Discussion 2: Strategy to Land new SEO Clients or improve Customer Acquisitions!
What are some of the strategies you guys use to land your SEO clients?
Always looking for different ways to improve customer acquisitions!
Any tips are greatly appreciated not only by me but everyone in the group! 🙂
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Try to convey that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a long term investment. Takes time for it to build and gain traction, but the reward (organic traffic) is worth the risk, money, etc.
My company prides ourselves also on being 100% Transparent and doing thorough monthly reports so that the client can see tangible results and proof of progress.
A lot of agencies require a 3 or 6 month term on their services, but we are month to month on all standard plans and client can cancel any time they want
Use case studies from past clients if you have any to show proof that you know what you're doing.
Create a short ebook/media kit about Search Engine Optimization (SEO), what it is, some of the terms like glossary, why it's important, etc. Like a sell sheet type of thing.
Love it. I always tell potential clients that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a marathon and not a sprint. I tell them to not go to bed thinking they'll have results as soon as they wake up. Love the advice! Thanks for taking the time to shed some light on this! 🙂
Aaron » Simon
Marathon not a sprint, Love that!
Best of luck to you and if you want to collaborate or chat more just shoot me a message. Cheers!
Build relationships and trust before you pitch anything. Talk mainly about lead generation and not Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Have a case study showing results – even if you build a website for yourself just as a demo. Aim for business owners who invest in marketing already and have a budget. Good luck
Thanks!! These are great tips!
Simon » Simon
You are welcome!
Depends on if you have clients or not. If you don't, you're going to have to prove your work so it comes with freemiums and discounts. Once you build the portfolio its showing results from customers.
When you're established, put on seminars for small business owners. Charge for the event but give "Free Passes" to the business owners you really want to target. This weeds out the shit people who just go to these events and will never buy from you. But even if they do go, at least you got something from them.
The one thing I know I should do better, which I suck at.. is asking for referrals. I should get better at that because clients who love your service sometimes want you to still be their hidden secret, but you have to expand. I'm also way to busy lol.
Eva » Simon
Those are more of red flags to look out for but ,
The purpose of a website is to be the employee that never sleeps, complains, asks for a raise, and doesn't need a lunch break. This is the perfect opportunity to educate traffic on what you need to give them before a sale. Having information on a website can save hours of time on calls answering questions that easily could have been under an Frequently Asked Question (FAQ).
Nothing is worse than going to a site eager to buy something you've been looking for, and you can't even figure out where to go to buy it. Bad navigation is a massive bottleneck for sales. Not only does it prevent the sale itself, but it prevents a second chance by typically ruining the customer's experience. That experience will forever be associated with your brand.
Slow load times
This is essentially shooting yourself in the foot. It's a common problem for bloated sites that would otherwise be beautiful. We live in an age of instant gratification; people won't wait more than 3-5 seconds to load something. Anything longer than that, and people will be thinking the wifi is broken or worse, they just leave.
The human eye scans in an F pattern, and the design should complement this. Having texts, images, and buttons outside of the natural flow of your eyes can lead to things being missed. On top of that, it can lead to a lackluster presentation as position plays an influential role in the design and communicating the emotion or idea desired.
People buy from people, not businesses. A lot of websites I scan through daily give absolutely no reason to buy from them over another company such as Amazon. Their website talks all about what they sell but nothing about what they stand behind. This is extremely common in E-commerce, where it is probably the most impactful.
Count down timers, fake upsell offers, pushy wording, etc… This isn't the 2000s where people didn't know any better. Language is the basis of communication. Poor vocabulary can lead to misunderstandings, not having emotional transference, and even affect other aspects such as Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Copy should AID people in their buying journey, not try to force it.
– 60 day Money Back Guarantee. If you don't see a massive increase in ranking within 60 days. You get all your money back.
– Our SEO Clients don't use their own money to pay our SEO fees. They pay with a small % of the revenue they get from new customers we bring em.
– Try it for 45 days n watch what I can do.
Discussion 1: Business: Client Behavior
Landscaping business from 0 to 23k service appointments in 4 years This post is mostly for those who're thinking about starting a landscaping business. If you have one, there may still be some values in it.
$99B on lawn care spend in < year >. Average ~$800 annual spend per household. Over 500k landscaping businesses in the US, over a million workers.
Why & What
We started a yard care business (southwest US) 4.5 years ago because we couldn't find one that'd pick up our calls, or show up to see our yard, let alone do the work. Got frustrated and decided to build a business for it. We wanted to make the process of hiring a landscaper easier, so we built a website to let people book lawn service online. They search their address, see the instant quote, and can book the service. We can change the pricing anytime with a click. The day we launched we had our first online booking. A young professional booked our first appointment and he's still a client to this day. On the business side, when a new booking comes in, we assign our crew to a new client. Send out auto-reminders the day before the service. We built lots of features to automate the workflow (scheduling, invoicing, payment, clients, crew's login). We have a feature to charge all houses by clicking a "Charge" button. We do 30-40 houses a day. This saves us hundreds of manual clicks. You're building a business, not a job. Ideally, money should come in with or without you around. It won't be 100% no involvement but you want to be as hands-off as possible. Automation is your friend. Try to automate as much as possible.
Revenue comes mostly from recurring yard and lawn maintenance, weekly, biweekly, monthly. We had no prior landscaping experience, learn the trade on the go by tagging along with the crew. We grew to 420 recurring clients as of today. ~23,000 appointments served since launched. The instant quote, booking feature of our site really help fuels our growth. Service ranges from $40-$300+ per yard depending on how large the yard is. Plenty of add-ons services (irrigation repair, install, tree trimming, removal, planting, grass reseeding). Tree removal, installing a new irrigation system could be in the thousands. NET margin's roughly 20%. If you apply good business practices, $500k+ annual revenue is very realistic. As for pricing your job, we use our site to set the maintenance pricing. If you don't have that, some use hourly rate. Some quote by the job. Use what best fits you.
This is probably generic and applies to any industry. Our first hire was our own yard guys. His brother also does work for us. He knows someone from his church. One leads to others. We now have 6 crews. We tried indeed, craigslist, have a job application page on our site. We never had luck with them. We're lucky all our current guys are great. Very little turnover. They are the most hardworking people we know. Good crews are hard to come by. Pay them well above the average. If you had to fire someone, do it fast. It hurts all sides if you fire slowly.
Send clients service reminders at least a day before the service. Your crew should have access to all service info. Group all the houses in the same area on a specific day. It saves travel time and gas. Our maintenance service doesn't just mow and go. We trim bushes, remove weeds on gravel (majority of yards here have rocks). Check the irrigation system, help clients set up irrigation timers. Look out for leaks, broken sprinklers (add on revenue), report to clients if you see any. They will appreciate your attention to details. Crews will forget gate code, when they ask, tell them, don't let them wait. Your job is to make their job easier. Clients will have special requests, how much to remove this bush, how much to trim this tree. Get the quote out asap, best to do that on the same day of maintenance. Crews may miss things. Forget to trim a shrub, left the debris at the corner. You need to be ready to fix the mistake, put out the "fire". Maintain good communications, always. New leads will call to ask you to come out to see the yard, we direct them to our website that has an instant quote or have them send you the most recent photos (not the photos on Zillow that's 6 months ago), if they want an accurate quote. If mowing only, you can ask how tall the grass is in inches, go to findlotsize.com to measure the area. You can give them some rough estimates that way. You will get one-time cleanups often, try to turn them into recurring maintenance. We charge more on the one-time service and discount the first service if they sign up for maintenance. We tell the clients something like this:
*There's no contract on the maintenance service, you can cancel at any time. However, if cancel right after the first service and before the next maintenance service. The difference between the one-time service ($300) and the discounted first service ($250), will be charged." *Maintenance $50.
Ask them why anything not happy with. Don't make the same mistakes if you're in the wrong. Many clients won't tell you unless you ask. If they move, make sure to let them know to leave your number to the new owner. Ask them to leave you a review if they haven't yet. Many new owners end up signing up with us.
Stolen tools. We've had $600 blowers, $800 lawnmowers stolen multiple times. Need to lock them in the trailers.
Our city doesn't rain much. If it did, we had to reschedule that day's appointments. Fixing an irrigation leak could take much longer than expected. Finding the source is much harder than fixing it sometimes. This will mess up the day's schedule. Rescheduling could be a mess just to check what days to reschedule to. Notifying the clients, make sure they're ok and the crew's route is optimized so they don't need to travel far from one yard to the next. Limit the number of houses to no more than 12-15 per 2-3-men crew daily. For any automation experts, we'd like your feedback on how to automate the rescheduling.
There's often gravels on the lawn. We've broken 2 sliding door glasses, a van's glass parked on the driveway when we weed eat the lawn. We lived up to our mistakes. Told the clients immediately and always pay for the damage in a timely manner. A sliding door glass easily runs $500 and up. Having liability insurance that has good coverage is very important.
We're fortunate most are nice people, but some are absolutely unbearable. One client always wanted us to do free work. Got mad if we don't do it even though we stated clearly what's and not included in the maintenance. Threaten to leave us bad reviews. Fire these types of clients quickly, you won't regret it. We do a little bit of free work here and there for clients sometimes cos we're nice people, but a line should always be drawn, business is still business, we're here to make money. We've had about 5-10 clients who straight out scammed us from not paying us (mistakes we didn't get their cards first). All big cleanups. If it happens to you, after a few invoices, don't spend more time on it, send them to collections. Your time should be spent on taking care of your clients, crews, and getting new business. Always in your best interest to get their credit card info. Tell them: The card info is for reserving the appointment only. It'll be posted as a pending/authorized transaction, however, it won't be charged until the service is completed.
We don't do printed ads, never printed door hangers. We do have business cards that we give out to new clients. Not a big fan of traditional marketing. Maybe we're missing a lot though. Yelp is downright terrible. Hide good reviews and always call to get us on their ad platform. We never bite. Any bad reviews we respond professionally. Smart consumers can see who's in the wrong. We do get Yelp's new lead message from time to time. We check the lead's profile. If you only see 1-star reviews they give everywhere, don't respond. Chances are, they will give you a 1-star too. Wait for a few days, yelp will email you to remind you to respond, then click don't intend to reply. This way, it won't hurt your response time and rate. We focus more on Google review. We tried fb ads, Google AdWords, thumbtack, HomeAdvisor's initially. Never had good results. You must set up your Google My Biz (GMB) and Bing business page. Add photos, posts regularly. Use their analytics to narrow down the search keywords. Use them to optimize your site SEO. Our site traffic and people calling are mostly organic search through google. Send an auto email to clients after each service with a simple review link at the end to increase the number of reviews. We have some Client Relationship Management (CRM) in place though not systematically. We have thousands of old and existing clients in our database. Trees need trimming once a year; lawn needs fertilizer regularly. Reach out to them. More reason to have repeated clients than a one-off. You should have add-on business regularly either you reach out to them or they ask for it. You need a Client Relationship Management (CRM) plan if you want to grow to the next level.
We're present, but not active as in having daily scheduled posts. It's very time-consuming to post, follow others, be engaging, just to hope others will retweet/share or follow back. We aren't sure how much more effort we should put into it. Currently, no ad spend. We're open to it. Just need a plan. If you're spending $$ on ads, good to know your client segments so you can target them.
• Homeowners: Most clients of ours are younger crowd, professionals who don't have any time to do yard work or wait for someone to come out to give quote.
• Investors: Out of state, snowbirds, send them after service photos, they will appreciate it.
• Property managers: We work for a property management company that manages over 2,000 investment properties in our city. They give us constant stream of work. Many are large ticket one-time cleanup. Find yours in your city. Contact them. They may be looking for landscapers.
• Realtors: Got some work from them here and there. Most we know don't give us much work. We don't actively reach out to them. Not worth our time.
• Apartments, shopping center, HOAs: We avoid this type of business although we do have a few. Net 30 payment is too long. We understand it's a large amount but it ties up our resources. A good size apartment landscape maintenance could take 3 guys half a day. Residential homes are quick, excellent receivable, job done, click charge, get paid the next day. You just need a lot of repeated clients. With lots of smaller clients, you reduce the risk of losing big clients. If you have too many large commercial clients, what if they cancel the contract next year, it'll crush your top line. You lose a residential client out of hundreds or thousands, no big deal.
• HOA, city violations: Depending on the HOA, cities, and states, they send our violations to residents if they don't maintain the yard. Many only find help right before the fine kicks in. Those are very good business. If you pick up the call, you most likely will get it. Convince them to sign up for maintenance, more recurring, add-on revenue.
We have many message templates for generic questions, to save time communicating with leads and clients.
Examples: "If you have recent photos of the yard, please send them to us so we can provide a much narrower price range. Thank you!"
Please refer to our ongoing maintenance service details here for your reference. » "link to your site's page that describes the maintenance work"
You can see some of our work here for your reference. "Link to your photo gallery or IG page of your work photos."
These are some irrigation, tree trimming work of ours for your reference. "Links to your photo gallery"
You can also login here to view the service schedule and details. Thanks. "Link to the client login page."
Refer to your friend and family to get a 10.0% discount on your next appointment if they book with us. » link to your referral page «
We have a few spreadsheets we created to calculate fertilizer, weed/feed, new sod, reseeding price. Plug in the area, give you a price. This makes it quick to send estimates.
Final take away
Anyone can start a landscaping business. You don't need to have much knowledge or invest thousands of dollars to start. We didn't even have a truck, a lawnmower when we started.
This is what we have. You just need a system that can run your business efficiently and a crew who has the experience and know what they're doing. Have the vision to set the business up so you're not the one who does the labor work, instead, you're the one who manages, markets the business. As you build up your client base, you can invest more into trucks, equipment, and hire more workers. Our model is working. We have online booking almost daily with no ad spend. it can work for you too. Focus on smaller clients instead of big HOA, commercial clients. You'll be glad when hundreds of recurring clients constantly give you additional work. Many will say don't start a landscaping business, it's bottom of the barrel, you're competing with low wage folks who charge nothing. If you are reliable and dependable, you will get business, and people are willing to pay more. Use good business ethics. People can book online on our site but there are still many prefer to call you. Pick up the calls. I can't tell you how many times we heard on the other side of the phone saying, "OMG, you're the first one who picked up my call!" There's no passive income in all of these. You're active if you want to succeed. Crew, client questions, complaints, new leads requests. It's non-stop. Don't low ball any quotes, don't use words like cheap, low cost in your marketing message. Use reasonable, competitive pricing instead. If you follow good practice, your business will grow, it won't be a candlestick growth but it will grow. It happens to us. It will work for you too.
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