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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

Micro-Marketing Tips for Big Payoffs

COVID has accelerated shifts in customer behavior that were already occurring, and IGCs may need to shift their strategies to reach their millennial and Gen Z customers. Katie Elzer-Peters, founder of digital ad agency The Garden of Words, shared some ways garden centers can do this at Cultivate’21. 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

Tips to Make Marketing Easier in 2021

Marketing your business rarely comes easily. There’s always room for improvement and new things to learn. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t make marketing a little easier on yourself for 2021. Let’s talk about seven ways to make marketing in 2021 easier — including marketing planning, marketing systems and marketing strategies. Read More

4 Additional Ways to Position Your Company (and Create a Unique Selling Proposition)

To be "well positioned" is to be known for something. That is, unique in the mind of your prospects and customers. In contrast to this are the majority of companies in the lawn and landscape industry who are undifferentiated and indistinguishable from each other. "Just Another Landscaper", as I like to say. As I'm sure you're well aware, many companies in our industry – maybe even you – are not making the money...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

The New Rules of Social Media Marketing in 2021

We stand on the brink of a much-anticipated new year. Vaccines are rolling out, positive change is inching forward in areas of racial equality and climate action, and it’s fair to say that most people are feeling cautiously optimistic about 2021. For marketers, 2021 planning will look a little different than in previous years. While it is true that change is constant in marketing, 2020 shook up the field...Read More

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

4 Strategies Small Businesses Can Use to Get New Customers in 2021

Small businesses are trying to get through this pandemic in any way they can. Some are planning for the upcoming holiday season, but don’t have the strength or energy to even think about what they’re supposed to be doing next year. We’ve already seen massive shifts in how business is done, and how you, as a business owner, market your business. So, how are you going to create momentum...Read More

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

Develop Your 2021 Marketing Strategy — Looking Back to Plan Ahead

Many business owners, entrepreneurs, and even veteran marketers devise their strategy for the New Year starting in January. I’m here to make a case for developing your 2021 marketing strategy now, or more specifically, throughout the last quarter of the year. 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

Social Media Changes and Challenges

The COVID-19 Pandemic has changed many things, including our use of social media. This week, Bridget and Dr. Ariana Torres (Assistant Professor at Purdue University) discuss the changes and challenges of social media for this winter and next spring. How will you change your social media campaign to stay relevant and communicate with consumers? LISTEN TO PODCAST

13 Website Elements (with Examples) That Disqualify Bad Landscaping & Lawn Care Leads

Sound familiar? Do you ever get the feeling that your lawn care or landscaping prospects are clueless tire-kickers that just eat up all of your precious time? Maybe the problem isn’t your prospect. Maybe your website does a lousy job of disqualifying bad-fit leads. Wasted time means less time you can spend closing better opportunities (which ultimately leads to less profit for your company). Read More

2021 Social Media Trends

User-generated content is nothing new, but the way it has been created, sourced, and shared is contemporary. Remixing is on the rise through apps like TikTok, Koji, and Instagram Reels. Remixing is the art of taking existing formats, templates, or ideas, and recreating them to express a user’s own personality or ideas. Expect 2021 to bring even more opportunities for remixing, with brands engaging...Read More

6 Tips to Create Drone Marketing Videos

Over the past few years, drones have infiltrated our news headlines and airspace. People are flocking to the flying devices for recreational and commercial activities, and it doesn’t seem to be fading anytime soon. Drones come in all shapes and sizes and can be equipped with a camera to capture angles that are otherwise difficult to get. Because of this, drones are becoming increasingly...Read More

The Two Sides of ROI

In the marketing world, many businesses focus on ROI (return on investment). However, when they don’t get the immediate monetary results they desire, they begin to pull away from social media marketing. But there is another side of the coin: ROI 2.0 (return on influence). Many businesses have begun investing more time and money into individuals or organizations who can represent their brand...Read More

Leveraging Social Media for Human Resources

A business owner from Illinois called me the other day to discuss her company’s under-performing recruitment efforts. During that discussion, social media naturally came up, at which time I informed her that in today’s competitive, information-rich environment, every company must have a disciplined social media strategy spanning multiple business goals. It is all too clear to successful business owners...Read More

The Top Facebook Updates You Need to Know

“The only constant is change,” Greek philosopher Heraclitus has famously said. We can’t prove it, but we’re pretty sure he was talking about Facebook updates. Sometimes its changes delight (see: the introduction of Messenger). Sometimes they cause mass outrage (see: literally any time the interface is redesigned). But one thing’s for sure: Facebook never rests on its laurels. There’s always something new in the works...Read More

Radio Star

When the local radio station approached Bloomers Home & Garden Center last year and asked owner Len Schroeder to host a weekly show, his initial response was, “No way. I don’t have time for this.” But the more he thought about the other options for marketing his business against larger box stores with much bigger budgets, he realized that the airwaves could boost his brand in the local market. “A lot of garden centers...Read More

How 2020 Changed Social Media: Checking In On Our Trends Predictions

As we enter the final stretch of this unforgettable year, it’s a good time to check in on the trends impacting the social media landscape. 2020 changed everything: the way we communicate, the way we shop, the way we greet one another. It also changed how we use social media. This blog post summarizes: Our 2020 social trends predictions that came to pass, what social networks are doing, trends our researchers...Read More

Business Smarts: Making the Most of Your Email Marketing

With email marketing you walk a fine line between connecting with your audience and being just another sender of spam that your clients will ignore. Email is relatively inexpensive compared to direct mail and is more effective at reaching your desired audience compared to social media posts. Your email marketing can be used to upsell current clients or let them know about a new service...Read More

Instagram Reels: What Marketers Need to Know

Want to create engaging short-form video on Instagram? Have you heard about Instagram Reels? In this article, you’ll discover what Instagram Reels is, learn how to create a reel on Instagram, and discover how to use Instagram Reels for business. Instagram Reels rolled out to the majority of users in August 2020. The feature is touted as a response to the popularity of TikTok and a way to create similar content within...Read More

Communication Coach: Take the Meaningful Marketing Risk

According to a recent Ad Age magazine article, people are now more interested in gardening, exercise and home entertainment because these activities give our lives purpose and meaning. The study revealed most of the hottest brands benefited from technology. Zoom and Microsoft prospered because home-based technology replaced what remained idle back at the office. Other big winners...Read More

14 Examples of Landscaping & Lawn Care Videos for Marketing or Recruiting

Videos are one of the most impactful marketing and recruiting assets in the green industry. They can make your landscaping or lawn care company appear to be on a whole other level than your competitors. Video Marketing Concept. Closeup Landing Page on Laptop Screen on background of Comfortable Working Place in Modern Office. Blurred, Toned Image. 3d render.  The right video can make job seekers...Read More

How to Tag on Instagram and Why You Should

Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms out there that can put your business in front of your ideal audience and help you make more money. Businesses need a strategy, though, and how to tag on Instagram should be a vital part of that. Forming a strategy usually includes deciding on the visual style of your feed, planning your posts in advance, and researching hashtags to use in your posts...Read More

Cultivating Customers on Instagram

During session two of Cultivate’20 Virtual’s Selling Plants Online & Marketing Strategies Series, Grace Hensley spoke to the event’s attendees about mobile marketing for green industry businesses. Hensley is a certified horticulturist, member of GardenComm and owner of Fashion Plants LLC, a horticultural services firm serving the Bainbridge Island, Poulsbo and Seattle areas of Washington state. Read More

Become a Digital Marketing Guru

Katie Elzer-Peters, owner of The Garden of Words, a source for horticulture website building, writing, branding and publishing, said marketing and merchandising are now “extremely intertwined.” “People are not buying stuff from you,” she said. “They are buying an experience.” Part of that experience is on social media, since a large portion of IGCs’ target audience can be found there. To use social media properly...Read More

Optimize Your Website for Local Traffic

In this day and age, most business owners have been beaten to death with the importance of optimizing your website for search engines. You most likely receive emails weekly or even daily from marketers and scammers claiming to get you to the “top of the list” in a short time. Most technically savvy business owners also know it’s just not that simple.  There are a lot of different strategies to optimize your website. While it’s important to draw traffic...Read More 

Four Digital Marketing Areas to Focus on During Crisis Recovery

Many business owners and marketers are finding themselves in a similar situation today. The pandemic has caused many challenges, put previous marketing ideas on hold and even changed the ways we operate. As we look to get our businesses back in gear, your target market needs to know you’re still there.  Marketing is vital for getting the word out about your business and what you have to offer. It wasn’t an option prior to Covid-19, and it certainly...Read More

10 Social Media Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

To err is human, and behind every great business social media presence is a human (or several). We all make mistakes, and the same is true with social media management. However, while a hashtag typo or an incorrect link can (and likely will) happen as you market your brand, they are certain social media mistakes you can avoid.  We’ve highlighted the top 10 most common social media mistakes with pointers on how to avoid them. Read More

Social Media Marketing Tips for Each Platform

Social media can be daunting for landscape and lawn care companies, especially when you plan to start using a platform for business purposes rather than personal ones. Yet it can also be a powerful marketing tool when used effectively. Each social media platform comes with its own nuances, benefits, downsides and audiences. Like any other form of marketing, you need to have solid goals before launching...Read More

Market Your Business Like It's 2022

The uncertainty we face right now because of COVID-19 has everyone off balance. This time is an opportunity for entrepreneurs with vision and courage to show the way, landscaping companies included. If this isn’t the right time for that dream vacation to Barcelona, it may be the right time for investing in a swimming pool, pergola or outdoor kitchen. That’s how I would be thinking if I were still selling landscaping services. Read More

Search Engine Optimization: Helping Customers Find You

Previously, I offered some tips on putting your website to work for you. This month, I’m back to help make sure your website can be discovered by search engines, such as Google, which is vital to helping both customers and other businesses find you on the internet. The primary goal of search engine optimization (SEO) is to make sure that when users are looking for your nursery or wholesale business, your name...Read More

How to Create an Engaging Client Newsletter

A few years ago my company, Landscape Digital Institute, and Landscape Management surveyed the industry on its use of digital marketing. Hundreds of responding companies reported plans to do more with it. Surprisingly, email marketing was named among the least favored marketing channels. What’s puzzling about this is that email marketing is 400 percent more effective than social media marketing...Read More

Embrace Modern Media

We’re living and working in times where marketing and media are ever-moving targets. Technology continues to evolve at a pace that’s tough to match. With the way media continues to redefine itself, choosing and executing the best marketing tactics can be confounding. If you’re still trying to use conventional sales channels to capture marketing share, you’re likely losing ground. If you haven’t figured out how to use new media channels...Read More

Nailing Search Engine Optimization

While the challenge of ensuring that your website is search engine optimized (SEO) can feel daunting, getting your hands around SEO basics may be easier than you think—and well worth the effort. “We have managed a consistent SEO campaign for two years now and can compare year-over-year results that show traffic increases,” says Laura Hammond, director of marketing for Al’s Garden & Home, which has...Read More

Crisis Marketing

One of the most important things when it comes to marketing and communications in times of crisis is to be proactive and transparent, says Kerstin Poehlmann, president of Pen & Petal, a marketing communications agency servicing the green industry. There is some confusion among companies about choosing the right marketing message during times like these, so we asked Poehlmann for some crisis-marketing advice. Read More

Marketing Through the Crisis

It’s been tough. Excruciating, really. As the landscape and irrigation industry’s peak spring season slides into summer, so many of us are either easing out of quarantine restrictions or scrambling back into daily operations. As difficult as navigating the pandemic has been, a universal truth remains: No matter the economic conditions, grass and plants are still growing. Now more than ever, it’s important...Read More

Communication Coach: A 3-point plan for Building Winning Marketing Content

Whenever there is a crisis, people seek stability. This is an opportunity for helping your audience. Marketing 101 says you should meet them where they are. They can’t possibly be on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram AND YouTube. Do I use all of those channels? Sure, but for different purposes. And that puts me in three or four audiences. On YouTube, I’m looking for tutorials to learn something, such as how to fix...Read More

Searching for Answers

What does SEO do? Whether you have been practicing SEO (search engine optimization) since you first launched your site or you are just starting to get your site to rank in search engine result pages (SERPs), you may have heard, “SEO is dead.” That statement has been said for years; however, that could not be farther from the truth. People have questions and the internet, with the help from...Read More

Creating a Dynamic Website

A dynamic website can improve any business. Matt Preuss, owner of Cutting Edge Landscape Design, of Los Alamitos, California, and Krisjan Berzins, owner and CEO of Kingstowne Lawn & Landscape, of Alexandria, Virginia, sing the praises of what a new, updated site can do for a company.  For Preuss, the process started after he received something in the mail from a digital marketing agency. “I got a flyer in the mail...Read More

21 Typical Marketing Problems for Lawn & Landscape Companies

Marketing problems at your lawn or landscaping company...they are plenty...Lack of brand awareness...Advertising/marketing campaigns that fall flat on their face. Frustrating relationships with marketing agencies...Unqualified leads... That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Now before you spiral into depression, take solace in one reality. You aren’t alone....and that matters. The same challenges you are facing...Read More

The Snowball Effect: How 5 Green Industry Companies Grew Their Website Traffic by 2.5x

I promise to keep this blog post short. In return I want you to spend a few minutes reviewing the graphic below. These charts are showing the website traffic growth (measured by "visits") for five companies we've been working with over the past three years. Traffic growth is tracked from January of 2014 through what we project for January of 2017. So three full years of data. Read More

Thoughtful vs. Thoughtless Content; and, How to Leverage Content Internally

CLICK HERE

Three Tips For Quickly Adjusting Your Online Marketing Strategy

When faced with a crisis or challenge, a business may be forced to come up with new ways to market its products and services, almost overnight. Businesses often spend countless hours — if not months, depending on the size of the organization — coming up with robust marketing plans as they head into the new year. Today, however, many businesses are finding themselves with a unique set of challenges. Read More

10 Ways To Strengthen Your Marketing Message and Mix

How well your company rebounds this year depends on the strength of your company’s marketing and sales culture. This is not the time to rely solely on referrals: When the economy drops, so do your leads. Strong marketing and sales-oriented companies don’t have this problem, even now. They have marketing engines and strong sales systems in place to drive growth. Read More

Google Launches Free Tool to Help Businesses Create Promotional Videos

Google is helping businesses create short, promotional videos for YouTube with its new YouTube Video Builder. It allows businesses to create 6 second or 15 second videos by animating static images, so no actual video footage is necessary. You provide the own images, text, and logos which is then generated into a short video...Get Started

10 Things Marketers Can Learn from Graphic Design

Marketers and graphic designers are always working together to create, promote and distribute content. Marketing and graphic design are so closely linked that neither can work without the other. Especially when it comes to working with clients that need experts to sell their services and products. Even though the marketer and graphic designer do different things in the day to day, it’s good for them to know some basic things...Read More

Learn How to Blog in 5 Simple Steps

If you have an inclination to start a blog for your business website, you’ve already taken the first step — acknowledging that content is critical to your online success. Once you learn how to blog, it represents a multifaceted tool helping you achieve a wide variety of goals for your...Read More

Differences Between Advertising Design and Graphic Design

Advertising design and graphic design are two disciplines that can be easily confused with each other. But in fact, they are different in several ways. The main difference between the two is that advertising design is more about creating full-scale advertising concepts, while graphic design is more about creating visuals with text, fonts, colors, and composition. It’s important to note the word “advertising” in the term...Read More

Knowing Customer Needs Before They Do

You’ve got a great location. You’ve got massive inventory lined up on nursery benches. Perhaps, you even have indoor lines of merchandise, such as home décor and clothing. As far as you can tell, you’ve got everything a good nursery or garden center should have. So, why aren’t people buying anything? Accurately anticipating your customers’ needs can sometimes seem like mind-reading magic...Read More

5 Ways to Keep Your Customers Informed About Changes to Your Business

The COVID-19 situation is seemingly on everyone’s minds at the moment. But while now isn’t the time to panic, you are likely wondering about the next steps for your business. Regardless of the size of your business, your customers are likely coming to you right now with a flood of questions. Do you plan to stay open? Are you able to complete your outstanding commitments? What policy changes will your business implement? Read More

Social Studies: Helping Your Presence Take Off

Social media is important. No matter what you do or where you go, social media is there. We all agree that something  should be done in the realm of social media. The question is, how should you do it? I’ll give you the standard disclaimer: social media is as unique as your company and the people with which you do business. That said, my goal is to walk you through some...Read More

Practical Sales & Marketing Advice for Lawn and Landscape Companies During This Pandemic - CLICK HERE

Align Your Marketing Strategy With the Victory Garden 2.0 Message

National Garden Bureau is urging everyone to help push the time-tested message of the Victory Garden 2.0 as people at home return to connection with their outdoor spaces and discover, or rediscover, a love of gardening.  There is comfort to be found in the garden and NGB has created a series of messages formatted for most social media use that you can use in your own social media efforts. CLICK HERE

The Real Hero & a "CTA" in Landscaping & Lawn Care Marketing Videos

Do you want to create landscaping or lawn care marketing videos? Are you worried that, despite your best efforts, your videos will end up being unoriginal and unengaging? Well, by understanding these two very important concepts, you will be on your way to creating videos that will make your prospects want to buy from YOU instead of your competitors. Read More

Why Your Marketing Needs Buyer Personas

When I talk to people about buyer personas, they dismiss them as being equivalent to ideal customer profiles. This is a problem because there is an important distinction. One of them describes the horse that steps up to the water trough. The other tells you whether or not he or she is likely to take a drink. Here are my definitions for each...Read More

Take Part in the Green Profit Challenge

In November, I created an Instagram challenge calendar for the Garden Center Facebook group I run. I wanted to help garden centers by making them a social media calendar that takes the guesswork out of December, a traditionally tough month for us. The calendar had a prompt for each day, something that most garden centers have on hand, so contributing garden centers could start thinking about...Read More

How to Fall in Love with Strategic Planning

Strategic planning is a polarizing term. For some people, it’s cringeworthy, conjuring up images of long meetings that are driven more by outdated process than by purpose. I’ve been there myself; I remember one particularly painful strategic-planning session that consisted of two days of irrelevant data analysis and concluded in a few documents that were never referenced again. With experiences like this...Read More

Signs Your Digital Marketing Strategy Isn’t Working

Wondering whether all the hard work you are putting in for your B2B digital marketing strategy is getting results? Wonder no more! In this article, we share definitive signs that your strategy is NOT working. Let’s dive in. While B2C firms can expect to get upwards of 20 leads a day, depending on the product or service offered, the story is different for B2B firms. It’s more realistic to anticipate about 15 – 20 leads per month...Read More

Sales Culture East Strategy for Breakfast

Don’t you wish your salesforce sold twice as much as your competitors, your business was extremely profitable and your salespeople and customers loved you? Is this even possible? Chick-fil-A produces twice as much revenue as any other fast food chain and they are closed on Sundays. An investment in Southwest Airlines in the early 1970s of $10,000 dollars was worth close to $12 million in 2000 — the highest return...Read More

The Era of Antisocial Social Media

Social platforms are still reporting robust growth — yes, even Facebook — despite a growing chorus of opposition. Social conversation continues to shape everything from culture to the media cycle to our most intimate relationships. And we now spend more time than ever on our phones, with endless scrolling through our social feeds being a chief reason why. But dig a little deeper, and a more nuanced picture...Read More

Expert Interview: Our Top Secret Plan for Landscaping & Lawn Care Photo Shoots

You wouldn't show up to your lawn care client's house without the materials you need and you wouldn't show up to transform a backyard with an amazing landscape design project without having a plan. But unfortunately that's what happens a lot in the lawn care and landscaping industry. Companies engage with photographers and don't really have a great plan of action in place. Read More

Are you Truly Leveraging Your Position on Social Media?

It’s no secret that social media has taken businesses by storm. From digital marketing to customer interaction to a behind-the-scenes look, social platforms have increased overall visibility. But how do you stand out among other crowd-chasing accounts? According to a 2019 study by the Pew Research Center, seven in 10 Americans use social media to entertain themselves, connect, engage in news and share information. Read More

How to Grow your Business with Instagram

Social media can be a landscape designer’s best friend — particularly Instagram. This visually-oriented platform is ideal for showcasing your projects, highlighting your services, and alerting your customers to seasonal (or even weekly) specials. Not sure how to get started? Follow these tips! Learn More

How Google is Elevating the Conversation

Google and BERT (short for Bidirectional Encoder Representation from Transformers) are taking out the trash. Together, they are making the old way of optimizing website pages obsolete. BERT is Google’s natural language-processing model that now powers search queries. It’s capable of understanding content based on its context from associated phrases and sentences. This essentially kills traditional...Read More

How to Find an In-House Marketing Person and What to Pay Them

So you finally reached the spot in your lawn care and landscaping business where you're ready to hire an in-house marketing person. But where do you find this person and what do you pay them? That's what we're going to talk about today. Read More

8 Digital Marketing Trends for 2020: Are You Ready?

2019 was a busy year for marketers. With dozens of new marketing tech flooding the market, hundreds of courses on marketing mastery and thousands of sales funnel videos, predicting marketing trends for 2020 became as hard as cooking a perfect macaron (if you cook a perfect macaron, this might not be the article you were looking for).   We wanted to share our perspective...Read More

Using Team Members in Landscaping & Lawn Care Photography

When a homeowner, property manager, or business owner hires your lawn care or landscaping business, they may be hiring a company, but ultimately what they are doing is hiring your people. So when it comes to representing your company well, including those team members in your images is extremely powerful. These images can not only promote your business to find the ideal customers...Read More

Are You Truly Leveraging Your Position on Social Media?

It’s no secret that social media has taken business by storm. From digital marketing to customer interaction to an inside look, social platforms have increased visibility overall. But how do you stand out amongst other crowd-chasing accounts?  According to a 2019 study by the Pew Research Center, seven in 10 Americans use social media to entertain themselves, connect, engage in news and share information. The same study states...Read More

What's Your Story?

The businesses that stand out don't just state "we are the best" or focus on their ROI. Rather, they tell a story that sparks a connection with prospects.  You know you have a great product or service. And you may have lots of facts and figures and benefits to back up why you’re the best. But just throwing data at potential customers (even if it’s truly impressive data) won’t move them to buy. That’s because people don’t respond to logic. Read More

Examples of Landscaping & Lawn Care Sales Opportunities Perfect for Personalized Videos

In my last three videos, I taught you a trick to selling more lawn care, landscaping work in less time and with less aggravation. It was by using a new, innovative tool called "personalized sales videos". Instead of slinging out proposals and seeing what sticks to the wall, I encouraged you to try out this new technology. But as promised, today I'm going to give you some real life sales...Learn More

Tips for Using Chatbots to Improve Your Marketing

Chatbots are both the wave of the present and the future. Research estimates that by next year, a whopping 80% of businesses will utilize this kind of AI technology, primarily as a real-time chat tool with consumers via instant messaging. How can you best refine your chatbot technology so it pleases your customers and provides them with the info and convenience they need to buy your products...Read More

How to Make Intentional Marketing That Wins Customers

Marketing’s role is to bring people closer to your company. If you are lucky it will change lives too, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Bringing people close is not easy because their actions often take an unpredictable path. What is predictable is people seldom make buying decisions in isolation. They talk them over with friends or go to online communities. Then they try to sort everything out. This is a problem because your Facebook...Read More

4 Tips for Creating Brand Fanatics

Entrepreneurs have heard millennials love experiences. The truth is that it’s not just millennials; it’s all of America. Research from last year’s Expedia-backed travel-industry report Generations on the Move found that 74 percent of Americans now prioritize experiences over material goods. Whether people genuinely want to try new things or just want to make their friends jealous via social media, today’s consumers would rather purchase...Read More

Pushing Your Comfort Zone on Instagram

I have a love/hate relationship with social media more than anybody. I’ll be the first to say that it’s done so much for me and my career. It’s still the best, cheapest and most effective way to reach customers ever, but ... I use it so much that I get so weary; it truly is a job in itself. I fall into a rut and my goals get hazy. Before I know it, I'm adrift in the sea of “wait, what was my point again?” Read More

Overcoming Social Media Bubbles in Your Digital Marketing Strategy

The social media "bubble" — the phenomenon of people sticking to the likes of their personal cliques on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook — can be a tough challenge for marketers to power past. But the good news is that you can learn how your consumers actually want to reach outside their peer groups for product info. Use these research-driven tips to burst the bubble and increase your influence...Read More

Making a Big Marketing Decision? Before You Follow Your Gut, Do This.

Marketing can help you grow your business and take it to new heights — if you do it right. Unfortunately, most marketers make the same few mistakes again and again. When everyone around you is making the same mistakes with marketing, it can be extremely difficult to fix your approach. If you’re looking to overhaul your marketing strategy so you can boost returns on marketing investment, it’s time to start actively...Read More

A Fresh Start

When Pam Dooley first started the process of a rebrand in 2016, she simply wanted to redesign her website. Its outdated appearance made navigating the site an exercise in patience. But after a few conversations with some experts, she realized her company’s problems were rooted deeper than just the website. “They were like, ‘Who are you?’ and I said, ‘What do you mean, ‘Who are we?’” Dooley says. “They made me realize...Read More

Make Your Project Presentation Stand Out

“I know it doesn’t matter, but I liked their design better.” These are the words a buyer used to explain why our company lost his landscape project. What was the difference? The other company’s presentation package had a little bit more flair than ours. They put on a show. It doesn’t seem fair. It shouldn’t have mattered, but it did. He went so far as to acknowledge that our construction work is probably better than the company...Read More

Grow What You Know

Sometimes in business, it pays to go with your gut. At K&D Landscaping in Santa Cruz, California, the payoff came in the form of 30 percent growth over a year-long period. Skirting around a sometimes-risky market segment, K&D decided to table their residential design/build efforts for several years. The company shifted its services towards commercial design/build projects in 2014, and it wasn’t...Read More

Create Community to Connect With the Next Generation

Grabbing the interest of younger customers and new plant enthusiasts has proven a tricky endeavor for many traditional garden centers. You may have found yourself frustrated with the younger generation’s seeming lack of interest in your idea of gardening, while your existing customer base may be aging out. If you aren’t seeing an influx of new younger customers the way your business needs...Read More

Leverage your Smartphones for Fantastic Photography

Can we talk about photography for a second? Because I think we need to. When it comes to leveraging your strengths for effective marketing, great photographs are fundamental. Yet, taking and cataloging good photographs of plants, facilities, merchandising, installations and people gets pushed to the back burner by many garden centers. All this beauty at your fingertips, yet many of you aren’t putting it to work. Read More

Peddling a Profit

Mike Gooder says growers need to improve upon themselves as they look to the future, take risks and be okay with making mistakes along the way. The president of liner producer Plantpeddler in Cresco, Iowa, gave a presentation on the Saturday of Cultivate’19 titled “Turning Plants, People, and Predicaments into Profits.” “All kinds of maladies can happen in the plant world,” he said, pointing to past...Read More

Putting Horticulture Back Into Popular Culture

Two years ago, my friend Ellen Zachos and I started a podcast called Plantrama. Like all podcasters, we wanted our program on Apple Podcasts and other apps that deliver “radio on demand’’ programs, so I went through the process for Plantrama to be listed on iTunes. Part of the procedure is choosing a category that your podcast fits into. There were several sports, business, technology...Read More

Selling Simplicity

At Eagle Creek Nursey in Indianapolis, landscape designer and project estimator Charlie Swartzell says lighting is all about accenting projects.
“We like to accent and add to the hardscapes the outdoor living environments that we create,” Swartzell says. “So it's putting lighting in for steps or safety or some spotlights on to highlight plantings.” He says they company always includes lighting...Read More

What Your Website Should Say

At Lawn & Landscape’s 2019 Top 100 Executive Summit, Marcus Sheridan said that 70 percent of the clients you meet with have already decided if they’re going to buy your service. Sheridan, a full-time professional speaker and also the co-owner of IMPACT and River Pools and Spas, encouraged attendees to consider a different approach to marketing their services. Simply put, the work in closing sales...Read More

Is the Train on Track, Off Track or Not Moving?

Now that we’re closing in on the halfway point of the calendar year, it’s an appropriate time to evaluate how the year is going. Many of you are on track to meet, or even exceed, your goals for 2019. This may be due to strong economic demand, good teamwork or other factors. If this describes you, what needs to happen to finish strong in the second half of the year? Read More

Death By Marketing

An Italian proverb reads, “He that deceives me once, it’s his fault; but if twice, it’s my fault.”  The fastest way to put a bad business out of business is for this operation to advertise to bring customers in and see why they wouldn’t go back there in the first place. If you’re spending money in hopes that people will come and do business with you—don’t, until you’re sure they’ll be likely to WANT to come back. Read More

Picture This

You’ve got two events to promote, an upcoming sale on six-pack annuals and a company blog or website that needs updating. The employee who does your Facebook posts wants to highlight the nursery stock and a request has come in from a regional magazine for photos that feature roses. Suddenly, you find yourself wondering if you work at a garden center or a stock photo service. Read More

What is Your Nursery's Brand?

If you own a nursery, garden center or landscape business, you are in the branding business. The real question is “Are you creating a valuable brand and are your leveraging its value?” Brands have been in existence for a long as people have put up store signs. The word “brand” was derived from “brandr,” an ancient Norse word meaning “to burn” or more specifically it referred to a burning...Read More

Get Ready for Your Closeup

Being on television or even appearing in a YouTube video can be intimidating. The thought of hundreds, thousands or even millions (should your video go viral) of people watching you can cause some to struggle to be themselves when the lights and cameras go on. But appearing in television segments can help position your garden center as the local expert and is a great way...Read More

How Stories Can Help You Sell

Let me tell you a story. I was on a design consultation a few years ago, and there was a perfect spot for three dwarf Hinoki false cypress. Because my consultation customers can go anywhere to buy the plants I have recommended, I decided to use a story to illustrate the importance of buying just the right variety. I didn’t want them to end up at the box store where someone would put just any random evergreen...Read More

Embrace Modern Media

We’re living and working in times where marketing and media are ever-moving targets. Technology continues to evolve at a pace that’s tough to match. With the way media continues to redefine itself, choosing and executing the best marketing tactics can be confounding. If you’re still trying to use conventional sales channels to capture marketing share...Read More

Tell the Truth and Tell it First

From local newspaper and television stories to social media reviews, coverage of your independent garden center sways the opinions of consumers interested in your store. When press is positive, everyone basks in the warmth. But when negative media hits, what you say and do are crucial to weathering the storm. The following principles can help your IGC navigate negative media coverage...Read More

Marketing the Benefits of Native Grasses

Native grasses have become increasing popular, however, many garden centers have a difficult time selling them in the spring without showy flowers. The University of Minnesota, thanks to grants from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture and the USDA's Specialty Crop program, has developed marketing materials to help retailers sell more grasses. Read More

Live By the Calendar to Create Generous Marketing

I was doing some discovery work with a new client, our first meeting together. She said, “Marketing is difficult.” Marketing used to be easy. You could pay for an ad and recoup its cost plus a profit. This was the power of a full-color Yellow Page ad. The more you paid the more you got back in return. Marketing is now difficult because it’s different. You can no longer win by outspending...Read More

Achieve the Ultimate Customer Experience

We all seem to get it by now — more engaged employees perform at a higher level. The organizations that get their strategy right in this area provide a superior customer experience, have lower levels of employee turnover, higher morale, and ultimately much higher financial performance. Their customers love them more. What are some things you can easily implement...Read More

Best Practices for Homepage Banners

Making a good first impression on customers, even before they visit your independent garden center, is crucial to growing your business. One way retailers are doing this is by adding banner videos to their websites’ homepages to give customers an idea of not only what they’ll find in the stores, but also a behind-the-scenes look at the companies. Rob Lucas, website developer for Johnson’s Nursery, says having...Read More

Managing Reputation in the Age of Infinity

More junk every day. And they know this. They sell junk that would never, ever be sold at a Wal-Mart store. That’s because in order to get into a store, a buyer, a human being with a reputation, has to allocate shelf space. The easiest way to lose your job as a buyer is to put brand-destroying lousy products on a valuable shelf. Amazon, on the other hand...Read More

 Using Google Reviews for Better Landscaping & Lawn Care Marketing and Easier Sales

You and your team may think that your lawn care or landscaping company is the best around, but your prospective customer may be a little bit skeptical and may not take your word for it. The great things that your happy customers say about your company carry way more weight than what you could ever say. So when it comes to getting great five-star Google reviews, are you really leveraging...Read More

6 Tips to Create Drone Marketing Videos

Over the past few years, drones have infiltrated our news headlines and airspace. People are flocking to the flying devices for recreational and commercial activities, and it doesn’t seem to be fading anytime soon. Drones come in all shapes and sizes and can be equipped with a camera to capture angles that are otherwise difficult to get. Because of this, drones are becoming...Read More

Three Instagram Marketing Tips to Attract More Customers

Landscaping is a very visual art. While your landscape designs may cater to the other senses as well, what is seen tends to make the first impression on people. Instagram is a social media platform that is all about visuals, too. It encourages users to share photos and videos of their life or their brand. According to sproutsocial, Instagram has 1 billion monthly active users and users typically spend...Read More

Emailing with a Purpose

“First, it’s important to understand the five steps to a great customer email,” Leach said, “which are the subject line, body, CTA (call to action), timing and mobile. For a strong subject line, she suggested using numbers and avoiding salesy language. For the body, Leach advised focusing on benefits, writing in third person and personalizing the message. For the call to action, Leach said it should be easy...Read More

Why & Where to Get Online Reviews for Your Lawn Care or Landscaping Company

If you're watching this video, it means that you're either extremely ticked off because some customer just lit you up with a bad review online for your landscaping or lawn care business, or you are extremely frustrated because you have happy customers that are nowhere to be found or heard. Would you like to learn how to crush it when it comes to your online reputation for your lawn care landscaping company? Watch Video 

5 Tips for Turning Customers into Brand Storytellers

Most companies have their best marketing tool right in front of them, but they don’t use it. When you give your most devoted customers a platform, you create an authentic marketing strategy that immediately builds trust with customers and potential customers. Read More

Signal Your Business Power With Marketing Clarity

In the film, “The Shawshank Redemption,” Red says to Andy Dufresne, “Let me tell you something my friend. Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane.” Hope is its own prison. Hope didn’t get Andy out of prison, taking action did. Do you know what is one of the worst website calls to action? LEARN MORE. It’s weak because it’s passive. Do you have any buttons like that on your website? This is not how people that are ready to do business talk. Look, I get it. You’re afraid of scaring people off. Nobody wants to say goodbye...Read More

13 Tips To Help Businesses Boost Sales Conversions Through Social Media Marketing

For marketers, social media offers platform variety, audiences of billions and ease of use. Studies have shown that 40% of digital consumers use social media to research brands or products and that both Millennials and Generation-Z consider social media the most relevant ad channel. With staggering statistics like these, it’s no wonder many businesses have gone all-in on creating robust social media marketing campaigns. Read More

The Best Ways to Advertise a Landscaping Business in the Digital Age

We get lots of questions about the best ways to advertise a landscaping or lawn care business in this new digital age. Questions like "Is radio and print advertising still relevant?", "Should we pay to be on Angie's List?" and "Does Facebook advertising actually work?". All good questions, my friends. Let's address the best ways...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...Read More

Essential Photos for Marketing Your Lawn Care, Landscaping, & Tree Services

Having a robust portfolio of images will help your marketing and messaging shine. Without a proactive plan to capture the essential shots, you’ll be frustrated when you search your files and come up short. Download Tip Sheet

Why and How to Address Cost of Services on Your Website

If I gave you three guesses of what activity occupies the most time on my 13-year-old son’s smartphone, I’d be willing to bet that you wouldn’t be able to even nail it with three tries. It’s not games nor social media. It’s researching prices on Amazon, Craigslist, and Google.Even if we drive to a physical store, my boy knows what the item costs elsewhere and where he could even get an upgraded version...Read More

This 6-Step Plan Will Transform Your Next Visual Marketing Campaign

Whether you're establishing a visual language or choosing a color palette, great planning is key to any successful visual marketing campaign. But with so many marketers under pressure to produce more and more content, many don't feel they have the time to make a marketing plan. What they don't realize is that this type of planning...Read More

Why Marketing is Hard and How to Fix It

Marketing touches every aspect of your company. This was scary when there were only a few ways to promote your business. Nowadays there are hundreds of marketing channels, and that’s only counting those that are completely or nearly free. The time comes when a key marketing channel is neglected. This could be your website, social media profiles, search directories or review sites. Read More

3 Graphic Design Tips for Non-Designers

Given the power of visual content (it’s more memorable and more engaging than text-based content), many marketers have turned to DIY graphic design software or contracted with graphic artists. With more traditionally text-focused people entering the world of visuals, it’s time for a brief...Read More

Your Website on a Mobile Device: Lead Generating Machine or Hot Mess? (New Data)

When we analyzed the average monthly website traffic to our clients' websites five years ago we found 33% of visits were from a mobile device. Based on how your own personal habits have changed, you can probably guess what has happened to this important metric. Yeah, it's gone up. Significantly. We (i.e.- Emmett) recently analyzed 17 lawn care and landscape company...Read More

How to Build a Social Media Following

How do you build a social media strategy that delivers real results for your business? We asked three world-class marketers at the top of their industries for their secrets. They revealed their tools, daily routines, and principles for outperforming their peers on social. Read More

Strengthen and Protect your Brand Reputation on Social Media

You have total control over many elements of your organization’s brand—things like your logo, tagline, tone of voice, and design guidelines. But no matter how carefully you curate the perfect brand identity, you can’t fully control how people feel. Read More

Email Success Checklist

A Simple Guide To Your Small Business Marketing Plan

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