Marketing Hints and Tips:
Building density in your lawn care market
*This blog has been reposted
Golden Streets could be your ticket to profitable new customers. In a recovering economy, the golden street approach is your salvation, or get out of jail free card. But why do you need it? Two words: Windshield Time. Windshield time is the time technicians spend sitting in the truck, doing nothing but driving. If you want better profits, you need to cut this time down and the best way to do that is by catering to your golden streets. These are the neighborhoods where you already have profitable customers and have a good potential to add more customers. By building a customer base on golden streets your technicians spend very little time sitting and a lot more time working and securing profits.
How do you find them? Start by grading your current customers. Use your memory, Google Earth or your managers to sift through your current customers and “grade” their worth (click here to find an example of a grading system our customers have found useful in the past). Once you get your “A Streets” grab hold of them and don’t let go. Fall over yourselves to grant them their every wish and WOW them with the greatest service they’ve ever had. Once you’ve got them hooked, neighborhood gossip will circulate and soon you’ll be servicing several of their neighbors.
One thing to keep in mind when it comes to “A Streets” is that they love results but they also tend to be “environmentally conscious.” A great way to spark their interest in your company is by going organic! Don’t worry; making the switch isn’t as hard or expensive as you think. In fact, using Holganix, for example, will even save you money.
Marketing Hints and Tips
Social media top 3 best practices
Is your company on social media yet? Social media can be an effective and cheap way to communicate with your customers and prospects, allowing your customers to build trust and familiarity with your company. Here are three best practices for interacting on social media.
- Create a content calendar. Not only does this ensure that you are posting on a day-to-day basis, but it also allows you to save time from searching the Internet every day for conversation starters. Print out a simple weekday calendar and jot down what type of post you plant to make. For example, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, Holganix tries to post blogs and on Monday's Holganix tries to post some type of educational video.
- Post as often as you can. The sweet spot is 2-3 times each day. This allows your followers and fans to pay attention to you without clogging up their timeline.
- Pictures and videos are key! Pictures and videos are the most engaging posts. Not only will your fans/followers be more prone to like or comment on a picture/video, but the social media engines like these pieces best and are more likely to place your post on your fans’/followers’ timelines.
For more information, watch the video above and check out these sources: Blogging for the Lawn Care World, Social Media for the Lawn Care World.
Marketing Tips and Hints
Become a Purple Cow!
Think back on the last time you ever bothered to give a commercial or piece of advertisement a moment of your time. According to CBS the average person sees roughly 5,000 adds each day, yet despite these massive numbers we hardly pay any attention to them. This is because Americans have become so bombarded by boring advertisements and the dull companies that they no longer spark our attention.
In his book, The Purple Cow, Seth Godin calls these boring companies and advertisements brown cows. After all, we see brown cows all over rural America and never give them a second thought. Seth Godin believes the answer to the brown cow disease is to transform your company and/or marketing angle into a purple cow! A purple cow is a product, company or advertisement that is unique and remarkable; it’s something that grabs your attention and won’t let go. Make your company remarkable and worth talking about to win in today’s market.
Examples of Purple Cows:
- If you were watching 2012’s Super Bowl then you remember the Chevy commercial that played during half time, staring Clint Eastwood. It was entitled Halftime in America. This is a great example of a purple cow advertisement. In only 1 week it has had 6 million you tube hits alone! Click here to watch the commercial for yourself.
- Whether you like her or not,
- it’s hard not to notice Lady Gaga, especially when she shows up to receive awards wearing a dress made of meat! Lady Gaga is a prime example of a purple cow, after all how could you forget her?
- The whole concept of 1800-GOT-JUNK? is clean junk removal. When was the last time you put the words clean and junk together in one sentence? This company is remarkable and as a result they’ve reached 150 million dollars in 10 years and are now a global, international enterprise. But perhaps the craziest thing is that they practiced non-revenue marketing! Instead they wrote a simple one-page letter to Oprah, which after appearing on her show started an international phenomenon.
- Apple is another company that we all know and love. The thing that makes them a purple cow is their incredible focus on design and user inter-phase. Such a unique focus allowed Apple to reign supreme in an industry where Dell had held the monopoly.
So what makes you remarkable? How is your company different from your competition? How does your add stand out? Becoming a purple cow is easier then you think. It all comes down to adding value to customer’s lives. Making your product or service better, cheaper, safer or more convenient is sure to get you noticed. For those in the lawn care world an easy way to become a purple cow and add value to your customer’s lives is to useHolganix. Holganix is a 100% bio nutritional product that keeps your lawns greener, attracts customers and saves you money. Be remarkable and be worth making a remark about!
Marketing Hints and Tips
Entry 25: Blue Ocean Strategy Makes Competition Irrelevant
If you are a vendor with Holganix, you’ve probably seen the book Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne floating around. It’s become a tradition at Holganix to hand out the book to our vendors and members of our team. Why are we crazy about Blue Ocean Strategy? It’s simple: Blue Ocean Strategy makes competition irrelevant. Here’s how it works:
Authors Kim and Mauborgne have identified two markets: blue and red oceans. Red oceans are markets crowded with competitors, where you have to battle through the mob to win a piece of the pie. It’s exhausting and competitions sometimes end in bankruptcy. On the other hand, blue oceans are “uncontested market space.” They are so empty of competitors you can hear the tumbleweeds blow by. The best part is that you can create your own blue ocean! Here are two companies that take advantage of the blue ocean strategy:
1. Cirque du Soleil
Cirque du Soleil is an example of a company that successfully entered a blue ocean. Instead of catering to children as circuses traditionally have done, Cirque du Soleil targeted middle- and upper-class adults, giving them an artistic, almost otherworldly experience.
2. Yellow Tail Wine
Traditional wineries valued characteristics including age, legacy and complexity of their wines. This was a good approach for wine enthusiasts, but it outcasts the everyday individual that did not possess wine knowledge. Yellow Tail took a different approach and made the wine experience much less intimidating. They eliminated the fancy lingo and created a fun and adventurous wine that was easy to drink and select.
Ask yourself: How can you transform your company and make the competition irrelevant? How can you create a blue ocean? For more information on blue oceans and a strategic process to incorporate blue ocean strategy into your business, crack open your copy of the book or order one here.
Marketing Hints and Tips
Entry 23: Attending Real Greens’ Symposium Is a Must!
September is here! Have you registered for Real Green System’s marketing symposium yet? If you haven’t, do it now before you miss the chance to learn how to grow your company. It’s a great opportunity to network with others in the industry and learn about the latest in marketing techniques. Best of all, you don’t have to be a Real Green client to join.
Real Green’s marketing symposium allows lawn care companies to network with one another and learn from 2 days of workshops and seminars. September 19’s symposium will focus on learning today’s best marketing techniques to help you gain as many new customers as possible this upcoming season. You will also learn “how to get your website on the first page of Google to attain new sales” and how to up sell customers and get prospects by utilizing social media tools. Furthermore, the symposium will feature a panel discussion from numerous lawn care company owners where you can hear about their marketing experience.
The expected agenda will be as follows:
- Day one: Attendees have the opportunity to either network with others in the industry while teeing off on the golf course or touring one of Scott’s complexes. At night, there is a large welcome reception to start off the weekend.
- Day two: Attendees can sit in on several beneficial workshops followed by a tour of Real Greens’ headquarters and a BBQ. Some of the beneficial workshops include but are not limited to:
- Results of an Effective One-step Sale Process
- What Marketing Data to Use?
- Case Study on Web Marketing Planning
- What Percentage of Revenue Should You Spend on Marketing for a New Location Versus a More Mature Location?
- Day three: The third day is another day of workshops on marketing techniques that help grow your business. Some of the workshops include but are not limited to:
- Sales Training & Telemarketing
- How to Stop Customers that Leave 67% of the Time Because They Feel the Company is Indifferent to Their Needs
- Utilizing Social Media to Support Advertising, Enhance Brand Management and Improve Customer Relationships
According to Dorsey’s landscaping, the symposium has helped their company grow by leaps and bounds. The owner stated that their company has “more than tripled in the last 6 years thanks to Joe Kucik and Real Green Systems.” At Holganix, we always make time to visit any of Real Greens’ symposiums. Every time we learn something new from either the workshops or from simply talking with other symposium attendees. We hope to see you there!
Register for Real Greens Systems’ Symposium here. To learn more about how Real Green Systems can help grow your business, visit our blog entry featuring an interview with a Real Greens’ official.
Note: for the full agenda please visit their site here.
Marketing Hints and Tips
Entry 18: Taking Your Lawn Care Company from Good to Great
Business guru Jim Collins identifies several key principles in order to take a good company and transform it into a great one. One key principle is what Collins calls the “First Who… Then What.” Collins observed that Fortune 500 companies making the transformation from good to great took the time to find the right people (employees) and put them in the right positions before taking action. Great companies decided first whom to put on the team before vision and strategy.
Take this lesson to heart when looking at the team around you. Do you have the right people in the right places? If you could, would you hire them again? Do the people around you embody your company’s culture? If you hesitated to answer a definite “yes” to these questions, then it’s possible that you have the wrong people in the wrong places. However, great companies don’t rely upon layoffs to improve their performance. Many companies try to shuffle people around in different positions in order to find one that fits a specific employee. One great company had a rule that if an employee didn’t fit a position, they would reshuffle him/her three times before letting him/her go.
Collins also identified three rules for being “rigorous in people decisions:”
- “When in doubt, don’t hire -- keep looking.” Don’t settle for a B player; instead hold out until that A person comes along.
- Take action when you need to make a “people change.” If an individual isn’t making the fit don’t wait around to take action, you are wasting both your time and the employee’s.
- “Put your best people on your biggest opportunities, not your biggest problems.” Placing them on the front lines will only help you grow your company.
Look over your team and make sure you have the right people in the right places. For example, would one of your telemarketers make a better door-to-door salesman? Having the best team around you will allow you to grow your company exponentially and reach your potential. If you would like to learn more about Jim Collins and the other elements to turn your good company into a great one, pick up a copy of his book here.
Information from Jim Collins' best selling book: Good to Great.
Marketing Tips and Hints
Entry seventeen: Kick Start Your Fall Marketing Program
I know the fall seems a long time away, but it’s approaching quicker than you think. Take some time out of your day to create your plan of attack for your fall marketing program now and you’ll win big time. Here’s what you need to know!
Fall comes and goes faster than the spring, which means you need to have marketing ready to start hitting homes mid August. When marketing in the fall, you can promote the remainder of your fertilizer program (for the fall, this usually means 2 to 3 fertilizer applications), but also remember to up sell and discuss core aeration and seeding with your customers. Core aeration and seeding is one of the best things you can do for your customers’ lawns and creates a thicker, deeper root system.
This fall, try utilizing a Clipper or Valpak to bring in new customers. Also consider offering a discount or giving away a free fertilization in order to hook prospects on core aeration. Lastly, it’s very important that you remind your customers of the benefits of prepaying. This is a great move to capture cash flow quickly for growing your company and a good move for your customers since prepays usually include a discount.
Stay tuned for our upcoming entry on the benefits of core aerating and seeding during the fall season!
Marketing Hints and Tips
Entry 16: The Pumpkin Plan
A Simple Strategy to Grow a Remarkable Business in Any Field
Picture this: You are a small business owner, running around like a chicken with its head cut off to make ends meet. You wear all the hats from marketing, to sales, to boss and no matter how hard you work and no matter how many of your kids’ soccer games you miss, your business is just stuck in a rut. Your revenues won’t go up and when they do, your profits somehow fall simultaneously. Now be honest, does this sound anything like you?
Mike Michalowicz, author of The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur, has just released his newest book entitled The Pumpkin Plan. Its mission is to help you escape the entrepreneur trap described above. Pause what you are doing and listen up because we are about to dive into the key point Mike talks about.
The first thing Mike suggests we busy entrepreneurs do is this: Kill Off Your Clients! Sounds a little crazy, doesn’t it? Take a look at a list of your clients right now and assess which clients are rotten pumpkins and which are winners. The rotten pumpkins are the ones whose names, when mentioned, give you a headache and despite your love/hate relationship, you take time out of your day (or your employees’) and service them anyway. Fire them right away. “Rotten pumpkins stunt the growth of healthy ones,” says Mike. They are taking time away from your top clients, clients you need to nurture in order to gain other clients just like them.
After evaluating your clients, firing your bad customers and picking out your winners, it’s time to make them your number one priority. Give them your attention, and wowify them with your outstanding service (think golden street neighborhoods)! Figure out what makes them tick. Are your top customers athletic fields, schools or homeowners? Then do a 360 focus on creating services that cater to their special needs.
This was just a taste of some of the tips Mike has to offer in The Pumpkin Plan. If you want to learn more, visit his website or pick up his book and learn how to Pumpkin Plan your business and escape the entrepreneurial trap!
The Pumpkin Plan by Mike Michalowicz: http://pumpkinplan.com/
Marketing Hints and Tips
Entry 15: Call ‘Til You Drop- Telemarketing Tips
While reading Steve Kaplan’s book entitled Bag the Elephant, I came across a wealth of good tips for making a sales call that I am dying to share. Much of this article is based from his book, and I highly recommend picking it up when you have spare time.
Before You Pick Up the Phone
Before you even start dialing your list of prospects, there are several things you should consider to make the most of each potential customer. First off, contemplate sending out a mailing that overviews your company and the awesome services you provide. This makes your company’s name familiar and helps build legitimacy. Another thing to keep in mind is to create a script or bullet points. Practice your script so it runs smoothly and rope in another employee to get suggestions for improvement. Finally, get organized. You are on your phone 24/7 and that means keeping track of a lot of information. Create a prospect contact sheet or explore the benefits of Real Green Systems that organize all of the information for you.
Making the Call
You’re about to start dialing your first potential customer for the day; take a deep breath, relax and think positive thoughts. People are more willing to buy from salespeople who sound confident and upbeat. Now that the phone is ringing, follow the steps below:
- Don’t leave a voicemail. Almost 99% of the time, your potential customers aren’t going to call you back. Furthermore, leaving a voicemail makes you look desperate and doing so means you can’t call the customer back for a few days.
- Keep on calling. Have a list of potential customers to call for the day and start from the top to the bottom…. Then do it again and again until they answer the phone. As soon as they pick up, mention the mailing you sent out a few days earlier.
- It’s all about the numbers. The more people you call, the more sales you’ll make. Not everyone will say yes, but that doesn’t mean you should stop calling.
- Silence is okay. It’s difficult to tolerate silence when you’re on the phone, but do it anyway. Often, silence is a result of the customer debating on whether to commit to a sale. If you speak up with something like, “Think about it and I’ll call you tomorrow,” you’d only be giving them the chance to say no.
- Go for the close. Once you have them on the phone, do whatever it takes to get them to say yes to the sale. Throw them a discount or a referral to change their minds.
- Make it a selling party! Don’t try to call by yourself. Instead, make it a selling party and add a competitive edge to the task. Consider designating a reward for your top salespeople to further encourage competition.
- Don’t give up. If you’re new to the game of telemarketing, don’t give up too quickly. Often times, it takes about a week to pick up your sales momentum.
After the Sale
Just because you made the sale doesn’t mean you’re off the hook. Send them an email or a letter to restate what you talked about on the phone. Take every advantage to build a relationship with your customer and increase their loyalty.
Stay tuned for next week’s Marketing Tips and Hints series or visit this link for a full catalogue of Holganix marketing tips to use to your advantage.
Kaplan, Steve. Bag the Elephant. Austin: Bard Press, 2005. Print.
Other Valuable Sources
Marketing Hints and Tips
Entry nine: Utilizing the Power of Real-Time Marketing
An important facet in business today is real-time marketing. What does that mean? It’s an idea developed by marketing guru David Meerman Scott that means taking action now on something that has happened today. A lot of big companies are caught up in bureaucracy and red tape. In order to take any action, they must consult committee after committee, only to wind up acting on yesterday’s stale news. We lawn care companies can transform this flaw into a positive and use it to get ahead of big companies.
With today’s fast-paced world, there are several ways that you can help get your business in real time. Social media is free and easy to use, so long as you’re willing to give your time and attention. Get on Facebook and start tweeting on Twitter, connect with others in your industry and pay attention to what’s happening now. Other great tools to utilize are Google Alerts and Google Places. Google Alerts allows you to track and follow certain terms and receive alerts automatically to your email address. For instance, Holganix tagged the term “bio stimulant” on Google Alerts. Every time the phrase “bio stimulant” is mentioned, the Holganix CMO receives an email allowing her to act in real time, immediately. Google Places is a super easy way to get in real time. It allows you to input your location information into Google’s database so it shows up correctly when an individual searches for you or lawn care companies in the area.
Even as a lawn care provider, real-time marketing can make all the difference in your marketing strategy. It allows you to speak directly to your audience, which in itself is a valuable tool. If you offer helpful advice, you are seen as a leader in your industry. It also builds customer loyalty, gets your name recognized and creates customers. Best of all, putting you and your company out before your audience ensures that, when your potential customer’s need is greatest they’ll choose you over a different company.
What it all comes down to is, taking action in the now and not waiting for tomorrow. When the whole world can be connected with a single tweet, procrastination is your undoing. Cut the red tape and don’t stumble through the bureaucratic details, act now and win big time!
Stay tuned for next week’s article on Blogging and learn how it can help you act in real time.
Want to learn more about real time marketing? Check out this video of David Meermen Scott and his take on real-time marketing!
Real-time marketing credit goes to David Meermen Scott. Check out his site http://www.davidmeermanscott.com/books/real-time-marketing-pr/ or his book entitled Real-Time Marketing & PR