In the 1970s, consumers saw about 500 ad messages a day. Fast-forward to today, consumers view about 5,000 ad messages a day. About five years ago, digital viewing surpassed that of TV viewing. Jonathan Pedersen, vice president of business development at Monrovia, said these factors alone show the value of marketing on digital platforms.
“You need a website today,” Pedersen said. “But if your website can’t be found quickly or doesn’t have good information that people are looking for, then it’s better off not to have one. So, how often you update your website is really important. Consumers still want to touch and see products such as plants, but many also want to do that from a laptop or phone.”
During New England Grows, Pedersen shared what marketing techniques have worked well for funneling Monrovia’s prospective customers into loyal customers in recent years, and he noted these can also work among landscape contractors. He offered a few steps businesses need to consider to market their brand well in a digital age:
- Awareness: Pedersen said the first step landscapers should take in marketing their brand is to build awareness about it. Some successful ways of doing that today include public relations tactics, word-of-mouth, having good online display, incorporating paid content on a website and direct mail.
- Attitude: The second step in marketing today should be to get consumers to form an opinion or attitude about a brand. Ways to do this well include posting on social media, writing a blog on the company website, email to consumers and using third-party websites to help.
- Purchase point: Third, landscapers should get consumers to make a purchase. Media that helps with this includes labels, posters, displays and in-person communication.
- Service: After a consumer commits to the business once, Pedersen said to market to them so they become regular consumers of the brand. Digital approaches that help with this include social media posts, self-service buttons on websites and text codes.
- Customer loyalty: Pedersen said this should be the ultimate goal with each consumer – to get them to a point of loyalty where they will prefer your brand over others. Ways to do this include providing them with giveaways, customer satisfaction surveys, emailing customers and loyalty programs.
With all these steps, Pedersen concluded contractors should plan a year in advance.
“You can’t just do these one at a time,” he said. “Plan now for 2018. What we do is we break the year down into months and make a calendar. We tell customers what we’ll be marketing each month, and I would say the same could be done by landscapers. Sit down with staff and lay out a calendar.”
Pedersen also recommended having a mobile-friendly website when applying digital marketing tactics such as posting regular blogs on a website, sharing company news on social media or encouraging consumers to make purchase decisions on the company website. Although this may require redesigning a website or having two different sites, contractors can benefit from a mobile-friendly site with more buyers turning to digital media. “People don’t like pinching the screen on their mobile devices to view a website, so this is something that has to be done, and this will be even more critical in the next 10 years,” he said.
In addition, he said digital marketing tactics enable companies to track marketing results easier.
“It’s amazing the tracking ability you can get through digital marketing,” Pedersen said. “If we place an ad on a website, it can tell us where (the ad viewers) are at and shows me a map. This helps us drive sales.”