The age-old problem for entrepreneurs, especially those in the early stages of building their business, is how and where to secure the leads that will generate meaningful growth. It can be a scary thing to make a significant investment of your limited capital, without the certainty of a strong return on that investment. But with the right strategy, you can feel confident that your marketing dollars will achieve the desired scaling you want for your business.
Moving Beyond Bootstrap Marketing
In the beginning, a “bootstrap marketing” approach–one that relies heavily on networking and word of mouth and involves minimal cash outlay–is typically what’s needed. But if you’re a few years into your business and this is still your primary marketing strategy, you’re probably keeping your business from growing in the right ways.
There is a difference between growing your footprint and growing your credibility. After a few years in business, the goal behind your marketing efforts should be to increase awareness and build credibility in your community. This is going to take some financial investment.
The word “investment” is key here; you must reclassify marketing expenses as a sales investment. Businesses in different phases will want to make that investment in different ways. It’s not necessarily about how much money you spend, but where to spend it. Some of that investment will need to happen behind the scenes as you work to develop a comprehensive picture of who you are and what you do.
Clarity of Services
One of the most critical first steps is to, in your own mind, be very clear about the services you offer, and for which types of clients. This does not mean creating a list of every single task you have the capability and capacity to do. A list like this sends a message to the client that they can flip a switch and a task will be complete.
Think of the services you provide not as a list of tasks that you’re offering to complete, but as the means by which you transform the landscape for the client. Consider what you do that creates beauty, order, and a sense of peace. This is what will aid your client in seeing beyond the invoice to the actual value you’re providing, and will compel them to hire you back. This is how you create a level of repeatable, predictable service offerings that, as we know, are the lifeblood of your landscaping business.
To invest some of your time and money into helping you gain this clarity for your business is a critical step toward meeting your development goals. Our second Landscaper’s Freedom Formula module is a great tool to guide you through the process. The information you gather will then inform the way you brand your services.
The branding process is where you identify what differentiates your business from others in the industry. Perhaps you specialize in a certain approach to landscaping, or you serve a particular niche market. Your goal is to help the client understand the value you are offering in a way that feels meaningful both to you and to them.
Every landscape company will have its own spin on what makes it unique. It may take some reflection and soul searching around why you do what you do, what makes it valuable and meaningful. Then, you must figure out a way to articulate that meaning throughout your marketing materials across various media. It may be that you choose certain colors or fonts on your website, or look to create a certain emotional reaction through your social media posts. Working with a coach, branding or marketing specialist will help you refine this process.
Branding can and will evolve over the years, and so it’s important to understand that what feels right today will probably need to be tweaked in several years’ time. The good news about this type of change is that it’s ok not to get your branding 100% right the first time. All-or-nothing thinking often holds people back from making any marketing moves at all, which means they have minimal visibility.
Many of the entrepreneurs we work with at The Lifescape Coach are loath to take on marketing; to them it feels pushy, aggressive, and uncomfortable. We invite our clients to reframe the motivation behind their marketing efforts and move past these feelings of distaste.
When we talk about visibility, we’re talking about getting in front of the eyes of the people who are your perfect clients. If you’re not proclaiming who you are, what you do, and how you create value, you’re withholding solutions from the people who need you most. Establishing the visibility of your business through your website, social media presence, and email marketing is what allows potential clients to find the right solution (you!) to the landscape problems that have plagued them.
How Coaching Can Help
Along my journey, I have hired coaches to guide me in refining my branding and marketing strategy. I partnered with a branding coach to help me articulate my mission and capabilities. My marketing strategy partner has helped me develop a strategy for how best to communicate my knowledge and expertise to draw in the ideal clients.
Marketing professionals are able to support you in digitizing your marketing and creating recurring value out of your investment. For this strategy to be effective, constant attention must be paid. Yet most landscape business owners have neither the skill nor the capacity to devote that much attention to marketing on their own.
At The Garden Continuum, it took some courage to invest in inbound marketing and website redesign. I had developed a website relatively early compared to many of my competitors, but soon enough their websites began to pop up, and mine was quickly buried. I knew I lacked expertise in inbound marketing, and I also knew that if I did not invest in it, my company could not achieve the scaling I wanted. Investing in a marketing partner helped me breathe life into the marketing machine and keep a consistent flow of leads, without requiring constant effort on my part.
If as an owner, you find yourself thinking about marketing as just an expense, you’ll always be tempted to reduce that expense in order to increase profit. It’s crucial to see marketing for what it is: the fuel that drives the revenue engine. Instead of asking yourself, “What will this cost me?,” begin by asking “What will be my return on investment?” With the right partners, the right content, and the right strategy, your marketing dollars can drive significant revenue increases for your business.
Did you find this article enlightening? Are you looking to elevate your landscape business to new heights? If you're curious about the potential benefits of coaching for your landscape business, we invite you to download the eBook "25 Signs Your Landscape Business Needs Developmental Coaching" to find out more.
Are you ready to move beyond word-of-mouth sales and create a sophisticated marketing strategy for your landscape business? Read how in this blog article.