Monica Hemingway, owner of Tree Care Marketing Solutions, said marketing for a tree care business can be entirely different than marketing for another business in the green industry.
“What works for tree care might not work for something else, and what works for something else might not work for tree care,” she said at the Tree Care Industry Association’s TCI EXPO in Columbus, Ohio.
But one thing is clear. Tree care businesses absolutely must be doing some type of online marketing to reach new customers.
“This is something that will show results in about nine months,” she said. “This is not an overnight solution, but it will pay off.”
Before you start your online marketing efforts, Hemingway recommends considering the following questions:
- What are your business goals? It’s important to think long-term, maybe even 10 years down the line.
- Who are your customers? Think more detailed than the typical ‘anyone who will buy my service.’ Consider your ideal customers and the decision makers. What are their demographics?
- What problems will you solve for your customer? Focus on them first. Your services are last in this message.
Your website. Your website is the centerpiece of online marketing and your marketing efforts draw people to your website. “You can’t afford to have a bad website,” Hemingway said.
“You should think of your website like you would of a new chipper or investment,” she said. “You have to maintain it.”
Owning your website makes you look more credible. This means you own the domain name. The administrator and the billing name for the website should be your company, not a third party. Use host managers like WP Engine or SiteGround to ensure your website is safe. Websites without SSL registrations will present visitors with warning messages, deterring your visitors.
Consider a simple design with your company phone number at the top right corner, a navigation bar across the top and a clear indication of your service area.
Your reputation. Hemingway said customers are almost more likely to rely on online reviews than recommendations from friends or family. To begin building your online reputation, businesses should utilize Google My Business, a page on Google that populates verified business. This will allow customers to leave Google reviews.
“Hand your customer a postcard that directs them to leave a review if they are happy with their service,” Hemingway said. “You can even put the directive on their invoice.”
Once the reviews are in place, it’s important to respond to each one, whether they are good or bad.