All right. Good morning, Dan.
Good morning, Eric.
Welcome to the Landscape Gems Podcast. So today we were going to talk about something that we've seen as a problem for many landscapers, basically where they want more customers in a market that is a little outside of where their business is located. In other words, if they wanted, let's just take Tennessee for example, because we both have lived in Tennessee and we've worked with people in Tennessee. If they want to service the Nashville market, but they're located outside of Nashville in an area like Goodlettsville, for example, it's hard to do that with things like s e O. You have to use other methods to break into that market. And in order to dominate the Nashville market, you really do have to have a location there. But we wanted to touch on all of this and basically the best way to go about it,
And maybe you can talk about some of the reasons why that's the case with local search and just how it works with the search engine.
Sure, yeah, absolutely. So a lot of, when it comes to Google, one of the ways that it works is Google wants to show results within the proximity of the searcher, and it's meant to be a convenience for people doing searches. In other words, if you're looking for a restaurant to eat at, right? You're not going to want to see something that's 50 miles away from you. That's just an inconvenience to you, and it sucks. But Google does that with everything, even for landscapers, even though a landscaper's going to come out to see you, and they might be 50 miles away, they might be 20 miles away, Google's going to show that searcher the businesses that are closer to them. So it doesn't work out so well. When a landscaper wants to service a market that is 15, 20 miles away, it makes it more difficult.
The address is relevant.
We were talking about at some point recently, we were talking about that this point gets missed a lot, especially with smaller companies. Sometimes it's with bigger companies too. They're really, really focusing on this metropolitan area that they want or this sort of territory, and they're just not located there. And so what do you do in that case? And there's several things that you can do, but if you're starting out, I think that it's important to understand, first of all, it doesn't have to be super complicated. It can be easy. And with a little bit of strategy, you can get quite a long way by doing this. I think the first step would be should target where you are, where your address is. And even if you're in a very, very small place population wise, all that means is that it is going to be easier to do that. What you need to do is get your business to the point where you can fund the expansion into another area. And again, I mean, we wish that there was a way, a better way than having an address somewhere and physically, physical location to do this. But there isn't a better way because of how Google is set up to provide relevant search results.
Your total, you're totally right. Just by dominating your own market first and making enough money to lease some land in the market that you'd like to work in, you can use that space for your trucks, for your equipment, and you can also use it for another Google listing in your desired market. Now, that doesn't necessarily mean you cannot break into a desirable market. It, it doesn't mean that you can't break into a desirable market. It just means that you're probably not going to completely dominate that desirable market until you've also got a presence on Google there. So I was just taking a look, and I'm not going to lie. I actually got this from a very popular YouTuber, Keith Kaphas, who talks all about strategies for lawn care businesses. And he talks about putting up signs in the neighborhood that you want to work in and getting door hangers, things like that, so that you can start that process of breaking into that market and starting to dominate it. That's a great way to get started and to build that income to where you can also get a Google listing there at some point, get an office or a piece of land, et cetera.
Absolutely. And when that happens, I mean, it works very quickly, typ typically you're, you're going to have that baseline of relevance because you have an actual physical address there.
Yeah, yeah. You're totally right.
What are some downfalls of the things that have happened that you've seen Eric, where people have attempted to do this and it's failed, and what happens and what should people watch out for when they're trying to, first off, have a location on Google, but then secondly they're going, well, I really want to finagle this. I want to expand. I want to have an address on the map and this big area.
Totally. So in the past with Google, you used to be able to get away with so much stuff. I mean, you used to be able to use boxes or u p s store mailboxes, all kinds of stuff like that. And you could use that to get a Google listing in that area. Today, Google is very, very strict on these things. In fact, you also used to be able to just use a friend's address if they lived in that area. It's a lot harder to get away with that. Some people can still get away with some of that stuff, but it's not very conducive for long-term growth because eventually Google may come sniffing around, and here you are relying on this listing to get you business, and they suspend it all of a sudden, and that's like a big source of income for you, and it's all gone, and you have no way to prove to Google that it's a legitimate business location. You basically lost that income. And I, I've actually seen that happen once or twice with people who have tried to manage their own s e O and their own marketing. They attempt all these little tricks to get things done, and then next thing you know, they're losing a ton of money. So that, that's probably some of the struggles I've seen. Yeah,
And that's not actually uncommon where people will figure out that the location's important and they do that. Yes. It's not the greatest of an idea. We talked about in a previous podcast about diversifying your marketing efforts and having other ways. That is a way to make it hurt less. But again, if have that shut down, the only way to fix it would be to actually go get a legitimate physical address and pay for it, and then go through the process of getting that back up really quickly. But yeah,
I actually had, one of our clients recently contacted me about this exact topic where they were saying, I really want this market. I need to break into this market. It's where all the affluent people live and ni all the nice houses and stuff. And I said, great, get an address there. You need to get an office there. And he started asking me about like, okay, well, I was going to try this PO box. And I said, well, first off, I don't think that's going to work. The, there's a good chance just by trying it, Google's going to take it down before it ever goes up. But secondly, if it does go up, there's a good chance that you're going to make some great money and you're going to hire some more people. And then a few months down the line, you're going to lose that listing and you're not going to be able to pay all those people you hired and in your zone.
Yeah, and one thing though, I will say about that, I think our clients really do appreciate the fact that we're just going to keep it very real with them. We're not going to try to pull, let them get into all these tricks. I mean, at the end of the day, it is up to the business owner if they want to try that kind of a thing that is on them. But we're going to warn them and let them know this could cause trouble for you. And there are more legitimate ways to go about it. Maybe it's not like a quick trick that you can pull on Google. Maybe it takes a little more time, but it is legitimate, and that's going to make your company that much stronger when you have everything completely legit.
Yeah, I mean, if we're advising someone, we're always going to advise to do it the right way. We want you to have a very stable foundation. If you're a client of ours, especially where it's not going anywhere, it's rock solid. It's going to provide ongoing leads and exposure for you. And we don't use any of those techniques that are temporary or that would put you at risk of something like that. We wouldn't advise doing that. And again, if someone says, look, we we're going to do this and go against your advice, then again, the business owner is the business owner. They own it. So if they want to take a big risk, they can take a big risk. But we talked about in the previous podcast also the difference in R O I between SEO versus ads and all of that. The sort of core of all of that is your location
Where you are. So think about that. If you don't have an actual location yet, and you're thinking of getting a location, do your best to have that location B, obviously in the market that you want to target in the market, the market that you want to expand into. So it's the smartest to be, sometimes people go for a lower cost, they'll go outside of the major metro area, but they want to target the major metro area. It is better or on to have the extra expense if you're planning on doing marketing because the return on spending the extra money to be in the major metro area versus on the outside of it, because you'll actually have that address, is going to benefit you more than saving a few dollars and going outside the area for the address. Right.
And in some cases, a lot of our listeners might actually not want a major metro area, but they might have a neighborhood with 500, 300, 500 houses that are all very upscale, and that's the desirable neighborhood. It might not be possible to get a location within that neighborhood, but by simply having a location near that neighborhood that could help you compete ideally within the same city limits of that neighborhood, that's going to help you compete very well. And again, going back to what we were touching on in the beginning, there's probably a lot of landscapers that already have a location for their business, and for some of them, there's just starting and they're going to use their home. For others, they may have already invested in a location outside of where they would like to be working. The key, again, just dominate that market. You can use flyers and mailers and stuff to break into another market, but work on increasing your income through dominating the market you're in and servicing so that you can have a stable location in the market that you want to be servicing
What else are we going to talk about
That? That was honestly mostly what we had. But I will say, when it comes to dominating your market, a big part of that is going to be s e o, of course, but also your Google reviews. And that's something we've touched on quite a bit throughout our various episodes is beefing up those Google reviews and make yourself the obvious choice. When a person is on Google and they're looking for landscaping services or irrigation services, and they see you show up with 300 positive reviews and everybody else is showing up with 15 or 20 reviews, they're always going to pick the guy with the 300 reviews. So that's a big part of that. Sorry,
I know I do.
Oh yeah, absolutely.
I mean, especially on anything. I mean, primarily that's what I'm going to use. What are people saying about this person? And you may not think about this. I'm going to add one last piece of this, and I know we've said stuff like this before, but you really have to predict and try and get inside your customer's head on the impression you're going to make when you interact with them. And some people are significant on different things. Some people would rather have someone that's clean cut. Some people would rather have someone in a collared shirt. Some people would rather have someone with a truck that is branded and wrapped,
Wrapped versus nothing, or having a magnet or something like that. Although a magnet is definitely better than nothing. And if you're slovenly, if you have body odor, if your teeth aren't brushed, if you got with dirt, if you're perpetually dirty, really dirty, I mean, as obviously it's expected that you're not going to be sparkling white. But honestly, any effort in little areas that you can show subconsciously, people are going to feel more comfortable doing business with you. So all of those things are going to go into a review. A person might give a five star review, and they're thinking about the whole experience because you had a nice logo shirt on, and you were pretty well kempt, and you had a crisp smile where you know didn't have food in your teeth, you showered your face that morning.
And some of this stuff is funny, but I, I have encountered lots of service surface based people. I've had people come up and they're wearing just random clothes, and it looks like it's the same jeans they wear to every single job. And there's zero effort on appearance. And it's not quite the same feeling of service as if someone comes and they're in company swag and they have a process. I used a company, an HVAC company to replace an AC unit, and the guys were like, every single person that came by button up shirt, logo, name tag, shirt tucked in, even their boots were relatively clean when they came in the house. They put booties on their shoes, so they're not tracking dirt in my house. And I've used services that didn't do that. And I'm thinking, as the person's walking in my house, how many addicts or crawl spaces have you crawled in and what muddy environments that you've been on with the boots?
And my floor was dirty after they left because they didn't put the booties on. And while whatever the business is, that might seem like a really trivial thing in my mind. I literally was compelled after this first company did the job, and it was a much more expensive service. I got quotes that were significantly less. I wrote a raving review. They did ask me to write a review. And that's another part is if you don't ask, you're not going to get, if you want to have all these things be a plus, plus plus, then I'm mentioning great and more people will leave reviews than not. But if you never ask, you're going to get very, very, very few. And you'll also have, you'll be giving yourself some leeway on some of the things that I mentioned if you can't have that much of a presentation.
But they asked, and I went, absolutely. And I wrote a two or three paragraph review about the quality of service and how professional they were, and it was just a great experience. So that can happen, and I would recommend them to anyone that needed HVAC work because of that experience. But all those, you're not putting those things together in real time. And it's important as the business owner and running your business to be thinking about these things and going, you know, could even AB test it. You could go to places and be getting, asking for reviews, and you could wear your shirt tucked in, and then you could wear it untucked for the next three or four customers. And which ones, what did the reviews look like?
Yeah, I would
Just go shirt tucked in or whatever. But
That's cool, man. Yeah, that's a great point. That's a very good point. Well, I think that's all we wanted to cover today, right? I mean, we were, we're working towards making our episodes a little bit shorter, maybe in the 20 to 30 minute range. And that's pretty much what we got.
I really helped do that with that last
Segment. Oh yeah, you just pushed us into there.
Awesome, man. Well,
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