Generating more leads - Gardening Services
Leads – Lifeblood of a Business
The lifeblood for any gardener is finding new customers. To do that you need to be discovered and talked about. When it comes to being discovered you can’t be a wallflower and hope that people come to you. You have to be bold and take the imitative. There is business out there, you just have to have the correct tools to go and take it.
There are three steps to generating more leads and being successful
- Know who you are
- Tell others who you are
- Be known for who you are
Knowing Who You Are
Before you do anything, you have to identify who your customers are; what their problems are likely to be; and how you will go about solving them.
Avoid the temptation to try and target anybody and everybody. If you go down that route you’ll be a busy fool and will fail to gain leads that convert into business. You have to gain trust, and to gain trust you have to present yourself as an expert and appeal to your potential customers on an emotional level.
To be seen as an expert, you need to be known as a specialist.
Consider your customers and what they are looking for at the point of need. For example, someone looking for a jobbing gardener to tidy up their back garden once a week is not going to be searching for a landscape gardener. Likewise, a potential customer with half an acre and looking for a garden fit for Chelsea is not going to want a self-employed gardener with a rake, hoe and lawn mower. The customer needs are totally different. The customer will search for people that they know will meet their current requirement rather than search for someone that ‘may’ be able to help.
Just because you are known to specialise in something doesn’t mean that you can’t do anything else. For example, McDonalds is known for selling beef burgers. That doesn’t stop them selling fried chicken. Heinz is known for their baked beans, but it doesn’t stop them making ketchup, soups and puddings. Diversification is fine, but be known for one thing first.
Once you have decided on your speciality, consider what sort of customer you are aiming to attract. What is their disposable income? Using the previous example, do you wish to be known for small or large projects? Knowing your potential customer will determine how you look and present yourself. If your speciality is large projects involving design and landscaping then everything you do must tie in with the customer perception of your business and brand. A customer is much more likely to use your services if: your website showcases amazing gardens you’ve created and you turn up to inspect the job wearing a clean set of overalls featuring your company name and logo. If you are aiming at the more affordable end of the market, you may wish to tone everything down a notch or two for fear of being perceived as too expensive.
Telling Others Who You Are
Get as much information as you can from existing and previous customers. Find out their likes and dislikes, what they like to do and where they like to go. This will help target similar people.
1 – Turn your website into a lead generating machine
If you don’t have a website then get one. You need a place where you can direct customers to find useful information. If you cannot afford a website, then as a minimum you should have a business page on Facebook and a listing on Google My Business. However, relying on social media limits the number of ways you can promote yourself online.
Don’t try and kid yourself that your customers don’t go online and research different electricians before they make a decision. They do. The days of customer loyalty are almost over as customers increasingly consider all the various options open to them. According to the Office of National Statistics (ONS), in 2020 an average of 46.6 million people in the UK access the internet on any given day and only 7% of households in the UK do not have wi-fi.
Ensure the information on your website is accurate and the download speeds are fast. People have become increasingly impatient. If a web page doesn’t download within a second or two, the prospect is very likely to move on to someone else. One of the biggest reasons for slow download speeds is the size of images. Make sure all images are optimised for website use. This means that the image has a low file size for quick download without sacrificing the quality of the image on the screen.
Make sure your website is easy to navigate and that prospects can easily find the information they are looking for. Put yourself in their position and consider the sort of questions you would ask before purchasing your services and then answer them. Most prospects will be looking to find out if you can solve their immediate problem with some kind of guide to how much it will cost. Do not be afraid of putting a ‘from’ guide price for services on your website. Prospective customers want to know that they are in the right ‘ballpark’ before contacting you. It’s also worth remembering that the only reason that someone is on your websites is that they want to buy.
On the subject of contact, make it easy for customers to contact you. Use contact forms that ‘autofill’ and provide a ‘call now’ button for customers to press when using a mobile. Do not underestimate how important the smartphone is. 60% of internet users say that a mobile phone is the primary device they use when accessing the internet. Make sure your website looks good and works well on a mobile device in both portrait and landscape positions.
When writing content for your website use ‘you’ rather than ‘I’ or ‘we’. You are looking to provide solutions to your customer’s problems, not to blow your own trumpet.
Show your prospects how you have solved problems in the past through the use of testimonials and case studies. More about this later.
If you’re working within a geographical area, mention the fact that you are the ‘specialist’ for people living in that locality. Customers like dealing with local tradespeople. It gives them confidence.
Create special offers dependent on the time of year and publicise them on the homepage of your website, with online adverts and social media campaigns.
Ensure that your website has a security certificate. This means that your web address will start with https: rather than http: A security certificate gives prospective customers confidence as they know that any personal information that they may leave on your website, like in a contact form, will be encrypted and will not be stolen by third parties. Also, it prevents search engines like Google highlighting your website as insecure.
Remember at all times that your website is not a pretty brochure, it’s a device for generating business leads. Every page should solve a problem and direct the reader to contact you.
Make sure that Google Analytics is set up on your website. Google Analytics and its search console is free and offers you a wealth of information regarding your website’s audience and their behaviours.
For help creating a lead generating website, using Google Analytics and establishing a search console – Call the Local Pages Digital Team on 0117 923 1122.
2 – Reviews
As mentioned earlier, customers will use research to ensure you can solve their problems. This includes finding out from others that you can be trusted to carry out any work to a high standard. To achieve this, you need to encourage previous customers to leave positive reviews regarding your work and to actively recommend your services. This is the modern-day equivalent of a ‘word of mouth’ recommendation.
If you don’t already have a Google My Business (GMB) account, set one up. As well as helping search engines to find your business, customers can also leave reviews. You can share your reviews by downloading and sending your customers a link that will take them straight to the review section of your GMB page where they can read previous comments and leave reviews of their own. Put links to your GMB reviews on all pages of your website.
Ask every customer to leave a review. You’ll be surprised how many will do it. By inviting reviews, you are telling your customers that you are proud of your work and can be trusted. It’s a good idea to have business cards printed with instructions on how to leave a review. These can be left with customers on the completion of any job. If a review hasn’t been left after a couple of weeks, contact the customer again to ensure they are happy with your work and ask them again to review your work.
Create a customer service questionnaire for customers to fill in when work is completed and use the information to inform others of how well you carry out your work. For example, most people employing tradespeople would consider tidiness and cleanliness as being important. To say that 96% of your customers gave you 5/5 for cleanliness would be a good selling point
Make sure that all reviews are honest and genuine and don’t forget to thank customers for leaving a review or filling out a questionnaire.
3- Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).
Over 3.6 million people in the UK search for a tradesperson every month on Google. Therefore, you need to make sure that your website is optimised. This enables search engines to find and display your website when a prospective customer searches for your products and services. The more your website is optimised the higher the search engine will place it within their results.
Google’s job is to display the most relevant websites to the user making the search. Therefore if your website is well structured, informative and trusted on a particular subject, you have every chance of appearing high up in search results and generating enquiries. Google takes into account many considerations (ranking signals) when deciding where to rank a website, some of the most common are below:
- How relevant is the content to the question being asked?
- Is the website optimised to be viewed on mobile devices?
- What is the quality and length of the content?
- Are the images labelled properly for non-display devices?
- How easy is the content to read?
- Are there backlinks to the website from other websites with more authority on the subject being searched for?
- How fresh is the content?
- Is there a site map of the website to make information easier for the search engines to find?
- Do page titles and descriptions match the content of the pages they refer to?
The long-term benefits of an optimised website cannot be underestimated, as appearing on search engine’s first page of results will cut your advertising spend considerably. However, optimisation is a slow process that can often take many months or even years depending on the search terms that you wish to be known for. SEO should be viewed differently to advertising spend and should be viewed as a long term and sustainable investment in the growth of your business.
There are many tutorials on youtube.com that can teach you the basics of SEO. These are updated frequently due to the continuing changes that search engines make to their algorithms.
For help with Google My Business, reviews, questionnaires, business cards, leaflets, flyers, referral schemes and Search Engine Optimisation – Call the Local Pages Digital Team on 0117 923 1122
4 – Invest in Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising
PPC is a quick way of getting found in search engine results without the need of optimising your website.. Each search engine has its own version of PPC, with Google Ads being the most prominent. You bid via an automatic online auction for online search terms (keywords) and those with the highest bids are displayed on the search engine’s results page above those with optimised (organic) websites. The price of a search term depends on its popularity. E.g., a generic term like ‘gardener’ would cost more than ‘gardens tidied in the Chepstow area.’
Pay per click ads, as the name suggests, means that you only pay when a customer clicks on the link and is taken through to your website. By carefully choosing your keywords, the areas in which you wish to advertise and any negative words that you don’t want results for; you can reach your required audience in a cost-effective way.
There are many advantages to PPC including:
- You are found at or near the top of a search engine’s results page without having to optimise your website.
- The ability to switch your advertising on and off as required.
- Search terms can be changed immediately.
- You can delete search terms that don’t work.
- You reach people that want your services at the time they are looking for them.
- There is limited wastage of your advertising budget.
5 – Remarketing
Remarketing works by placing a cookie (a small piece of code) on the computer of everyone who visits your website. When that person visits a third-party website that displays advertising, the cookie is recognised and an advert for your business is shown. In this way your adverts follow the user around the internet.
Remarketing is ideal for encouraging customers to return to your website while they are researching your competitors or if they have left your website without completing an action such as filling in a contact form. Remarketing is another form of PPC and you are only charged if someone clicks on your advert. As it relies on cookies rather than search terms it is cheaper than normal PPC advertising..
To make the most of remarketing you will need to produce eye-catching adverts in a range of sizes to maximise your exposure.
For help setting up PPC campaigns, planning, keyword research, negative word research, campaign optimisation and remarketing, advert design and sizing – Call the Local Pages Digital Team on 0117 923 1122.
6 – Start blogging
As mentioned above, business will come if you can solve people’s problems and one of the best ways of proving this is through a blog. A blog enables you to show how you have helped someone overcome a particular problem or made their life easier. Because blog articles are searchable, you can link various blogs together.
You may think that that planting a new border or laying a patio is pretty mundane because you do it all the time, but to a potential customer, knowing what you do and how you do it could be the difference between employing your services or not.
Write about what you do each day on a job to create case studies. Take photos before, during and after any work done and include them with your writing. Even better, shoot videos on your mobile phone. Don’t worry about the quality or the fact you hate the sound of your own voice… it all adds to the authenticity.
Unless you are aiming your business at a market that cares about such things, don’t worry about your written English. Customers are more concerned about your ability to do the job rather than whether you use long words or multi clause sentences. Avoid using jargon or terms that only others in the trade will know. If you have to use jargon, explain what it is the first time you use it. Run a spell check over everything you write before publishing. You will be surprised at how many people get irritated over misspelt words and apostrophes.
Also, blog about how to do simple things that potential customers could do themselves. For example, propagating plants or how to deadhead roses.
Make sure your contact details are on all blog pages and add links to any social media and email marketing that you do.
7 – Facebook
There are many different social media channels, all with their own specific audiences. It is better to put your efforts into utilising one properly rather than trying to use them all. Therefore, choose the one that most suits your target audience. For most tradespeople that will be Facebook.
Use your personal login to set up a business page. This will give you access to Facebook advertising, post boost and their analytics package called Insights. Do not be tempted to use your personal Facebook profile to run a business as Facebook will penalise you for doing so.
When setting up your business page, make sure it links back to your website as this will help improve your SEO. In the same way, make sure that your website links to your Facebook page.
Post regularly, but make sure it’s relevant. Remember, you solve problems and this should be reflected in all your posts. Post about your blogs, reviews, testimonials, case studies and anything else that proves you are an expert that can solve problems. Keep your posts personal, friendly and not ‘salesy.’ There is time to be salesy and that’s when you use Facebook ads.
Facebook’s business model is to sell their audience to businesses like yours. They tease you by giving you limited access to their audience, but they don’t give it to you for free. Any posts that you send will only go to a fraction of your followers. To reach all your followers will need to boost your post. Boosting costs a relatively small sum of money and can be highly effective. It not only reaches your followers, but it reaches their followers as well. Using the Facebook Insights package, look to see which of your posts performs the best without boosting. These are posts you should boost to gain the most exposure.
Facebook ads work in the same way as any PPC campaign. Instead of targeting keywords, you target demographics, interests and geographical areas. If you have a list of emails, Facebook can generate an advertising list with similar personal profiles.
Always use a video, image or gif (a short moving image) when posting or advertising on Facebook as you need something to attract the reader’s attention. If using an image, ensure that there is less than 20% text otherwise your post will be penalised and not reach the optimum number of users.
Join local community groups within the areas you serve. Interacting with other members of the community keeps your name top of mind. Post to community pages links to your blogs, and thank people for their testimonials and reviews.
For help with blogging and content & setting up Facebook, posting, images, videos, creating gifs, boosting, analytics and advertising – Call the Local Pages Digital Team on 0117 923 1122
8 – Advertise
Remember, business goes where it is invited. No business likes to spend money on advertising, but it has to be done and it needn’t be expensive. There are a number of ways to get your name in front of customers without spending a fortune. Before spending anything, consider who your customers are and where they are likely to come across your details. Do not be tempted to advertise in the latest fads or in something that seems like a good idea. Only invest where you know your prospective customers will find you. As well as the PPC, Remarketing and Facebook advertising already mentioned, here are a few more low-cost ideas.
If you haven’t already done so, visit: www.localpages.co.uk and register for a free business listing. For most trades in the areas served by Local Pages, www.localpages.co.uk displays on the first page of Google results. During 2020 over 16,000 people a month used it to search for businesses like yours. To increase your profile, consider an enhanced listing, the cost of which will be covered by just one job. As an added benefit, a link to your website from Local Pages will improve your website’s search ranking.
Our Little Blue Book, delivered to over I/2 a million addresses in 50 market towns in South Wales and the West of England, offers remarkable value for money with a year’s listing starting at just £99.00. Even in a digital age, the Little Blue Book is surprisingly popular and due to demand, distribution increases year on year.
Consider where your target market lives. Design and print leaflets and post them a few streets at a time. If you receive no replies within a couple of weeks, re-post to the same addresses again. Advertising works best with repetition. Providing you are targeting the right people with the right message you can expect a return of 1 – 5%. Concentrating your efforts on a few streets at a time enables you to measure the response from different types of properties in different areas. This information will enable you to target future leaflet drops more effectively.
Do not scrimp on producing your leaflets. The design should be eye-catching and explain how you solve particular problems. Do not try and add too much information. The more information you cram in, the less it will be read.
Keep all advertising as simple as possible. Start with a strong headline, explain the problem you are solving, add an offer if possible, finish with your name and a point of contact. That’s it.
Print on the best quality paper you can afford. If something looks like it has value it is more likely to be read.
If targeting larger areas, you will need…
The same principles apply as leaflet drops, but this time you are employing a third party to deliver your leaflets for you. Ensure that the delivery company you use is audited in some way. Many tag their employees with GPS to ensure delivery takes place.
Arrange to leave flyers/business cards with local pubs, shops and supermarkets in targeted areas.
Visit supermarkets and car parks in targeted areas and leave flyers under windscreen wipers. Ensure at all times that you cannot be accused of littering.
For help with leaflet design and print, direct mail and advertising with Local Pages – Call the Local Pages Digital Team on 0117 923 1122.
Be Known For Who You Are
Being recommended by others is the best way of generating leads. Their testimonial is worth more than any marketing you can do. Encourage it at all times.
1 – Invest in a consistent email campaign
Stay in touch with previous customers. Regularly remind them of how you solve problems by sharing with them your blog content, case studies and testimonials. Ask your customers to refer your business to others and encourage them to forward your emails to friends that may find them useful.
2- Referral scheme (Previous customers)
Create a referral scheme that rewards previous customers for recommending your services. Don’t make it complicated or difficult to administer. A simple cash or voucher scheme would be best. Promote this on your website and leave a flyer/leaflet with your customers on completion of any work.
3 – Referral scheme (Trade)
Speak to others in related trades regarding a financial reward for recommending your services. This works best if the arrangement is reciprocal.
4 – Networking
Join business breakfast clubs, local chambers of commerce etc. The saying, ‘It’s not what you know, but who you know,’ is as true today as it’s ever been. Be seen to be helping to solve problems by the right people, and they will recommend you.