If you haven’t already started marketing your tree and shrub program, now is the time! Tree and shrub programs not only allow you to beautify your customers’ landscapes but are also an excellent source of additional revenue from current and prospective customers. And who doesn’t like that? In fact, you can expect 10-30% of your current customers to sign up for tree and shrub applications.
When designing a marketing campaign, including elements of both inbound and outbound marketing is key. Outbound marketing includes direct mail, telemarketing and advertising. It’s designed to push customer to you. However, inbound marketing includes tactics like social media, blogging and SEO. It’s designed to pull customers to you. Including inbound marketing tactics in conjunction with your outbound marketing efforts is the sweet spot.
Don’t know where to get started? Try following this sample marketing campaign timeline for a source of inspiration (see below). Then, watch the webinar to dig into the optimal methods of marketing tree and shrub.
In this webinar you’ll learn:
Why you should include tree and shrub applications in your service portfolio
How to determine who is your target market?
How to build a tree and shrub campaign including inbound and outbound marketing tactics.
What your marketing campaign timeline should look like.
About the numerous tools Holganix has available for marketing tree and shrub, including free postcard designs.
In his Editor’s Insight this month, Chuck Bowen of Lawn and Landscape warned companies to steer clear of the rat race – or the race to offer the lowest price possible in order to capture market share. A lot of the time, we are so manically focused on attaining new customers, that we offer impossible-to-fulfill promises and forget to look back at the numbers and whether or not those promises are sustainable.
The academics like to call the rat race the Cost Leadership Strategy after Michael Porters’ Harvard Business Review article, What is Strategy?. It’s the strategy few can afford; where companies offer the lowest price possible to beat the competition. Think of Walmart and their “Always low prices... always!” slogan. No one can beat Walmart on price, but can you run a sustainable business on Walmart pricing?
However, this isn’t the only strategy available. Differentiating your company allows you to command a higher price than national lawn care companies. Position your brand in a way that allows you to attract customers while avoiding the price trap. Going green or promoting the fact that your company is results-driven are two ways of differentiating your company. Another example is Southern Botanical, a Dallas, Texas-based company featured in this year’s L&L 100 list. Southern Botanical is laser focused on offering the best customer service in the region. In order to fulfill that goal, they send their employees to train at 5-star hotels like the Four Seasons and the Ritz Carlton.
So, as you start planning your next marketing piece, be wary of hard-to-fulfill offers. While it’s important to capture the reader’s attention, creating a sustainable business model is the real trump card.
Just like a machine that produces a car, imagine dumping marketing stuff – post cards, advertising etc, and then suddenly your sales pop out of the machine ready to do business? This machine, called the marketing machine by marketing guru Eric Keiles, does exist. But instead of being a tangible piece of equipment, the marketing machine is “an integrated marketing program that takes a potential new business inquiry or suspect from Point A and ends with a sale at Point Z.” Along the way, your marketing machine uses various tactics to reach out and communicate with your lead. In this way, there is a constant flow of communication between your company and the lead. That means your prospect remembers your name when their pain or desire for your lawn care service is at its greatest.
In the marketing machine, you collect contact information from your prospect at Point A. This contact information can be generated from a call fielded to your office, or can include information gathered from home shows or cancels. At Point B, you might send that prospect a post card. A week later, at Point C you might give your prospect a follow-up call. Then at Point D, you might send them an invitation to join a webinar. Your prospect may not sign up for lawn care services until Point K. However, your goal is to constantly reach out to your prospects so that when their pain is at its greatest, your company is the first on their mind.
Marketers and lawntrepreneurs be warned! The marketing machine doesn’t produce a customer overnight. It’s a process that could take a week or a year.
Think of it this way: Prospect Joe Smith may have been in your marketing machine for a month. He’s been using a competing lawn care company and has been fairly happy with the results. He isn’t interested in switching lawn care companies, until suddenly your competitor dropped the ball. They mixed inputs incorrectly, burned the lawn or just had one dandelion too many. Regardless, Joe Smith is ready to make the switch. Since you’ve added Joe to your marketing machine you have had a constant flow of communication with Joe. To steal a line from Ghostbusters, “Who are they gonna call?” Well, who do you think? You of course!
Ready to build your marketing machine? Marketing guru and author of Reality Marketing Revolution has been announced as the keynote speaker at the 2014 Bionutritional Summit in Louisville, Kentucky on October 22 (the day before GIE+EXPO). Click the button below to register for the event.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!