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This article is the first article in a five-part series that details exactly what you need to market your landscaping business and make it a success. The landscaping business can prove to be tough terrain to navigate if you don't have a well-rounded marketing strategy. In this series of articles you will find the tools you need to cultivate a winning landscaping business.
Branding your landscaping business is the first step to long-term growth. Some landscaping firms make the mistake of skipping this step, and might do quite well until a market-savvy competitor comes along and takes a bigger piece of the pie. Crafting a thoughtful and creative brand identity that influences your customers can be a difficult task, but the effort is well worth it. A memorable brand that evokes just the right emotion will almost always win over a nameless, brandless competitor. Brands build trust. If your landscaping business is not branded, then you're just another landscaper. There's nothing to differentiate your company from the competition. You have no competitive edge. If you can come up with a compelling brand that demonstrates who you are and what you can do for your customers, however, you can elicit emotion, spur recognition and fuel sales.
Take the time to fully explore your options so you can craft an image that speaks directly to your customers. Apply conceptual thinking with modern motivators to craft a branded image that can easily double or triple sales - and even more - throughout time.
The following five steps will help you identify your brand:
1. Define your niche - What is your niche in the landscaping industry? Do you cater to middle-class homeowners or upscale country clubs? What kind of work do you do: groundskeeping, hedge artwork or something else entirely? Your niche market and your brand are two different things: Your niche is who you cater to, while your brand represents the psychologically based ideals that make you appealing to that market. Ask yourself how you differ from the competition and focus on those elements to help you define your niche.
2. Describe your benefits - What you do is one thing; how that benefits your customers is another. Make a list of your features and benefits so you can identify why your customers should choose your landscaping firm over another company. Be creative, and ask others for help here - sometimes there are benefits to doing business with you that you have yet to recognize. Your current customers can be an excellent source of information here.
3. Know your customers - List your top customers and identify shared traits so you can create a "perfect customer" profile. Why do your customers buy from you? What are the key services you perform for them? Once you've identified your primary customers, consider your secondary customers. Perhaps you specialize in water gardens, but also handle lawn maintenance in between "perfect" customers. Sometimes, your "secondary" customers make up the bulk of your income. If you understand who your customers are, you can begin to establish mutually beneficial business relationships.
4. State your mission - Where does your company stand today, and where do you want it to be in two years? Five years? Ten years? Your mission should encompass who you are and where you're going.
5. Sum it all up - Your brand is an expression of all of these things. Jot them down and brainstorm potential taglines that represent your company's core identity. Pick the most memorable.
As a landscaper, you're familiar with design. Your artwork is perhaps the largest format of all, literally the lay of the land. Your goal is to transfer your creative landscape designs into a singular branded image that expresses what you do, how you do it, and who you do it for. Your company colors, logo, corporate ID package, website, ads and other collateral are all a reflection of your brand; so familiar, cohesive design must be applied to all mediums. Throughout time, anyone should be able to see your logo and instantly know who you are and what you stand for. Once you achieve that, you've developed a remarkable landscaping brand.