To get a good idea of where spending your advertising budget will actually generate leads that payoff put your tools away, lock up the digger, grab your lunch box and come out of the garden you are landscaping and have lunch in the town center and watch people.
What do you see? Prospects eating lunch one-handed, the other hand scrolling a smart-phone, or just sitting on a bench eating a takeaway salad staring at a laptop.
Not very many reading the local paper and eating fish and chips. How life has changed.
What do you want to do? Bring back the old days or get with it and rethink your advertising strategy. I know what I did.
Define your niche.
Get real leads by using low cost effective advertising that is targeted at your sector.
Look at the best advertising medium to generate leads in the gardening Industry including PPC, Social media, Classified adds in the local paper and targeted websites.
And will help landscape gardeners and related trades including landscape gardeners, gardeners, garden drainage contractors, pond builders, lawn care operatives, garden designers, fencing contractors, patio builders, garden machinery manufacturers, fertiliser and pesticide suppliers and safe play area designers and installers get more from marketing budgets.
Don't waste anymore of your time reading this if.......
What is a Niche Market?
The total garden industry is huge worth about £5bn in sales each year and is made up off growers, sellers, importers, exporters, professional gardeners planting and maintaining plants and soil, pesticides, herbicides, garden tool and equipment manufacturers and suppliers and us the garden designers and landscape gardeners.
All of these taken separately are niche markets or put simply our bit to go for.
For reasons that are mostly obvious, but not to everyone I still get lawn care companies advertising on my pond page, advertising to the total market doesn't work, your advert ends up in the wrong place is costly and non-effective because the advertising budget is spread to thinly and a complete waste of both your budget and time, I know because years ago I went down that route when I first decided to become a landscape gardener.
Luckily quite early on I discovered niche marketing and concentrated on my bit of the bigger market "my own niche" landscaping and that's the bit (niche) we are interested in targeting and marketing separately to get a good return on our advertising money.
I'm not going to complicate things, but depending on our skills even our landscape gardening niche can be broken down into more target-able bits. leveling sloping gardens, draining a soggy lawn, laying a paved patio, garden fencing and many more landscaping services within general landscaping.
The smaller and more exclusive the niche the more likely you are to get a lead and the work because less tradespeople are targeting it.
Here are just two examples; Garden and lawn drainage (almost all gardens on clay have a drainage problem) and Leveling sloping gardens (everyone with a sloping garden wants it terraced or levelled) Google my keywords now to see that apart from me most of the first page results are not actually offering services whereas queries for fencing and laying patios are much more competitive.
Needless to say I target these niches for leads that are easier to get and far more profitable because I am not queuing to provide the cheapest quote.
How to Identify Your Niche
To identify your own niche within the greater gardening market it is important to think about what you are good at and what you like doing and probably most important can you make a good living out of it.
What are you good at and enjoy doing? Within the garden market there are some things we like doing more than others I hate digging and cannot select or recommend plants by their Latin names, but I do enjoy using a digger and selecting and working with natural stone, so my niche is already being defined, soft-landscaping is not for me, but hard-landscaping is. You will live longer and make more money doing something you enjoy.
What are your gardening or landscaping skills and experience? In my case I was experienced and good at selling and managing people, but had very little experience or knowledge of landscaping for various reasons my luck was down and I needed a job (I'm one of those people proper trades people don't like) I got a bit of experience from poorly paid jobs done at mates rates, but then more by luck than judgment found I was good at SEO (it was a lot easier in those days to get on first page) and built a small website that worked and brought in a lot of leads meaning I could hire experienced people to do the skilled stuff.
So my niche had to produce well paid landscaping jobs where I could hire the skills and concentrate on sales (doing the quote and convincing people we were the right team) and managing the project.
What is your target market? You will start with a broad target (anyone who needs landscaping), but will need to narrow it down from there and the stuff we have talked about above will be key in helping you do that. Your target market should match your skills, likes and experience and most important of all be profitable.
Now you have defined your niche it is important you do not waste money advertising your services to the whole market.
Aim your advertising at your niche .
Step back and think outside the box for a moment!
Your advert for terracing a sloping garden, placed in a glossy plant finder magazine or website is unlikely to work for you. Why would anyone looking to buy plants need your services! if its ppc they might click on the advert (you pay for every click), but they won't need your services. On the other hand, an advert for a plant food promising to make plants grow twice as big and be twice as beautiful as the neighbours plants could work.
Your landscaping services advert placed on a website that is Search engine optimized (SEO) to target your niche and is visited by prospects actively searching for your particular skills would be 100 times more likely to produce a lead.
Advertising a niche service within the gardening industry
Advertising niche services or products on websites that rank strongly on organic search terms (keywords) matching your business is much easier, cheaper and more productive than advertising to the whole gardening industry, since a niche has terms of needs, wants, or preferences that can be translated into meaningful keywords.
The UK.gardening industry is a huge market worth £5bn in sales, consisting of many niches with many different services and products within it and advertising your own skills or USPS (unique selling points) to the people that are actually searching online for your particular service and skills is a lot cheaper and a whole lot more productive than uncontrolled (PPC) pay per click or buying space on a non-targeted webpage.
If you are going to use PPC try to set up and control it yourself rather than use an advertising agency, who are obviously in it for the ppc commission money, that way you can avoid your landscape services ad showing up and being clicked on a car sales website.
How can i get leads for my landscape gardening business?
There are a lot of people out there who want a patio built, fencing fixed, waterlogged gardens drained, gardens terraced, ponds constructed, garden makeovers and gardens designed, you have just got to find them and engage and speak directly to them in your advert.
Finding your customers is the hard bit, buying advertising space on websites targeting your particular niche or using targeted PPC does find them.
The answer (unsurprisingly) is; with a website related to and targeted to your niche.
Bearing cost in mind and the fact that nothing happens without a lead you need to get this right.
Some will suggest using social media such as Facebook to generate leads, but most of those people are already your friends and family and will expect mates rates. OK. if you’re just lonely, don't need to eat, or have an empty order book and are a bit bored, It’s easy to build a list of people that just want free stuff. Better to put your effort into generating leads that turn into customers willing to pay for your hard work.
Social media is largely overrated for businesses like ours. Some landscapers even hire agencies to work on their Facebook presence thinking it's a good way to get leads, it's not. We might kid ourselves into thinking we are working when we are messing about on Facebook and Twitter, were not. Don't waste working time or advertising budget on social media.
A few, especially the ones not yet (or maybe never will be) into computers, search, websites or S.E.O. will recommend your local newspaper, where together with up to 50 other garden services companies advertising on the same classified pages you will end up queuing to offer the cheapest quote.
My website is optimized to bring searchers (people looking for garden landscaping, design and related services) to unique landing pages where they read about the particular service they are looking for.
I'm making no excuses I am selling to you. Over the years I have optimized my website to attract visitors that really do need my landscaping services. As I said earlier in this article visitors are one thing the all important conversion rate into leads is another. I'm getting more visitors than I can convert into jobs.
Flowerpotman.com is optimized to bring people looking for garden landscaping, design and related services to landing pages where YOUR advert will result in either a telephone call or click through to your website if you have one (no problem if you haven't) to make an appointment for you to visit and price up the job, produce a quote, carry out the work and get paid.
I am placing one advert on each page priced from only £20 for a month with a money back guarantee. You will receive at least one lead or your money back.