Take a look at why Jostes says these myths are bogus, as well as what you can do to make sure your landscaping company isn’t falling prey to these same misconceptions.
Word of mouth is king
In his time working with the green industry, Jostes says the number one myth he’s faced is that many commercial landscapers believe their clients are solely relying on word of mouth when searching for a contractor.
That, Jostes says, could not be farther from the truth.
“Commercial landscaping clients are looking online, and they’re often looking for very specific services,” says Jostes. “If you are specifically wanting to attract commercial landscape clients, you need to modify those words on your website with ‘commercial.’”
To help get your company found online, Jostes says it’s important to utilize local search engine optimization (SEO) by making sure you are explicitly mentioning the words “commercial landscaping” in the text of your website and in the navigation.
The second tip he recommends is building specific pages for each individual service you offer and each city you serve. This, he says, is what they call the “tree of good fortune,” which showcases a branch for each city and a branch for each service.
Jostes says that, contrary to what you might think, people are using their smartphones now to search for landscaping jobs near them, which means being online now is more important than ever.
Jostes says that a lot of landscaper websites have what he likes to call the Russian olive shrub of despair, which is a noxious weed that sucks up all the water from other plants.
“Most landscapers have a very thin website with only a few pages here and there about some of the services they offer, but they don’t go into the specific geography,” says Jostes. “The tip is to build out pages for your entire service area with geographic keywords. That’s a very powerful tip to help you get found in all those various areas that you service.”
But getting found is only part of the equation. Even if you do get a referral, Jostes says having online reviews is going to be an equally important part of the sales conversation.
The second myth Jostes likes to debunk is that commercial clients and word of mouth clients, in general, don’t read online reviews.
It is imperative, he notes, to make sure your site has quality online reviews.
“The fact is, your clients are Googling you,” he says. “Do you ever go into Amazon and say no, I’m not good enough for four stars, give me a two-star product? Your clients are the same way when they are evaluating you, even if they’re a referral.”
Jostes says the first step to getting these quality reviews is to first work to get 10 Google reviews. He specifically says to prioritize Google reviews because when your company name is Googled, those online reviews will also show up with your Google listing.
He also stresses the importance of getting at least 10 reviews to start with so even if you end up having one or two negative reviews, it won’t hurt your overall rating too much. Jostes says regardless of how many negative reviews you have, there need to be enough good reviews to make sure your overall rating on Google and Facebook is at a four-star average.
“Who is going to want to hire a three-star or two-star commercial landscaping company?” asks Jostes.
Jostes suggests taking time to Google your company and read your own reviews with the mindset of a prospective customer with no prior knowledge of the company. Would you trust your company based on the reviews you see?
When dealing with online reviews, Jostes says to ask yourself the following questions:
- Who at your company is going to ask for reviews?
- Do you have clarity around your reviews?
- When should you send a review request?
- How are you going to send the request?
Jostes recommends that the person tasked with handling review request should be someone that already has an established relationship with the clients, as he says people are more likely to review other people than they are a company.
When deciding when to ask for reviews, Jostes says it really depends on the company. For design-build or installation companies, the natural timing would be to ask for a review after completing the project.
For maintenance companies, it would be up to the individual company to decide when customers would be most willing to submit a review. Jostes also recommends asking for reviews three to four times a year, and once you have this feedback, listen to it. He says to always take time as a company to review the reviews and learn from them.
Check back tomorrow for part 2 of this series, where we’ll find out a few more key tips to making your website stand out among the crowd.