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The Best Ways to Advertise a Landscaping Business in the Digital Age

Friday, May 11, 2018

A new approach

We get lots of questions about the best ways to advertise a landscaping or lawn care business in this new digital age. Questions like "Is radio and print advertising still relevant?", "Should we pay to be on Angie's List?" and "Does Facebook advertising actually work?".

All good questions, my friends.

Let's address the best ways to advertise a landscaping business by first making an important distinction between advertising and marketing.

Advertising is a form of marketing – they are not one in the same – and the terms should not be used interchangeably.

In its simplest form, advertising is paid or sponsored messaging broadcast via traditional media like television, radio, newspapers, magazines, billboards and direct mail or digital media like banner ads or Google Adwords.

Marketing is much broader and includes disciplines like branding and public relations and strategies like networking. Digital marketing includes strategies such as search engine optimization (SEO), email marketing and content marketing (all the fun digital stuff we offer at Landscape Leadership).

In this article I plan to focus strictly on advertising in the digital medium. Direct mail, print advertising, etc., etc., has its place... Just not in this article :-)

The Rules of Advertising

Let's start with a reality check. None of us are Coca-Cola, Apple or McDonald's. The biggest, most identifiable brands in the world were built on advertising (millions of dollars worth). The biggest marketing mistake you can make as a small business is to try and do the same. You don't have the budget. On top of that, advertising has no credibility.

Another mistake is to treat advertising as an investment and to expect a healthy return on that investment. Advertising is rarely worth what it costs – except for the big brands who use it to maintain their leadership position. Companies like Wal-mart and Microsoft don't expect a return on the millions of dollars spent on advertising – they treat the expenditure as insurance. They are simply protecting themselves against their competition.


My point is, for a small business like a landscape contractor or lawn care operator, you need to pick your spots when it comes to advertising: Be smart about where you put your dollars and manage your expectations accordingly.
Fortunately, with the digital age upon us, we have more cost-effective and targeted avenues for reaching our prospects and customers today via advertising. Let's dig into some of the best ways to advertise a landscaping or lawn care business in today's digital age, starting with niche social networks and review sites.

Niche social networks and review sites

Look in the mirror. You love looking at reviews online when making a purchasing decision, don't you? Well... So do your potential customers.

Remember what I said earlier about advertising lacking credibility? That's because traditional advertising is biased, and often times, down-right deceiving. We love (and mostly trust) online reviews because they are from a third-party – removing bias from the equation.

This is one reason why revew sites like Houzz and Yelp can be a smart choice to advertise your landscaping business. All have free plans which makes getting started a snap. As you get traction on a platform you can step into a paid "premium" plan for more local exposure. Note: I am not endorsing the paid plans. That decision is fully in your court.

Let's take a look at three of the most popular and important review sites for landscapers and lawn care operators, starting with Houzz.

Houzz

I refer to Houzz as a niche social network because it does have some social elements built into it such as a message board, commenting and sharing ideas with other Houzz users.

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The Best Ways to Advertise a Landscaping Business in the Digital Age

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