According to Zippia, there are almost 650,000 landscaping companies in the US today. That’s a testament to the immense demand for landscaping-related services, but it also means it’s harder than ever to get the attention of potential customers.
The good news is that a few simple steps can help you get your business name out there and build a thriving landscaping company. We’ll explore 10 critical steps you need to take.
What comes to mind when you think of Nike, Apple, or Tesla? Strong branding. These are iconic companies and there’s no doubt in their customers’ minds what they do or what they stand for. You need to do the same thing for your landscaping business.
Start with the basics – what’s your company mission? What are your goals? What is your vision? These are more than marketing statements – they codify what your business is all about, how it achieves growth, and what it stands for.
Next, you’ll need to determine your brand services and products. What landscaping-related services will you offer? How will those connect with your brand?
Your brand voice and style are also crucial. This applies to everything from your company’s logo to your employees’ uniforms. Brand voice is the emotion you convey to customers at each touchpoint, whether that’s an initial email to ask about services or a handshake when wrapping up a project.
Finally, you need to decide where you’ll position your business within the landscaping industry. With almost 650,000 competitors nationwide, it’s crucial to determine where you fit in. That begins with your rates. Will you choose a low, medium, or high pricing tier? Not only will that determine the cost of your services, but it will also affect who you market those services to and the number of potential customers within a specific geographic area.
Next, decide if you’ll be doing installation, maintenance, or a combination of both. Depending on your geographic area, maintenance alone can be a lucrative business. For example, if your area is dominated by older homes with mature landscaping that need regular trimming and cutting, but little in the way of new installation, this might be a good route for you.
Lastly, you’ll need to decide if you want to offer additional services during the off-peak seasons. Chances are good you’ll have your hands full cutting grass and pruning shrubs from May through September, but what about the rest of the year? Some options to consider include:
By this point, you’ve decided which services you’ll offer throughout the year. Now you need to communicate those services to your customers through traditional advertising like circulars and flyers, as well as through digital marketing methods, such as email and social media advertising.
However, it’s about more than how you get your message across. You also need to consider the timing. Specifically, there’s a lag between when you advertise and when your customers will use those services. For example, if you want to build your business for spring and summer, you’ll need to advertise during the winter. If you want to promote your winter services, you’ll need to start marketing them in the fall.
We’ve touched on the concept of an audience a couple of times, but it bears further scrutiny. No landscaping company can be all things to all people. Additionally, you may need to market your services to very different audiences at different times of the year.
The age and development level of your business will also play a role here. Is yours a new company? A mature business? Do you have an existing customer base you can market to or are you trying to grow your audience?
The seasonality of the landscaping business also means you may need to change things up throughout the year. You may be able to market directly to homeowners during the summer months but switch to marketing to businesses and housing associations during the fall and winter. That will require segmenting your marketing campaigns.
You can also try bundling services. For instance, offer a combination of the most in-demand services at different times of the year for a rate slightly less than what each service would cost on its own.
Networking with other businesses is also a good way to build your audience and get the word out while tapping into another company’s customer base. You might want to partner with a local arborist or construction company – any firm in a complementary niche rather than a competitor – to offer coupons or discounted services.
Successful marketing requires funding. That means you’ll need to develop a budget. This will require some structure, including an overall marketing budget, and then individual budgets for specific campaigns. Track your spending and balance it against the return on each campaign so that you can home in on the most effective methods and eliminate those that don’t generate much ROI.
In addition to structuring your budget, you need to know where the money is coming from. Is it surplus money? Is it from a business loan? A good rule of thumb is to use 10% of your profits for marketing while putting the remaining 90% to other uses.
Who will handle your marketing efforts? Unless your landscaping business is large and has a well-established internal team, it’s probably better to work with an outside agency. That allows you to do what you do best while having access to cross-industry expertise and deep experience in marketing.
Marketing should be year-round, but individual campaigns should be time-based. You will need a combination of both if you’re going to successfully advertise to current and potential customers. You’ll need to create a cyclical timeline that ensures you’re able to market your seasonal services ahead of the actual season (as discussed previously), while also getting the word out about special offers, coupons, discounts, and other time-sensitive incentives.
Once upon a time, you could put out an ad in the local paper and make sure your business was listed in the Yellow Pages, and that was all you had to do. Things are different today. You need to harness a combination of marketing platforms, including social media, PPC, SEO, and email marketing, as well as traditional advertising methods, like postcards, flyers, magazines, and billboards. Don’t neglect the power of your team, either. Give marketing material to your landscaping crews – they can distribute those in person.
This is where the rubber meets the road, so to speak. Chances are good that you can handle some marketing material creation in-house. For instance, if you want your team to hand out flyers, those can usually be designed and printed pretty cost-effectively.
But other marketing collateral will require a professional. Your website is a great example, as are PPC campaigns, billboards, and magazine ads. When in doubt, turn to a professional to ensure that your marketing collateral reflects your brand’s style, tone, and voice and connects with your audience.
The big day has come – you’re launching your marketing campaign. There’s more to do here than just pushing the “go” button. You also need to ensure that everyone in the business is aware that the campaign is launching and what that means. Do your customer service reps know about the campaign? Are they prepared for the jump in calls and emails? Any successful marketing campaign must integrate with all parts of your business.
A successful marketing campaign can give a huge boost to profitability and brand recognition. However, if you don’t monitor and track the results of your campaigns, you’ll have no real idea whether it’s working or not. It’s about more than boosting the number of email inquiries or phone calls you receive. A successful marketing campaign should help you build a stronger, more successful business.
By monitoring your campaign results, you can tell what’s working and what’s not. Based on that, you can fine-tune future campaigns, doubling down on the most effective channels and methods so that you’re maximizing the return you see on each dollar in your marketing budget.
Marketing is a critical consideration for all landscaping businesses at every level and price tier. Whether you’re marketing to middle-class homeowners, high-end neighborhoods, municipalities, businesses, or some other audience, getting the word out the right way is essential.
Understand that your business may need to pivot at different times of year – both in terms of services offered and audience segments served. You also need to understand which marketing channels offer the most traction and have a trusted professional firm to handle any aspect of the process that your in-house team cannot.
Ultimately, following the 10 steps outlined in this post should help you define your brand, connect services with values and processes, and get your name in front of the people who need what you offer.
As you implement these marketing strategies, remember that success lies not only in promoting your services but also in safeguarding your landscaping business. Remember, even if you’re exempt because you’re a sole business owner, have only 1099 employees, and aren’t required by your state to carry workers’ comp coverage, it’s always a smart decision. Don’t think your health insurance will cover the many repercussions of a workplace accident.
Additionally, you may be required by law to provide workers’ comp insurance for your employees. Thankfully, there are ways to reduce the costs of workers’ compensation coverage without sacrificing protection.