As a local service company, your goal is to bring in business from customers within your local service area. That means your marketing (and especially your online marketing) must be locally-targeted, attractive to local residents, and easily found by potential customers looking for someone who provides tree care services in their vicinity.
Most of the advice you’ll find about “online marketing” focuses on online businesses (e-commerce sites) or local retailers (“bricks and mortar” stores).
But, as a local service business, your marketing doesn’t fit that mold. In fact, some of the advice simply doesn’t work for tree care companies.
For example, if your website doesn’t get found by local customers, it might as well not exist. And if they don’t call or contact you once they’ve found your site, then it’s not doing you any good.
What can you do to ensure your tree service website is found by the right customers and that they get in touch when they visit your site?
Most people first land on a website’s homepage so it’s critical that it works well to convert website visitors into customers. So let's start with optimizing the homepage.
Here are the six must-have elements for a local service business homepage.
It always amazes me how many local business websites don’t prominently display their phone number! If a potential customer can’t find your number, how are they going to call you? Don’t make them search for it – put it at the top right of your site (in the header) and use a large font. Use a local area code so it’s clear that you’re located in the community you serve.
This one is also a big miss on many tree service websites. If a customer has to scroll down to the bottom of the homepage just to figure out where you’re located (and then assume that your service area is around your business location), they’re unlikely to ever call you.
State your service area clearly (e.g., Fairfield County, foothills west of Denver, Northeast Ohio) and put that information at or near the top of the homepage (above the fold). Make it obvious as soon as someone lands on your website that you either do or do not serve the area in which they live.
You may also want to include a map of your location with an outline around your service area (this can also go on the About Us and/or Contact Us pages).
Plus, you can list the major towns and/or counties you serve. That doesn’t mean including a long list of every single town you cover though – not only does it look spammy, it’s no longer considered good practice from an SEO standpoint.
Services You Provide
Make it really clear what you do so potential customers immediately know whether or not your business is worth contacting. Include a brief description of your major services (e.g., pruning/trimming, tree removal/stump grinding, PHC, planting) at a high level using words your customers use (skip the industry jargon!). You could also focus on the problems customers need to have solved (e.g., broken branches, fallen tree, yellowing leaves) and emphasize the fact that you solve those problems.
A tagline can also be helpful here (e.g., “Expert tree care services for fine properties in the Hamptons”, “Keeping trees healthy and safe since 1978”).
It’s a sad fact that people simply don’t believe what companies say about themselves. Instead, they rely on external or third party indications of quality. Include any awards, certifications, or membership logos on your homepage, as well as a few customer testimonials (show the customer’s name and town for maximum impact).
Call to Action
What do you want someone to do when they land on your homepage? As a local service business, you most likely want them to contact you to discuss your services and/or request an estimate. Ensure that it’s crystal clear what you want them to do and make it easy for them to do it. Include a highly visible button that says “Request an Estimate” (taking them to an online form) and/or say “Call Us Today For a Free Quote” (use whatever wording is appropriate for your business).
Many people expect to see links to important pages and resources at the bottom of the page. Make it easy for them to find what they’re looking for, including contact information, major services, and social links.
Other Important Home Page Features
A static site indicates an inactive or lazy business, and negatively affects ranking in the search results. Update the home page regularly with new blog posts, seasonal tips, images, and seasonally-relevant calls to action.
Good Design / Consistent Brand
There's much more to a good website than just "it looks pretty" - but you still need good design. Keep it simple, with plenty of white space, larger font size (16pt or larger), colors that are consistent with your brand, and images of you and your team at work.
Put the navigation (menu) across the top of the page (usually it’s right under the header/logo) – that’s where people expect to see it. Make it obvious what each menu item is (again, avoid jargon here), simplify the menu choices (more is not better) and make it easy for people to get where they need to go. List “Home” in the menu, show your services first, and include About Us and Contact Us at the end of the navigation bar.
Speedy Load Time
How quickly your website loads on a mobile or desktop screen has a huge influence on where your site ranks in the search results. It also affects customers’ impression of your business (slow site = crappy company) and whether or not they even look at your site. Anything over a couple of seconds and people are likely to hit that “Back” button.
With Google moving to mobile-first indexing, a mobile-friendly website is critical. Rather than creating two separate versions of your website (a desktop and a mobile version), use mobile responsive design to ensure that viewers have the best user experience regardless of which device they’re using.
It only takes a few missing things on your homepage to ruin the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. But by doing the six simple things described above, your website will help you bring in more customers from your local service area.
Note: The recommendations in this article apply to local tree service companies. Large regional or national companies may do things slightly differently so don't try to copy what they do - it likely won't work well for a local company.
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