I'm Tony Ricketts, founder of Lawnline Websites. This is an inside look from my perspective on how J&C Lawn Care in Portland, Oregon is growing their lawn care and maintenance business using the Internet. In this case study, I'll outline their initial steps on the Internet, how they've grown into various channels, our role in their growth, where they currently stand today, as of August 21st, 2018, and what I hope to see in the future.
Here at Lawnline Websites, we used to offer a do-it-yourself (DIY) website system allowing those who don't have the budget to hire our team to create a professional online presence. On October 9th, 2017, we received a notification of a new DIY website setup from Jesus Lemus. He and his good friend Chace were starting a lawn care company called J&C Lawn Care out of Portland. I didn't think much of it as we usually have at least 1-2 new DIY signups per day.
However, J&C quickly stood out to me. One reason was even though they had 2 weeks to try the website for free, they decided the same day they were ready to commit and converted to a paid account. After they made a few adjustments to the website, Jesus reached out for help putting the website live. Of course, we helped, and the new website went live with mostly default content and standard SEO was done automatically by our setup wizard software.
During this time, I personally spoke to Jesus and recommended they hire our team to build their website, especially if they are trying to bring in new customers. At the time, Jesus said they were just starting out and couldn't afford it. I could tell he was young, genuine, and had the drive to build a real business for the long-term. So, I offered a payment plan and told them it would be on the table if they ever decided to move to the next level.
About 5 months later on February 28th, 2018, I received a call from Jesus that they really needed to get customers and wanted to take the offer to finance the website build. At this point, their DIY website had generated only 3 form submissions leads (granted it was only live through the end of fall and winter months). Of course, I honored the offer and started my team on building their website.
As we built their new website, we kept in mind the geographic area. Being that the Portland, OR area was large and highly competitive, we focused on certain suburbs and the east side of Portland in general with our on-page SEO efforts. As with any website, we handled all of the coding, content writing, imagery, and optimization.
On April 2nd, 2018, we completed the website and was ready for their review. About 6 days later, they sent a list of adjustments they would like to see and we implemented them right away. The new website was launched live on April 10th, 2018, just in time for the spring rush.
With the new website being launched in April, there was no way for the on-site SEO to improve their rankings fast enough to see an ROI during the spring rush that was currently going on. Of course, I advised them of this from the beginning and offered another solution - paid advertising with Google. Being a start-up, unfortunately, they didn't have the funds for this.
I went over projected results with Jesus based on our numerous other Google campaigns we were already running for other companies. I advised J&C to save a couple thousand dollars as quickly as they could and to trust I will get them a great ROI. I was confident with this statement because we were doing it over and over again for many other clients.
After just a month, they reached back out around the 1st of May and said they were ready to try the advertising. If I remember right, they decided to finance the advertising on a credit card. At this point, they had put all of their faith in us (I definitely felt some pressure to deliver!). Knowing the advertising returns on this industry, I recommended we focus on the remaining yard cleanup customers to get an immediate ROI, but also lawn care, lawn mowing, and lawn service for the long-term. Because I really wanted to help them grow, I recommended sending part of the budget to Facebook, and that I would discount our fees, allowing them to afford the additional advertising channel.
It took us about a week to get the landing pages setup and the ads on both Google and Facebook configured. We didn't have much of a budget to work with, so proper segregation with strong landing pages was critical to the success. Here is an example of one of their landing pages: https://jandclawncare.com/landing/yard-cleanups/
On Google, we straight killed it. From May through today (August 21st), we only spent $1,878.37 but generated 52 leads, giving us an overall conversion rate of 23.64% and $36.12 per lead. Of those 52 leads, 11 were higher priced yard cleanups. J&C Lawn Care closed enough yard cleanups in just the first week to pay for everything they have spent to date on both Google and Facebook Ads. Here is a screenshot from their Google Ads account as of this writing.
On Facebook, it is a little more difficult to report the exact number of leads because we can only track form submissions. Using the same ratio of calls to form submissions that Google produced (78% calls and 22% form submissions), the Facebook Ads have produced roughly 38 leads with a total spend of $753.21 to date. This gives their Facebook Ads a cost of $19.82 per lead.
Now, it's toward the end of August, our advertising services multiplied their revenue, but it's not time to stop. Taking my advice, Jesus and Chace have decided to re-invest their profits into not only continuing the advertising, but adding on organic search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. Based on their current monthly budget, their organic SEO strategy includes:
We started the organic SEO strategy earlier this month and are already seeing results. If you head over to Google and search competitive terms like "lawn care portland or" or "lawn care happy valley or", you'll see J&C listed on the first page. To get these fast results, we went through the website with a fine-tooth comb and addressed every geo signal, started adding new content right away, and created engagement with their business.
As they continue to grow and their organic SEO budget grows, we'll incorporate additional aspects including review building, citations, additional social media platforms, video marketing, and more!
Here is what the near future holds for Jesus and Chace in regards to their company's online presence:
Believe it or not, working with companies like J&C gives me far more satisfaction than working with the big guys. Sure, we have clients with $300k/year marketing budgets, but those clients are easy. With the big guys, we have all the resources we need and the talent to dominate. With a company like J&C, they don't have a huge budget and we have to get creative, challenging our team to become better and further perfect our abilities.
However, the biggest reason I get more personal gratification working with really small companies is that guys like Jesus and Chace appreciate it more, and I feel like I've played a major role in their success. If these guys continue down their current path, I believe they will be one of the biggest lawn care companies in the Portland area within 5 years.
Want to learn more about J&C Lawn Care? Visit their website: https://jandclawncare.com
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