Spring will be here before we know it. It's time to get your crews ready, get your equipment dialed in, and make three key digital marketing enhancements before springtime. In today's video, I'm going to share with you the landscaper's top three marketing moves to make before springtime to snatch up the most qualified leads online. And I promise that these are small, easy, but majorly impactful marketing moves. This video is going to feature some footage from my recent talk at Kubota USA's Turf Talk. It was a live virtual event. Let's dig into the episode.
While you might not have time to completely build a new website before March or, or produce an amazing video like that while it's still snowy out, there are three marketing moves to make before springtime to snatch up the most qualified leads online.
#1 Marketing Move: The Hell Yes Photo Test
The first one is about your photos. There's something called the hell yes photo test. So after you've picked your hell yes customer, and before springtime, you should look through the photos that are on your website, the photos that are on your Google listing and your Yelp, Houzz, Facebook, anywhere that your customers are going to see your photos. Look through them and decide, hell yes, this is a photo of a project that I would still want a lead for now, or no, I'm going to prune this and remove the photos that are old, out of date, maybe from smaller projects that you don't even want leads for anymore, and replace them with the best photos you've got.
You really want to put your best photos on your website, on your Google, and then all of your local listings, and just prune out the bad ones. This is going to help your customers see what you're capable of. And photos have a big impact on your leads. I have a client who is getting all of these leads for smaller projects that he doesn't even want. And I showed him, "Well, hey, look, you have these photos on your website." And the opposite is true. A lot of times landscapers will put their biggest, baddest, most expensive job ever on their website. As an example, I was talking with a guy who hates building pools. He hates building pergolas. He hates doing water features. And guess what was on his home page? Photos of landscapes with pools, pergolas and water features. But they were the nicest, biggest photos he had. So anyways, you've got to prune out the photos, whether they're just a bad photo or they're an example of a service that you don't even really want anymore.
#2 Marketing Move: 4-Star Review Test
The next tip is to seal the deal with the four-star review test. And so what you want to make sure is that you have a four-star average on Google, on Facebook and Yelp, because who wants to hire a three-star commercial landscape company or a two-star commercial landscape company? And so I'm going to show you how to do this. So the first thing you should do is Google yourself. Google your business name and then the word review. So if your landscaping company is called Johnson Landscaping, search Johnson Landscaping reviews. Now there's probably more than one Johnson Landscaping out there, so you might want to add this city into that search also.
But the point is when people are buying, they're going to try and find reviews, so find what they will find. And then whatever sites are listed on the first page of Google, you're going to want to focus on getting, again, a four star average. I would start with Google and get at least 10 reviews, and at least a four-star average. I met with somebody the other day who has 30 reviews, but they're a 3.2 average. So they're going to need to work a bit harder to get some more of those positive reviews to push their overall average into the fours. So that's the point, is to get your review average into the fours.
Now, a lot of people say, "Yeah, great, I'm going to get reviews, but I'm not really sure how." So I have three key review management questions that you need to know as a business owner and overall as an organization. And they are who, who at your company is going to ask your customer for a review. Who owns it? Somebody at your company owns sending the invoice to the client and making sure that it gets paid. Do you have that clarity around reviews? Most companies don't. I recommend that the person who does this has relationship with the client, because people are more likely to review other people than they are some giant company. Meaning if your account manager has a rapport with their client, Tom, they'd reach out and say... They'd literally pick up the phone and say, "Hey Tom, hey, could you do me a favor, buddy?" "Oh yeah. What is it?" "Hey, I'm working on getting better reviews, and it'd mean a lot to me if you'd write a review on Google. Would you do that for me?"
And now I've asked Tom directly to do something for me. And if he agrees to do it, that review's going to have a much better chance of actually showing up online than just him getting something from my company to his company. Now, the next is when. When should you send this? And this is going to depend on if you're more of a design, build, construction or installation company where there's a project that has a start and an end time. Well, then you'd want to do it at the end of that project. But if you're more of a full service maintenance company or you're doing snow maintenance or something like that, you only decide what works best. I recommend that people do it three or four times a year, reaching out to get this feedback and listening to it.
The next question is how. How are you going to send this? And this is where a lot of people get stuck. And so the how, you need to make it easy for your customer to write a review for you. I actually wrote up an ebook that we're going to be sending out later today with some other content from the partners of this event that's going to be really helpful, that shows you exactly how to do this. But what you want to do is either use a third-party software to get the reviews, like Podium is one of the partners that this event, or you can just send people the link to your Google review tab. So it's kind of complicated, check out the ebook later.
But the point is, figure out who is going to send the reviews to the client, when are they going to send them, and then how. Create a little email template and a system. And I recommend that you review these reviews as a company. Share them with people. A lot of times, employees who aren't even client-facing are super motivated to know that your customers feel like they're doing a good job. Or when they see that the customer is giving negative feedback, that they're not happy with something, they might think of a way to improve the service, which will help you retain that client.
#3 Marketing Move: Careers Page Test
Speaking of employees, if you do all of this marketing stuff, you're going to sell more and you need great people on your team. So my last tip for you is the careers page test. So this is some information that will help you assess whether or not your careers page is dialed in to attract the right people.
Now, a lot of people come to me and say, "Jack, oh, commercial landscaping is all word of mouth. Nobody looks online for jobs." Well, that's not what I'm seeing and not what I'm hearing from real commercial landscapers. And what I'm sharing right now is the Google trends for landscaping jobs near me. So you can see over the last five years, it's increased every spring, the amount of people who are literally picking up their phone and saying, "Hey, Siri, can you find some landscaping jobs near me?" It honestly doesn't even make sense to me that people would do that. But the fact is people are looking on their smartphone for just about everything, including landscaping company jobs.
But getting found is only a part of it. The real thing that you need to do is sell people on why they should work for you. Why should they work for you instead of some other landscape company or a construction company? You're competing with a lot of different people to get these people to apply for you. And there are a few basic things that you should include on your careers page. The first one is perks. Do you offer any perks? An example of a perk might be that you have an annual company barbecue. Okay, a lot of people actually care about that sort of stuff. Another perk could be that you buy people work boots at the start of the season, whatever it is that you're doing at your company, or you have doughnut Friday. You're probably doing something that's a perk, but you're not telling anyone about it. So that needs to be on there.
And then the benefits I met with a commercial landscaper recently, and they said, "Oh, I'm having such a hard time recruiting." And there is a shortage of labor, but the point is, is they weren't communicating that they had a retirement plan, health, dental, and vision, and that they had paid time off. Those are serious benefits. Were they on their careers page? No. It was a little bulleted list of, "Need a person to work outside in the sun. It's hot. It's hard." It's like, man, okay. Well yes, you need somebody who can do this work, and it is hot and it is hard, and you need somebody to do that. But the more that you communicate why they should do that for you, the better outcome you'll get. And then also, the career path. Is there an opportunity to grow at your company? Do you have training opportunities?
Dave from North Point Outdoors, he talks about his own university. I have another client who has a university. People are very motivated to build their career. And when you show them that they have a career path and that you're going to train them, you have perks and benefits, it'll be a much easier sell for them to choose to apply to you first over somebody else who just mentions how hard the job is.
Support Your Recruiting Efforts By Sharing Your Company’s Culture
The other thing you need to do is share the culture and the community that you have. And here are some photos from Dave's company. He's out with his crew. Everyone's in their branded hoodie, looking good. And then also showing some fun stuff. They're playing corn hole at the company barbecue. And this shows that there's camaraderie and that people get together. So make sure that you're demonstrating those things. Now, if you do this, you're going to get a lot of people checking out your website. And I have a tip to help you disqualify people who are not a fit for you.
I want to share with you one of my clients, Blue River Forestry & Tree Care. On their careers page, check it out, we've got cool photos. They've got a cool video, but a key requirement to work at their companies is that you have to have a driver's license. If you don't have a driver's license, if you check the box no, you can't even apply. Because how often do you get thousands of applicants, and only a hundred of them are even worth looking at? Find out whatever that thing is that's a bare minimum requirement and put a little button in your form that if they don't answer that correctly, they can't even fill it out. I promise this works. They've gotten amazing employees applying through this. Go try it out.
Now, we've shared a lot of helpful information today, and there's a lot that you could do. Some of it's going to take more time than others. The point is, pick one of them and get it done. March is going to be here soon. How easily could you send out some emails to your top clients to write a Google review for you? How easily could you just review your website and remove some photos that you don't like? And hey, I know that you're going to be hiring, so take a look at your careers page and implement one of those tips. So go get it done.
Right now I'm in front of the Grapevine Vintage Railroad in Grapevine, Texas. This is where I stayed. This is where the event was. I'm about to get on my plane. I had an incredible time. I love coming to Texas. The people are so friendly here. And I finally had authentic Tex Mex, which was just... It was majorly flavorful, I really enjoyed it. I had some Texas red chili, and an overall really good time. Grapevine is this really cool little town. It's got an amazing downtown. And yeah, the event was really great. And I wanted to thank some of the partners in the Kubota USA Turf Talk. For one, Kubota USA, thanks for having me as your keynote speaker. It was really fun. Some of our other partners included Echo Kawasaki Engines, Hydro Gear Commercial, and Podium, and North Point Outdoors. So it was overall, it was a really great event. And I recommend that you check out the full replay of that event, which you can get at kubotausa.com/turftalk.
It has a lot of information from the partners about just getting your equipment ready. They talk about Kubota's fleet program and how you can grow your team. They talk with Dave Fairburn who runs a $9 million commercial landscape company from New Hampshire. So check that out. And my name's Jack Jostes, thanks so much for tuning in to The Landscapers Guide to Modern Sales & Marketing podcast. I hope you enjoyed this episode. I look forward to seeing you next week, so be sure to check out our podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify. It's on YouTube. And you can read the transcripts and see all the links and other things at ramblinjackson.com/podcast. Have an awesome week. Get ready for a profitable spring. And I'll talk to you later.