The Garden Elf was set up by Colin who used to be a head gardener on a large private country estate, but when circumstances changed and he and his family moved he decided to launch his own business. In a new area, with no family or friends locally it was a brave decision to go it alone! Many small business owners find themselves in a similar situation along with worries about finance so how did we help Colin get new customers, repeat customers and fill his diary?
Once he had decided to launch his own gardening business and after much discussion settled on a name for his new business the hard work began. Keeping within a very small start-up budget was essential as it is for most new small businesses, but by making use of a range of small or no-cost methods the name of The Garden Elf was soon appearing in front of potential customers in the local area.
Lots of small businesses find social media particularly powerful, but in many cases especially on Facebook they unfortunately don’t understand the difference between personal profiles and business profiles or how you can or should use it differently. Creating a dedicated business page is essential rather than a new personal profile in the name of the business. A business page on Facebook or LinkedIn, or a professional profile on Instagram or Pinterest, etc ensure you have access to essential analytics and can provide you with access to paid advertising options as well.
Did you know? Facebook has even been known to delete business profiles that are setup as a personal profile rather than a business page!
Facebook Business Page
The first thing that we did for Colin was to establish a strong business page for The Garden Elf brand and optimised it with essential information including:
- opening hours
- contact information
- services provided
- branding including a new logo and header graphics
- great images of his previous work demonstrating his skills
Many Facebook groups allow businesses to join, have promotion days and can be a great way of getting exposure for a business. Even small villages will have community groups, sales groups and even business groups where a business can join and promote their services or products. With The Garden Elf we initially did some research on local groups in the area, ensuring we carefully checked their membership rules. Once we established the most suitable groups to join and promote this was how we started to promote the new business page and in some cases the later on the website as well.
This continues to be a great way to promote the business especially for seasonal promotions or in some cases to identify residents in the area that are looking for what the business is offering. For example in his local areas, there are often people asking for recommendations for businesses that offer lawn cuts or garden maintenance. When we set to work sharing the Garden Elf page, we regularly populated it with content and even tagged it in replies to people looking for gardening services in local Facebook groups. This action alone led to the first enquiries coming in within days.
Recommendations & Social Proof
As the business became more established we also found that customers would start to tag Colin or the business page in requests for their services. We also ensured that Colin was actively asking for reviews at every opportunity, on his social media, on his website and even in emails with his invoices! Social proof is extremely powerful and offers reassurance to potential customers.
Garden Elf Website
Getting a website for a business at any stage should be seen as an essential investment. A good website will help you to be discoverable in search engine results but it isn’t something that can be in normal circumstances throw up over night. You should also ensure that your domain name is available, fits in with your business name and you actually have control of it in the future. Sadly many businesses get caught out with websites by going for the free or cheap option, or may not being able to easily update it. This can lead to websites that actually have a negative effect on your business.
We took the time to build a basic brochure website for Colin and The Garden Elf initially which we then over time started to expand with testimonials and examples of his work. With careful development of content and always the thought of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) in mind we were able to get the website to slowly start being found by potential customers.
SEO & Google My Business
Registering the business with Google My Business also assisted in the business being found by potential local customers. By optimising the Google My Business profile with essential business information and verifying it assisted with the new website as well. When considering a new business many customers will do their homework first even if they discovered the business by personal recommendation. Having a Google profile is also a great way to start collecting reviews in the future to provide independent social proof of customer satisfaction.
We designed and organised a range of branded stationery including business cards and loyalty cards, but also postcards for noticeboards and leaving messages for customers if they were out when he visited and did their gardens or maybe just to say hi and give them an update on their next appointment!
In conclusion, by establishing strong foundations and ensuring that you are organised it is possible to start building your pipeline quite quickly with a small or even no marketing budget for advertising. Some businesses may be seasonal and depending upon whether you are service or product based timelines may vary but with hard work and focus you can establish a steady flow of enquiries for your new business!
If you have questions about how we can potentially support you and your business reach out today and speak to us about our marketing audits, strategic action plans and marketing management services. we can help you optimise your personal LinkedIn profile or your business page and even create a content plan too!
Over the last thirty years Elizabeth has start up and run a number of successful businesses in a variety of industries including events management, restaurant, webdesign, business training and gardening! This has led to extensive knowledge of business startup, management and marketing.
She is also a qualified and experienced business and life coach with a passion for supporting small business owners. In addition to all of this she is an experienced and qualified further education lecturer, having taught face to face courses and workshops across England, as well as a range of online courses in a range of business and marketing topics .