Landscapers were advised they need to use m commerce and social media or face losing work to competitors at an APL event last night.
The event hosted by Provender Nurseries in Swanley, Kent, featured speakers looking at marketing from various angles, including the merits of taking part in shows and awards.
The App Garden's Bulent Osman said m, or mobile, commerce was growing at an amazing rate - sales through smartphones rose by 210 per cent in the second quarter of this year alone as 85 per cent of smartphone users preferred to go online with their phone rather than firing up their computers.
He offered a range of advice but said having a website which was "mobile optomised" was key and saying landscapers should choose a website designer who would use responsive design technology on websites so they automatically morphed to the size of the screen used.
Apps, like those made by his company, were also important and increasingly feature sophisticated payment systems that make PayPal and Sage look clunky. Norris and Gardiner is among the company’s customers, Osman said.He added: "Very soon if your site isn’t mobile optimised you’ll be putting people off.
"Mobile commerce is big, it’s growing and all of you need to consider what your brand and company looks like on a mobile device."
He said that push notifications were particularly powerful but should not be overused.
Paxman Landscapes’ Justin Paxman explained how he had increased sales by a third by
embracing social media, which he updates daily. He now has 1,651 followers on Twitter and told the forum that he had won a £70,000 job by using LinkedIn.
"If you’re not on LinkedIn you need to be. Where I wouldn’t normally be able to get past the gatekeeper with LinkedIn you can get to that person, you can link to them and you can talk to them," he said.
He suggested regularly posting a company’s URL to bring them to the website and using hashtags. Sometimes choosing the right hashtag can see you retweeted to a massive audience.
The event was held after the APL annual general meeting in which current chairman and managing director of Landform Consultants Mark Gregory was confirmed as chairman for another year.