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Lawn Care Marketing Expert

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The online marketing agency for lawn care & landscaping business owners who want to market... SMARTER.

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The online marketing agency for lawn care & landscaping business owners who want to market... SMARTER.

iTunes Ratings

18 Ratings
Average Ratings
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Geat podcast

By Harmony Landscaping - Mar 10 2017
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Very informative

Thank You!

By Scott Hamar - Sep 07 2013
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YOu give great advice. Thank you for doing this

iTunes Ratings

18 Ratings
Average Ratings
13
2
0
1
2

Geat podcast

By Harmony Landscaping - Mar 10 2017
Read more
Very informative

Thank You!

By Scott Hamar - Sep 07 2013
Read more
YOu give great advice. Thank you for doing this
Cover image of Lawn Care Marketing Expert

Lawn Care Marketing Expert

Latest release on Oct 21, 2015

The Best Episodes Ranked Using User Listens

Updated by OwlTail 1 day ago

Rank #1: How Can I Grow A Lawn Care Business Without Any Money?

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Marketing is the fuel for lawn care business growth. If you don’t have any money to put in your business fuel tank your going to have to get out and push it for a while.

And that’s okay. We all start somewhere. Not every new lawn care business starts out with startup capital.

But there are Do-It-Yourself marketing methods you can employ when you have NO MONEY to invest in marketing…

Watch the video to find out more…

One of the most common questions I get is from people who have send me random e-mails who say that, “You know what, I don’t have a marketing budget yet. I can’t afford your services but what I can do to grow my business without any money?” Or this one I got just a few weeks ago. “I need to add 300 new clients in four weeks but I have virtually no marketing budget. How do I do that?” The answer to both those questions is it’s going to be pretty tough. If you have no money to invest in acquiring clients, you’re going to have a really difficult time growing quickly. If you don’t have any money you’re not going to be able to hire somebody like me. You’re not going to be able to do a number of things. You’re not going to be able to go put postcards online. You’re not going to be able to do any of the more advanced things that cost a little bit of money.

But we all start somewhere. Every business starts out and not all of … not everybody has startup capital. Not everybody has money left after they’ve bought equipment, bough their truck, done all the things that they need to do to incorporate their business and get their paperwork straight. Often times smaller companies might find themselves in this situation. If you’re a one-truck company, if you’re a one-man shop, what can you do? How can you grow organically? What can you do to get business that doesn’t cost much money at all?

First thing, you start with your friends and family that live in the areas that you want to start this. See if you can start doing work for them and then build off that job. Start with the account set you have; maybe you only have five accounts, maybe you have 10 accounts but build off of that. One thing that you could is be aggressive about acquiring referrals from your existing client base. If you’re doing great work, your existing customers are going to be a great resource for you to get even more business. If you have fantastic service they’re going to want to refer you to their friends and family. It makes them feel good about themselves when they can help other people by turning them onto a great service that you’re providing.

The next is to rely on DIY marketing, “Do Yourself Marketing”. Create, print, and distribute your own flyers and door hangers. The higher quality design that you have, the message that you put on their – again think about your unique selling points – the more seriously you’re going to be taken. If you don’t have any money you’re going to have to do it yourself, you know Microsoft Word, Microsoft Publisher; a program that you probably already have you can start using that.

The number one most effective thing that you can do if you don’t have any money is to put on some sneakers, put on a nice polo shirt, nice colored shirt,  hopefully with your company logo on it and hit the pavement. Get out there and talk to your potential customers. Get out there and meet your prospects face-to-face. Going door-to-door and introducing yourself to your prospective clients is a great way to build a business from scratch. Give them a refrigerator magnet, maybe a sales call highlighting your unique selling points, and tell them about your services; sell to them face- to-face. It takes some balls. It’s not for everybody but if you do it a few times you’re going to get over any embarrassment that you have about doing it. It’s very effective. I’ve done it. Jonathan, the CEO of Service Autopilot has done it. It’s every effective.

Don’t be afraid to talk to your customers. Don’t be afraid to talk to your prospects. Get over that, get pass it. it’s silly. I know this is a big hesitation for people and we’re not mentioning this to other companies. They don’t like this idea. They want to receive leads passively and not ever have to speak to anybody; just take their payment and not ever have to speak to their customers or put in any effort to get new ones. Well, I’ve got to tell you the most successful entrepreneurs are the ones that are willing to do what their competitors aren’t. If you don’t have any money this is this kind of things that you’re going to have to rely on.

As you get more and more clients, you can you build on that. You can continue to get referrals from them and you also … as you get more clients you have more incoming revenue. You’ll take that revenue and reinvest it, you invest it in marketing. You invest in a professional website. You’ll start to invest in some online marketing techniques. You’ll get some professional postcards, door hangers printed. You invest in your marketing and it’s going to build on itself. Your marketing is going to get better and better, and bigger and bigger, and you’re going to have a wider and wider net and that’s how you’re going to grow.

Don’t be discouraged. You just have to be a little bit more aggressive. You have to think outside the box and do some things that your competitors aren’t willing to do; but you can do it. If you want to go organically, that’s how you do it. Good luck to you, I know you can do it. Thanks. Take care.

Each job that you get … we’ve got an airplane coming overhead now.

You want to grow organically.

 

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May 21 2013

6mins

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Rank #2: Why Should Someone Buy From Your Lawn Care Company?

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If you have ever browsed any of the lawn care forums on the internet you have surely witnessed a rather depressing sight… Business owner after business owner bellyaching about how life is so unfair. They just lost another job to the guy down the street who undercut their prices yet again. Boo hoo.

Well, it’s easy to blame our competitors for another job lost but we would be much better served if we looked at how we can change the situation. Because guess what, those cheapo competitors are never going away. That means we must step up, accept it and deal with it.

I am willing to bet, the number one problem for these bellyachers is not the competitor down the street or the price shopping consumer. It is their marketing that is the problem. It does a lousy job defining exactly why a consumer should pay more to use them in the first place.

Instead they offer ever cheaper prices in an attempt to lure the customer in.

But guess what? Consumers don’t REALLY care about a $10 difference in price. They spend that much at Starbucks every day.

They simply don’t know WHY they should they spend more on lawn care service because we aren’t giving them a reason.

So can we blame them? Would YOU pay more, if all of your choices appeared to be the same?

But that is exactly what is happening every day, one lawn company after the next, all looking the same, all sounding the same, all acting the same and in the consumers mind, appearing to be the same.

The problem is, when you look the same, sound the same and act the same as everyone else, the only remaining difference a consumer can see is your price.

So initially, to the uneducated consumer, Joe Bob down the street just working to get beer money for the weekend doesn’t appear to be any different than the licensed and insured company running 10 crews charging a fair price. They might have a nice logo… but at the end of the day they are just cutting grass. Right?

No!

Fortunately, there is hope.

There is one question we can ask ourselves, that gets to the very core of what marketing is all about… This question should define your company and what you stand for as an organization. The question is…

Why should someone buy from you instead of everyone else in your market?

The better your answer is to this question, the higher prices you can charge and the easier it will be to close sales.

The secret to not competing on price is getting really good at answering this question.

Now the answer to this question, it comes in the form of how you look, what you say and what you do.

That is everything that is visible to a potential customer before they purchase from you. This “marketing message” defines your company and directly affects a consumer’s decision to buy from you instead of the lazy half price guy that only shows up when he isn’t hung over.

That means your website, truck branding, online advertisements, the text on your direct mail pieces, how you sell and even how your crews act on the job in public view define the why.

If the reasons why someone should buy from you aren’t evident in how you look, sound and act – then you must do a better job communicating this in your marketing message or continue to get undercut at every turn.

As business owners we must define exactly why we are the best choice a consumer can make.

If we don’t know why, then our potential customers certainly don’t know either and they will continue to choose the cheaper commodity service provider.

It’s up to us to educate the consumer on how they should make their decision.

It’s up to us to show them how we are different than our competitors.

It’s up to us to show them how they will get more than they pay for when they choose us at a higher price.

Do you show up when you say you will? Do you always answer the phone? Do you proactively monitor their property for trouble spots? Do you guarantee your work? Does your maintenance program include refreshing the mulch for free? Do you call the client when there is a rain delay? Do you have 23 point onsite checklist your crew goes through before they ever leave the property? Does it include closing the gate to make sure the dog doesn’t get out?

Are these things being communicated in your marketing? If not, they should be. Because they are a whole heck of a lot more important to consumers than one ten dollar bill.

Marketing at its core, is really all about highlighting these differences between us and them (our competitors). It’s in these differences that we can really distinguish ourselves as the leader in our markets and charge premium prices with healthy profit margins.

Your marketing message: how you look, what you say and what you do must define these differences.

So, WHY should someone buy from YOU versus anyone else in your market?

The better your answer… the bigger your profits.

 

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Mar 27 2014

6mins

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Rank #3: Answer The Call – Lawn & Landscape – January 2013 – Cover Story

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The January 2013 Lawn & Landscape Cover Story Features Lawn Care Marketing Expert discussing Phone 101: How to use the phone to win customers and keep them coming back.

In business, it is often those things we don’t give much thought that with just the right tweaks can really have an impact on our profits and growth.

Having a clear well defined phone strategy is one of those often overlooked things.

I work with lawn care and landscaping companies big and small below 100k to over 8m. When it comes to the phone, shockingly the biggest difference between the two is that the larger companies have several people on staff to answer the phones. But when it comes to how the phones are actually used the differences end.

Harlan Hogan’s famous quote “You never get a second chance to make a first impression” is still true today. Unfortunately, many companies treat it as a cliché and have no strategy behind their phone. If you can talk, you generally have all the skills you need to be a lawn company’s first impression.

They forget that as far as a prospect or client is concerned – the person answering the phone IS YOUR COMPANY. Just as the skill of your crews determines the quality of your company’s work, so to does the way your staff handle the phone give your company its image.

But this topic is deeper than just being polite. This is about growing your business. And your phone staff has a direct line on helping or hindering that growth. That’s why you’ve got to provide your staff with the tools they need to be successful on the phone.

It starts with always having a human answer your phone – never a machine. Around 70% of callers will hang up without leaving any message when they reach voicemail. That is the equivalent of telling 7 out of 10 people who want to hire you, “SORRY! We don’t want your business!”

If you don’t have a real live human answering the phone that signals to the prospect that they would have trouble reaching you if they were a client, your quality is average or worse and that you are either too small or too busy to handle a new customer.

If money is tight, consider hiring a part-time person to cover peak call hours; in addition, after the third ring use a live receptionist answering service for fall over and all after-hours calls.

Return all calls immediately or if it the call was left overnight first thing in the morning. The quicker your response the more likely you are to win the contract and reinforce a proactive image of your business.

Start logging all phone calls. Yes, I can hear your collective groans, but this is easily done with a pen and pad, excel spreadsheet or professional lawn management software such as Service Autopilot.

The log should contain: date and time of call, full name, mobile phone number, email address, address, lead source, action and outcome.

Once you start to collect this data you will begin to see trends: what times of day you get the most calls, common questions, service problems and objections. And most importantly, lead information.

Where are new leads coming from? The Internet? Direct Mail? Referrals? If you don’t ask you don’t know. And if you don’t know then you might very well be wasting money on ineffective marketing.

Empower your staff with sales tools. This includes the top 10 selling points they can use to sell your services. Things like your guarantee, your level of insurance, training, technique… “Of course we cost more that Bob’s Mowing & Blowing! We have insurance; if someone gets hurt on your property you won’t get sued! Yes, we can legally perform the work… we are state licensed and our staff been through our rigorous training program! Did I mention we have the strongest satisfaction guarantee in the state?!”

From your call logs, you will see leads that call but don’t end up signing up. Many times this is due to price, but not always. Your staff should be trained to counter any objections a new lead may have to using your service “You’re too expensive”, “I don’t want to have my lawn mowed every week”, “I want to pay by check” – Noting these objections can help you identify areas in your business that may need to change. For instance, if you’re constantly getting requests for pest control services, it might be time to offer it.

The other piece of data that is going to stand out in the logs, are questions. Develop a list of frequently asked questions and their answers. This should be a constantly updated document and the staff should be responsible for updating it regularly. There is nothing they should not have an answer to. Doing this will also eliminate the need to put callers on hold while they find an answer.

Encourage employees to help refine this process, note new objections, update the frequently asked questions and create an even smoother process over time. Place a current copy of the tools in a binder by all phones that accept incoming calls.

Many residential LCOs are estimating and closing sales right over the phone. This requires a very specific process, and the staff must be fully trained on how to do it accurately.

However, most prospective clients will require an onsite estimate and cannot be closed over the phone. That’s fine; just don’t let the prospect off the phone before they have committed to something. Schedule an appointment to meet for the estimate, a free lawn health audit, or even a set time to call them back after the property has been looked at to discuss your findings.

Getting them to commit to something will usually keep them from continuing their search with your competitors until they hear back from you.

Most companies just email an estimate or leave it on the door with no follow up. Don’t do this. Always call. Always follow up. If they didn’t choose your company find out why and make adjustments, put them in your email and direct mail marketing list and send them a second chance offer and future promotional offers.

Slow periods should be used to call and check in on existing clients. Have they been happy with your service? If not, you can preempt any future business loss by resolving their issues. If they are happy with your service, now is the time to upsell – always tell them about a new service, seasonal or limited time offer and discount. Offer a bounty to those on your team that sell more services. They don’t have to be pushy about it, but injecting it into the conversation with finesse will take some practice.

Reaching out to your existing clients from time to time shows them that you really care about having their business.

Putting these simple guidelines in place will take some thought and a little effort, but the rewards in customer satisfaction, new clients and increased revenue make it well worth it.

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Jan 27 2013

10mins

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Rank #4: Premium Priced Lawn Care Programs & Innovation

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There is always room to innovate, even when consumers see your product or service as a commodity.

Often times, there is even room for a high end premium priced product or service in the same market…

If you aren’t offering a high end premium priced product or service to your market, you may be leaving money on the table.

Today’s video is a little bit different than previous episodes… Oh and it features Rihanna and Jay Z?

Today we need to talk about a very serious topic…

Something near and dear to my heart… and that is… SOOOOOOOOCKS!

Yes that’s right… Stance Socks… this sock company was Cofounded by the CEO of Skullcandy who you may have heard of… they make earbuds and consumer audio products.

And the reason we are talking about them, is because these socks have defined a new higher end category in the sock market…

I cant believe I just said sock market…. But bare with me…

15 bucks 1 pair instead of 20 pairs of boring white socks at your friendly neighborhood target.

So… why are they so expensive… well they are unique because of their Crazy designs, very comfortable and well-built. They last a long time… most of all… there are styles for everyone…
Maybe you’re a patriot
Maybe your Rastafarian
Maybe you love punk
Maybe you’re a middle aged man that still hangs onto his teenage skate board punk rock years
Whatever the case, There is a pair that captures your personality.
Many of their socks match while not matching…

This is a pair… this is another pair…

So why am I talking about socks…

Well, it illustrates… that there is always room to innovate even in seemingly boring industries.
This the first brand to make freaky socks a thing.
Previously you have companies all white, all brown, black blue, maybe some argyle.
Yet now one had gone this far yet… and know several companies have since started copying them…
Look at your product offering. Look at the services your offer.
How can innovate in your market? What can you do differently?

They have real Personality… how can you bring  personality into your business?
It is so powerful when consumers can connect with your company and what you sell. Apple is great at this too.
Jay z is Raping about the brand on the radio.
You have Rihanna wearing them half naked in a magazine.
consumers love companies and products that have personality, that are unique, that are fun and easy to do business with.

As a service provider they are still hiring you and your people at the end of the day not your logo.
That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to get on video like I do to promote your brand, but it many many cases I recommend that you do. The personality of your team can come through the market in other ways as well.
In How you communicate with your market.
In Your marketing message – Your imagery and your text express your attitude and personality.

And finally… what High end offering can you sell to your market?
Always have premium priced offering. not just one plan or product that serves everyone.

in many cases 3 levels of service work well.

So, If your offering lawn treatments. Do just have one plan? If you do, you should Have multiple levels with different service At different price points.

If your offering lawn care maintenance have a premium maintence package that includes refreshing the mulch, seasonal installs of plants. Something more that just cutting. What premium priced packaged offering will your market be interested in.

If you apply the 80-20 rule to your service or product offering there is always a percentage of your customer base that will purchase a premium priced offering.
Determine what yours is and offer it to the market.

Get to it.

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Mar 13 2014

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Rank #5: Why is Online Marketing So Effective For Lawn Care Businesses?

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Online Marketing Should be a Part of Your Dedicated Marketing Budget…

Online marketing is hands down, more effective than direct mail, door hangers and other offline print techniques. Why is that? Watch this video to find out…
I wanted to just talk to you today briefly about on line marketing, why we do it, why it’s better than off line marketing. I’m not saying we shouldn’t do off line marketing. I’m certainly a big proponent of it. Why is it more effective for getting new customers than the off line marketing that you’re doing?

Let’s think about that. I really describe it as the difference between having marketing to active leads and passive leads. Let’s think about what happens when we do a direct mail campaign. We send out 5000 flyers to our community wherever we’re marketing. We don’t know anything about them beyond the fact that they have an address and a name, and they live in a certain area. We have no idea if they already have a company maintaining their property, if they’re looking for somebody in the near future, if they do it themselves, if they’ll ever even want to use your services. We don’t know anything. We’re just throwing mailers at them and hoping something sticks.

What’s so great about on line marketing is that somebody has to initiate it. The consumer has to initiate it. They have to do a search for your service offering. If they’re doing a search for your service offering, what does that mean? That means they are ready to buy your service now or they’re doing research to buy it in the near future.

On line marketing captures consumers at this critical point in the sales process. They have the need. They have the desire. They’re actively looking for somebody now versus off line marketing. We have no idea. What’s so great about on line marketing through search engine optimization, local search sites, and pay per click is that we can be present in the now, right when they’re searching for us, right when they need us. We can be right in front of them whereas if you’re doing a direct mail piece or a door hanger, chances are they’re not going to hang on to your advertisement for two, three months and then finally they realize they need somebody, and they pull it out of their kitchen drawer or they take if off their refrigerator. They’re not hanging on to your flyers. If they don’t need you right that second when you’ve mailed them, when it arrives at their door, when it arrives in their hand, you’re typically going to go in the trash. You can tell if you’ve ever done any direct mail, any door hangers, you know your response rate is really low, and this is exactly why it happens. They don’t have the need for you right then.

With on line marketing, because they’ve initiated the search, we can position ourselves in front of them at that exact moment when they have that desire, when they have that need. That’s where you want to be when they’re ready to buy. That makes selling much, much easier.

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Feb 20 2013

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Rank #6: More Lawn Care & Landscaping Leads Than You Can Handle? Here is What You Can Do.

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Are you afraid you won’t be able to scale quick enough when you implement an online marketing strategy?

I have a recurring concern that keeps coming up when I speak to lawn care business owners that contact my company and ask us to handle their marketing.  One of their concerns is they want to do online marketing.  They know they need to be doing online marketing, but they might still be small.  They might still be doing less than 250k and they’re afraid that they are going to get more work than they can handle.  They’re afraid they’re going to get too many leads, too many new clients and they’re not going to be able to fulfill them at the same level of service that they take care of all their other customers.  That is an awesome problem to have.  Having more work than you can handle is the best place to be.  There’s no such thing as too much demand.

This is a very real concern for a lot of companies and it’s usually because it’s very difficult for lawn care and landscaping companies to find and keep employees.  I talk to so many a year and this is a recurring theme.  It’s very difficult to find new staff.  It’s very difficult scale quickly because it’s hard to find those workers.  This is one of those roadblocks that business owners in our industry run into all the time so I completely understand.  Having too much demand, having your phone ring off the hook, that’s what we want.

Let me give you a real world example.  We had a client.  He’s been with us now for about two years.  The first season that he was with us he quite a bit smaller than he is now.  We let loose a full blown online marketing campaign.  He was all behind it.  Come peak season he was getting so many calls that he called us one day out of the blue and said, “Hey man, can you guys turn off the … can you stop what you’re doing for this particular service because I’m getting too much demand that I can’t fulfill all the requests for the service?  Will you stop doing SEO for it?  Will you stop doing paper clip for it?  Will you stop marketing my services because I can’t fulfill all the request for work?”  I said, “What?  Are you crazy?  We’re not going to do that.  This is exactly what you want.  This is exactly where you want to be, having so much demand that you can’t handle the work.  This is awesome.  This is perfect.”  He said, “But I can’t take anymore customers.  I can’t handle the work.  I don’t know what to do.  I can’t find guys to do the work.”  I actually kind of scolded him.  Andrew, I know you’re watching this video.  I’m sorry, but it’s because I want you to be uber successful.  I want you to be super successful at what you do.  Demand should never be a problem.

What do you do if you can’t quickly scale and you have more work than you can handle but you don’t want to lower your service standards, which you shouldn’t because that’s your reputation at stake?  What do you do?  You rubberize your pricing.  Rubberizing.  What does that mean?  That means your pricing should be flexible.  It should expand and contract with the demand in your market especially at times when you can’t service everybody who wants to use you.  Like I said, that’s a great problem.  If you have high demand and you can’t service everybody at the same quality standards as your existing customer base, raise your prices and if they really want you, they’ll pay.  There’s a couple of benefits of this.  You’re going to eliminate a lot of the price shoppers.  You’re going to eliminate the people who are usually a lot of hassle and not very profitable.  Raising your prices is automatically going to filter those people out right away.  It’s also going to limit the amount of new work that you take on, but if you’re taking it on at a higher price, at a higher profit margin, it becomes more effective and since you may have more profits, you’ll be able to add more staff and be able to afford more staff because you’re making more in profits and doing less work.  You’re taking on less customers but they’re more profitable customers because you’ve raised you’re prices.  Okay?  Think about that.  If you’re too busy, don’t sacrifice quality by trying to take everybody one when you’re fully booked.  Raise your prices and take on the people who still want to use you.

Here’s what not to do.  Do not ignore your phone.  I’ve seen companies do this so I feel like I have to say something because if one person did it, obviously somebody else is going to do it.  Don’t do that.  Answer your phone.  Ignoring your phone or letting all your calls go to voicemail because you’re too busy is stupid, dumb.  Don’t do it.  Don’t do it.  Don’t do it.  I said it three times.  You can’t do it.  What happened when this particular company that I’m talking about when they did this very same thing?  They let all their calls go to voicemail.  They just stopped answering their phone.  They were too busy.  They were overwhelmed.  You know what happened?  They got negative reviews.  They got negative reviews from leads, people who were calling them to give them their money but they weren’t answering their phone so these leads left negative reviews on their review sites, on Google Plus, saying just that exactly.  “I called you guys twice.  I left two voicemails.  I was looking for help with my lawn, but I never even got a call back.  Don’t hire these guys.”  That’s not a shocker.

Two, what if your clients are trying to reach you?  They’re calling you and they keep getting you’re voicemail.  A lot of clients, they’re not going to leave you a freaking voicemail.  They’re not going to have patience for that.  They want a response.  They want you to be on top of it.  You’re going to start getting clients who are going to get pissed off because their calls to you who they’re doing business with aren’t getting answered.  You’re going to make your clients unhappy and that can also generate negative reviews but more importantly that can also cause you to lose clients because they’re trying to reach out to you.  Don’t not answer your phone.  Don’t do it.  Answer your phone always.

I know what you’re thinking.  One of your concerns might be that they’ll never call you again because you’re going to get a reputation for being too expensive.  Okay?  What’s worse?  Having a reputation as being the expensive service provider, the premium service provider in your market or the guy who took on another client that he couldn’t handle and delivered poor service to?  Okay?  By raising your prices, you let the decision fall on your potential client.  It’s up to them whether or not they hire you at that higher price.  You’re leaving the choice on them.

Let me remind you if you are taking on new clients at this new temporary higher price, you better damn well be giving them good service.  Keep that in mind.  You also need to do something else that’s very critical.  You need, and you should already be doing this, you need to be collecting the lead information of everybody that calls you.  If they’re wanting to sign up for service and they’re not going to sign up because of your price point because you’re temporarily too expensive, you need to be collecting their name, address, phone number, email, as much information as you can get so you can market to them in the future when your prices go back down or next season, something.  Put them in your sales pipeline.  Collect their information.  You want to market to those people again.  They’ve expressed desire.  That’s a very key point as well.

To recap.  High demand is not a problem.  That’s fantastic.  You want it.  That’s what we strive for.  Raise your prices temporarily especially when you can’t handle more work, but don’t turn away jobs.  Let that be up to the prospect.  Let them choose you at a higher price point, at a premium point, at a more profitable price point if they decide to.  Make sure that you deliver high quality service at that new price point, but leave the decision up to them.  Don’t just stop taking work.  Raise your prices temporarily.  Who knows?  You might decide that this is the price point that you want to stay at.  You don’t know.  That’s going to be up to you and your market.

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Mar 13 2013

9mins

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Rank #7: Lawn Care Marketing Expert wants to give you an Apple Macbook Air

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I want to give you a brand new 2014 Apple Macbook Air laptop…

Every year I am swamped with calls from lawn care business owners that talk a good game.

They tell me how “serious” they are about building a real business THIS YEAR… a business that their friends and family don’t laugh at… but instead look to with admiration…

And yet, 12 months later, I get the same call from the same business owner who is still in the same place they were last year because all they do is talk about it…

They never got off their ass and actually did something about it.

I can’t stand that.

But sadly this is the norm.

So, if 2014 is the year, you stop talking and start DOING.

I want to reward you with a brand new Apple Macbook Air…

The rewards will go to the business owners that have experienced the greatest growth in their business by implementing our marketing strategies or even the things you have learned in my videos and podcasts.

I am going to be looking for creative execution and REAL growth… That means you $250,000 a year business owners have just as much of a chance to win as our $10,000,000 a year clients.

To enter you must upload a video to YouTube and email us the link to the video.

The video must contain:

  1. The specific strategy or program you implemented or learned from us.
  2. The specific way you applied it or put your own unique twist on it.
  3. The specific result you got in new clients and/or projected lifetime revenue.

I am super excited about this. And I really hope it motivates you to take action and get results!

Now get to it!

Every 3 months, I dedicate a weekend to get out of town and get away from everything and everyone, lock myself in a hotel and  turn of the phone and reflect on my goals for the past 3 months – what I accomplished and where I have fallen short, the next 3 months steps and brainstorm how I can get my clients even greater results.

So today, I am here alone on beautiful St Maarten today (the dutch side) and when I was having a coffee this morning I realized what I want to do for you this yearÉ

This year, I want to give you a brand new top of the line Apple MacBook Air.

In a minute, I will tell you how to get but first let me tell you why I’m doing this…

I want to give back to my awesome clients and supporters that are responsible for our successÉ if it wasn’t for you I would not be where I am today. No question about it.

So thank you for investing your time and trust in me. I don’t take it for granted.

I do this because I love marketing, I love helping others grow their businesses and I love inspiring and being inspired by other successful entrepreneurs.

Now as you know, the difference between the wantreprenuers (who dream of a million dollar business) and those cant be stopped entrepreneurs (who do whatever it takes to get there) Ð is consistently taking action Ð of executing day after day Ð one foot in front of the other.

When they see a good idea, they implement it immediately. They don’t just sit around and talk about it. One day, someday, I will get to it.

I hate that!

So this year I want to reward the doers. The action takers, the entrepreneurs that cannot be stopped. The business owners, who when they hear a good idea – they get off their ass and immediately go and make it happen.

I want to reward you. Your success inspires me.

You success keeps me up at night contemplating how I can help you get even greater results.

So here is what I am going to do.

I am going to give out 3 prizes this year and one great big grand prize in November.

And any one who knows me, know that I am a bit of a tech geek so I don’t give shitty prizes. You are gonna love em.

In fact at the end of the year. I am going to be giving one great big grand prize and that is a brand new top of the line Apple MacBook Air.

Im going to buy you the newest most bad ass, top of the line new model of the year.

Heck, I don’t even have one!

That’s a one thousand five hundred dollar fully loaded computer –  on me!

So, to get this reward, You don’t even have to be in my coaching program, be a client or ever pay me a dime,

You simply need to be a doer that gets results.

So here is what you have to do.

The rewards will go to the business owners that have experienced the greatest growth in their business by implementing our marketing strategies or even the things you have learned in my videos and podcasts.

I want all of you creative entrepreneurs to really shine here.

What did you change or implement in your business and what results did you get?

So to enter you must upload a video to youtube and email us the link to the video.

To enter you must upload a video to YouTube and email us the link to the video.

The video must contain:

  1. The specific strategy or program you implemented or learned from us.
  2. The specific way you applied it or put your own unique twist on it.
  3. The specific result you got in new clients and/or projected lifetime revenue.

I am super excited about this. And I really hope it motivates you to take action and get results!

Now get to it!

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Mar 21 2014

5mins

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Rank #8: Cold Hard Facts About Reviews For Lawn Care Businesses

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They speak for themselves…

If you’ve been watching my videos for any length of time, you know I’m a big proponent for getting great reviews about your business on line from real customers.  It’s huge.  It’s important.  It’s very valuable social proof, and it convinces consumers to try your business and your services.  Very powerful stuff.  Today, I just wanted to give you some proof.  I wanted to back up what I’ve been preaching with some facts.

First of all, let’s start with the Wall Street Journal who did a study, and they found that 92% of consumers have more trust in, have more faith in what they read about your business on line than what your sales people or you tell them about yourself, about your business.  Ninety two percent of consumers believe your reviews and what they read about you on line more than anything that you say.  That was in the Wall Street Journal.  That’s pretty powerful. Seventy two percent of consumers believe on line reviews to be as trustworthy as personal recommendations from friends and family.  Seventy two percent.  That’s huge.  They’re almost as valuable as a referral from your friend or family member, the people that you trust.  That’s a lot of trust.  Fifty two percent of consumers are more likely to try your business and services based upon the reviews they read about you.  They’re going to give you a chance more likely if you have positive things about your business on line.  That’s pretty powerful social proof.

Think about it.  Think about it in your own life.  Think about how you use reviews.  When you buy a product on Amazon, when you go on line to search for a product or even a service that you want to use in your own life, what do you do?  You read the reviews, and you make a decision.  Consumers are doing the same thing about your business.  Implement a process that gets you positive reviews from real customers.  Make it a part of your business.  It’s important.  It’s powerful stuff.

Let me say one last thing.  Imagine if your business is on the first page of Google, and it’s in the Google Plus local listing area with your name, address, phone number.  Those are all visible, and you’re up there with ten other competitors.  None of your competitors have reviews, but you have 30 positive reviews.  Who are your consumers going to click on?  Get reviews.  It’s worth your effort.  Put time into it because ultimately, it’s going to make you money.

Over and out.  See you.

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Mar 20 2013

3mins

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Rank #9: How to Determine a Marketing Budget for a Lawn Care Business

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One of the questions I get asked most frequently is, “How do I determine a marketing budget? What should my marketing budget be for online marketing?”

First of all, right off the bat, never ask a marketer that. Don’t ask a marketer that, because if you ask the wrong one, chances are they’re going to take you to the cleaners. Secondly, marketing budget is not up to them – it’s up to you. Only you know your business; only you know your objectives; and only you know your financials.

So, the answer is not 10% of your gross; it’s not 15% of net; it’s not even 20% of your sales each year – it’s, what are you comfortable spending; how aggressive do you want to be in marketing? Based on your customer lifetime value, your financials; how much are you willing to spend and how quickly do you want to grow? You have to be able to answer those questions, because a marketing budget is an arbitrary number; it’s not a set percentage.

Think about it like this. You’re not going to be spending money on marketing if it’s not working. If you’re not getting a return on your investment, why would you keep doing marketing? You have to know your numbers, and if your marketing is working, you should be wanting to spend as much as you possibly can, just like putting money in a bank. Anytime you put money in your savings account, you’re getting a return on that investment; you’re getting interest back. The same is true with you marketing budget. Anytime you invest in your marketing, you’re getting a return on your investment in new clients and profits, so you need to think about your marketing that way.

When people call and ask how much they should be spending each month with online marketing, I always answer their question with a question. What’s your goal? How aggressive do you want to be in growing your business, because marketing is truly the fuel in your business growth. You have to keep filling the tank in your business every single month, and if you’re one of those guys who just does 5,000 fliers in March and that’s it; that’s your marketing for the year; you know that you start to run out of fuel later in the season. Marketing is something that we do every single month; it’s something that’s ingrained in our businesses; we’re always doing it. If we want our business to grow, we’ve got to invest in our marketing.

At different stages in your business, you might have different growth goals. Early on, you’re probably going to have a very aggressive growth strategy. You’re going to be reinvesting all of your profits back into the business, back into the marketing, because growing is what you’re trying to do at that period. You’re trying to get as many clients as you can; you’re trying to scale the business so you can hire more employees, grow, become more profitable. So early on, you’re absolutely going to have a very aggressive approach to marketing. Your goal is to get as many clients as possible, so you’re going to be spending a high percentage of your income in investing that right back into marketing.

Later on, you might have a different goal. You might have reached a certain point in your business. You might be doing a couple of million a year and you’re taking out a comfortable salary in profits, and you’re happy where you’re at. You don’t really want to work any harder; you’re happy where you’re at. That’s fine too. In that case, you might have a slower growth strategy, so your investment in your marketing each month is going to be a little bit lower. Only you can decide what strategy you want to take.
We work with clients that have both goals. Both of them have different goals. Some of them are very aggressive. They’re reinvesting everything, every month, after they take out their salaries. They’re reinvesting everything back into their marketing, new marketing channels, every single month. On the other hand, we have several clients that have reached a level of success. They’re bringing several million a year, and they have a smaller percentage marketing budget. They have a smaller marketing budget each month. They are taking out of their business more in profits than they’re investing in their business into their marketing. You have to decide what is best for you. Choose a marketing budget that you’re comfortable with. There’s no rule of thumb; only you know your financials.

This is the key – I want to reiterate this – know your financials. You need to know how much a customer is worth over the lifetime of that relationship with you. You need to know how much a client is worth and how much you’re willing to spend to acquire a new customer. That’s rule one. You have to start there; you need to know that number. After you know how much a client’s worth, you can decide how much you’re willing to spend to get a new customer. It always costs money; there are no free customers. Even when they’re referred to you, you have to invest time and energy in giving them an estimate, signing them up, and everything else that you do. You need to know your numbers. That’s the key.

Any marketer worth their weight is going to make recommendations on the budget you have to work with. They’re not going to push you into a plan that you can’t afford or isn’t right for you. This is the number one thing that I see a lot of marketing agencies and so-called SEO companies out there doing. They’ll try and sell you on a marketing plan that isn’t right for your business objectives, that isn’t right for your size of company. If you’re a small company, you should not be investing hundreds of dollars every month to have somebody do a social media campaign for you. You need to determine what your objectives are and find a marketing agency who can apply they’re right marketing strategies at the right time to achieve the goals that you’re trying to accomplish, with the budget you have to work with.

Just to recap, start by knowing your numbers. Know how much a client is worth to you over the lifetime of their relationship. Usually probably about three years you’re going to keep a client, on average, if you have good service. Then decide how much you’re willing to spend to acquire a new customer. Choose a marketing budget that you’re comfortable with spending each month, and you need to allocate a set amount each month. You don’t want to get in a situation where it comes the slow season and then suddenly you have no money to market your business. Every single year I see companies that don’t do any marketing in March, April, May – the three most important parts of their season – because they didn’t know their numbers; they did not budget in advance. That is a terrible way to run your business. Know your numbers, budget for it, have a set marketing budget every single month.

After you have a budget, you can choose the best marketing strategy that fits your budget and the goals that you’re trying to accomplish. Any marketing agency that’s worth their weight, that isn’t trying to sell you crap that you don’t need, they’re going to make the best recommendations they can for the budget you have to work with. It’s not up to them to tell you how much to spend; you need to decide that first.
Then of course you have to track the return on your investment. You need to know which marketing strategies you’re implementing that are the most effective, and then after you know this number, you can reinvest in your marketing. You can reinvest in the marketing strategies that are the most profitable and start to scale, because as you invest in your marketing, your business is going to grow, you’re going to get new … more clients, you’re going to get more profits, and you can reinvest that new money back into your business, expand your marketing campaign to build upon itself, and start getting into some additional strategies that you haven’t started using yet. Remember, using multiple marketing methods is going to multiply the effectiveness of your marketing. Doing offline marketing in conjunction with online marketing is going to make both of them more effective.

Marketing is the gasoline in your business engine, and you have to keep filling the tank if you want to get to your destination. If you want to reach your business goal, you have to keep filling up your tank; you have to keep reinvesting in your marketing. That’s how we grow. It’s not a one-time thing; it’s an every month thing; it’s an every day thing.

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Mar 26 2013

9mins

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Rank #10: 5 Ways to Make Your Lawn Care Marketing More Effective

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Lawn care business owners across the globe pay us their hard earned money to make their phone ring every single month…

But a successful marketing strategy is more than just having a ringing phone…

Find out what YOU can do to make your marketing program even more effective!

Hi, everybody, Andrew here. I am in cold and chilly Montreal today. I came up here yesterday for a long consulting day. I’m about to get on a plane, head back where its warm and before I do that, I wanted to shoot a quick video about five ways you can make your marketing more effective. I’m going to assume for this conversation that you’re already doing the right things in marketing, okay? We’re not going to focus on the marketing you’re doing. We’re going to talk about the things that you can be doing that make your marketing more effective.

Let’s start with number one. Number one is answering your phone. You have to answer your phone. You need a phone strategy. You need to put a phone strategy in place. Do not let your phone calls go to voicemail. Seventy percent of the people who call you, if they get a voicemail, they are not going to be leaving you a message. They’re going to be hanging up and calling the next person that they see in Google. They’re going to be going down the list until they get a response. Your responsiveness, how you answer your phone when you’re dealing with a lead from your marketing is going to dictate the first impression that you give your potential prospects. It’s really important that we handle the phone strategy very well.

Keep in mind if you’ve hired a marketing agency, you’re paying that marketing agency to make their marketing the most effective they possibly can for the budget that you have to work with so when you’re not answering your phone, you’re squandering the leads that they’re bringing you. They’re making your phone ring so you want to do everything in your power to capture those leads and turn them into clients. That’s number one.

Number two, track your leads. This is going to be the foundation for the next three points that I’m going to make. You need to track your leads and this could be simply done just with a pen and pad or if you’re using a system like Service Autopilot, you can put your leads directly into their system. You can enter them right in when you’re talking to somebody on the phone or your phone staff can do that for you but it’s very important that we do this. What I see a lot of companies do is that they will answer their phone, they might give an estimate over the phone and then that’s the end of the relationship. There’s nothing else. They answer the phone. They talk for lead. They tell them their price. The lead says, “Oh, you’re too expensive.” That’s the end of the conversation. We want to do more than that. In order to do that, we need to track our leads. We need to get their name, address, phone number, as much information as we possibly can so think about some of the ways that you could get their additional information that they might not want to give. Otherwise, e-mail address for instance. We want to be able to market to them in the future. In order to get their e-mail address, why not tell them, “Hey, well, mind if I e-mail you a copy of your estimate as well?”

Think about the different ways that you can get their information. They’re going to have to give you their mailing address since you’re going to be estimating how much it’s going to cost to do their property. Track your leads. Put this into a database because we want to market to them in the future. We also want to log in the same log any objections that they have using your services. Why are they not signing up with you? We want to log that. We want to know if there’s any particular things about our business that people are objecting to. Price might be a big one but you also want to know where your leads are coming from. You want to know if it’s coming from your Google Adwords, your KPI, your website, the direct mail piece that you did. This is going to let you make your marketing more effective in the future. That’s number two.

Number three is follow up with the leads and this is something that I rarely see companies do. They get a phone call and then that’s it. There is no follow-up even though when you had the phone call, you got their phone number, you got their name, you got their address, you got their e-mail address. Think about ways that you can market to them. Even if they didn’t sign up originally, you have their information so maybe send them a follow-up letter. Maybe give them a second chance offer. Maybe send them an e-mail. Maybe market to them in another month. If you’re tracking your leads, you’re collecting this information so you need to follow-up with them, not just give them an estimate, say, “Here’s my price. Take it or leave it.” You need to call them the next day or you need to send them a letter. You need to do something to show them that you’re interested in having their business. If they made objections, maybe call them a day or two later and say, “Hey, have you found a company to take care of your property this season? If not, I’d like to give you a second chance. We’d still like to work with you and here is why,” and then lay out the case of why they should hire you.

The other thing that you should be doing when a lead calls you is that you need to set a specific time to follow up with them. If you can’t close them over the phone, you need to set a specific time to go and look at their property and give them an estimate, to speak to the woman at the house, whoever is on the property that you’re going to be speaking to. If you set an appointment or a specific time and date to follow up with them, this will help them and their search because remember, they have lots of choices in their lawn care provider so if you set a specific day and time to follow up with them, this will oftentimes keep them from continuing their search because they’re going to be waiting to hear back from you on your estimate if you went out to look at their property. They’re going to be waiting on you to make their decision.

Way number four, and that is to use multiple marketing methods. Using multiple marketing methods is going to increase the effectiveness of your marketing. That means doing SEO. That means doing offline marketing, print, direct mail. That means having a properly branded truck that sticks out in your prospects, in the minds when you’re driving through their neighborhoods. Think about all the different ways that you can market and how you can expand your reach.

Nielsen Research and Google did a study recently that showed that the more marketing methods that you use, the more times that you get your brand in front of your prospects using different media, the more effective your marketing is. Fifty percent more people will recall your brand if they see your marketing through different marketing channels.

Step number five is reinvest in your marketing. This is the key point here. I see a lot of companies that have the same marketing budget that they did five years ago but marketing is really the fuel behind growing your business. It’s the fuel to make your business grow. There is no such thing as free clients. There is no such thing as free leads. Even if you’re relying on word of mouth, there’s time involved, there’s effort in closing those leads so with the idea that you’re going to get any new clients for free is bunk. You’re going to always get clients and they’re always going to come at a cost. Word of mouth clients, that’s going to take an investment of time or money. There’s different marketing strategies you can implement where the cost is going to be more or less depending on the strategy that you implement but it’s always going to cause something to get a new client so we need to be reinvesting in our marketing budgets.

This also goes back to tracking your leads because when you track your leads, you’ll know which areas to reinvest in your marketing because you know where your leads are coming from so you could reinvest. You can increase your budget to those different strategies that are you’re most effective so it’s very important.

We also want to expand into additional marketing channels. We want to use multiple marketing methods like I mentioned in step number four, this makes your marketing more effective. In order to grow our business, we have to fuel our business engine. We have to keep filling the tank to reach our destination, to reach our business goal and marketing is the fuel in our business engine so we need to always be reinvesting in our business. We need to be watching our numbers. We need to be filling the tank over our marketing and that’s how we grow our business.

Let’s recap, five ways to make your marketing more effective. Number one is answer your phone. Number two is track your leads. Number three is follow up those leads. Number four is use multiple marketing methods and number five is reinvest in your marketing.

I’m Andrew over and out from Montreal. I will see you guys back in the States. Have a great one. Thank you.

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Apr 04 2013

9mins

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Rank #11: The Lawn Care Millionaire Takeover!!!

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In this special episode of the Lawn Care Millionaire Video Blog Lawn Care Marketing Expert drops in for an unexpected visit. In this episode they discuss exactly what you should be doing at this point in the season and why it is always a bad idea to let Google “help” you setup your PPC Advertising.


Jonathan:         Hey, it’s Jonathan. We are a couple months away from spring and I thought I’d shoot a video on what can you do to get ready for spring this season. What are the things that you’ve got to do now so that when spring arrives you’re not in the situation where you can’t get it all done, if we pre-plan and get some stuff done. I thought we’d run through a list here and talk about some of the different things that you need to do. Some will be marketing and let’s talk about some things for employees. I would highly recommend that anything print material-related, anything that you’ve got to get ready in advance – such as if you’ve ever used any of the lead letter strategies I talk about, or the street mellow strategies, or if you use door hangers. You need to start getting all this print material together now and you want to start putting it together.

For example, if you’re doing your lead letters you need to go ahead and print these things out. I print out months of these things; have them completely ready. That way when the spring rush rolls around you are so incredibly busy that you can’t get anything done, that process doesn’t stop happening. If you know you’re going to send out door hangers and you’re going to start distributing them – whether using a company or you’re having your guys do it –  pre-print your door hangers now. I’d pre-print enough to get you through at least three months of the spring rush. I’d start working on all of this stuff right now …

What are you doing? (Laughs) I was trying not to look at you while I was doing the video.

Andrew:           Don’t mind me.  I’m just crashing your blog.

Jonathan:         I’m actually in Miami right now and Andrew and I’ve been shooting video. We’ve been working on a product for a couple of days; literally from eight in the morning until almost five o’clock this morning. Slept a couple of hours and got back up and did it again.

Andrew:           I thought we had it done before you got here.

Jonathan:         It’s like 10 o’clock. Andrew ran out of room on the camera … the battery ran out of space and so we were on a break here.

Andrew:           I told you to charge it.

Jonathan:         Yeah, whatever I just brought it up a minute ago. We ran out of space shooting a video and so I was going shoot out a couple of blogs here in a moment.

Andrew:           You took … what are you doing? You’re supposed to be talking about preparing for the season and you’re jibber-jabbering about stuff that I don’t care about. What are we talking?

Jonathan:         Hold on. Let me go back to finish what I’m talking about and we will involve you,  somehow. All right, basically, if you’re going to do lead letters, if you’re going to do door hangers, if you’re going to do any of these activities you know you’re coming into spring. You’re going to be swamped for three months. Everything that you know you’re going to distribute or do for the next three months; do it now. Get it all completely ready, sitting on the shelf, ready to go out the door. If you’re going to do nine rounds, then put them on albeit your client’s homes. Go ahead and get the Tupperware containers that are going to go in the trucks under the seats. Fill them up with door hangers now.

Maybe get a double set of Tupperware containers. That way when one runs out the guys can just grab another one and stick it under the truck, but think about all the systems you need to put in place right now to be prepared. Anything around print; get all your print stuff ready. Anything around employee’s stuff,  for example if you know in spring you’re going to start hiring a lot of employees, you know they’ve got to fill out I-9s, you know there’s paperwork they’ve got to fill out. There are always things they need to do. Get all that paperwork done now; get all the forms pre-printed. If you think you’re going to hire 10 guys in spring, print out 10, 12, 15 copies of all this paperwork, put in a folders. Have it all completely ready so that when you’re hiring you’re not running around looking for this paperwork.

It’s more than marketing; it’s all the little operational things inside your business. If you know that you’re going to be so incredibly swamped that you’re not going to be able to reconcile the bank accounts for two months after you get going, get them all reconciled now. Get everything caught up; get everything ready so that when spring comes you can put your head down and not do anything in the systems that you’ve already worked on or sort of running on autopilot for a few months. Then things were going to become a mess and they’re going to become scrambled in your company. Fine, after the spring rush, after your big opportunity to sell a lot of work, come back and clean stuff up but at least …

What I see, and I’ve seen it in my own business is it get so busy we keep quit doing stuff because we weren’t fully prepared. I’m saying get fully prepared.

Andrew:           You never want to fly by the seat of your pants. That’s the worst business plan that you can possibly have. It’s true for your marketing, it’s true for running a business, it’s true for managing your business, every aspect; you need to have a plan.

Jonathan:         Spring is so incredibly important to our businesses and it’s such a prime selling time that we need to do everything we can to be successful; we need to do it now. We can’t wait till the last minute. I’d really exhort you to do whatever you’ve got to do and get it ready. One of the things, I guess, let’s … since you’re here, I was talking about prints so if you would tell … Andrew does my SEO at this point. He does my local and my SEO stuff, He took that over a while back. What kinds of stuff are you doing for me right now in January that will put us in a prime position come March?  Our stuff’s already working really well obviously,  but what are the things you’re worried about on our behalf?

Andrew:           You get it, you know that SEO is a long-term strategy and you’ve always treated it that way and that’s very important. SEO is not something that you do for three months and then turn it off. If you’re going to do that, then you’re just wasting your money.

Jonathan:         Might as well not do it.

Andrew:           It’s going to take a long time to rank, especially when you’re in competitive markets like you are. You need to already have your SEO campaign running at full blast right now, at this point. The sooner that you have your SEO campaign running and you’re doing the right things … you’ve hired a SEO company that’s doing the right things, you’re going to be ranking on that first page of Google hopefully within two or three months. Then slowly over the next longer period of time you’re going to start knocking off your higher ranking competitors who’ve been in your market for five, 10 years, and have websites that are in the number one, number two, number three spot.

It’s a long-term process but you need to start doing your SEO now. The other thing that we do for you obviously is Pay Per Click. We really crank up the budget at the beginning of the season, but we really leave your campaigns around all year round. PPC is one of those great things where if there’s no demand you’re not going to be paying for anything, because if there’s no demand nobody is clicking on your ads. We’ve been working on that, where we’re revamping all your ads. We’re doing split-testing all year round. We really want to have the highest performing ads possible. Those are the two main things.

Jonathan:         Let’s give them some things that they can do. For example, Pay Per Click, now would be a good time to be … because you might have not done this at the end of the year. Now would be a good time to be looking at your campaigns and setting up a few additional split tests. You had some campaigns running last year.

Andrew:           Yes.

Jonathan:         You could go through Google, your dashboard there, and you could get rid of a couple campaigns that were your low performers. You could rewrite a few ads to test against your best ad that you have running now. Now would be a good time to write some new ads, then have those ready so that they could be running.

Andrew:           We were actually just brainstorming something. I think we came up with a couple of good ones that we did. We’re going to create ads and create custom landing pages for them. I think they’re going to come read well, they will be totally unique.

Jonathan:         They’re even using the display network which … The display network is …  I think AdWords personally, I think AdWords is easier to make highly effective than the display network. An you see that in this market specifically or …

Andrew:           Yeah, definitely. Unless you have, you’re going to get a higher conversion rate, higher click through rate on standard AdWords that are just text. The display network is going to be graphic images. You’re going to have to create graphic ads to run the display network. If you have a limited budget, unless you are already running thousands of dollars on the traditional AdWords network where it’s a text ads, not graphic ads. If you’re not running a couple of thousand dollars on that yet, then I wouldn’t even worry about the display network.

Jonathan:         I agree. That’s been my experiences.

Andrew:           It’s really more of an advanced thing that we do for our higher budget clients, our larger markets where it’s very competitive. We can get in to some more advanced strategies. But you’re going to get more bang for your buck doing the text ads and really optimizing your campaigns; split-testing, leading pages, all that good stuff.

Jonathan:         I’d say if you’re a big company and you’re already spending a lot of money, and you’re absorbing a lot of the traffic through traditional Google AdWords, then I think that’s a good time to be looking at the display network. I’ll tell you from my own experience, I’ve blown some good money. I think a couple of months I blew over a thousand bucks a month. I couldn’t really. I just don’t think I got great results. It took a little while to figure it out. This was in the beginning. It’s worth getting somebody who knows what they’re doing. I’m not saying it’s negative. It just takes a lot … don’t do it. I’m saying it took me a little while to figure it out in the beginning, and I spent some money learning a few lessons.

Andrew:           You bring up a very good point. I’ve never … I’m the founder of Lawn Care Marketing Expert. It’s a marketing agency for lawn care and landscaping companies. We’re based here in Miami. We do his marketing and tons of other companies across the globe.

Jonathan:         Now I know why you’re on my video … to plug yourself. (Laughing)

Andrew:           One of the common things that we see, we get a lot of clients who are running their own AdWords campaign themselves, and they’re usually pretty critical on AdWords. It’s rare when anybody that comes to use loves AdWords, and it’s because they are doing it wrong.

Jonathan:         You’re seeing a lot of people come to you getting bad results; spending too much money?

Andrew:           You know, AdWords Google does such a great job putting upfront a simple frontend interface – easy-to-use interface – in front of the program that it hides the depth and the complexity. It really … because they do that, it really encourages these you-guys unknowingly to spend a lot of money, that you shouldn’t be spending for clicks that aren’t going to convert into customers. This is where paying somebody – an expert at AdWords to manage your campaign for you – it pays for itself.

Jonathan:         We’re bouncing around here but since we’ve gone to AdWords … As an AdWords expert and spending a lot of money, if Google called you and said, “We’d like to help you optimize your campaigns.” Would you let them do it?

Andrew:           No. (Laughs) They’re going to optimize … They’re going to optimize your campaign for Google.

Jonathan:         I knew what you were going to say so I was going … I led you in that question. Because if you’re spending a nice amount of money …

Andrew:           What they should be asking …

Jonathan:         They’re going to call you. They’ve called me and if you’re running a bigger operation, they’re going to call you. Don’t work with Google. Don’t let them optimize your campaigns. They have a service where they have people calling you and then like, “Oh, will give you a couple hours of time. We’ll help you get more clicks and stuff.” You don’t want to do that. You want to figure this stuff out on your own and become an expert at it. Or you want to use somebody like Andrew’s company that is already an expert at it. You don’t want Google to be your expert. They have a vested interest in spending more of your money.

Andrew:           Let’s talk about the steps that they go through to optimize your campaign. Step number one; increase you budget. That’s it. (Laughs)

Jonathan:         I never talk to them. I wouldn’t take the call. I just didn’t see the point; I knew it was going to happen.

Andrew:           It was a joke.

Jonathan:         I know it’s a joke. I was trying to think of something else they might ask you but … anyway.

Andrew:           They’ll ask you for your credit card number.

Jonathan:         The point … you really have it. Their point was preparation. In prep-preparing we’re going to write some new Google AdWords. We’re going to just look at what we’re doing. We’re going to look at what we can do more of. Not only go in the details. You might set up some new Ad groups. There’s a lot of things you might do with your Google AdWords. Now is absolutely the time to do it.  You can do it. Obviously, Andrew’s company could do it for you but this is the point of my videos to tell them some things they can do. This is something they could be working on.

I asked about SEO because marketing … online marketing is one of my favorite topic subjects. I love online marketing.

Andrew:           It’s brought a lot of money to your business.

Jonathan:         In SEO, yes, they need to be doing it now. Is there’s something they should be doing like for example, should they be … Is there something they could be doing, and obviously they could just have you help them, but is there any point or some things they could be doing to now that will help them with their own SEO?

Andrew:           Definitely, I think that building a good … building on a solid foundation is a good place to start. The clients who come to us that have a crappy website, that’s all … that doesn’t have a content management system or where you can easily go in and update individual pages, you’re still updating static HTML pages. I don’t want to get too technical here. But the people who are built on a good platform –  WordPress is a great example of a platform that’s easy to modify – that would be one place to start. Don’t skimp on relying on a free website; GoDaddy websites,  different things like that. It’s going to cost you more in the long run.

I always recommend that you invest in a website that you’re going to be able to use for the next five, 10 years that you can easily ad content to, because that’s becoming more and more important in our SEO and on our online marketing strategies.

Jonathan:         That’s not going to change.

Andrew:           Yep. Build on a good base.

Jonathan:         I’m going to interrupt you and say, so this is another one. Right now is the time to be working on your website, whether you’re doing it or you have somebody help you, but this is the time to add copy on. Maybe last year you had a mediocre site, or you just got something up, or for years you’ve had something.  Now is the time to start going back in and working on the copy. Add more personality to your website. Then SEO things would be … you know add … if you know what the keywords are the people are typing into Google and searching for company like you, you could do blog posts around those topics in your website. There’s lots of things you can do, but really be thinking about the wording and the copy on your site so that it matches what people might be searching for in the browsers, so that your site gets found. You’re growing in a way; you’re sort of growing the size of your site right now because you’re adding more to it. Would you agree?

Andrew:           Yes.

Jonathan:         You’re improving your copy and then something else that you should be working on now on your website is … just because you get somebody to come to you. This is one of the reasons I like the work Andrew does. You don’t think about just getting somebody to the site. Once you get them there, you’ve got to convert them into a lead or you might as well not spend a buck. You might as well not spend any money on marketing. You might as well not spend any money on your website. It’s all about converting leads into prospecst. This is a really good topic because this is a great time of the year to be thinking about things we’re talking about; AdWords and SEO to get people to the site.

Now, once we get them to your site because the site is your best sales guy, what do we want to do? What are some actionable tips that they can do to help convert?

Andrew:           That’s a really good point to bring up. Something that we see a lot is that clients will spend all of their money on making their phone ring, whether that’s expensive [inaudible 00:15:02] campaigns, or advertisement, or even online stuff, but they don’t put any effort into the other things – the things that actually convert those leads to customers. That can be … that beyond your website that could just be how your staff is answering your phone. In regards to your website,  and you just mentioned it right there, your website is your ultimate sales guy. Think of your website as your ultimate sales guy and your sales guy, your ultimate sales guy need sales tools. You need to enable your website to sell you and your services. One of the things that I think about when it comes to websites, is how it looks. Would you send your sales guy to see to a client’s home or to their business in a wife-beater, cutoff jean shorts, and flip-flops?

Jonathan:         What kind of blog is this maybe they do.

Andrew:           Just the guys that watch your videos; not mine. Well, you shouldn’t do that. Don’t show up to your client’s house in wife-beaters and cutoff shorts and flip-flops, but this is the exact thing that some people do with really crappy websites. I’m not saying you want to go out and copy the big cold incorporate look of some of the large franchises in our country; but you should have a professional appearance. You should look professional. It should look like you’ve spent time, energy, and money on your website, not that you threw something up and you don’t care about it. I’ve seen websites where I can barely find the people’s phone number, [inaudible 00:26:44] for questing estimate. That stuff is just silly to me. You’re mentioning how you can help convert visitors to customers. Well,  having a well-designed website that’s laid out properly where your information is easy to see, is the first step in that.

Jonathan:         I would say it would match the appearance of the appearance that you give off as a company. As an example, on the flip side of what you are saying we wouldn’t send a guy in a Ferrari wearing a tuxedo to a client’s home to give them a quote on mowing the lawn. At the same time you can way over spend on your website, go way too fancy with your website – way more than you need to. It’s a balancing act and you guys do a nice job of balancing that.

I think that you’re really trying to match your company’s personality and your website. This is where it gets into doing with some custom work on a site,  because a good designer can help you match the design of the site to the kind of people and company you are. There’s two sides of this. There’s the wife-beater analogy and there’s the guy in a tuxedo analogy. You want to find the happy middle ground and that’s really a good thing to be working on this time of the  year – is really enhancing your website.

Andrew:           Just like a sales person, it’s going to get better over time. The more practice it has … in a salesman case at closing sales. Your website should improve over time, you’re adding new fresh content to it, you’re adding a personal … I always recommend you put a personal video from the owner or your team leader, or  whatever on that video, telling them a little bit about your services. It’s essentially sales [inaudible 00:18:19]. Talk about maybe your top five or seven points and sell your services. Tell them why they should use you; why are you different from the hundreds of other lawn care companies in your market.

Jonathan:         Faceless lawn care companies.

Andrew:           Exactly.

Jonathan:         They’re just faceless. Nobody knows who owns them; nobody knows who the people are at the company. They don’t really see them. All they see is a logo. You have an opportunity with video to connect with personality and they get to know you and they get to see you. You get an opportunity to connect with them at a level that you couldn’t possibly connect by just sitting out a door hanger with your logo on it.

Andrew:           I completely agree. I get so many calls at my lawn care marketing agency,  lawncaremarketingexpert.com, where people have been watching my videos for six months and they’ll call me and they’ll speak to me like we’ve known each other for years and video has that power. You might be sitting on the other end of your computer, or your iPad, or right now watching me, but after you’ve seen me and heard me talk I know that you want to call me immediately at 786-309-7898.

Jonathan:         This will be the last time I’ll record a video at your place for my stuff.

Andrew:           (laughs) I was … joking aside, video has that power …

Jonathan:         It’s really worth it and it’s a perfect thing to be doing this time of the year and it’s so easy with an iPhone or a droid phone or whatever your Galaxy, or whatever . It’s so easy to record a video. It doesn’t have to be overly produced. It only has to be so good; I mean it’s not that hard.

Andrew:           I’ve put some effort into it. I put some thought into what you are you going to say. I would absolutely not just turn on the camera and start talking like he does on all of his videos. I would actually put some fun into what you are going to say, because some people do care.

Jonathan:         (Laughs) I know you’re a [inaudible 00:20:10] comedy. Thank you. Thanks for listening. I hope that at least this has motivated you to go out and start thinking about all the print material stuff you’ve got to do. Start getting all that stuff ready in stage right now. Start thinking about all the employee operational stuff that’s about to hit you in the next couple of months. Get that pre-prepared. Even if you – like I’ve said before – even if you get all the stuff ready and you put it on the shelve and it’s just sitting there waiting. You know that you’re not going to have any time for at least four months of the year. Do everything in advance so that this year things actually happen in your business. Don’t let this year pass where you’ll end up at the end of this year having good intensions for the next. My point being; get it done now so that it will really happen and 2013 will be a very good year!

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May 01 2013

21mins

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Rank #12: Using Facebook as your Lawn Care Website

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We see a lot of lawn care businesses just getting started that are using Facebook as their company website. Some even go so far as to publish the Facebook URL on their trucks and flyers.

Is this a good idea?

What should you be doing?

Watch the video to find out…

Hey guys, Andrew here again. It’s good to be back. I want to talk today about one of the most common mistakes that I see small businesses just getting started to make and that’s using Facebook as their company website. It’s a terrible idea. It’s even worse than using a free website. Why is that, why is that a terrible idea to use that as your main website. Well, it has very little SEO value. You’re not going to be able to rank for the hundreds of different key phrases that your customers, your prospects, your potential customers are going to be using to find companies like yours, that offer the services that they want.

It’s going to be even more difficult to generate leads from it because you can’t control of a layout. Facebook controls the layout. They decide how things are positioned. They decide that this month they want to use the timeline view, next month they’re going to change the format again and do something else. You don’t have control over that. When you can’t control the layout, and you can’t control the colors, and you can’t place forms that capture lead information right there smack on the front of your Facebook page, it really limits the effectiveness of using Facebook as a lead generation platform. We don’t want to do that.

The other thing that you might not know is that just like Google AdWords where Google puts an easy front end onto their ad platform, where you can go and set up ads yourself, Facebook as well hides a large level of depth. Unless you’re really a Facebook expert there’s a lot of things that are going on behind scenes on Facebook that you don’t know about and you don’t understand. I’ll give you an example of just one. It’s another reason why you don’t want to use Facebook as your sole web presence and that is Facebook controls the algorithm that determines how many people see any of the posts that you make. It’s typically,  less than 10% of your followers of the people who like your business page are going to see anyone of your posts. That’s a big deal.

Lastly, you want to own your platform of anything that you do online that’s really going to generate a large number of leads. It’s going to be setting up your website and controlling that website. You want to own your platform. You want to have full control over it. You want to have access to the code. You want to control your domain name. You want to be able to go in and make tweaks to each individual page. You want to be able to change how it looks, how the forms are positioned. All of these different variables affect how many leads you get through your website. Unless you control your website and you control your platform, you can’t do that. That’s what it’s all about. That’s the whole reason we’re online. We want to generate leads so we want to be on the best platform and Facebook is not it. It’s important to have a Facebook page but it should not be your company website. Do not treat it as such. Thanks.

 

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May 14 2013

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Rank #13: Should I Use QR Codes to Market My Lawn Care or Landscaping Business?

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“Anyone using QR codes in their Lawn Care Marketing strategy?”

Louise, the question I would ask is “Are any of my friends and family scanning QR codes on a regular basis?”

If they aren’t – neither are your customers.

In order for someone to use a QR code they need an Android smart phone or to download a special app for their iPhone.

Capturing a QR Code

I am willing to wager that the majority of those that have an Android smart phone don’t know what a QR is or how to use a QR code on their device.

I personally don’t know anyone that has used a QR code more than once to see how it works.

A short “easy to remember” URL is more effective.

A simple “305Lawns.com” or “GetGreener.com” that redirects to your main branded site or special offer page is something ANYONE can use AND remember when they see your truck drive by.

And I think we can all agree that the goal of any marketing we do is to get the largest response possible.

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Feb 04 2013

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Rank #14: Landscape Management Magazine – 6 Ways to Make Your Website Sell

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Landscape Management Magazine February 2013 – Written by Lawn Care Marketing Expert

Your website is your most important salesman. In fact, making sales is the ONLY reason to have a website. Here are 6 great ways to give your website the sales tools it needs to Always Be Closing…

Professional Design – Hopefully, no one reading this would ever let a member of their team show up at prospective client’s home or business wearing cutoff jeans, flip flops or a tank top. Like it or not our image projects an idea of how we operate. If your website looks sloppy, hard to use, or is just a glorified business card. It says something about your business. Make it professional and project the image you want to want to portray in your market.

Certifications, Licenses, Awards, Memberships – In a sense every salesman presents a resume of qualifications to a prospect. Letting the world know that your business is licensed, insured, a member of important trade organizations and even an award winner shows that you are serious about how you do business and that you strive to be (or are) the leader in your industry. Companies that aren’t in it for the long haul, don’t go to the trouble.

A Strong Guarantee – Giving a salesman the ability to guarantee your work is the ultimate counter to any objection a consumer would have to using your services. If you currently don’t advertise a guarantee, are you not going to fix a job when a client is unhappy? If you are, then you already have a guarantee. The only thing you’re not doing is telling people that you have a guarantee. 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, no matter what.

Public Recognition in Local Newspaper, TV or other Media – Salesmen selling services for popular or publicly recognizes companies have an easier time selling and can charge a premium for their services. Maybe you’ve been featured on the local news or other media; this recognition adds a lot of credibility to your business. It lets people know that you have a reputation, your trusted and the leader in your market.

Positive Reviews & Testimonials from Lots of Satisfied Customers – 72% of consumers said that online reviews are as trustworthy as personal recommendations. 52% of them said that positive online reviews about a local business make them more likely to give it a try. Lots of positive reviews and testimonials from real customers, prove you have a reputation for high quality service and plenty of happy clients to prove it. This tells prospects that choosing your company is a safe bet. They also serve to diffuse the inevitable negative review you will receive from competitors and former customers that can’t be satisfied.

Photos of Successful Projects, Your Staff & Fleet – A salesman that can demonstrate that you have successfully completed hundreds of different projects, just like what your prospects need, have an easier time getting that contract. Before and after photos of your work go a long way to demonstrate that fact. Showing that you have a large staff and a fleet of trucks, demonstrates you run a real business, you’ve been doing this for a long time, you have the resources to deliver and you’re not going anywhere.

Your website is a salesman, and just like a salesman it should get better and better over time. So don’t just set it up and forget about it. Continually update it, add new content to it, improve it and focus on converting visitors to customers. That’s why we have websites in the first place.

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Feb 01 2013

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Rank #15: The Power of the Mastermind

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Hi guys, Andrew here.  I am in San Francisco today.  I’ve spent the entire weekend at one of the largest Internet Marketing conferences in the world.  It literally a who’s who of Internet Marketing from all of the different disciplines whether it’s search engine optimization or local search or pay per click or conversion optimization, all of the different disciplines that we implement at Lawn Care Marketing Expert.  The best and brightest are here.  I’ve spent the past three days hanging out with them, listening to some of the speakers and really devising ways that we can get even better results for our clients.
There were four main things that we dove into this weekend.  One is the new Facebook Open Graph Search.  I don’t know if you’ve heard about that or not, but Facebook is launching their own search engine within their site.  That’s not going to affect most of you right now, but it’s a really interesting technology and we think it’s going to play a role in helping your Facebook business pages get discovered even easier in the future.  We also talked about Facebook in the sense that they’re going to be releasing advertisements on third-party sites.  That means when you’re browsing other sites, you’re going to start to see Facebook ads on other sites.  This can be a really interesting area and a really interesting way to advertise in the future.  Our clients that have budgets less than 2,500 a month, we don’t really recommend that they spend their money on Facebook advertising, but the ones that are really dominating their markets have higher budgets, over 2,500 a month, then we definitely recommend that they implement one of our Facebook campaigns.

Also lots of changes in Google AdWords strategy.  I went in-depth with that with a number of different speakers, so we’re going to be changing our strategy on what we do there.  We’ve also started to do some stuff where when a lead or a prospect visits your website, we can follow them around the Internet with an advertisement for your business and services.  That’s another big thing that we’re going to be implementing for some of our larger clients as well.

We really dug into the guts of what’s the latest, what’s the newest, most effective strategies to implement on SEO.  This is Monday.  That happened on Saturday.  I just got off the phone with my team, and they’re already implementing these strategies for our clients.  Two days have passed.  We’re already implementing this new stuff for our clients.  There’s nobody in our industry who does this.  I think last year I spent nearly 20,000 dollars just on private coaching, educational events such as this and what I call a Mastermind.  I spend a lot of money every year to stay at the very top of what we do in our industry for our clients.  That is money very well spent.  I’m going to do it again this year.  I’ll probably even spend more than 20 grand this year.  It’s very important.  That’s something that only we do.  You’re not going to find somebody that’s as aggressive as we are in their education, in furthering their education.  I always say that the best entrepreneurs are always students.  They’re always students hungry for learning more.  They’re hungry for getting better.  They’re hungry for improving at what they do.  Keep that in mind.  I encourage you to always be reading, doing different things that you can do in your own business to be a better businessman.

One of the others things that I did while I was here is I met up with my Mastermind group.  This is a term that you might hear me mention a lot.  If you’ve every read Think and Grow Rich, which is a classic business book, the power of the Mastermind is linking up with other business people at your level or higher than your level in brainstorming with them, meeting with them, becoming friends with them, hanging out with them, and sharing information about your businesses.  What’s working for you?  What’s not working?  I have this problem.  How can I fix it?  You really have a group of mentors.  I’m in a great group.  It’s a very international group.  Quite of a few of them are based in Australia, some in the UK, some in Dubai, a few in the US.  From all over the world, it’s a group of hardcore Internet marketers.  We meet every single week.  We have a giant videoconference.  We talk every Monday night.  We rip apart our businesses and figure out what’s working, what’s not working, and we improve our businesses.  I really encourage you guys to do that.

Something that I always recommend if you’ve been on a strategy call with me is one of the greatest things about going to a PLANET event or an MPMA event of CLCA, or any of other industry trade shows is I really encourage you guys to get to know other people in the industry.  If you’re not involved with PLANET get involved with PLANET.  Get to know other people in our industries.  I’m not saying becoming best friends with your competitors in your market and spill your guts and your secrets, but create your own Mastermind.  Create your own Mastermind.  Link up with other businessmen that you aspire to be like, where you want your business to be as successful as theirs and work together.  There’s things that you know that can help them.  There’s things that they know that can help you.  I really encourage you to do that, think about that.

I’m super excited.  I love coming to these things because it’s great to be around other people fighting at what they do everyday like we do.  I just leave pumped up, refreshed, excited to get back to Miami and really implement this stuff for our clients.  We have a lot of big things coming.  There were four major takeaways that I had.  Like I said, I’ve already been on the phone with my team in Miami.  They’re already implementing this stuff for our clients.  That’s what we do.  That’s what we do.  We are on top of this industry and that’s why we’re on top.  It’s because we come to these event.  We spend the money to stay at the top.  We have the training to do so.

I just wanted to say hi from San Francisco, let you know there’s a lot of big things coming.  If you haven’t started your marketing yet for this season, you need to get started.  Stop delaying.  I’ve been talking to a lot of people via email the past couple of weeks.  Some people still don’t know what they’re doing for their marketing.  You’ve got to put a marketing plan together.  Whether you use us or not, you’ve got to get a marketing plan together.  Figure out what you’re going to do.  You need to be hitting it hard this season.

Andrew over and out from San Francisco.  I will speak to you guys again next week.  Take care.

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Jan 22 2013

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Rank #16: Lawn Care Summit 2013 – A Lawn Care Website That Sells

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On January 8th, 2013 – Lawn Care Marketing Expert Presented the Opening Speech at Lawn Care Summit 2013 – How to Get Found on the Internet and Make Your Website Sell. Here is one of the nuggets he spoke about…

Most lawn care operators know that they need to be on the Internet, but having a website alone is not enough. It must get found and it must sell. But exactly how do you do that and where should you start? Your website is the most important member of your sales team and, just like a salesman; it needs to be able to close leads. Find out how to design it in a way that presents your image and values in the best light, while building credibility and trust with your prospective customers.
Hi everybody.  Andrew here with Lawn Care Marketing Expert.  I am here in Orlando, Florida, on a really gray day today and I have just finished a presentation for Lawn Care Summit 2013.  I gave an hour-long talk to about 200 attendees all about how to get found on the internet and make a website that sells.  One of the things I talked about at length was your website.  What makes a good website?  Why it’s so important and why you really need to spend time and effort to make it your ultimate sales goal.  One of the examples I gave was most people treat their website like a glorified business card.  Name, address, phone number, nothing special about it.  No thought into the message that comes across on there and that’s not the way you need to treat it.  You need to treat your website like your ultimate sale person and just like a salesperson, they should have all the tools that they need to present your company and your services in the best light, and ultimately make the sale with a client.

Let’s think about what that would entail.  If you’re a salesman and you’re wanting to sell the service of your business, what would help you?  Should you show up to your clients house in cut off jean shorts, flip-flops and a tank top.  Do you think that unprofessional appearance is going to help you sell services?  Maybe you should show up looking professional, dressing like a professional.  Maybe you may need to be really responsive.  Maybe you need to show up on time.  Maybe you need to bring proof.  Maybe you need to bring customer testimonials showing that you successfully completed other projects like theirs, you know what you’re doing, and you can complete good work.  Maybe that means photos.  Maybe you should have a super strong guarantee that takes out all of the risks of them doing business with you.

There’s a number of things you need to do to your website that can make it your ultimate sales goal.  Those are just a few, but that’s how we need to think about our website.  It’s your number one salesperson and you need to treat it as such. You need to enable your website, just as you would your sales team by giving them the tools that they need to prevent your business and your services in the best light and as your best option in your service markets.  That’s what a websites all for.  If you weren’t here with me to see the presentation this month.  If you didn’t get to attend Lawn Care Summit 2013, I encourage you to come to 2014.  Lots of great presentations.  Lots of great technical presentations and a lot of business presentations.  Covered a wide variety of topics and actually the launch was really good too.  The food was provided, lunch was provided and it was actually pretty delicious.  Maybe you don’t care about the business side. Maybe you don’t care about lawn care, whatever, but the foods really good.  I encourage you to come to Lawn Care summit 2014.  In the meantime, Andrew over and out.  I will see you guys back in Miami.  A new video coming next week.  In the meantime, subscribe to my email newsletter at the end of this video.  Subscribe to the YouTube list so you get notified whenever I post a new video.  Join us on Facebook; I post tidbits and different things that I following different in marketing blogs and other things that don’t go on the main website, so check that out.  Andrew over and out.  I will see you guys soon.  Thanks take care.

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Jan 09 2013

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Rank #17: How to Stop Competing on Price – LIVE from CLCA Landscape Industry Show

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If You are Competing on Price… You have a Marketing Problem.

Hi everybody, Andrew here.  I am live from Los Angeles, California.  I just got done surfing – no, I’m joking, I didn’t.  I just got done speaking for two hours at the California Landscape Contractor Association’s Landscape Industry Show out here in Los Angeles at the Los Angeles convention center.  You can see it right back there behind me; that’s it.  Here in front of me, actually, is the Staples center.  It’s right here. I didn’t know they were next door, so I imagine that the Lakers are probably scheduled to lose again tonight.  So, I’m looking forward to that, but I had a great talk today.  I spoke for two hours, if you can believe that.

Anybody who knows me knows that I’m generally a man of few words, so it was quite an exhausting talk.  A lot of great questions at the end, and I just wanted to share a tidbit of what I talked about today.  I talked about a wide variety of topics, obviously, all my marketing, how to grow your business with the latest on line marketing techniques, and one area in particular that spent quite a bit of time on is, how to stop competing on price.  This is something that every small business owner runs into; this is something that I run into in my own business.  We’re certainly not the cheapest marketing agency out there, but every business runs up against this, no matter if you’re a service business or you’re selling a product, at some point you’re going to be competing with a low‑cost competitor.

So, how do we battle that?  What do we do?  Well, let me start off with an example that I think hopefully everybody can relate to.  Let’s think about Apple.  Apple makes the iPhone of course, and the iPad and their biggest competitor is Samsung, who makes the Galaxy S3 phone.  As you can tell, I’m a bit of a tech geek. One of the examples I gave is, Apple only sells 20% of the Smartphones in their market, but they make 75% of the profit think about that.  They only own 20% of the market, they only do 20% of the sales, but they take home 75% of the profit.  That’s pretty huge.

Now, let’s also talk about Starbucks.  Starbucks, I go to Starbucks, I pay almost $5 for a medium latte.  I can go to McDonald’s; I can get the same size coffee for 99 cents.  There’s a 500% markup.  So, think about those two examples.  Is the iPhone or the iPad that much better, leaps and bounds better than the closest competitor, Samsung’s devices?  Is a Starbucks coffee worth 5 times as much as a McDonald’s cup of coffee?  I mean, personally, I really like McDonald’s coffee in comparison to Starbucks, but that’s another topic but think about that.

So what differentiates these two huge companies?  What makes them be able to charge a premium for their products?  The answer is marketing.  It’s a marketing thing.  Starbucks has positioned themselves as the go to company for a great cup of coffee.  Apple has positioned themselves as the company to go for with the coolest, trendiest, most high‑tech gadgets and that’s the way that they’ve positioned themselves.

So when you compete on price, and you’re constantly battling low‑ballers in your industry, the reason is you have a marketing problem.  Your marketing is not differentiating you enough between you and your competitors.  So, when you look the same as your competitors in your marketing, in your marketing message, and you sound the same in your marketing and in your marketing message as all of your competitors, think about what that leaves your consumers to make a decision on.  If everybody in their market is offering a commodity service and everybody looks and sounds the same, the only difference is your price.

So, this is where you have to do a better job in your marketing.  You need to differentiate why you’re different.  You need to list all of your unique selling points; the fact that you have insurance, the fact that you’ve been in business for ages, the fact that you have your license to use specific chemicals to do the different things that you do as a business owner.  All of these are your unique selling points.

Let’s go back to Apple.  Apple, whenever they release a new product, they produce a 5 minute video going into minute detail about how much time that they took to produce the glass, to cut the chassis of their new iMac, Macbook.  How much time that they took, and how much effort and attention to detail that they spent to produce this product.  Well, I hate to break it to you, but pretty much all smart phones are proud more or less the same way. But because Apple’s gone to the trouble of really differentiating themselves and really breakdown the details of how they do their process, they’ve made that process their own unique selling point, even though all of their competitors make their smart phones exactly the same way.

So, when it comes to stopping competing on price, you have to do a better job with your marketing.  You have to do a better job differentiating yourself from everybody else in your market that does the same things.  Yes, there’s always going to be consumers that are only going to want to buy based on price, and they’re not your ideal customers, and that’s always going to be the case.  But the goal here is to be the premium company charging premium prices for premium services and in order to do that, you have to be a better marketer.  The more meaningful differences that you can highlight, the more of a premium you can charge.  So, think about that.  I hope that gives you a good perspective on pricing strategy and marketing strategy.  Andrew, over and out.  I’m going to go back to the beach.  See ya!

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Feb 14 2013

7mins

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Rank #18: Push Yourself to Grow Your Lawn Care Business

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Is this the year you will turn your business into a success?

What is the hardest thing you have ever done?

Maybe it’s a difficult personal goal like losing weight or drinking less.

Maybe it’s reaching a business goal like breaking $1 Million or 10!

Whatever it is…

The only way we ever get there is if we push ourselves…

Are you willing to do WHATEVER IT TAKES to be successful?

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Feb 25 2013

5mins

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Rank #19: Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising for Lawn Care Businesses – The Cold Hard Facts

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What startling facts did Google discover in their study of 400 customers with 1st page rankings running PPC Pay-Per-Click Advertising at the same time?

Hi guys.  Today I want to talk to you about pay-per-click advertising and why you should be doing it.  Hopefully, everybody watching this is already running a pay-per-click campaign at full speed.  Hopefully, you’ve hired an expert to do it for you, and you’re already getting leads and clients from that.  It’s a prime time of the season.  You want to be catching the new clients right now at the beginning of the season and keep them all year.  It makes them even more profitable the longer that you have them.  Rather than me selling on pay-per-click advertising, I always think it’s more effective to let the facts speak for themselves.

In this particular case, the facts come from Google.  Google performed a study covering 400 of their customers to see if it was actually necessary to run a pay-per-click campaign when you’re already showing up on the first page of Google.  You’re already ranking on that first page of Google, so you’re already getting visitors.  You’re already getting traffic.  People are coming to your web site.  What did they find?  Overwhelmingly on average, they found that 89% of the visitors that you’re going to get from a pay-per-click campaign are in addition to the traffic, to the visitors that you would be getting when you’re already showing up organically on the first page of Google by running a search engine optimization campaign.  Eighty-nine percent of your visitors are going to be new traffic.  That’s pretty impressive.  That’s pretty good.

Let’s say you have the best case scenario.  Let’s say you’re running an awesome search engine optimization campaign, running full speed.  You’ve already got that highly coveted number one ranking.  You’re already at the number one rank on that first page of Google for your most important search [inaudible 00:01:56].  What happens if you add pay-per-click to that?  Google tested this as well.  They found that even if you have the number one ranking, 50% of your visitors that you’re going to be getting from pay-per-click advertising are going to be new visitors that you would not have gotten otherwise.  That’s pretty big.  That’s pretty big.  Basically what you’re doing is you’re casting a wider net.  You’re getting traffic from multiple sources.  You’re getting traffic from pay-per-click.  You’re getting traffic from search optimization.  If you’re one of our clients, you’re also getting  traffic from our local lead sources.  That’s pretty powerful stuff.

Why do we want to do that?  Why do we want to cast a wide net?  There’s a lot of opportunity out there.  Your competitors in your markets, even your bigger ones, I guarantee that 99% of them are not doing everything that they possibly can be doing in their markets to capture customers.  You want to put your business, you want to position your business in every corner that one of your customers might be looking so long as it’s profitable, so long as you’re tracking your numbers, and the marketing gives you a return on your investment.  You want to be everywhere your customers look.  That means local search sites.  That means getting good positioning on the first page of Google through search engine optimization, and it means paid ads.  That’s three different ways that we can get in front of potential customers and get new visitors to our site and ultimately get new customers.  Pay-per-click is a great supplement to the other on line marketing that you’re doing.  You need to be doing it.  Our clients, we recommend that they run campaigns year round.  If you think about it, if there’s less demand, you’re just going to get less clicks, so you’re going to be paying less.  If there’s demand, why wouldn’t you want to be in front of your customers when there’s demand?  Think about that as well.

If you take away one thing from this video, it is marketing is not an either or game.  It’s not just relying on word of mouth marketing.  It’s not just relying on a door hangar or a direct mail campaign.  It’s not just doing search engine optimization.  Each of these different funnels, each of these different channels will get you different customers.  The more that you get in front of the same potential customers using different avenues like SEO or a door hangar, the more effective your marketing is going to be.  Being in front of your customer multiple times is going to multiply the effectiveness of your marketing.

Don’t think that you need to be choosing one marketing plan, and that’s all you’re going to do this season.  The way that you need to be looking at it is what else can I be doing to capture more customers, to get in front of additional prospects, to get in the places where my competitors aren’t advertising?  Where can I attract more customers and still be profitable?  That’s the way that we need to look at our marketing.

I just wanted to share those facts with you and encourage you guys to think about doing some pay-per-click marketing this season.  It’s been very effective for our clients.

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Feb 27 2013

5mins

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Rank #20: SEO is Dead

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That’s right, I said it, SEO is dead, but I don’t mean the strategy that we employ for our clients, I mean the term. It no longer has any meaning.

Let me tell you why I’m saying this. I got a call this morning from a gentleman asking about our SEO services. He’s already using an SEO company. He said he had been using them for about 12 months in fact, but he’d gotten no new clients and he wasn’t showing up for his most important keywords. So I asked him, “Well what’s your budget? What are you spending with these guys?” He said, “Well I’m spending $599 a month.” And I said, “Well $599 a month, that’s a really, really low SEO budget. I’m not really surprised that you’re not getting results.”

Then he cut me off. He said, “No, no, no, not $599 a month, I’m spending five dollars and ninety-nine cents a month.”


Download Our Lawn Care & Landscaper’s Guide to Choosing an SEO Company…
So after my head exploded, I just wanted to reach through the phone and shake him by the shoulders and ask him, “What are you doing? How can you think that you can possibly get any possible results for such a ridiculous monthly rate?” Then I got to thinking, it’s not really his fault because everybody and their mother say that they offer search engine optimization these days. It’s gotten so bad that the term no longer has any meaning because what’s delivered by one company claiming to offer search engine optimization is completely different than what another company is offering. I’ve seen companies that say they offer search engine optimization when all that they’re actually doing is maybe adding some Meta description tags to your pages and submitting your website to search engines. That is never going to get you the results that you’re expecting from a search engine optimization campaign. But companies out there are claiming to offer SEO and are doing just that and that is ridiculous. Unfortunately, companies can get away with it though because consumers don’t know any better and so they take advantage of this lack of knowledge.

Think about it like this. What would one of your consumers have gotten had they chosen the half price, cut-rate lawn care company in your market? They’re going to get shotty work, they’re going to get dead grass, they’re going to get broken sprinkler heads that don’t get repaired. They’re going to get a company that doesn’t have insurance, that doesn’t have a license, that doesn’t have training, and doesn’t have any true expertise at what they’re actually doing. Just because a lawn care company has a pickup truck and a lawnmower, does not make them a lawn care or landscaping professional. The same is true with SEO. Just because somebody has an internet connection and a computer does not mean they’re qualified to handle your online marketing, but you don’t know that unless you educate yourself to make the best decision possible. All SEO is not created equal. So if you’re paying peanuts, you shouldn’t really be expecting results.

So guys, I’ve included a free guide on how to choose an SEO company for lawn care and landscaping business and that is included right here below the video. Click on the link, read it, make an educated choice. Good luck guys, take care.

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Mar 07 2013

4mins

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