In the world of design-build, the last thing on your mind in the middle of the busy season is sitting down to write a masterpiece you can use for marketing.

If you’re fortunate to be booked solid all year-round, you probably won’t feel the need to market your services at all! But ask yourself this question:

Are ALL of the client leads who come your way a perfect fit for your business?

Of course the answer to that is “No!”. So what do the best ones have in common? How can we reach JUST those clients who have the kinds of projects that balance what we’re good at with where we really want to be in the market? More importantly, how can we pace the influx of projects and redistribute them throughout the year to fill in the gaps that tend to appear through different seasons? To avoid the buildup of prospects who just aren’t the right fit, you need to find alternative ways to get noticed, and get noticed for the right reason. But how can you really capture someone’s attention when there are so many amazing images of projects from around the world being published in social and printed media each and every day?

How do you stand out? The key is to lead with what you do best.

Different clients will be influenced by the specific characteristics they’re looking for in a firm. While some are interested in the pretty pictures, others value a company’s track record, cost or the reviews previous clients have left for them.  One of the best opportunities to shine that’s overlooked by virtually every other firm is to focus on the palpable and memorable nature of “the seasons”. Sophisticated water features, outdoor kitchens and designer furniture are all well and good but there’s a deeper connection we can make with the most discerning customers. People who really care about how they interact with their landscape, will be the ones most likely to get excited about how a quality landscape offers moments of delight, relaxation and lifestyle opportunity, not only through the wamer months, but throughout the year. By turning your attention toward the seasons, your marketing efforts create a ripple effect, driving organic referrals and positioning your portfolio toward a client base who is willing to pay more for the seasonal quality of outdoor living your landscapes offer. So how does this translate to a real-life approach to marketing your products and services? First, consider what specifically excites you about your best projects; the one’s you’d like to be doing more of, back to back if it were possible.  Is it the scale, the scope, the budget or the genre? What’s the design process like, and how did you move the project from design into construction? Now, think about these same projects and how they change with the seasons. How do imagine your clients interact with the spaces you create for them in Spring, Summer, Autumn/Fall, and Winter? What sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and feelings come to mind when you think about the most memorable and refreshing experiences people have at particular times of year, in the spaces you create?

Your goal is to show and tell a story that immerses potential clients into the experience you want them to enjoy.

The more descriptive with simple and commonly used language you can be, and the more you can show those quintessential experiences with images, the better.
Putting people in your landscape photos is the fastest way to tell a story that prospective clients might resonate with. The challenge is to be proactive and make it happen. Could your offer to put on lunch and drinks for your best client and ask them to invite their friends? Could you stage your own small gathering with your client’s permission? Six months of free maintenance or other complimentary services could be a great trade! Hire a photographer to document the event, recording the sounds and sights; people laughing, kids playing, splashing in the pool etc. These images, audio and video can give your team some insanely good raw footage to craft a marketing piece that will stand the test of time. Digging into what it really means to enjoy and appreciate the outdoors is your key to getting clients’ attention. Showing them the rich experience your landscapes offer will bring the people who value your services and are willing to pay for them.

Tips for a leading seasonally-focused marketing strategy:

  1. Get organised in advance! Have your marketing materials ready 3-4 months ahead of the season you’re targeting for increased work, and put materials (physical or digital) into circulation 1-2 months before you want clients signed on.
  2. Video is HUGE. Even a slideshow of still images that plays on your website or social media with some simple, catchy captions goes a long way to plug people into the sensory value of your creations.
  3. Stagger your campaigns and turn negatives into positives! Use the seasons help you spread out the workload, backlog of projects and impatient clients by positioning each season as a great time to get started, get organised or get planning.
The difference between the business that thrives and the one that drifts is taking action.

How are you going to make some seasonal changes in the way you bring your services to market?

  — Written by Pete Widin MLA Pete is a Landscape Architect, Pitch Box Social & Marketing Manager and permaculture enthusiast from Tallahassee, Florida. When he’s not writing helpful posts for the landscape community you’ll find him digging around the garden unearthing organic vegetables for dinner table.

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