In 2005, online advertising was in its infancy in New Zealand. It all began when I was trying to source materials online for a project and realised there was a need for a site that catered for the industry. In November 2005, after 5 months programming and planning we launched landscapedesign.co.nz to the greater industry and consumers.
During the first few months we experienced rapid and consistent growth in directory listings, advertisers and visitors. The inertia from ‘nothing’ to ‘something’ happened very quickly with our award winning direct mail campaign. This included a branded scale ruler and an invitation to join our exciting landscaping and gardening directory. We had a massive response and very positive feedback from across the spectrum. Looking back the site was more basic than it is today; the design was contemporary and simple with direct links to the directory and relevant landscaping advice.
One of the early hurdles was making the system as straightforward as possible for visitors and advertisers to use. Back then only about half of New Zealand households had a computer and broadband was a luxury. Computer use and literacy has grown in leaps and b
ounds since then, but the demand for quality and ease of use will keep us busy in the years to come.
Over the past five years we have built up a client base of over 300+ clients and a database of 2500+ industry members. The site is well optimised with 1860 possible search results now appearing in Google and other search engines. It has taken a massive amount of work by a large group of employees and contractors to get to where we are now. Some old hands say it takes three years to get a business off the ground, others say five. For us it is somewhere in between, and with online advertising growing at 18% per year in New Zealand, we are definitely looking forward to continuing growth.
In the past 30 days alone, we have had 25,000 individual visitors to our site. Most are looking for a company to consult about a product or service. When we analyse the keyword searches and the ratio of clients to visitors, a potent opportunity for our clients appears. This is backed up by testimonials, sales and enquiries we see our clients generate.
As an online publisher – our business is generating sales for our advertisers and linking consumers with information and products. It is like we are supplying a shop window for people to dress with their wares or direct people to their main website. While this may seem like a simple concept to grasp, for many it is very new and takes time to make the transition from traditional material to digital. Keeping this process easy and smooth for our clients is one of our main aims.
Part of our success has been the ability to listen to our clients needs and making sure we can match these needs with a solution that builds long term relationships. We are a small business with a big reach. We are not a ‘one size fits all’ solution, but rather we tailor packages for unique clients and can dedicate our resources purely to the great landscaping industry.
We look forward to the future and watch this space for some exciting new developments in the New Year.