The Holganix Blog

6 Inspiring Lawn Care Marketing Resources

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Just because you're gearing up for a crazy spring season, doesn’t mean it’s time to slow down on marketing and selling your lawn care services. Don’t get off the marketing and sales hamster wheel just yet, or risk losing your momentum and compromising your growth opportunities.

Take 15 minutes each day to follow up with a lead, write a social media post, mail a post card or send out an email newsletter.

Has operations chaos sapped you of all creative juices? Check out the list of resources below on marketing and sales for busy LAWNtrepreneurs. 

 

Holganix Launch Box

The Holganix Launch Box is filled with tools to help you start marketing your use of Holganix. It’s an excellent resource to cheat on your marketing and sales initiatives and to R&D (rip off and duplicate) from marketing tools Holganix has already created for you. Tools include but aren’t limited to social media posts, customer letters, blogs and email blasts, all on Holganix.

>>Download the Holganix Launch Box

 

Branding Your Lawn Care Company

Get inspired by this Holganix webinar featuring Linda Thomas, The Director of Marketing at Real Green Systems. According to Linda, branding is more than just a logo. Watch the webinar to establish what BRANDING really means and what you can do to establish a successful brand for your lawn care company. 

Reading this blog via email, click here to access the video.

  

How to Get Your Ideas to Spread

In a world where consumers are faced with too many options, it’s easy to ignore the ordinary and boring. Instead, Seth Godin urges marketers and entrepreneurs to build products, services and campaigns that are Remarkable. The term “remarkable” means it’s worth making a remark about. Remarkable products, services and campaigns are inspiring and crazy, and certainly not boring.

Watch Seth Godin’s TED Talk entitled, How to get your ideas to spread for remarkable marketing inspiration. Reading this blog via email, click here to access the video.

  

4 Minutes of Focused Spring Marketing Tips

Holganix CEO and Founder, Barrett Ersek is a former lawn care company owner. In the below 4-minute video, Barrett compiles his favorite lessons on spring marketing from his 20+ years of experience on building, running and selling lawn care companies. Hint, getting customers from marketing initiatives doesn’t ALWAYS mean selecting the cheapest tool in your marketing arsenal. 

Reading this blog via email, click here to access the video.

 

Social Media Tips for Lawn Care Companies

Social media is a tough nut to crack. However, utilizing social media in lawn care enables you to build relationships with customers, creating a more loyal fan base. Furthermore, you can tap into your customers’ friends or followers and maintain an up-to-date flow of information about the goings-on in your company including coupons and sales.

This short blog will discuss how to jump on the social media bandwagon with tips specific to the lawn and landscape industry.

>>Read the social media blog article

 

Your Elusive, Creative Genius

For those of you stuck in a creative rut, here's a TED Talk that is sure to inspire your inner creative genius. Elizabeth Gilbert of famed Eat, Pray, Love explores the art of creativity and shares the radical idea that, instead of the rare person "being" a genius, all of us "have" a genius. 

Reading this blog via email, click here to access the video.

Tags: lawn care, marketing hints and tips, lawn care marketing

Is telemarketing dying in the lawn care industry?

When it comes to growing your lawn care business, many lawntrepreneurs turn to telemarketing to get the job done. That’s because it not only works, but success is easily measured. Our CEO, Barrett Ersek, grew his first two lawn care companies primarily through telemarketing. When the “Do Not Call List” came out, his sales strategy took a hit, but he pushed through regardless. Today, with cell phones being the predominant means of communication (forget the landline) and the increasing number of people electing to join the “Do Not Call List”, telemarketing has gotten difficult. So, Is telemarketing dying in the lawn care industry?

telemarketing_child.jpg

While telemarketing is undeniably tough (how many times do you have to listen to someone scream at you before you lose heart?), it’s still crucial to growing lawn care companies. At the 2016 Real Green Systems Conference held in January, we had the opportunity to speak with many lawn care company owners and sales managers that are still getting awesome results and relying heavily on telemarketing. For example, most of Go Green Lawn Care’s customers come through their team of telemarketers. But, we also saw a lot of lawn care companies looking for alternative ways of reaching prospects.

Go Organic in New Jersey has been testing paid advertising on the internet as a means of reaching prospects. George Louvis, their Head of Marketing, has been optimistic about the strategy. Other lawn care companies have started utilizing social media and content marketing as a means of warming up leads. Oasis Lawn Care in Ohio has seen some action on Angie’s List.

Regardless of your approach, telemarketing remains a very important tool in your sales arsenal. But, coupling telemarketing with alternative marketing and sales methods is important and can even boost your acquisition of prospects.

Want to learn more about alternative marketing and sales methods? Check out these blogs and videos:

lawn care strategy in a box

Tags: lawn care, marketing hints and tips, lawn care marketing, telemarketing

Okay... What is your 2016 lawn care strategy?

When it comes to being a lawntrepreneur, there are a lot of ups and downs; and it’s difficult to know when the next ebb or flow will occur. While we can’t predict the future, we can certainly plan for it. As 2015 winds down, consider spending time to prepare for 2016 and whatever adventures this year brings.

What should you consider when creating your 2016 strategic plan?

 

Marketing and Sales

Okay, by far the most exciting part of creating your annual Strategic Plan is thinking about all the sales you’re going to make! Growth is always a fun problem for a business to have. But, there are several key things keep in mind when creating your marketing and sales plan.Chess_set_strategy-086980-edited.jpg

Acquisition Cost: The first thing to consider is how much it costs your company to acquire a customer. By understanding your acquisition costs, you can decide how much you are willing to invest in your marketing and sales budget. If you have a $100 acquisition cost and you’re goal is to reel in 100 new customers, you will need to invest $10,000 in marketing and sales.

Which Tools to Use: The second thing to consider is how you’re going to use your marketing budget. What method works best for your area and your customer segments? Door-to-door sales? Telemarketing? Direct mail? Social media? There are a lot of cool tools in your sales arsenal and it’s important to keep track of which tool works best. If you haven’t measured your sales tools performance in the past, consider dedicating some time to that this year. We recommend providing special offer codes for each segment. When a prospect calls in and provides their special offer code, you can track and see which methods are the most popular and utilize those tools more often than the others.

How Often Do You Market: If you expect to get a lot of customers out of one round of post cards, think again. When it comes to marketing, your company should constantly be reaching out to prospects. Sometimes it takes several postcards or forms of marketing and sales before a customer says yes. Consider ensuring that your prospects are touched every three weeks for optimal results. Learn more about this awesome concept here.

Do You Sell or Do You Story Tell: When designing a marketing and sales campaign, consider how you sell your services. In a recent blog article by Seth Godin, Seth pointed out that each time Steve Jobs appeared in public, he was selling something. Yet, despite his job as champion salesman, people lined out the door to hear him showcase his latest toy. Why is this the case? Each time Steve Jobs was before a crowd, he wasn’t just selling, he was telling a story and that story resonated with his prospects and clients. How can you tell your company’s story in such a way that you become the Steve Jobs of lawn care?

Want some more help? Consider attending one of Marketing Suzanne’s webinars to gain access to a free marketing plan template and to put your plan into action.

 

Finances

Despite a lack of an appetite for finance, it’s always amazing to consider the fact that you can understand the general health of your company based on three simple pieces of paper – AKA your financial statements. Sometimes it’s necessary for us to go back to the basics, review our P&L and other financial statements and examine the overall health of the company. Perhaps the most handy statement to review is the P&L or income statement. When looking at your P&L, be sure to review your Cost of Goods Sold (COGS), Gross Margin and Gross Margin Percentage.

COGS: Your COGS represent the direct costs attributed to the production of services sold. What does that really mean? Simply put, your COGS tell you what it costs for you to do business. If your COGS are too high, it’s time to take a look at your expenses to see if you’re spending/investing your money properly.

Gross Margin: Your gross margin is the percentage of sales revenue retained after incurring COGS. In other words, it’s the money left in your wallet after all the direct costs are taken in account (think direct labor cost, fuel, fertilizer and truck). Keep in mind that gross margin doesn’t take in account management costs like marketing, sales and accounting. Your gross margin will give you an idea of what kind of money you can use to invest in your business for 2016.

Gross Margin Percentage: Your Gross Margin Percentage is:

Total sales revenue – COGS / Total sales revenue. Make sure your gross margin percentage is kept relatively high. One of the awesome things about lawn care is the high gross margin incurred. Try to keep your company between 40% - 60%. Of course, this number varies depending on pricing, product quality and density of your customers.

Want to learn more about the P&L, click here to watch a recorded webinar on the subject!

 

Company Culture Health

Sometimes Strategic Plans aren’t only about the money. After all, if you’re team isn’t running efficiently, you can’t possibly hope to reach your sales goal for 2016! Take a look at your team. How can you better maximize your team players? Is there something that you as a leader can be doing better to motivate your employees? When looking at the overall health of your company’s culture, consider these three things:

Core Values: Have you created core values for your company? If not, read this article on creating core values. If you do have core values, do you and your team really live by them? Try incorporating your core values into the daily life of your company. Name an all-star employee that lives by a core value or tell stories of when an employee practiced a core value. Check out this list of ideas on how to better incorporate core values into your company’s daily life.

Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG): Your BHAG is a goal that’s so audacious as to be inspiring, but not too out there as to be unreachable. The goal’s purpose is to motivate your company and community (that means investors, clients etc) to root for your success. At Holganix, our BHAG is to eliminate:

100,000,000 pounds of nitrates

25,000,000 pounds of phosphates

100,000,000 ounces of concentrated pesticides from entering the universe by 2018.

It’s a pretty big goal, but with each jug of Holganix sold we come closer and closer to reaching it. What’s your BHAG? Click here to learn more about setting BHAGs.

Creating your 2016 strategic plan won’t keep away the adversity that comes with running a business, but it can help unite your company and accomplish your sales goals for 2016. Start working on your strategic plan now, before 2016 arrives. When you hit your goals, let us know! We love to hear your success stories.

Grow your lawn care company

Tags: lawn care, marketing hints and tips, lawn care marketing, marketing plan, lawn care marketing plan, plan, strategic plan, lawn care business plan, financial plan

Marketing Hints and Tips: 200% increase in growth at Go Green Lawn Service

“I started cutting lawns when I was 15 years old,” says Andrew Gabries of Go Green Lawn Service. “At first, I just wanted a couple extra bucks but it soon turned into a full fledged business. By 2010, we added lawn fertilization to our list of services.”

While at first, fertilization wasn’t a service Andrew focused on, in 2011 he added Holganix and started pushing the program. From 2012 to 2013, Andrew achieved a 200% increase in growth and his customers were extremely happy with the results.

 Like many lawn care companies, Go Green suffers from four main barriers to growth:

  1. Employees: “Finding reliable people is difficult,” says Andrew. “It’s one of the limiting factors to our growth.”
  2. Marketing: “Getting your name out there can be a hurdle,” says Chris Stout, Customer Service Manger for Go Green. To boost their brand awareness, Go Green uses 18 different lead generation tools, including: bright, colorful vinyl wrapped trucks, large lawn signs, Angie’s List, Clipper, Valpak and Every Door Direct Mail. “One of the big tools we have in our arsenal is the fact that we are using organics. This is huge when you are being compared to the TruGreens and Scotts,” says Chris. Holganix has also helped GoGreen shape their marketing plan and develop marketing pieces. Click here to access Holganix University and steal marketing pieces developed for lawn care companies.
  3. Results: Finding the right products can be a pain. However, Chris states, “I can see the difference between a Holganix and synthetic program. You can see the results.”
  4. Money to invest in all the above: “We are always spending a lot of money,” says Andrew. “Especially on marketing.” According to Andrew, about 20% of their gross margin goes towards the marketing budget. “But at the end of the day,” says Andrew. “If you aren’t doing a good job, marketing isn’t gong to help. You need to support customers and supply great service to succeed in the lawn care industry.”

For additional information on how GoGreen has grown so fast and the techniques they used, watch the webinar below.

Bionutritional Summit

Tags: lawn care, marketing hints and tips, lawn care marketing, Go Green Lawn Service

Marketing Hints and Tips: Aeration business in a box

Are you in the midst of planning for your aeration marketing campaigns? Or, are you providing aeration services but don’t know how to market it? No worries, we’ve got your back! Aeration and overseeding is not only fantastic for plant and soil health, but for your wallet too. Take advantage of our Aeration Business In A Box – free digital tool kit containing all sorts of marketing goodies to help you reel in aeration and overseeding customers. 

aeration 

1. Video Content

Your box contains video content that you can post on your website and share on social media. The video discusses the benefits of including aeration applications in your lawn care program and is a great telegraphic tool to educate customers on the benefits of aeration for the health of their lawn.

 

2. Mailers

Your box contains mailers including: postcards, letter/prepay text. The post cards and letter are designed to target your current customers and sell them aeration. The prepay text can be added to any prepay invoice for an aeration program. 

 

3. Education and marketing strategy

Your box contains educational materials on the science behind Holganix and how it helps amp up the benefits of aeration. It also contains a recorded version of our webinar on Growing your business through aeration applications by Holganix head of Marketing, Nicole Wise to help you market aeration services.

 

Once you’ve explored the marketing content, jump on a fall marketing plan webinar with Holganix Communication Specialist – Suzanne Longacre to put your marketing campaigns into action. 

Aeration-Info-Button 

Tags: lawn care, marketing hints and tips, lawn care marketing, aeration

3 things every lawn care start up needs to know!

Are you just starting up a lawn care company? Or are you a landscaping company looking to add fertilization to your program? Here are three things you need to know to start off successfully.

Screen_Shot_2015-08-19_at_12.11.41_AM

1. Integrating lawn care fertilization into your business means increased recurring revenue and higher gross margins. In general, you can expect between a 40 – 60% gross margin in lawn care, depending on how new you are to the industry (think start up costs) and the product dollars you choose to spend. That's a healthy chunk of gross margin that you can reinvest year after year to continuously grow your company. Keep in mind that gross margin doesn’t mean profit margin and therefore, may not include indirect costs (like your rent). However, even more importantly, lawn care means recurring revenue. When you sell a customer, you can expect on average a 5-year revenue life span from them (since they may move, switch to a competitor, etc). So, while lawn care may be a smaller ticket item than design and build, you can expect about 5 years of recurring business from fertilization customers. Those smaller checks will build up fast.

 

2. When it comes to marketing, keep the wheels moving! If you send out a single post card, don’t expect heaps of new customers. Prospects should be “touched” or receive a piece of communication (direct mail, email blast, social media, etc.) every 4 to 5 weeks for a total of at least 5 “touches”. This way, your prospect will remember your name when their need for lawn care is at its greatest point. So, don’t get dismayed when after your first mailing, the phone isn’t ringing off the hook. Keep at it, and you’ll get phone calls throughout the marketing season. To keep marketing dollars reigned in and effective, focus your marketing dollars on three key neighborhoods (golden streets) you would like to “own” or have tons of customers living in. As you gather more and more customers in a single neighborhood, word of mouth will take over and help garner even more customers. Also, keep in mind that this will reduce your windshield time where you are driving to and from a clients’ home, ultimately increasing margins.

 
3. To keep customers happy, increase referrals and maintain your stream of recurring revenue, be committed to providing good service. While this may seem like a shoe in, it’s important to use decent products (if not great ones!) and to practice the appropriate application methods. Take pride in your work and your customers will notice! For applying liquid fertilizer, be sure to utilize the double coverage method. See here for an instructional video on applying liquid fertilizers.   

Grow your lawn care company

Tags: lawn care, lawn care marketing, lawn care company, lawn care business, lawn care start up

Grow your lawn care business through tree and shrub applications

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.

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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.

 

Soil Science

Tags: marketing, lawn care marketing, Tree and Shrub care, lawn care equipment

How do you market tree and shrub applications?

Have you started marketing your tree and shrub program to current customers yet? Late spring and early summer is the key time for the Northeast area to market tree and shrub because insects and disease will start to attack! In general, you can expect to have 10 – 30% of your current customers sign up for tree and shrub applications. It’s like new found money! Here are some tips to consider as you develop your tree and shrub marketing strategy.

 love_the_tree

Going the direct mail route:

You can take three different avenues when considering a direct mail route. First, you can send out prepay letters for the remainder of services along with tree and shrub applications to current customers. Another option is to send a prepay letter specifically for tree and shrub applications. And yet a third option is to send out a postcard to current customers. Following up with a telemarketing campaign to customers that received a tree and shrub direct mail piece will increase your return on investment significantly. No matter the direct mail or telemarketing route you decide to pursue, be sure you include an offer to entice your customers to give a tree and shrub program a try. One of our favorite offers is including a free winterizer application.

Click here to see a free postcard that we will customize with your logo, contact information and offers so you have a great looking piece to send to customers and increase sales! If interested, email Suzanne at slongacre@holganix.com  for additional information.

 

Including inbound marketing:

An ideal marketing campaign for tree and shrub would not just include outbound marketing strategies such as direct mail and telemarketing campaigns, but would contain inbound marketing campaigns as well. Right before mailing your post cards and prepay letters, consider sending an email newsletter or blog post to current customers, highlighting the benefits received from tree and shrub applications. Also consider tweeting and posting two to three times per week, the benefits of tree and shrub applications during your marketing campaign.

Never done an email marketing campaign? Click here for tips then check out MyEmma – an email marketing platform that includes tons of tracking information to help monitor your ROI. Need some inspiration with which to craft your fabulous email newsletter blog or social media post? Check out these key benefits to tree and shrub programs.

Grow your lawn care company

Tags: marketing hints and tips, lawn care marketing, Tree and Shrub care, lawn care busienss marketing

How To Create "INSANE" Customer Service At Your Lawn And Landscape Company

Okay, it’s dandelion season and the phones are literally off the hook. Mrs. Jones wants a service call stat for the single dandelion on her lawn that just wouldn’t take to herbicides. It’s behind the back porch, under the stair, where no one can see it. But she’s still insisting upon a service call. Welcome to spring weed season.

It’s hard not to grumble at Mrs. Jones and her lot. After all, between doing lawn applications and service calls and marketing and trying to grow your business, you’ve got a lot on your plate. However, next time Mrs. Jones gives your company a call, pause before you grumble. Pause before you issue the same response you always give: “we’ll get out to do a service call when we have time.” Pause before you disillusion your customers.

customer_service

Customer service may seem like a bunch of soft nonsense – but it’s probably one of the few ways your customer interacts with your company. It can also be a huge competitive advantage. Instead of grumbling at Mrs. Jones, ask “how can I turn Mrs. Jones into a fan or evangelist of my brand?”

Zappos turned its awesome customer service into a competitive advantage.

“They went from being commonplace to a customer delight company that happens to sell shoes” (Seth Godin). In fact, “Zappos has been called “insane” and “fanatical” for the way it will do anything to please its customers” (Business Insider). 

 

Check out these stories form Business Insider on Zappos and their crazy customer service.

You many not be Zappos, but we can all take a lesson on the power of customer service. So, tomorrow when Mrs. Jones calls, ask yourself “How can I delight Mrs. Jones?” You might be surprised by what happens when you give it a try. In today’s social media driven world, comments are kind! And people do like to provide positive reviews. Give your customers a reason to really like you!

Read more about Zappos' awesome customer service: http://www.businessinsider.com/zappos-customer-service-crm-2012-1#ixzz3Yj9P09nn

Register: Marketing Plan Webinar

Tags: marketing hints and tips, lawn care marketing, lawn care company, lawn care customer service, customer service, lawn care business

Marketing Hints and Tips: Upselling customers?

The marketing race in the lawn care world is in full swing! You’re doing your best to reel in as many new customers as possible. But have you neglected the customers you already have? They can be a powerful tool for generating extra revenue this year.

money_tree

According to Sandra Zoratti, author of Precision Marketing: Maximizing Revenue Through Relevance, “New customers cost about seven times more than retaining and expanding your sales to existing customers.” Have you been neglecting these low hanging fruit? Here are some easy strategies for up selling your current customers:

1. Always have an invoice, message or insert of some sort, offering your customers additional services that your business provides.
   
2. Mail postcards to existing customers. The postcards don’t have to be big or expensive. Since they are already familiar with your company name and logo, you don’t have to be flashy to get their attention.
 
3. Call your customers before a season starts for the service you want to up sell. For example, try selling flea and tick services right before the weather begins to warm up. Or perhaps give your current customers a call when trees and shrubs are most under attack by insects and disease.
 
4. After you provide a service, have a company representative give that particular customer a call. State that the call is a production follow up to make sure he/she is happy with your services. It’s a great way to segue into a new sale.

Also, keep in mind that your current customers love and trust you. Tap into your customers for referrals and turn their neighbors into clients as well! It’s cheaper to tap into your referrals than cold calling, and you’ll be building density within your geographic location! 

*This blog has been reposted

Grow your lawn care company

Tags: lawn care, holganix, marketing hints and tips, lawn care marketing, lawn care company, lawn care companies, lawn care upsell