This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
Little Green Book
BIG MARKETING TIPS & TACTICS
for LANDSCAPE PROFESSIONALS
Ways to win loyal clients & crush your competition
The Little Green Book of Big Marketing Tips & Tactics for Landscape Professionals Copyright © 2009 by Chris Heiler All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without written permission from the author. ISBN 978-0-692-00651-1 Printed in USA by 48HrBooks (www.48HrBooks.com)
who supported me throughout the entire writing and publishing process. And a special final thank you to my wife. . as well as Amit Pant who patiently organized my writing into book format. Amy. This book would not have been possible without guidance from Anthony Daniels who edited and critiqued my writing. and son. Charlie.Acknowledgments I would like to thank my Landscape Industry colleagues and friends who brought life to my ideas and made this book a reality—your unique experiences and contribution take this book to a level I could not have reached on my own.
I'll Show You Mine #21: Let’s Meet For Coffee #22: Give. Thank You. then Receive #23: More than Just Business i v 1 2 4 6 8 12 15 19 20 23 26 29 32 35 38 41 45 46 49 52 54 56 61 63 67 71 74 .” Chapter 3: Become the Expert #15: Back to School #16: Expert in a Day #17: Write Your Way to Success #18: “I’m too Lazy to Blog” #19: Advertising is Dead Chapter 4: Build Relationships that Matter #20: Show Me Yours.Contents Foreword Introduction Chapter 1: Earn Your Clients Loyalty #1: Behind the Curtain #2: ‘Tis the Season #3: “Don't You Forget About Me!” #4: Let Your Clients do the Talking #5: Giver's Gain #6: Giver’s Get Rewarded Chapter 2: Create Your Personal Brand #7: Plan Your Way to Success #8: Image is Everything #9: Be Remarkable #10: Your Branding Tool Box #11: Home Field Advantage #12: On Site and On the Road #13: The Specialist #14: “No.
Comes Around #26: A Win-Win-Win Proposition #27: Stick Your Name on It #28: Lead the Parade #29: If You Build It…They will Come Chapter 6: Develop Your Presence Online #30: Maximize Your Exposure #31: Your Marketing Hub #32: Your Personal Platform #33: The Real You in 140 Characters #34: The Future is Now Chapter 7: Leverage the New Rules of Advertising #35: If You Must… #36: Mail Your Message #37: An Automated Lead Source #38: There Goes the Neighborhood #39: Deliver Your Message Monthly #40: Just A Click Away Chapter 8: Showcase Your Portfolio #41: Take Your Work With You #42: Share With The World #43: Leave Your Work Behind #44: Become Your Own Publisher Final Thoughts Contributors Who is Chris Heiler? 76 81 82 84 86 88 90 93 94 98 100 105 108 113 114 117 120 123 125 129 133 134 138 140 142 147 149 153 .#24: Join My Network On LinkedIn Chapter 5: Sow Your Seeds in the Community #25: What Goes Around.
as an industry. cottage industry and many of us have not spent the time to learn how to use technology to our advantage. I remember an industry that was behind the times in many ways. When I think back to an earlier time in my career. Younger readers of this will have no idea what I’m talking about. That’s changing. even today. Building a business is a design process. CAD. He’s also interested in helping the industry as a whole. But when the Internet came along. The industry embraced those changes fairly quickly. For my part. When most small companies used answering machines. we are slow to embrace these changes. then try something else. so. many in this industry used answering services. of course. many landscape businesses have only a token web presence at best. or any of the other things that have become integral parts of business in the 21st century. He is always looking for a better way. I hope that doesn’t make him cringe! Or make you toss this book directly into the trash! What I mean is—he is a student of the art. and if something isn’t working the way it ought to. In fact. email. I’ve always taken the same approach to my business as I did to landscape design. There is a significant element within our industry who are not comfortable with computers.Foreword hris Heiler reminds me of me. it was a longer road. We are still very much a grass roots. I never worked for the big firm until later in my career. Getting business in the door was a big part of that journey. Cell phones and faxes were just coming into mainstream usage. I had to blaze my own trail. for the most part. but. C .
In this industry. and answer the phone professionally. If you want to be perceived as a professional. then you should do all you can to portray yourself as one. Many of us don’t really do well on the business side of things. most of us don’t really understand what marketing is. marketing is not selling. That means becoming visible and becoming desirable. then find someone to help you write your letters. let alone how to do it! First of all. Do you need to spend a lot of money to get noticed? Nope. nature. is creating a situation where people want to buy from you. Return phone calls promptly. Also. But you may need to spend some. This book is a great way to jump start your marketing efforts. and we don’t know how to market what we do. contracts and anything else you put in front of a potential client. In this book you will undoubtedly read things you already know. If writing is not your strength. these simple things will differentiate you from much of the competition. Marketing. But chances . use technology as much as you can.ii | The Little Green Book Many of us were attracted to the landscape business because we like the outdoors. The fact that you took that step shows you are interested in getting better. and helping people solve problems. Dress professionally. Congratulations for buying this book. so you may as well learn from others! Chris Heiler has made it incredibly easy for you to gain many years of experience in one easy read! You cannot afford NOT to read this book cover to cover. web site copy. In fact. And marketing is not advertising. plants. to me anyway. Chris has assembled ideas from many experienced leaders in the industry. You can’t live long enough to make all the mistakes yourself.
Foreword | iii are you will find at least a few nuggets that make it worthwhile. Tim Thoelecke. 2009 . Keep looking for a better way. FAPLD June.
More recently. If you were to put 100 landscape professionals in a room together. you will meet industry superstars like Jason Cupp. who continues to blaze a trail for other landscape design/build companies to follow. President and CEO of Highland Outdoor in Kansas City. and you will be left with the bottom 20% and the top 5%. Why is this? These industry superstars understand that the majority is always wrong! They look at what the majority of companies are doing and instead of following along. you may simply look at what everyone else around you is doing and do the opposite. you are likely to find three general groups of individuals and companies. a pioneer of the personal development industry. because—THE MAJORITY IS ALWAYS WRONG. they blaze new and unique trails for themselves. only 4 or 5 will stand out among the crowd and be considered remarkable. From large companies like Highland Outdoor. including the landscape industry. In my estimation. spoke these words over 50 years ago. Remove the 75% Mediocre Majority. who I refer to as the Remarkables. Throughout The Little Green Book. you will learn the . In this room of 100 companies. Kennedy coined the term Mediocre Majority succinctly describing the vast undistinguished middle of any industry or profession. author and marketing guru Dan S. this mediocre majority can make up as much as 75% of any industry. to small design boutiques like Susan Cohan Gardens in Chatham New Jersey.Introduction “If you have no successful example to follow in whatever endeavor you choose.” E arl Nightingale.
” These words were written by Lucius Annaeus Seneca. My hope is that after reading this book you will be on your path to joining the ranks of the Remarkables. The Time is Always Now “It is in times of security that the spirit should be preparing itself to deal with difficult times. His words are strikingly relevant to our economy and industry today. while fortune is bestowing favours on it then is the time for it to be strengthened against her rebuffs. good times and bad. Only a tiny percentage of landscape industry professionals are truly passionate about marketing themselves and their businesses. don't put forth the continual effort required. early in the first century AD. you need to stand out in the overly crowded marketplace we call the Green Industry. A Mediocre Majority also exists with regards to marketing in that most landscape professionals understand its importance. The primary goal in writing this book was to bring together some of these remarkable individuals in order to learn from them directly and incorporate their real world marketing strategies and experiences into our own businesses. The marketing . You Can Be Different To be successful. however. You cannot kick your marketing efforts into high gear only during a tough economy and expect a handsome payoff. a Roman stoic philosopher. You must be consistent.vi | The Little Green Book exact marketing strategies that have helped these companies build their brands. Marketing yourself and your business takes constant effort.
Implementing just one or two of these tactics could lead to huge gains for your company. and then build on those moving forward. For example. each and every tactic will not be relevant to everyone. such as video and other downloads.Introduction | vii strategies and case studies put forth in this book will enable you to do exactly that. you will decide which marketing tactics are relevant to your company and current situation. Ultimately. I wrote this book to be treated as a “stepping stone” in your marketing journey. Shortened URL’s have been included throughout the book so you can easily access these valuable resources. This book was written for all professionals within our great industry. Take advantage of these additional support materials and resources. will be more relevant to landscape designers than lawn maintenance contractors. don't worry about trying to implement each of the 44 marketing tactics. so look for the few nuggets you can quickly implement and master. Be different! Chris Heiler July 2009 . I wish you much success in your marketing journey. That said. Second. This book will lead you to other complimentary support materials. that expand on specific tactics enabling you to implement these strategies more easily and successfully. So how can you get the most from this book? First. Chapter 8: Showcase Your Portfolio. This would certainly lead to serious overload.
A “collect the check and run” mentality won't secure the loyalty of your clients. raving fans? Your marketing efforts should begin by focusing on your existing clientele.CHAPTER ONE Earn Your Clients Loyalty arning your client's loyalty is an on-going process which requires cultivating your relationship beyond the job site. while others will need to create a more deliberate process for your company. This chapter will help you develop that process and secure the loyalty of your clients. We've all heard the old adage that it costs five to seven times more to get a new customer than to cross-sell an existing customer. Good customer service and quality workmanship leads to satisfied clients. why do so many companies in the landscape industry put all of their focus on “getting the next big job”? Let them—you are different! It will take effort. If this is true. Why? Because this is exactly what your clients expect from you! Ask yourself this: Are satisfied clients good enough for you? Wouldn't you prefer clients to be ecstatic. and money. to earn your clients admiration and loyalty. E . Your return on investment will be well worth it. Fostering this type of relationship will come very natural to some of you.
This concept can be scaled to any budget level. there is no cleanup! If you don't want to throw the party. you also have options.2 | The Little Green Book #1: Behind the Curtain To secure the loyalty of your clients and turn them into advocates for your business. The Gardening Angel in Grand Rapids Michigan rents a banquet hall at the local botanic garden to host a catered meal for their clients. Besides the wonderful ambiance of the gardens. Wine festival anyone? For around $600 (in my experience) you can purchase a table for 10 giving you the opportunity to wine and dine four pairs of clients for the night. If you work out of your home. then take your clients to the party! This is a great strategy for sole proprietors. Is there a charitable event or fundraiser that you are passionate about? Why not get your clients involved? Relay for Life is the American Cancer Society’s signature event in which . What’s most important is that you are scheduling valuable personal time with your biggest fans. What's the key to sales and earning referrals? Simple—get people to like you! The only way this can happen is if you let clients behind the curtain and get to know each other personally. Many charitable organizations host annual benefit dinners in which you can sponsor a table and bring guests. you must build a personal relationship with them beyond the project site. A great way to forge this relationship is by hosting an annual event for your clients. What can you do? Many companies host an annual client appreciation party at their place of business.
participants are raising much-needed funds to fight cancer and raise awareness. More importantly. I can't think of a better way to bond with your clients while helping your community in the same instance. it will help develop a close personal relationship. . as well as their clients. Showing your genuine appreciation for your clients by involving them in these special events will lead to powerful word-of-mouth marketing and an increase in referrals. as teammates. In the process. Local businesses sponsor teams and include their friends and families.Earn Your Clients Loyalty | 3 teams of people camp out at local schools and parks and take turns walking around a track for 24 straight hours.
4 | The Little Green Book
#2: ‘Tis the Season
Each year leading up to Christmas, I'm swimming in a sea of greeting cards. I'm sure it's the same way for you. Here's how I personally process this mail: If the card has a personal, handwritten note and signature, I keep it through the holidays. If the card has a generic printed message and signature, it automatically finds the trash can. I like to see actual effort and genuineness when someone sends me something. I don't like being just another mailing label spit out of a printer. If you currently treat the holiday season as just another mundane, annual marketing task by sending generic cards, you should not waste your time and money. Your client will spend three seconds reading your card and then you will be completely out of their mind. Lucky for you, most companies follow this ineffective strategy. If you can be one of the few who does things differently, you will be much more appreciated and memorable. Stand out from the crowd If you send Christmas cards to your clients, don't be dull like everyone else. Add a personal note specifically for your client and personally sign the card. If you choose to spend time on this type of thing, then do it right and be sure that you are going to capture your clients attention and that they will feel your gratitude. Here's a tip regarding holiday cards: send your cards before Thanksgiving so your clients get your card first. You will also avoid being just one in a hundred. If you really want to stand out and be remembered, go beyond greeting cards and give your clients a holiday wreath or
Earn Your Clients Loyalty | 5 an actual Christmas tree like I’ve known many landscape professionals have done. I've also heard of many giving away turkeys for Thanksgiving and pumpkins before Halloween. Be genuine in whatever you choose to do for the holidays. This is a time to show your appreciation for those who have helped you throughout the years.
If you are sending greeting cards during the holidays, why not do it in a way that ensures you stand out from all others? Use an online service such as Enthusem.com which automatically sends personalized, printed greeting cards. What makes Enthusem's service so unique is that each card contains a link, called an “attachment”, directing your client to a unique web page. How can you leverage this unique technology? Gather your employees together and shoot a short video thanking your clients for their business. You can upload the video to YouTube.com or your company website. When your clients receive their card, they will go to the link included and see the video of your employees personally thanking them! The time invested is minimal and the cost per greeting card is approximately $2.50 each. I’m sure you can come up with many other unique ideas for this service as well.
6 | The Little Green Book
#3: “Don't You Forget About Me!”
As with most things in life, sometimes the simplest gestures reap the biggest rewards. This is especially true when it comes to the relationships with your clients. You all understand how important it is for your clients to remember you. You want them to keep you "top of mind" so they can speak positively of you and refer you to their friends. Well, guess what? Your clients don't want you to forget about them either! I mentioned previously how many service professionals have a "collect the check and run" mentality. This only leads to shortterm gains. With just a small bit of effort, and even less money, you can reap rewards for the long term by keeping your clients top of mind. I'm talking about reaching out to your clients for their benefit, not necessarily yours. Staying in touch Every client is unique—they have different personalities, interests and tastes. You need to have a good understanding of each client in order to know when and how to reach out to them. Many of my clients appreciate it when I stop by to walk their garden with them. This is a great way to catch up with a client by spending some time with them. You can also give them some tips and advice as well as spot problems they may be having in their garden. I also like to share information that may be of interest to them such as news clippings or photos of gardens they would enjoy. I typically email or fax these. If you are fortunate enough to have one of your projects featured in a magazine or
It's all about being genuine—your clients will notice. but more importantly referring business to them. This is easier and less expensive than you might think. Take some time to write them a personal note and send them the clipping. that you know they would appreciate. Author's Resource ----------------------------------------------------------------------- If you want to be memorable and stay top of mind. Your clients will work extra hard to refer you if they know you are working extra hard to refer them. your clients will be thrilled when you share this with them. When keeping in touch and reaching out to your clients. You will learn how to do this in tactic #44: Become Your Own Publisher. They will be flattered that you noticed and took the time out of your day to acknowledge them. always look to give first with no other agenda. or they may even be featured in a special interest story. consider publishing a before-and-after book for your best clients chronicling the evolution of their garden. Why not brighten up their day by sharing a laugh? Occasionally your client’s accomplishments may be highlighted in a local publication. such as a comic or video. You can also share something fun. Have you ever given your client a referral? This can mean referring other service providers. Keep your clients needs top of mind.Earn Your Clients Loyalty | 7 newspaper. . Who wouldn't be flattered by this gesture? Your client would no doubt place this on their coffee table and show it off to friends. Don't you love getting referrals from your clients? I certainly do.
you need to leverage this loyalty. we ended up with a space where our family can gather and share the stories of our day. as were others we spoke to. A strong testimonial from a client carries much more credibility in the mind of a prospect than hearing the exact same statement from you firsthand.”. for example. Ask them if they can provide a testimonial about one specific point. His design and awesome ideas were way beyond what we expected. A testimonial is nothing more than a written or spoken statement from a customer. step-by-step process that set them apart from the other companies. “If Bob and Shirley Jones were happy with their services.8 | The Little Green Book #4: Let Your Clients do the Talking Once you have a following of ecstatic fans. We knew they were talented designers. but it was their logical. Testimonials also create powerful social proof. extolling the virtues of a product or service. This will only lead to a very general statement such as this: .John and Paula Thorpe In order to get powerful testimonials like the two above. you need to guide your client’s writing. One way to do this is by collecting testimonials from your clients.James and Donna Turner “We ultimately chose to work with Smith Brothers Landscaping because of their design process. Don't leave it up to them. Here are two good examples: “Donna and I absolutely loved working with Jason on the design for our new outdoor kitchen. The best testimonials are very specific and speak to one point. then they're good enough for us!” The key to using testimonials successfully is in how they are crafted.”. We got much more than just a kitchen.
newsletters and in print advertising campaigns.Earn Your Clients Loyalty | 9 “We enjoyed working with Smith Brothers Landscaping on our project. blog. This creates more authenticity. Four or five powerful. This is true whether you just did a design or a complete installation. to-the-point testimonials are all you will need. Get the testimonial when you are “top of mind” and your client is happiest. builders and landscape architects. . Always ask for permission to edit the testimonial. It's much better to have fewer. not only homeowners. Your testimonials can be used on your website. They were extremely pleasant to deal with and we are really happy with the quality of their work. but from other respected professionals you have worked with such as architects. Use the actual hand-written notes. You will not need a testimonial from every client. more powerful testimonials than to have a bunch of generic statements. and then seek approval after your editing.” Quality over quantity It's all about quality when it comes to testimonials. Testimonials from these individuals give you even more credibility and social proof. it's all about quality. These can be from. emails. I've found that the best way to get a strong testimonial is by asking for it immediately after completing a landscape project. Seeking testimonials from wellknown and highly respected individuals in the community also contributes to the quality of the testimonial. You can also include your testimonials within your portfolio. Remember. letters or cards you have received from clients. as will an actual photo of your client beside the testimonial. or if you worked for homeowners or with an architect.
10 | The Little Green Book Case Study ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Morristown. the day we organized the taping turned out to be cloudy. Most of our leads and sales have come via our website. The camera man actually asked my clients questions which I prepared for him. When updating my website. and would you recommend us to others?” A Sony PD170 video camera was used. We had no other choice but to move forward because of the planning and organization that went into this. They said hearing real people give honest testimonials helped them make their decision. We had to schedule a specific time with each client. “How was our work throughout the duration of your project?”. My questions were: “How exactly did you find my company?”. NJ Pamela Dabah—Dabah Landscape Designs On my company website. Nothing beats the . and many clients have commented that the testimonials made a positive impression. My husband is a video producer and came up with the idea of video testimonials from clients rather than traditional written testimonials. I added the video testimonials to the home page. I contacted the clients I thought would be most open to the idea and received 100% enthusiasm for the project. These questions allowed for my clients to respond creatively and personally. From the original video recordings. we made CD’s which we gave to friends and potential clients. I've posted a video of clients giving me testimonials. “How was I to work with personally?” and “We're you satisfied. and coordinate this with the camera man's schedule. Unfortunately. along with a tripod and a wireless microphone. We have gotten numerous compliments ever since.
ly/2xziXj .Earn Your Clients Loyalty | 11 emotion in the voice of someone telling you how good your services are. You can view the video here: http://bit.
Referrals are valuable for many reasons including the fact that the leads are typically pre-qualified—the prospects are aware of your processes. Also. family and friends. Having a system in place is helpful. Referrals from your best clients are typically like-minded individuals which removes some risk from the design/build process for both parties. workmanship and pricing. These groups include current and past clients. employees. In my opinion. your cost per lead is much less for a referral versus other marketing strategies. but you should remember that there is no best way because everyone is unique in how they give referrals and how they respond to being asked for referrals. referrals are earned organically through your everyday actions and how you conduct your business as opposed to following a structured referral system. realtors and interior designers and allied professionals such as subcontractors and suppliers as well as other landscape professionals who may be your competition. The first step in building a business based on referrals is to recognize that there are different groups of people who can refer business to you. .12 | The Little Green Book #5: Giver's Gain I do not know anyone who does not value referrals or who would not like to build their business primarily from referrals. You will need to create a unique plan for each group. professionals such as architects. Encouraging referrals from your clients will be different than with architects.
not to be confused with giving a lead. In order for someone to refer you. Giving a referral is an art form. This is often referred to as your “Unique Selling Proposition” (USP). It is best if you can connect the two individuals personally.Earn Your Clients Loyalty | 13 Put yourself second The most effective way to earn more referrals is to follow the Law of Reciprocity and give first. Next. The key is to always be alert and recognize an opportunity when you can help someone. This comes quite naturally for some while for others it may require a shift in mindset. Work to recognize these individuals and instead associate yourself with those who freely help others. Another key to earning more referrals is being able to clearly explain to people what it is that you do. be sure to manage your time wisely when trying to earn referrals. You must put the needs of others before your personal needs. so do the work for them. . Your contact does not want to chase a bad lead. Are you simply a “Landscaper” or are you a “Landscaper who specializes in (insert your niche)”. Some people just do not give referrals. You should always try to do the prequalifying for the person you will be giving the referral to. they must first clearly understand exactly what you do and how you are different from your competition. especially face to face if circumstances allow. Not everyone will be open to referring your services.
14 | The Little Green Book Resource Author’s Resource ----------------------------------------------------------------------- I can only spend a minimal amount of time discussing how to earn referrals in this book. written specifically for the Landscape Industry. The topic is so broad and deep it commands its own book dedicated to the topic.ly/pwAjZ . I highly recommend reading Jeffrey Scott’s book The Referral Advantage—How to Increase Sales and Grow Your Landscape Business by Referral! Jeffrey is a Green Industry consultant with years of experience and a proven track record when it comes to earning referrals. such a book exists. Fortunately. You can purchase The Referral Advantage here: http://bit.
not because they will be compensated.000 should be rewarded differently than a client worth $100. Some people are motivated by money while others are motivated by knowing they simply helped someone build their business. recognize that each person is unique and is motivated by different things. which means rewarding each individual in a unique way. You can offer incentives to employees. but it ensures you stay top of mind with the client. Your program need not only apply to clients. Again.000. the key is to be memorable. If handled properly. Setting up your system There are many ways to reward someone for a referral. friends and allied professionals for referring your services.Earn Your Clients Loyalty | 15 #6: Giver’s Get Rewarded Loyal customers are happy customers and we all know happy customers refer us to their friends. . For example. A rewards program not only encourages more referrals. First. Second. a referral that delivers a client worth $10. The most important reason to reward someone is to show your genuine appreciation for the referral. One way to encourage referrals is by offering a referral rewards or incentive program. you want people to refer you because they love your service and trust you. There are two considerations to keep in mind when developing an incentive program. Your program must be flexible and factor this in. you also have the chance to form a memorable impression with your client. The incentive should also be in alignment with the quality of referral.
offering monetary incentives is a motivator for some. Many highend clients respond to this better than they would if I offered them cash. but can be distasteful to others. I highly recommend Jeffrey Scott’s book The Referral Advantage—How to Increase Sales and Grow Your Landscape Business by Referral! Chapter 9 of his book covers incentive systems extensively. tickets. gift baskets and memberships are also rewards I have seen used.16 | The Little Green Book Setting up a rewards system is easy to do. I keep a list of unique ideas that I can use for rewarding referrals. If I secure the prospect as a client. the more memorable. I believe it’s important to acknowledge the referral immediately. One of the unique ways I reward clients is by making a donation to a charity of their choice in their name. Gift certificates. You can purchase Jeffrey’s book here: http://bit.ly/pwAjZ . I then send a thank you note to the referral source. Just remember: the more unique. When I receive a referral. Keep in mind. I reward the referral source after the project has been completed and after I’ve been compensated. Resource Author’s Resource ----------------------------------------------------------------------- Again. I immediately add the prospect and the referral source to my spreadsheet. Other ways to reward referrals are by offering discounts on products and services or free enhancements like seasonal color change out’s. I use a simple spread sheet to track referrals I receive.
(2) Employees. (4) Subcontractors and (5) Allied Professionals. Determine how you are going to spend more personal time with these people. (3) Current & Past Clients. (2-3 hours) Divide your contacts into distinct groups—(1) Friends & Family. Who else within each group could be a good referral source? Is there someone outside your circle who could be a good referral source? For example. Can you host a client appreciation party? Do you just need to call more often? Whatever you decide. Email each client with your request and follow up with a phone call. is there a local realtor you would like to meet? Concentrate on these individuals and ask yourself if you could provide referrals for them. Write down a different subject for each to speak to so you end up with three or four unique and specific testimonials. Identify the three to five people within each group who currently provide you with the most referrals. add it to your schedule and follow through. (1-2 hours) Identify three or four clients who would be willing to give you a testimonial. These are your most loyal clients and those most likely to refer your services.Earn Your Clients Loyalty | 17 What You Can Do Right Now: (1-2 hours) Identify your biggest fans. How can you encourage these people to refer you more often? .
your image is how you are perceived in the community. You might only have one chance to get this right. What specific characteristics make you and your company unique? B . etc. Your brand is a reflection of all that you do—your work.CHAPTER TWO Create Your Personal Brand randing is not unique to corporate America anymore. Building a strong and memorable brand is one way of doing this. employees. Because once you are perceived to be a certain way. are placing greater importance on crafting an image and brand that stands out in the community. Businesses of all sizes. companies need to separate themselves from the pack. behaviors. This is critical to understand because your image follows you everywhere. How is your company perceived in your marketplace? A brand associated with a product or service has certain qualities and characteristics that make it special or unique. Positively or negatively. the more repeat business and qualified referrals you will earn. as well as individuals. customer service. it is very hard to change those perceptions. Why is this? With more competition than ever in the landscape industry. The more unique and memorable you are in the eyes of your customers.
Here is an example of a poorly established goal: “I want to grow my business this year”. you should be able to track the progress towards achieving your goal. your goal should be as specific as possible in order to create actionable steps to achieve it. First. will have the greatest impact on your business? Having fewer goals allows you to be more focused and it is also much easier to track your progress. Most people are comfortable setting goals on an annual basis or even longer range. I've found three things to be critical. to identify your goals for an upcoming specified period of time.20 | The Little Green Book #7: Plan Your Way to Success Your marketing efforts must begin with two things—specific goals and a step-by-step action plan. Ask yourself. I know—booorrrriiing! You will not have the success you strive for without setting goals. whether it's one day or one week. . Third. what one or two things. you should be able to establish deadlines to force action and create urgency. if you accomplish them. I should also add that less is best. How can you define what success means to you if you don't have goals? The most important thing you can do for yourself and your business is set aside time. I personally set quarterly goals for my business. Based on my experience setting goals. Here is an example of a well thought out goal: “I will grow my business by increasing revenue 50% in the first 6 months of the year”. Second.
You've written your goals. next you will need the step-by-step action plan required to achieve your goals. The second example is specific by stating the actual percentage of growth and identifying a deadline. now what? Now that you have a clear understanding of what you want to achieve through your marketing efforts. The plan will also allow you to develop a realistic marketing budget for your company. Think of your calendar as your marketing boss standing over your shoulder constantly reminding you of your marketing responsibilities each and every day. Without them. I now find that creating a marketing calendar as a complement to my marketing plan is a great way to stay organized and keep me on track toward my goals. This focused goal will now set your thoughts towards building a step-by-step plan to accomplish it. In my experience. . Creating goals will help you formulate and clarify in your mind what is important to you and your business. your company can drift in different directions instead of staying focused. developing a marketing plan is pretty simple and an enjoyable process. Taking the time to write a marketing plan will help you organize your thoughts into clear actionable steps and will serve as a guide that you can refer to each and every week to keep you on track.Create Your Personal Brand | 21 The first example is purely wishful thinking. The most difficult part is executing the plan (this is one reason I now plan quarterly). We get busy working in our business instead of on our business and things slip by us. I'm sure this is the case for many of you.
ly/4skmer Google Calendar: http://bit.ly/lyh0y MindMeister mind mapping software: http://bit.22 | The Little Green Book Author's Resource ----------------------------------------------------------------------- I've produced a step-by-step video showing you exactly how I create a marketing plan and calendar using two free online tools.ly/3euHnB . You can view the video here: http://bit. I use a combination of Google Calendar and mind mapping software to plan my marketing strategies.
Below is a partial list of behavior from landscape professionals that I have witnessed personally that has created a negative impression in my mind: • • • • Employees drinking beer in their company truck during lunch hour. in a front yard eating lunch. Employees lounging in camping chairs. You may not even consider some of these strategies marketing. Just imagine what can happen off site! Here are a few I have witnessed: • Drunk employee at a casino wearing company attire. even if only subconsciously. as with this strategy. Employees leaving trash from their lunch in a parkway. you are not the only person who represents your brand. these four behaviors all occurred on site and by employees (three just on lunch break). Notice. Employees telling tales of their drunken weekend adventures under an open window for their client to hear. your brand follows along. with radio blasting. . they are either advocates for your brand or destroyers of your brand. when your brand can either be positively or negatively impacted simply by what you wear and how you speak. which ended up in a neighbor’s lawn. If you have employees. But. Wherever you and your employees go. People will remember your branding. I felt this worth covering. and they will form their impressions based on that interaction.Create Your Personal Brand | 23 #8: Image is Everything Many of the most effective marketing strategies in this book cost very little money to implement. Additionally. whether a project site or a night club.
24 | The Little Green Book • • A group of drunk employees piling into a company truck at the local watering hole. community leaders and other professionals will recognize your positive and professional behavior. Just as people notice negative behaviors. they represent your brand as well! Have you looked in the mirror lately? Presenting yourself as a true professional reaps huge rewards. These folks will understand that you hold yourself and company to a higher standard than your competitors. your clients. you will attract a higher level of clientele. not destroyers. This is why it is so important to hire the right people. Because of this. You need to create advocates. in full company attire. and instill your company values in them. Oh. Here are others I have witnessed that happen every single day: • • • • • • Foul language on site Negative attitudes on site Poor grooming habits and dress Smoking on site Wearing dirty shoes in the clients home Using shrubs as toilets You should be able to see how this behavior can absolutely destroy your brand that you have worked so hard to build. A group of employees. in a restaurant telling distasteful stories I realize the above behaviors are extreme. and if you hire sub-contractors. be able to charge higher rates and earn more revenue .
how you send invoices and to how you organize your design and sales process. A true professional is able to look a prospect in the eyes and explain that their budget does not match their dreams. What do you see? . or that their ideas are not appropriate for the given situation. Your clients want to work with the person who shows up on time with a positive attitude. This can include everything from how you answer the telephone. just a little common sense. it all begins with integrity.Create Your Personal Brand | 25 and referrals. Your company processes. What does the word professional mean to you? What are the qualities of a professional individual or company? For me. This can include everything from resolving warranty issues to just showing up on time. Your actions must match your words. These processes make your clients comfortable and instill confidence. also contribute to your professional image. Put your company in front of the mirror. Clients don't want to work with someone who is negative and who doubts their own abilities. What you see in the mirror is exactly what you will attract! It does not require a lot of effort and money to create a professional image. you will separate yourself from 90% of your competition! I also find that a positive and confident attitude contributes to your professional image. or systems. At the same time. If you can simply show up when you say you are going to. not the person who drinks beer in their driveway at lunch time. this attitude needs to be balanced with a bit of candor and reality.
When it comes to being remarkable. Others consistently deliver flat-out lousy service to their customers. mostly built by how you treat your customers. Most companies offer a good. returning calls and handling issues promptly. When I say “Be Remarkable”. and doing what you say you will do all the time. This is remarkable customer service. I witnessed a great example of this recently: A landscape contractor noticed that a large evergreen tree was dying in a newly installed landscape. Of course. not great. If you can do these common sense things you will be ahead of your competition. you need to separate yourself from the competition and offer a higher level of customer service. in this case. follows you wherever you go. Because of this.26 | The Little Green Book #9: Be Remarkable Your customer service is as much a part of your brand as your company name and logo. Instead of waiting for the customer to call about the tree. . you may only need to meet your client’s expectations. going beyond your clients expectations is even better. How hard is that? Being remarkable can simply mean being on time consistently. the contractor replaced the tree without any nudging from the client. This does not need to be difficult. Your reputation. I simply mean that you need to do better than the mediocre majority of companies. level of customer service.
in which each home is worth well over one million dollars. This was critical because she was often the first point of contact with our company. Once an issue left her desk there was absolutely no guarantee that it would be handled appropriately. NY Steve Griggs—Land Design Studio. I have been designing and installing residential landscapes for the past 25 years. mainly in the affluent suburbs of New York and a few rooftops in Manhattan. her same level of service and attitude did not permeate throughout the entire company. This level of trust will lead to more referrals. That said. 30 miles north of New York City. builds trust between yourself and your client. starting at the top. Our clients absolutely loved her. I rely solely on word-of-mouth to generate business. Inc. There is a sub-division of 60 homes in affluent Westchester County.Create Your Personal Brand | 27 Who is your weakest link? This mentality needs to permeate throughout your company. Case Study ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Blauvelt. and reputation. I do not recall how I got the . Your client will not hesitate to refer you because they know you will treat their friends exactly as you treated them. is only as strong as your weakest link. Doing what you say you are going to do. I once worked for a large landscape design/build firm that had the most friendly and responsive receptionist answering the phone. when you say you will do it. This is one of those cases where your customer service. even more so than the quality of your work.
Because it is a small neighborhood and everyone knows each other. especially in New York! . a small azalea bush died shortly thereafter so I promised to replace it. If you tell your clients you are going to do something. What I've learned is that the small things matter more than the big. This showed my integrity and that my word meant something. However. but what has transpired since is quite amazing. by all means follow through because that's what they will remember. I was referred to the neighbors and the jobs just kept getting bigger! I have been working in this same neighborhood for the past seven years and have completed eight other projects ranging from $75. and exactly when I said I would. The first little job we did was a simple $5. which the client absolutely loved. It's all about trust and integrity. and when you are going to do it. I believe the dead azalea was a big factor.000 planting installation.000. And that is exactly what I did.28 | The Little Green Book first “little” job in the sub-division. From this simple deed. even more so than the beautiful planting job. residents rely on each other for referrals to good.000 to $235. qualified contractors. This is what my client remembered most about working with me. even if you only have to replace a 3 gallon plant.
not your company. I still don't feel like I've gotten it right. Six years later I'm on my second name and third logo. The word gardens evokes different imagery in the minds of prospects. I also thought that having a name like this would allow for greater future growth. But here is what I've learned: your clients want to do business with you.Create Your Personal Brand | 29 #10: Your Branding Tool Box Thinking back to when I first started my landscape design firm in 2003. I remember the most enjoyment coming from selecting a company name and designing my logo and business cards. Also. created the impression of a larger. I share this personal experience because I feel that selecting an appropriate company name is the most important first step in building your brand. Your company name has the potential to instantly identify who you are to your prospects. While once believing that using your personal name was a bad choice. I'm now on the other side of the fence. and at the same time. differentiate yourself from your competition. or Fountainhead Gardens in my case. Here is a comparison to illustrate my point: Greenview Landscaping Susan Cohan Gardens There are hundreds of companies with a generic name like Greenview Landscaping. I would bet 70% of my clients cannot remember . choosing to use the word “gardens” over “landscaping” was not arbitrary. There is only one company with the name of Susan Cohan Gardens. more professional company. Maybe this was just the designer in me. I once thought that having a name like Greenview Landscaping.
Try to keep your tagline between six and eight words and use an icon that can be drawn easily. Use your logo in a consistent manner and use the same colors and typeface in all of your marketing materials.30 | The Little Green Book my company name. Designing your logo While your company name identifies who you are. Here's another tip regarding your choice of icon: avoid using cliché images that everyone else in our industry uses. What tools you choose are entirely up to you. you want to differentiate yourself from your competition. three at the absolute most. There is no rule that says you must have an icon and tagline. they refer Chris Heiler. Remember. and nothing else. The most important thing to remember is to be consistent when presenting your brand. which along with your company name and icon make up your logo. there are the other standard branding tools that most companies utilize such as business cards. Try to stick with using only two colors. They don't refer Fountainhead Gardens to their friends. brochures. You want a logo that can be reproduced well across all formats including online and in print. your logo should clearly identify what you do and for whom. I have business cards and company letterhead for my company. postcards and letterhead. This is typically accomplished by using a tagline. for example. Sometimes just the right company name in a nice typeface is all you need. an image of a tree. Beyond your logo. .
I've had great success finding freelance design help using Elance. Not only does a professional have the creativity needed. Not only can these freelance providers design your logo.com and 99designs. Hire a professional to design your company logo. they also have the ability to create the logo in the various formats that are adaptable across all mediums online and in print. You have to get this right—do not hire the kid down the street or your brother's best friend's wife. sometimes as low as $100.Create Your Personal Brand | 31 Author’s Resource ----------------------------------------------------------------------- Your logo is the single. graphical image that represents your company and brand.com. You can hire a freelance design professional to design a logo for less than $250. This does not have to be expensive. they can also design your business cards. . letterhead and envelopes all at a very competitive price.
Building and maintaining a bricks-and-mortar operation requires an enormous investment of time. energy and money. I will discuss how your website should be treated as the hub of your online marketing efforts.32 | The Little Green Book #11: Home Field Advantage Have you ever considered your place of business to be a marketing tool? You should. Your POB is also a great opportunity to showcase your design skills and creativity in the form of display gardens. This is your brand in plain view. Home owners. you can create home field advantage with your place of business. This is reassuring to your prospects and clients and can lead to a higher level of trust early in your sales process. recognize your company name because you have chosen to do business in their town. I've witnessed many fine examples of this from landscape professionals. your place of business (POB) gives you credibility and showcases your professionalism. you should try to maximize your operation's marketing potential. Your Marketing Machine In a later chapter. Your POB can be the hub of your offline marketing strategy. This is your footprint on the community. because your business location can be leveraged for purposes beyond managing the day to day operations of your company. It's proof that your business has had success and that you are not a fly-by-night company. One of the best ways I've seen companies utilize . because of this. business owners and community leaders alike. Whether you are a company of 100 employees or a company of 1 (see the Case Study that follows). From a marketing standpoint.
This was a great way for the company to show their appreciation and gratitude while at the same time enabling the guests to get acquainted with one another on a more personal level. so I don't require a large space for landscape materials or equipment. Another company does this by serving as a drop off point for the Toys for Tots program and local food drives. I once worked for a large landscape design/build firm who hosted an annual party for their clients. Your employees can teach these workshops or you can bring in outside experts.ft. The space is divided into my 250 sq. I use the showroom space to display my collection of garden ornament and site furnishings that I incorporate into my design projects . Author’s Case Study ----------------------------------------------------------------- Chris Heiler—Fountainhead Gardens Zeeland. studio and my showroom which is 650 sq.. MI I lease a 900 square foot space in a historic building in downtown Zeeland. subcontractors and employees. I'm an independent designer and general contractor without employees.ft. Another company hosts an annual open house for the community where they combine workshops. is by offering weekend workshops to homeowners. They have even used live radio remote broadcasts to promote the event. events for children and a daylong sale. The ideas for these how-to seminars are endless.Create Your Personal Brand | 33 their place of business. I've seen companies offer workshops from How to Design a Rain Garden to How to Prune Your Trees and Shrubs. It's all about reaching out and engaging the local community.
34 | The Little Green Book
(This is not a retail store). The building’s owner and I restored the space to its original look, which includes interior walls of brick, a tin ceiling and wood floors. The historic feel and design of the space is a perfect setting for the classical garden ornament I display. I use my place of business mainly as a qualifying tool, not as a primary way to market my business. My first meeting with a prospect is always at my studio. Insisting on this is a great way to qualify prospects. If the prospect is interested in working with my company, they will have no issue meeting on my terms. I've found there to be numerous advantages to hosting the first meeting at my studio. Most importantly, meeting at my studio, on my terms, gives me more control of the situation versus meeting at a prospect’s home. Also, having the space re-affirms that we are a professional organization just like other professionals such as architects and attorneys. Next, the studio and showroom give me instant credibility because the unique, creatively designed space serves as a reflection of what the prospect can expect in our design work. Finally, the comfortable environment lends itself to presentations. There is plenty of room to spread out plans as well as a 32” flat screen monitor to display numerous photos. My closing percentage is now much higher since I've been using my place of business to meet with clients. The size and quality of my projects have also increased dramatically. You can see a photo of my studio here: http://bit.ly/26jDQ3
Create Your Personal Brand | 35
#12: On Site and On the Road
For many landscape professionals, their single greatest lead source is their fleet of vehicles on the road. This makes complete sense—your vehicles are basically billboards with wheels touching potential prospects multiple times. In the previous tip, I discussed utilizing your place of business as a marketing tool. The same can be said for your fleet of vehicles. While your POB is stationary, your vehicles carry your brand into the community and directly to your job sites. Don't underestimate the importance and impact your vehicles can have on your business. As with your place of business, your fleet of vehicles contributes to your professional image. Like it or not, prospects are drawn to companies with shiny new trucks with beautiful signage. They associate your professional image with quality of work. Just as a book's cover can sell the book, your vehicles can get your foot in the door with a prospect. Branding your site Your vehicles also create brand awareness while on a project site. This branding of your site has obvious significance in that the entire neighborhood now knows who is working down the street. Not only are many of the homeowners in the neighborhood potential prospects, some may even be other professionals, such as architects or realtors, who you may potentially forge a collaborative relationship with. Keep in mind, if you leave heavy equipment such as skid loaders and trailers on site, these should also carry your company branding. Your vehicles are typically not on site in the evening
36 | The Little Green Book when potential prospects are out for a stroll. Make sure your brand is front and center at all hours of the day. In my opinion, the best way to brand your project site is by using a job site sign. As I mentioned above, prospects will be exposed to your signage when your vehicles and equipment are not on site. A job site sign can also extend your brand's presence on site beyond the installation time period. Many companies will place their signage on a project site immediately upon signing an installation contract. Many weeks can roll by in between signing a contract and starting the actual work. Take advantage of this time! You can do the same upon completing a project. I typically leave my sign on site for three or four weeks after completion. Give careful consideration to how you want to utilize your job site sign. It's not all about how expensive the sign is or how it looks, it's more about how you use it. Like realtors, you can include a plastic box or tube in which you can leave brochures, rack cards or postcards. I once had a small sign made that simply said coming soon which clipped to the top of my regular sign. This helped build anticipation in the neighborhood. You should also use your sign to direct people to your website. You could add the words, See what this garden will look like completed at www.YourWebSite.com/drawingboard, then add the design rendering to your website so people can view it. This will create some serious anticipation and buzz in the neighborhood.
our stump adds to our visibility. You can see photo's of Larry's vehicles here: http://bit. etc. this is our best advertising – vehicles that are memorable. But this has proved to be the best type of marketing for us. ads in the paper and telephone book. people thought we were crazy. we started our company with a white Chevy with purple graphics! We quickly transitioned to red Dodges. each with a brightly colored mural depicting deer leaping over hills. the return has been well worth it many times over.ly/UiOX6 . – but none of them seem to bring in the business like the trucks do. Again. We have since added the same graphics to all of our equipment including our mowers and stump grinders. We have tried numerous types of advertising – radio spots.Create Your Personal Brand | 37 Case Study ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Grand Rapids. For us. MI Larry Ditkoff—Larry's Lawn Service In 1992. Just like the hats on the NAPA trucks. People at the time thought we were crazy and that it was a stupid idea. It appears now that many of our competitors are doing the same thing with their trucks. but it has worked wonders for us. For the minimal amount of money we have spent painting our trucks. but it really catches the eyes of our prospective customers. Three years ago we added a fiberglass tree stump to the top of the truck that pulls our stump grinder. We have had these fancy trucks now for 17 years – a long time to stick to one type of marketing. yard signs. Usually the first thing a customer will see is your truck. Kids even know who we are because they recognize our trucks. Many customers have told us that they got our number off our trucks because the colors and graphics caught their eye.
The majority of prospects who call you will be familiar with your specialty. Because of this. you will catch the eye of your local media more frequently leading to greater publicity opportunities than a generalist would receive. so essentially they are already somewhat pre-qualified. The hourly rate of the lactation consultant was nearly double that of the general practitioner. when you work within a very narrow niche.38 | The Little Green Book #13: The Specialist My wife. it becomes much easier to prequalify prospects. and I had a baby recently. to pay more for specialized knowledge. You can leverage this willingness to pay more when building your brand. but it’s much easier to stand out because you will have differentiated yourself from the competition. First. This is because people expect. you should consider specializing. Think about it: you may have a smaller pool of prospects to draw from. one thing was very clear to me—it's good to have a specialty! I've always been aware of this. . and are willing. leading to a higher return on investment. but it really hit home when comparing the rates of our general practitioner to those of the lactation consultant. beyond charging a higher fee. Amy. and sifting through our bills. A smaller pool of prospects also means your marketing budget can be much more targeted. Marketing yourself and your company also becomes much easier when you work within a well-defined niche. There are also many reasons. After numerous visits and checkups with multiple doctors.
. Because you are a specialist versus a generalist. Perhaps you are an expert in Japanese or English garden design. Your niche will drive your marketing plan. your marketplace must be able to support your specialization.Create Your Personal Brand | 39 Designer for the stars Based on my experience.000 and $20.000”. Finally. You would advertise your specialty in local business publications. Second. You could also choose to work for only a very specific group of professionals such as athletes or lawyers. As an example. Also. A specialized type of work could be designing sustainable landscapes as an example. such as “retired couples over the age of 65”. you must be very talented at your type of specialty work. There are different categories of specialization for landscape professionals. there are three things you must have when selecting a specialty or niche to work within. “new residential construction between $10. let's say you specialize in working with “high-stress professionals” like attorneys. The style of gardens you design can also fill a niche. You should be able to see from the previous examples how much easier it could be marketing yourself within one of these niches. You can specialize in the type of work that you do. “new residential construction”. My specialty is “major garden renovations of period homes built in the late 19th and early 20th centuries”. roof gardens and storm water collection systems. which could include designing rain gardens. for instance. you must have a passion for your specific niche. you have a targeted focus. or better still. First. do not overlook the opportunity to specialize within a unique demographic. especially the more narrow your focus. doctors and executives.
purchase a mailing list fitting your demographic and sponsor community events where you will be seen by these professionals. . You would brand yourself as the one and only go-to person for this demographic.40 | The Little Green Book participate in networking groups which include your prospects. write articles relevant to your prospects.
it should now be very clear that every action you take can affect your brand in some way.000”.Create Your Personal Brand | 41 #14: “No. learn to walk away from projects that don't fit your niche. Size and scope of a project is one of these reasons. does this project fit within my specialty? Second. is this project unique enough . Do you feel like you should be grateful for every opportunity and jump on whatever you are offered? Realize you can still be grateful for an opportunity without actually accepting it. Say no to opportunities that do not align with your company's goals and vision. If you can't execute a project properly. This includes the type of projects and work that you take on. Because of this. If you never learn to say no then you will never establish yourself as a specialist. Thank You” to a prospect or project. your brand is a reflection of your work. the poor quality that results will tarnish your reputation and follow your brand everywhere you go.” As this chapter draws to a close. then walk away. In other words. you need to be careful what you say “Yes” to. If the potential profit margin looks to be slim for you. There are many other reasons to turn down work as well. If a project is too large and complicated for your present experience level you may want to consider walking away.000 and $20. if you are trying to establish your specialty in a certain niche such as “installation projects between $5. either positively or negatively. For example. I use two criteria when deciding if the project is a good fit. Thank You. There is absolutely nothing wrong with saying “No. When an opportunity presents itself to me. First.
I then recommend that you analyze the common traits and demographics of your best clientele. Be . your ideal clientele.42 | The Little Green Book that it will hold my interest throughout the duration? You will need to establish your own criteria. you can feel confident and empowered when you say no. For this to work. you can then educate others as to what is and is not a good lead for you. and because of that. For example. Your mind has to be completely open to the idea of turning down work. Finally. and I know it can be for you as well. It is a conscious decision that you have to make when you are qualifying a prospect. Have a plan in place I realize telling you that you need to learn how to say no more often is easier said than done. identify the types of projects and clients who are not a good fit for your business. I've included this in the book because it has been a very powerful tactic for me personally. You need to have the mentality that an ideal project is right around the corner. when you are armed with this information. and who is not. and this is the key. my typical client is over the age of 50 with no children living at home. One last bit of advice: learn to turn down work gracefully. you first must have the proper mindset. By that I mean treat the prospect with respect and consideration even though they are not a good fit for your company. He/she typically lives in a historical neighborhood and holds an executive level corporate position. Next. Now that you are consciously aware of who is. This will lead to better qualified prospects as you move forward. Once you have the proper mindset. you are willing to turn your back on the present opportunity.
Are there one. The criteria you use to define best are up to you. What can you do to play up or take advantage of these unique traits? (1 hour) Reflect on your own personal behavior as it relates to the brand you are trying to create. Now list these clients in a spread sheet with specific demographic categories across the top such as age. two or three common characteristics shared amongst these clients? This is your ideal clientele.Create Your Personal Brand | 43 prepared to refer the prospect to another company that is a good fit for them. What You Can Do Right Now: (1 hour) Identify one or two very specific characteristics that make you and your company unique. location and number of children. . Do the same exercise listing your worst clients and identify the common characteristics amongst them. Is your behavior and attitude in alignment with the vision you have for your company's image? Are your employee's representing your brand and company in a professional manner? What do you need to change? (3-4 hours) Identify your absolute best clients. in the eyes of your customers. This leaves your prospect with good feelings toward your company. and memorable. occupation.
You have probably heard the saying.CHAPTER THREE Become the Expert T he words “marketing” and “advertising” are often times used interchangeably. Mixing a bit of publicity with a heavy dose of speaking. marketing strategy. there is a less expensive. Let’s face it: advertising is expensive—especially to execute a long-term strategy that exposes your message to prospects multiple times. Fortunately. and more effective. what someone else says about you is 100 times more credible than what you say about yourself. teaching and writing can position yourself as an expert in your community. whether it is print. the rewards you reap will be well worth the investment. on radio or television. Most companies in the landscape industry don’t have the resources to fund this type of initiative. Advertising is only one form of marketing. . This is why a steady blend of good public relations and publicity is much more effective than using advertising to drive home your message. This is a long-term strategy requiring hard work.
46 | The Little Green Book
#15: Back to School
No, I’m not asking you to go back to school as a student. I’m asking you to become the teacher! Numerous opportunities exist for you to teach, speak and share your expertise with those most interested in your subject. This is a terrific way to establish your credibility and expertise within your community. If someone hired you to speak on a certain topic you must really know your stuff, right? That is exactly what your audience will think. To find opportunities to share your knowledge you will need to go where your audience is. Two of the best venues are local garden clubs and botanical gardens. Both are filled with garden enthusiasts who may be in need of your services or who are in a strong referral position. Most garden clubs bring in speakers each month. Most botanical gardens offer classes for both adults and children. Both are always on the lookout for new presenters. Putting on workshops at nurseries and garden centers is another way to get in front of the right people (see tactic #11: Home Field Advantage). This is a win-win for both you and the host. There are even opportunities to teach with community adult and continuing education programs (see the case study that follows). “What can people possibly learn from me?” The truth is that you probably have more experience and expertise to share with others than you give yourself credit for. This is especially true if you have a specialty or niche (see tactic #13: The Specialist). The more frequently you can speak on a very specific topic, the more you will be recognized as an authority figure on that
Become the Expert | 47 topic. For instance, when I speak to garden clubs I always present the same topic: How to reflect the architecture and period of your home into your garden. I recommend this approach versus speaking on numerous subjects which leads to being an expert on nothing. Speaking at any of these venues is a wonderful opportunity to market your talents and your business. But, the marketing doesn’t stop when the event ends. A majority of people who listen to you speak are not currently in the market for your services. Because of this, you need a way to get your marketing message to them in the future. I suggest bringing a newsletter sign-up sheet to each event so you can collect contact information from these potential prospects. This allows you to immediately thank them for attending the event and provides the opportunity for long term communication via a company newsletter.
Author’s Author’s Resource
To locate garden clubs in your area, start with National Garden Clubs, Inc. here: http://bit.ly/bp045 For an extensive state by state list of botanical gardens, visit here: http://bit.ly/14yW1a
48 | The Little Green Book
Deborah Roberts—Roberts & Roberts
When I was brainstorming low-cost ways to market my business and get my name out in the community, I remembered several classes I had taken at a local adult and continuing education (ACE) program. The ACE program offers a variety of quality classes and has a devoted following of students who live in many surrounding communities. I also knew the ACE catalog, complete with instructor bios, is mailed to over 15,000 homes and is available both online and at local businesses. As an ACE instructor, my company’s information would be in front of thousands of potential clients. My offer to teach a class was well received so I decided to start with a class called ‘Before You Begin…Tips from A Professional Landscape Designer’. You should know, at the time, I had never taught a class before. I had a fear of public speaking and I honestly had no idea if I had enough tips to fill an entire class. The ACE program offered to pay me a nominal fee to teach the class but I decided, in the interest of good karma, I would donate the fee back to the program and hope for the best. My involvement in the ACE program paid benefits even before I taught my first class. A woman contacted me who had seen my bio in the catalog (which included my website address and contact information). She couldn’t attend my class and wondered if she could pay me to come to her home for a private consultation! And I picked up two more hourly design consulting jobs from students who took the class. So while the jobs aren’t big, they are on-going. I’d like to think the good karma of donating my fee back to the ACE program definitely worked since I have been re-paid many times over with my new clients.
There are numerous ways to structure an event such as this. consider whether this will be an annual event or a seminar . The narrower your focus the better—do not be a generalist and try to appeal to everyone! Pick hot topics that appeal to people’s current situations. Compare this to speaking to a garden club where you may be one of many speakers for the year with a topic that may only appeal to a small number of the club members. as well as whom you target for your audience. then take it upon yourself to organize and host your own seminar. For instance. Consider teaming with other professionals to host the event or simply invite other professionals to speak to your audience. but you don’t necessarily need to go it alone. You will need to select a topic that appeals to your target market. This gives you total control of how you market and structure the event. Talk to your existing clientele to gauge which topics potential attendees would be interested in. How to Add Value to Your Home Prior to Selling. What is most important is that your audience recognizes you as the host. By hosting your own event. First. You don’t have to do all the work Does hosting your own event sound like a lot of work? It certainly can be.Become the Expert | 49 #16: Expert in a Day If waiting for someone to invite you to speak doesn’t appeal to you. This is a highly effective way to build your expertise very quickly. Selecting your topic of presentation will be your most important decision. you will be speaking directly to qualified prospects.
perhaps I can use that to my benefit! So here is what I did. I thought. Bartlett Tree Experts in Grand Rapids Michigan has hosted an all day event in past years for landscape contractors. Because of this. Case Study ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Glenview. why didn’t they interview me? A number of industry friends were interviewed for the article and I felt a little left out. I’m not going to claim to be a first class orator. FAPLD—American Academy of Landscape Design In March. if not all day. I own a projector and have a lot of good photos to use. Hey. Smart Money Magazine published a Special Report entitled Fertile Ground: Add 15% To Your Home’s Value. the seminar could be three to four hours in duration. I crafted a presentation on the topic and offered it to the public for free! Now. and I really enjoy getting up in front of people.50 | The Little Green Book which you present multiple times throughout the year in various targeted locations. designers and nurserymen. But. so I had a head start. There will be costs involved so you will need to decide if you want to offer the seminar for free or charge a small fee to attend. but I am an experienced industry speaker. . Options are many when it comes to choosing a location for your event. 2003. so that part of this was not uncharted territory. The company provides valuable. Also. updated information that is relevant to the attendees. IL Tim Thoelecke. You can rent space at a local botanical garden or go the more traditional route and rent space at a local hotel. they are considered by many to be the expert authority on tree care in our area. What a gold mine for the landscape industry! My first impression when reading the article was. If an annual event.
Become the Expert | 51 We sent a press release ahead of time to local papers before sending post cards to a targeted demographic of prospects. A follow up press release was also sent after the event describing the success we had. So if you plan to do this. In all it cost a few thousand dollars with the biggest expense being printing and mailing of the post cards. of course. collect email addresses and add them to your regular email newsletter list. We also provided soft drinks. But. one client. The presentation was the easiest part. this would be a good way to market your free seminar. collected lots of information from people. people who attend these things may not have an immediate need. and contacted them later. coffee and snacks for each seminar. We bought some mailing lists for our post cards. We also raffled off a book at the end. as you can imagine. We. Each presentation was one hour in length and typically attracted 15 to 30 people. I simply showed slides of our work as examples of how people could increase the value of their homes and tied it into the Smart Money Magazine article. Many are planning for a project down the road. Even better would be to invite a member of the press to attend the seminar! We rented rooms for the numerous seminars in zip codes where we like to work. If you have an email list. But. and it’s paid for.ly/1FCrZF . You can view the original post card used to promote these free seminars here: http://bit. if you think about it. which is how we collected the “please contact me” info.
I submitted the same article to online article directories and shared it with multiple people in my online social networks as well as linked back to it in my monthly newsletter. Second. Beyond earning more clients. writing can also lead to other opportunities such as speaking engagements and future collaborations. ensures for maximum exposure. The benefits of writing about your craft are many. Being presented with a writing opportunity is a fantastic way to meet influential people in the community who you would like to build a relationship with (see the case study from tactic #21: Let’s Meet For Coffee). I also added it to my Press Page on my company website. First. Sharing the article across multiple platforms. Here’s an example to illustrate this idea: upon writing an article for a landscape industry magazine. your specialized knowledge and expertise is in demand more than you think which means ample opportunity exists for you to share this knowledge. especially online.52 | The Little Green Book #17: Write Your Way to Success While speaking is a terrific way to communicate your expertise to a small targeted audience. writing can connect you with a much broader audience. As with speaking. A combination of the two will ensure that you gain expert status in your community. . writing for various publications and other media earns you instant credibility in the eyes of readers—all for free. having an article published presents an opportunity for “piggyback” marketing.
but you can earn a great deal of credibility and trust from potential clients when they see that you have written for landscape industry publications. Because of this. Print media such as community newspapers and glossy lifestyle magazines offer obvious writing opportunities. These readers may not be your clientele. I suggest writing about this consistently to hammer home the point that you are an expert on this topic. You can also contribute to newsletters published by local garden centers and other landscape industry professionals. This way you earn credibility by aligning yourself with an already strong brand. Other topics can include valuable “How To” oriented information as well as topics that are focused on current hot button issues such as the economy or sustainability. . Do not overlook opportunities to write for other professionals within the landscape industry as well. what to write about? If you have a specialty. many of these publishers are also moving online where they need a steady stream of unique content aside from their printed publications. editors are constantly on the lookout for writers and quality content that will appeal to their readership.Become the Expert | 53 So many options… Writing opportunities exist now more than ever. You must be an industry expert if you are writing for its trade publication. That said. or niche. right? So.
I’m referring to writing “Guest Posts” for other bloggers. Much like contributing an article to a printed magazine. Let’s look at some of the benefits of being a guest blogger.54 | The Little Green Book #18: “I’m too Lazy to Blog” This tactic ties in nicely with the previous marketing strategy in that it is another example of how you can use your writing skills to build credibility and establish your expertise. The previously mentioned piggy-back marketing principle also applies to guest blogging in that you can share your guest posts across various online social networks. Next. While I will be covering the benefits of blogging in tactic #32: Your Personal Platform. a guest post is similar in that you are contributing to someone else’s blog. such as Twitter. First. as well as pitch your post to magazines and newspapers in hopes of being printed as an article. you put yourself in front of an audience who otherwise may not know you even exist which can lead to cross-traffic back to your company website or blog. . by aligning yourself with a prominent and influential blogger you earn credibility by association. guest blogging costs absolutely nothing and can be less time consuming than operating your own blog. not exactly. I can hear your thoughts now: Chris. And just like you would with a printed article. my time is already stretched too thin and you want me in front of a computer blogging? Well. Second. this strategy is as much for non-bloggers as it is for current bloggers. you can add your guest posts to your Press Page or portfolio on your company website.
Most likely you will want to write for a local blogger with a local readership. your unique knowledge and expertise just needs to appeal to the blog’s readers. This would put me in front of his readers and also helps him by providing his readership with expert advice. This is not a time to share your opinions. location. I may pitch a local chef and influential blogger the idea of a guest post about outdoor kitchen design. It doesn’t do much good to spend time writing a blog post that very few people will read. I really want to read more from this person. This would be a win-win.Become the Expert | 55 Location. . The blog does not necessarily need to focus on landscaping or gardening. be sure to provide valuable and substantive information that will appeal to the blog’s readers. Remember. Write something that makes readers say. you will be invited back to post again. as a landscape designer. the blogger is giving you this opportunity. location… The key to guest blogging is to write for bloggers who have a large readership which consists of the exact type of people you want to be in front of. No matter the topic you choose to write about. If you do this. so don’t make him or her regret inviting you to post. Spend ample time writing the post and write about something unique that readers haven’t been exposed to hundreds of times already. For example.
Your PR goal should be to generate a steady mix of each. Good PR also comes from being quoted as an expert source in stories and articles. . landscape industry trade publications. The key is to cultivate mutually beneficial relationships with these folks by getting to know them and their needs. editors. freelance writers and bloggers via press releases. Good PR enhances your credibility like advertising cannot because the coverage is coming from a trusted. not even writing and speaking. charity events and open houses. unbiased source other than from yourself. local radio and television stations. Using PR strategies is also a good way to create awareness of special events like seminars. Types of coverage can come in the form of short “News Briefs”. You become visible in your community which establishes you as an expert. Not only is publicity free. calendar listings and personal and business features. it also reaches a wide audience which increases public awareness of who you are and what you do. This coverage can come from many types of media such as local newspapers and magazines.56 | The Little Green Book #19: Advertising is Dead Nothing establishes you as an authority and as someone who can be trusted like good PR (public relations) can. The positive effects of consistent PR are many. Tell the world The most effective way to generate PR is by reaching out to journalists. unlike advertising. Keep in mind. by supplying them with good material for a short story. online media such as bloggers and not to be underestimated.
what constitutes good story material? For short news briefs. It is absolutely critical that you submit press releases in the proper format or they will not get read (see the Author’s Resources below for a template). The same goes for how you send a press release. although email . brochure and your initial press release. you need to send press releases on a consistent basis. Let them know that you are a knowledgeable and quotable source for future articles they write within your area of expertise. Chances are it would appeal to a large group of readers. submit information about awards earned. From this you can develop a contact list or database of editors. Unique projects you have designed and/or built make for terrific feature articles. The next step is to create a “Press Kit” to send to each contact which consists of a cover letter introducing yourself. business card. company milestones. listeners and viewers. This is also a good opportunity to direct them to your company website’s Press Page to see other media you have been featured in for credibility sake. Fax is the preferred method. To get started down the PR path. So. first identify the various media outlets you would like to be featured in. perhaps once each month.Become the Expert | 57 you are solving one of their problems—finding quality content and stories for their audience. Don’t underestimate how unique your work really is. journalists and freelance writers. a personal bio. To maximize the exposure good PR can bring. new business initiatives and events. This initial contact will not always lead to immediate results so be sure to follow up with a phone call or personal note once each year or every six months to let them know you are still available for quotes (beyond sending a press release).
these services automatically feed your release to media outlets throughout the world.ly/3nWANI What You Can Do Right Now: (1-2 hours) Spend some time thinking about places where you can speak. I’ve been featured in multiple stories throughout the country. Once your press release is online. Resource Author’s Resource ----------------------------------------------------------------------- Press Release Template: http://bit. you can then share it across your various online social networks for even more exposure. you can sign up to receive free media requests from a service called Help A Reporter Out. Do you have a relationship with a local garden center or nursery? Contact them to brainstorm the idea of hosting a workshop where you can present your knowledge and expertise.com or PitchEngine. consider using an online press release distribution service such as PRWeb. You can sign up here: http://bit. as have other landscape professionals.58 | The Little Green Book is acceptable if you have permission. Use the resources listed in tactic #15: Back to School to locate garden clubs and botanical gardens in your area. simply by subscribing to this free service. To reach an even broader audience. These are good places to start.ly/vaKXE If you are serious about being quoted and featured in the media. For a small fee. Could you write a weekly or monthly column for your community newspaper.com. (2-3 hours) Think about who you could do some writing for. or possibly their online version? Contact your local landscape industry trade association and let them know you are interested in writing an article for their .
You can use the press release supplied in the resources following tactic #19: Advertising is Dead as a template. Research prominent garden centers to see if they send a newsletter to their customers and volunteer to write a column for each. Put together your press kit and send it to your contacts along with your first press release. Begin to develop a database of the contacts from each media source. (8-12 hours) Research and collect all local media you would like to be featured in. radio.Become the Expert | 59 publication. television and online. . This can include print.
Networking is also very inexpensive compared to other marketing strategies. from personal experience. you cannot minimize the powerful effect that networking can have on your business. What I have come to realize over the years. oneon-one networking and online social networking. is that most people excel and enjoy one form of networking more than the others. I think it is helpful to organize it into three distinct categories: group networking. For example. Networking is such a general term. A successful marketing plan will include a mix of each of these. your networking strategy will create the ultimate referral base for you. That said. If executed properly. “Networking” is one of those ugly words that conjures up thoughts of traditional salesmen in lousy suits and fake smiles. networking is the best way to build personal and business relationships that set you up for long term success. I suspect this might be the same for many of you. so it should be included in everyone's annual marketing plan in some way. Organizing it this way should make it much easier for you to develop an overall networking strategy. This chapter will cover each distinct type of networking and show you how to use each to grow your business. In my opinion. I am much more comfortable networking with individuals on a one-on-one basis F .CHAPTER FOUR Build Relationships that Matter or me personally.
62 | The Little Green Book as opposed to networking in a group setting such as a chamber of commerce. and then play to your strengths. It is important that you determine in which situations you excel. Finally. . the key to networking is to always put the needs of others before your wants—always look for a win-win outcome.
First. there is no better way to learn new strategies to help build your business than learning from other successful business models and individuals. you will soon reap the rewards of reciprocity and receive your own qualified referrals. If you are in the habit of referring other reputable companies and professionals first.Build Relationships that Matter | 63 #20: Show Me Yours. The benefits of networking with our peers are numerous. I personally know many . I'll Show You Mine There is not a more valuable form of networking than what I refer to as “peer-to-peer” networking. So if you have been distancing yourself from other landscape professionals. Don't waste your time trying to reinvent the wheel. on-going. Networking with your landscape industry peers sets you up for long term success. the camaraderie shared between like-minded professionals is priceless. Study the successes and failures of other respected landscape professionals. collaborative relationships. it is time to move out of your cave and into the light. Everyone in the landscape industry can build and benefit from collaborative relationships with others. You are in a better position to serve your clients by referring other services you do not provide. Collaboration and reciprocation Networking with your peers presents opportunities to build mutually beneficial. Second. Who better understands the important issues you face each and every day more than your industry peers? From a marketing standpoint. building relationships with other landscape professionals puts you in a strong referral position.
or almost secretive. the goodwill always comes back around. Speaking of competition.64 | The Little Green Book landscape designers who partner with specific landscape contractors on each project. The relationship works both ways. I personally hire or refer multiple contractors such as landscape contractors. Many landscape contractors will hire or refer landscape designers for certain projects. Don't be afraid to recommend those who you consider to be your competition. I personally prefer to meet with other professional’s one on one. Throughout the landscape industry there seems to be a negative. You have to have the opposite mindset and exhibit an abundance mentality. This collaboration and reciprocation works within all trades. attitude towards our competitors. There are multiple ways to begin networking with other professionals in our industry. I even recommend other landscape designers if I think they will be a better fit for a prospect. If you have a good relationship with your competitors. the first step in successfully building relationships with other industry professionals is realizing that competition is a good thing. The designers either hire the contractors directly or refer their clients to the contractor. lawn maintenance companies and gardening services. you will be more open and transparent in helping others succeed which in turn will lead to others helping you. irrigation contractors. One of the best ways is by participating in local and national trade associations (see the case study that follows). Landscape contractors collaborate with swimming pool contractors and vice versa. Once you have this mentality. I take note of what other designers and contractors are doing and if I'm impressed with their work .
they told me to get involved in the New Jersey Landscape Contractors Association (NJLCA). This was one of the best moves that I could have made. Four years ago I set off to create this type of design-only business. I had access to contractors that I never would have otherwise. After attending meetings consistently. and who needed my design services. I also have a trade show booth that generates enough business to last the entire year. After attending the annual conference for the first time. Without hesitation. NJ Jody Shilan—Jody Shilan Designs After working for several large landscape design/build companies throughout my career.Build Relationships that Matter | 65 and want to learn more about their businesses. I am now on the Board of Directors. I’ve been asked to do presentations on a regular basis including speaking at our annual tradeshow. Through my relationships locally with the NJLCA I was introduced to PLANET – The Professional Landcare Network. Instantly. so I asked them what they thought I should do to help grow my business. This practice has led to some wonderful collaborative business relationships as well as friendships. I simply schedule an informal meeting with them. I realized that there was a real need for small landscape contractors to have access to a landscape designer that they could work with on a project by project basis. I knew many of the local design/build contractors. Case Study ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Wyckof. I knew the potential networking opportunities were limitless and I was . Because of my consistent involvement and contribution.
So when someone tells you the more you put into something. I am now developing a consulting business. I have been published in at least a dozen local and national trade magazines including two with glossy cover photos of my work. It was design/build nirvana. I also have several podcasts and teleseminars to my credit. the more you will get out of it . I met people throughout the country (and abroad) who were in the same industry yet had vastly different experiences and ideas that they were willing to share.66 | The Little Green Book hooked. along with dozens of online articles I’ve written.believe them. project managing my own installations and getting commissions for selling work for other landscape contractors. . All of this because I raised my hand and got involved. I’ve since joined the Design/Build Install-subcommittee and now have access to a great group of talented and educated people who will do anything they can to help me grow my business.
This form of networking can lead to long term collaborative and mutually beneficial relationships. realtors and other construction trades such as painters and masons. This includes architects. I take note of it and make it my intention to contact him/her. If a client mentions that they are working with a certain architect I’m not familiar with. Cracking the code of the Influentials To implement this networking strategy successfully. This is ideal for meeting other professionals who could be a referral source for you. I refer to these individuals as the Influentials. interior designers. A more personal form of networking. As opposed to group networking. Another great way to find influentials is to scour local business publications and lifestyle magazines to see what professionals are being featured. is what I call one-on-one networking. you just need to consciously look for them. one-on-one networking allows you the opportunity to make a stronger and more lasting impression because you hold the attention of one individual. They are easy to find. Word of mouth has always worked the best for me. as well as who is advertising. It’s up to you to determine which professional group offers the greatest potential for collaboration and mutual benefit. The easiest way is to drive through local neighborhoods and see whose work is . you first must identify the professionals you want to meet. builders.Build Relationships that Matter | 67 #21: Let’s Meet For Coffee The word networking often times invokes the image of people exchanging business cards and shaking hands in a stuffy room. and more effective in my opinion.
This is the easiest way to stay top of mind. Being prepared consists of two things: first. Each time you come across a name. invite them to visit one of your projects. Out of courtesy to them. Do not waste the face to face opportunity you had by not staying in touch. After you have hit it off with the other professional. This is the best and most effective way for me to find realtors. as an example. The key is to always be prepared. but there will be many times when you will need to initiate contact with a cold call. just like you would if you were meeting a prospect or client. add them to your list. I estimate this works about 50% of the time. you must do your research and have an understanding of the other persons business. Second. You could also meet with them annually. send them press clippings or simply send them a newsletter each month. and then try to meet with one professional each month. or at a place of their choosing near their place of work. You need to be able to explain how you can help them first before you open up your portfolio and ask for their help. I typically email the person one or two times and then follow up with a phone call. A personal introduction through someone else is always preferred. I highly recommend you maintain a list of influential people that you want to meet with. They will be flattered when they learn that you know a lot about them and their work. you will need to stay in touch with them. .68 | The Little Green Book prominent. you need to go into the meeting with a win-win proposition. I will typically meet at the architect’s office. You will need to be prepared for some rejection. The best way to do this is by referring work to them.
Would an introduction to him be helpful?” That was my “In”. I was not convinced a personal phone call from Terry to the architect would be enough to get me in the door. caught up with me after a meeting and said. Then Receive). Through word of mouth and studying local lifestyle magazines. I identified perhaps the most prominent residential-focused architect in West Michigan. “Chris. My daughter is on the swim team with his daughter. I realized that I needed to quickly build a network of professionals who would be willing to refer my services.Build Relationships that Matter | 69 Author’s Author’s Case Study ----------------------------------------------------------------- Chris Heiler— Fountainhead Gardens Zeeland. I value referrals from architects more than anyone else. the attorney in our group. I knew I would need to get a personal introduction as opposed to cold calling him. It was very easy for me to research his background and past work. I knew I had to make it worth the architect’s time if he was going to meet with . I would try to drive home the fact that I was looking to meet architects and other professionals. At the time. I also noticed many of his homes were featured in numerous local magazines which told me he was not shy about seeking publicity opportunities. I know <said architect>. I also toured some of his homes during the local Parade of Homes to become even more familiar with his work. Now that I had done my research. Each week. Fortunately for me. I was a member of a networking and referral group called Business Networking International (see tactic #23: Give. Finally. it was time to meet him. Terry. MI When I set out on my own and started my landscape design firm Fountainhead Gardens. My first priority was to meet the top residential architects in my town. except for my past clients of course. this architect had a terrific website featuring his work and much of the press he has received.
interior designers and architects. After the interview he took time to look over my portfolio and was impressed so much that he handed me the architectural drawings for his own personal home that would soon be built! I have received numerous qualified referrals from him since our first meeting. . This shows how important it is to consider what you can do for the other person before thinking about yourself.70 | The Little Green Book me. I called a local building-trades magazine that I had written for previously and asked if I could write an article about collaboration between landscape designers. Guess who I was going to interview for this article? The architect was thrilled to meet with me and be interviewed for the story.
or your chamber of commerce. If you prefer a more structured approach to networking. First and most obvious. There are three primary benefits to increasing your network through a referral group. These groups are solely focused on building your business as opposed to the groups we will discuss in the next marketing strategy.Build Relationships that Matter | 71 #22: Give. For example. I’m referring to what are sometimes called leads groups or referral groups such as organizations like Business Networking International (BNI). Most groups meet weekly or monthly and also provide opportunities outside of the regular meetings. Lastly. and with groups like BNI there are . Being active in a referral group such as BNI. then Receive Thus far in Chapter 4 I have discussed two informal means of networking. I met my attorney. I wrote about how powerful this can be in Chapter 1 tactic #5: Giver’s Gain. Choose wisely and be active Opportunities to grow your network abound with groups like these. Next. you will have a network of professionals whom you can call upon to help your business. this strategy is for you. enables you to expand your network. I also place your local chamber of commerce in this category. especially if you are a beginner. you will earn more qualified referrals from these professionals. CPA and web designer in a BNI group (see my personal case study following this section). you will have a network of professionals whom you can confidently refer to clients and other contacts. Many chambers of commerce offer weekly luncheons where you can meet other business owners.
First. Other members have to see you regularly. This can often times take six months or more. Author’s Case Study ----------------------------------------------------------------- Chris Heiler— Fountainhead Gardens Zeeland. for the first year and then represented myself the last three years after I left the company. I recommend looking for two things. what is the dynamic of the group? Is there an obvious synergy and collaborative spirit between members? You will recognize this if you visit multiple groups. others don’t. Second. As BNI founder Ivan Maisner is famous for saying. Attending the regular meetings consistently and being involved with the other events is the key to success with these groups. are there any influencers or connectors in the group? Are there specific members of the group who are likely to provide qualified referrals to you? Joining a referral group is a big investment in time and money so make sure you join the right group in order to get maximum benefit. The quickest way to success is to give referrals to others first. get to know you and build a certain level of trust before they will consistently refer you to others. Some groups have it. “Giver’s Gain!” Before jumping into a group. a landscape design/build company. I represented my employer. This was because I was not fully committed to the . When visiting a group.72 | The Little Green Book opportunities to meet outside of the regular meeting one on one with other members. do your homework first by visiting numerous referral groups. I got absolutely nothing out of the group my first year. MI I was a member of a local BNI group for nearly four years.
here were some of the other keys to my success in my BNI group: • Only give qualified referrals no matter how much pressure the group applies on you to bring referrals each week. Understand that you will not have instant success. Members need to know exactly what a good referral is and is not in order to help you. This commitment made all the difference in the world and was the single marketing strategy that enabled me to survive my first two years in business. This is a commitment! A total commitment to the group means going beyond just showing up each week.Build Relationships that Matter | 73 networking system that BNI provided. It’s a commitment that will bring long term results and is worth the investment of time and money. You need to be confident when you stand and speak in front of the group each week. Don’t bring leads. It can take up to six months before you begin to earn the trust of the other members. Always prepare the previous day. This is a one-on-one sit down in which you can learn more about each other and how you can help each other’s business. Attend every meeting! BNI groups meet once each week at 7:00 AM. You can only miss two meetings every six months. I had no other choice but to fully commit to BNI. Beyond my 100% commitment. When I started my own landscape design firm. Schedule a “Dance Card” each week with a different member immediately after the meeting. including practice. Follow up on all referrals you are given and keep the referral source updated. bring referrals! There is a big difference. meaning numerous referrals. Be very specific when you ask for referrals. . • • • • • • I encourage everyone to join or at least visit a BNI group based on the success that I had. Don’t make members work to get you referrals and then not follow up on them. for your “60 second commercial”.
Becoming involved in a service club is a great way to contribute to your community as well as build strong relationships with many community and business leaders. I once visited a Lions Club meeting to see if it was something I would be interested in. My primary thought was. You need to choose an organization whose values. not on marketing your business. “Is this going to help my business?” I had the wrong mindset. your priority and focus should be on community involvement. of your generosity. The benefits to your business are just a bonus. After you have found a service group that interests you. Align your values with those of the group If you are interested in becoming involved with a service group.74 | The Little Green Book #23: More than Just Business As mentioned in the previous marketing strategy. Alternatives. to the business-focused networking groups are your local service club organizations such as Lions Club International and Rotary International. As an example. Don’t choose a group based on how much business you think you can earn from it. These clubs focus on local community and global initiatives. networking groups such as BNI are solely focused on marketing yourself and building your business. interests and goals are in alignment with your own. your first step is to research the mission or goals of each group under consideration. Fortunately I realized this and did not join the group. giving back to their communities in many ways. visit one of their regular meetings to see if the group peaks your . or complements. or side effect. In fact.
Last. you should attend meetings regularly. and contribute the most. First. to get the most from the group. and second. There is no obligation to join. Most require a very minimal membership fee. . If you choose to join a group. focus on building personal relationships with the members to earn trust. look to help others before helping yourself.Build Relationships that Matter | 75 interest further. the keys to success are similar to those of the networking groups discussed in the previous strategy.
region. One advantage of the online social media platform is there are many different networks that are open to everyone. Naperville. In fact. or position. while landscape contractors will tend to meet with clients and colleagues on or between job sites. you can actually download your LinkedIn connections to a CSV file and import them into your database or customer relationship manager (CRM). region. regardless of their industry. Think of LinkedIn as your social networking office where the environment is typically all business. You just have to be aware that different social networks encourage specific behaviors. Interactivity and Engagement Always remember to first learn the social context of a network before getting involved. IL How you network will vary according to your industry. How you connect through any of the networks is through interaction and engagement. It is as much a database as it is a network. it is vital to have a complete and up-to-date profile. Take the initiative to reach out and . The next step is to start making connections. which is important for determining the results you can expect to achieve. or position. Corporate professionals may network at industry conferences and meetings. The best approach is to be a follower until you learn the ropes.76 | The Little Green Book #24: Join My Network On LinkedIn Guest Author: Jeff Korhan—True Nature Inc. LinkedIn is a social network where most people begin developing their social media presence. To use LinkedIn and other networks well.
your story may not have a purpose other than amusement or interest. it is usually best to have a story with a business purpose. if you are building a business. a few of them will become viable business leads. then your customers and prospects don’t perceive you as a valued resource. and if you do that well. The best method for doing this online is through storytelling. you also have the opportunity to comment on how your company is favorably positioned with respect to it. Twitter is an excellent tool for this purpose. However. You have unlimited access to research and feedback from green industry thought leaders around the world. . for your customers. Use anecdotes and stories that add value for your audience – your friends. This is another way of saying you need to always have a value exchange to keep people engaged. The same will be true on the social networks until you establish yourself as the go-to expert or authority within your area of expertise. One solution is to use the Web to keep in step with what is current. Value Exchange There is an unwritten rule of engagement on the social networks: Give 90% and take 10%. and therefore relevant. This helps them to learn more about your business and encourages invitations to get together offline to explore business opportunities. connections.Build Relationships that Matter | 77 get to know people and help them get to know you. If the network happens to be Facebook. By repurposing information from the Web and the numerous social media networks. and followers. Do you have difficulties getting appointments or having your phone calls returned? If so.
Your website is essentially your business card for social networking. you never want to be without your business cards. In a business environment where quality is now expected. If you don’t have a website. the best way to do this is to get face to face with people to earn their trust.78 | The Little Green Book Community Building Think of your online community as a map to your professional relationships. Buyers will always seek the best deal. Like that business card. This is where you show people those qualities that are unique to you and how you run your business. they will choose the company that . so don’t confuse your online networking with the territory – the people in your community that you work with to advance your business. Once again. your website gives people confidence that you indeed are a professional. Online social networking only complements your traditional networking: it does not replace it. a couple of other acceptable options are an active blog or an impeccably complete LinkedIn profile. Twitter. you can also complement and enhance those efforts with Facebook. Your job is to put those qualities on the line. the way to distinguish you and your company is to be likeable and trustworthy. You still need to get face to face with prospects and customers to bring deals together that generate revenue for your business. When you are doing traditional networking. Everyone knows the map is not the territory. and your company blog. It is what you point your new connections to for establishing your credibility. and that is exactly what social media allows you to do. Who you are is a valuable quality that can be expressed in your blog and the social networks. However. but with all things often being equal.
(1 hour) Create an account on LinkedIn. and that should be your objective with any kind of networking. To be the go-to authority on green leadership in your community will position your company well for the new economy. Step . If you are looking for a social cause to support.com.Build Relationships that Matter | 79 makes a personal differentiation. Complete your profile on LinkedIn and upload your contact list to see who else is on LinkedIn. What You Can Do Right Now: (1 to 2 hours) Conduct an online search to find local landscape industry trade associations in your state. You don’t necessarily have to use social media to accomplish this. though it is clearly having an influence in this way. Invite these contacts to “connect” with you. Each state will have at least one nursery and landscape association as well as numerous chapters which may be in your area. (1 hour) Make a commitment to visit your local chamber of commerce or at least two BNI groups. These opportunities for social entrepreneurism are ideally suited to making a difference that sets you apart. Entrepreneurial businesses have the ability to get close to their customers.com and click the link Find a Chapter to locate a group in your area.com and Twitter. Schedule a visit and go! Bring a friend or employee to the meeting if this will make you more comfortable. Visit BNI. and when you do this you will discover ways to solve problems and make a contribution in your community that is beyond the scope of your business. Do the same for Twitter. just think about the environment that you and your company enhance every day. Schedule the time necessary to attend the association’s next event just to get a feel for what the organization has to offer you.
ly/uI5vV .80 | The Little Green Book by step instructions on each site will make this very easy. Give social networking a legitimate shot before dismissing it. You can connect with me on LinkedIn here: http://bit. Give yourself 20 to 30 days to evaluate each and see how each is used.ly/X0uGL You can follow me on Twitter here: http://bit.
in turn. What is often overlooked is how this personal involvement can be leveraged to increase your businesses visibility. there is no denying the powerful impact that community involvement can have on your business.CHAPTER FIVE Sow Your Seeds in the Community M any landscape professionals are deeply involved in local charitable organizations and community institutions such as churches and schools. From charitable donations and sponsorships to garden tours and designer show houses. Because the strategies discussed in this chapter require varying amounts of time and resources. but are interested in pursuing ways to become active. If you are not already involved in your community. So get involved! . This chapter will show you how to take advantage of this goodwill. you are sure to find one appropriate for you. this chapter will teach you some unique strategies to enable you to do just that. leading to more clients.
O. to say a botanical garden or symphony. libraries and the like. Another benefit is that you can potentially meet other influential business leaders. You will be seen as a trusted and credible business. A good example of this is taking place in Grand Rapids Michigan with a project called F. maintenance services or plant and hardscape materials. but both work quite well together. Contributing a monetary gift. hospitals. design work.W (Friends Landscaping Our World) where local landscape companies . will likely get your name listed as a donor in some way. the most important reason to get involved is because you care deeply about the charity or cause. I’ve known many landscape industry individuals and companies who have donated goods and services to organizations they support. This is an easy way to get your name in front of people and link yourself to the organization. Benefits aside. Comes Around You may not associate charity with marketing.82 | The Little Green Book #25: What Goes Around. This can come in the form of consulting. Getting involved… There are many ways you can contribute to charitable organizations and other community initiatives. Your community will recognize this and support you in return. The easiest way to contribute is through a monetary donation. you can turn this goodwill into new clients.L. If you are active in a local charitable organization or community initiatives involving schools. Aligning yourself with a local charitable organization shows that you are committed to helping your community.
then let the world know about it! This is a great opportunity for piggy-back marketing.Sow Your Seeds in the Community | 83 volunteer to landscape the homes of new homebuyers in low income neighborhoods (you can learn more here: http://bit. Another and sometimes more effective way to contribute to an organization or initiative is to donate your time by serving on a board or committee. Let your clients and other contacts know what you are doing in the community. MA: http://bit. include a description of your charitable work in your company newsletter. And third. The media loves stories like this and its great PR for you. You could also post photos or even video from the community events your company is involved with (See a terrific example of this from A Yard & A Half Landscaping of Waltham.ly/4bboBC). Second. . First. I suggest adding a “Community” page to your company website where you can post descriptions of the charitable work you do and the organizations you are involved with (including committees you may serve on). All charities need volunteers to serve on committees and this is a great way to meet new people and build your network.ly/qQ3R0). If you are currently doing many of the things discussed above. use this as an opportunity to send a press release to your local media.
I created a full-color insert that fit into the sign holder and also had rack-cards made for people to take home.84 | The Little Green Book #26: A Win-Win-Win Proposition Many non-profit organizations. These groups are always looking for individuals and companies to donate goods and services. Keep in mind. Many times. in some instances this has led to extra billable design time and even installation work. Whatever you offer needs to stand out! I've used a 10” x 13” plastic sign stand with a rack-card holder built-in. For example. local high schools. donating six hours of my time for one event led to a . I've participated in silent auctions for the March of Dimes. At the predetermined end of the auction the highest listed bidder wins the item and pays the price he or she submitted. up-scale wine festivals as well as my local botanical garden. many items are auctioned simultaneously and your item is just one of many that are typically poorly displayed on the tables. bids are simply written on a sheet of paper often left on a table near the item. Typically a one hour consultation and three or four hours of design work. schools and other groups host an annual event of some kind which features a silent auction. It was a very simple and inexpensive set up (less than $100). The auction is “silent” in that there is no auctioneer. I've donated consulting time and design time in the past. yet very effective. although. these few hours are all a homeowner needs. Credibility by association This is a terrific way to link your business to great organizations while subtly promoting your business at a popular event for free.
keep it to five or six max.000 installation project. don't overextend yourself by participating in more than two or three silent auctions each year.Sow Your Seeds in the Community | 85 $10. The benefits of your donation to the organization are obvious—they get a monetary donation when someone bids on your offering. First. don't burden yourself by donating excessive hours. carefully select events which your targeted demographic is most likely to be involved. . follow this bit of advice. Only you can be the judge of that. and most important. Lastly. Second. If you are going to add this strategy to your marketing plan. your new found client gets your professional services in return for making a generous donation. In addition. The goodwill and additional revenue earned easily made up for my time invested.
When you pay to sponsor a local event. Botanical gardens are another venue with numerous opportunities for sponsorship. The key is to pick something that you care about and that places your name in front of the right people.86 | The Little Green Book #27: Stick Your Name on It Just as a charitable donation attaches your name and brand to something positive in the community. symphonies and other arts organizations offer many sponsorship opportunities. sponsoring organizations and events enables you to reach an even wider audience. There is a neighborhood of historical homes in Grand Rapids Michigan in which they host an annual home tour. This advertising can help you become widely known in the community. Besides events. team or institution you will receive advertising in return. Frederik Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids seeks sponsors for everything from garden lectures to their summer concert series. such as charitable golf tournaments and garden tours. This broad exposure does typically come with a large price tag which makes this strategy best for companies with sufficient marketing budgets who want to maximize their visibility in the local community. Your support paints you as someone who cares about community causes and keeps your name front and center. Many events. . Golf anyone? There are numerous events and institutions you could sponsor. These venues often attract affluent crowds which are the exact people we want to be in front of. need sponsors. I do a great deal of work in this neighborhood so this event is a great sponsorship opportunity for me. institutions such as museums.
Comes Around. . will be thrilled to hear about your involvement and commitment to helping your community. List your sponsorships on your website and include information about it in your newsletters. as well as prospects.Sow Your Seeds in the Community | 87 As I recommended in tactic #25: What Goes Around. Your clients. be sure to let people know about your involvement.
a great deal of time and expense was put into organizing. Turn goodwill into good PR Beyond simply creating an event for his community. but the key to his success was the tour itself. Grand Rapids. two-day tour was his primary means of marketing himself and his business in the community.000. If planned and executed properly your tour can lead to tremendous PR opportunities and wide visibility in your community. The tour featured Steve’s best work all within a small geographic area that was easy to navigate. And the tour was a huge success each year. My good friend and fellow garden designer Stephen Rosselet (SJR Garden Design. Steve’s tour was featured in community newspapers and other publications as well as public television and radio spots—all at no cost. promoting and hosting the tour.000 and $10. This not only helped support a local charity but the gesture also led to numerous PR opportunities that many other garden tours are not afforded. Tickets were made available for $10. I recommend hosting your very own garden tour.00 before the event at a local bookstore and during the . MI) hosted his own garden tour for seven years. For those of you who want to take this a step further. Steve demonstrated more goodwill by donating the proceeds from his garden tour to a local charity. Steve’s garden tour was expertly promoted which drew in large crowds. Steve’s annual. Because of this. typically between $7.88 | The Little Green Book #28: Lead the Parade In the previous marketing strategy I wrote about sponsoring community events such as garden tours.
For instance. You could post photos from the event on your website’s Community Page. If the idea of hosting a garden tour appeals to you but the amount of work involved does not. Even after the tour. This collaboration will still increase your visibility in the community as well as generate positive PR. post a video from the event featuring testimonials from garden visitors. or better yet. marketing opportunities abound.00.Sow Your Seeds in the Community | 89 garden tour at each garden stop for $12. then consider organizing a tour with other landscape professionals. The tour was small enough and organized in a way that allowed Steve to spend time with guests in each garden throughout the two days. you could send a press release to the local media along with photographs and comments from visitors. .
but the public relations generated from the show house itself. these events have grown to include the landscape that surrounds the house as well as terraces and courtyards in urban locations.90 | The Little Green Book #29: If You Build It…They will Come Guest Author: Susan Cohan. and is open to the public whose admission fees support a charity. Not only does the completed garden area get seen by the thousands of visitors to the show house. Their jobs range from creating an event website to planning the opening . Many companies subscribe to the doing well by doing good marketing philosophy. Landscape companies of all types have a unique opportunity to participate in this kind of social awareness marketing through participation in a designer show house. can be extremely beneficial for landscape companies. Over the past five to ten years. usually a month. Like many high profile charity events. NJ A designer show house is created for a short period of time. The idea behind this philosophy is that by giving back to their communities in a visible way. The charity makes money because admission is charged to the completed venue while all of the designers. although summer and fall events are becoming increasingly popular. show houses have public relations and special events committees. craftspeople and legions of committee members volunteer their time and materials in exchange for the exposure that will be created for their businesses. suppliers. those communities in turn will support their businesses. Most show houses take place in the spring. plus the special events that surround it. APLD—Susan Cohan Gardens Chatham.
a site plan will be issued that has been divided up into designated spaces. The next step is to be invited to participate. Promotional materials such as signage and printed materials have to be weatherproof. A listing of decorator show houses around the country by region can be found on the web by doing a simple search for designer show house.Sow Your Seeds in the Community | 91 benefit party to generating press interest. You may also want to contact the Home and Garden editor of your community newspaper. It also needs to withstand a lot of traffic—typically 15. many are biannual. These books are often saved as references by visitors who are often looking for ideas or thinking about renovation projects. Step by step The first step to participating in a local or regional show house is to visit one to see what it is all about and to see who in your region is participating. The garden needs to be built with the idea that it will be disassembled after the event is finished. The benefiting charity will have contact information about the show house committee. Most show houses also publish a book for visitors that showcase each designed space and lists contact information of the designers and their suppliers. Have a representative in your garden for as many special events and weekends as you can . The final step is to build your show house garden and promote it. Because of the immense effort these events take.000 to 20. Once invited.000 visitors in one month. Each participant will usually have to compete for a space by submitting a proposal for that space. Invitations are usually issued by the committee approximately nine to ten months in advance of the event. A phone call to the landscape chairperson is the first place to start.
Is there an opportunity to get involved as a designer or as a contractor? If a designer show house program does not exist in your area.ly/1p8inf Espalier Grill: http://bit.92 | The Little Green Book manage to personally greet attendees. Is there a way you can become more active and visible? Could you serve on a committee. can you and other allied professionals create a similar event? . let people know about your involvement by including the details in your next newsletter or adding the details to your website or blog. Often that is all they need to hire you after the show is over. Is there an opportunity for you to be a sponsor? Can you get one of your projects featured on a tour? Is there a niche or void you could fill by hosting a garden tour yourself or with other professionals? (2 to 3 hours) Google designer show house to search the web for designer show houses in your area.ly/2zZq0X What You Can Do Right Now (1 to 2 hours) Think about the local charitable organizations or community projects you are involved with. This is one of the unique opportunities for a show house—visitors get to see your work in person and get to meet you. the designer or contractor. (2 to 3 hours) Research annual garden tours in your area. View photos of Susan Cohan’s work from Show Houses in New Jersey: Scothigh Farm: http://bit. donate to a silent auction or be a sponsor for the organization? Next.
Some people seem to live their lives online—you need to have a presence in their marketplace. most notably in the online world. Five years from now we will be trending in a new direction—and our industry will still be behind. People expect to find us online. The opposite is also true—some people completely ignore the online world. You don’t have to be. even if only minimal. I would estimate we are three to five years behind others in regards to both marketing and technology. The trend is now towards a more interactive and engaging online experience through blogging and other social media. While more and more static company websites are just now appearing. There still remain a very high percentage of companies in the landscape industry who do not even have a website. You can reach a larger pool of prospects while at the same time easily connect with clients.CHAPTER SIX Develop Your Presence Online A s an industry. media and other landscape and allied professionals. it seems as though even this marketing platform is becoming obsolete. Having a significant presence on the web gives your brand and image broader exposure to a vast online audience. This contrast calls for a balanced marketing strategy of both online and offline tactics. All landscape professionals should have a presence online. .
when we post a blog entry. MO In today’s technically advanced world. it automatically shows up on both our website homepage and Facebook page. our certifications. blog. etc. It used to be that simply having a “template” website on the Internet was sufficient to gain customer confidence. Our project portfolios. Twitter and Facebook. Sometimes. friends and family to visit our other online resources. our affiliations. We utilize Twitter and Facebook to attract clients. are photo galleries of our work. our community resources. Granted. but also your business brand. timely information on landscape care. It’s often hard to understand how to integrate all of the different options that are available into one cohesive marketing strategy. online portfolios. like staff outings and community service projects. which change often.94 | The Little Green Book #30: Maximize Your Exposure Guest author: Jason Cupp—Highland Outdoor Kansas City. colleagues. we send it out via a Twitter update . there are many online mediums that can help advance your brand – not only your personal brand. our company. It works out great – for example. and also internal information. but integrating different mediums into one global brand can be extremely worthwhile – and have an appropriate return on investment. Our website has information on our company – our values. Our blog has information on the industry itself. special offerings. our services. Our company has many places it can be found on the Internet: our main website. It’s amazing to me all of the online resources that help us promote our products. a website is the first step. our professionalism.
Many years ago. This cross-references our online presences. I have also chosen to link my personal blog. Show some personality I’m also a fan of linking my personal online presence to my business as well. As life-long salespeople.Develop Your Presence Online | 95 as well. Facebook. . There are many free tools available online which can automate this integration process for you. colleagues and industry professionals are aware of our company now more than ever. I remember my dad telling me that clients prefer to do business with people they like. We all know this to be true. and Twitter account to my businesses online mediums. when I was just starting my business. vendors. team members. which makes us come up higher in the search engine rankings. I encourage you to do the same. and drives traffic – which increases our “interest” on the Internet. I’ve found over the past several years of this integrated online marketing that clients. many of us likely have clients who have turned into friends. My guess is that this did not happen overnight. You can integrate your website and social networks in a similar fashion in order to increase your company’s exposure in the marketplace. and likely happened because of some transparency and vulnerability in that relationship. Given my desire to be transparent to my clients and colleagues.
community engagement and communication. we hatched a plan. We connected with aligned organizations. We decided to layer social media into the event to model using the tools for public relations. newsletter and email list. The APLD NJ chapter had a website. we took stock of the resources we could use for free. and at which our industry specialist for Vectorworks® Landmark was doing a CAD software presentation. rather. so a blog was created using a free (and fairly easy-to-use) tool called WordPress.96 | The Little Green Book Case Study ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Jessie Newburn—Vectorworks Nemetschek North America Columbia. not a landscape designer like Susan is. Facebook page. Announcements were placed on the Facebook. for which Susan was one of the leaders. Yes. Twitter account and Linkedin group. I like to garden.com’s community site. Twitter account and LinkedIn group while we at Nemetschek North America had a Facebook page. We also asked Chris Heiler of LandscapeLeadership. Then we went to work creating and integrating material.com (and author of . Twitter and LinkedIn sites. was in the deep belief that social media tools were ascending in importance and were valuable for landscape industry professionals to understand and use. Here’s what we did … First. Our kindred connection. MD In early 2009. APLD International had a monthly e-newsletter. Susan Cohan and I found in each other kindred spirits. but I’m a marketing gal at heart. An article was written for the APLD e-newsletter. such as posting messages on Land8Lounge. What was missing was a container in which to place all the information. So. Our plan included piggybacking on an APLD (Association of Professional Landscape Designers) New Jersey chapter event.
) From a corporate perspective.0 tools. right? Integration was the name of the game. This may seem like a lot of work (it was. I’m happy to report that the NJ chapter is still actively using it. community engagement and communication. the blog and LinkedIn … you get the picture. at the event. the Nemetschek NA industry specialist for landscape design. . For example.com/). Then. uploaded pictures to Flickr and shot video that was later uploaded to YouTube. but we also connected and integrated information where possible and appropriate. that Chris’s podcast produced a software sale from a landscape designer in Colorado! Plus. When I checked in on the blog we created for the event (http://apldnj. we posted that on Twitter. anecdotally.wordpress. we used Web 2. we were able to support an organization important to us. Facebook. I believe we accomplished our goal of modeling the use of social media tools and how they can be used for PR. All in all. And we kept on going. it was a success.Develop Your Presence Online | 97 this book) to create a podcast with Eric Gilbey. once Chris’s podcast was available. including live tweets. Not only did we use multiple tools. Our Vectorworks Landmark sales manager told me.
keep it simple and only have a “Home Page” with your company contact information. I believe your website should be at the center of your overall marketing strategy. I mean all other marketing tactics. your website could include a “Press Page” featuring PR you have received as well as a “Community Page” featuring your community involvement. If this is your website’s sole purpose. even if minimal. we will focus primarily on how you can use your website as a marketing tool. This is a terrific way to display your past work as well as explain your company’s services. I’ve written one—see the Author’s Resource after tactic#32). Another reason to have a company website is for credibility’s sake. By this. Your website is also a great tool for prequalifying prospects. As I’ve discussed in previous chapters. Your online brochure Many landscape industry professionals choose to use their website as an online brochure. whether you are a company of one or one thousand. your prospects could be prequalifying you as well. . At a minimum. But. judging your company based on what they see. an entire book could be dedicated solely to this topic (In fact. Your prospects expect you to have a presence online nowadays. you will want to make it very easy for people to locate you online and contact you. For this reason. How extensive and deep your website will depend on your site’s purpose.98 | The Little Green Book #31: Your Marketing Hub The subject of web design and how to use a website is vast. I believe every landscape industry company should have a website or a blog. keep in mind.
can justify the cost of the ad space. should lead prospects to your website. via a newsletter sign up form as an example. I would only get one impression per reader. this would be a second impression. I would then be able to communicate with the reader multiple times in the future. The key is to engage visitors beyond their first. Let me illustrate this idea with an example. If I were to collect the visitors contact information. You need to leverage every marketing opportunity in order to move potential prospects to your website. If I were to buy advertising space in a local lifestyle magazine. and perhaps only. beyond the initial advertisement. which is very costly. If I could entice the reader to visit my website by offering something of value.Develop Your Presence Online | 99 whether a mass post card mailing or your vehicle signage. Another way to engage and communicate with visitors to your website is by linking to your online social networks such as Facebook and Twitter or to your blog. This ability to communicate with readers into the future. This approach is becoming very popular as more and more people are becoming active in online social networks. . visit to your website in order to build a long term relationship.
allows you to communicate with your readers and build a sense of community. Blogging also provides the opportunity to interact with your readers which is just not possible with a static website. which allows you to engage visitors with fresh content. This is both the biggest difference between the two and the greatest advantage in blogging. as well . and companies. There are many valid reasons for this. While a static website can be considered an online brochure. one of which is cost. you can set up a blog quickly and inexpensively. there are other counter points to consider—the first being time investment. This is a very powerful shift away from the original concept of a website serving as an online brochure. Before you get rid of your company’s website and start a blog. Sounds great. As a journal. but… Do not start a blog simply because you see other landscape industry companies doing it.100 | The Little Green Book #32: Your Personal Platform More and more professionals. A blog is also simple to update on your own which eliminates maintenance costs like those associated with a static website. your blog is more like a personal journal. your blog is updated frequently. Operating a successful blog will take a tremendous amount of time. are moving away from static websites and moving toward blogging (many utilize both). Setting up a blog is fairly simple and requires very little web programming skills or professional design help unlike a static website. much more often than a website. Because of this. The ability for readers to leave comments on your blog posts as well as subscribe to your blog’s “feed”.
let’s say that you are a landscape designer or contractor and you are targeting a local readership. To illustrate this point. Also garden centers and retailers you recommend.Develop Your Presence Online | 101 as patience. • • • • • . Profiles about other partners such as subcontractors and other artisans. Installation and maintenance tips delivered via video. or even years. Their posts are also well written with considerable thought going into each post. The most popular and successful bloggers write consistently— typically daily or weekly. You may very well be the most interesting person in the world. it means converting your time spent blogging into clients and revenue. If you have the time. What does successful mean? To me. builders and interior designers you have collaborated with (or that you would like to collaborate with!) Guest posts by the partners mentioned above. do you have the patience and perseverance required to gain a large readership and build your community? This can take months. Profiles about architects. Determine the audience you are trying to reach and plan your writing accordingly. but this doesn’t mean your blog should be 100% focused on you personally. Here’s what I would include in your blog: • Showcase past projects as well as current projects using video showing the various stages of the landscape being built (I would also include the homeowners in the video). I believe your focus should be on providing your readers with interesting and valuable content that they look forward to reading. Reviews of landscape tools and books for homeowners.
For more information about WebSavvy. From your blog. For instance. you can then lead visitors to your company’s website or your other online social networks. blogs and building their brand online.102 | The Little Green Book • • • Posts about PR and publicity you have received. The book. when you write consistently week after week with keyword-rich posts. Company events as well as relevant community events. teaches landscape professionals everything they need to know about websites. writing about other professionals is a terrific way to meet new people and build collaborative relationships. This was originally an online course. along with over four hours of video. after which I published it as a book and dvd set due to its success. I recommend a course that I developed titled WebSavvy.ly/wlejg . Personal stories as well as stories about your employees. From the above list you should be able to see that there is much to blog about if you look beyond yourself. Author’s Resource ----------------------------------------------------------------------- If you would like to learn more about how to build a strong presence online. Also. your blog will appear higher in the search engines driving more and more traffic to it. visit: http://bit.
blog posts. Ask your customers! It is so simple. Your job is to think like a human being.com to determine the best keywords to optimize for. Your website benefits from that link. and that is why Google ranks it higher. Why? If your blog links to your website it is telling Google. Google loves blogs because the content tends to be updated frequently. Naperville. and other industry phrases my competitors were using.Develop Your Presence Online | 103 Case Study ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Jeff Korhan—True Nature Inc. there is an easier and more effective way. These so called back-links are essentially a testimonial that Google pays attention to. . Let them do their job. You just have to point or link your blog to your website. IL Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of using keywords to be found by potential customers searching for your products and services. While you can use analytical tools such as wordtracker. as a respected authority. up-todate content on the Web is the best information available. 93% of them selected landscaper as their number one choice. specifically. It is logical to assume that the most current. All you need to know is that Google is only using mathematics to emulate human behavior. This is why your blog is technically more important than your website for getting found. and some social media content. contractor. architect.com or spyfu. I surveyed my customers with this question: “If you were searching the Web for a company like ours. that it recommends that website content. which of these words would you use?” From choices that included landscape designer. your customer. SEO experts seem to enjoy being in the know about how Google uses complex algorithms to index Web pages.
. And the phone started ringing. both my blog and website rose to a page one Google search ranking for Naperville landscaper. Within 60 days. We determined our leads from the Web increased from 5% to 23% that first year alone. and tags for my blog and website.104 | The Little Green Book I added my city as a modifier and sprinkled that keyword phrase into the titles. copy.
The approach is best described as socially acceptable stalking. The secret power of short messages It takes minutes to get started with Twitter. Your goal with Twitter is to connect with people by following them and engaging in short communications known as Tweets. you can get results that may not have otherwise been possible either offline or with other social networks. Knowing this. which you should be able to describe in 12 words or less. This is when you will begin to realize Twittering is like having a conversation in a crowded room. Here’s a tip: The strength . IL Twitter is a multi-media broadcasting network with a global reach. Naperville. which are text messages that Twitter limits to no more than 140 characters. Presently the representation from the Green Industry on Twitter is minimal. Your involvement now will virtually assure you of a leadership position in this powerful social media marketing network.Develop Your Presence Online | 105 #33: The Real You in 140 Characters Guest Author: Jeff Korhan—True Nature Inc. what’s on your mind that you want to share? Are you trying to grow a business or just make friends? Are you looking for a job? Or do you have an idea for making the world a better place? All of these are common reasons people are active on Twitter. Over time you will gather more followers as your network grows. Once you do break the code. but months to truly understand how it works. To be effective you have to manage interruptions and stay focused on your objective.
And you never know who is connected to whom. attracting even more followers.106 | The Little Green Book of Twitter rests within the possibilities that are created when communications are limited to a handful of words. This is how interesting. It encourages interaction on the network. but the neural networks in the human brain. which is a rebroadcast of your message by a follower to their network of followers. your messages are going to occasionally get retweeted. but you have to keep in mind that we live on one planet where all communities eventually merge into one. There is a reason Facebook has adopted a similar format as Twitter’s. which is counterproductive to how Twitter works best. or controversial information is transmitted around the world via Twitter within seconds. which only increases its value further. Real time global search Some people like to keep their Twitter networks small and private. When everyone is forced to reduce their message to its core value. It also allows for rapid transmission and reception. The functionality of Twitter continues to expand as it grows. These conversations attract more followers that can participate and add to the content. This means your Tweet from home can reach out across the world and come right back to help you in your local community. not through the social networks. . and so on. the quality of the content goes up. and that attracts even more participation. However. which increases the benefits for everyone. You can choose from multiple applications to embed images. You may not necessarily be interested in what’s happening around the globe. This effectively encourages a real-time conversation between you and your followers. even if you have just a few followers. valuable.
and keep doing the work and you may just land that whale of a customer that you have been fishing for that will catapult your landscape business to the next level. listen. then Twitter can help you increase your search engine ranking for customers searching for your products and services. and music into your Tweets. global reach. It is a true multi-media platform. Get involved. Twitter not only has a real-time. trust the process. Enjoy the conversation. You will discover that many Twitter relationships expire quickly. . Search for industry leaders and trusted friends and learn by following them. but go easy at first. Twitter is one network where to some extent you can fake it till you make it. and learn. After a period of a few weeks you will begin to have small successes. such as a new relationship that you may not have been able to develop through traditional networking. Notwithstanding its limitation to 140 characters. We know with certainty that Google rewards multi-media content with higher rankings. Getting results The best way to learn Twitter is the same as any other network. a Tweet is no different than a page on the web that is potentially indexed by Google.Develop Your Presence Online | 107 video. it builds a sustainable Web presence for your business. with a searchable trail that leads back to you. Watch. If you are using the right keywords. What is interesting is what happens with that multimedia content that some consider idle chatter. That’s okay.
This convergence of technologies has made online video commonplace. using video on your website or blog actually places your site higher in the search rankings. Before convincing yourself that you cannot possibly do this. Instead of reading standard text. First. The time to get on board with video technology is now! The Internet is accessible to more and more people and at higher speeds than ever before. Video will grab and hold a prospects attention longer enabling you to pull them further into your marketing and sales process. almost to the point that consumers expect video when they visit a website. This means more people will find and visit your site. as mentioned previously. The biggest advantage to using video is that it enhances communication. understand that a small number of landscape professionals are already utilizing video to promote their services.com are flourishing. You can do all of the work yourself— no videographer. Second. It’s impressive—your prospects will definitely take note. your prospects can see and hear you deliver your marketing message. using video is a great way to stand out from your competition. Video sharing websites like YouTube.108 | The Little Green Book #34: The Future is Now How can you easily differentiate your website or blog from those of your competition? Add video! Using video to market your talents and business is a terrific way to create a presence online and further enhance your brand. The reasons for using video online are many. Regardless of how tech savvy you may or may not be. the tools to create a video and share it with the world are accessible to everyone at very low cost. film crew or production company needed. Putting yourself front and .
You can use an inexpensive webcam to record yourself just as Green Industry consultant Jeff Korhan does for each of his blog posts (See an example here: http://bit. You can use video on your website in multiple ways. Talk to a website designer or programmer if you are not familiar with how to do this.ly/14Vgpu). You read in the .ly/3ypabu).Develop Your Presence Online | 109 center also adds a personal touch—prospects can put a voice and face with your company. You can turn your photographs into a slideshow video with music or a voice narration—no video camera required (For an example.ly/idWfb). The easiest way is to upload it to video sharing sites like YouTube.com. Where to begin There are numerous ways to create video beyond using a traditional camcorder or professional video camera. You could also use video as a way to chronicle the evolution of a project from start to finish as landscape designer Susan Cohan did for a recent show house installation (see here: http://bit. I personally use video as one way to showcase my portfolio (see here: http://bit. You can then share this same video across other social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. Posting your video to multiple platforms ensures that it is exposed to a broad audience. Adding the video to your website or blog is the final step. see here: http://bit. there are many ways to share it online. After you have recorded and produced your video.ly/8xG8V). as mentioned in tactic #30: Maximize Your Exposure.ly/3ypabu). I create video tutorials for LandscapeLeadership.com in the form of screen capture video by simply recording the action on my computer screen (See an example here: http://bit.
ly/1HljKc). All of these examples illustrate the many powerful ways you can utilize video to market your company.110 | The Little Green Book case study following tactic #4: Let Your Clients Do the Talking how landscape designer Pamela Dabah used video to showcase powerful client testimonials (see here: http://bit. If you can help them feel . uses video as part of his sales process (see here: http://bit. most of them are intimidated by getting a website up.ly/zVRgC). before you’ve even spoken on the phone! The fact is that people decide to hire you because they like and trust you. editor of FromDesign2Build. Case Study --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Arcata. video allows people to feel like they know you. then it can be hard to make a real connection to people in pamphlets or a traditional website. Think about it--if writing doesn’t come easily to you.com.ly/C2oOK) and also suggests using video as a way to answer “Frequently Asked Questions” on your website (see Genevieve’s case study which follows). CA Genevieve Schmidt—Genevieve Schmidt Landscape Design When I talk with my landscaper friends. Jody Shilan.ly/2xziXj). Video allows you to talk directly to your potential clients and tell them about yourself in a way that feels natural. Rudy Vedovell of Lots of Green in Holland Michigan created a video for his website that gives visitors a general overview of his company and his philosophy (see here: http://bit. In addition. much less using video online! But online video has been one of the easiest ways to presell to potential clients that I’ve found. Landscape designer Genevieve Schmidt creates “How To” videos for homeowners on her blog (see here: http://bit.
Then I use YouTube. Expect to do many takes to get one video you’re happy with. talk slowly. and smile whenever it feels natural. YouTube provides an embed code. . Shoot your video straight through so you only have to edit out the beginning and end. you’re that much more likely to land the job. which you copy and paste into the html code of any website or blog. which is free and easy to use. If you get nervous. I use a $70 Flip Video recorder. Don’t be intimidated by cost or the technology – video is super-simple nowadays. just breathe deeply. Shoot in a quiet location on a still morning to avoid squinting. not your entire body. which has software bundled in to allow you to edit your video very quickly.under 3 minutes is best. Zoom in and record your head and torso. Keep each video short and about one topic . to upload my videos. glare spots and wind rushing by the microphone. I find it takes at least two tries to get comfortable. Here are some quick tips for shooting great video: • • • • • Don’t read directly from a script – use bullet points instead. then two to three more to say things succinctly.Develop Your Presence Online | 111 comfortable with you before they call.
com/chris_heiler. how can you make it more consistent? (1 hour) Sign up for a free Twitter account at www.com. .com/jeffkorhan and Jason Cupp at http://twitter.com/jasoncupp. You can follow guest authors Jeff Korhan at http://twitter. Is your current status sufficient or should you expand it? Is your marketing message and image consistent from one platform to another? If not.Twitter.112 | The Little Green Book What You Can Do Right Now (1 to 2 hours) Evaluate your current presence online. just follow a few interesting people to evaluate how they are using Twitter. then jump in. You can follow me at http://twitter. (1 to 2 hours) Watch the videos included in tactic #34: The Future is Now. Don’t worry about posting anything at first. Brainstorm ways in which you can incorporate video as a part of your web presence. If you see value and potential in the service.
provide more value with less salesmanship and must be delivered at an opportune time. It’s time to separate yourself from the competition and be heard through the noise. In this chapter. The marketing strategies in this chapter will teach you how to do exactly that. targets an individual community of homeowners on a personal level. We need to cut through the noise by applying the new rules of advertising. I . advertising must be more targeted. you will read how Jason Cupp. Your message also needs to be more personal. These are the new rules of advertising. You will also read how Jason combines targeted demographics and pay per click advertising to drive traffic to his company website and to increase sales. First. CEO of Highland Outdoor.CHAPTER SEVEN Leverage the New Rules of Advertising t’s more difficult than ever to get your marketing message to stick in today’s crowded marketplace.
the ad must run consistently over time for your brand to stick in the . Most companies in the landscape industry advertise in print publications because it’s easy—they just hand their money to the publisher and never think about it again. I’ve found landscape industry businesses to be particularly lousy at advertising in print—I’ve experienced massive failures myself. We don’t want to ignore this sector of the marketplace. especially for a full-color ad that is large enough to grab a reader’s attention. it’s most valuable for companies who already have a strong position in the marketplace—and need to sustain it. It is not the most effective strategy for establishing a strong position in the marketplace. In my opinion. I’ve done this successfully in the past which led to a personal profile as well as a project profiled in a glossy lifestyle magazine. purchasing advertising can provide you with extra leverage in dealing with publishers. There are legitimate reasons for adding a dose of print advertising to your marketing mix. First—and second—impressions Advertising is expensive. there remains a large percentage of the marketplace that still gets a majority of their information from publications such as local newspapers and magazines. Next.114 | The Little Green Book #35: If You Must… Let me first state that I am not a big proponent of traditional print advertising. This is a terrible excuse for throwing money away. In addition to that. Second. Some play the “We just want our name in front of people” game. Everything is negotiable—ask for a lower rate and for something additional in exchange. First.
Give away useful information. the most difficult part of this strategy is moving the reader from advertisement to online. Require an email address in order to download the coupons. How do you collect these leads via your print advertising? You do this by encouraging readers to visit you online—whether it’s your website. This adds up to big bucks. • • • • . Post “how to” maintenance videos on your blog that coincides with the season and time you are advertising. which means you need a higher return on that investment than just a few measly glances from readers. Encourage visitors to subscribe to your blog’s feed. Here are some ideas: • Offer a monthly company newsletter with valuable information that they can subscribe to (see tactic #39: Deliver Your Message Monthly).Leverage the New Rules of Advertising | 115 mind of a consumer. Offer maintenance advice via video. As an example. when I advertised in a neighborhood of historic homes. You must then go the extra step and encourage them to take action. My recommendation is to use your print advertising as a way to collect leads that you can communicate with into the future—beyond the advertisement. Offer a weekly email tip that they can subscribe to. Of course. Give away coupons and other special offers. blog or Facebook. I offered a free list of heirloom plants appropriate for these homes. If you are able to do this. Readers could visit my website and download the list for free in exchange for their name and email address. This could be in the form of subscribing to your blog’s rss feed. then you have a potential prospect or referral source that you can communicate and build a relationship with over time. signing up for your company newsletter or following you on Twitter.
whether it’s on your website. don’t just say. instead encourage readers to. Target those publications with readers at specific income levels.116 | The Little Green Book • • Encourage readers to visit your online portfolio. Encourage readers to visit your online social networks. Don’t try to be all things to all people when it comes to advertising.” Where to advertise is another question that requires careful consideration.000 versus a newspaper with circulation of 300. Keep in mind. “follow the progress of Smallville Library’s landscape renovation on our Facebook fan page.000. professions or hobbies that are in alignment with those of your clientele. In the advertisement. . blog or Flickr. large circulation numbers are not as important as matching your business to specific demographics. You could be better off advertising in an inexpensive neighborhood newsletter with a circulation of 3. “Follow us on Facebook”.
APLD—Susan Cohan Gardens Chatham. whether it be visiting your website and signing up for your company newsletter or contacting you directly. relatively simple to design and the least expensive option to mail. There are six steps to crafting an effective postcard campaign: . You need to lead them to action. Two to four percent is an average return rate for most direct mail campaigns. Postcards generally yield higher rates because it is easier to engage the recipient—they don't have to open an envelope and unfold the paper(s) inside. This means every 100 cards should yield one qualified lead. It’s not enough to send a pretty picture hoping it is memorable enough to stick in the prospects mind. As with any direct mail campaign. The typical conversion rate of those contacts to an actual sale is typically around 50% in my experience. high quality post cards are inexpensive to produce. Direct mail marketing can seem like an expensive and daunting venture. The fact is. you must have realistic expectations. NJ Using a postcard as a direct mail piece to reach new prospects is an effective and efficient way to incorporate a traditional marketing vehicle as part of your marketing mix. This means you can expect two to four direct contacts for every 100 postcards you mail.Leverage the New Rules of Advertising | 117 #36: Mail Your Message Guest Author: Susan Cohan. Putting it all together It is your job to create a compelling postcard that engages your audience with a call to action.
Step 2: Designing the card. Your name should be on the front and back of the card. as well as the postcard printing . Start with zip codes and then add the criteria for the customers you want to reach.You can use a local print shop to produce your postcards or one of the many production houses online. postcard printing houses have design services that you can use.118 | The Little Green Book Step 1: Your visual and verbal message. You can learn a lot just by visiting a few websites.Unless you have excellent graphic design skills. You may love that one project you did at a client's country place. Be sure to include your call to action and all contact details. collaborate with a graphic designer. A good example of a full service company is ModernPostcard. Ask yourself if this image also represents what your target market can visualize in their yard.com. don't design the postcard yourself. Often. Often.Choose a highresolution image that showcases your best work. All will require that your postcard layout be uploaded to their site and that you approve their proof copy before the cards are printed. postcards get tacked up on a bulletin board or refrigerator—you want your name to be seen. but if your target market lives in an urban setting—it’s the wrong image. Step 4: Identifying the recipients.You can create a very specific recipients list based on a variety of demographic data. Business-to-consumer (B2C) lists are available from many list services. Some provide list and mailing services and are considered full service postcard marketing companies. If not. Step 3: Producing the card.
If you use a smaller printing company and do the work yourself. plan on the process taking two to three weeks from beginning to end. . Bundle them by zip code for faster delivery before you take them to the post office. Step 5: Choosing the mailing date. If you use a full service postcard company. Timing can make the difference between success and failure.Allow plenty of time to stamp and label your cards if you are going to mail them yourself. For a spring postcard. mail your card during that week and try to time it so it arrives on a Wednesday or Thursday—right before the weekend.Leverage the New Rules of Advertising | 119 houses themselves.com is a good place to start. allow four to six weeks. Some postcard services will be able to get better volume postage rates and will take care of the labeling and stamping for you.When to mail your postcard is the most important decision you will make. choose a date that is likely to have good spring weather—that’s when people think about their gardens and being outside. Step 6: Mailing the card. If you want to tie into a major event like a regional flower show or festival. USAData. If you want to generate your own list.
An often overlooked market segment is “New Home Buyer’s”. average a 2% response rate on the high end. This is a strict criterion. a lawn renovation or maintenance plan. I have received an outstanding 20% response rate from these personalized cards.000. The reason for this. These folks are often in need of landscape services upon purchasing their home. and a twist on the previous strategy. I also use this as an opportunity to introduce myself and show my interest in working with them if they are in need of design work. You . but matches my niche perfectly. You do this by personalizing your marketing message. built before 1930 and valued at over $400. I’ll use myself as an example to illustrate this: When a home. you can actually achieve an even higher response rate. like postcard mailings mentioned in the previous tactic. This rate is acceptable if you are mailing to a qualified list of homeowners because it’s typically inexpensive as well as quick and easy to execute.120 | The Little Green Book #37: An Automated Lead Source Most direct mail campaigns. sells in one of three local neighborhoods. matching very specific criteria. is because these homeowners are highly qualified. I only send cards to homes located in three neighborhoods. With a little more effort. It’s important to get your company in front of this market before your competition—and in memorable fashion. beyond the personal touch. I send the new homeowners a handwritten. personalized greeting card welcoming and congratulating them on their new purchase. What I’m referring to is an automated. whether it’s design work. targeted and personalized direct mail strategy that can be executed in real-time (unlike an annual mass mailing).
This is what I did. but I suggest starting with your county’s online service. I typically waited six months after receiving the listings before I sent my introduction cards. If you are a maintenance company.Leverage the New Rules of Advertising | 121 can do the exact same thing based on the demographics of your unique target market. enter your search criteria and sign up to receive email alerts. etc. square footage. you may want to contact them right away. Most counties will have a website that enables you to look up specific parcels. contact a real estate agent and ask them to set up a listings search of sold homes based on your criteria. The process This begs the question. Just as before. The agent should be able to set this up so the listings are emailed to you automatically. sale price. This is truly an automated source of leads (and free).com to set up a similar system yourself. it’s important to get the parcel number. How you find the name of the new homeowners will vary by state. If you are a landscape designer or contractor. you might have more luck waiting until the homeowners are settled in. How and when you approach the new homeowners is up to you and depends a bit on your business. year built. This targeted direct mail strategy is ideal for companies with a specialty or niche who can really focus in on their perfect . You will be notified of homes being sold within just a few days. Next. “How do I easily find new home buyers?” Your first step is to identify your search criteria: location. You can also use Zillow. giving you a jump start on your competition. Whichever service you use. This will aid in your search for the new homeowners.
and budget conscious. This may also be better suited for smaller companies who need to be more selective. in how and who they market to. A combination of this personalized approach mixed with a mass mailing of postcards would be ideal.ly/4C5Acj You can view the actual introduction letter I send to homeowners here: http://bit.122 | The Little Green Book prospects. Author’s Resource ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- You can view an example of the real estate listings that I receive here: http://bit.ly/1v5X6V .
but also their names and telephone numbers.the better the design and installation our reputation reach increases. Going the extra step We created a direct mail piece in the form of an introduction letter that was sent to every homeowner in the community. even hand writing the names and addresses on the envelopes. The letter included our company’s elevator pitch and outlined the details of the landscape project we would be coordinating. Hence the reason the majority of client leads come from referrals and from those that actually witness our work. our work product speaks for itself . Although yard signs and door hangers have worked in the past. MO As landscape and exterior design professionals. company. We always make sure our office staff knows when a landscape project is about to begin so we can send the . Recently. we wanted to make it much more personal to generate more interest in our work. our design/build firm began a landscape project in an exclusive gated community where I realized that it would be advantageous to make personal contact with the homeowners in that neighborhood. We cross-referenced this information using Google Maps to ensure we located every house in the neighborhood.Leverage the New Rules of Advertising | 123 #38: There Goes the Neighborhood Guest Author: Jason Cupp—Highland Outdoor Kansas City. We felt the letters would be more effective and impactful if we personalized each. and client’s property. We used multiple online resources that not only gave us the neighbor’s addresses.
This.124 | The Little Green Book letters the same day we call for a utility locate. I drove through the community around 7:00 pm and spotted many families strolling past the project we were building right in front of their eyes. This way. combined with a strong reference from the actual client. which in turn builds anticipation in the neighborhood. You can do the same wherever you work. yet the increase in brand awareness and reach is an incredible payoff. My hope is that our introduction letter encouraged this action.ly/KRmJX . the letters arrive right before we begin the project. This is a marketing strategy that all landscape companies and professionals can execute in any neighborhood. This direct mail strategy does not require massive amounts of time or money to execute. One night during this particular landscape installation. It’s often the little things we do that catches the attention and earns the respect of potential clients. Author’s Resource ----------------------------------------------------------------------- You can view the introduction letter from Highland Outdoor here: http://bit. is a recipe for future success in this neighborhood.
builders. you will also need a way to stay in front of your clients and other contacts to generate referrals. most people still prefer to read newsletters in print so a combination of both print and email is ideal. A newsletter delivered via email takes less time to publish. I suggest implementing the 80-20 rule: 80% of your content should be valuable to your readership and the other 20% can be . interior designers and even realtors. including architects. The key is to include content that appeals to your unique readership. Publishing a newsletter that is valuable to your readership can take a lot of time. are a terrific way to introduce your company to prospects. Newsletters are another form of direct mail and one of the most effective ways to keep in touch consistently. prospects. Tell your story There is much you can include in a company newsletter. making this format ideal for monthly delivery. I recommend publishing your newsletter quarterly and then work up to monthly if you are able. and is less expensive. Keep in mind.Leverage the New Rules of Advertising | 125 #39: Deliver Your Message Monthly While mass postcard mailings. Anyone who has the potential to provide you with a referral should be on your list. and the more targeted approaches discussed previously. landscape designers and suppliers. especially if it’s in print form and mailed to your readers. family as well as allied professionals such as contractors. Your newsletter mailing list can include current and past clients. friends. The frequency of mailing really depends on the format in which you will publish your newsletter as well as the amount of time you can dedicate to this task.
Share a bit about yourself personally and “what’s new” with your business. I recommend doing so using email marketing software such as ConstantContact.Let your readers see behind the curtain.126 | The Little Green Book marketing and sales focused. Here are some content ideas for your newsletter: • Personal commentary. If you have a blog. construction or maintenance. Feature a different project in each issue with photographs and testimonials.com or Aweber. The software gives readers the opportunity to unsubscribe from your mailing list so you can be sure that only those people who really want it are getting it. Both Constant Contact and Aweber offer in-depth . Feature employees Discuss your service within the community. I personally use Aweber for my business.com. You can also ask other professionals to contribute tips to your newsletter. The service will maintain your email list (sometimes called a “list host”) and automatically send your newsletter to your entire list per your specific schedule. include one of your recent posts to encourage your readers to visit you online. or e-zine. PR and press you have received Announcements such as events and special promotions or offers Tips and advice. These services allow you to design your newsletter using numerous templates—it’s a very painless process. Product and book reviews that appeal to your readership • • • • • • • • If you choose to publish your newsletter as an e-newsletter. whether it be design.
ly/3sndCj Westover Landscape Design in Tarrytown New York offers a newsletter on their company website. You can view an issue here: http://bit.Leverage the New Rules of Advertising | 127 reports for your email campaigns so you know exactly who is reading what.ly/4qDRSI They also publish a monthly newsletter for homeowners titled Growing Together which you can view here: http://bit. Another great feature of this software is that it enables you to create a newsletter sign-up form that you can place on your website or blog. This is the best way for people to subscribe to your newsletter. which you can view here: http://bit. Email marketing software will cost around $15 to $20 each month. Author’s Resource ----------------------------------------------------------------------- The Davey Tree Expert Company publishes a print newsletter they send to commercial property managers and homeowners titled Arbor Topics.ly/2V04un .
You can view one of my Profit Tips here: http://bit. My Profit Tip of the Week is a bit different from the company newsletters I discussed in the previous strategy in that it is a business-to-business newsletter.com to publish our weekly newsletters. I try to keep it short and on point each week—making it easy for readers to digest (and for me to write).com Beginning in October of 2008. Not a week goes by that I don’t hear from one of my readers— many times sharing their own great ideas and experiences with me.128 | The Little Green Book Author’s Case Study ----------------------------------------------------------------- Chris Heiler—LandscapeLeadership.ly/1mz9Kt You can view one http://bit. I know Jody feels the same way about his weekly Trade Secrets. Subscribers sign up via a form on our websites and are then automatically added to our newsletter lists—it could not be any easier. We both use email marketing software from Aweber. Writing this week after week has helped me stay in front of other professionals and more importantly build a relationship with many of my readers. Another notable difference is that my weekly tip includes much less information than what a typical monthly newsletter would.ly/3HGUEX of Jody’s Trade Secrets here: . writing my Profit Tip is one of the most enjoyable tasks for me each week. In fact.com with Green Industry veteran Jody Shilan. Jody also sends a weekly tip titled Trade Secrets which is written for landscape design/build contractors. I have published a weekly newsletter written specifically for professional landscape designers and landscape architects. In October of 2009. I co-founded the website FromDesign2Build.
You pay a small fee only when a web user clicks on your advertisement and visits your website. “I saw a photo on your website…” or “I read about this online…” There are several methods to put your website and online presence in front of your target client.Leverage the New Rules of Advertising | 129 #40: Just A Click Away Guest Author: Jason Cupp—Highland Outdoor Kansas City. . Most everyone has heard of social networking – and even more have heard of Facebook. birthday. validate their reputation. hobbies. we can target our prospects using all of that data. MO More and more savvy clients in today’s marketplace are using online methods to find landscape firms to do business with. and has proven to be highly effective for some landscape professionals (see the following case study). Pay-Per-Click advertising is when you place an online advertisement that links to a specific page on your website (landing page). Since Facebook has mined this demographic information. employment – and virtually everything in-between. Facebook users place heavily coveted demographic information online – all behind a user name and password. such as Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Pay-Per-Click advertising (PPC) to name just two. marital status. budget controlled. Users openly share their age. clients say in the sales process. neighborhood. You have seen Google’s PPC ads listed at the top of search listings as well as to the right of the listings. Google Adwords is the most popular form of PPC advertising currently. education. Often. and spur creativity. The Facebook PPC program is simple to set up.
but has gained some significant sophistication in recent years. One of the biggest advantages with PPC is the ability to track the results of your advertising. PPC is a very controlled form of advertising from a budget standpoint. A word of caution however: Research PPC advertising thoroughly before jumping in. business owners are finding their targeted clientele much easier. Most PPC companies have tracking software built in. PPC advertising also allows for greater flexibility—you can update your ads almost instantly. then PPC advertising can be an effective and efficient means of getting visitors and potential clients to your site. You can quickly lose a lot of advertising dollars if you don’t understand the system. . as well as how to monitor it. what pages they look at and from which pages they leave your site. If you have a well-designed company website.130 | The Little Green Book Targeting your prospects Pay-Per-Click is not new to the online advertising game. Allowing your ad to only appear in your city or community makes it even easier to place your company website or blog in front of prospects that fit your demographic profile. You identify how much you want to budget each week and how much you are willing to pay for each click (this is based on keywords). It is also very fast in the sense that you can post an ad in a very short amount of time as opposed to another advertising medium such as print advertising. so you can view metrics such as how long visitors stick on your website. This is all valuable information. Due to web users giving up a significant amount of demographic information. pulling them further into your marketing and sales process.
Facebook will automatically charge your credit card for the PPC fees.064 impressions! These impressions resulted in 2. To create your ad.000—all at an advertising cost of $970. this activity led directly to sales of over $50. decided to try some alternative marketing ideas to spread the word of our company.75. You will also determine how much you are willing to pay per click— usually $0. This is all there is to it! Your advertisement will appear on Facebook the day after setting up your PPC plan. This was well worth the investment. You will need to have a Facebook account first. Highland Outdoor. Choose your wording carefully! You will then set a daily budget of how much you would like to spend. In six months. marital status. I suggest $5 to $10 per day for one week just to test. After setting up an account and logging in. location. You can then build your advertisement based on specific demographics such as age. In turn. including a few of our marketing partners. . We also attracted a different type of client that we would have not otherwise.50 to $0. my landscape design/build consulting firm.276 unique visitors to the Highland Outdoor website. Facebook will even tell you how many users fit into these demographics. etc.36. you will upload a photo and write a description about your company. Setting up a PPC campaign on Facebook is easy. MO In the winter of 2008. we decided to use Pay-Per-Click Advertising through Facebook. A tutorial will walk you through all of your options and show you how to set it up. Through discussions with our staff.652. education.Leverage the New Rules of Advertising | 131 Case Case Study ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Jason Cupp—Highland Outdoor Kansas City. click on the “Advertising” icon in the lower right corner. our ad received 3.
Use the online tools mentioned in this chapter to find the names and addresses of homeowners in the neighborhood—Zillow. Think about ways you can move readers from your ad space to your online space.com. What can you offer readers in hopes of communicating with them in the future? (2 to 4 hours) Whether you are a landscape designer. Google Maps and your county website’s parcel/property search. think about one of the neighborhoods you may be working in right now. Is this a neighborhood that you would like to build a strong presence in? Consider implementing the same direct mail strategy Jason Cupp discussed in tactic #38: There Goes the Neighborhood.132 | The Little Green Book What You Can Do Right Now: (1 to 2 hours) Evaluate your print advertising campaigns. design/build contractor or maintenance service. .
You will publish your portfolio on CD. Now is the time to learn how to leverage the wealth of technology available to us. you will be publishing your own magazine and books on-demand. You will never have more fun than this marketing your business. You are different! This chapter will teach you multiple ways to showcase your work in order to promote your talent and business.CHAPTER EIGHT Showcase Your Portfolio T he future is most definitely right now. When others are printing expensive brochures by the thousands. . This chapter serves as a perfect example of why you need to scrap the old ways of marketing your landscape business. You are different! You will flip through your portfolio effortlessly on your iPhone.
not 10 years ago. or hard-copy. 8 ½” x 11” or 11” x 14” is a sufficient size. meetings with prospects. More than just a pretty picture Photography is only one part of your portfolio. portfolios.Organize your photos in a logical way. professional conferences and speaking engagements. we need to be able to quickly show them something. No doubt it is important. especially photography. your portfolio should go. After all. I organize my photos by project and group “Before” and “After” pictures together to create a strong impression. just as you would your company website. there is still a place for our physical. Because of this. but don’t overlook other elements that can be included. Do not use low-quality photos . Bring your portfolio to networking events. I’m all for going digital and carrying less but when there is no internet access and someone wants to see our work. Keep your content fresh. There is nothing less impressive than a portfolio with outdated content. this is your brand that you carry with you everywhere.134 | The Little Green Book #41: Take Your Work With You Even though we are living in the 21st century digital world. You need to prove to people that your company is relevant right now. And don’t underestimate the need of many people who prefer the tactile experience of flipping through pages. I suggest creating a portfolio that is compact and easy to carry. I suggest updating your portfolio annually. Wherever you go. A well-designed and impressive portfolio also contributes to your professional image. Here are some things to include in your portfolio: • Photography. Only use your best photography.
and vice versa. This includes articles you have written for industry trade publications. include these in your portfolio. One beautiful photo delivers more impact than a dozen mediocre pictures.People enjoy looking at beautiful drawings and designs. Published Work.Include affiliations such as landscape industry trade associations. and your local chamber of commerce—any association that will lend credibility to your brand.If you have been featured in a magazine or newspaper. only include your best work. This is more impressive than simply listing written testimonials. If possible.Include charitable organizations and other community work you are involved with. I suggest including sketches.I suggest including a page filled with client testimonials.If you have written articles for magazines or other publications. copy them and add them to your portfolio. Again. plan-view enlargements and whatever else best displays your talent. If you have received Thank You cards and other notes from clients.Showcase Your Portfolio | 135 simply to fill space. • Drawings. civic groups such as Lion’s Club. Community Involvement.When you win awards. Make sure the outside looks just as nice as the inside. • • • • • • A lot of effort can be required to create an impressive portfolio. There are many professional options available . Affiliations. I suggest reproducing the article and including it as part of your portfolio. include photographs of your involvement and testimonials from the organizations. or earn certifications. so be sure to include them in your portfolio. Testimonials. then reproduce it and include it in your portfolio. Special Features. perspective drawings. Recognition.
but also from scratching. one limitation of a physical portfolio is that you most likely will not leave it behind with people. actually I design landscapes. well I have this brown spot in the lawn that I’ve been trying to deal with for a couple years. but what. It replaces frame. For this reason. I suggest creating a complimentary portfolio on CD that you can leave behind (see tactic #43: Leave Your Work Behind). exactly. clear plastic that mounts to the face of photos. .136 | The Little Green Book when it comes to packaging your portfolio. We found a mounting system online made by Pres-On. We used their mounting board product called “M6” (see here: http://bit. It puts control 100% in the potential client’s hands.” I hate that. That is one reason we came up with a pocket portfolio. Choose one that best represents your brand. FAPLD—American Academy of Landscape Design Glenview. IL “So I hear you’re a landscaper. It is a miniature version of the one we take to client meetings. In fact. It’s like handing them a deck of cards. Study Case Study ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Tim Thoelecke. is a “landscaper”? Do you cut grass from the back of a pickup? Do you have a $30M DesignBuild firm? Are you an independent landscape designer? Or are you somewhere in between? It sure would be easier to show them. I’ve got 3 kids. It not only protects them from bending.” “Me too. Keep in mind.” “Well. it’s a little smaller than that.” “Oh. The product is a self-adhesive. How do you explain to someone at a cocktail party what you actually do for a living? Are you a “landscaper”? Maybe you are.ly/nMnoK).
you could have a portfolio on your iPhone. Also. Others would rather talk business. The beauty is that. do not give the potential client the same kind of control.Showcase Your Portfolio | 137 mounting and glass all in one. but it puts control in the potential client’s hands. Some people are glued to them. stacked and passed around. See examples of Tim’s portfolio cards here: http://bit. but I think there is value to the tactile element. We put together 60 of them from 5x7 photos. The cards can be sorted. electronic portfolios. They can also be put down when done. It’s now 10 years later and they are still very presentable. not only is it a professional way to present your portfolio.ly/1SQjnY . as nice and flexible as they are. The main thing is that you are not locked into a linear process! Okay.
You no longer need to email gigantic files to share photos. options and more options You have many options when it comes to putting your portfolio online. your photos will appear in search rankings leading more traffic to your website. you can access them from wherever you may be. Options. Picasa. After moving your photos online. you may even want to watermark your photos with your company name or website URL to gain even more brand recognition.com are considered photo sharing websites.138 | The Little Green Book #42: Share With The World Just like everything else in the world.com. but I do recommend complementing this with an online version. whether at a client’s home or a networking event.com and Photobucket. Other social networking . If done properly. These are great for organizing and sharing pictures of your professional work as well as personal photos. Along with this tagging. portfolios have moved online. I don’t suggest giving up your beloved physical portfolio. Imagine effortlessly scrolling through your photographs using your iPhone or other mobile device— prospects will be impressed! Sharing photographs is also much easier when they are stored online. You don't need to be sitting across from them at their kitchen table. Another benefit of uploading and sharing your photos online is that you can “tag” your photos with keyword-rich titles and descriptions. Websites such as Flickr. The most important reason for this is so potential clients can access your portfolio 24/7 on their own time. you can simply share a URL which will lead people directly to your portfolio.
are specifically for uploading and sharing your portfolio. I update my Flickr account immediately after photographing any of my work. such as Carbonmade.ly/bLmw7 . Other websites offering a paid service. Here are two examples: Chris Heiler’s VisualCV: http://bit. Author’s Resource ----------------------------------------------------------------------- For a step-by-step video showing how I quickly upload.ly/XXId9 Jody Shilan’s VisualCV: http://bit. edit and share my photos. The possibilities are endless.com and Landscapedia. have a built-in portfolio function for members to upload their photos to. While I update my website’s portfolio annually.ly/3ecQLb Take your online portfolio a step further by creating a VisualCV in which you can share much more than just photos of your work. This allows me to share my photos in real-time across multiple social networks. go here: http://bit.Showcase Your Portfolio | 139 websites within the landscape industry.com. such as Land8Lounge. These services can work great in combination with a portfolio on a company website. All of these options are free services.info.
Instead of featuring specific projects. First. as if I gave them a very special gift. Putting it all together You will not be showing your portfolio to an art director or another professional. they are appreciative that I am not wasting the consultation time to promote myself. so the format you choose should reflect that. These portfolios are geared towards consumers and should ‘unfold' like a glossy magazine article. I feature design elements such as garden architecture or cottage gardens.140 | The Little Green Book #43: Leave Your Work Behind Guest Author: Susan Cohan. I use PhotoShop Elements to edit each picture so that the view or detail is exactly . They are always thrilled. APLD—Susan Cohan Gardens Chatham. I make the portfolio CD’s myself using relatively simple software in order to keep my costs down. This serves two important functions for a potential client. To keep things interesting. Only use your best photos—the ones that show your work in the best light. This format keeps the portfolio and website as companion pieces to each other. NJ Each time I visit a new client I hand them a copy of my portfolio on CD. I have organized the photos in my portfolio differently than on my website. via the CD I am actually selling myself and my services a second time—after I'm gone. It is important to remember that you want your CD to reflect your design style. Second. I explain that the CD will enable them to look at my portfolio in depth after our initial meeting on their own time.
ly/Rr9IN . Free PDF converters are available through a variety of on-line services such as CutePDF. You have many choices available when it comes to packaging your CD. Once the PowerPoint document is complete. This program is easy to use and relatively inexpensive. More than this is too much to absorb. I try to limit the slides or portfolio pages to about 20-30 including title slides and contact slides.com is a free online photo editing tool that also works well. Picnik. Next. The custom labels make for a very professional package and are impressive in the eyes of our prospects.Showcase Your Portfolio | 141 the way I want it. also from Avery. The next step is to copy the portfolio to the CD from your computer and create and apply the CD label. less seems skimpy. For this process I use labels from Avery and a product called CDStomper. Resource Author’s Resource ----------------------------------------------------------------------- You can view Susan Cohan’s portfolio here: http://bit. I save it as a PDF because most people are more familiar with viewing PDF files versus PowerPoint files. I use PowerPoint to create the actual portfolio. Any office supply store will have paper sleeves and plastic jewel cases for you to select from.com.
This isn’t to say that you should only print a picture book— you can do much more than this. Why should you? Because there is not a more impressive way to present your portfolio than in book format. You could chronicle individual projects by including before. but…” There are many options available online that will enable you to create your own masterpiece. Beyond making a great impression. Your book can contain less information than a magazine and will mostly focus on your photography. Publishing your portfolio in book format can also be less work than publishing a magazine which I discussed in the previous marketing tactic. “I’m intrigued.142 | The Little Green Book #44: Become Your Own Publisher Anyone can publish a book—I’m living proof. The first step is to download Blurb’s free BookSmart bookmaking software from their website.com (this book was not published by Blurb. You will design your entire book with this easy to use software. Also. You could also include pictures of the clients themselves as well as testimonials.com). only use your absolute best photography in your book. I highly recommend using Blurb. be sure to include macro-photography of plants. Blurb makes this easy for you. Imagine pulling out your very own hard cover book to show a prospective client. during and after construction photographs along with descriptions such as design-intent statements or challenges involved. you will also differentiate yourself from your competition. You . hardscape and structural details. As with other portfolio formats. whether online or on a CD.
Using Blurb’s BookPreview function (see examples: http://bit. There are two distinct ways to use your book for marketing purposes—online and offline. it’s just a matter of placing your order on the Blurb. After designing your book. as well as link to the preview from your website or blog. 2009).com website.95 for a 7”x7” hardcover to $59. You can also add an author description. Your book can be printed and in your hands within seven to ten days. When you create your book using Blurb. you have the ability to add metadata such as descriptions and tags just as you do when you add a photograph to Facebook or Flickr.95 for a 12”x12” hardcover of 20 to 40 pages (pricing as of October. You can even display your book at garden centers and nurseries that refer . You also have the option of hiring a BlurbNation expert to design your book for you. Shipping is a flat rate of $6. You can do all of this before even printing your book! Sharing your book online is great. but what we really want is to hold the book in our hands and share it with people. but also with your past clients and other allied professionals. artwork and text. is searchable online which means your book will appear in search rankings just as your website would.99 for one to five books. family.ly/1riZwh).Showcase Your Portfolio | 143 can completely customize the look of your book or choose from a vast selection of templates that allow you to simply plug in photos. Prices range from $22. This metadata. I recommend not only sharing it with prospects.com. you can invite friends. and professional contacts to view your book online as well as share your book preview across social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. Display your book at garden shows and bring along to networking events. as well as the book’s content.
And unlike brochures from your local print shop. Magazines are brilliant full color on 80lb paper with saddle-stitched covers--they look terrific. or whomever else you want to get in front of. You also have the ability to subscribe all of your clients so you never actually touch the magazine. Now picture yourself at the same event and instead of handing out a generic company brochure. full-color glossy magazine into their eager hands. This will not get thrown away! MagCoud. As an example. Because you will only print a small number of books.00 plus shipping. "They will be so impressed with my work". I recommend putting a PDF copy of your book onto CD which makes for an inexpensive handout (see tactic #43: Leave Your Work Behind). . you cannot possibly give them away to everyone. Each magazine costs 20¢ per page.com enables you to design and publish your own custom glossy magazine for about the same price as a quality four-color brochure. For this reason. a 20-page magazine would be $4. Author’s Resource ----------------------------------------------------------------------- Picture this: You're at a networking event introducing yourself to folks by handing them your freshly-printed full color brochure. You can’t do that with brochures! You could also send copies to prospects. architects and realtors.144 | The Little Green Book you to customers. you think to yourself. plus shipping. Too bad they have already collected a dozen other brochures throughout the event. all of the mailing is done for you. your pretty brochures find themselves in the bottom of a trash can. builders. you confidently place a beautiful. these are printed ondemand with no minimum orders. What happens? Without getting even a decent glance.
not 101 reasons why you think your company is great. think like a magazine editor. consider creating a portfolio online or putting it on CD. the other 20% is about you.? Consider what other things you might add to your portfolio beyond photographs. What You Can Do Right Now: (1 hour) Assess your current portfolio. PhotoBucket and Picasa. testimonials. Take note of how other landscape professionals are using these sites. Plan your content using the 80/20 rule—80% is valuable information readers can use. if you have a physical portfolio. Can you expand on what you are currently doing by creating a complimentary portfolio in a different format? For instance.ly/4ATRmX .Showcase Your Portfolio | 145 When planning the content. (1 to 2 hours) Assess the content of your portfolio. (1 hour) Spend some time online browsing photo sharing websites like Flickr. Does it need to be updated with fresh photographs. Can you do the same? You can see how I organize my photos on Flickr here: http://bit. etc. Provide your readers with real value.
A deeper understanding of a topic is acquired by writing versus simply reading. Writing forces a person to explore a subject from within themselves and then be able to present it via written word in such a way that readers will truly comprehend the subject matter. I hope I’ve been able to do this for you. Upon completing this book, it was only natural to ask myself as a practicing landscape designer, What did I learn personally by writing this book? I learned plenty. What stood out most is that, although there are innumerable ways to market yourself and your business, juggling too many strategies will only overwhelm you. The most successful landscape industry professionals I have met stick to relatively few marketing tactics and they master each! Whether this entails being a master of PR or mastering the art of networking, understand that being great at one will reap more rewards than being average at all. Of the 44 marketing strategies discussed in The Little Green Book, I hope that you found a small number of these tactics to be relevant and practical for your particular business. Your next step is to take action!
(see page 90.larryslawnservice.com) servicing the southeast side of Grand Rapids for lawns and snowplowing.com).com/susancohan) is often featured in traditional and digital media. Learn more about Jason at www.susancohan. and redevelopment of apartment buildings in Brooklyn (www. 117. is a Green Industry business owner. is a renowned landscape designer with decades of experience creating unique outdoor spaces for a high-end clientele. 129.com/blog) she regularly shares her thoughts on design.stevegriggsdesign. Susan was recognized in 2009 New Jersey Life ‘Editor’s Choice’ for exterior design. (www. Ltd (www. (see page 27) .com or contact him at jason@vg33. (see page 94. Steve’s business also encompasses development of properties in the Catskill Mountains. 123.twitter. and all of West Michigan for stump grinding and tree work.vg33.Contributors Award winning. APLD. the Professional Landcare Network.com. (see page 37) Steve Griggs of Land Design Studio Inc. speaker and leader. in 2008 and 2009. consultant. Susan Cohan. and 140) Jason Cupp. He recently served the industry as President of PLANET. designer. a Certified Landscape Professional and Kolbe Certified Consultant. Via her blog Miss Rumphius’ Rules (www. and 131) Larry Ditkoff operates Larry’s Lawn Service and Snowplowing.
reputation. She writes for www.com.com. (see page 96) Deborah Roberts.com and resides in Naperville. 103.com or follow her on Twitter @NCoastGardening.gardenofpossibilities.NorthCoastGardening. the makers of Vectorworks® Landmark design software. and encourages landscape professionals to check out the Vectorworks Landmark-US Facebook fan page.com. Deborah can be contacted at droberts@robertslandscapes. owner of Roberts & Roberts Landscape and Garden Design (www. and 105) Jessie Newburn is the PR Gal at Nemetschek North America. (see page 110) .GenevieveSchmidtDesign.jeffkorhan. is a professional landscape designer. (see page 48) Genevieve Schmidt is a tech-savvy landscaper in the redwoods of Northern California.150 | The Little Green Book Jeff Korhan is a new media marketer who works with entrepreneurs and small business owners to strategically use social media and Internet marketing for maximizing Web visibility. IL. (see page 76.com) in Stamford. tweets as @vectorworks. freelance writer and lecturer. community engagement and brand awareness in her work. and you can reach her at www. She blends PR. Her blog can be found at www. and referrals.robertslandscapes. communications. Jeff blogs at www. CT.
He can be reached at 201425-1869 or jody. FromDesign2Build.com. (see page i. Tim’s current venture is the American Academy of Landscape Design (www.shilan@FromDesign2Build. is a past president and Fellow of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers. MLA is a former design/build contractor. and 136) . His website.com). is the perfect resource for landscape contractors who want to take their business to the next level. Tim’s awardwinning design-build work has appeared in over 70 publications.Contributors | 151 Jody Shilan. 50.com. FAPLD. now Green Industry consultant.aaldweb. (see page 65) Tim Thoelecke. a professional development program that improves the confidence and skills of landscape designers and landscape architects.
and blogger. editor. He is addicted to coffee. Chris is also an author.com/ChrisHeiler . LLC.ly/v6iu2 Chris' Lifestream: http://bit. cofounder of FromDesign2Build. 1980’s music and is a rabid Notre Dame Football fan with a son appropriately named Rockne. Self-proclaimed lazy. Connect with Chris: LinkedIn: http://bit. travel. he takes great pride in the fact that he has no employees. works less than 30 hours per week and manages to sneak in an afternoon nap each day. Chris is editor of LandscapeLeadership. For speaking topics and more information visit: www.VisualCV. always a dreamer.ly/uI5vV Facebook: http://bit.ly/X0uGL Twitter: http://bit.com and President of Fountainhead Gardens.Who is Chris Heiler? At times a landscape designer.com.ly/f9vJK Hire Chris for your event: Chris is available to speak throughout the country at Landscape Industry events.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.