How to Get Inside Your Customers’ Heads to Meet Their Needs
A few months ago, I met a marketing consultant who belongs to the same networking group that I do. He took a look at my tagline and essentially said—“The tagline should not be about you, but about your client. What you have here is how you see your business, not how the client sees it.”
Light bulb moment!
Then, this gentleman asked me a series of questions to get me thinking from my clients’ perspective. First, who are my ideal clients?
They’re you: Business owners in the landscape design/build, lawn care, and outdoor living businesses. In other words, this seasoned marketer asked the kind of questions that put me in your shoes.
I took that business person’s questions and used them to brainstorm a new tagline: Growing Your Business, One Word at a Time.
Through my tagline, I’m trying to communicate that I’ll help you bring in more business and elevate you to expert status in your region through the use of my words.
In today’s business world, it’s imperative to have a website. Yet, not only do you need a website, but you also need to regularly add fresh content in the forms of blogs, case studies, white papers, etc. to keep Google happy.
So, it stands to reason that you may need a writer to consistently communicate your message to homeowners, retail managers, and other prospects about the value that you bring to them through professional lawn care and landscape design/build, as well as outdoor living products like BBQ’s, outdoor kitchens, and fire pits.
How about you?
Do you step in your ideal customer’s shoes and find out what motivates him to invest in your services or buy your products? And if you did walk around in your client’s shoes, did it help you better nail down your marketing message?
Here are some questions to get you started on your tagline:
- Who is your ideal client? How do you solve those problems?
- What are his or her landscape or lawn care problems?
- If you’re an outdoor living manufacturer or in sales, how do you meet your clients’ dreams for an outdoor pizza oven, fireplace, or patio furniture?
- Finally, how are you going to let your ideal clients know about the problems you solve or the dreams you design?
- Do you know what keyphrases people are putting in Google, Bing, or Yahoo to find you?
Think about these questions—have a brainstorm session with your sales force or your web designer, and see what all of you come up with, and then narrow it down to its simplest terms to create your tagline.
If you want to know more about taglines, here’s an article I wrote about a similar topic, Unique Selling Proposition, for TURF magazine: http://bit.ly/1aCLH5S.
Happy June! The kids are almost out of school and it seems that everyone in the lawn care/landscape industries are busy back at work making residential and commercial properties look beautiful this season.
There are three common questions that I hear from lawn care and landscape prospects before they decide to commit to a blogging regimen. And even though these questions are asked differently, they boil down to these three:
- Can I trust you (Wendy) to deliver on your promises?
- How do you know that this will work?
- And what will you be writing about?
There are many other kinds of questions that pop up when a prospect and I are getting to know each other. But the above three are the most fundamental to many businesses before they decide that they want a blog on their website, let alone hire out to a complete stranger to get the job done right, the first time.
So here are my answers:
- Yes, you can trust me. But I’m happy to work with you so you can discover how my writing services help your return on investment. I know that there are a lot of charlatans out there who claim that they’ll write you a wonderful blog, full of great keywords, and other SEO jargon. You pay them and later find out that you have to rewrite everything because the blogger didn’t know a grub from a bean.
Also, there are a lot of outlets where you can pick your writers for a very low fee. Yet, you get what you paid for. Even though it’s great that you’re paying $2.00 for that lawn care blog, don’t expect a lot of detail from someone who isn’t familiar with American lawn care and landscape methods—especially if they’re from third world nations.
- Social marketing is here to stay—whether you’re on board the social media train or not. Other lawn care and landscape businesses are adding blogs, e-newsletters, Facebook pages, and video to their marketing plans. And while I can’t guarantee you certain results, I can tell you that, so far, my clients are happy with me.
Also, you should be getting feedback on how well your blog and overall website are doing. You can find out by asking your web developer or Internet marketing agency to run an audit on your blog. What keywords pop up? How much traffic is coming to your website? What blogs most resonate with your readers? And … most importantly, are you converting prospects into paying customers?
- You’re in total control of what is posted on your blog. I offer free consultation on ideas and direction, but I won’t write a word until you okay the topic idea (and you have the final say before the post is put on your website). This is your blog. I’m just the person writing the words for you.
For many of you, blogging and social media are new concepts. And you’re busy. But it’s worth your while to find a blogger or content writer who understands your business needs and can deliver what she promises.
What questions would you like to ask me about blogging, web content, SEO and the like? Feel free to leave a comment below.
3 Ways to Come Up with Landscape/Lawn Care/Outdoor Living Blogging Topics
Are you running out of blog ideas?
If you’ve been following this blog for the past 18 months, you’ll be able to pick out some recurrent themes:
- The importance of beefing up your landscape/lawn care/outdoor living website with compelling content. And not just web copy (written words), but also videos, photos of before and after projects (with happy clients in them). And I’ve encouraged you to effectively use social media to build your green business’s platform and get the news out when you’ve something new online to share.
- The importance of localizing your website and blogging to gather interest among readers who’ll call you for business. My biggest push: Even though the Yellow Pages might’ve gone the way of the dodo bird, don’t forget about your geographical audience.
- The importance of keeping a consistent web and social media presence to garner trust and bring more people to you.
Yet, after you or your writer have been blogging awhile, you may find that your landscape/lawn care/outdoor living ideas are drying up. You’ve done everything I recommended, plus more. And the well is running dry.
So what do you do?
Here are three places to find new ideas to get the blogging ball rolling again:
- Look up keyword searches on Google Trends. How do people find your blogs? Ideally, if you’ve hired an Internet marketing agency that specializes in localization, they probably supply you with this information. If not, you need to do it yourself.
I’m not an expert in Google Trends, but this is what I figured out by plugging in the keywords “build swimming pool:”
So now I have some keywords to work with even if my pretend pool business is not located in the top subregions. You can use “build a pool (which was the most popular keyword search);” “inground swimming pools;” “natural swimming pools.” Additionally, you can write about “cost of a swimming pool;” “swimming pool design;” and “building a pool.”
- Check out your blog’s statistics. What were your most popular blogs? Can you write more about those subtopics? What about comments? Use comments to write new blog content.
- Look at the junk mail that’s delivered to your home’s mailbox. Last week, I got a mailer from a big box store. They had three pamphlets labeled: “Welcome Home,” “Backyard Living,” and “Curb Appeal.” In the Curb Appeal pamphlet there were “Tips for Tender Loving Lawn Care.” Have you ever written a blog about giving your readers’ lawns TLC? Play around with it—just don’t copy someone else’s work because your Google rankings WILL drop and you could get in trouble for plagiarism (now I’m sounding like an English teacher!).
As you can see, you have a lot of options when it comes to digging for new blogging ideas.
Have you tried the above? Or if you have other techniques for finding fresh landscape/lawn care/outdoor living blog topics, please share them here!
Okay, so you decided to hire a writer to blog about you, your work, and your landscape and lawn care services. You’ve learned that hiring a marketing writer doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg.
Smooth sailing, right?
Well, don’t think that you’ve washed your hands from the project. You’re still the boss and you need to provide some direction to your marketing team, which includes that writer you recently hired.
Here are three things to expect from your freelance writer when she writes blog posts for you:
- Introductory questions: Most market-savvy writers will know to ask you specific questions about your blog goals. But if you hire a newbie writer, she may not know what questions she should be asking you:
Who is your ideal client?
What type of people do you serve (upper class, upper middle class, commercial, or just residential)
What climate and growing zone do your clients live in?
What’s your business’s cycle? For example, if I have a client in a temperate zone, say in Florida, then I need to know what their growing cycle is like since I’m from Pennsylvania.
What does your business do: hardscaping, landscaping, lawn care, or a combination of all three?
What makes your business stand out from the crowd?
How often do you want to publish your blog–once a month, biweekly, or weekly?
How often do you want to pay your writer? After each blog post, once a month, or on a quarterly basis?
And do you want Q&A- (Question and Answer), how to-, or informational blogs? Or a mixture of all three?
- The editorial calendar: You’re probably thinking, the editorial what? But the editorial calendar is essential for a streamlined relationship with your writer. And an editorial calendar doesn’t have to be formal. I have clients who want me to focus on a theme, like lawn diseases, for a couple of months and others who’ll give me general topics to focus on for one month. I’ll do some added research, if needed, and then, write the blog.
- Your feedback:It’s imperative that you look at the blog draft before it goes online. You should also feel that your copywriter is approachable to fixing any mistakes–including the grammatical and spelling ones. And a copywriter shouldn’t charge you for revisions–at least not for the first two revisions. After more than two revisions, you and your writer may need to work out communication kinks or decide to part ways.
Look, I know writing can be intimidating. Yet, you can feel comfortable that there are competent writers out there–including ones who specialize in the lawn care/landscape industries–who’ll write blogs for you at a reasonable rate.
Do you want to post a regular blog for your clients and prospects? Then call me at 717-381-6719 (EST) or email me at email@example.com to collaborate on your landscape or lawn care blog.