Rock Your Lawncare & Landscaping Blog 2019 - Tip #4

The Landscape Writer Helps You Rock Your Blog in 2019

Has this series helped you develop a blogging plan for your lawn care or landscaping website in the New Year?

Remember: The keys to blogging success include writing for your audience, keeping it simple, and getting them hooked so they contact you for all of their lawn care and landscaping needs.

Oh, and don’t forget to localize, localize, localize. For example, if you serve homeowners in Rockville, MD, you want to make sure that you’re including all the subdivisions of the Rockville, MD area. Also, if you don’t localize, as well as list your business with Google and Bing, you won’t get the traffic you want to reach your potential customers.
If you need a blog writer to help you write killer blogs, then call/text me at 717-381-6719 or fill out my contact form.

Better Blogging in 2019 - Tip #3
Keep your landscaping or lawn care blogs simple. Homeowners don’t have time to go through Dictionary.com or Google Search to look up technical jargon. They just want to know that you’re the expert you’re claiming to be.

Need help with your 2019 blog writing goals? Then, call or text me at 717-381-6719 or fill out my contact form.
Rock Your Blog in 2019 Tip#2

Permission marketing, created by Seth Godin, is a non-invasive method to bring more customers to your lawn service or landscaping company’s website. Its goal is to teach your prospects general information regarding their lawns, garden beds, ornamental woody plants, and hardscape features.

In your blog, you’re the expert. You teach your readers about smart lawn care habits that use less chemicals and focuses more on Mother Nature to grow a beautiful lawn.

If you’re a landscaper or garden designer, you teach your clients by talking about native plants, different types of gardens and what plants grow best in your region.

If you’re a landscape contractor, your blogs can contain information on outdoor kitchens, dining areas and fire pits, just to name a few topics.

You invite people to find you by including local cities, counties, and the state you serve, so your name pops up right away on Google or Bing.

When you make it super easy for folks to find you, your prospects gradually trust you enough to go to the next step of contacting you. No cold calls, cold emails or spamming on Facebook to get more people to your website.

Instead, you trust your prospects to click on your contact page link or to pick up the phone to call you. Permission marketing can be summed up as a buyer’s rather than a seller’s market.

You can learn more about permission marketing for the lawn care and landscaping industries, by visiting my website, the Landscape Writer.

If you want to rock your landscaping or lawn care blog this year, but you don’t have time, call me today at 717-381-6719 or fill out my contact form.

New Year's Day Blogging Tip

A live link to help you rock your blog in 2019!

If you’re a landscaper, lawn care owner-operator, or any other business in the green industry (tree care, organic lawn care, sprinkler systems, and snow), then you want to read the Landscape Writer’s blog.

In the blogs, you’ll find helpful tips to draw more eyes to your landscape maintenance website urging new sales prospects to contact you for their landscaping and lawn care needs.

So, what are you waiting for? Start rocking your blog today.

And if you’re looking for an experienced, subject-matter-expert to create one-of-a-kind blogs just for you and your green industry blog, contact the Landscape Writer today!

Wishing You and Yours the Merriest of Christmases & the Happiest New Year!
9 Tips for Growing Your Landscape Business with Blogging

By now, you may have made a New Year’s resolution to start regularly posting blogs on your company’s website.

Every January seems like a fresh start to begin blogging. You plan to write one blog a month. Then the busy lawn and landscape season starts, and you forget about blogging.

Ironically, from April onward, you should be updating your website with fresh blog posts on average of two times a month. Instead, your blog goes dark.

Why Blogging is Important

As a business blogger for the green industry, I’ve talked to lawn care owner-operators, landscape maintenance, and landscape design/build marketing managers about consistent blogging. And you probably heard a lot about regularly blogging, too, at conferences you attend, such as the GIE + Expo.

But how can you get started and keep the blogging momentum moving forward? And is all of this blogging worth the time and effort?

Yes, this “chore” is necessary to keep your name popping up in search engines as well as keeping you top of mind with your current customers.

The catch? You need to realistically assess if you have the time to write consistently, edit and post blogs on your website.

For instance, do you really want to spend your evenings and weekends writing blogs at the height of your busy season?

You can also have someone in your company write blogs. But if it’s all hands on deck from April through November, then one of your administrative staff probably will stop writing blogs by mid-June because of the busyness of your lawn care or landscaping company.

Finally, does all of this blogging work? Yes, it does.

Landscaping business tip: Learn how to get more lawn and landscape customers in 2019 in this blog.

9 Tips for Growing Your Landscape Business with Blogging

In the New Year, you promise yourself that you’re going to be more consistent and committed by posting fresh content on your landscaping or lawn care blog.

Here are nine tips to help you with your 2019 New Year resolution:

  1. Your content will focus on your customers’ needs and wants: Each region in the U.S. and Canada have unique growing situations—depending on rainfall, humidity, soil conditions, new construction and established lawns, etc. If you cater to higher-end landscaping clients, for example, this type of customer may tell you they know everything when it comes to their next outdoor project. While higher-end customers may have different outdoor living desires compared to middle-class customers, high-end clients are still fully human.

 

Typically, higher-end customers are worried about cost, time and inconvenience to their lives. So, blog about budget, time, construction chaos, and how, as a landscape contractor, you’ll keep the project moving along on time as well as on budget.

 

The bottom line: Your blogs need to be customer-centered, but not overly complicated. Remember, “Just the facts!”

 

  1. Homeowners will look for answers to their lawn and landscape problems: Your blog guides your readers to find solutions to their questions. You may be afraid of telling your sales prospects too much, or they may end up doing their own lawn and landscape maintenance work. But homeowners are busy people—and will be looking for a trustworthy, expert lawn care company that’s an expert in the problems they face with their yards.

 

  1. Keep your blogs simple: Yes, your readers want you to teach them about how to make their lawns mean and green as well as different types of swimming pool shapes. But don’t use a lot of jargon that only industry people would understand. Instead, speak in general terms.

 

  1. Your blogs should be tailored to educate your clients and sales prospects: One of the main purposes of blogging is to inform your clients. Today’s consumers will check out blogs and websites of you and your competitors before they call you. So, meet one of your prospect’s pain points by educating them about typical problems or goals for their property. Your purpose should be to keep the sales prospect on your website and guide them to go the next step to fill out your contact form.

 

  1. Don’t forget your CTA: A CTA is simply a “call to action.” You want your prospects to take the next step by calling you or filling out your contact form. Each of your content marketing efforts, including blogs and newsletters, should have a “call to action” at the end of each article. It can be as simple as stating, “If you need regular mowing services, call us today at XXX-XXX-XXXX or fill out our contact form” or your web designer may put a CTA button on your post.

 

Learn more: Here are five reasons why your online copy needs a CTA.

 

  1. Blog as much as you can consistently deliver: The experts advise you to blog every week. However, your blogging schedule needs to work for you. If you can only get a blog posted one or two times a month—that’s okay. The important thing is that you’re posting regular, informative blogs that educate your sales prospects, moving them closer to make an appointment with you. You can plan on adding more posts per month as your schedule or budget allows in the future.

 

  1. Don’t forget to take parts of your blog posts and repurpose them on your social media channels: To keep your lawn and landscape company top of mind with your sales prospects, post tips from your blogs onto your Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Twitter channels. Just make sure you know where your sales prospects are hanging out online.

 

  1. Plan ahead with an editorial calendar: To stay on schedule, make sure you create content or an editorial calendar. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but it should include a relevant topic, focus keywords and the date that you’ll be posting it.

 

  1. Hire a blogger: If you and your staff don’t have time to blog, then you may want to consider outsourcing your blogs and social media content needs. You can find a content copywriter on LinkedIn, research terms, such as “landscaping blogger” or a “landscape writer” to find a writing service to help you with your content calendar and blogging needs.

How the Landscape Writer Can Help You with Your Blogging Needs

At the Landscape Writer, you’ll find a business blogger who specializes in the green industry from lawn care owner-operators, landscapers (both organic and traditional), hardscapers, irrigation companies as well as other vendors including web developers, snowplow designers and marketing managers.

If you need someone who is passionate about your small business and its success through blogging, then you need to call the Landscape Writer today at 717-381-6719, email her at wendy@landscapewriter.com or fill out her free consultation form.

Additional sources to help you:

DeMers, Jayson, “The Top 10 Benefits of Blogging on Your Website.”

Kappel, Mike, “Why Your Small Business Must Start a Blog.”

Wainwright, Corey, “Why Blog? The Benefits of Blogging for Business and Marketing.”

 

A Labor of Love: Landscapers Put in More Overtime Than Most People Realize

Dear Readers:

I’m so busy at the Landscape Writer that I don’t have time to put together a blog for September. Danielle Higley was kind enough to share her insights from TSheets by QuickBooks. I hope you enjoy this post!

With the end of the summer approaching, it’s common to hear the question, “So what will you be doing all winter?” Innocent in nature, this inquiry is based on the misconception that landscapers are seasonal workers only, making all their income during the warmer months, then sitting on their hands while the snow falls.

But as most landscapers know, that’s not true at all. And now, data is here to prove it.

According to a recent analysis of timesheet data by the time tracking software company TSheets by QuickBooks, landscaping is often a year-round gig. By analyzing the data of 981,641 anonymous timesheets, the company was able to isolate trends and get a better understanding of when landscapers are on or off the clock. Here are a few of the insights they gleaned from data taken between January 2015 and April 2018.

Wintertime overtime

New to the landscaping game? Don’t book that month-long December vacation just yet! According to timesheet data, most landscapers are still putting in an almost-full week of work, even in the wintertime. On average, most workers put in around 32.3 hours per workweek, with 31 percent of the workforce tracking over 40 hours. That means nearly 1 in 3 landscapers was working overtime in the winter over the last three years.

And here’s the craziest part — those individuals who put in overtime in the winter actually logged more overtime hours per month than they did in the summer. On average, these landscapers put in 10.4 hours of overtime in December, compared to 10.3 hours in May.

Some of that could be due to larger teams on staff during growing time. With more plants to tend, some companies might take on more employees for seasonal help. In the winter, fewer hands means more hours for those who are still on the payroll — hence the chance of working 50-hour weeks or more.

April showers bring more hours

For less experienced landscapers, it may come as a surprise summer is not the busiest time of year. In fact, that title is held by the month of April, when non-overtime workers put in an average 40.3 hours per week. Among those who could earn overtime, the average was an additional 10.3 hours on top of that.

And here’s the difference between spring and winter: While nearly 1 in 3 workers put in overtime in December, 58 percent of the workforce — more than half — had overtime in April.

August was the next busiest month, with 43 percent of the workforce putting in 40.3 hours a week. And average overtime? Fifty-seven percent of landscapers logged around 10.1 overtime hours per week.

Landscaping is a labor of love

Few people realize just how hard landscapers work. The kind of detail clients expect takes time — more time than a 40-hour workweek allows.

On average, landscapers work 9.4 overtime hours per week. In an industry of 912,360 employees (according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics), around 529,168 people are working four consecutive 50-hour weeks. In other words, if you’re feeling a little overwhelmed and overworked, you likely have good reason.

But don’t let long days get you down. There’s a lot to love about landscaping, from the opportunity to turn a once-drab space into a garden oasis to the chance to get a little sun and some fresh air while others sit in a stifling cubicle. That said, it’s good to be appreciated, and having the data behind you to say “I work hard, no matter what time of year” can help others empathize with your challenges.

Wondering how many hours you put in each week? Why not check out a time tracking app like TSheets? What you could learn from your own data might surprise you.

Danielle Higley is a copywriter for TSheets by QuickBooks, a time tracking and scheduling solution. She has a BA in English literature and has spent her career writing and editing marketing materials for small businesses. She recently started an editorial consulting company.

7 Tips to Get More Landscaping Customers

You want customers—that’s the whole purpose of having a landscaping business. However, it’s tough to figure out the best way of reaching the type of clientele that you love.

7 Tips to Get More Landscaping Clients

Here are seven tips for you to do that will bring more sales prospects to your door:

  1. Join Angie’s List: Angie’s List has been around for a long time, and it’s effective in garnering new clients. Here are some of the benefits you receive when you partner with Angie’s List:
  • It’s an affordable avenue to advertising.
  • Angie’s List has been around for 17 years—so it’s a trusted source for people looking for home services.
  • Service seekers trust the reviews and feedback—a bonus for you if you’re getting positive reviews from your customers.
  • You can beat out your competition when service seekers choose you over them.
  • You can respond to both positive and negative feedback. You can adjust your services to meet your customers’ needs better.
  • When you get consistently high rankings from satisfied customers, you can advertise and offer promotions on Angie’s List.

2. Put your green industry company on Bing and Google’s local listing pages: Help your sales prospects find you when you list your business on Bing and Google’s local listings. When someone plugs in “Lawn care services near me,” on Bing or Google, your name should be on the list with a map, directions and a link to your website.

3. Keep marketing during your off-season: Just because you’ve cleaned, maintained and stored your mowers for the winter, doesn’t mean you should stop marketing. You can use your blog and newsletters to keep you top of mind with your prospects as well as your current clients. Some fall and winter blog ideas include:

  • Planning for your spring landscaping project
  • A list of the best snow blowers and other ideas for residential snow and ice removal
  • Birdwatching and feeding birds in your backyard
  • General industry blogs, such as “How a Professional Lawn Maintenance Service Helps Your Lawn Stay Healthy and Green All Summer Long”
  • If you have an off-season business pushing snow or putting up holiday décor, dedicate some blogs in October through January on these services
  • For newsletters: Share off-season pics and news from your office as well as ideas for outdoor rooms and landscape design/build for the spring.

4. Developing relationships a priority: When you get to know your lawn and landscape clients, you’re building relationships with your customers. You also create loyalty with them when you get to know them and listen to their property problems. Relationships take time—so view it as an investment. On a practical level, building relationships with your customers will save you money. You lose up to 630% in profits when a client leaves you for the competition.

5. Keep your website up-to-date: If you don’t have a website, make that a number one priority. Today, folks looking for a lawn and landscape business go to the Internet first. That’s why local listings and marketing during the off-season are so important.

I understand the desire to go free or low cost, but there comes a time in your business when you need to hire a web designer to create an eye-catching website. Make sure your website is easy to use and updated with clear, concise writing.

How’s your website’s “know, like and trust?”

6. Always have a CTA: Make it super easy for your prospects to take the next step. A call to action (CTA) directs website visitors to take the next step to contact your lawn and landscape services. A phone number, a link taking the customers to a contact page or an email address all help your potential customers take the next step of setting up an appointment with you. In return, you can give something to them, such as a free estimate of their property.

 Read 5 reasons why your website pages and blogs need CTAs.

7. Get those referrals: Finally, when someone thanks you for doing a good job, make sure that you ask permission to add that mini-testimonial to your website. Testimonials build trust and credibility with your green industry business.

How the Landscape Writer Can Help You Get More Landscaping Customers

While it’s your responsibility to get on Angie’s List as well as sign your business up on Bing and Google’s local listings, I can help you with website copy, blogs and newsletters. I can also help you write a compelling CTA.

According to a Stanford University study, 75% of people judge a company based on its website design.

I know growing a company is a slow process, and I respect you for being conservative with your marketing dollars.

But as soon as your budget allows, make sure you hire a reputable website designer to create a site that will make you look better than your competition.

In the meantime, if you’re ready to add a blog, a CTA, a monthly newsletter or if you need website copy, call me today at 717-381-6719 or fill out my free consultation form.

Here are the sources I used to write this blog. You may find them interesting too:

Gendusa, Joy, “5 Marketing Practices Most Landscape Contractors Get Wrong.”

Joy also wrote a blog on the Landscape Writer, called “3 Proven Strategies for Generating More Landscaping Customers This Spring.”

TotalLandscapeCare.com, “3 Ways to Find New Clients.”

Web Designers & Digital Marketers: What are Your Pain Points?

Question for all web designers and marketing consultants, what are your pain points?

When a landscaping or lawn care company calls you up or completes your contact form, requesting a quote to revamp their website or help them create a marketing plan, what do you do?

Over the past five years, I’ve gotten calls from green industry business owners who are frustrated with their marketing consultant or web designer.

Sometimes, it’s because the consultant doesn’t understand the industry or sometimes it’s because the landscaper doesn’t like the direction you’re taking their project.

So, they want out. How about you? Would you like to hold onto these customers rather than lose them to your competition?

Hire a Subject Matter Expert

There are a lot of good writers out there. However, how many of them are subject matter experts (SME)?

You should want to increase your stable of writers with SMEs. For example, if a roofing company hires you to design a website for them, don’t you think the copy would be better if it were written by someone who has spent years writing for roofing companies?

Here are five reasons why you need an SME writer:

 

  1. They’re experts in the industry they serve: SME writers, like me at the Landscape Writer, understand the industry they serve. For example, I’ve been writing for the green industry for the past five years. I read the industry’s trade magazines, I’ve talked to business owners, and I know what they need in their web copy, blogs and landing pages.

 

  1. They understand their niche’s pain points: Every business sector has pain points. For example, an organic lawn care company’s pain point is helping their clients and prospects understand that the process of natural lawn care takes longer than its synthetic counterpart. Also, many lawn maintenance owners like to stress to their customers the importance of mowing the right way and how much water a lawn needs to survive.

 

  1. They know their customers’ marketing goals: Many green industry pros are a bit hesitant when hiring a marketing or web design company. These owners get hounded with calls during their busy season—spring and summer—and some of them have taken up offers from unscrupulous companies—only to lose money and not get their return on investment.

How’s Your Company’s Know, Like & Trust?

 

  1. They’re passionate about their subject: SME writers are passionate about their subject—or they should be. For example, I enjoy writing blogs that educate my clients’ prospects and customers. I love writing about soil health and how that leads to lawn health. In a nutshell, I enjoy landscaping and hardscaping topics. It’s fun to picture a gunite pool or a new flagstone patio gracing my home.

 

  1. They know where to find sound information: So, do your in-house writers know where to find their information? Many busy business owners don’t share their processes which means that the writer needs to go looking for it. Where do your writers go?

      Even though this blog is geared toward landscapers, you can still glean information from it.

  1. They know the right questions to ask: Finally, the SME knows from experience what questions to ask. They’ll be able to dig deeper and write smarter because they have the background knowledge to write well-versed copy.

Survey Time

Since web designers and digital marketing companies make up about 25% of my business, I want to get to know you—what are your pain points? If you’re interested, please fill out this survey that will give me a glimpse into your pain points.

In the meantime, if you need an SME writer for your green industry clients, call me at 717-381-6719 or fill out my consultation form.

 

 

 

 

 

Running Out of Blog Ideas Part 2

Since Running Out of Blog Ideas continues to be one of my most popular blog posts, I decided to create Part 2 for you.

 

The points I made in Part 1 are still valid. And yet, I have a few more years of experience under my belt, and I have a broader audience with different needs.

 

One thing all of you have in common is coming up with blogging ideas.

 

Whether you’re a business owner or a content marketing machine, you need smart blog ideas to help reach your ideal audience.

 

In this blog post, you’ll learn to look at your keywords for blog ideas; check out your competitors’ blogs to see what they’re posting; and get more ideas from the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP).

 

Use Your Keywords

 

Your keywords and locations make great subjects and subject heads. For example, if your keywords are

 

  • Organic lawn care
  • Fertilization
  • Pre-emergent
  • First mow,

 

Then, your blog topic could be “Spring Organic Lawn Care.” Then your subheads would be

 

  • What is organic lawn care?
  • How organic fertilizer feeds the soil
  • How organic pre-emergent doesn’t harm the soil
  • Schedule your first mow by April 1.

 

Did you know that hiring a content writer for your green industry blogs will save you time? Read more in this post.

 

One other point: Don’t forget your locations. If you cover a bunch of towns, you want to mention that somewhere on your blog.

 

A lot of times I add the customer’s cities at the end of their blog, and I mention their state one to two times throughout the post.

 

For example, if your customer base is in the Philadelphia, Pa. suburbs, you want to include Phoenixville, Royersford, and Valley Forge, Pa. at the bottom of your blog.

 

See What Your Competitors are Posting

 

Please note that I’m not encouraging you to plagiarize. I merely want you to evaluate your posts compared to your competitor’s blogs.

 

Here are some questions to ask yourself as you’re comparing blogs:

 

  • How often are they posting?
  • What topics are they covering?
  • Are they the same as yours?
  • Does it seem that your competitor understands their clients and prospects?
  • How can you change your blogs to meet your audience’s needs better?

 

I always tell my kids, “Know your audience” before you share your opinion. And when it comes to writing blogs, the most successful ones are when the writer addresses their unique audience.

 

Know. Your. Audience.

 

Knowing your audience includes

 

  • Demographics: Demographics include the region you serve, the people who hire you (young families, senior citizens, etc.); if they have HOA regulations; and how much land the typical homeowner owns.

 

  • Who makes the call?: The husband or the wife? The property manager?

 

  • How much money does your client make?: Middle class, mid-upper class, higher end clients? Do they live in Manhattan during the week and enjoy their homes on the weekends?

 

Once you know who you’ll be writing to, you can focus on their primary property problems.

 

Questions like what specific lawn and landscape problems do your customers and prospects face in your region? How do they spend their weekends—working in their homes or running their kids around? Or both?

 

How does your green industry company help solve their problems?

How do you stand out from your competitors? Read more in this blog post.

 

Have You Checked Out NALP’s Website Lately?

 

NALP has worked hard in the last two years to really to put out content that green industry business owners can use. Go to their website and scroll down their resources in “Featured Content.”

 

Get more blog ideas at NALP’s sister site, LoveYourLandscape.org. Both sites provide treasure troves of blog ideas.

 

If you use their info, don’t forget to site it in your blog’s text by hyperlinking like I’m doing in this blog post.

 

Here’s one more tidbit to generating ideas. April is next month, and that means it’s National Lawn Care Month.

 

And guess who has a toolkit for you to market your mowing, lawn care and landscape maintenance services? You got it, NALP.

 

There’s a lot of simple, free things you can do to get more ideas for your lawn and landscape design blogs. Use your keywords, NALP resources and reading blog posts your competitors are putting out there.

 

If these ideas seem overwhelming—especially since you’re just a minute away from the busy spring season—then you need the Landscape Writer.

 

This year, focus on fixing your customers’ lawn care and landscape problems while I write blogs and social media content for you.

 

Learn more about my writing services for the green industry by filling out my free consultation page, emailing me at wendy@landscapewriter.com or calling me Monday through Friday at 717-381-6719.

PS – One other service I need to tell you about. One of my clients told me about Answer the Public. It’s easy to use and generates great blogging ideas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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