Coronavirus, recession, or just the off-season? There are plenty reasons why you may be seeing a drop in inquiries or sales right now. If you’re a land surveyor who owns your own business or a marketing lead at a land surveying firm, here’s a great way to use your downtime to make some quick wins for your company over the next few months.

I’m going to describe eight common problems — you may be experiencing some or all of them — then I’ll give you eight workable solutions to drive business at your survey firm right now.

Problem 1 – You Don’t Have A Clear Strategy for Your Land Surveying Business

The business strategies for most land surveyors tend to be vague and obvious, as simple as “to grow sales in the construction market.” That doesn’t offer your team a path to follow or show them what the end goal looks like.

The solution is to focus on short- and long-term goals. Start by identifying three things: 

  1. Why you’re in business.
  2. What is your vision for your survey firm? 
  3. Your roadmap to getting there.

Next, set out a clear purpose statement of what you do, why you do it and what impact your survey work hopes to achieve. This will lend clarity and focus to you, your team and your customers. 

Problem 2 – You Talk Products, Not Solutions

You’re very focused on what your product (or service) brings to the table. You communicate what you offer, like “we do utility surveys” or “We sell ground-penetrating radar systems.”

Well, so what? So do lots of other land survey companies!

Your customer doesn’t care what you do. They care about solving their problem. You need to turn your offer around and make it about them, not you.

“Your customers don’t buy your product to do your company a favour,” Eghbal said. “They are doing it because your product makes their lives better. So if you want to sell them something, you need to explain how you’re helping them.”

– Anne Handley, Everybody Writes

The solution is to build a content strategy that addresses your customers’ frustrations. If your customer has a headache, give them a painkiller. Develop a series of problem-solving messages (sentences) based on frustrations your target audiences suffer from. That will grab their attention. The product then is the weapon to eliminating their frustration! 

HOW will you solve their problem? WHAT do you offer on top, that no one else does? WHY are you better? WHEN can you deliver the solution – are you faster? 

Start out by identifying the problem that is keeping your customer up at night. For example, their key problem might be:  

  • No accurate as-built information about utilities.
  • Not knowing of potential conflicts resulting in utility strikes and possible re-design, resulting in lost time and money because the project is delayed and there are unforeseen costs.  

So reflect your understanding of their problem. Build your web copy, adverts, content articles and social media posts around their frustration, to show you understand, and frame your product as the solution to their problems. Build trust by showcasing proof of your solution, perhaps with user testimonials and case studies. Finally, leave them wanting more and give a call to action so they can get it. 

Problem 3 – You Cast Yourself As the Character in the Story, Rather Than Making Your Customer the Hero

You portray ‘you’ as the hero in the story saving the day! But the hero is your customer trying to solve his problems – seeking someone to help them solve their frustrations. If you are the hero, the customer isn’t interested!  He doesn’t care about you and what you have to sell. He cares about getting rid of his headache and needs a solution to do so. 

The solution is to flip it and turn your customer into the hero (think young Luke Skywalker), then portray yourself as the trusted guide (Yoda) showing them what amazing product you have to offer that will solve his frustrations — the villain is the frustration in the story.

Problem 4 – You Can’t Name or Destroy the Villain

There’s always a “villain” that stops your customer from being successful. If you don’t know who the bad guy is, you can’t save the day. 

So a line like “utility survey to locate your utilities” doesn’t identify the bad guy. But if we go back to our problem, we discover that the real frustration is delay and downtime. Therefore, the villain is “the dreaded delay wreaking havoc on construction sites throughout America!”

The solution is to position your product/service as the weapon that exterminates the villain. Create messages and content that communicate how you save the day — in this case, how you can slash the delays.

Problem 5 – You Try to be Everything to Everyone

Perhaps you don’t have a clear focus on what you do and who you’re targeting. For example, your market could be ‘construction’, but that’s pretty huge. And what are you solving for that market, specifically? Your marketing may be spatter-gun and vanilla, resulting in a lack of engagement and leads.  

The solution is to divide your market into groups of clients with common problems. Some of these groups will overlap, and that’s OK. Ask your customers, suppliers and staff what they think you do and what you’re good at (SurveyMonkey can make it easy to collect the results). Then devise a content strategy based on targeting the common groups with your core strengths. Sniper gun, not spatter-gun. Shooting one tin can with one bullet is much cheaper and more effective. 

Problem 6 – You Don’t Identify All the Influencers

You sell utility strike surveys to the construction manager and don’t communicate/network with other individuals in the buying chain. As a result, only one person in the client company sees your value. Different buyers will have different problems so you need to address, and communicate with, different people within the buying journey.

The solution is to identify 4 or 5 key people who will influence the buying journey, from the construction manager overseeing the entire site to the finance person signing off your fees, for example.  

These people matter when building trust in your brand, and this stops them buying on price alone! So you need to create content to communicate your message to these different buyers. 

Problem 7 – You Feel Overwhelmed and Don’t Know Where to Begin 

You have Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram. You send news to magazines; you maintain your website; you spend $$$ on advertising. You’re not sure what’s working or why! You’re sick of marketing.

In the ‘conversion funnel,’ the funnel shape is because lots of people may enquire but some drop out along the way. So, fewer pop out the other end as buyers. The top of the funnel is all about building awareness while the middle is about education. So aim for your funnel to be wide all the way down, like a gutter pipe! The aim is to attract and educate people, and turn them into qualified leads resulting in sales.  

The solution is to start by focusing on just one digital platform, and to follow the sales conversion funnel. Don’t over-complicate your digital channel – just work on building momentum and attracting more of the right people. 

Focus on short-form content like 1-minute videos, or very short posts showing you understand buyer frustrations. This is your awareness phase; use it to build your brand. 

When you start seeing your numbers and engagement grow, begin sharing longer content to educate people about what you and the problems you solve. For example:  “How utility conditioning and assessment up-front will reduce utility strikes in future and save you time and money.”

Problem 8 – You Don’t Measure 

Perhaps you just post and run, and hope the phone will start ringing. 

The solution is to measure what works for you. When I say “follow the funnel,” I mean start by analyzing which posts work best for you on a monthly basis. Where did people engage on the page (like, comment, share) or get in touch. Keep it simple and don’t overwhelm yourself.

Look at your Google Analytics to see whether people click from social posts through to your website landing pages, and if they’re responding to your CTAs (calls to action) like “Sign up to our webinar.”

If it all feels confusing or you’re time-poor, outsource your digital marketing to an agency. Ask them to provide the data you need to work on your strategy together. 

In summary

None of this is rocket science. It’s all about choosing your customers, understanding their frustrations, putting yourself second, and showing how you’ll solve their problems. 

There are lots of books, websites, tools and skilled people to help you. If you want more free ideas from me, sign up to my geospatial marketing news, tips and creative whizz-bangs at