The year is winding down, the weather is cooling off, tax season is around the corner, and you're already thinking of ways you can grow your tree service business next year. Besides word of mouth, how else can you reach new potential customers?
We've put together ten strategies that will be sure to get you new clients! They range from 100% free to quite costly, but think of it as a marketing tax write-off!
1- Social Media | Free / $
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest. The list goes on and on. The best thing about social media is that almost EVERYONE, EVERYWHERE is on multiple platforms EVERYDAY, for an average of 2 1/2 hours per day. When thinking about marketing, it's a no-brainer--go where the people are! Plus it can be 100% free!
Most of these platforms have the option to pay to advertise more. If you're running your social media right and posting helpful, entertaining content often enough, you shouldn't need to do that.
Taking 5 minutes out of your day to write a post and share an image of your latest job is like calling thousands of your 'closest friends' and having an in depth conversation with them about what you do, how skilled you are at doing it, and offering to come and do it for them too. Not only that, social media has the power of the share button so now you can get in front of thousands of your friends closest friends! This allows you to reach people you would otherwise never talk to, and may not know how to reach.
Give it a try! Start a Facebook page sharing your daily jobs. Open an Instagram and connect with others by showing behind the scenes clips of your day in stories. Tweet monthly promos out on Twitter.
2- Google My Business Listing | Free / $
Google business listings and reviews are the new yellow pages and the new word of mouth. They are powerful, free, and don't require a lot of maintenance. If someone is looking for a tree service near them and they have NO idea where to look, what is the first thing they are probably going to do? Pick up their phone and google "tree service." Paid ads will be the first results, followed by a map of their local area and the companies that are within that area. Google pages for these businesses directly follow. Only after that are websites and then social media links. If you don't have a Google business listing, then you are missing out on taking up prime real estate on Google AND the opportunity to let other people tell the world how pleased they were with your services through customer reviews. If someone knows nothing about you they will trust the public reviews as these are honest, cannot be edited, and bad reviews cannot be deleted, so encourage your clients to leave their feedback online!
3- Build a Website | $200+
This is the first option that isn't free, but it's the first online investment you can make that shows your professionalism and holds other great benefits. If you're slightly computer savvy you can probably make a basic, free site with a free template on a friendly builder platform (such as Squarespace or Wix) for around $200. This will give you an online presence that can hold useful information for inquiring clients like contact info, experience, certifications, services offered, and more. Your website can give people the option to reach out to you via email or message box in case they have a busy schedule or don't like talking on the phone. If you're willing to invest more money and time into performing SEO (Search Engine Optimization) throughout your site, your chances of showing up on the first page of Google results is much higher, helping you reach thousands of additional people monthly.
One of the perks of having a website is that you can easily start an email list! Sure, you can gather the emails of current clients, but what if you could easily gather emails of potential clients and talk to them whenever you wanted! Free sites like Mailchimp will connect with your website so when people drop in their email is gets added to an organized list that you can then send professional looking emails including text, images, videos, and more. This is helpful because now you can send out seasonal promos, pruning reminders, spring plant health care tips, and so much more to encourage previous clients to have you back on their property, or give potential clients the incentive to call you and have you come take a look at their trees. This is getting you in front of numerous people, hopefully on a monthly basis (if you can manage), who have already shown interest in you. You may wonder, why have an email list when you can just post on Facebook? Think of these people as your VIPs. They have gone the extra step to be involved with your company. Feel free to encourage and reward that engagement by giving more detailed tips, better promos, etc. PLUS, with social media, you have no way of knowing if your post will reach everyone's feed when you want it to. If they have 1,500 friends and have liked 500 other businesses, you're taking a chance of getting drown out. With email, you KNOW your letter will be sitting in their inboxes the next time they open their email. It's a guaranteed line of communication!
4- Email Marketing | Free
5- Reward Referrals | $10+
This is a simple tactic of saying thank you to your past clients with a gift card every time they send a new client your way. If you entice them to talk about you with a $10 coffee gift card, a $50 dinner gift card, or $100 cash they will be more likely to go out of their way to tell their friends, family, or strangers about you because who doesn't like being rewarded for their hard work? We all know word of mouth is the most powerful marketing tool we have available to us. Friends trust friends, but we can't always control these conversations. This is a minor way of taking control of that conversation through rewards. Considering most tree jobs can be well over $300 or more, a $10 gift card is the cheapest marketing you could ever pay for.
6- Holiday cards with Discount | $10+
Everyone likes a little snail mail around the holidays. Pop into your favorite clients' mailboxes with a thank you card for hiring you and give them an incentive to have you back on their property next year with a discount code. 5-10% or $50-$100 off their next newly quoted service may just be the push they need to have you back to trim up some overlooked trees, provide additional plant health care, etc.
7- Limb Snap | $1.99 per card
Slightly creepy, slightly genius--Limb Snap is a mobile app for helping tree service companies reach potential customers. Take a walk down the road in an area that you would love to work. When you see a tree that could use some tender-loving-care, snap a pic of the tree, upload the address and your suggestion for how to improve the situation. Limb Snap then makes a postcard with your image and recommendations, and sends it right to the homeowner's mailbox. Sure, a lot of us throw away junk mail for services, but guaranteed if you receive a post card in the mail for services with a picture of YOUR tree on it, you'll pay more attention.
8- Truck Decal or Wrap | $15+
Most tree services already drive in trucks. You already have a billboard, so why leave it blank? It's not every day someone sees a bucket truck, a crane, or even a hefty chip truck. At the very least, get your business name and number on a magnet and stick it on your door so the neighbors of your client can reach you. Best case scenario- custom wrap the whole truck! Humans are curious, and anything different can attract our attention. Plus, when sitting in traffic it gives us something to read. Use your trucks as a mobile means of marketing and advertising your services!
9- Home / Garden Shows | CustomThese events can be a bit costly to be in, but it has the ability to get you in front of thousands of local people in a short period of time, all who are potential clients showing interest in their home and lawns. Meeting people and forming a personal connection is something that will never be done over social media. The back and forth conversation, the ability to answer questions, and just the precedence of you being there over other companies is huge. When people don't know where to turn they won't always shop or call around, some people just want it done, hassle free, with someone they can trust. This environment allows for that.
If you don't want to set up a booth, just be an attendee yourself and make connections with the vendors, have casual conversation with other attendees. Just getting out into your community and socializing, letting people know you exist, can do wonders for a business.
10- Host your own local Event | Free / $
Don't discount your knowledge and skills as basic. This knowledge isn't basic to people outside of the tree world! Hold an event where you can provide useful training for homeowners to do some tree work themselves. In example, how to make proper pruning cuts on ornamentals, the proper depth to lay chips around a tree, when to not trim Oak trees, how to look for fungus and pests. You may wonder why giving away free information for services you could ultimately charge for would be useful, and it's because it puts you in a position of power, and a mindset of giving. You are the professional. You have knowledge far above and beyond this. You are here because you care about trees and want to give back to your local community. It puts your name out there, it gets you in front of people, and it gives them tons of reasons to call you before anyone else. People are looking to support those who support them. This is a great cycle of giving and getting, and best of all, it's another free option that just takes a little bit of your time.