Marketing is fundamental to your tree service company
Marketing is particularly important in the tree service industry. The reasons for our conviction are founded in our own *SWOT analysis for the US tree services industry here
To summarize from my previous blog post on our unique *SWOT analysis, the US tree services sector is a healthy $21bn market. It is also flourishing at a healthy growth rate of 6.7% every year over the last 5 years. Yet the main challenge is the sheer number of small tree service operators. In fact, there are more than 60 on average in each of the 3007 counties in the United States. Most tree firms employ no more than two full time employees so scaling such a business is a systemic issue.
*SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.
Business fundamentals – Operations, Finance & Marketing
Safe, operational excellence is essential for long term growth. Unsafe, untrained and non-qualified operators will soon remove themselves from the competitive landscape and sometimes from the gene pool too, unfortunately. The industry requires only ‘low to moderate’ financing. The third business essential, marketing, can make all the difference to the success or otherwise of your tree business. Master this or master the means to secure a steady stream of leads and you will have the foundation for a thriving and growing business.
So marketing in the tree service sector is vital for three reasons:
i). Sales leads cannot be taken for granted. Inquiries from prospective customers have to be actively driven and maintained at a strong level.
ii). The highly competitive local market in tree services demands a sound marketing approach to help your firm stand head and shoulders above the others.
iii). Those companies who excel at marketing will have a successful business. This is because the other two fundamentals in tree services of operations and finance are an essential prerequisite and reasonably straightforward, respectively.
Choosing your preferred customer type
Before we merrily start listing marketing ideas for you to mull over, a word about your target customers.
One of the most important elements of your business strategy is marketing segmentation. Segmentation and targeting tests even the brightest marketing minds because markets are far from homogeneous. It is also one of those difficult marketing things to do properly. So marketers can be tempted to gloss over its importance and jump to conclusions about the ideal target market based on their own flawed self-reference criterion.
Focusing on one customer type, at least initially, is important. This is because your reputation can build quickly if you channel your business energies into one service for one type of customer. How often have you heard: “Stick to the Knitting.” Lots of times, I hope and for good reason. Spreading yourself thinly over several customer segments is a recipe for business failure.
Most tree service start-ups begin with tree trimming and removal for residential customers. In time, they graduate to municipal and commercial customers. This happens after they acquire the equipment and staff to reliably deliver an agreed set of services to contract.
In the case of commercial tree work, additional skills are needed when offering services on credit. Poor debtor management can easily kill a business.
Different markets demand different marketing approaches
For Residential Customers B2C (Business to Consumer) marketing:
- large audience
- local marketing
- cost effectiveness is key from lower transaction values
For Commercial & Municipal Customers B2B (Business to Business) marketing:
- smaller audience
- relationship approach
In this article, we choose to focus upon marketing tactics that are most relevant for a residential target market.
Ever notice that a lot of top five or top ten lists of tree marketing techniques are all about digital media? If so, did you also notice how the authors are writing for digital marketing agencies? Go figure.
We take a contrarian view because these digital agency authors often overlook highly relevant and effective non-digital channels.
Get noticed in the real world first with 5 non-digital marketing tactics
We say why not get noticed in the real world as well as online. With this in mind, we will now detail 5 NON-digital marketing tactics that all tree service companies should consider implementing.
These have been prioritized from a much larger list. Our selection uses the strategic insight from our SWOT study as a filter. In my next blog post, I’ll share my top digital marketing techniques for those with tree care companies. In the next post, we shall also share how to knit together both offline and online marketing techniques as a cohesive whole to win in your local market.
It can take up to 18-20 touch-points to reach a customer for the first time (Source: Compumail). So we recommend that you at least trial 4 or more of these 5 ideas at the same time: