Small business owners who want to successfully grow their brands and market their businesses don’t have to shell out thousands of dollars for expensive brochures, advertising campaigns or swag with their company logo. There are many simple, inexpensive ways to get noticed.
Winter’s slow season is the perfect time to conduct research and plan your strategies using the following tips:
- Get social. Leverage the power of social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and others to engage with customers, industry peers and the media. Share high-quality photos and videos of your work. Interact regularly with followers on your posts, especially if they have questions. Remember also that what happens on the Internet stays on the Internet, so stay professional, even if someone is being difficult. Following these do’s and don’ts for social media can help ensure that anyone who scrolls through your content sees your business in a positive light.
- Be relevant. Tie promotional efforts and messaging to timely movements, events or items of seasonal significance. For example, Earth Day and Arbor Day in April are great opportunities to partner with your local city or county governments, schools or other businesses for clean-ups, beautification projects or tree-plantings. There are many other green celebrations throughout the year. World Wetlands Day (Feb. 2), World Forestry Day (March 21), World Water Day (March 22), World Bee Day (May 20), Smart Irrigation Month (July), World Soil Day (Dec. 5) are just a few. Choose the ones that appeal to you and get creative.
- Ask for endorsements and reviews. There’s nothing better than a “rave” from someone who is happy with your work. When you complete a job, don’t be afraid to ask your client for a testimonial. Most will be happy to provide one for use on your social media, and to review your company on platforms like Angi or Yelp. Carry release forms with you to obtain proper permission to use the testimonials and property photos you plan to use for marketing. Satisfied clients will also post on social media, so ask them to tag your business in their posts.
- Reward referrals. People follow the advice of those they trust, so why not create a robust referral program? Ask your clients to refer your business to their friends, family and colleagues, then reward those who provide referrals that lead to signed contracts. Rewards can be anything from a discount on their next service, a freebie tailored to the service you provide the referring client or a gift card.
- Network. There are many ways to network. Participate in industry tradeshows, get involved in your local green industry association or business associations, and attend or exhibit at home and garden shows. Many civic clubs and organizations (not just garden clubs) schedule speakers for monthly meetings, so reach out to let them know you’re available to speak on your area of expertise. Also, don’t forget to like and/or comment on social media posts by clients, business partners, associations and other relevant groups where your business name can be seen.
- Let your landscapes speak for themselves. Case studies are an essential component of your overall marketing package or sales process. Is there a site where you achieved significant water savings or resolved a major problem area for your client? Document it! Instagram is the perfect social media platform for sharing case studies to generate interest in your business. According to Hubspot, the image- and video-heavy platform has more than 1 billion active monthly users, 83% of whom discovered a new product or service on the platform. You also can use case studies when approaching new or existing clients for repairs or upgrades.
- Be your own walking advertisement. Branded apparel featuring your company’s name, logo and contact information is not only a great way to keep you and your crews safe on job sites by making them stand out, it’s also a great way to advertise and build your business.
- Create a personal bio. Include information on your background, experience and current responsibilities and area of expertise, as well as relevant association memberships, education and certifications. Provide a copy to your clients as part of your bidding process and put it in your “about” information on social media.
- Write an article or serve as a media source. You’re an expert in your field, so why not leverage that expertise? Submit an article to your association newsletter, local news outlet or green industry trade magazine. Call editors to introduce yourself, describe your areas of expertise and offer to serve as an interview source. Contact information can be found online.
The number of DIY marketing tactics presented may seem overwhelming, but you don’t have to do everything on this list. Choose the tactics you think will work best to grow your business and that you can execute comfortably. You can always add more as your business and your marketing confidence grow.