My SEO Journey: Bryan Clayton from yourgreenpal.com – The power of Facebook Groups to find relevant content ideas
My SEO Journey is a series where entrepreneurs and Indie makers share their honest SEO Journey filled with failure and success, and most importantly, proven results. Episode #111 features Bryan Clayton from GreenPal.
I’m Bryan Clayton CEO of GreenPal which is best described as Uber for Lawn Care.
We have bootstrapped GreenPal from zero in revenue to over $20 million a year with no outside capital.
They say the journey of an entrepreneur is 10 times harder than one imagines. The last four years have certainly taught me that. I can honestly say if I knew how hard it was going to be I never would have gotten started.
I started mowing lawns in high school, and over 15 years time I grew that business into a landscaping firm with sales over $8 million and 125 employees. I sold that company in 2013 to pursue my dream of starting a successful text start-up.
Three things after four years into the journey that surprised me and lessons that I was not anticipating.
1. No one cares: No one cares about your start-up, nobody cares about your idea, and nobody cares about your two or three-man company. Not even your friends and not even your family will understand it. People only care about a massive success, and they do not care about the slog and the grind to get there.
That’s why I always caution budding entrepreneurs that there better be some sort of burning desire and passion and underlying reason as to why they want to see this idea and company in their head exist in the real world. Or they won’t make it .
2. This journey is going to take 10 times the work and 10 times the time as you think it’s going to take. I always recommend to anyone considering taking the plunge on their start-up idea to mentally prepare themselves to work on it for free for at least five years, and if they are not willing and excited to do that then by all means do not go down this path.
3. Investor money only makes things harder not easier. Your investors only care about one thing and that is your ability to print money and that’s it. They don’t care about your personal life, they don’t care about your customers, they don’t care about your dreams visions or ideas; they only care about your ability to print money. As such, do not take any investor money until you are ready and willing to pursue the mission of printing money.
Table of Contents
- 1 What’s your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?
- 2 Since launch, what has worked to attract more organic traffic?
- 3 Have you learned anything particularly helpful in your SEO Journey?
- 4 What SEO tools do you use for your business?
- 5 Can you share your efforts related to Link-Building?
- 6 What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
- 7 What’s the next step in your SEO Journey?
- 8 Where can we go to learn more?
What’s your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?
We came up with the idea for GreenPal when I was running my first landscaping business, and I saw how difficult it was for a homeowner to hire a lawn care service easily as ordering an Uber.
We knew the idea would work 18 months after starting the business win one Saturday we got over 100 sign-ups, and we didn’t know who any of these people were, and it was only then that we understood that we could reach people without personally having to know them.
My 15 years of industry experience running a landscaping business was certainly a big help with building GreenPal because we understood how the landscaping business worked and knew how to build a platform to serve landscape contractors while offering a nice convenience to homeowners.
Since launch, what has worked to attract more organic traffic?
Quick tactic on how to make your business more visible online are local Facebook groups.
No matter your niche or vertical there is a FB group that you can participate in to contribute to the discussion, answer questions, and develop a presence to refer people to your business, oftentimes when they are looking for exactly what you offer.
FB just also launched a dedicated mobile app to support their groups’ communities so now it’s easier than ever to manage the groups that you participate in, monitor the conversations, and participate while on the go throughout your day.
We have found this tactic to be very effective for our marketplace. We monitor local groups and neighborhood’s groups, and when anyone is asking for a recommendation on a lawn care service, we kindly let them know about the GreenPal community.
We track the success, and 60% of the time we make a recommendation, they signup for our service
This tactic can work for almost any business in any niche.
Now it’s time to discover the other 102 steps that will get more organic traffic flowing to your website. Get the SEO Checklist here.
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Have you learned anything particularly helpful in your SEO Journey?
We get over half of our users through search engine optimization, and to win at that game, it is all about creating great content.
It’s a challenge developing great content that speaks to the soul of your B2B constituents.
Nothing is worse than creating content that nobody’s interested in and nobody wants to read.
We solve this problem with Facebook groups.
Most people are unaware of Facebook groups and how they work, and this is an untapped resource that bloggers can use to promote and develop content.
We are members of every group that relates to our industry, and we monitor the chatter in those groups; what people are saying, what questions people have, what topics people are interested in, and what’s upsetting or annoying people.
Then we create content around those questions and will use those groups to promote the content, so it’s a win-win.
This has really helped us stop wasting time on creating articles, blog posts, and videos that nobody cares about.
What SEO tools do you use for your business?
To track our SEO success, we use Ahrefs, SEM rush, google search console, and white spark local
Great link building is all about great PR, but it’s hard to afford PR in the early days.
Necessity is the mother of invention, and when bootstrapping your business, you have to figure out ways to use your business activity to grow your business.
Put another way, you can’t just spend money on Facebook Ads and Google ads and survive, you have to think outside of the box and innovate.
Last summer, we needed to figure out a repeatable way to leverage the activity inside of our platform to get exposure and free PR for our marketplace. And even more over worse yet, we needed a way to get customers for free.
So our team began implementing a little program to get connected with our local community in Nashville, Tennessee.
We have a few hundred lawn care professionals that utilize our system, and we ask them to submit to us candidates that are in need of lawnmowing for free because they are in a tough personal situation.
So once a month, we will go and mow a stranger’s home who’s grass is gotten 2 to 3 feet tall because they are in a jam.
One person was facing foreclosure another was getting ready to be cited by the city; we also try to help out single moms more than anybody.
I guess what we got learned is that despite what you might hear about the economy, things are still very tough out there for working-class folks, and this is the least we can do to help out and have a personal connection with our local community.
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
One of the hats that small business owners have to wear is that of the leader, the problem is none of us are born to know how to lead, and we are all naturally terrible at it.
About two months ago, I read the book Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin. The authors discuss how leaders must take ownership of everything around them and their environment in order to achieve their objectives.
That goes for your subordinates, your coworkers, and even your superiors no matter in the business world or in military life.
So often, we are quick to make excuses as to why we didn’t achieve certain objectives at our roles; however when we exercise extreme ownership as leaders, we are responsible for everything that goes on in our world.
When a group of Navy SEALs embarks on a mission there are no excuses if they cannot execute on their objective, and the same goes in the business world.
As developing leaders in small business and large business, we must take total ownership of everything around us, and by doing so that will further our leadership development and further our careers.
The book taught me that Excuses are for weak-minded people who really do not want success in their small business or their career.
What’s the next step in your SEO Journey?
It’s all about figuring out ways to create the best content in our space at scale and literally carpet the Internet with helpful content that solves people’s problems without asking for anything in return.
We believe that by adding value, we will become successful with search engine optimization.
Where can we go to learn more?