Marketing Hints and Tips:
Keep it simple stupid!
Keep it simple stupid (KISS). You’ve all heard the phrase before, yet why is it that so few people truly capitalize on the idea? Why do we try to fit so many messages, offers and words into small spaces? Do we truly think anyone will take the time to read them?
When Casella wines launched the [yellow tail] brand in the competitive U.S. market, they didn’t try and fit as many fancy words on their bottle as possible. Instead, they took the opposite approach. In an industry where wine manufacturers tend to cram lengthy descriptions on wine bottles, Casella (aka Yellow Tail) chose only six words. In less than three years after launching [yellow tail] in the U.S. market, they became the number one imported wine in America. Not only are they killing it in the wine arena, but they’ve expanded the market to amateur wine drinkers who were intimidated or turned off by the complexity of traditional labels.
KISS is the golden marketing rule and it doesn’t just apply to wine manufacturers; it applies to your lawn care company too! Check out the random postcard we pulled from Google Images. What do you think; is the postcard simple?
Here’s an example (albeit a biased one!) of a postcard that follows the KISS rule. Notice the amount of wording, the offers and image that convey a clear-cut message.
As we move into preparing for fall lawn care sales, marketing folks, keep this rule in mind: Keep It Simple Stupid.
The Holganix Blog
5 common myths about Holganix
Myth Number One:
When summer arrives, put away the sprayer
Just because Mother Nature has cranked up the heat, it doesn’t mean you can’t spray or spread Holganix on turf or plants. Holganix non-nitrogen liquid products have no burn potential and Holganix granular products have very little burn potential. What's really cool is that Holganix can actually help you maintain turf health when summer stress and drought conditions hit. While your turf may still go dormant, Holganix helps the grass go into dormancy later and come out earlier than traditional synthetic fertilizers. It’s also a great upsell for homeowners, and who doesn’t like a little extra revenue during the slow season?
Myth Number Two:
You can’t spray Holganix in the fall
Just because autumn hits, it doesn’t mean you can’t spray or spread Holganix. The winter of 2013-2014 was brutal. In many regions, spring arrived several weeks late, putting pressure on turf professionals as they dealt with a constrained spring season. Many Holganix users noticed that if they sprayed/spread Holganix last fall, they had less winter injury than those that didn’t. Winter tolerance further increased for those that have been using Holganix for more than a year. While many still had winter injury, they weren’t suffering on the same scale as those that used traditional synthetic means. It just goes to show how important nourishing and caring for your soil and root systems can be.
Myth Number Three:
When it comes to compost, a tea is a tea
Not all compost teas are alike. Many DIY teas are inconsistent with ingredients and therefore results. This is because it’s difficult to know and understand what ingredients you are putting into your tea. Holganix has a consistent ingredient list that guarantees great results every time.
Myth Number Four:
Holganix is just a food source
Holganix contains living microorganisms, not just food sources. Utilizing Holganix is focused on adding to your soil ecosystem and feeding the microorganisms that are present. Because Holganix contains living microorganisms as opposed to food sources, Holganix users are all provided with refrigeration equipment to store the product. In essence, refrigeration is required to keep the products’ living microorganisms alive.
Myth Number Five:
You can’t use fungicides
While many fungicides are considered non-compatible with Holganix because of their “kill all” approach to eliminating fungi, this isn’t the case with all products. After prolonged testing, we are confident that many fungicides are compatible with Holganix. Many of these fungicides can be used at reduced rates when utilized alongside Holganix. Check out this page to search for your fungicide. Keep in mind that if your fungicide isn’t compatible with Holganix, in most cases you can still use the product. The true danger lies in tank mixing non-compatible fungicides with Holganix.
Marketing Hints and Tips:
Crank Out that Fall Marketing Plan!
It seems like only yesterday we were excitedly preparing for the impending spring craze. Even though it may feel like we are in the midst of summer, fall is coming sooner than you think. Now is the time to start discussing your fall marketing plan in order to capitalize on growth opportunities for the end of 2014. What can you do to get your marketing plan in shape?
- Create a fall BHAG. Creating a Big Hairy Audacious Goal, or BHAG, is critical for the season’s success. Gather up your team and discuss what your fall sales goal is for the season. Remember to break down your goal by week and day to make your BHAG more quantifiable. Check out this blog entry on BHAGs for additional information and instruction.
- What are you going to sell? Fall marketing allows you to promote those last 2 to 3 fertilizer applications but also acts as an avenue to up-sell your current customers. Remember to reach out to customers about upgrading their fertilization program to include core aeration and seeding and other fall specials.
- Set the sales hook and reel them in! What incentives are you offering new customers for signing on with your company? Remember to keep core aeration and free fertilization in your back pocket of sales tricks. Offering current and prospective customers the ability to prepay in exchange for a small discount is another great hook! Your customers get a nice discount for their efforts and you get cash upfront for growth opportunities.
- Join in on a Wise Webinar. Nicole Wise, Holganix Head of Marketing, has announced a new webinar series designed to help get your fall marketing plan ship shape. You can RSVP for the Building Your Fall Marketing Plan webinar here.
*This blog has been reposted.
The Science Behind Holganix:
Five things you didn’t know about using Holganix with aeration and overseeding
Wicked fast seed germination – Increase the likelihood of germination with nitrogen-fixing bacteria found in all Holganix products. These hard working bacteria help convert nitrogen locked in the soil and air and convert it to a readily available form for your seedlings. Check out this case study on seed germination by Whitehouse Landscaping.
It’s all about the roots – As always, with Holganix we are always focused on rooting. Mycorrhizae as well as fulvic and humic acids help your seedlings stimulate deeper, thicker root development, helping the turf establish itself faster.
Water, water, everywhere – Natural wetting agents help seedlings make better use of available water. Why does this occur? The natural wetting agents slow moisture, spreading it evenly and deeper in the soil. This makes water available to young roots and encourages longer root growth.
Remediating top soils – Most top soils are known for their lack of nutrients and microorganisms. It’s important to replace these vital organisms, ultimately giving your seedlings a better chance for survival.
Increasing seed longevity – Because of the ingredients within Holganix, the plant increases to the “tiller stage” or maturity faster. Ultimately, it allows for an increase in the plant’s longevity.
Marketing Hints and Tips
Ready for more revenue?
“There is nothing more frustrating,” says Holganix CEO Barrett Ersek as he reflects on when he ran lawn care companies, “than the summer lag on revenue.” After all, with the summer in full swing, no one wants to talk about lawn care. For Ersek, the real secret to earning revenue in the summer was upselling, specifically upselling aeration and overseeding. “With aeration, I could nearly double the revenue per customer.” Ultimately, this meant turning a $500 client into one worth $1,000 while providing real value for the customer.
“The need for aeration is the most obvious during the hot summer months when your customers’ pain is at its greatest,” says Ersek. Aeration is key to maintaining a healthy turf. It also helps build a thick, web-like root system – the ultimate natural solution when dealing with summer stress, disease and weeds – problems you face during the summer. So, how do you upsell aeration and overseeding?
At the end of the day, it’s important to select your most likely candidates for aeration and overseeding. “These are the folks that are picky about the look of their grass,” said Ersek. The key is to educate your client base on the value of receiving aeration. “When the customer is properly informed, upselling specialized lawn services [like aeration and overseeding] does not require pushy selling,” says Lawn and Landscape magazine in an article on the subject.
“Your best plan,” says Nicole Wise, Holganix Head of Marketing and a former marketing coordinator for a regional lawn care company, “is to utilize direct mail and inbound marketing techniques like emails, YouTube and blogging to educate the customer on aeration.” Supplement these efforts with phone calls and your return on investment could double.
“As you plan out your marketing campaigns, try not to be too sales-y,” cautions Wise. While it’s important to deliver a clear offer to entice customers, you want to educate rather than sell. Keeping the message clear and concise is also key. “You don’t want to cloud up a direct mail piece or any other marketing materials with too much information and multiple offers; otherwise prospects won’t even bother to read about your services.”
Need some extra help? Wise has already done the hard work for you. Click the button below to access all of the aeration upsell marketing pieces we've designed to help you bring in new revenue. The peices include easy, printable direct mail pieces and upsell letters. We’d be more than happy to customize the pieces by including your logo in the postcards, free of charge. Reach out to Holganix Communication Specialist, Suzanne Longacre for details (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The Science Behind Holganix:
Holganix Bloom 101
April showers may bring flowers. But it isn’t just the rain that helps create beautiful, vivacious flowers; there are a lot of Mother Nature’s mysteries at work. In the below webinar, Dr. Neidermyer, the Director of Plant and Soil Sciences discusses the science behind healthy flowers and delves into Holganix’s newest product: Bloom. Here are the top five takeaways from his presentation:
1. Roots, roots, roots!
Roots are immensely important to flower health. In general, roots carry 24-30% of the plant’s weight and are responsible for supporting the plant as well as the uptake of water and nutrients.
2. Summon the microorganisms
The plant secretes things like organic acids, sugars, polysaccharides, proteins, amino acids and enzymes to attract beneficial microorganisms and to help balance the pH of the soil. See below for additional reasons why microorganisms are so important.
3. Microorganisms rock!
Microorganisms protect the flower from pathogens and help influence the plant’s behavior. They are also responsible for NUE, or nitrogen use efficiency, ensuring your plant gets the nitrogen it needs.
4. What’s in the jug?
Holganix Bloom is a concentrated compost tea selected to promote flowering. The ingredients in the compost favor bacteria over fungi in order to prevent damping off.
5. What are the benefits?
Specifically, Holganix promotes 5 key components to flower health: bud initiation, bud growth, flower initiation, flowering size and color intensity.
Holganix Case Studies:
Terry Schafer's seed germination update
In late October of 2013, Holganix representative Mike Reed made a bold comment: “We should get a speeding ticket because we germinate seed so fast!” He was referencing seed germination by Terry’s Lawn Service in Morristown, Indiana where CEO and Founder Terry Shafer completely renovated his 1.5-acre yard. He had reseeded his turf with blue seed and seven days later, Shafer applied the Holganix lawn product at 10 ounces per 1,000 square feet. Within twelve days, the lawn had filled in nicely.
After seven months, Tom Fox, a representative of a Holganix distributor, Advanced Turf Solutions, paid a call to see how Schafer’s turf was progressing. “We were really excited by the quality of the turf,” says Fox. For more information and to view Terry's original results, check out our blog article: Terry's super fast seed germination success!
Check out the updated results below.
12 days after seeding
22 days after seeding
7 months later - May 29, 2014
The Holganix Blog:
“My money’s on the wee one!”
It all started when four friends planned a golf trip to Scotland in 1985. The caddies were placing bets on the golfers as they stood on the tee. One caddie declared, “My money’s on the wee one!” The wee one was Wayne Otto, CGCS. On October 21, 2004, Otto lost his battle to cancer. In honor of his work and passion for the golf industry, his friends and colleagues created The Wee One Foundation “as a tribute to Wayne to assist golf course management professionals (or their dependents) who incur overwhelming expenses due to medical hardship without comprehensive insurance or adequate financial resources.”
A couple weeks ago, Holganix had the honor of taking place in a Wee One Foundation Auction, where the profits of the auctioned items went to Otto’s fund. Holganix donated a refrigerator, filled to the brim with Holganix golf product. Kerry Ohlwine, Superintendent of Chestnuthills Golf Club in Fort Wayne, IN, was the winner of the product. “[I’m] looking forward to trying Holganix!”says Ohlwine.
A heartfelt thank you to Ohlwine for participating in the Wee One Auction and to the members of the Wee One Foundation for supporting our fellow golf industry leaders when they need it most!
Holganix Case Studies:
Taking it to the next level!
“It was time to take it to the next step,” says Rebecca Auchter the Sports Turf Manager of Cranberry Township in western Pennsylvania. Auchter was referring to the turf program designed for Cranberry Township’s three parks, which contain 40 acres of athletic fields (the parks themselves total 300 acres of green space). The newest athletic field, known as the Dicks Sportsplex at Gram Park, contains 18 acres of fully irrigated turf. Not long after a phased opening in 2008/2009, it was clear to Cranberry Township that they needed a professional to help maintain the quality of turf they have come to expect. Auchter, an Ohio State Turfgrass Management graduate, had spent the first 15 years of her career in the golf industry before delving into sports turf. She managed the grounds at Ohio Dominican University and then Washington and Jefferson College, so she was well suited for the task of managing Cranberry Township’s fields.
When Auchter joined the Cranberry Township team in 2011, the first thing she did was set a program that included sports turf best practices. Yet, a year later it was easy to see that the Cranberry Township team had taken the field as far as they would go under the current program. It was time to take it to the next level.
The problem stemmed from the high amounts of traffic, which was putting the turf under major stress. Cranberry Township's athletic fields host over 4,000 events annually. For example, the baseball/softball fields see 200+ games annually. Other problems included the clay-based soils andpoor rooting (due to the high traffic and clay soils). “I knew that I needed to up our game or we weren’t going to keep up with expectations given the traffic and play that Cranberry Township wanted to have on the fields,” reports Auchter.
In early spring of 2013, Jeff Brooks of Advanced Turf Solutions (ATS) and the account rep for Cranberry Township, introduced Auchter to Holganix. “We provided soil and water tests to Holganix scientists and both the ATS and Holganix teams looked over the program closely,” reflects Auchter. One of the major deficiencies was clearly root penetration. “We had trouble getting roots past 2 to 3 inches.”
They applied four applications of Holganix Golf Product, totaling 35 ounces of Holganix per 1,000 square feet for the whole year. “We could easily quantify a significant improvement in root depth and the growth of new root hairs.” Auchter was able to find 5+-inch root, even in the center – the most highly trafficked area – of the field.
Another huge difference Holganix was able to affect was the amount of nitrogen needed in order to keep the fields growing and looking their best. In 2012, Auchter used 5.1 lb per 1,000 sq ft of nitrogen on her fields. In 2013, Auchter was able to reduce her use of nitrogen by 28% to 3.8 lb per 1,000 sq ft of nitrogen. Not only did Auchter report that she had no color or growth issues, but by reducing her nitrogen inputs, Holganix was able to pay for itself.
This year, Auchter is continuing the Holganix program. “We’ll be doing 5 applications this year at 7 oz per 1,000 square feet per app,” says Auchter.“Holganix is a huge help in maintaining the health of my highly trafficked turf and that’s where I see the greatest value… I’m looking forward to seeing how the turf does this year with Holganix!”
Marketing Hints and Tips
Bursting at the seams?
Bursting at the seams? That’s what a Lawn and Landscape Magazine article dubbed Buckeye EcoCare’s business growth. Mark Grunkenmeyer, founder and CEO of Buckeye EcoCare in Dayton, Ohio, is growing his business and growing it fast. However, instead of growing without restraint, Grunkenmeyer makes calculated, strategic moves in order to manage his growth. For Grunkenmeyer, it’s all about maintaining sustainable growth of the business instead of surge growth, allowing him to continuously uphold his brand promise for great service.
So what’s the trick? According to Grunkenmeyer in an interview with Lawn and Landscape Magazine, the trick is in target marketing specific zip codes that yield high profits and help build density. In addition, he’ll zoom in and focus on the high profit potential zip codes and ensure that they receive mailings several times until he reaches saturation as opposed to just once.
“It’s all about those golden streets,” says Holganix Head of Marketing Nicole Wise of Grunkenmeyer’s growth tactic. Golden streets are neighborhoods that your company already has a presence in and consists of homes that contain high profit potential. Ultimately, it allows you to cut down on windshield time, the time it takes your technician to go from place to place, and focus efforts on neighborhoods with the greatest reward opportunity.
For Grunkenmeyer, those golden streets are “single-family, owner-occupied households with certain income levels.” Your golden streets might be different from Grunkenmeyer but the idea remains the same.
“And the repetitive mailing? I love that!” says Wise. “It all comes back to the marketing wheel. You have to be touching your prospects in some way every 3 weeks in order to ensure that your brand is remembered when those prospect’s pain is at its greatest.” Repeating marketing campaigns similar to how Grunkenmeyer sends out several mailings as opposed to just one, mirrors this idea. “Repetition, repetition, repetition!” says Wise.