Posted by LNA Master Landscapers Association
on 8 August 2019
On Monday 29 July the LNA Master Landscapers Association conducted a fantastic panel discussion on the do's and don'ts of digital marketing.
We had a fantastic panel that included LNA Members and Corporate Partners including Gold Corporate Universal Media Co and their Publishing manager Marcus Hucker.
If you missed out on the fantastic responses below is the transcript from the discussion.
Q.1 How important is it to have a modern and mobile friendly website?
What we do know is that people do online due diligence, they research. Once they have your name be it through advertising, referral or some other stimulus they will web search or hit social media and your customer facing on line presence is very important, its your virtual shop front and could possibly be the first impression a potential customer may have of your business. It's good to get it right and you can get it done on a budget.
You can do so by the following the basics below:
Images and projects that bring your work to life
Testimonials from clients
Published articles on your business will add credibility and at the same time supercharge your SEO (search engine optimization) without spending a cent on google
Awards and award nominations also add credibility
Mobile friendly - 50% of all traffic in Australia is on desktop and 39% is on mobile
Q.2 What are your views on SEO and how important is it?
Let's be clear on what we are talking about, SEO & SEM as the two can get confused. Both are all about where you place on the search engine results page. Think of it like in the old days picking a name with AA at the front of your name to appear first in category in the yellow pages. So SEO primarily revolves around your organic search and things you can do to make sure you place well on the results page. This includes placing keywords strategically throughout the site, using words that include your locality and service, link building, where by you have links to articles or information in credible aged 3rd part sites and establishing site authority using meta data that's crawlable by Google.
SEM or search engine marketing, is where you pay get at the top. I'd say that doing the basics for SEO is super important, e.g. correct meta data establishing, credibility through in links and published articles. However for SEM, whilst there is a place for it spending, thousands on google ads can be a folly. Who clicks on the ads at the top of the search page? Research shows that 85% of clicks go to the organic search and not the paid ones. Also it's shown that branded or previously familiar brands or businesses get the most clicks v's unknown. So ask "how can i become known, credible and familiar before someone searches?
Q.3 How did SEO drive traffic to your site and how long did it take to see results?
We have 18 websites and a huge amount of content so our SEO is an ongoing mission. We have i8n the past dedicated a lot of internal resources to republishing and amending historical articles to be optimised. Primarily via key words, links and meta data on images etc. The results don't occur over night but we know that if done well along with relevant and high quality content we get ranked well. Do we spend on Ad words? Not really, if we have an important launch we may do a bit as mentioned its return is less and less and focusing on organic SERP is the priority.
For clients: We have examples of articles that we have written for businesses that have yielded tens of thousands of views and significantly assisted with the keyword SERP ranking of that business.
Q.4 What social media platforms do you use? and which one is the most effective?
As a media publisher our media brands and voices are influencers so our social media strategy has become not only a very important channel for us to service our markets but also a powerful marketing tool for our clients. We have 24 facebook fan pages with a sum total of around 500,000 followers. We also have a significant fan base with instagram. Our advertising revenue, meaning businesses wanting to reach our communities has gone from next to nothing to over $200,000 in two years. As far as most effective? Social media can be a rabbit hole so we have narrowed our focus to do the two big ones which are Facebook and Instagram.
Q.5 Tell us how you use Social Media?
We use social media to deploy content, promote links to longer form website content, promote and market other products such as on sales and subscriptions, to harvest data and email lists. But most importantly we use social media as a means to endorse and promote business under our banner to refined and highly targeted fans and communities.
It has been shown that content deployed by a credible media brand or influencer will be trusted more than a brands own content and will perform up to 10X more effectively as far as engagement, that's likes, shares, views etc. So if you have a strategy to use social media and build a page, your own posting is important, but it is time consuming and can have a very low return as far as actual views and engagement, so it may be worth getting some help to ramp it up to make your effort worthwhile.
Q.6 What are your users/followers talking about on Social Media?
We again we are a bit different here because as the content source that people go to, we are the actual conversation starters.
At the end of the day we have followers that want to receive our content and we want that content to be good enough for them to want to share it with a friend or if an industry community, their colleagues. If we were to be specific and dial into say our ODS page, project content and showcasing, rules the roost. Innovative products come in close second.
Q.7 What types of content performs best on your social media?
It does depend on what the objective of the post is but in general, we find video is the number one. The research backs this with a 1200% increase in engagement compared to straight out copy and images.That's why we have moved into this space with a video and deployment offering. It provides the best of both worlds, video media with the benefits of getting posted under a credible industry voice or media brand, credibility and endorsement.
Q.8 What forms of digital marketing do you think is relevant?
For us content marketing is possibly the best. You can promote your business to a qualified audience who will be interested to see your messages. Moreover content marketing allows a longer form communications that is higher engaged. It's done in a useful credible way. You will also gain all the SEO benefit we have spoken about with regards to having published articles on the web for your business. We also find that customers like the kudos and it provides.
Q.9 How do you use marketing to progress your business?
Whilst we are ones that provide the means for businesses to market themselves, we also market our brands and products just like any of you here would. Database targeting, events, advertising pages, online advertising, video and social, articles and promotions, the lot, we find valuable the very products we are trying to on-sell.
How is it useful? It lets the most likely audience of people know what who we are, what we do and how we can provide something they need.
Q.10 For smaller businesses, what would you say is important part of promoting your business through marketing?
At a previous LNA Meeting, I recently provided 6 key points in regards to marketing.
1. Not marketing is not an option
2. Having a simple and clear plan with an objective
3. Make the most of your website
4. Email marketing is the new direct mail
5. Social media is the new word of mouth
6. Use credible targeted media in your category.
Q.11 How often do you post and is there a particular time of day where engagement is high?
We find posting when people may be active on Social media is key. For example mornings, lunch times, evenings. My advice is if you are posting regularly you schedule up front, it will mean you can set and forget for a while.
Q.12 What is your number 1 tip for staying relevant?
Know who your customer is
Know what they want
Know where you can find them
Let them know how you can provide what they want
Innovative and differentiate where possible