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Promoting Your Business On A Shoestring

29/11/2022 - Services

With the current economic climate in the UK, some of landscapers and garden designers we’ve been speaking to lately are concerned that great projects could be harder to come by for the next few months. Speaking from experience (I’ve been around for a while), in tricky times, it pays to keep on marketing. That doesn’t necessarily mean spending a fortune on advertising.  Anna and Angela from the Arbour Landscape Solutions team have some great tips on how to make a marketing plan for promoting your business on a shoestring.

  1. Take fabulous images of your work.
  2. Claim your Google Business Profile and update it regularly.
  3. Invest in a good SEO service for your website.
  4. Review your website performance and make tweaks to improve the conversion rate.
  5. Post regularly to Facebook, Instagram and Linkedin.
  6. Encourage clients to give reviews and testimonials.
  7. Attend networking events and build relationships with suppliers, designers and landscapers who may be able to recommend your services.
  8. Blog regularly - at least once a month.
  9. Share case studies with the Arbour Landscape Solutions team so that we can promote your work for you.

A Picture Paints A Thousand Words: Photographing Your Work

When you are competing for any landscaping or design work, it truly helps to have a solid portfolio of work to show prospective clients. A fuzzy picture taken with your phone on a foggy day will not give a true impression of your skills.

Take before and after pictures of the gardens you have built so that prospects can see the transformation.

If you are a landscaper, 'during’ images will give an impression of how tidily and professionally you work.  Use these to show how you comply with CDM regulations.

Detailed shots will illustrate the high standard of finishing - neat corners, regular spacing between pavers, immaculate edges etc etc.

If you can, return to site and photograph the garden once it has established, you’ll have some brilliant pictures for your website and social media.

Don’t forget to take pictures at different times of the day and night. Make it easy for prospective customers to imagine themselves in a garden created by your company.

Take a look at these images from different gardens. See how they showcase details and overall styling - images like these will help you to outcompete your competitors. Many thanks to our clients for sharing these pictures with us.

lovely garden feature beautifully lit for evening time

beautiful sunken garden with furniture and parasol

Google Business Profile

Google business profile search results for landscaper near me Typical search results with Google Business Profiles appearing above all websites.  Normally, profiles with the best reviews are listed first, The algorithms also work out which businesses are closest to the searcher.


A Google Business Profile is a brilliant FREE marketing tool that will get your business seen by local people who are searching for your services.

If you haven’t already done so, put aside a couple of hours to update your company details. Make sure your contact details are on there and that your GBP links to your website. Then, add as many products or services as you can think of.  Tip - ‘products’ will show on your GBP before ‘services’. So use this section to promote products such as garden makeovers, patios, decking etc.

Photos and reviews will help your business to appear at the top of the GBP search listings.  Add as many as you can. (See later in the article for more on collecting reviews and testimonials)

Schedule in 10 minutes every week to add images and updates to your Google Business Profile. Fresh content will also help to get your business seen.

SEO - Search Engine Optimisation

First up - if you don’t need SEO because you don’t have a website - GET A WEBSITE. Nowadays, everybody does lots of online research when they are looking for products or services.  Not having a website is the equivalent of owning a shop that’s hidden down a back street and doesn’t have any signage - you won’t get any customers!

At a time when it’s more important than ever to keep an eye on business overheads, it may feel like madness to invest in a service such as search engine optimisation for your website. However, statistics show that if a website doesn’t appear on the first page of the search engine results, it probably won’t get many visitors.  That’s not helpful when you need prospective clients to be contacting YOU rather than your competitors.

SEO is a complex subject. Some parts of it - like content management - you will probably be able to manage yourself. But technical SEO - making sure that the site is mobile friendly, fast to load and stable - is a job for somebody who thoroughly understands coding AND Google.

You probably won’t feel as though you see any results from your investment in SEO. But trust me, you’ll feel it if you don’t invest and your website falls off the first page of the search engine results. 

PS: Just because clients don’t contact you directly from your website, doesn’t mean that they’ve not taken a good look at it.  Make sure it showcases your work, your integrity and the fact that you're great at your job.

Is Your Website Performing As Well As It Should?

Again, I say, If you haven’t got a website, 2023 should be the year you get one professionally made for you.  It might be tempting to try to save money with one of those DIY website building sites, but honestly, it’s not as easy as they make it sound on the adverts, AND there are fewer opportunities to show how original your work is. You wouldn’t ask an amateur to service your machinery or do your tax return, so dig deep and commission a bespoke website just for you.  The cost is tax deductible…so it’s not as painful as it first sounds.

Once your website is up and running you should have an analytics program attached to it.  Google Analytics is the most common one, but some sites do have plugins so that you can see visitor numbers and what people have looked at.

Is your website receiving the number of visitors you’d expect it to? Is the number growing year on year or is your website getting less and less attention?  How many people have emailed you via your contact page? Has anyone phoned? Which pages have they looked at, which pages do they leave the site from? 

Can you tweak any of the images or text to make your offering sound more compelling?  Tip: Search Engines love it when you refresh website content, so there’s never any harm in changing the pictures etc to give the site a new look and feel.

Bear in mind that visitors and enquiries are very seasonal things ….. so don’t panic if you’re seeing fewer web visits in December than you did in May - that’s normal.

If you are concerned about your website performance, ask a professional to undertake an audit and suggest changes.  I can personally recommend the services of Upshot Media for all things website and SEO related.

graphic showing measurable elements of website performance

Your Social Media Presence

Love it or hate it, Social Media is where your prospective customers are most likely to see your work. Some garden designers and landscapers are brilliant at showcasing their work on social media. Others hate the very idea of it. The truth of the matter is, that if you want to be seen - you have to put yourself in the limelight.

What is it that puts you off using social media?  Is it the time it takes? Remembering to do it? Knowing what to post?

Here’s a useful tip.  Websites such as Hootsuite, Buffer and Meta Business Suite will post to social media on your behalf. All you have to do is tell them what to say and when to say it.  So when you put aside your 10 minutes to update your Google Business Profile each week, extend that to 30 minutes and schedule your social media posts at the same time.

Knowing what to post - well that’s probably the most difficult thing to do. Think about what you want to achieve with your social media - lots of awareness and hopefully some engagement too. The more people who like and comment on your posts, the more people the platform will show it too. So try to include breathtakingly beautiful images and ask questions too.

Here are some suggestions for social media posts:

  1. Before and after images of work you’ve done.
  2. You and your team at work.
  3. Videos of work and/or work in progress.
  4. Images of the products you are using - don’t forget to tag the suppliers to get more likes and shares.
  5. Plants or gardens you admire - tell us what’s so good about them.
  6. Comment on the weather, the view from where you are working that day, your journey to work, or the lovely cake your client has treated you to that day.
  7. Meet the team posts.
  8. Anything unusual you’ve found whilst working - an insect, buried treasure, unexpected pipes etc.
  9. Any charity fundraisers you are taking part in (shows that you are prepared to give back to society)
  10. Share other people’s posts to your timeline - eg a relevant news article or a thought leadership piece
  11. Links to your own blog (more on that later)
  12. Reviews and testimonials.

testimonial for Arbour Landscape Solutions

Adapt testimonials for Social Media by using a program such as Canva to turn them into graphics.

Reviews and Testimonials

According to one survey, a whopping 90% of people check the reviews before they buy from a Company

Which is why it’s crucial that your online presence contains as many good reviews as possible. Now, when you are working on high end jobs and perhaps only completing a few projects every year, you won’t have as many opportunities to get reviews as if your business focusses on frequent, smaller jobs. But that doesn’t mean that reviews don’t matter. They do. Particularly when times are hard.

It only takes a minute or two to send a personalised follow up email to clients whose work you have completed.  Let them know you enjoyed working on their garden, ask them if they’re happy with the experience , explain how reviews help you to grow your business, and send them a link to your Google Business Profile in the hope that they can find time to say a few words about your work.

Step Into The Limelight At Networking Events

Networking is a funny old thing.  Within the Arbour Landscape Solutions team we have a mix of extroverts and introverts.  You can probably guess who among us can’t wait to get out there and meet new people. (Richard and Anna!). Angela and Debs on the other hand are a bit on the shy side but actually enjoy chatting with new people once they get into the swing of an event.
Which category do you fall into? Is networking a joy for you or are you more of a home body?  

There’s no denying, though, that some of the best business collaborations come through having great contacts.  If you are a landscaper for example, work could come via a garden designer who has met you, seen your skills and feels you would be a good match for the client they are working with.

While the UK economy is depressed, having industry contacts who can recommend your work will be a huge advantage to your company.  So be brave.  Take a look at our events page and come along to a networking event near you. Check our upcoming events page for some suggestions.

group of garden designers examining samples of landscaping materials

Richard Bickler speaking at a Society of Garden Designers cluster group meeting

Building A Blog

Digital marketing is about three things.

Firstly, getting noticed by the search engines. Because it’s search engine algorithms that decide which business websites to show on the results page in response to a query. 

Secondly, digital marketing is about getting your business seen by potential customers.

Thirdly, it’s about persuading potential customers to contact you and to buy your products and services.  Just like building a patio or a deck, your marketing needs to be built on a strong base. If that’s wrong, well, nothing else will work (at least not for long).

How do you curry favour with the search engine algorithms? Well, you give them what they want.  Fresh, relevant content that is genuinely helpful to anyone who is searching for what you offer. And there’s no better way to do that, than by keeping up to date with your technical SEO (see point 3 and by adding new content in the form of blogs.   

Use your blog to tell readers about your work, offer how to guides to demonstrate competence, express opinions on local landscape management, talk about design details that will encourage people to upgrade their gardens, offer seasonal maintenance tips - anything that’s relevant to your business will help to get your website seen and to tell people about your skills and your ethics.

Share Your Case Studies Via Arbour Landscape Solutions

If you’re not a confident writer but you still want your work to be seen by other people in the landscape industry, Arbour Landscape Solutions offers a FREE case study writing service.

Send us pictures of our projects and answer a very simple questionnaire about the work and we’ll publish your case study on our website.  Once an article is live and you have approved it, we’ll use our social media platforms to celebrate your work and show it to other industry influencers. 

It’s not unusual for garden designers to get in touch with a landscaper based on seeing their work on our case study page. Neither is it unheard of for potential clients to contact a garden designer after seeing their designs brought to life online.

As well as showcasing your work to real life people, a case study on the Arbour Landscape Solutions website will create a link to your own website.  In marketing and SEO terms, this is known as a backlink and it will likely help to lift your business website higher in the google rankings. 

Take a look at the case studies on the Arbour Landscape Solutions website - wouldn't your work look magnificent on here?

In summary

The landscape industry in the UK has had a bumper couple of years, with COVID lockdown prompting people to upgrade their gardens. However, it looks as though we may be heading towards a temporary lull in enquiries. Protect yourself against a drop in income by taking steps to improve your marketing without spending huge amounts of money on advertising.  Savvy digital marketing techniques are going to be your best friend in 2023. And as ever, if you need help, advice or ideas, I and my team will be on hand to answer questions and point you towards organisations who can help.

Stay strong and be pro-active. You’ve got this!

Contact the Arbour Landscape Solutions team