Marketing Tips for Arborists and Foresters
The aim of this simple marketing guide is to help you think about all the little things that could make a big difference to your business. Whether you’re a start-up, or you have been working as a tree surgeon or forester for a while, these tips can help you set up and maintain a successful business.
We’d love to hear from you with any other great marketing tips to help build a successful and profitable business!
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This guide contains generic information and not specific advice. You should be aware of the need to comply with GDPR legislation (more information is available here), and you should check the current advertising legislation, as this could change. This guide was written in April 2023, so some of the information could become out of date.
When reading this document, you are aware there could be errors or omissions and it contains generic information only. You should consult with a suitable qualified marketing expert to develop your own plan.
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Set up the basics
A simple clear website with pictures and testimonials says it all. People like to buy from companies that look professional. Setting up a website doesn’t have to be pricey, there are some great ‘build your own’ packages like Wix, Ionos or Squarespace that you can use yourself. Alternatively, look for an expert who you feel comfortable working with.
Whatever you may feel about social media, it’s a great way of establishing an online presence, showing how you can be trusted and sharing information about the jobs you are doing. Think about a Facebook or Instagram profile (we’ve even seen some Tree Surgeons on TikTok!)
Social media can provide a good platform for advertising too, and a great place to grow your local profile.
There’s also the chance to use social media as a way of being contacted, as long as you make sure you monitor them regularly!
Many customers will deal with you by email, so it’s a good idea to have a short email address. The longer it is, the greater the chance of error. How often do we see:
There is a real chance of a spelling mistake and the email disappearing into cyber space. So, instead, consider:
email@example.com or even better Simon@ktgserv.co.uk
This is short, sharp and a lot less prone to error. Even if you don’t have a website, it is worth investing in a domain – they are not expensive. What looks most professional?
Simon@ktgserv.co.uk or firstname.lastname@example.org
Make sure you can be contacted, and even make it clear how best to contact you. Is it call/ email/ message/ social media? Understandably you can’t always be contactable all day, so make sure you have an answer phone or, even better, get a company who will answer calls for you. This normally costs as little as £1 per message. You can then call people back at your convenience and not miss out on any leads.
Always answer your phone whenever possible. This sounds obvious, but believe me, so many people don’t. Regularly we struggle to get hold of our customers, and eventually when we do speak to them, we ask ‘why don’t you answer your phone?’ The reply is often ‘Well, I don’t answer it if I don’t know the number’. How can you expect to get new customers?
Look clean and fresh
People will always prefer to buy from clean and smart looking individuals. I have a friend who is a plumber. His business is expanding every year, and he is not cheap. How does he do it? He says the most important thing is to always be clean. He has at least three clean company t-shirts with him, and spare shoes and trousers.
He changes before he makes a quotation. Having a spare t-shirt costs him £15, but that allows him to command a significantly higher price. He isn’t cheap, but he is clean, and he is doing really well.
Be clear who is in charge
We often talk to contractors who say they work as a co-operative or informal partnership. The words we often hear are ‘None of us are in charge. We work together’.
So, the questions is – who would the public rather buy from?
A contractor and his mate who look to the heavens when the customer asks who is in charge, or the dynamic businessman who takes control and assures the customer his team are competent and speaks with authority.
‘I will be there making sure everything is done correctly.’
What a great sales line!
Your customer will trust you more if you are confident and in charge, and you will be able to command higher prices.
This seems obvious, but always sweep up and take away the rubbish or cuttings. Yes, of course this costs more, as local tips charge you for it. But customers would usually rather pay a little more to have a tidy garden than watch a pile of leaves blow around for the sake of a few pounds.
If everything is left tidy, it is a great advert for you and likely to lead to more recommendations.
Be a salesman
A lot of the information in this guide is about how you present yourself and run your business. You may be a competent Arborist or Forester, but to be a real success you also need to see yourself as a salesman. From the minute the phone goes, or the public walk past your truck, you have an opportunity to sell your business.
Adopt the principle that you don’t do quotations – you do sales presentations. Price is not the most important factor when obtaining more business. It’s about convincing your prospective clients of your value – you will do a GREAT job, at a fair price.
Get yourself out there
Advertise in the road you have worked in
After you have finished, ask permission to tell the rest of the residents on the road about the work you have done.
Get leaflets made up with few blank lines in the middle. You can then add:
‘Another happy customer – we have just done work for ‘Mrs Jones at 28 London Road’.
Then distribute in the area.
This is the easiest form of advertising, and it works!
Also, why not put a smart looking board outside the house for a few days. Of course, ask for permission first, but a happy customer will not mind.
There is great power in personal recommendation, so when you know you have a happy customer, ask them to share your information with their friends. You could even offer them a discount for every recommended friend that books you in!
This can also work well on social media – ask existing customers to recommend your services whenever they get the chance.
Reviews are also really handy. Set up somewhere to request these testimonials, on check-a-trade, trust pilot, your social media pages or via google.
There are many gardeners out there who will get asked about tree removal/reduction. Make contact with them and offer them a referral fee, even if it is just a few beers. Referrals are the number one source of business for many Tree Surgeons and Foresters.
Social Media Advertising
As mentioned before, social media is a great place to promote your business. You can join local groups that allow you to advertise, and you will be able to see if customers recommend you in these too. You may also want to pay to advertise on these platforms – it’s not too complicated and allows you to target your local customers directly.
Stay in touch
When you know you have a happy customer, stay in touch with them regularly (could just be once a year). Perhaps by email, you can see whether they may have more work coming up, or just serve as a reminder of your business, in case they can make a recommendation!
Take photos (or videos) of your work – particularly where there is an impressive before and after contrast. You can then (with permission) use them on your website or social media. They are also useful to keep in a portfolio catalogue to show customers when you are doing quotations.
This is an interesting dilemma. A sign written van can be a great way to promote your business. It can also serve as a signal to thieves that you have valuable kit on board. Make sure you weigh up the benefits and security risks before going ahead!
Another way to get your company name out there is with sponsorship. It’s a great way to appeal to a local audience. Whether it’s for a local school’s PTA event or a grassroots football team, sponsorship can get your name out there, while also helping a worthwhile cause!
Online trade directories
A listing on Checkatrade or similar directories in the local area will be a great way to show potential customers that you are a trustworthy option.
Google/ Microsoft (Bing)
Make sure you register your business with Google – it’s free: Google Business Profile – Get Listed on Google and Bing Places. And if you, or someone you know has the time to spend, looking at Google and Microsoft ads is another option for hitting your target audience.
Tree Surgeons Insurance
And of course have the right insurance from a specialist company!
Call us now with any questions, quotations, or for advice: