Advertising a Landscape or Lawn-Care Business
If you are asking yourself, “How do I advertise my landscaping business” Then you are on the right web page. If you’ve ever wanted to, “Get more landscaping customers.” then you’re reading the right article.
You’re about to discover my 4-step landscape marketing strategy to advertise your, lawncare business. And the good news is that this method works even if you are a small or new company.
#1 Pick your most profitable service
#2 Advertising Strategy
#3 Lead generation management
#4 Advertising Budget
What Landscape Service/Product are you going to advertise?
A big problem with landscape company advertising is they pitch the entire business. This is a major reason why they get single digit leads from their advertising.
Ford Motor Company or any big company for that matter doesn’t jam their entire line of vehicles into a commercial or ad. They pick which vehicle or service, by choosing one of two ways.
One to fit the audience of the platform they are advertising on. They show trucks and SUV’s during male type shows, websites or other channels. Or they choose by a profitable product or service.
To make your landscape ad produce the leads you are hoping for you need to look at what you offer. I like to pick a timely service, that has a good profit margin.
Example: For a tree service, we run ads for tree removals. Not stump grinding or trimming. Only high profit services. With a lead coming from a Pay Per Click ad campaign, would you rather spend $30 for a lead that is a stump removal service at $300 or pay $30 for a tree removal service at $1,200?
We don’t advertise “Tree-Care” we promote the most profitable services, like tree removals.
Advertising Strategy for a Landscaping Company
Many landscape business owners who’re new to advertising don’t even realize that they need to do this step before they can get customers from advertising. And that’s why a lot of lawn care owners who try to get leads from landscape advertising end up failing – they’re simply missing this crucial step.
Your strategy using the 5 W’s and H, doesn’t have to be in order, but you do need all of them.
So, the first thing you need to do is ask yourself, who, what, where, when, how and why.
You’ll find that this part of the process goes much more smoothly if you apply these tips and tricks:
Who are you advertising to?
Writing an ad and creating the flow is a lot simpler when you know who you are making the ad for.
Think of it as writing a love letter.
It is a very important part of the entire advertising process.
You can read about buyer personas here. It will help you understand the importance.
Nothing wastes advertising budget more than paying to place your ad in front of the wrong people, with the wrong message.
It can waste 60-90% of your budget.
What landscaping offer are you advertising?
As mentioned above you want to be advertising your most profitable services.
When you know who you are advertising to, you will be able to tailor an offer that makes more sense to the people you are putting the ad in front of.
Now I know each landscaping project is different. But, my advice. Package an offer to advertise.
People don’t know how much a landscaping project costs. So, if you take the same systems other industries use, you can package your offers to appeal to your ideal customers.
Where are you going to place these ads?
If you do a complete buyer persona research, you will know where to advertise.
There are many ways to advertise both online and off.
For the purpose of this article, I won’t get into the types of channels to advertise on.
My goal is to give you the proper foundations to advertise you landscaping business.
Where to place your ads is one of the four P’s of marketing. Placement!
When are you going to run the ads?
I can’t stress enough how critical timing is.
When you are as deep into the research and data as I am, you would agree timing is everything.
Here is a true story and it happens every year.
Each year I will have a landscaping contractor or other service business owner call or email me asking for marketing help.
The only problem. They are at the tail end of the marketable time of the year.
Marketing timing is like buying a stock. You buy before it starts to rise, not on the way down.
You ride the wave up.
So, you need to know when to run your ads. That way you can maximize the leads and returns on your marketing budget.
Here is an article on using Google Trends as a marketing tool.
How are you or who is going to create the ads?
Writing your advertisements are something you should subcontract out. Not to a writer, but a copywriter or at least someone in sales.
Now I am not say the ad needs to sound salesy, but it needs to have sales benefits and conversion triggers in the creative.
I am a carpenter by trade with 25 years in the Philly carpenters union. Barely passed English class in high school. But about 15 years ago, after my accident, a new back up field was in order. I picked copywriting.
My mentioning this is not saying you can’t write your own ads, you most certainly can.
But coming full circle in this field myself, I know a copywriter is worth more to you and your ads than you think.
That Google Ads mock up above was off the cuff. Below is a real ad from the same area and keyword.
Which one would you pick?
Why are you running these ads?
It may seem like a dumb question, but it needs to be asked.
For most it is to increase business.
If your business needs more business to keep the doors open, you may have more problems with your marketing than an advertisement can help.
Sure an ad may get you by, but if you are using them exclusively to grow or get business…something is wrong.
That being said, ads are in my opinion something you use to be more profitable.
Only you can answer your WHY!
For some of my clients we use ads to fill in gaps in the projects scheduling. Others we use ads to tap into new locations or push profitable services. And others we run ads heavy for a short period of time to capture an areas market share.
For a few clients of mine, I have ads ready for when storms hit. We only run those ads to grow revenue quickly. For them the why is to grab the work when the work is there and plentiful.
It is not uncommon for a company to make a third of their yearly income in a few weeks or a month with the right ads at the right time.
Once you’ve done your advertising strategy in step two then you can move on to the next step…
Landscape Lead Generation Management
The next thing you need to do is understand the leads that come in from your, advertisements.
When I first started Contractor Marketing Network back in 2009, I saw and made a lot of mistakes. And now that I’ve helped others advertise and generate leads, I see a lot of people have a tendency to make the same mistakes.
So, let me share with you the top 3 mistakes and how to avoid them:
Common Advertising Mistake #1
No lead management workflow.
How to avoid it:
Put leads in buckets. Hot, Warm, Cold.
Use a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) System.
Common Advertising Mistake #2
No follow up sequence to turn warm or cold leads into customers
How to avoid it:
Create lead nurturing assets. Blog posts, informational pieces that you can email or correspond with warm or cold leads.
Common Advertising Mistake #3
Not keeping in touch with past customers.
How to avoid it:
Create a newsletter campaign. Once you capture a lead, nurtured them into a customer. Keep your business top of mind.
A review, referral and repeat business are quite valuable to any business.
When a business evaluator, evaluates a business they look at the future. Your customer base is your future.
Know Your Advertising Budget
At this step you’re likely to think low-cost leads are better. You would be wrong. Let me explain.
What you need to do is think lifetime value or profit margin per average sale.
I still remember the first time this mindset was explained to me. I was making an advertising budget based on getting low-cost leads or saving money on advertising.
Not going to name drop here, but the man who taught me this owns a $500 million dollar company in New Jersey and is in rentals and sales. We were eating lunch together and mentioned what I was working on and the problems with the costs of advertising.
He said, the same thing everyone in marketing says, “It’s not a cost, but an investment.” I thought “Yeah, yeah” in my head, but it must have slipped out of my mouth. I am glad it did, because he explained the investment part to me.
These are the four question he asked that day.
- How much is your average sale in gross revenue?
- What is your profit margin?
- How many sales can you make from that one customer? Addition work at a later date, reoccurring income, upsells, referrals, etc.
- How fast is your return on investment?
He pulled out a note pad and pencil and wrote these number down.
Average sale $1,000
Profit Margin 20%
Number of sales 2
Sales Cycle 30 days.
$200 x 2 = $400
Then he said, “Without look at the $400. How much would you budget for a $1,000 sale?” I can’t remember but my number was in the $25 range. He laughed. He said you budget for half your profit, you aim for a lower cost per lead, through efficiencies and sales process.
He went on to say, what stock, bank or investment doubles your investment in 30 days?
Here is another example of how to make an advertising budget.
You have to know how much you can afford to pay to acquire a new customer. Don’t get intimidated by the math here. Some landscaping companies tend to get hung up on the details and obsess over getting these numbers exactly right.
If you’re just getting started, it’s OK if your numbers aren’t exactly right!
Do the best you can.
Start with a ballpark figure to help guide your advertising budget. In time you can fine tune that number to get more and more accurate.
Estimate How Much a Customer Is Worth
The first thing you’ll need to figure out. How much revenue do you generate from a typical customer over the life of their relationship with you?
Keep in mind this goes beyond the revenue you generate from your initial sale. This is known as your CLTV (customer lifetime value), and it’s an extremely important number to know about your business.
To calculate this on your own, there are two things you need to know:
- How many customers bought your products.
- How much total revenue you generated.
You’ll need to choose a date range for this data. I recommend going back 12 months, if you can, to get lots of data. If you don’t have that much data then try to go back 90 days.
Then, you simply divide the total revenue by the total number of customers:
Revenue / Customers = Customer Lifetime Value.
Let’s Say for this example $1,000 is what the life time value is per customer.
Subtract Overhead Costs
Next, you need to account for overhead costs, which are different than the cost of goods sold.
Your overhead includes things like…
- Equipment & Maintenance
- Legal Expenses
Multiply your overhead by your CLTV. For our fictitious example, say overhead is 30% of the CLTV: $1,000 x 30% = $300.
Subtract Cost of Goods Sold
Next, you need to subtract how much it costs to actually deliver your goods.
For the fictitious service in our example, let’s pretend it’s trees, plants and shrubs where the cost of goods sold is 30% of the CLTV, or $300.
Subtract Desired Profitability
Let’s pause for a moment and think about where we’re at.
We started with your total revenue per customer (CLTV) and subtracted all the costs associated with producing that service, including:
- Cost of Goods
Let’s calculate everything to get an idea of where we’re at:
CLTV – Overhead – Cost of Goods = What is left over.
$1000 – $300 – $300 = $400
Does that mean you can afford to spend $400 to acquire a new customer?
Technically, yes, but then you wouldn’t be making any profit. You’d be breaking even on every customer.
So, the last thing you need to do is decide what sort of profit margin you want to earn.
This number will depend on a lot of different things like…
- your business model
- the industry you’re in
- what your cash flow situation is
- …and more.
A good profit margin to shoot for is between 20% and 30%.
Let’s say 20% profit margin. That is $200 profit per customer and leaves $200 for advertising.
If we look at the advertising data, and see a CPC (Cost per click) to our landscaping offer landing page costs $5. We can afford to get 40 people to that landing page.
Now if our conversion or sales ratio is 1:10 or 10%, then we converted 4 customers or $800 in profit and $800 for advertising.
That is 4 customers you would not have gotten and you doubled your profits, by investing half of your profits.
So instead of the original $400 as profit. You put $1,000 in your pocket and have $800 to acquire more customers.
You will hit a limit on how much you can or want to grow, but the sky is the limit, when you have the budget to buy new customers.
You start to reduce your advertising expenses when you capitalize on getting referrals and repeat business from the customers you bought with your advertising investment. (See Mistake Number 3 above)
You may know older companies that don’t need to advertise any more, because they have reached a point where word of mouth, branding (name recognition), referrals and repeat business keep them going at the level they are happy with. But to grow above that, they will need to reach new people and advertise.
Hope this article helps you.
As always, if you have any questions or concerns, hit me up.