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Photo: wildpixel/586087984/iStock / Getty Images Plus

Photo: wildpixel/586087984/iStock / Getty Images Plus

There would be no need for websites, social media and Google ads if your company were the only landscape business in town. Some companies in small markets enjoy this advantage, but that doesn’t mean they have no competition.

Every landscaping business has competitors, but it’s not always obvious. If your offer is not sufficiently compelling, buyers may instead choose to buy a new car or spend their extra income on a luxurious vacation.

Your marketing must show buyers that it solves relative problems in ways that are appealing to them. Most strategies for doing this leverage quality, speed and favorable pricing.

My company’s differentiator was our innovative designs. Our chief competitor’s differentiator was speed. As a result, we seldom competed for the same business. While I cannot speak for our competitor, we resisted any efforts to rush the design process because that would negate our competitive advantage.

Your competitive differentiator simplifies the lead generation and conversion process because it makes your competitors disappear. You can use several resources to be sure your differentiator is sound.

Client interviews — Personal, one-to-one client interviews are best, but you can also try surveys. One of the more helpful questions is, “If you were searching the internet for a company like ours, what words or phrases would you use?” Their responses can be insightful.

Social media comments — You are looking for specific words that suggest what you do best. Write down descriptive words and phrases that seem to be relevant. Then analyze this data for matches or trends that indicate what buyers appreciate most.

Google profile reviews — Most reviewers are honest about their experiences and how they describe them. This can be used to brand them for marketing purposes. For example, we turned a review comment, “I just love coming home on mowing day,” into a tagline: You’ll love coming home on mowing day.

Competitor’s websites — What are your competitors not saying on their websites? What they are careful not to mention may rightfully be a competitive advantage that belongs to you.

Competitor’s Google ads — What your competitors believe are their strengths will be reflected in the keywords used in their Google Ads.

People also ask — For any search query, scroll down below ads to the “People Also Ask” section for answers to frequently asked questions. For example, the results for nutritional supplements often address suggested benefits and potential side effects because that’s what most consumers want to know. Test this for your services.

Here are some examples of typical differentiators. It’s possible to have more than one that distinguishes your brand.

  • If your project is not completed on time, we’ll pay you for delays
  • Our craftsmanship is unmatched — and we can prove it
  • We show you where value hides so you can make accurate comparisons
  • You’ll discover our transparent budgeting process makes decisions easier
  • We’ll always protect you from mistakes people commonly make

As you may have noticed, having a differentiator is only advantageous when you communicate effectively. We’ll discuss how to do that in a future article.

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Jeff Korhan

About the Author:

Jeff Korhan is the author of Built-In Social, founder of Landscape Digital Institute, and a Duct Tape Marketing Certified consultant. Jeff works with service companies that want to drive growth and enhance their brand experience with digital platforms. Learn more at www.landscapedigitalinstitute.com

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