NALP recently had a chance to pick the brain of Brian Kraff, the co-founder of Market Hardware, a provider of small business website marketing products and services that cater specifically to the landscape industry. We asked him our top 5 burning web marketing questions.
Bring your questions to his session at LANDSCAPES 2016 in Louisville this October, where he will speak about Web Marketing in 2017, Four Keys to Unlocking Maximum Profitability.
NALP: What is the greatest myth or misconception about web marketing?
Market Hardware: The greatest misconception is that web marketing can be a one-time fix. While a ‘set it and forget it’ approach might deliver short term results, your competitors that actively update and evolve their web marketing strategy are going to surge ahead while you’re stuck in neutral. A proper web marketing strategy requires consistent, ongoing work to maintain high results.
NALP: What is the first question you ask your landscape clients?
Market Hardware: What is your biggest priority when it comes to web marketing? It could be to win new clients and grow your business, it could be to simply maintain your dominant position in your market, it could be to get more high-paying jobs in just the most affluent areas, or a number of other goals. Knowing what your goals are makes it easier to ensure we’re working collaboratively toward your real goals.
NALP: What seems to be their biggest online challenge?
Market Hardware: Typically, we hear about new landscaping companies entering the market and undercutting everyone’s prices. It can be frustrating to deal with, but by delivering a high level of service, targeting the top customers, and keeping them coming back time and time again, we’ve seen plenty of landscaping companies grow year-over-year and put those ‘undercutters’ out of business.
Another challenge is implementing a web marketing strategy that truly fits a company well. Not all landscaping firms are created equal. Neither are all web marketing strategies. Consider this: Do you focus more on lawn mowing or landscaping jobs? Do you do mostly residential work or commercial work? Do you offer any seasonal services like snow removal? Your website and your web marketing strategy simply must match those focuses, in order for you to grow your direction the way you intend to. We use different strategies based on your product mix.
NALP: How do you measure success for your client’s online marketing?
Market Hardware: We measure success in different ways, depending on the client’s goals. For some, it might just be consistently rising number of phone calls or site visitors. Others might want to have their branded ads seen by as many people as possible, creating “top of mind awareness” and retaining their existing customers. At the end of the day, the metrics we use to track success should be directly in line with a client’s goals, and should prove that the benefits of working with us create huge value.
NALP: How would you advise a small firm just starting out, with a limited budget?
Market Hardware: It’s OKAY to work with a limited budget. It is NOT OKAY to work with a web marketing firm that doesn’t have experience in landscaping. Their offer might seem tempting at first, but if they don’t know how to cater to your needs, they won’t be able to deliver quality results, especially at a lower price point. Market Hardware, as well as several other web marketing firms with experience in the landscaping industry, all have affordable services and packages specifically designed for newer landscaping firms. Experienced industry veterans have seen the process play out, and they typically have more success in helping to grow a landscaping business from the ground floor than a freelancer or a massive DIY Website company.