to construct and send your upsell campaigns.
5. Lead Tracking & Data Analysis
Many of the lawn and landscape companies we work with are investing six figures per year into their digital marketing. Even if you’re investing a fraction of that, it’s critical that you implement lead tracking to know exactly what is working and where to focus your efforts.
Lead tracking software such as WhatConverts and CallRail will track the journey from visitor to lead, including how they originally found you. Regardless if the visitor calls, texts, submits a form, sends a live chat, or sends a social media message, you’ll know exactly which platforms and strategies are performing best.
Using this data, you can better allocate ad spend dollars, adjust your efforts, and monitor growth over time. The costs to implement these lead tracking tools are minimal compared to the amount of money you invest in marketing and the value they deliver.
Implementing This All-Inclusive Marketing Strategy
Everything outlined in this article works together to create the perfect marketing strategy for lawn care and landscaping businesses. We execute this strategy for our clients at Lawnline Marketing and run millions of dollars through the progam every year. Digital marketing is brutally competitive in most markets across the US, so your marketing needs to be firing on all cylinders.
To implement this type of marketing strategy into your company, a variety of software and talent will be required to plan and execute. As a lawn/landscape business owner, this probably isn’t your strength and should be delegated to the professionals. We’re biased that you should use a specialized agency like Lawnline Marketing, but if your budget doesn’t allow for it, you can also consider small teams or freelancers to get you started.
Tony Ricketts is a lawn care and landscaping marketing expert. He has worked as a marketing professional since 2007 and exclusively for lawn and landscape companies since 2016. Tony is the Founder & CEO of Lawnline Marketing and regularly speaks at industry events educating the green industry on SEO, content creation, paid advertising, social media, automation, and more.
|Connect with Tony Ricketts on LinkedIn|
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