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Posts Tagged ‘Lawn’

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:
1. Can I trust you (Wendy) to deliver on your promises?
2. How do you know that this will work?
3. 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:
1. 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.

2. 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?

3. 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.

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English: The family garden at RHS Wisley

English: The family garden at RHS Wisley (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This seems like one of my more popular blog posts, so I’d thought that I share it with all of you again:

If you’re in the landscape, lawn care, or garden center industries, you’re still busy with your clients’ projects. However, for some of you, business may be slowing down.

And you can use that extra time to think about how you’re going to market your business in 2014, beyond door hangers and brochures. One of your marketing goals in 2014 should focus on beefing up your web presence.

The first step to improving your online presence in 2014 includes updating your website by making it more appealing to your prospects. In May 2013, I wrote an article for TURF magazine called, “Power Up Your Sales with USP,” http://www.turfmagazine.com/article-9500.aspx. For the article, I interviewed three marketing professionals who work in the green industry, and they shared a lot of good information that all lawn care, landscape, and garden center businesses should know.

For example, do you know that it’s better for your portfolio to have pictures of your satisfied customers enjoying their landscapes and lawns instead of the standard pictures of different projects? One marketing professional also stated that it’s better to have real people, your clients, in the photos rather than hiring models to pose in your finished projects. Of course, if you use pictures of your clients enjoying their properties because of your work, make sure that you get your clients’ permission first to use those photos (don’t forget to first ask your clients if you can use pictures with them in it).

Here are some other ideas for beefing up your online presence in 2014:

1. Consider starting a blog. Ask your website designer for a copywriter who can help you maintain your blog posts.

2. On your blog, remember to add information that will benefit your readers. Your clients and customers subscribe to the acronym: WII4M: “What’s in it for me?” So, make sure that your content focuses on them. You can ask your copywriter to put a call to action at the end of your blog post to encourage prospects to call you for business.

3. Use Linked In to learn and connect. Get involved with other folks in your industry on Linked In, such as Green Industry Pros, Green Mark Landscape, Landscape Contractors, Lawn and Landscape, LI Lawn and Tree, and PLANET (Professional Landcare Network). Learn more about your industry and become an expert in it.

4. Get involved with your local Linked In groups, too. For example, in my area, I belong to groups like Linked In Lancaster and Reading/Berks Professionals.

5. Don’t forget to have a Facebook business page. Setting up a business FB page is pretty simple. And you can invite your friends to ‘like’ your page. Facebook has a different audience than Linked In–it’s more laid back and personable. You can add contests and upload coupons to your FB page that will draw in clients.

There’s a lot that you can do online that will draw others to you. And if you’re not comfortable with social media, find someone in your company that can keep it clean and professional, but will also update it regularly. Finally, being active online is almost akin to going full circle in today’s marketing climate. For example, don’t forget to put those digital buttons on your webpage so people can follow you, and add your website link to all of your social media outlets, so they can check out your website. Just like one big circle.

What other ideas have you used to beef up your online presence?

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Blog Machine

Blog Machine (Photo credit: digitalrob70)

Yesterday, I read an interesting blog post called “The Purple Cow that’s Right Underneath Your Business’ Nose,” by Marcus Sheridan of the Sales Lion (http://www.thesaleslion.com/purple-cow-business-nose/).
I appreciated Sheridan’s take on individual businesses standing out in the crowd by being transparent. So, I’m dedicating my next three blog posts to transparency by sharing the good and the bad of my industry as a writer: I’ll try answering FAQs about hiring writers; and how my writing services for the landscape/lawn care niches stand out from my competitors.
Today’s blog focuses on content market writers’ strengths and weaknesses:
1. Strength: There are outstanding writers out there who charge a fair price and give you an exceptional product.
2. Strength: Good content writers understand the need to write original content in the year of Google’s Hummingbird platform.
3. Strength: Good content writers want to establish good relationships with their clients for the long-term.
4. Strength: Good content writers write for you to succeed in the ever-changing Google landscape.
5. Strength: Good content writers seek to understand your business and your industry. They don’t promise something that they can’t deliver, but will do their darndest to provide you with exceptional copy (writer-speak for the written piece) on time, every time.
6. Strength: Good content writers will ask questions when they’re not sure if they’ve gotten a term or concept down correctly.
7. Weakness: Every industry has hacks. Just because XYZ writer from one of those content mills can write blogs for $5 a piece doesn’t mean that you’re getting top-quality copy.
8. Weakness: Some writers think they can write for every industry. And while that may be true for some, specialist writers can deliver a more targeted copy that’ll resonate with your readers.
9. Weakness: Not all writers are well-versed in Google’s changing algorithms.
10. Weakness: Not all writers understand the concept of good business writing skills. They’re unable to walk in your shoes, much less walk in your prospect’s shoes. And they won’t write copy that’ll bring readers to your blog.
As a landscape or lawn care service provider, you know that some of your competitors make big promises, but can’t or won’t fulfill them. When you decide to outsource your writing jobs to a professional, make sure that you take the time to talk with her, read her other works, and contact others who’ve used her services in the past. That way, you can be sure that you get the best bang for your buck.
What have been your experiences with a content marketing writer? Please share in the comments section.

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Tagline Pulling

Tagline Pulling (Photo credit: neptunecanada)

A couple of days 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 garden center, hardscape, landscape, lawn care, and other green 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.

Does this help to solve your problem of getting words on the page and out to your audience?

I’d like to think so. But if I’m missing the mark, please email me at wendy@landscapewriter.com.

Through my tagline, I’m trying to communicate that I’ll help you bring in more business and elevate you to expert status 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, property managers, HOAs, etc. about the value that you bring to their properties through professional lawn care, landscape, and hardscape services, as well as nursery grown products.

How about you? Do you step in your ideal client’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 to discovering your tagline:

  1. Who is your ideal client?
  2. What are his or her landscape or lawn care problems?
  3. If you’re in the hardscape business, how do you meet your clients’ dreams for an outdoor kitchen, a lighted deck for entertaining, or designing an outdoor place that flows from the swimming pool to the bar?
  4. Finally, how are you going to let your ideal clients know about the problems you solve or the dreams you design?

Think about these questions—have a brainstorm session with your sales force, 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.

 

 

 

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Goodman_Home--back_yard--PICT0811

Goodman_Home–back_yard–PICT0811 (Photo credit: georgeogoodman)

Then, I need your help. It’s past time for me to update my blog with a new post to help you with your website content and blog posts.

Here’s my question:

If you could sit down with me for a one on one to discuss adding a blog or other website content to your website, what would your questions or concerns be? Share them in the comments section, and I may add them to my blog (with your permission, of course).

 

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English: DJS Lawn & Landscape Ford F-250 XL pi...

English: DJS Lawn & Landscape Ford F-250 XL pickup truck with lawn care equipment (riding mowers) on a trailer bed parked at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Durham, North Carolina. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Three things to expect when you hire a writer

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:

1. 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?

2. 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.

3. 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 717-405-9873 (EST) or email me at wendykomancheck@gmail.com to collaborate on your landscape or lawn care blog.

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English: The family garden at RHS Wisley

English: The family garden at RHS Wisley (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you’re in the landscape, lawn care, or garden center industries, you’re still busy with your clients’ projects. However, for some of you, business may be slowing down.

And you can use that extra time to think about how you’re going to market your business in 2014, beyond door hangers and brochures. One of your marketing goals in 2014 should focus on beefing up your web presence.

The first step to improving your online presence in 2014 includes updating your website by making it more appealing to your prospects. In May 2013, I wrote an article for TURF magazine called, “Power Up Your Sales with USP,” http://www.turfmagazine.com/article-9500.aspx. For the article, I interviewed three marketing professionals who work in the green industry, and they shared a lot of good information that all lawn care, landscape, and garden center businesses should know.

For example, do you know that it’s better for your portfolio to have pictures of your satisfied customers enjoying their landscapes and lawns instead of the standard pictures of different projects? One marketing professional also stated that it’s better to have real people, your clients, in the photos rather than hiring models to pose in your finished projects. Of course, if you use pictures of your clients enjoying their properties because of your work, make sure that you get your clients’ permission first to use those photos (don’t forget to first ask your clients if you can use pictures with them in it).

Here are some other ideas for beefing up your online presence in 2014:

1. Consider starting a blog. Ask your website designer for a copywriter who can help you maintain your blog posts.

2. On your blog, remember to add information that will benefit your readers. Your clients and customers subscribe to the acronym: WII4M: “What’s in it for me?” So, make sure that your content focuses on them. You can ask your copywriter to put a call to action at the end of your blog post to encourage prospects to call you for business.

3. Use Linked In to learn and connect. Get involved with other folks in your industry on Linked In, such as Green Industry Pros, Green Mark Landscape, Landscape Contractors, Lawn and Landscape, LI Lawn and Tree, and PLANET (Professional Landcare Network). Learn more about your industry and become an expert in it.

4. Get involved with your local Linked In groups, too. For example, in my area, I belong to groups like Linked In Lancaster and Reading/Berks Professionals.

5. Don’t forget to have a Facebook business page. Setting up a business FB page is pretty simple. And you can invite your friends to ‘like’ your page. Facebook has a different audience than Linked In–it’s more laid back and personable. You can add contests and upload coupons to your FB page that will draw in clients.

There’s a lot that you can do online that will draw others to you. And if you’re not comfortable with social media, find someone in your company that can keep it clean and professional, but will also update it regularly. Finally, being active online is almost akin to going full circle in today’s marketing climate. For example, don’t forget to put those digital buttons on your webpage so people can follow you, and add your website link to all of your social media outlets, so they can check out your website. Just like one big circle.

What other ideas have you used to beef up your online presence?

Read Full Post »

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