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Marketing and Customer Service Trends for 2023

Since the pandemic, customers are more willing to engage with brands over social and messaging channels. It’s also made them impatient and more likely to prioritize convenience over price. Check out some of the rising trends predicted for 2023 when it comes to customer service and marketing. According to the American Customer Satisfaction Index, overall customer satisfaction has dropped to its lowest level in 17 years after surveying over 96,000 U.S. consumers. This dissatisfaction is being driven by consumers feeling neglected. Read More

Touch Points

Consumers who see a product on sale being virtually touched are more engaged and willing to pay more than if the item is displayed on its own, according to a recent research paper I co-authored ( Behavioral economists have previously shown that people value objects more highly if they own them, a concept known as “the endowment effect.” Marketers have found that this feeling of ownership can occur even when a consumer merely touches something in a store. Read More

Scan-Savvy Signage

It’s very possible that you will soon come to view the QR code as your IGC’s digital assistant. These “Quick Response” graphics were invented in 1994 and were initially used to track automobiles during the manufacturing process. Later, they become common in advertising, and they are frequently seen in print ads or even on billboards. What was once viewed as an odd square with black and white patterns is now widely viewed as an invitation...Read More

A Tactical Look at Social Media Recruiting for Landscapers

Halstead Media has previously explained the importance of social media when it comes to job recruiting; it can boost a company’s ability to find potential job candidates. Halstead specified that with social media, you can broadcast your company’s beliefs, reputation, company culture, and so much more. So, how exactly do you get your company’s name out there? What can you do to spread your company’s...Read More

Reboot Your Blog

Remember 20 years ago when all IGCs scrambled to create and maintain a website? Five years later, we were told that we needed to have a blog, and then just as we started to wrap our minds around that came a video presence on YouTube and then social networking. Most recently, we’ve heard about the importance of newsletters and text campaigns. Even if your IGC has a full-time digital content specialist, it’s hard to keep up or know...Read More

The Importance of Social Media Recruiting

According to Halstead Media, the way our society communicates is continuously changing, and so are potential job candidates. As time passes, Gen Z is beginning to enter the workforce, and Millennials are taking on leadership positions, so when it comes to recruiting employees, putting out flyers on lamp posts and selling ads in the local newspaper just isn’t going to cut it anymore. Read More

Utilizing Instagram Reels for Recruiting

When you’re busy running your lawn or landscape business, staying on top of social media trends might seem like your lowest priority. However, companies like Farmside Landscape & Design, based Wantage, New Jersey, have been able to take a popular social media format, Instagram Reels, and use it to their advantage. “In order to reach the right audience, we need to be seeking them out,” says Emily Seely, administrative assistant for Farmside. Read More

Tap, Swipe, Buy

When Instagram first launched in 2010, it was probably just a blip on most retailers’ radars, chalked up to another social media fad like its Facebook, Twitter and Myspace predecessors. However, Facebook eventually flourished, and the user-friendly interface made marketing a breeze for most garden centers. Even now, most garden centers conduct a fair amount of marketing through Facebook to reach the baby boomer demographic, many of whom...Read More

Lawn Care Corner: Cultivating Marketing and Branding Excellence

If you aren’t happy with your lawn care company’s current marketing and branding, remember you have to start somewhere. “Any downtime is a good opportunity to revisit the brand, but any major changes to the brand need to be thought out and done slowly,” says Vince Torchia, vice president of The Grow Group. “Constantly changing a brand erodes at the value of the brand.” Read More

6 Ways Texting Can Boost Your Business

Whether you are a small-scale business or operate several locations, garden centers can benefit from business text messaging. Did you know that 95% of texts are read within three minutes and the average response time for a text is only 90 seconds? For your garden center, that means adding texting to your communication and marketing strategy can significantly improve customer service and customer relationships...Read More

Keeping Your Brand Fresh

I recently came across a fairly succinct definition of a brand: “The intangible sum of a retailer or product’s attributes: its name, packaging and price positioning, its history, its reputation, and the way it’s advertised.” Your brand helps define who you are, what you offer, the way you operate and what you stand for as a company. Your brand sets expectations for your customers that can be measured based on their experiences with you. And your brand is your calling card to consumers that aren’t currently doing business with you, to help them make the decision to shop your store, if your brand aligns with their personal needs and values. Read More

Green Value Message

The horticulture industry isn’t always great at telling customers about all of the good things they’re doing, agreed panelists Clint Albin, consultant, Bridget Behe, professor of horticultural marketing, Michigan State University, and Maria Zampini, president of UpShoot Horticultural Marketing at Cultivate'21. But IGCs are doing great things for the environment. The panel agreed on four major aspects...Read More

Learn How to Write Clearly to Build Your Brand

Everybody writes, but how many of us write well? Websites, emails and sales agreements all work better when they communicate clearly and concisely. Clear communication is a remarkable skill because it’s uncommon. It comes naturally to a few, but for most of us, daily discipline is necessary to hone the skill. Nowadays, it’s common for emails and texts...Read More

Appeal to the Senses

Shopping is about more than products; it’s about fulfilling emotional needs, said Joe Baer, founder and CEO at ZenGenius at Cultivate’21. Your goal as a retailer is to give customers what they want and make them feel great about buying. What kinds of emotions do you want your customers to feel? That’s where you want to start when you think about experiential marketing. Focus on engaging the senses, increasing loyalty and keep guests coming back, Baer said. Read More

How I Do It: Building A Social Media Brand

Social media is ubiquitous at this point and there are always new platforms rising and falling. You might think it’s not worth investing your time in your social media brand with things constantly changing. Or you might have tried social media branding on some platforms like Facebook but haven’t had the time to make a concentrated effort. Read More

How to Create a Solid Content Marketing Plan for Your Business

A content marketing plan has a crucial role to play in the success of your business. If you’re doing content marketing without a strategy in place, the chances are high that you may not succeed at it. Also, it’s not enough to just have a content plan in place. You also need to document it well. Read More

5 Simple Rules to Boost Your Visual Marketing ROI

Visual marketing is one of the most important components of content marketing and digital marketing generally. Several studies have shown that people respond much better to images, videos and other visual content than they do to just text. Read More

DIY Video and Photography Tips for Building Community and Driving Sales

We’re all visual consumers. Beautiful still photos and captivating moving pictures move us to decide we need that particular plant or product in our lives. But they really can be more than just a beauty shot—they can create a connection. Read More

Writing a Press Release 101

With many new forms of digital and social media, some might think that press releases are outdated and that there are plenty of better ways to share information. Well, what do you think WE have to say about that? While it is true there are many great ways for us to stay connected, press releases are still a great tool for sharing new information with the media. Their purpose and focus have changed over the years...Read More

Digital Dialogue

Katie Elzer-Peters describes herself as “a copywriter specializing in plants, paddle boarding, dabbling in coffee cake and organic pet food, ghost-editing books about how to grow pot hydroponically, and producer of shiny and colorful five-fold brochures.” Along with that, she’s an author of eight books and owner of The Garden of Words, a digital marketing agency that specializes in horticulture. Read More

They Ask, You Answer: 5 Keys To Content Marketing Success

As consumers, we have grown more and more impatient as we search for information online. I’m cursing at a company if I have to wait more than five seconds for their website to load. We’ve been conditioned to believe we can find the answer to any question or problem we may have simply by entering a string of words into a search engine. Got a question? Just Google it. We know we’ll find the answer...Read More

Insta-green: How to get 20,000 Instagram Followers

Mulhall’s joined Instagram in 2014 because the social media platform presented opportunities to interact with customers online. The retail garden center had plenty of pretty plants to photograph, but cultivating followers wasn’t easy. “We were posting about the plants and products that we were excited about,” says Sarah Vanek, education and outreach manager at Mulhall’s...Read More

10 Facebook Statistics Every Marketer Should Know in 2021

The use of Facebook has become part of our routine. We don’t even notice it anymore. We pick up our phones, or open up our laptops, and go straight to Facebook to see what’s going on. In fact, Facebook has entered our lives so effortlessly, that at this point it’s hard to imagine a life before Facebook. Whether it’s politics or our private lives...Read More

Why & How to Power Up Email Marketing for Ecommerce Success

Want to knock it out of the park this year with your Ecommerce website? If you do nothing else, power up your email marketing program. Why? Well, because a) email has a high ROI and b) you control your email list. You don’t control Facebook, Instagram, or other social media. So, spend your time and money on email marketing to get the most bang for your buck. Email marketing is what...Read More

Buy a Tripod...and Other DIY Video Tips

In a recent client discussion, we talked about all the “new skills” we were blessed (forced) to learn in the early stages of the pandemic. For many, that skill was video production, which lead to the idea of sharing ideas learned along the way to becoming videographers (sort of). First, buy a tripod… and other DIY video tips. Many of us have been hoping to get back on the road in early 2021. Read More

Email Marketing Works -- Here's The Data

Did you know the first email marketing blast was sent in 1978? The 400-person email resulted in $13 million is sales ($78 mm in today’s dollars). The truth is, email marketing works. While inboxes are more crowded these days, data shows email is still effective with a $42 return on investment (ROI) for every $1 spent. Engaging your customers and prospects through email marketing is a proven revenue-generating activity. Read More


5 Offseason Marketing Tips

Just because your business slows down in the offseason doesn’t mean your marketing should slow down too. Marketing in the offseason creates a top-of-mind awareness of your company so that when your customer is ready to buy, they think of you first. If you wait until spring to market your business because you assume that is when buying decisions are being made, you’re probably already too late. Read More

How to Have Content Marketing Success in the Lawn Care & Landscaping Industry - CLICK HERE

Creating a Mailing List and Checking It Twice

There are so many ways to communicate with your customer base nowadays, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the different ways you can reach them. “It’s impossible to be across every single marketing channel and do it very well,” Joseph Stark, marketing director for Ground Works Land Design, based in Cleveland, Ohio. “What I think is important is to pick the ones that are working for your company...Read More

How to Write and Use a Unique Selling Proposition

When customers have a choice between two offerings, they need something that drives them to choose one option over another. That thing is a unique selling proposition (USP). Whether customers realize it or not, they use unique selling propositions to decide what to buy and who to buy from. When shopping for a new laptop, someone who values price may choose...Read More

40 Ways to Use Lawn Care & Landscaping Videos (So They Actually Get Noticed)

About 15 years ago, a “RotoZip” saw was on my Christmas wishlist. I just had to have it. As of today, I have yet to use it. The tool, itself, is fantastic. I can think of many practical uses. Ironically, the RotoZip would have been perfect for cutting a hole in my drywall, just a month ago. But...I forgot all about it. It has been collecting dust in my tool cabinet. At one point, video production may have found its way onto your wishlist. Read More

Keep Your Foot on the Digital Gas

Bridget Behe has guest Leslie Halleck back on the podcast this week. Leslie’s marketing savvy and practicality help firms understand the need, now more than ever, to keep a foot pressed down on the gas pedal for digital efforts. Bridget and Leslie discuss not just digital communication but also e-commerce. Keep increasing social media and marketing and, as customers return to in-person sales they may also likely continue to be engaged in website content. Linking POS systems with e-commerce websites is so fundamental to online sales. Listen Now

Building Brand Loyalty

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a hundred times: If you are looking for loyalty, your ideal customers first need to see themselves reflected in your company and its messaging. How do you embody and reflect your target customer’s values and identity if you do not know who they are? When it comes to brand loyalty and lifetime customer value, it all starts with getting to know your customers well, and with what you provide...Read More



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