What Your Website Should Say About Your Lawn Care or Pest Control Services
The difference between features and benefits and how it impacts your messaging.
If you are the owner or operator of a lawn care or pest control company- or you are in charge of your company’s marketing efforts - do me a favor and take a look at the home page of your website. Seriously, take a look right now.
What is the headline on your home page?
If you haven’t really thought about your audience it probably reads something like “Welcome to Green Lawn Care” or “Green Lawn Care” or “The best lawn care service in Peoria”. Now, the good thing about a headline like that is that they do fulfill one of the most important things you need to communicate to a visitor to your website - that they are in the right place. The caveat to that, however, is that you can do that with a combination of things - the site design, imagery, and position of the logo, to name a few.
If your headline doesn’t simply identify your company or welcome a visitor to your site (which is a waste of your headline) - then it probably communicates what services you offer and what the features of that service is. You may be in for a shock, but guess what?
They don’t care about you or your services.
Ouch. That hurts, right? Harsh, but true - all your potential customers care about is what’s in it for them. So while you are happily describing the features of your service (how organic it is, how environmentally-friendly it is, how often you service their lawn, what chemicals you use, etc.); all they are thinking is, how does this benefit me and what will it cost?
Here’s an excerpt from a website belonging to a client of ours (who we are currently working with to redesign their website and messaging).
We apply a phosphorus-free organic-based fertilizer plus pre-emergent herbicide. This fertilizer delivers beautiful early spring color and an initial boost to get your lawn going. A pre-emergent herbicide is added to control and suppress many grassy and broadleaf weeds including crabgrass, henbit and chickweed.
Now that isn’t bad copy, it tells the user exactly what the company is going to do to their lawn. But when you read that from the potential customer’s point of view, is it easy to understand the benefit to the customer? Here is the headline from the same page:
Introducing our new Organic-Based Phosphorus Free Lawn Care Program: “The Greener Alternate to Traditional Lawn Care”
You might think, not bad – apart from the use of “Alternate” when it should be “Alternative”, it communicates that the company offers a new, organic program. The problem is that it does not communicate a benefit to the end user. How about this?
Get the lawn you want and feel better about the environment at the same time.
Wait, I’m going to feel better about the environment? I’ve always felt a little guilty about putting chemicals on my lawn, now you are telling me there is something I can do about it? Tell me more, I’m interested.
So what is it you think your customers are really interested in? Phosphorus-free organic-based fertilizer plus pre-emergent herbicides? Maybe some of them… but the vast majority would like that translated into what that means to them as individuals - in other words, the benefit to them.
Being able to enjoy their lawns, being able to spend more time with their families, being able to save the time they would have spent seeding and weeding their lawn, enjoying the satisfaction that comes with having the best yard in the neighborhood? Feeling good about being environmentally responsible? Enjoying the peace of mind that comes with knowing a job is being done properly, by professionals? Being able to finally have the neighborhood barbecue or cookout that you have always dreamed of? Being able to sit on your back porch and watch your kids play in a lush, safe yard?
Now we are talking about benefits, now we are striking an emotional chord. Your services are what make all of these things possible. It’s the end result to your customer that you should be concerned with, and crafting your marketing around that, not the nuts and bolts of your service itself.
The good news? You can turn features into benefits pretty easily.
A pre-emergent herbicide is added to control and suppress many grassy and broadleaf weeds including crabgrass, henbit and chickweed.
With your weed-free lawn, you can have the neighborhood barbecue you’ve been dreaming about since you were 16 years old.
See the difference? In the former, we are talking about the features of weed control; in the latter, we are describing a benefit of weed control.
Pop question – is “Same day service” from a pest control company a feature or a benefit?
The answer is: it’s a feature. It doesn’t become a benefit until you or your customer translates that into what it means to them. And you want to make it easy on your customer, so it’s up to you to do the translating.
Same day service.
How can you do that, you ask? There are a couple of things to consider. Make sure your appeal is relevant, that it focuses on the self-interest of your customer, and that it uses emotion. Use "you-focused" language: write about your customer and not yourself. Solve a problem for your customer by offering a solution, and engage with them on an emotional level. If I were to translate “Same day service” from a feature into a benefit, it might look something like this:
You can relax, knowing your home will be bug-free by the time your kids go to sleep tonight.
Notice I focused on the self-interest of the reader. Relaxing, bug-free home, safe kids. I used you-focused language; you can relax, your home, and your kids. I made it emotional by mentioning the readers’ children and home, and the concept of bedtime.
It is important to note that there is a place for content like the former sentence (Same day service) – from a content optimization, long tail search strategy this is good copy (someone may be searching for that very term). From a conversion, striking an emotional chord perspective it isn't.
The great thing about this is that it isn’t an either/or situation – you can have emotional, conversion-based messaging on your site as well as technical, descriptive, search-optimized copy. The key is how you present it. Make sure that your potential customer quickly and clearly understands the benefits of your service – because they aren’t going to stick around for long if they don’t think it will meet their needs.
So consider adding an emotional, benefits driven headline to you website. Talk to your web person about the ability to add this feature. It is possible to have an emotional, engaging headline on the page without sacrificing the SEO value of your H1 by simply adding a secondary headline field to your page or content management system.
The benefit to you is that your customers will quickly understand what your services mean to them, and as a result will be more likely to convert to leads for your business. And at the end of the day, isn’t that what your website is there for?
If you enjoyed this blog post, I would recommend you check out a great inbound marketing book: Convert! by Ben Hunt. Many of the tactics described in this post are inspired by his book. I’d highly recommend reading it if you are interested in improving your understanding of inbound marketing!