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Watch out, men. It’s official. More and more women are joining the tree care industry and training to become arborists. The lady in our image today is clearly missing her PPE gear though. Any complaints? Didn’t think so.
Lady arborists – I salute you! OK let’s focus a bit harder and get down to business.
Getting more customers is a challenge that many tree service owner-operators face, especially when they start up or want to increase the rate of business growth.
Based on what we see in this industry, there are 7 common reasons why tree service business owners cannot find customers easily. Generating new business is an all-too common problem area. We shall tackle these 7 reasons first of all. Then, we will outline 7 choices tree service company owners have when implementing marketing and business development in their businesses.
7 Reasons Why Generating New Business Is Problematic
1. High Competition
There are 3,700 tree trimmers and tree removal firms in every US state, on average. What can you, as a tree service business owner, do to rise above this seething mass of competitors? And how do you know whether your marketing intentions will work?
2. Marketing Mistakes
Only half of all small businesses will make their 5th birthday, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. The tree service industry is no different. 14% of all small business failures relate directly to marketing problems according to CB Insights. But marketing-related issues such as market need, competition strategy and pricing mean that, actually, more than two thirds of small and medium enterprises fail due to marketing problems.
3. Tree Work is Labor-Intensive
Tree firms employ no more than two employees on average which means the owner probably has an active, hands-on role in the firm. This will leave little time in the day for attention to marketing.
In most states, tree firms are busy in the summer and quieter in the winter. So in the summer there’s less perceived need for marketing by the owner. And in winter there’s less money coming in to cover overheads and salaries so there’s less resources to invest in marketing.
5. Media Saturation
The average person in US receives more than 2,900 messages every single day according to Firesnap. So even when the proprietor does something, the results can be drowned out and the results disappointing.
6. Cost of Marketing and Agency Fees
These can be prohibitive once totaled up. A new website alone can easily top $5000 if you get a reputable agency involved. Then there are additional costs of sending paid visitor traffic to the new website. Even Search Engine Optimization can take months before any appreciable impact to be seen. Then there’s the cost of outsourcing your content marketing program. For a new firm, especially, these high costs and slow results can be both daunting and dispiriting.
7. Unknown Power of Integrated Communications
It has been proven time and time again that deploying a select number of media channels at the same time and in a coordinated way has a much better chance at reaching your target audience. Even if tree service owners are aware of this principal, how does he know which of the many non-digital and digital channels to choose and knit together? By the way, we have suggested a stack of relevant non-digital and digital channels to be used as a cohesive whole to flush out considerable benefits of synergy between each channel. Our article entitled “A Digital Marketing Model for your Tree Service Business” available here details a powerful integrated approach specifically for tree service businesses in USA.
Get More Tree Service Customers – 7 Choices
If the above 7 customer acquisition problems resonate at all with your own tree firm, you have 7 clear choices as to how to progress:
1. Do Nothing Different
Not really a viable option because your business will die sooner or later. If you have low overheads, I suppose your COULD survive with a small number of customers. But who wants a business that’s just ticking over. Unfortunately, I have seen many tree businesses that have gone under. As I’ve checked and reviewed contact lists, it’s heartbreaking to see the number of closed websites and abandoned email addresses for closed tree firms.
2. Trial Non-Digital Promotional Channels
There are many ‘old school’ marketing tactics that you might try. However, I have personally picked out 5 that I know still work great in the tree service industry. Consider them as traditional marketing with a modern twist. We detail these 5 channels in detail in our post here. Do just 3 of these together and you will move your business forward – no doubt. By the way, if any tree service firm out there does begin to use Electro Luminescent (EL) truck signage then PLEASE let me know. You’ll be the first in USA and a local hit in your service area.
3. Rely on ‘Word of Mouth’ Advertising
This is also known as Reputation Management whereby you focus more on customer service and customer care. Of-course, you should be doing a good job already if you are serious about the long term survival of your business. But the Word of Mouth route is notoriously slow. Your reputation will take time to build organically. In the meantime, your more proactive competitors have overtaken you. A more active form of reputation management is included in our ‘ideal’ digital marketing model for tree service businesses. This works much better as part of an integrated marketing approach.
4. Take a Crash Course in Digital Marketing
Choose a digital marketing course, study and then implement the unique digital marketing model that we discussed in our popular post here. You will save money but you will still have data, media, hosting and of-course training costs to pay. Most of all, it will take time to study and time to implement it all on your own. This is by no means impossible. However, the balance between training, working on trees for paying customers and putting those digital marketing lessons into practice will not be the faint of heart.
5. Pay Someone To Set Up The Digital Marketing Model
Pay upwards of $20,000 to get someone else to set up the digital marketing model for you. There will be ongoing costs for data, creative, photography, hosting. There will also be copywriting costs unless you’re a natural writer. Bear in mind, your agency won’t write content for you in a hurry and there will be website updates and reputation management elements to build and include too. You’ll need even more resources if you want the agency to do your search engine optimization, search engine marketing (paid search), content strategy and social media posts/ads for you too. An expensive and time-consuming route to take.
6. Hire a Sales and Marketing Manager
Spend at least $25,000 each year to employ full-time marketing help. Someone on the payroll could run your marketing and drum up business. This is the base price of-course. Add to this any media costs, digital channel costs, creative costs and production costs.
7. Engage the Cost-Effective Services of a Ring Master
The boys and girls here at MarketingDirector.com are masters at making the phone ring for your business. No large ‘sunk’ costs; you pay only for qualified calls. It means we take care of new business and you take care of your customers’ trees. Click on the blue button below to find out more and access some free training. Choose this option and you’ll be getting more customers to call your business on a cost-effective basis within 24-72 hours.
John Hackwood helps tree service owners get 15-40 NEW customers per month. He is an expert at helping them get clients using proprietary methods and making things super simple to understand. He has been a marketing professional since 1988 and is using this considerable experience to help small businesses in the US tree care sector.
If you’re interested in learning how John can help you grow your tree service business then click on blue button below.