landscape gems podcast

Podcast Transcript

Erick (00:03):
Hey, Dan.

Dan (00:05):
Hey, Eric.

Erick (00:06):
Good morning.

Dan (00:07):
You look beautiful.

Erick (00:09):
Oh, thank you. I have a new setup for our podcast, but what people don't see actually is literally this side of my room of my office is actually a complete disaster. So I just moved things over here, and this was late at night, so over there, there's just a bunch of junk everywhere and yeah, that's okay.

Dan (00:39):
This basically was an empty room in the house that is getting turned into my office, and there's just a bunch of boxes and stuff here. As we move into this location here in Clearwater, Florida, I got furniture coming. Cool. And my background's going to be good too.

Erick (01:08):
Well, cool. That sounds good. So today, what are we talking about?

Dan (01:13):
Well, we're going to talk about a couple things. First off, we're going to talk about the ultimate guide to marketing and I, I would say the general subject is marketing.

We have a publication called the Ultimate Guide to Marketing, and you can actually find that right on the website, landscape marketing And if you scroll down, it's in articles. But really the purpose of that is for people to understand that a lot of the stuff that you can do marketing wise can be done yourself. You don't have to hire a firm and literally you really can do it yourself. If you hire a firm, the things that they're going to do initially, you can do all of them. So obviously we're trying to provide a very high degree of value. So we just posted all this stuff and literally you can follow it step by step and get your marketing started. So we wanted to put that out there and just for people to understand, you don't have to have a firm and you can make a lot of traction by yourself. The difference is do you want to spend the time doing it? And do you feel that a professional who does this can have a different standard of work on some of this stuff and everything like that? Have an expert do it. So anyway, but I'll let you talk about what some of the steps are and kind the sequence, but we wanted to provide obviously value and have people understand this is something that you can do yourself.

Erick (03:09):
Awesome. Yeah, that sounds good. So yeah, like you said, it is on our website, and honestly, I'm just going to go ahead and run through the various steps that are on here. So we have the very first step. Some of you may have this already, but you have to have a website. Obviously a website is going to act as the hub of all your marketing efforts, whether you're doing direct mail, whether you are doing digital marketing or billboards, TV commercials. At the end of the day, when you put a piece of promotion out there, people want to look you up and get more information. And where do they do that? They do that on your website with that, just plug in. It's not going to be for everybody, but we have a very well optimized website that is meant to convert, and it's just like 47 bucks a month, and it includes hosting and email and all that stuff. So for some people who are just getting started and they don't feel like spending $5,000 with a web designer, that there is options out there. And that's one of 'em. I wouldn't recommend going with something, honestly, I just don't feel that some of these website builders that are out there are very good. So I wouldn't recommend going with a Wix or Squarespace or that kind of thing if you, you can use them. There's, we've had better results with WordPress.

Dan (05:01):
The other part there is that it is marketing friendly. So the, it's already optimized for a landscape company, and that doesn't mean that we can't do more work to it and highlight your specialty, but it's a proven website and there is no other way to get that for that same cost. It doesn't exist anywhere else. So again, we wanted to provide value and have something that is sort of irrefutable. That's one lawn a month that'll pay for the sort of genesis of the marketing and get you out there so people can find you.

Erick (05:46):
Yeah, yeah, totally. And I also want to say, I don't want to mean bash on Wix or Squarespace. There's plenty of businesses out there who have built their companies on those platforms. Just from a marketing standpoint though, if you're really trying to scale up your marketing and get great results, there does come a point where you start growing. Gosh, I'm a little bit limited on these other platforms, and it can be a huge pain to try to transfer things. And so whatever platform you're on, you make sure it's the one that in the long term, it's going to be good for your marketing. That said, let's talk about there, there's a few elements actually I wanted to talk about on your website. So strong calls to action. What's

Dan (06:48):
A call to action for people who might not know?

Erick (06:50):
Yeah, good call. So it's going to be buttons on your website that say get a quote, or it'll include things like your phone number being very clearly displayed at the top so people can just click on their cell phone to call. Also web forms where people can request a quote, anything that you're basically telling a visitor, Hey, contact us. There's going to be a call to action. The various different ways they can reach out to you. At the end of the day, you want it to be easy for a person to reach out to you. If you make it hard, then you're going to lose business. I was recently looking at one website where the website, the company talked all about why they're the best. But if you show up right on the homepage of their website as you enter their site, there was no phone number visible. There was no contact us button, there was no form. You had to scroll all the way down to the bottom to find something. And believe it or not, most people who visit a website, they typically will not visit a second page, actually try to get what they're after on the first page and right at the top of that page. So that's why it's important to have those strong calls to action like your phone number in a web form.

Did you want to add to that, Dan?

Dan (08:42):
No, I was just saying, yep.

Erick (08:44):
Okay, cool. So we also have elements on your website that are important. Showing off your work is really important. And Dan, that's something you could probably chime in on. We just visited a landscaping company in California and what was your impression just by seeing some of their work that their show off.

Dan (09:14):
Yeah, unbelievable. I mean, obviously this should be self-explanatory, but whatever product that you get, meaning whatever result that you get from your work should be every time something that if you document it and show people, it demonstrates your competency and what you can bring to the table service wise. If you're delivering a product or service that you wouldn't want to take a picture of and put on your website or show potential clients, you should probably take a look at how to deliver something that's a little bit higher quality in terms of service. So that's obviously should be self-explanatory, but for those who might not have thought of that, there's that. But this is one of our larger clients, they are multi deca millions per year and absolutely, I mean, we actually saw a property that they had done the landscape for probably quarter million dollar landscape. I've literally never seen anything like it in person. It was nothing short of just excellent. It was so aesthetically pleasing.

It was almost overwhelming. But even I know that it can be tough. Even them going, is this particular property on your website? And they're going, well, actually no, we haven't promoted it. And I'm going, you guys have to promote it. They could be better at taking pictures and posting pictures, but if you go to their website and they're featured in all sorts of publications that are not theirs, but if you go to their website, oh my gosh, unbelievable high definition photos, very, very clear what they bring to the table. They do have calls to action and it's very easy to reach out to and interact with the company. They always have someone at the phone, they have a whole staff. This company has about a hundred employees, so they're big. They're a big, full sort of landscape design build firm. So anyway, I forgot exact, did I answer the question?

Erick (11:51):
Yeah, you answered it. That's good. Good. I structured

Dan (11:53):
The question. No,

Erick (11:54):
No, no, you got it. And I'll also just add a lot of landscapers talk about on their websites, build your dream landscape, build your dream, make the landscape of your dreams come true, things like that. It's a pretty common theme among landscaping websites or landscape design websites. And if you're going to say that, you should show what that means, right? Yeah. Don't post pictures that look like they were taken from a Motorola razor that's all like pixelated. Yeah, that's a great Sloan. And it's like overcast outside and somebody left a shovel by the job. And if you're going to say, build your dream landscape or make your backyard dreams come true, things like that, really represent that in your photos is it's a big deal.

Dan (13:00):
Yeah. I will plug here really quick. We should talk about the impact of reviews also.

Erick (13:07):
Oh, sure. Yeah. At some

Dan (13:08):
Point, because that's just absolutely crucial. And if you don't have a website and you have no online presence, people will never be able to see your reviews. And one of the big decision making factors, I don't want to rabbit hole on this completely, but one of the big decision making factors for people, including myself, majority of people who are going to go look for a service, a service-based business, are going to be what are other people's experience with this business? Has it been a positive experience or was it a negative experience? And some people post their own photographs of their job,

Erick (13:47):

Dan (13:47):

Erick (13:49):
Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. It's a huge deal, and it really does tie into this because what we are talking about right now is essentially the very foundation of your marketing. And that means having a website, but it also means having things set up to where traffic turns into people calling for estimates for work. And those things include the strong calls to action, showing off your work, having positive reviews and lots of positive reviews. These are all things that take website traffic and turn them into customers for you. They're all super important. And one of the other things that I have on here is add photos of your staff. And this is an interesting one because I did not think that it would perform as well as it did for one of our clients. And most people don't think to do this as when you have photos of your staff at work on your website, people know who's coming to their house, and it sort of paints a very real picture of that experience for them. And so we have this one client who they only had pictures of their work on their website, and then they said, I think I'd like to put up pictures of the staff. And I was like, sure, we hadn't really tried it before. Give it a try. This was years ago, and as soon as we did, we probably saw close to a 25% increase in call volume, just as a result of right at the top, it was his guys at work. And it just really seemed to do well for getting people to call. But

Dan (16:06):
Yeah, that's great.

Erick (16:09):
Yeah. And looks like one of the last things I have here is if you have any awards or recognition, definitely showcase that as well. Those kind of things establish trust.

Dan (16:22):
Yeah, it's a bit like a resume. I mean, it's a bit like a resume. Here's who I am. Oh yeah, here's why you should work with me. And so think about it in that way. It really is your communication to your audience. And again, this stuff does not have to be hard. There's some technical things, you know, can have social media, you can have all this tied together, but you want there to be a unified and clear communication to the people who are looking for you. And that's one of the reasons obviously that marketing is important is because it's going to connect to the people who are looking for you already to you versus someone else who does your service. And you don't have to be the best, you just have to be the best known in order to win a market. And I think that's, who said that? Is it Grant Cardone? I

Erick (17:27):
Think, well, I've heard Grant talk say that, so it's proba, maybe others have said it too, but I know Grant said it. Yeah, I've

Dan (17:35):
Definitely said that. I know it's been said many times, but it's about how known you are. McDonald's have the tasting burger, but in terms of market share, right? So anyway, you

Erick (17:57):
Get to the point point. No, you're totally right. You're totally right. Yeah. So that's basically the website. And I'll also just say, because we haven't shown any kind of visuals on these things, if you ever want a demo of what that looks like, you can see the website that we developed for landscapers or just call us and Dan or myself will gladly just, or even Brian, will walk you through what these kind of websites look like. Yeah,

Dan (18:35):
It's a great website. It really is. If you don't have one, some of this stuff, you just have to start. And if you already have one but you don't feel like it's performing, again, give us a call and we'll do an analysis and figure out why. Some of it might not even be something that you need to hire someone for. It might be we can just say, well, this thing is messed up and then you can fix it. So the point of this all is that none of this has to be super complicated. It can be made simple, and there is help available to do that if you're big already or if you're, you're sort of on the rise, but you want more. That's where it's the more advanced things that can be done, the more aggressive strategies you're going to want a firm to do, because quite frankly, you're going to have the capital to invest, and you're not going to have the time to do that because you're getting into the more specialized aspects of it. But initially, just having that baseline of you have a social media, you have a website, you're on Google Maps, you have calls to action, and you know, have good photographs. I mean, that's just the baseline. And it's amazing what those things can do in terms of leads in driving traffic to you,

Erick (20:09):
Right? Yeah, totally. Okay, moving on to the next thing. So after you've got your website up, this can get a little more technical because it has to do with retargeting ads and retargeting. All that means is have you ever visited a website? I'm sure, Dan, you've probably had experience with this. You visited a website, and then next thing you know, you're just bombarded with ads from that website you visited. Yes, maybe you're shopping for kids toys or something. And next thing you're like on, and that toy is following everywhere you go or on Facebook or Instagram.

We've talked about Grant Cardone quite a bit. He, he's got those ads. You visit his website and you'll see him everywhere afterwards. So the way that you set up those ads is actually, it's actually with a little line of code called a Pixel, and that's what the code is just called. It's called a pixel. And what it does is it's kind of like when you go to a theme park and they have those little things that you walk through, it's like a little rotating thing, and it clicks and it tells, I guess it counts how many people have entered the theme park, something like that. That's what that code is doing, is it's tracking who's entered the website, and when they enter that website, it goes, great. We have some info about this person, and whenever they go somewhere else on the internet, we're going to show them an ad, whether it be on Facebook, Instagram, or even just websites in general.

So anyway, going through that is basically, we have videos on our website, on our article that show exactly step-by-step how you can add that code to your website. And it's really important because when you're spending money on Google Ads or any kind of advertising, you really want to get the most out of it, and you can get the most out of it by setting up these types of ads. In other words, let's say spending, I don't know, thousands of dollars on TV commercials or radio ads or something like that, you, you're spending $10,000 and you basically calculate, well, for $10,000 getting, I don't know, let's say 2,500 customers, how much is that per customer?

Dan (23:28):
Did you say 2,500

Erick (23:29):
Customers? Yeah. Well, let's just say it's, you figure out, it's costing you 10 bucks per to acquire a customer, and that's pretty good. 10 bucks for every $10 you spend getting a customer. And what retargeting will do is you'll get some additional customers, and you'll probably find that these additional customers are only costing you $5 to get, or generally speaking, your average cost to acquire a new customer goes down to let's say like $7 50 cents. So you're saving money and getting more clients, basically. That said, again, anybody who wants to implement this, we do walk you through the steps on our website. So Dan, you had mentioned Google listings. That's actually one of the next steps on here. Great. Yeah, and that's super important. At the end of the day, Google's the biggest search engine in the world. People every month, thousands of people every month are looking for your services on Google. And do you remember, Dan, what the number one spot of Google gets in terms of clicks?

Dan (24:55):

Erick (24:56):
Dang. That's right. I'm the marketing guy, so I test him on these things every once in a while, but he's also,

Dan (25:05):
I should know that accurately. One time I said a different number, and he was like, that's not exactly what it is. And I was like, what is it? He's like 34. And I was like, oh, I said the wrong number. I,

Erick (25:18):
That was a while ago. I mean you That's true. That was when we were first getting started, but I want to say, you said what, 80% or something like that?

Dan (25:28):
It was more than 34 for sure, what I said, but it didn't have any sort of negative impact. But I was illustrating how important it is to be at the top of Google for customer acquisition, and we were having a conversation between each other and I was like, yeah, it's like 78%, or it was something like that. And he is like, no, it's not, it's 30. It's, or what is it?

Erick (26:00):
34? Yeah,

Dan (26:01):
34. Yeah, it's 34. I

Erick (26:02):
Mean, technically speaking, it can change it. It'll be anywhere from 34% to 42%. It depends largely on what's being searched, but typically when you, you're totally right. I mean, when we're talking to people, we usually estimate things somewhat conservatively so that at the end of the day, we can promise a person great results with 34%, and then work to exceed that. Yeah,

Dan (26:37):
Absolutely. Yeah.

Erick (26:39):
But anyway, sorry,

Dan (26:41):
I have a question that I don't know if I've asked just on the sequence of these things that we have in the Ultimate Guide to marketing, which again, you guys can go and review at our website and literally follow the steps right off of there. But what's the significance of the sequence? Is it just the logical sequence of things?

Erick (27:08):
No, it's a great question. At the end of the day, so the reason why I have claiming your Google listing on this step as opposed to being earlier is because some people will not have an address that they'd like to use for a Google listing. So as soon as your website goes up, you can actually add the code immediately and a Google listing. Again, some people might not be able or willing to set up a Google listing, and also it's something that can, they usually verify your business through a postcard or something, and it can take a week or so. So it's one of those things that you won't be able to complete immediately. But generally speaking, all of these things, you get the website up, you add the code, and you set up your Google listing, they can all pretty much be done at the same time.

Dan (28:13):

Erick (28:13):
Yeah. So the next thing that I have here is investing in digital ads. So you've got your foundation already, you've got your Google listing, and you've also got retargeting set up now. Now we're talking about paying for just regular Google ads, and you can also pay for things like Facebook ads and Instagram ads as well. Now, just touching on this a little bit, in our experience, we have not seen as high a return on investment with social media ads as we do with Google Ads. At the end of the day, I think there probably are ways, if you're really committed to social media ads, there are ways to reduce the cost to acquire a client, but it's going to take time and it's going to take some upfront investment. Whereas with Google Ads, we found that people are getting pretty good results right off the bat, not compared to seo. SEO obviously is going to have the highest return on investment, but yeah, Google Ads are generally the thing that we recommend starting with, and then Google guarantee. So Dan, I don't know if I've talked to you a lot about Google guarantee.

Dan (29:55):

Erick (29:56):
No. Now this is something that you can have managed for you if you like, but it's also actually really simple to get started on your own. Literally, you could do a Google search for Google local service ads. That's kind of what it's a officially called, but unofficially, a lot of contractors know it as Google guarantee, and the little what

Dan (30:22):
Local service ads are. I didn't, I've never seen it called Google, guaranteed.

Erick (30:27):
Oh, okay. Well, yeah, it's basically contract. A lot of contractors know it as Google guaranteed, because when the ad shows up at the top, at the very top of the search results, there's a little green badge and it says guaranteed on it. And it basically means that Google has verified that you're a legitimate business, and they're almost like they're vouching for you as a business. So when a potential customer sees that, they go, well, these guys have been vetted through Google, so I'm going to call them. And although it's called Google local service ads, it's actually kind of like a lead generation service, and it's a great way to get customers immediately. Again, as far as return on investment is concerned, s e o is going to be the higher return on investment. The cost to acquire a client is going to be far less than any of these digital ads, but

Dan (31:38):
By a lot.

Erick (31:39):

Dan (31:40):
By a lot.

Erick (31:41):
Oh, totally.

Dan (31:42):
It, it's sign like 10 times the return on investment from SEO O than from ads.

Erick (31:49):
Oh, yeah. It is a huge difference. Huge difference. But for those of our listeners who are going to want to get results right now, and they're like, I just need customers this minute, it's a good solution to go with Google, guaranteed. So the next thing I have on here, and this is something you could actually probably start right off the bat if you wanted to, or you could do it after you've already set up your ads. Whenever you want to do this is fine, but you're going to want to build up your online presence. And this kind of ties into SEO quite a bit. But what that means is you should have a Facebook page and an Instagram page and a Twitter or a LinkedIn for your social profiles. You should have an online presence. People should be able to find you in different ways, and that also includes online directories. If you're not on Yelp, you should get on Yelp. And also Angie's List is another good one. A really good one that we recommend for SEO is joining your local chamber of commerce. And you can also network at, if you ever go to those Chamber of Commerce meetings, we've also got here press releases. That's a big one. If you have anything newsworthy, it's a great idea to get press releases out. And I'm kind of wrap.

Dan (33:44):
Yeah. Can you talk about what that is really quick, just for people who don't really know?

Erick (33:49):
Yeah, yeah. It's basically, yeah. Yeah. So basically you are writing a news story about your company or things that you're doing. It's not an advertisement, it's not going to be, we're the best in the city in 10% off on sprinkler repair. That's a fast way to get your press release shut down or to not get promoted. But if you have something newsworthy, or it doesn't even have to be, it doesn't even have to be crazy exciting news. It could be A, B, C Landscaping builds a new website. The point is, what you're doing is you're writing this article that gets sent to potentially hundreds or thousands of news outlets to then get picked up and put you in the news. Usually when you're doing press releases for like S e O, it's not something that's going to put you on your local news station on the nightly news, but it would be something that is featured on various news websites. And again, it, it's very helpful for s e o. And once again, this kind of ties into what I mentioned earlier about showing awards and recognition. If you get picked up by Fox News, for example, you can put that on your website, say, featured on Fox, and featured on Wall Street Journal or Yahoo News, different things like that. It again, adds more credibility. And it's great for S e O.

Dan (35:53):

Erick (35:55):
I'm kind of rapid firing through some of these so that this doesn't end up being like a two hour podcast.

Dan (36:02):
Well, and we don't have to go through every step. I mean, the purpose really is to highlight these things. It doesn't have to be overwhelming, you know, can hire a firm also to do these type of things, obviously, like I mentioned, and it doesn't have to be super expensive either. It doesn't have to be some massive expense, or you can carve out some time every week to do a couple of these steps and go through it. But the point is, if you have a business and you want it to grow, is accepting, the majority of the people that are going to look for you are the people that you want as customers. They're going to be proactively out there Googling, and that's the primary way they're going to go. They're going to take their phone out, or they're going to go online and they're going to search for a business like yours. And the ones that they find are going to be the ones that are at the top and that have a marketing presence. So very, very important to do that. If you don't want to grow, then you don't want to grow. None of this is relevant. You can get away with not having a website if you don't want to grow, and you can go referral, and you can be in your neighborhood and all that, and that's totally fine. That's totally fine. But anyway,

Erick (37:42):
Yeah. Yeah. Great points. Great points. I also just wanted to say, because I didn't mention it here, and you made a good point to talk a little bit about press releases. There are services, if you just do a Google search for press release service, probably find a few. I think obviously you can go through us and you'll, there's a good chance you'll spend less money if you go through us, because we also handle the writing, the press release, and sending it out to the news outlets. Whereas other companies, you're, you're going to have to write your own stuff or hire a writer. But for press releases, there are services like pr. Newswire I think is a pretty good one. I wouldn't recommend going with the really cheap ones because I've just seen a lot of problems come from that. So try to go with the credible one, like pr, pr. I'm just going to look real quick because I think there's another one too. No, I want to say that's probably the best one. That's the one. Let's just stick with that. So there's two more here on this. So we have blogging to create an online presence. Blogging is a huge thing too. Well, yeah, it is a big deal. You're going to get traffic to your blog, and the more traffic you get to the blog, that's traffic to your website and potentially more callers. And then we have online reviews, and that was something that you talked about earlier.

Dan (39:52):
I jumped ahead.

Erick (39:53):
You did, but that was good. That was good. So let's see, this actually, there's a few more methods on here. Do we have time? Have you been keeping track?

Dan (40:08):
I have not, but I do think that for the purpose of the podcast, I think that it's been enough of an illustration of the point, and people can go and they can read it if they have questions or need help. I mean, there's more data on each one of these steps. If you're like, well, I want to make a blog, you can go, well, how do I do that? And again, there's plenty of data out there. We're here to help, we're happy to help. There's that too. But the messages get started, and we covered a lot on the last show about growing the business, and so

Erick (41:00):
Hiring everything. Yeah,

Dan (41:02):
That's a good listen as well.

Erick (41:05):
Yeah. I think on our next episode, maybe we should bring on a guest.

Dan (41:11):
I think that would be great. I'd like to interview someone and put 'em through the ringer.

Erick (41:17):
Oh, yeah,

Dan (41:18):
Yeah. Just ring 'em

Erick (41:20):
Out. We could do, at some point, I used to belong to this group that this SEO group, anyway, it's a very expensive group of some of the top, some of the top marketers in the world. And we had this thing called the hot seat, and it was literally, they would bring someone on and they would just kick your ass. Basically, some of the top marketers in the world would just kick your ass about what you're doing and whether or not you're good, or if you're doing amazing stuff. They would be like, dang, dude, you're killing it. Yeah, that's great. And we could do a kind of hot seat thing if any landscapers want to get on and analyze their marketing, see what they've got going on. Yep. That'd be fun.

Dan (42:30):
Yeah. I will say getting an analysis is also good because a firm can is basically going to give you a picture of, and this would obviously be relevant if you have something going on online to analyze, but you know, will get a picture of in reality of, oh, well, here's where I'm lacking and here's where I can have improvement, and things like that. So there's also an assessment that we have through a partnership, a contractor's assessment, which is not only analysis of the marketing and the online presence, but it's actually an analysis of your whole business. It goes into all different areas, including finance, business structure, all of those things. And basically gives you a breakdown of what can be done to improve your business, maybe some shortcomings that you have, and what needs to be worked on from an overall business perspective as well.

Erick (43:31):
Totally, totally quick question, Dan. Yes, sir. Hear? Do you hear my dogs in the background? Oh, really? It's like I do not bugging the crap out of me, and I'm like, man, this podcast is going to suck.

Dan (43:48):
No, no, you, the gear is pretty good.

Erick (43:53):

Dan (43:54):
The high end micro, the higher end microphones have more of a specific radius of

Erick (44:05):
Sound. Yeah, I know. Right back here on the other side of this microphone. Yeah. Doesn't really pick up sound. And I do think the dogs are out there. Yeah,

Dan (44:18):
It's good. It's the little stock speakers, and most computers and phones and stuff will pick up background noise like crazy. But the higher end ones, or I'm sorry, microphones, the higher end ones.

Erick (44:31):

Dan (44:32):
Anyway. We'll it

Erick (44:34):
Sweet. Cool. Thanks. Anything else before we cue the outro music?

Dan (44:41):
We forgot to play the intro music.

Erick (44:43):
Oh, crap. Oh wow. Well know.

Dan (44:47):
No, just whoever listens to this hope. Hopefully it had some value. We we're sort of gearing this toward people who are new and just starting, so I hope that it's valuable. Yeah.

Erick (45:07):
Awesome. Well, that said, it's Dan and Eric, our Landscape Gems podcast, and we'll see you in the

Dan (45:16):

Erick (45:16):
Sponsored by Oh yeah, go ahead.

Dan (45:18):
Sponsored by Landscape Marketing and seo.

Erick (45:20):
Woo woo. All right.

Dan (45:22):

Erick (45:25):
Awesome. All right, see you later, Dan.

Dan (45:28):
Okay, bye. Bye.