It's June and it's time to take great photos of your mature green landscapes. Right now, every landscape company wants more maintenance clients. It's getting more competitive. Why should your Hell Yes, customers choose you over a competitor? You've got to show them what it's like to hire you with great inspiring photographs, but don't wait until January or December to realize that you need these. Check out today's episode to see which photos you should take now so you win your Hell Yes, customers.
Hey everyone, Jack Jostes is here, and welcome to The Landscaper's Guide Podcast where we share sales, marketing, and leadership ideas to help you grow your snow and landscape company. Today I'm going to share a clip from my book, The Tree of Good Fortune. We have a three-part chapter on branding and differentiation. This is part of the foundational four, and it's essentially why should people choose you over a competitor. A key component is your visual identity, which is not only your logo and your branded apparel, like this hat I'm wearing right now, or your signage and vehicle wraps, but also a key component is your photography ranking on Google is one part of SEO, but getting people to choose you over your competitors is a whole other thing, and that's where photography comes in and it's so important because you ultimately sell a visual product. People hire you to make their landscape beautiful.
1:45 Chapter Six: Branding and Differentiation Part 3; Visual Identity
So check out this sample chapter from the book, and if you want to hear the whole version, you can get the video book at treeofgoodfortune.com or listen to it on Audible. Chapter six, branding and differentiation part three, visual identity. "Design is the silent ambassador of your brand," Paul Rand. Humans are visual learners. When it comes to selling landscaping, a service people buy to beautify their home or commercial property, your visual presentation matters. Now that you've clarified with great intention why you are different from others and nailed down your process, it's time to help people see that you are professionally even worth considering.
In this third and final part of the branding and differentiation portion of the book, I'll share some of the key tips for differentiating your business from others with your visual identity. Photography. Photography is a key element of the visual identity aspect of your branding. Photos will be used everywhere, your website, local SEO listings, print marketing, videos, social media and more. Not only do you need great photos of the work you're doing, but you also need great photos of the people who do the great work at your company.
Sadly, many landscapers fall short when it comes to photos. Staff photography. Who's going to be on my property while I'm not here, is a fear of many customers. Show people on your team in professional uniforms with clean equipment to instill a sense of confidence in potential customers. Now you've got to check out either the print book or the digital book to see the examples of strong staff photos. We have a whole bunch of them here and a few things that I really like about them that I'll just describe to you is they're well lit. They are clean. They're not in the middle of a job site. They're looking at the camera, they're smiling, they're branded, they're wearing uniforms, and they just generally look professional.
The team power shot. Oh yeah, if you have a sweet fleet of vehicles and uniform staff, flaunt it, yes, line everyone up early in the morning, dressed in clean uniforms in front of the vehicles. This communicates to customers that you're ready to do projects and it shows potential employees that you are a potential employer and team to join.
4:07 Show Off Your Best Landscapes With Portfolio Photography
Portfolio photography. Can you design the backyard of always dreamed of? Can you maintain my commercial property so I look professional? Whether you're selling residential landscape design projects or commercial maintenance, inspire potential customers with your best work using current professional photography of finished, well-groomed properties, not some sweaty guy digging a hole. Now, sometimes this is harder to do because your client would have to agree, but if you can get your clients and their dogs to be in the landscape, you're golden.
4:48 Take Photos Of Your Incredible Team!
Now, one of them that I really love in here is a photo from one of my clients. They have a pig roast, it's MVP Snow n' Lawn, and they hired a professional photographer to come to their team appreciation event where they had a pig roast. They played this giant Jenga game, and there's this great photo of all these guys wearing hats, branded shirts, and they're having a blast. It looks like a place that you would want to go work. Another great photo in here is the CoCal team. Now, CoCal Landscape is a $18 million commercial landscape company in Colorado, and their team looks amazing. They've got their fleet of vehicles. Everyone's laughing. They got their hands up. They're having fun, right? So add some personality to it.
5:31 Is Your Google Listing Up To Par?
So pull out your phone or if you're on your computer, Google yourself. Look at your website and Google listing. Do you have individual photo galleries for each service you offer? For instance, if you do fire pits, do you have a gallery of fire pits? If you do patios, do you have a gallery of patios? If you do driveways, do you have a nice gallery of driveways, and so on. Are there photos of the staff dressed in uniform on the website? Hey, you dozing off there, is there a photo of you, the business owner on the website? And do your images pass the Hell Yes, photo test? So get out your smartphone right now. Go to your company website and take a look at each and every photo on the website.
Look at the photos on your Google My Business listing and on your Yelp listing, on Facebook. And while you are looking at these photos, answer this question, does this photo represent the type of project I want to sell today? Does the photo represent the type of lead I want to get more of? If the answer is a Hell Yes, then awesome, keep that photo. If the answer is a hell no, I don't want to do those projects anymore, then get rid of that photo. This is a test I have my audience do when I speak at conferences and other events. I have the audience remember, get out their smartphones and take a look at this. And what was a big project to you 10 years ago may not be what you want today. So prune your web website and Google My Business, how's Facebook, Yelp really anywhere that you're having photos, at least annually so you're continually putting your best images forward.
Tip, get your staff to take photos with a photography contest. While hiring a professional photographer to shoot your landscapes, especially two or three years after they're matured and ideally have been maintained by you or some other professional. You can also employ your staff to take photos for you. And check out our rockstar client, Craig Attkisson, who shares in an exclusive podcast interview, how to get your team to take great landscaping portfolio photos, professional logo design from your signage, business cards, uniforms, website, social media, and vehicles. Your logo will be seen everywhere for better or for worse. Even if you love your logo, it's possible that it may need some enhancements to display properly on your website, digital marketing and printed materials.
8:14 Is Your Logo Still Relevant To Your Business Today?
How do you feel about your logo? Was it professionally designed? Does it speak to your ideal target audience and look great both online and off? Do you have the raw files, including a vector version and a nice selection of sizes for both print and digital? Your logo should print nicely on small materials, business cards, envelopes, direct mail pieces, and large materials like signage, billboards, and vehicle wraps.
A logo can be a big part of a company's history. It may be something that a... a logo can be a big part of a company's history. It may be something that a family member designed or something that was relevant to your business 20 years ago but is not relevant anymore. If this is the case, you may be ready to revamp your logo design. There are ways to maintain the bones and legacy of a logo while giving it a fresh and modern look. In fact, Ramblin Jackson, my company has been around for 12 years and in our 11th year of business, we upgraded our own logo and website because so much had changed in our business.
So in the digital component, in the print component, we have some before and afters that you can look at here. We recommend that you include photos of your street presence in your website and online listings. What is street presence? Well, if you have branded vehicles or signage or other things that you're out and about in the community, have photos of that in your digital marketing because it helps people say, "Oh yeah, I've seen that vehicle in the parking lot at my grocery store. Or I think I've seen them working, doing the landscape maintenance at this HOA that my buddy lives at."
10:03 Vehicle Wraps
Vehicle wraps. Unless you're doing some sort of newfangled George Jetson virtual Pokemon lawn mowing, you're going to need to drive your equipment to the job site. Professional vehicle wraps on your trucks and trailers are a great way to earn word of mouth from the neighborhoods of your Hell Yes customers.
10:21 Professional Uniforms
Uniforms. Which would you rather see in your neighbor's yard, random dudes in ripped up clothes, not really sure if they're working, or a team of people wearing professionally branded hats and shirts with the same colors? Uniforms not only make your customers confident they've hired the right people and help build word of mouth, but they also build a sense of comradery among your crews that increases loyalty and retention.
Do you have consistent branding from your logo to your signage, to uniforms, letterhead, business cards, websites, social media and vehicles strive to create a cohesive visual identity so people recognize your brand? Annually prune your photos on your website, Google My Business listing and prominent online directories that include photos that fit your Hell Yes customer. Photographs and influence not only potential customers, but also potential employees. Engage your employees in a team photo contest to regularly collect new fresh photos in between your professional photo shoots.
11:34 Want To Learn Five Other Photography Tips?
If you'd like five other photography tips, be sure to check out the print version of The Landscaper's Guide Newsletter this month. And if you're not getting it, I'd love to send it to you. Every month we send out helpful, exclusive content in print marketing and our clients love it. So join our mailing list, our print mailing list. Let me send you a bag of beef jerky in our marketing toolbox with our marketing field guide and our most recent newsletter. You can grab that for free at landscapersguide.com/toolbox. See our show notes for a link.
Right now it's starting to rain, and I'm actually getting ready to take my two boys and one of my best friends camping. My best friend and I were both Boy Scouts growing up, and the scouts motto is be prepared. That made its way into one of my core values, be on time and prepared to add value. So right now it's raining. I'm excited for... my buddy's excited. We are prepared. We're going to bring a tarp and some guidelines, and the first thing we're going to set up is our camp tent, which is, I think they call it a patrol fly dining tent.
So that's basically going to be a covered area where we're going to cook our food and hang out, and I'm pretty excited. My boys are prepared with raincoats and weather suits and Tonka trucks. We're just going to have a great time out in nature in the elements. So this has a lot to do with marketing. What are you going to do to be prepared when the market gets even more competitive? Some of the things that you can do to continually be prepared is regularly ask for reviews. Each and every customer should get a review. And regularly take photos of before, during, and after projects, so that way you're continually inspiring your customers with what they could have.
This is increasingly important. And again, right now is prime time, June, July, August, while your landscapes are looking good. So get out there, take some photos. My name's Jack Jostes. Thanks so much for checking out The Landscaper's Guide. I look forward to talking with you next week.
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Listen to the Audiobook on Audible https://www.audible.com/pd/The-Tree-of-Good-Fortune-Audiobook/B0BQZ2JGCD
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