With spring here, you want to ensure your business is fully prepared for the season. Last month, we discussed 5 things to tackle before the start of the season to help your business stay ahead, if you have already completed your checklist, or most of it, there are still some important tasks you can focus on. Especially now, during COVID-19, marketing your company and communicating with your customers is crucial. It will help keep your customers up-to-date on changes in service or hours, notify them of new and essential services that you have available such as mosquito and tick control, and it will help you solidify you and your business as an expert and leader in the industry.
Preplan Your Marketing for All Year, Now
When planning your marketing, it’s helpful to model it off the seasonality of our business. Keep in mind, that much of the work this season, will focus on essential services only. Make sure to stay up-to-date with your local government regulations on services that you are able to provide, as well as safety recommendations for keeping your employees and customers safe.
In a normal season, you’d focus on spring cleanup, irrigation startups, and pre-emergent and fertilizer treatments. Then a little later in the season, you might look to irrigation and lighting installations, weed and insect control, and pest abatement. This year, focus on promoting the essential services that you will be providing, whether your business is irrigation only, full service, or anything in-between—you all know what services are popular during what months and time of year for your area. Follow this seasonality with your marketing efforts—and plan your entire season now. The reason for this is, if you wait to put a plan in place later, you may not be able to execute as effectively. You may have higher priorities in the field or back office that may derail your best intentions.
So, when should you start marketing for each of the upcoming seasonal services? To ensure your efforts are successful, market your services ahead of each season. In a past article, we discussed when to launch a new service, this article offers good advice on timing for when and how to promote your existing essential services. Remember, one vital function for keeping your business healthy this year is marketing to and communicating with your customers. Make sure your customers are aware what services you’ll be providing, why, and when. Many customers may not realize that many landscaping services are considered essential by the government, so your communications should reiterate this.
We understand marketing and communication can be a challenge—especially now. Beyond promoting your service there are several other things you can do to make sure your successful for the season. We’ve provided you with three other things to focus on to elevate your marketing for the upcoming season:
1. Update Website
During this unprecedented time, people are leaning on technology for communication more than ever. To ensure your business fares well during these challenging times, it’s crucial to keep your website up-to-date. You want to be sure it continues to look professionally designed, effective and filled with current relevant information about your services, your company and the industry. It may take some time, but it will benefit your company in the long run. Here are a few things to keep in mind when updating your site:
- Website Banner
One of the first things most visitors will notice on your website is your website banner. Keep your website banner updated by showcasing new images that best represent your company, such as your crew following safety recommendations or a recently completed job. This also gives you an opportunity to update customers on new hours, tout any new essential services, or showcase safety procedures that you’ve implemented for your team.
Keep in mind your customers are visiting your website for helpful, relevant information. It’s best to update your blogs with new articles where you can discuss tips for current and relevant industry news, information about the type of services you provide or will be adding, information about your products, or tips to help your customers with their home.Now more than ever, customers will be looking to utilize products that allow for remote services. It’s a good opportunity to promote WIFI technology, remote shut-off valves, and other contact-free products/services. Whichever information you plan to provide, make sure it’s up-to-date and will solve issues that your customers may have this year.
SEO stands for search engine optimization. When you make sure your website is optimized for search and regularly updated, your website is more likely to be displayed on the search engine results pages for Google and Bing. If your website is not optimized or updated, your next potential customer may not find you online when searching for your services in the upcoming seasons. When a website is optimized, it increases both the quality and quantity of traffic to your website through non-paid search engine results. Since most websites’ visits are organic through a search engine like Google, SEO is crucial to help your current and new customers find you easily when searching for your business!
2. Google My Business
Google offers Google My Business, a simple and free tool to use to put your business in the forefront of your local customers and ahead of your competitors. Google My Business is easy to set up and provides your company with many benefits, such as displaying your contact information, images, website and much more. Now more than ever, if you have your company set up with Google My Business, it’s vital for you to update the following:
- Company Information
If your company’s phone number, email, website or address has changed recently, it’s important to update it on Google My Business. You want to ensure its fast and easy for your potential customers to contact your company with updated information, otherwise they may rely on your competitor.
- Posts & Engagement
During this difficult time, posts and engagements can be used to update your customers about COVID-19 and answer any questions they may have.Posts and engagement allow you to showcase your business in many other ways as well. If you have a before and after photos of jobs you’ve recently completed or a new service you’re planning to provide this year, you can promote that on your Google My Business. Updating your account with this content will give you the opportunity to capture your next customer’s attention when they’re searching online for your services. Adding posts of promotions or your recent work will increase the chances of your next customer choosing your service. Also, it’s important to respond to any reviews you have received about your service. Responding to your customers shows you’re constantly active, listening to their feedback and prepared to provide a great service. Keep in mind that new customers will be looking at reviews before deciding to work with your company, and showing you’re responsive will lead to a great first impression. It’s vital to have a plan in place to capture more reviews. Likewise, Google My Business has a messaging option for your customers, and you want to ensure you’re responding to any questions or concerns they may have.
Remember to take a look at your insights panel to see how your business is doing with searches and visitors. It provides you with insights for keywords, photo views or customer actions. This will help you see what is and what isn’t working for your business online, and you can use this to your advantage to see what content needs to be updated or changed.
If you have not claimed your Google My Business page, put this item at the top of your to do list this spring. Google My Business is vitally important for your online presence and for your company to be found in local search results.
Email is an easy and effective way to communicate with your customers at very little cost to you. With how quickly everything is changing with COVID-19, email is a very effective way to keep your customers up-to-date on employee safety and operations, and changes in services and hours. Email can help you build credibility, strengthen relationships, it gives you and opportunity to tell your story, and you can promote your essential services. When things get back to a more normal pace, email is excellent for attracting new customers and increase your sales.
- Regular Connection
Make sure to connect with your customers regularly by sending emails as needed, plus either a monthly or quarterly newsletter. Regular emails will help build anticipation for your business, and will keep it on your customer’s radar for when the service is needed.
- Capture Data
We cannot stress enough how important email marketing can be for your business. Email can help your business grow but it’s vital you are continually capturing email addresses. So, in addition to regular communication, make sure your customer profiles are up-to-date their first name, last name, email address, services purchased, and potential future serviced wanted. This allows you to continue to promote your business, share exciting new products and services, and showcase your newest work.
Rely on Central to help, whether it’s questions about marketing strategy, strategic purchasing, or business planning during COVID-19. Central is the right partner for your business. We stay at the leading edge of the industry and we’re ready to help you grow!