Ben Schloss, director of marketing with Green Lawn Fertilizing, recognizes that marketing is just one cog in the machine of running a business — but it’s an important one for growth.
In his session at LANDSCAPES, titled “10 Marketing Tactics to Grow Your Business by 20%,” Schloss talked about methods for success in marketing.
- Slay the Google Dragon — Schloss says Google is transforming how customers find your business and interact with your site. He recommends getting to know Google My Business, Google Ads and Google Local Services. “There’s a holistic aspect to the SEO results that show how these are connected,” Schloss said. According to Schloss, companies should be claiming their Google My Business account to ensure the information provided is accurate. He also said adding photos and generating reviews help boost your profile.
- Clear Up Those SEO Storm Clouds — Schloss recommends targeting title tags and meta descriptions to the keywords you want to rank for. But Schloss said the most important tool for good SEO results is content. “If you build great content, they will come,” Schloss said. “What Google rewards is covering the intended search. So, if you’re doing blogs and updating your website with good content, you’ll have some hits you’ll get significant traffic to.” He noted that the content being created should be as local as possible to your market. Additionally, Schloss said establishing profiles on third party sites (like Yelp or Home Advisor) can also be beneficial to SEO practices.
- Make it Personal — Schloss said when it comes to marketing put yourself in your customer’s shoes. “Take the extra step to ensure that communication with your prospects and customers come from people and not just your brand,” he said. ‘Because when it comes from people you get better response.” Schloss said automating technology can be utilized to streamline this process.
- Make it Easy to Buy from You — Don’t expect customers to read endless paragraphs of content on your page, Schloss said. Make it as simple as possible for people to find the information they are looking for. “You want to make call to actions easy for customers, but you want to make them easy for you too,” Schloss said.
- Not Everyone is Your Customer — “You need to understand who you are speaking to,” Schloss said. Schloss said the Four P’s of marketing help identify your ideal customer. They are price, promotion, product and place. “The big thing is to understand where you stack up against the competition and is where you want to be consistent with where you are,” Schloss said.
- Have Your Cake and Eat it Too — It all comes down to leads versus branding. Some marketing initiatives are better than others. Things like radio or billboard ads only emphasize the branding. Schloss said the best ROI comes from things like direct mail, Facebook ads and display ads. “We got 1.5 million impressions last year through Facebook ads,” he said. “That can certainly justify the spend.”
- Don’t Flush Your Leads Down the Toilet — Schloss asked the audience how many people have reached out to a service provider and never heard back. Most everyone had that experience. He admitted Green Lawn Fertilizing has done this. “All of us have some leaks in the pipe and it’s about minimizing those leaks,” he said. Schloss said doing audits on your leads can prevent this from becoming a problem. Things like call reporting can also keep prospects from falling through the cracks, according to Schloss. Reheating cold leads is good to do too. “Having that as an automated process makes a ton of sense,” Schloss said.
- Generate Reviews — “If people are uncertain about a service provider, they judge your company by how many reviews you have,” Schloss said. “Generate as many as you possibly can.” Schloss suggested doing it at strategic times. “We ask for reviews when lawns are looking their best,” he said. He said following up immediately after a service is also key. Schloss said technicians should try and get a review while they’re on site. Again, Schloss said make it as easy as possible for your customers to leave a review. He said having to jump through numerous filters can be cumbersome to them.
- Have a Referral Plan — Schloss said the best thing you can do is just ask for referrals from your customers. “The thing with referrals is they very often happen organically,” he added. Schloss said make sure customers know if you have a referral program. He recommended if companies don’t have one already, they should build one. “If you reward them, they’ll more likely to give you a second, third and even fourth referral,” Schloss said. Additionally, he said thank you notes still go a long way and should be sent out.
- Always be Learning — Look for classes and certifications. “Have learning as a daily thing in your life,” Schloss said. “Take five minutes to learn something. Expand your knowledge base.” Schloss said it can be as simple as reading a blog post every day. And it doesn’t have to be on marketing, he noted.