Did you know that it’s a brave new world in the marketing sphere? If you’ve been reading this blog on a regular basis, as well as my blog over at the Landscape Writer, you know that I preach a lot about the new normal of marketing.
Well, I’m taking it one step further in this post. I’m going to get on my soap box about localized online marketing. Because, unless you’re a franchise, you’re a local business even if your reach is over a 100 miles.
So, here are 10 things you need to know about localized online marketing:
- The new normal in marketing is the Internet. Online marketing now includes articles, blogs, Facebook, Twitter and Web content. These are the channels in which people will find you. From Gen Z through Baby Boomers, everyone has a Smartphone or an iPhone, and they’re looking to Google and social media to direct them to their ideal lawn or landscape service provider.
- Localized online marketing is the new Yellow Pages. Plug this question into Google: "What are these brown spots on my lawn in Lancaster, Pennsylvania?" What came up on the first page? Here are four titles that showed up in my search:
- Think passive marketing. Back in the day, marketing and sales were aggressive. (Remember those pesky telemarketers who always seemed to call when you just sat down for dinner?) Now marketing is more passive where you provide material on your website that brings readers to you. Also, a regular social media presence falls under the passive marketing umbrella because you’re engaging with people, not hard selling to them.
- Do it right the first time. In the winter months, when you’re not busy, you may try your hand at blogging. However, you’ll eventually get to the point where you want to go to the next level. And that means that you’ll have to outsource your Web content, development and design to people who specialize in those professions.
- However, don’t hire just anyone. Anyone can say that they’re a writer or a Web developer, but do they know what they’re doing? Do some research on the people that you plan to outsource to. Do they make promises that seem to be too good to be true (like page 1 of a Google search)? Or do they have a proven record of publication?
- Make sure whomever you hire for Web content and development has a plan. For example, I set up an editorial calendar with my clients. It may consist of a three-month plan of topic ideas or monthly topics to encompass a whole year. My clients know what I’m going to write about because we discussed it beforehand, and they approved it.
- Make sure that the company you hire does at least 50 percent localization. If you’re intent on staying local online, make sure the professionals you hire know how to do local. A professional Web marketer that I partner with says that an Internet marketing company that you want to hire should do at least 50 percent in localization projects.
- Know your content creators. If you decide to hire an Internet marketing company to do all of your website development, including social media and content creation, make sure that they’re hiring in-house or with professionals that they know. Some small Web companies are unscrupulous and will hire writers and others from developing nations whose first language is not English.
- Your ultimate marketing goal is to touch the people within your immediate service area. It’s fun to see that you have readers in Hawaii, yet if your service area is in the greater Philadelphia area, your Hawaiian readers aren’t going to be of much help to you. Instead, you should be focusing your localization efforts on finding people in your region. For example, a landscape company in Philadelphia may want to target people living in the Main Line, in Bucks County or the Downingtown area.
- Remember: You’re writing to your readers’ worries, dreams and desires. And that’s what you need to focus on in your social media efforts. It’s less I and me, and more you. What lawn care problems do your readers deal with in June? Do homeowners in your area want screened-in porches that include fireplaces? Do they entertain big groups of people? Know your ideal clients, as well as their needs and wants. And then, target your social media to that end. You’ll get more readers, and hopefully convert them to paying clients.
I’d like to hear from you. Are these posts helping you grow your lawn care or landscape business? Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know your thoughts.