Your brand’s online reputation is incredibly important — especially if you’re a small business trying to compete with the marketing budgets of much larger companies. While your online reputation is one of your biggest assets, it can also be one of the biggest risks. Businesses that operate within the lawn and garden industry are particularly vulnerable to their brand’s online perception because of the low switching cost and the competitive nature of the space.
5 ways to grow your lawn and garden brand
If you operate a lawn care business, you need to not just market your services online, but you also need to monitor and cultivate your brand. Here are five ways to monitor and grow your lawn and garden brand online.
Optimize your Google My Business listing.
Create a user-friendly website.
Use social media carefully.
Use Google Alerts to find opportunities.
Use email marketing to nurture customers.
Ready to bring awareness to your lawn and garden brand? Then keep reading.
1. Optimize your Google My Business listing
Did you know that roughly 63 percent of consumers use Google reviews during their buyer decision-making process? The best part is, setting up your Google My Business listing is free.
Google My Business lets you display important information about your lawn and garden business, such as your hours of operations, your physical location, a phone number, and website address. You can also post photos, add updates, respond to reviews, and see insights on your business listing.
Google My Business recently launched a questions and answers function that lets potential customers ask questions about your business, such as “Do they do irrigation?”, which can be answered by you or other Google users.
Editor’s note: Listings are important, but managing all the different sites and information can be tedious. GoDaddy’s Local Business Listings makes it easy to update and publish your business information to directories like Google all from one convenient, easy-to-use dashboard.
2. Create a user-friendly website
Growing your lawn and garden brand’s online presence starts first with a good website. Your website is a powerful resource for generating leads, and more importantly, it’s a direct representation of your brand.
Additionally, because the lawncare space is filled with competition, if a customer cannot find your website, you can bet they’ll find another business that does have a website.
If you want to launch a website, the first thing to do is find a domain. Try to find a branded domain if possible, otherwise, look for relevant terms to your location and services offered. For instance, if you operate in Tampa, you might want to consider TampaLawnCare.com or LawnAndGardenTampa.com if your brand domain isn’t available.
3. Use social media carefully
In 2017, Uber got in hot water because it sent a promotional tweet during a protest on Trump’s travel ban. As a result, the hashtag #DeleteUber started trending, and Uber ended up launching a campaign to save face by which they pledged $3 million toward the cause.
Even though many small businesses know they need to have a social presence, many fail to recognize the risk that comes with it. While your small business might not reach an audience like Uber, you can still alienate or offend a local audience, which could directly hurt your reputation.
The last thing your small business needs is a social media mob carrying online pitchforks. To help you get the best results on social media for your business, make sure you:
Know your audience
As a lawn and garden business, your clients are likely homeowners. Therefore, you should join local homeowner Facebook groups or realtor LinkedIn groups to engage with people who are potential customers or might refer your services.
Engage in conversations
Social media shouldn’t be a one-way communication channel. Too many businesses simply post articles or images on their pages and then go back to whatever else they were doing without taking the time to respond to comments or to actively engage in conversations with people on the platforms.
Take Facebook, for example. There are city/community pages where people frequently ask for recommendations about local businesses. If you were actively involved with that community, you’d be able to throw your business in the ring and win a new client.
Handle criticism professionally
The ease and conversational tone of social media can have a negative impact on your brand’s image if you fail to handle negativity in an appropriate manner.
If you receive a negative review or someone posts about a poor experience on your social profile, you should view it as an opportunity and not an attack.
Carefully craft a public response and do your best to mitigate the situation in a way that presents your business in the best possible light.
Block-off time for social media
Social media is an important way to monitor and grow your lawn and garden business. You should block time every day to check your social profiles for private messages, notifications, or other opportunities to interact with your followers or groups. The more active you are on social media, the more likely you are to get found on those platforms by potential customers.
4. Use Google Alerts to find opportunities
IFTTT is an acronym for “If That Then This”, which is a free online service that lets you set up functions based on the actions of various online activities. For instance, you can set up an email notification every time someone tweets about lawn care and your city. That email notification would allow you to then go to that tweet and respond if it’s relevant to a service you offer.
Google Alerts is another useful resource for lawn and garden businesses. This service will send you a notification whenever Google finds a new mention in its search results that match the criteria you specify. For example, you could set a Google Alert for any time there is a mention of your business or one of your competitors. With this information, you can make strategic decisions to improve your brand’s positioning.
5. Use email marketing to nurture customers
Remaining top-of-mind is a marketing objective for every company. Email marketing is one of the best ways to keep customers engaged with your brand and increase repeat business.
Use email marketing to nurture customers by sending special offers, or reminding them if it’s time for a specific service, like fertilizing the lawn or spraying the yard for pests. Email is a low-cost, high-impact communication channel that can do wonders to your online brand.
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Cultivating your brand online takes work
At the end of the day, monitoring and growing your online brand takes work. Just like with working in the lawn or garden, if you put in the time and are consistent with your approach, you’ll see incredible results. Remember, when it comes to your lawn care’s online marketing, you reap what you sow.