Tony Ricketts is a self-professed code monkey turned agency owner with a knack for creating content that gets tremendous results. His agency, Lawnline Marketing, is having a banner year in 2020. They’re on track to hit well over 7-figures in revenue by the end of this year.
In this episode, Tony lets us in on everything that’s been working for them at his agency. From operations to content strategy, we get to discover how Tony is dominating the lawn care and landscaping niche.
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Joe Troyer 1:32
Hey everybody it's Joe Troyer and welcome to Show Me the Nuggets. Today, we have on Tony Ricketts from Florida, the Tampa Bay area, and Tony owns Lawnline Marketing. And he is as you guessed, he is an agency in the landscaping niche and he is absolutely crushing it. So today, I really want to talk to him about his agency what he's seen has worked, not worked. But Tony is doing some really, really smart things, when it comes to a topic or a category you could say or a deliverable that I feel like most people are completely ignoring. And that's content. And Tony's just absolutely crushing it. In a mastermind that we just had, just a couple of weeks ago, he was talking about the results he's getting for his clients and his landscaping clients with content. And my jaw just hit the floor, right? I'm like, man, I gotta get Tony on the podcast. So I've been looking forward to this one Tony, man, welcome to the show.
Tony Ricketts 2:15
Yeah, absolutely. So well, let's start from the beginning then. I'm a code monkey. I started my days in the ditch writing code. Learning how to do website development, graphics, I'm talking I've been doing this stuff since I was 10 years old, right? I was taught as a kid by my father how to get started with this stuff, did it all through high school, went to college got a degree for the stuff, started learning programming did software engineering started my career actually in software engineering, shifted into marketing agencies still on the code side and development side and putting things together. And then I decided that I wanted to go the agency owner route. So like everybody else does, I started with a generalist agency, right, I had the crappiest worst lowest pricing in the world, you could think of doing whatever I could to get started and actually running that generalist agency for about nine years. So quite a while. But we hit a cap, we hit a ceiling to where we couldn't really grow much more because we were trying to service everybody. And it wasn't a really well defined marketing structure. As far as programs that we offered a lot of custom stuff, it was just very difficult to scale. So I decided that I needed to really try to find a way to systematize the marketing services that we were doing. And that's where I decided, Okay, I need to really focus on a niche. I can't keep relearning these niches over and over and over again. I mean, it took so much time to do that. And not to mention the fulfillment production is jumping from one topic to another to another to another. I mean, I think these are common problems that every generalist agency faces. So I did some research on some different niches that I could go into. And when I looked at the lawn and landscape space, I saw that there were tons of companies, just tons of them, you know, four or 500, 600 thousand companies, between the United States and Canada. I looked at the competition. So how many people how many agencies were serving the lawn and landscape space? And at the time, you know, we started in 2016. There were there were hardly any, there were a few, but not very many at all. So that's when I decided, Okay, I got to get out of this generalist agency and move into this niche. Now, while I was in college, I actually worked on the landscaping crew for two years. So I knew the industry a little bit. I wouldn't say I was an expert by any means, but I at least could talk the lingo understood what services they offered, and everything just matched up, you know, the market look good, lots of customers. But what I didn't realize was that the revenues were so low, which tend to be a problem later on in the development of the agency, but we've found ways to get around that. But that's why we chose the lawn and landscape is because I knew a little bit about it.
There were a ton of companies that offered it, there were very few agencies going after it. And also one of the biggest points was it was something we could deliver results quickly. When people hire lawn care, they go on Google, they look for somebody to hire for their lawn care, they're out there and close the deal within the same day or two days later, it's not something that is a longer sales process that you have to commit your customer to nurture that lead for two months before they're gonna get paid on it. So that's a little bit of the background of how we went from a generalist agency into the niche.
Joe Troyer 5:32
Awesome. So coming from your background, as you said, being a code monkey, right, knowing code, knowing how to develop to whatever degree right you were at, I don't think really matters. But what what made you view that agency model is like the model like, all right, yes, I want to go after that versus potentially going after SAS or any of the other kind of things that you could have, you know, game developer or any of the other kind of routes or paths that you could have taken. I'm curious, in your point of view, like what made you go No, like agencies the path for me,
Tony Ricketts 7:54
Right A couple of different things. So as part of my software engineering career, I actually built SaaS applications. So I've actually been in the engineering side, I plan them, I've designed them, I've coded them, and I've seen the types of results that they can get. Now one thing, SaaS has good and bad things about it. So like, for example, to answer your question, SaaS can be extremely profitable as far as the resources it takes to run them on an ongoing basis, what your burn rate would potentially look like. But at the same time, making them profitable and getting people on board takes forever, you know, SaaS products are typically not ones that you can charge thousands of dollars for, you know, there's a few that Do you know, and like even in our industry, you know, like Sprout Social, for example, I pay well over $1,000 a month use their service. But getting to that level is extremely difficult. Also, when you get to SaaS, you're going to have a lot of competition. Now I know there's a lot of competition with marketing agencies. But SaaS just tend to if there's something that you can do with SaaS, it's been done six times already. So that's one of the reasons I wanted to stay away from it. It's also very expensive to develop in the initial onstart whereas starting a marketing agency is not as bad. So with that being said, I looked at marketing as something that I could do at a reoccurring revenue stream at a higher dollar amount and then get it off the ground rather quickly. See my path to profitability had to be fast. See, I didn't want to keep developing custom applications and stuff and doing custom marketing at my generalist agency. Because we did we did it SaaS development at that point in time. And I didn't want to struggle, so I had to, I had to shift to something I already knew something. I knew I could make profitable right away.
Joe Troyer 9:45
Man, I love that. I think you answered that so eloquently. I think that that's like the right answer, so to speak, right like the opportunity in an agency to make big contracts very quickly and health.
profit margins is insane. You know, that's it's it can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on how you look at it and the competition of the marketplace. But when you look at the competition of the marketplace versus SAAS, like, you're right, like it is so cutthroat and people are willing to go right in debt to get a customer, right for six 8, 12 months, a year, two years, or they're running like Silicon Valley type of startups, like Twitter's never frickin made $1. Right. Like, and somehow they keep running like, I don't get that. Right. Right. And the agency world compared to that makes a lot of sense. I've never had somebody on the podcast that I've been able to ask that question. So thanks.
So, you you've entered in the lawn, because you saw the gap in the marketplace? I think you said I think that that's a huge takeaway. I think a lot of people pick niches and they don't think about how big the industry is or how big it isn't. They don't look at how many marketing agencies and who are the players? And what are their services. And then obviously, you talked about how you had some experience in the niche. I think that's cool. That obviously makes it relatable, you kind of had a leg up as well. But you brought up a glaring point at the end, which is the pricing right, like, you know, how do you charge? You know, good agency fees in the landscaping niche like, dude, when I heard you were doing when I heard the name of your company, I'm like, is that guy crazy? Right? It was like my initial reaction. I'm curious, like,I guess, and you don't have to go into a ton of detail, but high level like how have you gotten past that stigma or low marketing fees? How have you been able to charge the fees that you have, because I know you got some really sizable clients these days, too,
Tony Ricketts 11:46
right. So I would say, two words, can sum it all up reputation, and confidence, those two elements, put together allow us to target the top of the market, which we have to do. But keep in mind, you know, we I like to see no, people not spend any more than 5% on of their total revenue on marketing, right? Our programs start at $3,000 a month, plus a minimum thousand dollar month and ad spend. So what you're looking at spending per year, 48 $50,000 a year, so that's only a million dollar a year company. So when you look at how many million dollar companies, there are in lawn and landscape, there's actually quite a bit of them, you know, quite a few. So it's getting them to understand that you're not paying four mortgages this month, you know, you're you're signing up for a yearly program, that's going to take your $60,000 and turn it into $600,000. So getting them to understand that is the biggest thing and you deliver that with confidence.
Joe Troyer 12:52
Yep, investment versus cost and confidence. And you're right, you're not going after the entire industry. You figured out what that filter is, you figured out who this works for and who it doesn't. Right, and you're not going after the wrong type of prospects in spinning the wheel or It doesn't make sense.
Tony Ricketts 13:07
Exactly, you have to learn to be able, you have to learn that not everybody in your niche is your client, you know, and you have to learn to say, hey, you're not going to be a good fit for us. But maybe I can refer you over to somebody else.
Joe Troyer 13:18
I love that, that that filter man. I've known lots of successful agencies that have never figured out that filter, and because of it have just spun their wheels. So it's really cool that you've been able to target that so quickly in your business.
So man, my team did some digging. And they found out that even though 2020 has been frickin nuts, it's been like the craziest year ever, right? It's turning out to be a really, really good year for law online marketing. And they found that you're on track to do seven figures. Can you talk about what you think is the 80/20 of what you're doing? Pareto's Principle or it applied to itself is 64/4 right? What are the what's the 4% of things that you're doing? That's getting the the 64% of the results? Like what makes you guys stand out in the marketplace?
Tony Ricketts 14:10
Right, I think one of the biggest things for us is operations, operations is huge, right? And I think being able to identify where your revenues come from, where your profits are, and who your best customers are, really helped define that. So this year, you know, we weren't always at the $3,000 a month programs, those are newer this year with a significant increase from before. So being able to know where Okay, so, to talk real quick about one of the issues that I faced at the beginning of this year was I took a look at all of our customers. And one thing that I found out was when I took all of our customers and put them into groups based on the resources we're spending on them versus the revenue that we're getting from them. One thing that I
found was that I could drop anybody that was paying $1,000 or less, which was a significant number of my customer base at that point in time. And but what I found was, I would only lose 12% of my revenue, but get back 60% of my operating resources. So I was ready to trade that in every day, I'll drop 12% revenue, and I'll take 60% more production. So that's what we did, right. And we formulated these programs that were very systematic things that can be done very easily, that can show results quickly show results in the long term. And then I think when we pair that, together with our reputation, our authority and credibility when we deliver it, or are
delivering it confidently, that it makes people want to jump on board with you. And also to we've stopped doing things that aren't profitable for us, for example, we used to do one off services, we would build a website, if somebody just wants to build a website. And now we don't do that anymore. And by doing that, that makes people want to get to your bigger services, you know, when I, when they come to us and say, Look, we're not really interested in working with somebody that just wants to do a one off website build, right, that's like going and mowing somebody's lawn for one time, you don't want to do that. You want to go and continuously work with them all through the year. And that's what we offer here, you know, so that's not quite what we do here. But we can refer you to somebody else. And the responses will know, let me learn more about what you do ongoing, right. And then we get into that. So a lot of our growth has not been through customer acquisition, but really through making sure that we're maximizing our current customer base, you know, this year, I would say we've only brought on I don't know, maybe 20 accounts this year, maybe. So, we have the quality.
Joe Troyer 16:52
To recap what you just said for me is man, like it's all about the data, right? That's absolutely crazy. 60% production being cut by eliminating 12% of your revenue, and with new prices and your new packages, right, like you're gonna make that up so fast. It's not even funny.
Tony Ricketts 17:09
We did, yes, we already made money
Joe Troyer 17:12
Not gonna take many $3,000 packages to, you know, to bring back that revenue, and keep most of that production. So that's absolutely fantastic.
Tony Ricketts 17:21
Yeah, it we've already replaced all the revenue, and we have more room in production. So we can bring more people on. So we're making more money, and we can still continue to grow without without adding more. Now how they get in the pipeline, though, is definitely our reputation and our own marketing we follow, we drink our own Kool Aid, you know, that's the biggest thing, practice what you preach. So I would also say that that's a little piece of it to get them into our door. But from there, it's just the delivery of confidence and services that really want them. They want to work with us. You know, it's almost like when I do my sales pitches, I'm interviewing them to see if we would be willing to work with them. So you got to have that type of approach.
Joe Troyer 18:00
What do you think? Are the the main levers the thing for you or the services for you that that really drive the results for your clients? Right?
ours is multipronged? Okay. Ours is multi pronged. So we always require all of our clients, they have to do both PPC, and paid advertising on social media, and the SEO website, everything see we offer all inclusive only, there's no one off. So there's no just PPC, there's no just social, there's no just a website bill. So what we do is we structured to where the paid advertising on Google being we always forced them on the being almost every agency misses being being I love being a super cheap converts really well. So we load them on to Google, Bing, and Microsoft, and all those others do the social media ads, that starts getting results for them right away, you know, day two, they're starting to get leads rolling in a they love us, I just came from another marketing agency. I wasn't getting nothing for results. And hey and I'm getting leads, and this is a second day, right? So they love that aspect. But then we shift over to SEO at the same time, where we're building content, building their websites, building the reputations, providing live chat services, which isn't an SEO thing, but it's a high converting thing. We're doing email newsletters to helping them upsell their their customers. So when you put all of this together, and then your SEO takes effect, now, it's all just compounding and they're just seeing tons and tons of volume coming in, which is then when we shift into helping them actually grow. Let's talk about operational stuff. Let's talk about recruiting services, things like that, because it doesn't just start with making the phone ring.
Yeah, that's awesome, man. We talk a lot. I feel like on the podcast with agency owners that that have have hit some kind of success metrics, you know, seven figures a year probably where they start to realize that it's not just about making the phone ring, right? And it's about the coaching side of things too. And that if you don't talk about those things, right, if you don't talk about butts in the seats and average order size and upselling your customers and you know their conversion rate on the phone. And if you don't help on that end, and you're not reporting on that end, or at least don't have resources to push, and to help with that, ultimately that there's going to be a big cap, big gap, and you're gonna have fall out
Tony Ricketts 20:19
Absolutely. And or you're going to do the problem that we ran into, this is why we got into it, you're going to overload them, and they're going to quit, right? If they're a company that only has one office staff member, and you deliver 300 phone calls a month, which is not a lot, really, for some of our clients, they're going to call you back, say I can't handle this, you got to shut it down. You know, that's we that was the number one reason we got fired is because we kept overloading people. So I said, we can't do this no more. That's when we added on the recruiting add on, don't fire us, let us help you figure this out. Let us get you the staff, let us help you with your processes in your operations.
Joe Troyer 20:56
Man, I love that because you figured out what the problem was, and you solved it. And that's it like all that we are problem solvers, right as marketers, right? And, and we got to play the gap between our clients and technology and figure out where we can help them right, whether it's Google and Facebook, or you know, in your case, whether it's hiring and answering the phone and right like that, that is our job is to find the gaps to build a system and help help our clients implement it.
Tony Ricketts 21:20
It is but also keep in mind to which problems do we need to solve this is something I've been putting a lot of focus and time on lately is understanding the differences between the external problems that us agencies are really, really good at solving versus the internal problems that make people want to stay with you and use you as their partner not as just a vendor. So like an external problem is they want more leads, they want more customers, that's the that's the external problem, we address that that's what all agencies address, but they don't address the internal problem. Their internal problem is something within that business owner themselves where I want to grow my company, do I have what it takes to grow my company? When these calls come in? What's my next step? You know, these are the internal problems that people will spend a lot of money on solutions for. So don't just address the external problems, identify what those internal problems are with your customer and address those two?
Joe Troyer 22:18
Yeah, I love that man. That's That's great advice. For sure.
We got to talk about content a little bit, at least a precursor for what we're going to talk about later. But obviously, you guys are absolutely killing it with content can you give a little bit of a tease on kind of what your goals are with content or what you strive for, in terms of of content itself.
Tony Ricketts 22:38
Well, content plays its own role in different stages of the buyers lifecycle. So our content is strategically designed, written and distributed, based on where our customers customer is currently in the lifecycle. And we're doing the same thing. for ourselves. We're going to do huge marketing push this year, we can dive into that if you want to. But the thing with content is making sure that you are properly writing and distributing the right pieces to the right people at the right time. That's the key.
Joe Troyer 23:14
All right. So we'll get into that in a minute. We'll deep dive on that in just a few. But before that, I'm curious. And I'm sure that our listeners are curious, man, what's what's your team look like? Like? There is no one way to build an agency, right? We know people have huge 40, 50 plus person teams. We know people that have three or four person teams and are doing seven figures. Right. So I'm curious what your point of view is in office, not in office virtual a mix, and then kind of what your team looks like at the highest level?
Tony Ricketts 23:42
Yeah, absolutely. So we are all USA based in office people. So everybody here works in my office except for a couple of a handful of freelance writers. So they are, excuse me, they're contractors. They don't work here in our office with us. But our main staff, they all work here out of our office here in Tampa, Florida. So when I build out my team, I did a very different route than what everybody else did. Everybody that I speak with, they tend to go for the account managers first, and find their white label partners, that type of stuff. Being that I came out of development as a code monkey, I was doing this work myself. So first person that I hired was the web developer, that's the very first person I hired, we're doing a ton of websites. And I that's where I was spending a ton of my time on. So I had to get myself out of there. Second Person I hired as a content writer full time because I had some freelancers that I was using, but I was still doing a ton of content. So were other people that I knew. You know, at that point time I was getting my friends and everybody write content for me. So I hired a full time content writer as my second full time hire. My third full time hire was a PPC and SEO guy, and he came on board and took that off of my plate. So the first 3
hires were all senior level, and they were all people that could just take it off of my plate, I could tell them how I like things done, but I don't need to train them that much. You know, these people been doing it 10, 15, 20 years, they know what they're doing. So I hired those three people. And then I ended up hiring to digital marketing assistants after that, that are full time. Now when I say digital marketing assistant, not for us, for our customers to do Facebook posts, emails, email marketing, putting together the email templates, doing review building, all kinds of stuff that we had to do, that's the lower level stuff. I hired two of them. And then one of them was promoted to the account manager. So I had my account manager, which is people's most
Sorry, my account manager was my last hire, which is typically most agencies first hire. So it was an ironic approach. My next ones that I have, so I fully removed myself out of operations. Right. I'm glad that that has happened. But my next phase is to hire somebody for sales to completely remove myself out of the sales aspect.
Joe Troyer 26:04
Gotcha. Perfect, man. So did I hear you right, that your account manager actually came from being what you call the digital marketing assistant?
Tony Ricketts 26:14
I think and actually digitally?
Joe Troyer 26:17
Yeah. I think man that that's so smart account managers, you just hire account manager off the street, whether they know digital marketing, they don't like I just think it's it's hard to do well, in my experience, but if you can promote them from within, and they have the qualities to be an account manager, they're a people pleaser, right? They can communicate really well. There's somebody that you like to talk to on the phone, and they've been through your systems, they've been through your process, right? They're not brand new, they understand how things work that can give you just such a massive leap towards success right in that position. So I love that.
Tony Ricketts 26:52
Yeah. And keep in mind, too, that person is dealing with customers. And an account manager is not somebody that you want to high turnover on. Yeah, because then it's going to be well, I've got a new account manager every every other month. So you don't want that. Also, you want them to understand what they're talking about. So I didn't want to go hire a senior level account managers, I didn't need senior level. So I didn't need to pull somebody out of another agency for 70 K so that they can start it. So what I did was I brought them in first, as a digital marketing assistant, which has no experience starts, we train everything trained on how to do Facebook posts and the newsletters and building people's online reputation responding to reviews and how we come up with content topics and all of that. And once they've learned that, then move into the account manager role. And now they understand more of what we do. So it worked out, it's worked out really well.
Joe Troyer 27:40
I really, really liked that promoting that role from within makes makes a ton of sense when you can do it for sure. And I like the little little role that you said the digital marketing assistants, right? We have like content assistants, and just assistants or EA is executive assistants. But I like that title. That's a nice little title for them.
So you've talked about sales? Let's is kind of where you're going next. I think that bridges the next topic I wanted to talk about Tony, which is what's the future hold for long online marketing and Tony Ricketts like where where do you see your site selves going throughout this year? And next year? What's the future look like?
Tony Ricketts 28:18
We're going to the stars and beyond man. I got I've got huge plans. I won't disclose all of them of the long term plan. Maybe you can talk about that later. But I'll tell you about my immediate plan right now what we're going to do in 2021. So in 2021, I have a very bold goal, right? I really set the goal on this one that I want to add about another 1.5 to 2 million in revenue just this year alone in new revenue, okay. And how I'm going to do it is a huge marketing, push, doing everything that we always promote ourselves. So paid ads, social media, you know, webinars, all of that kind of stuff, along with some very unique direct mail approach. So I'm really going to see how this works. I'm also doing some partnering with CO hosting a webinars with some well known industry people and things like that. So from the month of January through April, and I'm considering going December to March, but I don't know that I'll be ready for by December, but from January to April as it is right now. We're going to spend 100 k in paid advertising, social media, direct mail, industry, publications, things like that. So it's going to break down 25 k go into industry publications, mostly custom email newsletters coming from those publications. 25 K is going to go into direct mail, which we have some really really cool stuff that we're going to be sending, like video brochures, for example that shows up in like a package looks like they're getting present. Open up a nice video brochure, custom socks being mailed out. We're going to do a
Orange, orange baskets, because we're in Florida, right? So we're gonna send orange baskets to potential prospects. And then we're gonna spend 50. k in Google ads, Facebook ads, LinkedIn ads, we're gonna probably put a, I would say, probably good 20 K or so to LinkedIn, and really, really test that that platform out, because they have some super, super powerful targeting that you can do there. So we're going to put all that together. And my goal is to acquire 50 customers at $2,000 per customer. So and then we're going to spend 100 K. So that's what my goal is to do. And if we if we can do that, then we should do at least 1.5 million and added revenue. But I would like to get to, if possible, and add it on top of what we currently do.
Joe Troyer 30:49
Dude, I love it. I love the clarity, I love the putting your money where your mouth is, so to speak, right, we're gonna do all the things that we tell you to do, and that we do for you and you see us doing, but we're gonna do it ourselves and have the confidence. I love that you've worked back the numbers. So without that, it's really hard to make a reality. But Dude, I would love to have a separate conversation outside of here with you. We're doing some some paid media and it's working really, really well. Three $300 of booked appointment cold traffic pre sold ready to go by happy to share what we're doing, obviously, absolutely shared so much with us. And our goal is breakeven by month one or month two, and it would definitely fall in line with your numbers happy to share what's working for us. But man, that's a that's a powerful goal. Um, I was listening to a podcast, or an interview with Molly Pittman. And she said something similar. So Molly used to be she used to work at Digital Marketer as the paid traffic person, she got brought in as an intern, and now is like, you know, the big celebrity in the space for running paid traffic, right? Specifically Facebook traffic. And what she talks about is coming up with a budget and figuring out the numbers and then making the commitment to actually spend that, right like not not saying, Oh, well, we're gonna throw $1,000 at it, we're gonna see what happens. And hopefully we'll hit our target. No, like, come up with your budget, come up with your timeline and just go all in. Right and like, get work. And so I love that like, essentially, you're saying exactly that, right? Like this. Man, this is my metrics. This is what I need. And, and that takes Kahunas man, I'm super excited for you.
Tony Ricketts 32:33
Thank you. And you have to be very specific to with what that plan is going to be. You know, we've got things that we're going to be doing that people look at as crazy like those video brochures is going to cost us 75 to $80 per person, that we send that out. So it's a very expensive, it's a very expensive, cold outreach, direct mail campaign. But understanding what your customer acquisition costs can be and what their lifetime value is incredibly important.
Joe Troyer 33:03
Yeah, man, if you send that, I don't know what your numbers are, pretend to know your numbers, right. But for us, when we're driving cold traffic for an agency client, for example, we're happy to spend 2 to 3 K to get a client, right. Like, we don't spend that now. But that was like what we were okay with when we started in when we didn't know the numbers. So if that's the scenario, and you know, your average customer value, right, then it's just like, how do I spend as much of that money instead of what's my CPA and let's get it as low as possible? Like, who cares? Like, let's just get as many clients and build that recurring revenue as fast as we can, like, that's what matters not your fucking cost per lead.
Tony Ricketts 33:42
Right, Right. Exactly. That's a super important point to see it. My goal is 2K per customer, but I can easily pay 4, 5, 6, even 10 K per customer to acquire that. See, if you think about it right now, our program started 36,000 year because we have legacy clients, our average customer is worth $29,000 a year right now. So that's why it's a little bit lower, because we have legacy customers, everybody new coming forward would be worth either 36,000 or $60,000 a year. And we keep our clients our retention rate is pretty much 100% every single month. So we very rarely use them. So if we use an average of let's say, four or five years as our customers span that they stay with us across their $36,000 a year, you can do the math on that, right? That's 180 180 grand right that customers were to us. I have no problem paying a couple thousand bucks to acquire them
Joe Troyer 34:35
Yeah, no brainer for sure. Dude, I love it. I can't wait to follow along as you go through this journey, man. I'll be right over your shoulder. Keep me in the loop, man. Let's transition a little bit out of the agency side of things. And let's talk about content man. At the beginning, I wasn't blowing smoke. I meant it like you guys are doing some awesome stuff with content. And I feel like there's such a gap in the marketplace with content
Tony Ricketts 42:49
the most common or is a common, let's say, the newest landscape trends or raise planter beds and homes as a new trend for 2020. Right? Whatever is currently a new trends going on in your industry, those are your trends or ideas blocks, how you can use annual flowers to spruce up your flower pots, you know, stuff like that those are all trending idea things. And then you've got the cultural stuff, showing the insights to the company who you are, who are the people in the company, what events do you do, putting a human to the business. So those are your three types of blog post. Now as you create all of them also, by the way, minimum 500 words is what we do for all, everything 100% unique everything following the same construction pattern that I said before, overview meet call to action. Now the next piece is the delivery, how do you deliver these content pieces at the right time at the right place? So and our customers think of them as being on a journey or story, right? What's the journey, they're going to go go through to coming up with the idea of hiring your customer all the way to hiring the customer. And for us, there's four chapters of that story, the idea phase, the research base, the estimating and bidding phase and the execution. And what we do is we lay out a map that says what types of content pieces should be delivered at each step. So during the idea phase, for example, project case studies are key. Also, the trend and idea blogs are key. At this point in time, service pages don't matter anything, they're not going to help you because people are looking for ideas, your gallery page is going to be a huge focus here because you're going to rank in the Google Image results. These people want ideas at this point in time. Once they get to the research phase in our in our customers lifecycle. They're going to want to look at the service pages at that point in time to area pages at that point in time. You're going to want to put more project case studies you're going to want to do the educational things, giving them that research stuff that they want to know and you're going to remarket it to them. So this is the biggest failure most people put content out there and then just leave it or they'll share it on their social media thinking that Facebook is going to magically send it to 100 people or something that ain't going to happen. Your going to have to put money behind this content. For every single content piece we develop for our customers, the minimum once a week is at least $20 behind every content piece. So every one of our customers spends a minimum of $80 just to push out the new content. Not to mention the remarketing is constantly running and all of those things. So once somebody has triggered been triggered in your list for the ideas phase, then you use your educational use your project case studies, you use your service pages to remark it back to them and do it through social media. That's the best way to do it. But also segment it this is I hate this. I see people do it all the time. It drives me nuts. Don't remarket to your audience in a big broad list. Now they're not all the same. You know? So like for us, our customers, they do outdoor kitchens, they do fire pits, they do patios, well, somebody who's looking for a patio isn't necessarily looking for an outdoor kitchen. So don't send them shit about outdoor kitchens send their shit about patios, right? So segment that remarketing list, you can go right into your Facebook audiences and say, take this fire pit article and send it to people who have been on my website went to one two or more pages and one of those pages with the firepit page. You know, that's super simple to do. And that way you're delivering targeted content to your remarketing audience versus just blanketing them with everything you got which doesn't work.
Joe Troyer 46:25
I love it. It makes the the retargeting remarketing so much more impactful, right? You're cutting down on the frequency of the same ads being seen over and over and over. And we know that like that causes banner blindness, if you don't do that, right, which means they're gonna get annoyed, they're not going to click your, you know, your your click through rates go down, your costs go up, and it's not effective at the end of the day, it's not near as effective. So I love that really good stuff. So you said a couple of things that I want to point out to recap that I think are worth talking about and bring bringing up. So you talked about how at the beginning of each piece of content, you are doing a summary, not an introduction, and you were very avid about that point. What did you mean by that?
Tony Ricketts 47:10
Yep. So most people when they create an introduction, they build up to the topic right? They get you're ready for it right? We're introducing it and kind of leaving a lot to leaving leaving a lot to be interpreted. Once you start reading right there. We're not diving into the details at this point. We're trying to build up the enthusiasm and the want to read this article right? That's how most everybody always starts and you see it like that everywhere you see the movies you see it in newspaper or we see it all over like that. Well one thing that we do different is we jump straight to it go straight to the details. Don't build up don't fluff. Keep in mind we are in a now world. Joe, I'm sure you know, having intros on your videos for your company don't work. Yeah, if you have a five or 10 second intros got the graphics of your logo, it looks cool. People love it. No people hate that shit. They just scroll right past it. Because we're in a now world. So in our content, we take the details what you got to know about this, and we get it all the way to the top so that when the search engines come in, they don't see a whole first three paragraphs of fluff building up the the suspense about what you're about to read. No, we deliver the goods right away right at the beginning of that article. And we get deeper as we go into the meat. And I think that's one of the things that really helps us
Joe Troyer 48:34
dude this has been so awesome. I so appreciate you coming on the podcast. In terms of time, I want to wrap it up, but you've been most Thank you so much, man. It's been great. I know that people are gonna love this episode. And I hope that they take some some, some takeaways from it and actually go start running and doing content for their customers. I think it can be an absolute game changer. And I've never been one to tout content for local agency customers. It's not been my thing. But you changed my mind and man, I'm hard headed. That's hard to do. Congratulations. I'm just kidding, in wrapping it up. Um, I want to I want to ask you, instead of asking you to recommend three books we do something here a little bit different on the digital triggers podcast I was asked what's the one book that's made the biggest impact on the way that you do business as you look at lawnline marketing as you look at the way that you handle things, how you guys run business day to day there? What's the one book that's made the biggest impact on the way that you do business and why?
Tony Ricketts 49:36
Honestly, I don't I don't have a I don't have one for a Joe I think I'm one person is where like is that honestly never fully read a book from start to finish. I've never even really listened to a book either through audible. So everything that I do here, I have learned the hard way through experience the Hard Knocks and the ups and downs. So I honestly I don't have a book to read. I mean I don't I'm not I'm not A reading type person I learned from experience and visual.
Joe Troyer 50:03
I gotcha. So you, you went to the school of hard knocks, and you learn the lessons firsthand each and every day, man, I get that. And you know what, like, more than anything, I appreciate the honesty that you didn't try to fake it to make it so to speak. So thank you for that, man. And thank you for coming. Thanks for hanging out. If somebody wanted to connect with you, personally, where's the best way to do that? Like what social platforms are the best for you? Or how would somebody reach out and we'll obviously link up lawn lawn mine marketing in in the show notes. Is there anything else you want us to link up for you?
Tony Ricketts 50:35
Yeah, I always say the best way if you want to reach out to me, is to hit me up on LinkedIn. I'm pretty active on there. So that's a great way for you to be able to connect with me and we can communicate back and forth. Now I'm on Facebook and stuff too. But traditionally, for the business stuff and collaborating with other people go find me on LinkedIn, that's going to be your best way to do it.
Joe Troyer 50:56
Perfect, man. Thank you so much, everybody. I hope you took a ton of notes from this. This is awesome. I got like literally an entire page no joke, and super excited to be writing some content. We'll see you guys on the next episode of show me the nuggets Joe Troyer signing out. And thank you so much, brother.
Tony Ricketts 51:13
Thank you Joe, I appreciate it. Have a good one.