Four Free Powerful Marketing Tools

Four free Powerful Marketing Tools

Need help marketing your business but are overwhelmed by the abundance of tools and programs available? Me too! With so many options, it’s hard to narrow down which programs are useful and which just aren’t worth the investment. Often times you can stumble across a new program that promises the world and shiny solutions to solve all of your problems, however they may include a contract and hefty price tag. Simply signing up for one of these programs gives me anxiety in case they don’t live up to their hype.

But I’m here to give you hope! As the digital marketing specialist at ArboRisk, I’ve tested out numerous marketing programs and tools, some of which have been a major success for us, and others fell short.

Below are four key marketing tools that are inexpensive or FREE that I utilize daily and that have helped take our marketing to the next level:

Canva: Canva allows you to effortlessly create stunning visual images to use across your social channels or create professional high quality flyers for your next direct mail campaign. Its’ drag and drop features are so easy to use allowing high quality graphics to be created in minutes without the help of an experienced graphic designer. There are free and upgraded versions of Canva giving you access to additional templates and stock photos. If you’re doing a lot of image creation, the upgraded plan is a great route at only $9.95/month per user.

Google My Business Platform: Google is king in today’s digital marketing world. They offer an expansive free marketing platform that helps you promote your business, analyze search ranking, and ensure your website is showing up online. Google Analytics provides detailed data regarding the number of visitors to your site based on a specific date period, the keywords that were used to find your site, how long each user stays there, and more. Understanding your website’s metrics is vital to measuring the success of your marketing efforts. Google’s Search Console allows you to identify any problems your website may have and optimize it for searches. Combined, these tools help you decide what content you need to add to your website to get your targeted audience there.

MailChimp: Regardless of the size of your business, email marketing should be included in your overall marketing strategy. MailChimp is an easy to use email software that remains free until you exceed 2,000 contacts. The platform makes scheduling email blasts, creating automated campaigns, and analyzing data simple even if you are just starting out with email marketing.
Slack: Easy communication between team members is key to successful projects and jobs. Slack is an online chat platform that seamlessly allows team members to individually chat or create groups to collaborate on specific jobs or projects. At ArboRisk, we utilize the free version but based on your company’s specific needs/wants – there is a paid option available that includes numerous upgrades.

Using these four key programs you can create impressive content, analyze key points of data from your website, and seamlessly communicate with customers and employees without making a large investment.

To learn how to utilize technology better within your company’s marketing efforts, contact ArboRisk today and signup for our Thrive program.

Written by: Amanda Eicher

5 Simple SEO Tips

5 Simple SEO Tips

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then, when you know better, do better.” – Maya Angelou SEO. Search Engine Optimization. If you’re anything like me, it makes you shudder just to see those words in print. But, because I realized I am immersed in the world of digital and traditional marketing, I knew I could not let that fear overtake me. Rather, I decided to tackle SEO day-by-day, to learn as much as I could to do my best for our clients. I started my journey by attending a seminar that revolved entirely around digital marketing strategy and maximizing your website to its best potential (Thanks, Top Floor Marketing!). The main takeaways from the class involved avoiding website and marketing disasters and best practices for SEO. But the one thing that really stuck out to me was how simple some of the steps were to update the SEO on your website. SEO does not have to be scary or difficult. I attribute learning about SEO to learning how to be a successful tree care service owner: in the beginning, it was scary because of the unknown, but once you learned more, those scary thoughts went away, and were replaced by confidence and knowledge that would help you make the correct decisions for your business. SEO is the same way! Below are a few simple tricks and tips to get started in updating your website’s SEO: Meta Data: SEO Meta Data is what appears on search engine results pages and includes the page title and the description text below the title:

You want to make sure your pages are clear and optimized, while not being too brief or too spammy. There are four categories of Meta Data, and how you adjust them can impact your SEO. Below, I use the example of “ArboRisk Insurance” and the page title of “Who we serve:”

Automated: ArboRisk | Who We Serve | Arborist
Somewhat vague, does not give a full picture of what you are about

Spammy: ArboRisk | Arborist | Tree Care Industry | Grow Trees | Plant a Tree | Tree Care Best Practices | Wisconsin Arborists | Insurance services | Insurance for Arborists
Overabundance of words, many of which do not have anything to do with the specific page

Non-existent: Home – ArboRisk Insurance
Nothing available, does not provide any additional information about what the page pertains too

Optimized: ArboRisk Insurance | Protect Your Tree Service with ArboRisk | Tree Service Insurance
Clear, concise, and lets Google know exactly what the page is about without going overboard

Crawl Errors: 404 Page Not Found. Crawl errors occur when Googlebots try to access your website, but something prevents them from doing so. Crawl errors may be caused by faulty links, DNS failures, server connectivity, or issues with your robots.txt file. What does this mean? Check the links on your website regularly to ensure all are working. Contact your web master to help resolve any server issues or to fix broken links.

Indexing: In a nutshell, indexing lets you know if Google can find your webpages and shows you the URLs on your website that are getting the most visits. In other words, indexing is incredibly important because if your website is not in Google’s index, it will not show up when people search for a query. A simple way to check indexing for your website is to type Site:your website URL into Google. (Example – Site:arboriskinsurance.com) Be sure to use your EXACT website URL! If your site does not show up when indexing, and you are using your exact URL, it’s time to make some updates! Add a blog, update a few pages – the more copy you can change and edit, the more likely Google will be able to find your pages.

URL Structure: The best types of URL structures write for both users and search engines, use specific keywords and file path structure, and utilize hyphens over underscores. Don’t be generic, avoid keyword repetition aka spammy structure, minimize URL strings (URL’s that have too many numbers or incoherent letters), and make sure that the user can understand what your page is about by looking at the URL. An example of good URL structure is:

Traffic Analysis: Are you analyzing your website traffic on a regular basis? Do you know which website pages are getting the most hits? Analyzing your traffic is an essential way to maximize your SEO. Make sure you are looking at which pages get the most organic entrances (meaning people are finding them by simply searching in Google, rather than clicking on an Ad), organic bounce rate and time on site, and what organic traffic is branded (words that mention your brand name) vs. non-branded (words that do not reference your brand name).

SEO is always changing. It is always something that needs attention. But if you do your best to schedule in time each month to analyze and update your SEO, you will find your website will be more optimized and you will save yourself future headaches and frustrations down the road.

Written by: Katie Petersen

Ways to Grow Your Social Media Following

Ways to Grow Your Social Media Following

Whenever I meet with clients, the top concern I hear is, “I know I need to be posting on social media, but I have no idea what to post or how to increase my number of followers.” To help your business thrive in today’s modern age, social media usage is a must – and most businesses are on it, in one way, shape, or form. But how many of these businesses use it in an active, strategic way that actually increases their following? After all, you can’t reach the level of Wendy’s Twitter savagery:

or GoPro’s Instagram’s strategic use of hashtags to increase their engagement:

by posting a few links, @mentioning others, and using 77 hashtags on each post. #notgonnawork Strategy is the name of the game and in order to grow your following successfully, you’ll need a good one. If you are struggling for followers, here are a few ways to get your social media presence off the ground (no pun intended). Create a Strategy and Stick to It Who are you? What are you hoping to accomplish? What types of followers are you looking for? If you answer, “Because everyone else is,” or “Well…” I’m here to tell you, you may have a problem. Sitting down and coming up with answers to these questions in incredibly important when you begin to grow your following. Setting SMART goals is an easy way to answer these questions and give your social media meaning: Specific (We will focus on one social channel (Facebook) and measure response rate.) Measurable (The response rate can be measured from the Insights tab.) Achievable (We didn’t make an outlandish goal of say, a 100% increase in 15 days.) Relevant (Our goal will increase our overall social media presence, making us relevant.) Time-bound (The goal will be met in the first two quarters of the year.) Choosing the Right Channels Many businesses make the mistake of utilizing every social media channel they can, becoming overwhelmed, and eventually giving up. Different social networks cater to different individuals, and different pockets of the population can be found on each. Millennial-aged individuals tend to gravitate towards Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat. Generation X and Baby Boomers lean more towards Facebook. Individuals with a college degree are more likely to use LinkedIn, and Pinterest is utilized almost exclusively by women. Pro-tip: “everyone” is not an audience. Where will your business thrive and with which clientele? Identify your ideal audience and focus on posts within that channel.
Create Meaningful Relationships Blog Post. Like. Share. Blog Post. Share. Like. It is easy to fall victim to an endless cycle of mundane posts. Spoiler Alert: Eventually, your followers will tune you out if your posts are robotic. Be a human. Show your personality. Be honest. Be vulnerable. Inject humor. In a world where everything is digital and human interaction is not always common, it is more important than ever to show who your company is on a personal level. Interacting with your followers as if they are your closest friends is incredibly important. Showcasing the faces behind your business – even more so. And don’t forget to engage with your followers! Responding to comments and questions on your posts shows your followers that you are invested and listening to them. Take Abercrombie’s excellent response to a comment below on Instagram:

Create a Schedule

Posting on a consistent basis not only reminds your followers that you are still around, but it also allows your business to organize your content and more effectively target the clients that you want. Creating a schedule gives you the opportunity to post at times that will maximize your engagement and helps you avoid repeating the same content over and over. If you are not interested in paying for a scheduling platform, I have found that I can easily create a calendar for myself in Excel – simple, effective, and gives me a month’s worth of content that I do not have to brainstorm for.

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Written by: Katie Petersen

What Social Media Platform Should I Use?

What Social Media Platform Should I use?

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, YouTube. Social media can be overwhelming. #AmIRight One of the top mistakes I see business owners make is pushing themselves to do too much with social media, becoming overwhelmed, and giving up entirely. It does not have to be that way. My advice for business owners who know they need to be involved with social media but don’t know where to start, is to pick two or three platforms, get to know them well, and use those to connect with followers. You may find that one platform works extremely well, and another does not. When the time is right, switch out the platform that does not work for your customers and try a different approach. Finding the right balance of platforms is essential to your growth as a business.


Below, I’ve briefly explained the more popular social media platforms. Because every tree service is unique and has their own target clientele, which platform you utilize will be based on who you are trying to reach. Always keep in mind, the main goal of any social media efforts is help you promote your business to customers and prospects.




Oh, Facebook, the birthplace of social media. Create an account, “friend” your friends, post photos, start a business page, gain followers, utilize hashtags – Facebook does it all. If you are looking for a quick and easy way to connect with many followers of all ages, Facebook is the way to do so.




Brush up on your photography skills! Instagram is the place to showcase photos of yourself, your business, and your passion for the tree care industry. Plus, like Twitter, Instagram uses hashtags to connect you with other users and push your content to those who search for #trees.




LinkedIn is typically used to post an online resume. Have a skill you want to promote? LinkedIn. Want to boast about your background or assure a potential client you have the correct credentials? LinkedIn. LinkedIn is also a great place to “connect” with colleagues and clients and promote business-oriented content.




If you have read my article entitled “5 Ways to Better Your Social Media Marketing” (and if you haven’t, you really should – it’s great), you’ll know that I stress the importance of moving your business towards videos. Utilization of video is key for your business in 2018. A YouTube channel is the way to do that! Showcase yourself, your employees, your equipment, a job site. This creates a more intimate, personal connection with your clients.




Have you ever tried to condense your thoughts into 140 characters? #Yeahmeneither Luckily, Twitter allows 240 characters now and you can enhance your content by using hashtags. Hashtags allow your content to be discoverable by others so that when client is searching for #treeservice, any content you post with that hashtag attached will pop up in their search.




If you are looking to appeal to a younger crowd, Snapchat is 100% the way to go. Snapchat allows you to display a photo or video for 1-10 seconds, with your “snaps” being able to be added to your “story” where followers or subscribers can watch them after the fact. This is a great way to interact with clients if you want to tell a quick story or give a follower a quick burst of information.




Pinterest is a great place to organize ideas, thoughts, and lists and present them in one simple “board” to all of your followers. If, for example, you want to showcase steps, tricks, or items with which to prune a tree, all of these ideas and examples could be “pinned” to one board, allowing you to easily share it with your followers.




Contact a Google employee to learn more ☺

Written by: Katie Petersen

5 Ways to Better Your Social Media Marketing

5 Ways to Better Your Social Media Marketing

If you’ve ever found yourself staring at your computer screen, wondering what to post on your social media accounts, you are not alone. Digital marketing success remains elusive to most small business owners. The fact of the matter is, 46 percent of (small) business owners are unsure their marketing strategies work and 17 percent know they aren’t working at all (source). #WHAT. This does not need to be you. While I cannot tell you that there is one simple, fix-all option available for individuals struggling with digital marketing, I can give you 5 strategic ways to better your social media marketing and help your business thrive.


Strategy #1: Use Real Photos and Personal Stories


Do your followers know who you are? Have you given them a reason to connect personally with you? Spoiler Alert: majority of customers are not impressed by the type of equipment you use.Posting photos of your truck fleet will not gain you more business. But, you can certainly tweak those posts and use them to your advantage. Perhaps you are still using the very first truck that your father bought when he started your tree service. Posting a narrative about that, talking about the history of your company and what your father meant to this company, will give customers a reason to connect with you. It humanizes your business and gives them a trigger to remember you when they need your services.


Strategy #2: Shoot (More) Videos


Video, video, video. I cannot stress this enough: the future lies in videos. While videos can seem overwhelming, take it step by step. Start off small – use your phone and record a quick video introducing yourself, your company, and share three fun facts about who you are. As you become more comfortable conversing in front of the camera, up your techniques. Have someone else shoot you discussing a common misconception about tree care, like how trees with early leaf drop does not mean they are a lost cause and need to be removed. If you have the funds, invest in a video marketing company, and allow them the opportunity to come in and shoot your work day. By taking what would normally be multiple paragraphs of text and translating that into video form, you are allowing your customer a new avenue to engage and connect with you. Plus, the stats don’t lie: 59% of executives agree that if both text and video are available on the same topic, they are more likely to choose video (source). #VideoForTheWin


Strategy #3: Engage and Reward your Followers


I’m not sure about you, but my Instagram and Facebook feeds are scattered with individual and company accounts that receive tons of engagement. How are they succeeding at this? By giving their followers a reason to engage with them. Successful digital marketers know that the best way to increase engagement is to incentivize your following:


Create a contest for your follows (ex. Upload a photo of yourself with your favorite tree. The best photo receives a $25 credit towards your next service)
Host a giveaway (ex. The first 10 likes on this post receive a $10 Starbucks gift card)
Offer discounts (ex. Like this post and receive 5% off your next tree removal)
Elaborate or superfluous giveaways are unnecessary. Simple, easy offerings are the best way to create a buzz around your company and have your followers watching your page for your next giveaway.


Strategy #4: Collaborate with Others in Your Niche


We all have people we look up to in our businesses, the individuals or companies that set the bar high, keep us chasing growth, and that every customer seems to know. If you have not used these individuals to your advantage, it is time to start. Reach out to them and propose collaboration on a blog post, a video, or a quick photo on your page. Set-up a lunch and learn with your employees or clients and have this expert come in to teach on a specific topic, all while promoting this on your social media. Business is not always about competition – customers love to see individuals working together to bring them the best possible product. Meeting with others and collaborating with them will not only give you an opportunity to learn something, it will open up your business to a whole new set of followers.


Strategy #5: Use Online Tools to Find Top Content for Posts


Do you struggle to find relevant content that your followers not only appreciate, but also understand? #beenthere. Many individuals find it difficult to engage with certain companies on social media because they do not equate the relevance of the post to their individual lives. Try one of these content sourcing tools for mainstream articles, on topics that businessmen and stay-at-home moms can both understand.


Google News Alerts are a great way to keep yourself informed of headlines that are happening in your industry. Nuzzel connects with your Twitter feed and shows you the most shared content from users you follow. If you follow numerous accounts that are relevant in your industry, the content provided by Nuzzel is invaluable. Mix (formerly StumbleUpon) is a discovery engine that finds and recommends content to users. All you have to do is select a few interests, and hit the ‘Mix’ button and the platform will show you pages relevant to your interests. Finally, Reddit is the hot bed of the Internet, and it’s a great place to find content. Subreddits enable users to browse different topics, where users post and “upvote” the best content. Subscribe to subreddits that are the hottest in your industry so, when you log into Reddit, your front page will be full of content specific to you.


Pro Tip: Reddit can also be a great place to share your own unique content. If you’re active on the platform and get familiar with some of the subreddits, submitting links can be a great way to get more traffic to your website (source).


These five action items are just a few easy ways to up your social media marketing game and propel your business forward. Doing these things will not only set you apart from the competition, but it will open up your business to an entirely new client base.

Written by: Katie Petersen