Everyday your potential customers use search engines like Google to find business, services and products that can satisfy their wants and needs.
These prospects are incredibly valuable to landscape, paving or snow companies because they are:
- Specifically Interested In What You Sell – Search engine marketing is based on keywords. When someone types in Keywords and Key-phrases into a search engine that represent services like you provide – common sense shows they’re interested in what you’re selling. Someone searching for “landscape company in cincinnati ohio” is clearly interested in finding a landscape company.
- Motivated Now – Search engine marketing takes place in real time. When that person types their query into a search engine they are looking for information now. They are motivated to find a “landscape company in cincinnati oh” now. They are motivated to act on their interest now as evidenced by taking the focused action of typing words into a search engine. That doesn’t mean they’re ready to purchase today (though many might be) it means they’re ready to step into your sales process now.
- Looking For You, Instead Of You Looking For Them – Search engine marketing pulls prospects, it doesn’t push them. Prospects willingly give you their attention, rather than you trying to get it. Not only is pulling prospects to you more cost effective marketing, it sets the stage for a smooth, higher conversion sales process.
To really capture the qualified leads referenced above, your company should be visible on the first SERP (search engine result page) for searches indicating a qualified lead. That’s the holy grail of search engine marketing. For landscape, snow and paving contractors their are 3 primary ways to generate qualified leads from being visible in lead generating SERP’s.
- You Can Buy Ads – Your ad appears in the SERP as a “sponsored link”. Where the ad shows, and how often it shows and how much you “pay per click” (PPC) is fluid and dependent on many factors I can cover in this post (but will later). Buying ads on search engines involves using PPC services like Google AdWords. It can be expensive – but done, right effective and it allows you to buy your way into the SERP’s for lead generating keywords inf you can’t appear in the two ways below.
- You Can Be In Organic Search Results – Google’s primary function as a search engine is to return the most relevant results for a search. They use a sophisticated algorithm called “PageRank”, that determines which websites should be shown at the top of their SERP’s for a given search. SEO (search engine optimization) is a key factor in helping you rank higher for different search terms. The best thing about organic listings is you do not pay Google when someone clicks on your links.
- You Can Be Listed In Business Results– Google has replaced the Yellow-pages phone books of old with a digital version. Their “7 Pack” business listings show’s links for 7 local businesses most relevant to the search term. Location can be determined by the IP address of the user or a geo-specific keyword / phrase in the search query.So if someone searches for “landscape company in cincinnati oh” Google will show the highest ranking businesses in the local business listings. SEO for local business listings is different from organic listings. However – getting ranked at the top of local business listings for lead generating search terms typically generates the highest quality prospects for your landscape, paving or snow company. Because your business has a specific geographic service area, you are more likely to pull in prospects with locations that fall within it.The way to improve your chances of showing up in Google’s local business listings is to make sure your company is listed in their new Google+ Local listings (formerly Google Places). More on this in future posts…
SERP (search Engine Page) Display Example
Google is constantly changing the display of their SERP pages. But the overall presence of the above three areas of display has remained consistent for years.
The picture at left shows where each area falls in the SERP.
Increased competition to rank in all three SERP sections (Ads, organic, local business) has increased the complexity of SEO (search engine optimization). A couple years ago it was far easier to get our clients top positions for quality lead generating search phrases.
It’s harder today – but even so the rewards of search engine marketing make it a critical customer acquisition channel for landscape, paving and snow contractors.
My goal with this post is to give you a basic understanding of fundamental search engine marketing and how it builds your business. In reality, I’ve presented only a small part of the factors involved. However, just having a basic understanding of the above search marketing concepts will serve you well as you evaluate the highest pay-off online marketing channels for your business.
In my next post, I’ll go into greater detail on how to improve your visibility in the search engines. Be sure to subscribe to the Go iTalk blog so it can be delivered to your email.
Meantime – I suggest you go to Google.com right now and type in the key-phrase ” (your service offering) in (your city)” and apply the new knowledge you learned above to see if your company is visible and your competitor’s visibility on the ads, organic and business listings that make up the SERP (search engine result page) shown after you type in your search phrase. Good luck!