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)
Amy. and son.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. as well as Amit Pant who patiently organized my writing into book format. This book would not have been possible without guidance from Anthony Daniels who edited and critiqued my writing. Charlie. . And a special final thank you to my wife. who supported me throughout the entire writing and publishing process.
” 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. I'll Show You Mine #21: Let’s Meet For Coffee #22: Give. 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 . Thank You.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.
For my part. of course. or any of the other things that have become integral parts of business in the 21st century. but. cottage industry and many of us have not spent the time to learn how to use technology to our advantage. as an industry. There is a significant element within our industry who are not comfortable with computers. Getting business in the door was a big part of that journey. Cell phones and faxes were just coming into mainstream usage. I remember an industry that was behind the times in many ways. email. The industry embraced those changes fairly quickly. and if something isn’t working the way it ought to. When most small companies used answering machines. He’s also interested in helping the industry as a whole. That’s changing. then try something else. many landscape businesses have only a token web presence at best. C . We are still very much a grass roots. Building a business is a design process.Foreword hris Heiler reminds me of me. I never worked for the big firm until later in my career. even today. But when the Internet came along. so. we are slow to embrace these changes. Younger readers of this will have no idea what I’m talking about. 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. CAD. many in this industry used answering services. it was a longer road. He is always looking for a better way. In fact. When I think back to an earlier time in my career. I had to blaze my own trail. for the most part. I’ve always taken the same approach to my business as I did to landscape design.
ii | The Little Green Book Many of us were attracted to the landscape business because we like the outdoors. That means becoming visible and becoming desirable. Dress professionally. Congratulations for buying this book. use technology as much as you can. But you may need to spend some. let alone how to do it! First of all. and answer the phone professionally. In this industry. Many of us don’t really do well on the business side of things. then find someone to help you write your letters. If you want to be perceived as a professional. and helping people solve problems. 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. most of us don’t really understand what marketing is. This book is a great way to jump start your marketing efforts. And marketing is not advertising. Also. In fact. Marketing. You can’t live long enough to make all the mistakes yourself. Return phone calls promptly. web site copy. these simple things will differentiate you from much of the competition. nature. Chris has assembled ideas from many experienced leaders in the industry. marketing is not selling. In this book you will undoubtedly read things you already know. is creating a situation where people want to buy from you. The fact that you took that step shows you are interested in getting better. and we don’t know how to market what we do. If writing is not your strength. then you should do all you can to portray yourself as one. to me anyway. Do you need to spend a lot of money to get noticed? Nope. But chances . plants. contracts and anything else you put in front of a potential client.
Tim Thoelecke. Keep looking for a better way.Foreword | iii are you will find at least a few nuggets that make it worthwhile. 2009 . FAPLD June.
who continues to blaze a trail for other landscape design/build companies to follow. If you were to put 100 landscape professionals in a room together. only 4 or 5 will stand out among the crowd and be considered remarkable. In my estimation. 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. President and CEO of Highland Outdoor in Kansas City. this mediocre majority can make up as much as 75% of any industry. you will learn the . to small design boutiques like Susan Cohan Gardens in Chatham New Jersey. they blaze new and unique trails for themselves. you will meet industry superstars like Jason Cupp. including the landscape industry.Introduction “If you have no successful example to follow in whatever endeavor you choose. you are likely to find three general groups of individuals and companies. Throughout The Little Green Book. and you will be left with the bottom 20% and the top 5%. author and marketing guru Dan S. From large companies like Highland Outdoor. In this room of 100 companies. spoke these words over 50 years ago. Kennedy coined the term Mediocre Majority succinctly describing the vast undistinguished middle of any industry or profession. a pioneer of the personal development industry. because—THE MAJORITY IS ALWAYS WRONG. Remove the 75% Mediocre Majority. who I refer to as the Remarkables. More recently.” E arl Nightingale. you may simply look at what everyone else around you is doing and do the opposite.
don't put forth the continual effort required.” These words were written by Lucius Annaeus Seneca. The marketing . you need to stand out in the overly crowded marketplace we call the Green Industry. The Time is Always Now “It is in times of security that the spirit should be preparing itself to deal with difficult times. You Can Be Different To be successful. 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. His words are strikingly relevant to our economy and industry today. however. early in the first century AD. You cannot kick your marketing efforts into high gear only during a tough economy and expect a handsome payoff. Only a tiny percentage of landscape industry professionals are truly passionate about marketing themselves and their businesses. You must be consistent. a Roman stoic philosopher. My hope is that after reading this book you will be on your path to joining the ranks of the Remarkables.vi | The Little Green Book exact marketing strategies that have helped these companies build their brands. while fortune is bestowing favours on it then is the time for it to be strengthened against her rebuffs. Marketing yourself and your business takes constant effort. good times and bad.
so look for the few nuggets you can quickly implement and master. This book was written for all professionals within our great industry. For example. don't worry about trying to implement each of the 44 marketing tactics. that expand on specific tactics enabling you to implement these strategies more easily and successfully.Introduction | vii strategies and case studies put forth in this book will enable you to do exactly that. Shortened URL’s have been included throughout the book so you can easily access these valuable resources. Second. you will decide which marketing tactics are relevant to your company and current situation. I wrote this book to be treated as a “stepping stone” in your marketing journey. Be different! Chris Heiler July 2009 . Take advantage of these additional support materials and resources. This book will lead you to other complimentary support materials. will be more relevant to landscape designers than lawn maintenance contractors. each and every tactic will not be relevant to everyone. such as video and other downloads. Ultimately. So how can you get the most from this book? First. and then build on those moving forward. This would certainly lead to serious overload. That said. Chapter 8: Showcase Your Portfolio. Implementing just one or two of these tactics could lead to huge gains for your company. I wish you much success in your marketing journey.
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. Your return on investment will be well worth it.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. 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. Fostering this type of relationship will come very natural to some of you. raving fans? Your marketing efforts should begin by focusing on your existing clientele. 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. Good customer service and quality workmanship leads to satisfied clients. A “collect the check and run” mentality won't secure the loyalty of your clients. E . and money. to earn your clients admiration and loyalty. 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.
If you work out of your home. A great way to forge this relationship is by hosting an annual event for your clients. This concept can be scaled to any budget level. What can you do? Many companies host an annual client appreciation party at their place of business. there is no cleanup! If you don't want to throw the party. 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 . Besides the wonderful ambiance of the gardens.2 | The Little Green Book #1: Behind the Curtain To secure the loyalty of your clients and turn them into advocates for your business. then take your clients to the party! This is a great strategy for sole proprietors. you also have options. 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. The Gardening Angel in Grand Rapids Michigan rents a banquet hall at the local botanic garden to host a catered meal for their clients. you must build a personal relationship with them beyond the project site. 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. What’s most important is that you are scheduling valuable personal time with your biggest fans. Many charitable organizations host annual benefit dinners in which you can sponsor a table and bring guests.
as teammates. I can't think of a better way to bond with your clients while helping your community in the same instance. participants are raising much-needed funds to fight cancer and raise awareness. In the process. it will help develop a close personal relationship. More importantly. 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. .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. Local businesses sponsor teams and include their friends and families.
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
always look to give first with no other agenda. 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. Why not brighten up their day by sharing a laugh? Occasionally your client’s accomplishments may be highlighted in a local publication. Don't you love getting referrals from your clients? I certainly do. Take some time to write them a personal note and send them the clipping. but more importantly referring business to them. Your clients will work extra hard to refer you if they know you are working extra hard to refer them. When keeping in touch and reaching out to your clients. your clients will be thrilled when you share this with them. or they may even be featured in a special interest story. It's all about being genuine—your clients will notice. such as a comic or video. consider publishing a before-and-after book for your best clients chronicling the evolution of their garden. You can also share something fun.Earn Your Clients Loyalty | 7 newspaper. They will be flattered that you noticed and took the time out of your day to acknowledge them. Keep your clients needs top of mind. . that you know they would appreciate. Author's Resource ----------------------------------------------------------------------- If you want to be memorable and stay top of mind. You will learn how to do this in tactic #44: Become Your Own Publisher. This is easier and less expensive than you might think. Have you ever given your client a referral? This can mean referring other service providers.
Here are two good examples: “Donna and I absolutely loved working with Jason on the design for our new outdoor kitchen. for example.James and Donna Turner “We ultimately chose to work with Smith Brothers Landscaping because of their design process. you need to leverage this loyalty. extolling the virtues of a product or service. The best testimonials are very specific and speak to one point. Testimonials also create powerful social proof. Ask them if they can provide a testimonial about one specific point. you need to guide your client’s writing. 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. One way to do this is by collecting testimonials from your clients. then they're good enough for us!” The key to using testimonials successfully is in how they are crafted. step-by-step process that set them apart from the other companies. His design and awesome ideas were way beyond what we expected.”. We got much more than just a kitchen. We knew they were talented designers. as were others we spoke to.”. Don't leave it up to them. we ended up with a space where our family can gather and share the stories of our day.8 | The Little Green Book #4: Let Your Clients do the Talking Once you have a following of ecstatic fans. A testimonial is nothing more than a written or spoken statement from a customer. “If Bob and Shirley Jones were happy with their services. but it was their logical.John and Paula Thorpe In order to get powerful testimonials like the two above. This will only lead to a very general statement such as this: .
newsletters and in print advertising campaigns. builders and landscape architects. and then seek approval after your editing. letters or cards you have received from clients. blog. This is true whether you just did a design or a complete installation. Use the actual hand-written notes. or if you worked for homeowners or with an architect. not only homeowners. it's all about quality. This creates more authenticity. to-the-point testimonials are all you will need. Testimonials from these individuals give you even more credibility and social proof. You will not need a testimonial from every client. Get the testimonial when you are “top of mind” and your client is happiest. but from other respected professionals you have worked with such as architects. emails. They were extremely pleasant to deal with and we are really happy with the quality of their work.Earn Your Clients Loyalty | 9 “We enjoyed working with Smith Brothers Landscaping on our project. Your testimonials can be used on your website. It's much better to have fewer. Four or five powerful. These can be from. Remember. Always ask for permission to edit the testimonial. more powerful testimonials than to have a bunch of generic statements. I've found that the best way to get a strong testimonial is by asking for it immediately after completing a landscape project.” Quality over quantity It's all about quality when it comes to testimonials. . You can also include your testimonials within your portfolio. as will an actual photo of your client beside the testimonial. Seeking testimonials from wellknown and highly respected individuals in the community also contributes to the quality of the testimonial.
My questions were: “How exactly did you find my company?”. and coordinate this with the camera man's schedule. along with a tripod and a wireless microphone. I contacted the clients I thought would be most open to the idea and received 100% enthusiasm for the project. Nothing beats the . “How was our work throughout the duration of your project?”. Unfortunately. we made CD’s which we gave to friends and potential clients. They said hearing real people give honest testimonials helped them make their decision. From the original video recordings. the day we organized the taping turned out to be cloudy. NJ Pamela Dabah—Dabah Landscape Designs On my company website. and would you recommend us to others?” A Sony PD170 video camera was used. When updating my website. I added the video testimonials to the home page. “How was I to work with personally?” and “We're you satisfied. and many clients have commented that the testimonials made a positive impression. The camera man actually asked my clients questions which I prepared for him. Most of our leads and sales have come via our website. My husband is a video producer and came up with the idea of video testimonials from clients rather than traditional written testimonials. We have gotten numerous compliments ever since.10 | The Little Green Book Case Study ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Morristown. We had no other choice but to move forward because of the planning and organization that went into this. I've posted a video of clients giving me testimonials. We had to schedule a specific time with each client. These questions allowed for my clients to respond creatively and personally.
You can view the video here: http://bit.Earn Your Clients Loyalty | 11 emotion in the voice of someone telling you how good your services are.ly/2xziXj .
In my opinion. realtors and interior designers and allied professionals such as subcontractors and suppliers as well as other landscape professionals who may be your competition. family and friends. workmanship and pricing. employees. 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. You will need to create a unique plan for each group. . 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. Having a system in place is helpful. your cost per lead is much less for a referral versus other marketing strategies. professionals such as architects. These groups include current and past clients.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. referrals are earned organically through your everyday actions and how you conduct your business as opposed to following a structured referral system. Referrals from your best clients are typically like-minded individuals which removes some risk from the design/build process for both parties. Referrals are valuable for many reasons including the fact that the leads are typically pre-qualified—the prospects are aware of your processes. Encouraging referrals from your clients will be different than with architects. Also.
In order for someone to refer you. Giving a referral is an art form. so do the work for them. . The key is to always be alert and recognize an opportunity when you can help someone. You must put the needs of others before your personal needs. Are you simply a “Landscaper” or are you a “Landscaper who specializes in (insert your niche)”.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. not to be confused with giving a lead. You should always try to do the prequalifying for the person you will be giving the referral to. It is best if you can connect the two individuals personally. Next. Your contact does not want to chase a bad lead. This comes quite naturally for some while for others it may require a shift in mindset. be sure to manage your time wisely when trying to earn referrals. Not everyone will be open to referring your services. This is often referred to as your “Unique Selling Proposition” (USP). they must first clearly understand exactly what you do and how you are different from your competition. Some people just do not give referrals. especially face to face if circumstances allow. Another key to earning more referrals is being able to clearly explain to people what it is that you do. Work to recognize these individuals and instead associate yourself with those who freely help others.
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. Fortunately. written specifically for the Landscape Industry. The topic is so broad and deep it commands its own book dedicated to the topic.ly/pwAjZ .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. such a book exists. You can purchase The Referral Advantage here: http://bit.
You can offer incentives to employees. not because they will be compensated. Again. If handled properly. The incentive should also be in alignment with the quality of referral.000. There are two considerations to keep in mind when developing an incentive program. the key is to be memorable. Setting up your system There are many ways to reward someone for a referral. you want people to refer you because they love your service and trust you. Second. which means rewarding each individual in a unique way. A rewards program not only encourages more referrals. . One way to encourage referrals is by offering a referral rewards or incentive program. you also have the chance to form a memorable impression with your client. 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. The most important reason to reward someone is to show your genuine appreciation for the referral.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. friends and allied professionals for referring your services. but it ensures you stay top of mind with the client.000 should be rewarded differently than a client worth $100. For example. Your program must be flexible and factor this in. a referral that delivers a client worth $10. First. Your program need not only apply to clients.
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. gift baskets and memberships are also rewards I have seen used. Resource Author’s Resource ----------------------------------------------------------------------- Again. Other ways to reward referrals are by offering discounts on products and services or free enhancements like seasonal color change out’s. offering monetary incentives is a motivator for some. Gift certificates. Many highend clients respond to this better than they would if I offered them cash. Just remember: the more unique. Keep in mind. but can be distasteful to others. You can purchase Jeffrey’s book here: http://bit. I use a simple spread sheet to track referrals I receive. When I receive a referral. tickets. I believe it’s important to acknowledge the referral immediately. the more memorable. I immediately add the prospect and the referral source to my spreadsheet. I keep a list of unique ideas that I can use for rewarding referrals.ly/pwAjZ .16 | The Little Green Book Setting up a rewards system is easy to do. One of the unique ways I reward clients is by making a donation to a charity of their choice in their name. If I secure the prospect as a client. I then send a thank you note to the referral source. I reward the referral source after the project has been completed and after I’ve been compensated.
(3) Current & Past Clients. 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. add it to your schedule and follow through. Identify the three to five people within each group who currently provide you with the most referrals. How can you encourage these people to refer you more often? . is there a local realtor you would like to meet? Concentrate on these individuals and ask yourself if you could provide referrals for them. (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. Determine how you are going to spend more personal time with these people. (2-3 hours) Divide your contacts into distinct groups—(1) Friends & Family. (2) Employees. Email each client with your request and follow up with a phone call. (4) Subcontractors and (5) Allied Professionals. Can you host a client appreciation party? Do you just need to call more often? Whatever you decide.Earn Your Clients Loyalty | 17 What You Can Do Right Now: (1-2 hours) Identify your biggest fans. Write down a different subject for each to speak to so you end up with three or four unique and specific testimonials.
Why is this? With more competition than ever in the landscape industry. as well as individuals. it is very hard to change those perceptions. your image is how you are perceived in the community. This is critical to understand because your image follows you everywhere. You might only have one chance to get this right. Positively or negatively. are placing greater importance on crafting an image and brand that stands out in the community. the more repeat business and qualified referrals you will earn. What specific characteristics make you and your company unique? B . Because once you are perceived to be a certain way.CHAPTER TWO Create Your Personal Brand randing is not unique to corporate America anymore. Your brand is a reflection of all that you do—your work. The more unique and memorable you are in the eyes of your customers. companies need to separate themselves from the pack. etc. customer service. employees. behaviors. 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. Businesses of all sizes. Building a strong and memorable brand is one way of doing this.
I personally set quarterly goals for my business. to identify your goals for an upcoming specified period of time. 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.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. I've found three things to be critical. . if you accomplish them. I know—booorrrriiing! You will not have the success you strive for without setting goals. whether it's one day or one week. Here is an example of a poorly established goal: “I want to grow my business this year”. you should be able to establish deadlines to force action and create urgency. Ask yourself. Third. I should also add that less is best. First. Most people are comfortable setting goals on an annual basis or even longer range. 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”. 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. what one or two things. Second. 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. Based on my experience setting goals.
You've written your goals. 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. Think of your calendar as your marketing boss standing over your shoulder constantly reminding you of your marketing responsibilities each and every day.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. The plan will also allow you to develop a realistic marketing budget for your company. developing a marketing plan is pretty simple and an enjoyable process. Creating goals will help you formulate and clarify in your mind what is important to you and your business. next you will need the step-by-step action plan required to achieve your goals. now what? Now that you have a clear understanding of what you want to achieve through your marketing efforts. Without them. In my experience. . 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. I'm sure this is the case for many of you. This focused goal will now set your thoughts towards building a step-by-step plan to accomplish it. The second example is specific by stating the actual percentage of growth and identifying a deadline. your company can drift in different directions instead of staying focused.
You can view the video here: http://bit.ly/3euHnB .ly/lyh0y MindMeister mind mapping software: http://bit. I use a combination of Google Calendar and mind mapping software to plan my marketing strategies.ly/4skmer Google Calendar: 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.
You may not even consider some of these strategies marketing. these four behaviors all occurred on site and by employees (three just on lunch break). which ended up in a neighbor’s lawn. 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. as with this strategy. People will remember your branding. Just imagine what can happen off site! Here are a few I have witnessed: • Drunk employee at a casino wearing company attire. with radio blasting. But. Employees telling tales of their drunken weekend adventures under an open window for their client to hear. in a front yard eating lunch. Additionally. they are either advocates for your brand or destroyers of your brand. 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. even if only subconsciously. when your brand can either be positively or negatively impacted simply by what you wear and how you speak. your brand follows along. Wherever you and your employees go. Employees lounging in camping chairs. Notice. I felt this worth covering. If you have employees. Employees leaving trash from their lunch in a parkway. whether a project site or a night club. you are not the only person who represents your brand. .
not destroyers. your clients. This is why it is so important to hire the right people. 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. you will attract a higher level of clientele. Just as people notice negative behaviors. community leaders and other professionals will recognize your positive and professional behavior. Oh. be able to charge higher rates and earn more revenue . and if you hire sub-contractors.24 | The Little Green Book • • A group of drunk employees piling into a company truck at the local watering hole. Because of this. in full company attire. in a restaurant telling distasteful stories I realize the above behaviors are extreme. they represent your brand as well! Have you looked in the mirror lately? Presenting yourself as a true professional reaps huge rewards. and instill your company values in them. These folks will understand that you hold yourself and company to a higher standard than your competitors. You need to create advocates. A group of employees.
just a little common sense. also contribute to your professional image. it all begins with integrity. you will separate yourself from 90% of your competition! I also find that a positive and confident attitude contributes to your professional image. These processes make your clients comfortable and instill confidence. A true professional is able to look a prospect in the eyes and explain that their budget does not match their dreams. Your actions must match your words. Clients don't want to work with someone who is negative and who doubts their own abilities. not the person who drinks beer in their driveway at lunch time.Create Your Personal Brand | 25 and referrals. This can include everything from how you answer the telephone. What do you see? . this attitude needs to be balanced with a bit of candor and reality. or that their ideas are not appropriate for the given situation. At the same time. Your company processes. Your clients want to work with the person who shows up on time with a positive attitude. how you send invoices and to how you organize your design and sales process. or systems. If you can simply show up when you say you are going to. This can include everything from resolving warranty issues to just showing up on time. What does the word professional mean to you? What are the qualities of a professional individual or company? For me. 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. Put your company in front of the mirror.
Instead of waiting for the customer to call about the tree. I simply mean that you need to do better than the mediocre majority of companies. and doing what you say you will do all the time. Your reputation. Most companies offer a good. When I say “Be Remarkable”. returning calls and handling issues promptly. This is remarkable customer service. you need to separate yourself from the competition and offer a higher level of customer service. . in this case. you may only need to meet your client’s expectations. Because of this. I witnessed a great example of this recently: A landscape contractor noticed that a large evergreen tree was dying in a newly installed landscape. follows you wherever you go. Of course. Others consistently deliver flat-out lousy service to their customers.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. How hard is that? Being remarkable can simply mean being on time consistently. If you can do these common sense things you will be ahead of your competition. going beyond your clients expectations is even better. When it comes to being remarkable. not great. This does not need to be difficult. the contractor replaced the tree without any nudging from the client. mostly built by how you treat your customers. level of customer service.
is only as strong as your weakest link. when you say you will do it. 30 miles north of New York City. That said. This level of trust will lead to more referrals. Inc. even more so than the quality of your work. I do not recall how I got the . I once worked for a large landscape design/build firm that had the most friendly and responsive receptionist answering the phone. and reputation. her same level of service and attitude did not permeate throughout the entire company. There is a sub-division of 60 homes in affluent Westchester County. starting at the top. Case Study ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Blauvelt. I rely solely on word-of-mouth to generate business. builds trust between yourself and your client. Once an issue left her desk there was absolutely no guarantee that it would be handled appropriately.Create Your Personal Brand | 27 Who is your weakest link? This mentality needs to permeate throughout your company. Doing what you say you are going to do. mainly in the affluent suburbs of New York and a few rooftops in Manhattan. Your client will not hesitate to refer you because they know you will treat their friends exactly as you treated them. I have been designing and installing residential landscapes for the past 25 years. This is one of those cases where your customer service. This was critical because she was often the first point of contact with our company. in which each home is worth well over one million dollars. Our clients absolutely loved her. NY Steve Griggs—Land Design Studio.
This showed my integrity and that my word meant something. I believe the dead azalea was a big factor. qualified contractors. The first little job we did was a simple $5. and when you are going to do it. It's all about trust and integrity. However. by all means follow through because that's what they will remember. And that is exactly what I did. but what has transpired since is quite amazing. especially in New York! . which the client absolutely loved.000 to $235. What I've learned is that the small things matter more than the big. a small azalea bush died shortly thereafter so I promised to replace it.000 planting installation. 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 $75.28 | The Little Green Book first “little” job in the sub-division. even more so than the beautiful planting job. Because it is a small neighborhood and everyone knows each other. This is what my client remembered most about working with me. even if you only have to replace a 3 gallon plant.000. From this simple deed. residents rely on each other for referrals to good. and exactly when I said I would. If you tell your clients you are going to do something.
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 remember the most enjoyment coming from selecting a company name and designing my logo and business cards. I'm now on the other side of the fence. and at the same time. The word gardens evokes different imagery in the minds of prospects. I still don't feel like I've gotten it right. choosing to use the word “gardens” over “landscaping” was not arbitrary. I would bet 70% of my clients cannot remember . Also. Six years later I'm on my second name and third logo. But here is what I've learned: your clients want to do business with you. I also thought that having a name like this would allow for greater future growth. I share this personal experience because I feel that selecting an appropriate company name is the most important first step in building your brand. more professional company. or Fountainhead Gardens in my case. differentiate yourself from your competition. Maybe this was just the designer in me.Create Your Personal Brand | 29 #10: Your Branding Tool Box Thinking back to when I first started my landscape design firm in 2003. Your company name has the potential to instantly identify who you are to your prospects. created the impression of a larger. There is only one company with the name of Susan Cohan Gardens. While once believing that using your personal name was a bad choice. not your company. I once thought that having a name like Greenview Landscaping.
I have business cards and company letterhead for my company. three at the absolute most. your logo should clearly identify what you do and for whom. Use your logo in a consistent manner and use the same colors and typeface in all of your marketing materials. and nothing else. They don't refer Fountainhead Gardens to their friends. for example. What tools you choose are entirely up to you. which along with your company name and icon make up your logo. you want to differentiate yourself from your competition. Beyond your logo. an image of a tree. There is no rule that says you must have an icon and tagline. You want a logo that can be reproduced well across all formats including online and in print. . Try to stick with using only two colors. postcards and letterhead. Designing your logo While your company name identifies who you are. Try to keep your tagline between six and eight words and use an icon that can be drawn easily. Here's another tip regarding your choice of icon: avoid using cliché images that everyone else in our industry uses. The most important thing to remember is to be consistent when presenting your brand. they refer Chris Heiler.30 | The Little Green Book my company name. This is typically accomplished by using a tagline. Sometimes just the right company name in a nice typeface is all you need. brochures. Remember. there are the other standard branding tools that most companies utilize such as business cards.
com. Not only can these freelance providers design your logo. graphical image that represents your company and brand. This does not have to be expensive. sometimes as low as $100. . Not only does a professional have the creativity needed. I've had great success finding freelance design help using Elance. they can also design your business cards. You have to get this right—do not hire the kid down the street or your brother's best friend's wife.com and 99designs.Create Your Personal Brand | 31 Author’s Resource ----------------------------------------------------------------------- Your logo is the single. Hire a professional to design your company logo. letterhead and envelopes all at a very competitive price. they also have the ability to create the logo in the various formats that are adaptable across all mediums online and in print. You can hire a freelance design professional to design a logo for less than $250.
This is your footprint on the community. I will discuss how your website should be treated as the hub of your online marketing efforts. This is your brand in plain view. From a marketing standpoint. recognize your company name because you have chosen to do business in their town. Your POB is also a great opportunity to showcase your design skills and creativity in the form of display gardens. Your Marketing Machine In a later chapter. because of this. I've witnessed many fine examples of this from landscape professionals. Building and maintaining a bricks-and-mortar operation requires an enormous investment of time. Whether you are a company of 100 employees or a company of 1 (see the Case Study that follows). your place of business (POB) gives you credibility and showcases your professionalism. It's proof that your business has had success and that you are not a fly-by-night company. Your POB can be the hub of your offline marketing strategy. Home owners. This is reassuring to your prospects and clients and can lead to a higher level of trust early in your sales process. business owners and community leaders alike. One of the best ways I've seen companies utilize . because your business location can be leveraged for purposes beyond managing the day to day operations of your company. you can create home field advantage with your place of business. energy and money. you should try to maximize your operation's marketing potential.32 | The Little Green Book #11: Home Field Advantage Have you ever considered your place of business to be a marketing tool? You should.
ft. The space is divided into my 250 sq. I once worked for a large landscape design/build firm who hosted an annual party for their clients. Another company does this by serving as a drop off point for the Toys for Tots program and local food drives. studio and my showroom which is 650 sq. Author’s Case Study ----------------------------------------------------------------- Chris Heiler—Fountainhead Gardens Zeeland. subcontractors and employees. It's all about reaching out and engaging the local community. I'm an independent designer and general contractor without employees.Create Your Personal Brand | 33 their place of business. The ideas for these how-to seminars are endless.. They have even used live radio remote broadcasts to promote the event. MI I lease a 900 square foot space in a historic building in downtown Zeeland.ft. Your employees can teach these workshops or you can bring in outside experts. I've seen companies offer workshops from How to Design a Rain Garden to How to Prune Your Trees and Shrubs. is by offering weekend workshops to homeowners. events for children and a daylong sale. I use the showroom space to display my collection of garden ornament and site furnishings that I incorporate into my design projects . 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 hosts an annual open house for the community where they combine workshops.
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.
people thought we were crazy. this is our best advertising – vehicles that are memorable. MI Larry Ditkoff—Larry's Lawn Service In 1992.ly/UiOX6 . Three years ago we added a fiberglass tree stump to the top of the truck that pulls our stump grinder. but it has worked wonders for us. We have tried numerous types of advertising – radio spots. – but none of them seem to bring in the business like the trucks do. but it really catches the eyes of our prospective customers. Many customers have told us that they got our number off our trucks because the colors and graphics caught their eye. the return has been well worth it many times over. yard signs. Again. Just like the hats on the NAPA trucks. It appears now that many of our competitors are doing the same thing with their trucks. Kids even know who we are because they recognize our trucks. Usually the first thing a customer will see is your truck. etc. People at the time thought we were crazy and that it was a stupid idea. ads in the paper and telephone book. our stump adds to our visibility. We have had these fancy trucks now for 17 years – a long time to stick to one type of marketing. You can see photo's of Larry's vehicles here: http://bit. 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. We have since added the same graphics to all of our equipment including our mowers and stump grinders. But this has proved to be the best type of marketing for us. For the minimal amount of money we have spent painting our trucks.Create Your Personal Brand | 37 Case Study ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Grand Rapids. For us.
First. leading to a higher return on investment. and I had a baby recently. you will catch the eye of your local media more frequently leading to greater publicity opportunities than a generalist would receive. This is because people expect. you should consider specializing. but it really hit home when comparing the rates of our general practitioner to those of the lactation consultant. Amy. and are willing. A smaller pool of prospects also means your marketing budget can be much more targeted. it becomes much easier to prequalify prospects. and sifting through our bills.38 | The Little Green Book #13: The Specialist My wife. when you work within a very narrow niche. Think about it: you may have a smaller pool of prospects to draw from. You can leverage this willingness to pay more when building your brand. so essentially they are already somewhat pre-qualified. but it’s much easier to stand out because you will have differentiated yourself from the competition. one thing was very clear to me—it's good to have a specialty! I've always been aware of this. The hourly rate of the lactation consultant was nearly double that of the general practitioner. Marketing yourself and your company also becomes much easier when you work within a well-defined niche. The majority of prospects who call you will be familiar with your specialty. There are also many reasons. Because of this. After numerous visits and checkups with multiple doctors. to pay more for specialized knowledge. beyond charging a higher fee. .
you must be very talented at your type of specialty work. which could include designing rain gardens. for instance. A specialized type of work could be designing sustainable landscapes as an example.000”. . As an example.Create Your Personal Brand | 39 Designer for the stars Based on my experience. First. There are different categories of specialization for landscape professionals. you must have a passion for your specific niche. Your niche will drive your marketing plan. You should be able to see from the previous examples how much easier it could be marketing yourself within one of these niches. Because you are a specialist versus a generalist. let's say you specialize in working with “high-stress professionals” like attorneys. there are three things you must have when selecting a specialty or niche to work within. The style of gardens you design can also fill a niche. Perhaps you are an expert in Japanese or English garden design. do not overlook the opportunity to specialize within a unique demographic. roof gardens and storm water collection systems. doctors and executives. such as “retired couples over the age of 65”. “new residential construction”. My specialty is “major garden renovations of period homes built in the late 19th and early 20th centuries”. or better still.000 and $20. you have a targeted focus. especially the more narrow your focus. “new residential construction between $10. You would advertise your specialty in local business publications. Second. your marketplace must be able to support your specialization. Finally. You can specialize in the type of work that you do. Also. You could also choose to work for only a very specific group of professionals such as athletes or lawyers.
40 | The Little Green Book participate in networking groups which include your prospects. You would brand yourself as the one and only go-to person for this demographic. purchase a mailing list fitting your demographic and sponsor community events where you will be seen by these professionals. write articles relevant to your prospects. .
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. it should now be very clear that every action you take can affect your brand in some way. There is absolutely nothing wrong with saying “No.000 and $20. If you can't execute a project properly. In other words.000”. Say no to opportunities that do not align with your company's goals and vision. Because of this. you need to be careful what you say “Yes” to.” As this chapter draws to a close. Size and scope of a project is one of these reasons. either positively or negatively. your brand is a reflection of your work. This includes the type of projects and work that you take on. is this project unique enough . For example. then walk away. if you are trying to establish your specialty in a certain niche such as “installation projects between $5. If a project is too large and complicated for your present experience level you may want to consider walking away. If the potential profit margin looks to be slim for you. I use two criteria when deciding if the project is a good fit. the poor quality that results will tarnish your reputation and follow your brand everywhere you go. If you never learn to say no then you will never establish yourself as a specialist. First. Thank You.Create Your Personal Brand | 41 #14: “No. There are many other reasons to turn down work as well. does this project fit within my specialty? Second. Thank You” to a prospect or project. learn to walk away from projects that don't fit your niche. When an opportunity presents itself to me.
Your mind has to be completely open to the idea of turning down work. It is a conscious decision that you have to make when you are qualifying a prospect. Next. and who is not. you can then educate others as to what is and is not a good lead for you. 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.42 | The Little Green Book that it will hold my interest throughout the duration? You will need to establish your own criteria. and I know it can be for you as well. you can feel confident and empowered when you say no. identify the types of projects and clients who are not a good fit for your business. Once you have the proper mindset. and this is the key. By that I mean treat the prospect with respect and consideration even though they are not a good fit for your company. For this to work. One last bit of advice: learn to turn down work gracefully. Now that you are consciously aware of who is. you are willing to turn your back on the present opportunity. when you are armed with this information. I've included this in the book because it has been a very powerful tactic for me personally. He/she typically lives in a historical neighborhood and holds an executive level corporate position. This will lead to better qualified prospects as you move forward. Finally. and because of that. You need to have the mentality that an ideal project is right around the corner. I then recommend that you analyze the common traits and demographics of your best clientele. your ideal clientele. my typical client is over the age of 50 with no children living at home. Be . For example. you first must have the proper mindset.
in the eyes of your customers. location and number of children. 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. occupation. and memorable. 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. This leaves your prospect with good feelings toward your company. . Are there one. two or three common characteristics shared amongst these clients? This is your ideal clientele. What You Can Do Right Now: (1 hour) Identify one or two very specific characteristics that make you and your company unique. Now list these clients in a spread sheet with specific demographic categories across the top such as age. The criteria you use to define best are up to you.Create Your Personal Brand | 43 prepared to refer the prospect to another company that is a good fit for them.
Mixing a bit of publicity with a heavy dose of speaking. teaching and writing can position yourself as an expert in your community. You have probably heard the saying. Advertising is only one form of marketing. marketing strategy. . on radio or television. Let’s face it: advertising is expensive—especially to execute a long-term strategy that exposes your message to prospects multiple times. Most companies in the landscape industry don’t have the resources to fund this type of initiative. there is a less expensive.CHAPTER THREE Become the Expert T he words “marketing” and “advertising” are often times used interchangeably. This is a long-term strategy requiring hard work. what someone else says about you is 100 times more credible than what you say about yourself. the rewards you reap will be well worth the investment. This is why a steady blend of good public relations and publicity is much more effective than using advertising to drive home your message. Fortunately. whether it is print. and more effective.
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.
then take it upon yourself to organize and host your own seminar. For instance. This gives you total control of how you market and structure the event. You don’t have to do all the work Does hosting your own event sound like a lot of work? It certainly can be. as well as whom you target for your audience. There are numerous ways to structure an event such as this. 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. Consider teaming with other professionals to host the event or simply invite other professionals to speak to your audience. 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. Selecting your topic of presentation will be your most important decision. What is most important is that your audience recognizes you as the host. but you don’t necessarily need to go it alone. First. This is a highly effective way to build your expertise very quickly. Talk to your existing clientele to gauge which topics potential attendees would be interested in. consider whether this will be an annual event or a seminar . By hosting your own event. How to Add Value to Your Home Prior to Selling. You will need to select a topic that appeals to your target market. you will be speaking directly to qualified prospects.Become the Expert | 49 #16: Expert in a Day If waiting for someone to invite you to speak doesn’t appeal to you.
I’m not going to claim to be a first class orator. the seminar could be three to four hours in duration. If an annual event. I thought. 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. . perhaps I can use that to my benefit! So here is what I did. and I really enjoy getting up in front of people. You can rent space at a local botanical garden or go the more traditional route and rent space at a local hotel. but I am an experienced industry speaker. FAPLD—American Academy of Landscape Design In March. updated information that is relevant to the attendees. Smart Money Magazine published a Special Report entitled Fertile Ground: Add 15% To Your Home’s Value. Bartlett Tree Experts in Grand Rapids Michigan has hosted an all day event in past years for landscape contractors. why didn’t they interview me? A number of industry friends were interviewed for the article and I felt a little left out. Options are many when it comes to choosing a location for your event. The company provides valuable.50 | The Little Green Book which you present multiple times throughout the year in various targeted locations. But. I own a projector and have a lot of good photos to use. Also. they are considered by many to be the expert authority on tree care in our area. if not all day. 2003. I crafted a presentation on the topic and offered it to the public for free! Now. IL Tim Thoelecke. designers and nurserymen. What a gold mine for the landscape industry! My first impression when reading the article was. Because of this. so I had a head start. Case Study ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Glenview. Hey. so that part of this was not uncharted territory.
collect email addresses and add them to your regular email newsletter list. Each presentation was one hour in length and typically attracted 15 to 30 people. of course. We. So if you plan to do this. coffee and snacks for each seminar. and contacted them later. one client. You can view the original post card used to promote these free seminars here: http://bit. We also raffled off a book at the end. people who attend these things may not have an immediate need.ly/1FCrZF . this would be a good way to market your free seminar. If you have an email list. Many are planning for a project down the road. 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. if you think about it. collected lots of information from people. 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. and it’s paid for. We also provided soft drinks. In all it cost a few thousand dollars with the biggest expense being printing and mailing of the post cards.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. We bought some mailing lists for our post cards. The presentation was the easiest part. which is how we collected the “please contact me” info. But. A follow up press release was also sent after the event describing the success we had. as you can imagine. But.
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. having an article published presents an opportunity for “piggyback” marketing. Second. Beyond earning more clients. Here’s an example to illustrate this idea: upon writing an article for a landscape industry magazine. 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. writing for various publications and other media earns you instant credibility in the eyes of readers—all for free. writing can connect you with a much broader audience. I also added it to my Press Page on my company website. . 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. ensures for maximum exposure. writing can also lead to other opportunities such as speaking engagements and future collaborations. A combination of the two will ensure that you gain expert status in your community. As with speaking. First. 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). Sharing the article across multiple platforms. The benefits of writing about your craft are many.
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 must be an industry expert if you are writing for its trade publication. 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.Become the Expert | 53 So many options… Writing opportunities exist now more than ever. 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. This way you earn credibility by aligning yourself with an already strong brand. Print media such as community newspapers and glossy lifestyle magazines offer obvious writing opportunities. You can also contribute to newsletters published by local garden centers and other landscape industry professionals. editors are constantly on the lookout for writers and quality content that will appeal to their readership. right? So. Because of this. or niche. Do not overlook opportunities to write for other professionals within the landscape industry as well. That said. 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.
And just like you would with a printed article. . I can hear your thoughts now: Chris. this strategy is as much for non-bloggers as it is for current bloggers. by aligning yourself with a prominent and influential blogger you earn credibility by association. 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. While I will be covering the benefits of blogging in tactic #32: Your Personal Platform. my time is already stretched too thin and you want me in front of a computer blogging? Well. Second. not exactly. 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. Let’s look at some of the benefits of being a guest blogger. a guest post is similar in that you are contributing to someone else’s blog. guest blogging costs absolutely nothing and can be less time consuming than operating your own blog. Much like contributing an article to a printed magazine.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. I’m referring to writing “Guest Posts” for other bloggers. such as Twitter. First. as well as pitch your post to magazines and newspapers in hopes of being printed as an article. you can add your guest posts to your Press Page or portfolio on your company website. Next.
so don’t make him or her regret inviting you to post. your unique knowledge and expertise just needs to appeal to the blog’s readers. Write something that makes readers say. The blog does not necessarily need to focus on landscaping or gardening. This is not a time to share your opinions. This would be a win-win. location. I really want to read more from this person.Become the Expert | 55 Location. the blogger is giving you this opportunity. you will be invited back to post again. It doesn’t do much good to spend time writing a blog post that very few people will read. For example. as a landscape designer. This would put me in front of his readers and also helps him by providing his readership with expert advice. be sure to provide valuable and substantive information that will appeal to the blog’s readers. If you do this. Most likely you will want to write for a local blogger with a local readership. No matter the topic you choose to write about. Remember. 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. Spend ample time writing the post and write about something unique that readers haven’t been exposed to hundreds of times already. . I may pitch a local chef and influential blogger the idea of a guest post about outdoor kitchen design.
it also reaches a wide audience which increases public awareness of who you are and what you do. Keep in mind. Good PR enhances your credibility like advertising cannot because the coverage is coming from a trusted. charity events and open houses. Not only is publicity free. Types of coverage can come in the form of short “News Briefs”. local radio and television stations. This coverage can come from many types of media such as local newspapers and magazines. You become visible in your community which establishes you as an expert. by supplying them with good material for a short story. unbiased source other than from yourself. . unlike advertising. editors. freelance writers and bloggers via press releases. Using PR strategies is also a good way to create awareness of special events like seminars. calendar listings and personal and business features. The key is to cultivate mutually beneficial relationships with these folks by getting to know them and their needs. not even writing and speaking.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. online media such as bloggers and not to be underestimated. Tell the world The most effective way to generate PR is by reaching out to journalists. The positive effects of consistent PR are many. landscape industry trade publications. Good PR also comes from being quoted as an expert source in stories and articles. Your PR goal should be to generate a steady mix of each.
Don’t underestimate how unique your work really is. 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. journalists and freelance writers. new business initiatives and events. first identify the various media outlets you would like to be featured in. To get started down the PR path. Unique projects you have designed and/or built make for terrific feature articles.Become the Expert | 57 you are solving one of their problems—finding quality content and stories for their audience. 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). To maximize the exposure good PR can bring. From this you can develop a contact list or database of editors. Chances are it would appeal to a large group of readers. company milestones. business card. Fax is the preferred method. 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). perhaps once each month. a personal bio. Let them know that you are a knowledgeable and quotable source for future articles they write within your area of expertise. The next step is to create a “Press Kit” to send to each contact which consists of a cover letter introducing yourself. brochure and your initial press release. The same goes for how you send a press release. listeners and viewers. what constitutes good story material? For short news briefs. although email . submit information about awards earned. you need to send press releases on a consistent basis. So.
You can sign up here: http://bit. Use the resources listed in tactic #15: Back to School to locate garden clubs and botanical gardens in your area. you can sign up to receive free media requests from a service called Help A Reporter Out.ly/vaKXE If you are serious about being quoted and featured in the media.58 | The Little Green Book is acceptable if you have permission. I’ve been featured in multiple stories throughout the country.com. Once your press release is online. For a small fee.com or PitchEngine. 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 . (2-3 hours) Think about who you could do some writing for. these services automatically feed your release to media outlets throughout the world. simply by subscribing to this free service. 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. Could you write a weekly or monthly column for your community newspaper. To reach an even broader audience.ly/3nWANI What You Can Do Right Now: (1-2 hours) Spend some time thinking about places where you can speak. These are good places to start. consider using an online press release distribution service such as PRWeb. as have other landscape professionals. you can then share it across your various online social networks for even more exposure. Resource Author’s Resource ----------------------------------------------------------------------- Press Release Template: http://bit.
Become the Expert | 59 publication. radio. (8-12 hours) Research and collect all local media you would like to be featured in. Put together your press kit and send it to your contacts along with your first press release. television and online. 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. . Begin to develop a database of the contacts from each media source. This can include print.
I think it is helpful to organize it into three distinct categories: group networking. For example. If executed properly. Networking is such a general term. In my opinion. A successful marketing plan will include a mix of each of these. Networking is also very inexpensive compared to other marketing strategies. from personal experience. This chapter will cover each distinct type of networking and show you how to use each to grow your business. networking is the best way to build personal and business relationships that set you up for long term success. I am much more comfortable networking with individuals on a one-on-one basis F . your networking strategy will create the ultimate referral base for you. you cannot minimize the powerful effect that networking can have on your business. so it should be included in everyone's annual marketing plan in some way. What I have come to realize over the years. “Networking” is one of those ugly words that conjures up thoughts of traditional salesmen in lousy suits and fake smiles. oneon-one networking and online social networking. is that most people excel and enjoy one form of networking more than the others. I suspect this might be the same for many of you. That said.CHAPTER FOUR Build Relationships that Matter or me personally. Organizing it this way should make it much easier for you to develop an overall networking strategy.
the key to networking is to always put the needs of others before your wants—always look for a win-win outcome. .62 | The Little Green Book as opposed to networking in a group setting such as a chamber of commerce. Finally. It is important that you determine in which situations you excel. and then play to your strengths.
Don't waste your time trying to reinvent the wheel. there is no better way to learn new strategies to help build your business than learning from other successful business models and individuals. collaborative relationships. on-going. I personally know many . the camaraderie shared between like-minded professionals is priceless. The benefits of networking with our peers are numerous. Networking with your landscape industry peers sets you up for long term success.Build Relationships that Matter | 63 #20: Show Me Yours. So if you have been distancing yourself from other landscape professionals. building relationships with other landscape professionals puts you in a strong referral position. Study the successes and failures of other respected landscape professionals. 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. I'll Show You Mine There is not a more valuable form of networking than what I refer to as “peer-to-peer” networking. If you are in the habit of referring other reputable companies and professionals first. First. Second. it is time to move out of your cave and into the light. you will soon reap the rewards of reciprocity and receive your own qualified referrals. Collaboration and reciprocation Networking with your peers presents opportunities to build mutually beneficial. Who better understands the important issues you face each and every day more than your industry peers? From a marketing standpoint.
There are multiple ways to begin networking with other professionals in our industry. Many landscape contractors will hire or refer landscape designers for certain projects. If you have a good relationship with your competitors. The designers either hire the contractors directly or refer their clients to the contractor. you will be more open and transparent in helping others succeed which in turn will lead to others helping you. attitude towards our competitors. The relationship works both ways. Throughout the landscape industry there seems to be a negative. Landscape contractors collaborate with swimming pool contractors and vice versa. You have to have the opposite mindset and exhibit an abundance mentality. This collaboration and reciprocation works within all trades. I even recommend other landscape designers if I think they will be a better fit for a prospect. or almost secretive. the goodwill always comes back around. Speaking of competition. Once you have this mentality. I take note of what other designers and contractors are doing and if I'm impressed with their work . irrigation contractors. Don't be afraid to recommend those who you consider to be your competition.64 | The Little Green Book landscape designers who partner with specific landscape contractors on each project. One of the best ways is by participating in local and national trade associations (see the case study that follows). I personally prefer to meet with other professional’s one on one. lawn maintenance companies and gardening services. I personally hire or refer multiple contractors such as landscape contractors. the first step in successfully building relationships with other industry professionals is realizing that competition is a good thing.
I’ve been asked to do presentations on a regular basis including speaking at our annual tradeshow. I knew the potential networking opportunities were limitless and I was . Because of my consistent involvement and contribution. Instantly. After attending meetings consistently. 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. This practice has led to some wonderful collaborative business relationships as well as friendships. Without hesitation. they told me to get involved in the New Jersey Landscape Contractors Association (NJLCA). After attending the annual conference for the first time. Four years ago I set off to create this type of design-only business. Through my relationships locally with the NJLCA I was introduced to PLANET – The Professional Landcare Network. I also have a trade show booth that generates enough business to last the entire year.Build Relationships that Matter | 65 and want to learn more about their businesses. I simply schedule an informal meeting with them. and who needed my design services. This was one of the best moves that I could have made. I had access to contractors that I never would have otherwise. I am now on the Board of Directors. NJ Jody Shilan—Jody Shilan Designs After working for several large landscape design/build companies throughout my career. so I asked them what they thought I should do to help grow my business. Case Study ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Wyckof. I knew many of the local design/build contractors.
So when someone tells you the more you put into something. I have been published in at least a dozen local and national trade magazines including two with glossy cover photos of my work. All of this because I raised my hand and got involved. I also have several podcasts and teleseminars to my credit. . project managing my own installations and getting commissions for selling work for other landscape contractors. It was design/build nirvana. 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. the more you will get out of it . 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.66 | The Little Green Book hooked. I am now developing a consulting business. along with dozens of online articles I’ve written.believe them.
realtors and other construction trades such as painters and masons. and more effective in my opinion. one-on-one networking allows you the opportunity to make a stronger and more lasting impression because you hold the attention of one individual. This includes architects.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. is what I call one-on-one networking. It’s up to you to determine which professional group offers the greatest potential for collaboration and mutual benefit. I take note of it and make it my intention to contact him/her. They are easy to find. you just need to consciously look for them. Word of mouth has always worked the best for me. you first must identify the professionals you want to meet. I refer to these individuals as the Influentials. Cracking the code of the Influentials To implement this networking strategy successfully. as well as who is advertising. The easiest way is to drive through local neighborhoods and see whose work is . interior designers. This form of networking can lead to long term collaborative and mutually beneficial relationships. A more personal form of networking. builders. Another great way to find influentials is to scour local business publications and lifestyle magazines to see what professionals are being featured. If a client mentions that they are working with a certain architect I’m not familiar with. This is ideal for meeting other professionals who could be a referral source for you. As opposed to group networking.
I will typically meet at the architect’s office. This is the best and most effective way for me to find realtors. You could also meet with them annually. you must do your research and have an understanding of the other persons business. Out of courtesy to them. as an example. They will be flattered when they learn that you know a lot about them and their work. After you have hit it off with the other professional. You need to be able to explain how you can help them first before you open up your portfolio and ask for their help. you need to go into the meeting with a win-win proposition. I estimate this works about 50% of the time. but there will be many times when you will need to initiate contact with a cold call. and then try to meet with one professional each month. The best way to do this is by referring work to them. or at a place of their choosing near their place of work. This is the easiest way to stay top of mind. Being prepared consists of two things: first. You will need to be prepared for some rejection. Second. I highly recommend you maintain a list of influential people that you want to meet with. add them to your list. The key is to always be prepared. A personal introduction through someone else is always preferred. send them press clippings or simply send them a newsletter each month. Each time you come across a name. I typically email the person one or two times and then follow up with a phone call. just like you would if you were meeting a prospect or client. you will need to stay in touch with them. invite them to visit one of your projects. Do not waste the face to face opportunity you had by not staying in touch. .68 | The Little Green Book prominent.
Then Receive). Each week. I would try to drive home the fact that I was looking to meet architects and other professionals. this architect had a terrific website featuring his work and much of the press he has received. My daughter is on the swim team with his daughter. I value referrals from architects more than anyone else. it was time to meet him. 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 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. “Chris. Would an introduction to him be helpful?” That was my “In”. except for my past clients of course. MI When I set out on my own and started my landscape design firm Fountainhead Gardens. At the time. Through word of mouth and studying local lifestyle magazines. Finally. I knew I would need to get a personal introduction as opposed to cold calling him. I knew I had to make it worth the architect’s time if he was going to meet with . Terry. I identified perhaps the most prominent residential-focused architect in West Michigan. I was a member of a networking and referral group called Business Networking International (see tactic #23: Give. My first priority was to meet the top residential architects in my town. 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. Now that I had done my research. Fortunately for me. the attorney in our group. It was very easy for me to research his background and past work. I also toured some of his homes during the local Parade of Homes to become even more familiar with his work. I know <said architect>.
.70 | The Little Green Book me. Guess who I was going to interview for this article? The architect was thrilled to meet with me and be interviewed for the story. 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. 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. interior designers and architects. This shows how important it is to consider what you can do for the other person before thinking about yourself.
First and most obvious. Choose wisely and be active Opportunities to grow your network abound with groups like these. If you prefer a more structured approach to networking. Many chambers of commerce offer weekly luncheons where you can meet other business owners. I’m referring to what are sometimes called leads groups or referral groups such as organizations like Business Networking International (BNI). These groups are solely focused on building your business as opposed to the groups we will discuss in the next marketing strategy. and with groups like BNI there are . 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. this strategy is for you. Most groups meet weekly or monthly and also provide opportunities outside of the regular meetings. I met my attorney.Build Relationships that Matter | 71 #22: Give. especially if you are a beginner. There are three primary benefits to increasing your network through a referral group. I wrote about how powerful this can be in Chapter 1 tactic #5: Giver’s Gain. or your chamber of commerce. For example. I also place your local chamber of commerce in this category. Lastly. Being active in a referral group such as BNI. enables you to expand your network. Next. then Receive Thus far in Chapter 4 I have discussed two informal means of networking. you will have a network of professionals whom you can call upon to help your business. you will earn more qualified referrals from these professionals.
First. I represented my employer. This was because I was not fully committed to the . a landscape design/build company. 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. I got absolutely nothing out of the group my first year. for the first year and then represented myself the last three years after I left the company. get to know you and build a certain level of trust before they will consistently refer you to others. Attending the regular meetings consistently and being involved with the other events is the key to success with these groups. The quickest way to success is to give referrals to others first. Some groups have it. MI I was a member of a local BNI group for nearly four years.72 | The Little Green Book opportunities to meet outside of the regular meeting one on one with other members. Second. others don’t. 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. When visiting a group. This can often times take six months or more. I recommend looking for two things. As BNI founder Ivan Maisner is famous for saying. Other members have to see you regularly. Author’s Case Study ----------------------------------------------------------------- Chris Heiler— Fountainhead Gardens Zeeland. do your homework first by visiting numerous referral groups. “Giver’s Gain!” Before jumping into a group.
You can only miss two meetings every six months. 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. I had no other choice but to fully commit to BNI. 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. 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. You need to be confident when you stand and speak in front of the group each week. Understand that you will not have instant success. • • • • • • I encourage everyone to join or at least visit a BNI group based on the success that I had. Members need to know exactly what a good referral is and is not in order to help you. Be very specific when you ask for referrals. . including practice. This is a commitment! A total commitment to the group means going beyond just showing up each week. Don’t make members work to get you referrals and then not follow up on them. meaning numerous referrals. It can take up to six months before you begin to earn the trust of the other members. When I started my own landscape design firm. Schedule a “Dance Card” each week with a different member immediately after the meeting. Always prepare the previous day.Build Relationships that Matter | 73 networking system that BNI provided. Follow up on all referrals you are given and keep the referral source updated. for your “60 second commercial”. Attend every meeting! BNI groups meet once each week at 7:00 AM. bring referrals! There is a big difference. Beyond my 100% commitment. It’s a commitment that will bring long term results and is worth the investment of time and money. Don’t bring leads.
The benefits to your business are just a bonus. “Is this going to help my business?” I had the wrong mindset. After you have found a service group that interests you. You need to choose an organization whose values. My primary thought was. These clubs focus on local community and global initiatives. Don’t choose a group based on how much business you think you can earn from it. In fact. visit one of their regular meetings to see if the group peaks your . not on marketing your business. your priority and focus should be on community involvement. As an example. your first step is to research the mission or goals of each group under consideration.74 | The Little Green Book #23: More than Just Business As mentioned in the previous marketing strategy. giving back to their communities in many ways. to the business-focused networking groups are your local service club organizations such as Lions Club International and Rotary International. interests and goals are in alignment with your own. 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. of your generosity. Fortunately I realized this and did not join the group. or complements. I once visited a Lions Club meeting to see if it was something I would be interested in. or side effect. networking groups such as BNI are solely focused on marketing yourself and building your business. Align your values with those of the group If you are interested in becoming involved with a service group. Alternatives.
Most require a very minimal membership fee. to get the most from the group. the keys to success are similar to those of the networking groups discussed in the previous strategy. If you choose to join a group. and second. and contribute the most. you should attend meetings regularly. look to help others before helping yourself. . focus on building personal relationships with the members to earn trust. First. There is no obligation to join. Last.Build Relationships that Matter | 75 interest further.
IL How you network will vary according to your industry. Corporate professionals may network at industry conferences and meetings. you can actually download your LinkedIn connections to a CSV file and import them into your database or customer relationship manager (CRM). Interactivity and Engagement Always remember to first learn the social context of a network before getting involved. In fact.76 | The Little Green Book #24: Join My Network On LinkedIn Guest Author: Jeff Korhan—True Nature Inc. regardless of their industry. or position. it is vital to have a complete and up-to-date profile. One advantage of the online social media platform is there are many different networks that are open to everyone. Naperville. or position. region. You just have to be aware that different social networks encourage specific behaviors. Take the initiative to reach out and . The best approach is to be a follower until you learn the ropes. It is as much a database as it is a network. To use LinkedIn and other networks well. LinkedIn is a social network where most people begin developing their social media presence. The next step is to start making connections. while landscape contractors will tend to meet with clients and colleagues on or between job sites. How you connect through any of the networks is through interaction and engagement. region. Think of LinkedIn as your social networking office where the environment is typically all business. which is important for determining the results you can expect to achieve.
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. your story may not have a purpose other than amusement or interest. for your customers. connections. By repurposing information from the Web and the numerous social media networks. a few of them will become viable business leads. if you are building a business. If the network happens to be Facebook. Do you have difficulties getting appointments or having your phone calls returned? If so. Value Exchange There is an unwritten rule of engagement on the social networks: Give 90% and take 10%. However. The best method for doing this online is through storytelling. One solution is to use the Web to keep in step with what is current. . Use anecdotes and stories that add value for your audience – your friends. it is usually best to have a story with a business purpose. Twitter is an excellent tool for this purpose. you also have the opportunity to comment on how your company is favorably positioned with respect to it. and therefore relevant. This helps them to learn more about your business and encourages invitations to get together offline to explore business opportunities. and followers. and if you do that well. then your customers and prospects don’t perceive you as a valued resource. You have unlimited access to research and feedback from green industry thought leaders around the world.Build Relationships that Matter | 77 get to know people and help them get to know you.
You still need to get face to face with prospects and customers to bring deals together that generate revenue for your business. your website gives people confidence that you indeed are a professional. When you are doing traditional networking. It is what you point your new connections to for establishing your credibility. This is where you show people those qualities that are unique to you and how you run your business. and your company blog. and that is exactly what social media allows you to do. Your website is essentially your business card for social networking. In a business environment where quality is now expected. Like that business card. so don’t confuse your online networking with the territory – the people in your community that you work with to advance your business. Your job is to put those qualities on the line. Everyone knows the map is not the territory. a couple of other acceptable options are an active blog or an impeccably complete LinkedIn profile. you can also complement and enhance those efforts with Facebook. Once again. Buyers will always seek the best deal.78 | The Little Green Book Community Building Think of your online community as a map to your professional relationships. but with all things often being equal. Online social networking only complements your traditional networking: it does not replace it. you never want to be without your business cards. Who you are is a valuable quality that can be expressed in your blog and the social networks. Twitter. the way to distinguish you and your company is to be likeable and trustworthy. If you don’t have a website. However. they will choose the company that . the best way to do this is to get face to face with people to earn their trust.
though it is clearly having an influence in this way. If you are looking for a social cause to support.com.Build Relationships that Matter | 79 makes a personal differentiation. Visit BNI. These opportunities for social entrepreneurism are ideally suited to making a difference that sets you apart.com and Twitter. You don’t necessarily have to use social media to accomplish this. 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. and that should be your objective with any kind of networking. Step . Each state will have at least one nursery and landscape association as well as numerous chapters which may be in your area. Complete your profile on LinkedIn and upload your contact list to see who else is on LinkedIn. Invite these contacts to “connect” with you.com and click the link Find a Chapter to locate a group in your area. Schedule a visit and go! Bring a friend or employee to the meeting if this will make you more comfortable. Schedule the time necessary to attend the association’s next event just to get a feel for what the organization has to offer you. To be the go-to authority on green leadership in your community will position your company well for the new economy. Entrepreneurial businesses have the ability to get close to their customers. (1 hour) Make a commitment to visit your local chamber of commerce or at least two BNI groups. just think about the environment that you and your company enhance every day. (1 hour) Create an account on LinkedIn. Do the same for Twitter. What You Can Do Right Now: (1 to 2 hours) Conduct an online search to find local landscape industry trade associations in your state.
ly/uI5vV . Give social networking a legitimate shot before dismissing it.80 | The Little Green Book by step instructions on each site will make this very easy.ly/X0uGL You can follow me on Twitter here: http://bit. 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.
From charitable donations and sponsorships to garden tours and designer show houses. If you are not already involved in your community. but are interested in pursuing ways to become active. this chapter will teach you some unique strategies to enable you to do just that. there is no denying the powerful impact that community involvement can have on your business. Because the strategies discussed in this chapter require varying amounts of time and resources.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. you are sure to find one appropriate for you. in turn. This chapter will show you how to take advantage of this goodwill. So get involved! . What is often overlooked is how this personal involvement can be leveraged to increase your businesses visibility. leading to more clients.
libraries and the like. maintenance services or plant and hardscape materials. Another benefit is that you can potentially meet other influential business leaders. If you are active in a local charitable organization or community initiatives involving schools.L. Contributing a monetary gift. design work. I’ve known many landscape industry individuals and companies who have donated goods and services to organizations they support. You will be seen as a trusted and credible business.W (Friends Landscaping Our World) where local landscape companies .82 | The Little Green Book #25: What Goes Around. but both work quite well together. hospitals. to say a botanical garden or symphony. Comes Around You may not associate charity with marketing.O. This is an easy way to get your name in front of people and link yourself to the organization. Getting involved… There are many ways you can contribute to charitable organizations and other community initiatives. Aligning yourself with a local charitable organization shows that you are committed to helping your community. The easiest way to contribute is through a monetary donation. A good example of this is taking place in Grand Rapids Michigan with a project called F. the most important reason to get involved is because you care deeply about the charity or cause. This can come in the form of consulting. Benefits aside. you can turn this goodwill into new clients. will likely get your name listed as a donor in some way. Your community will recognize this and support you in return.
Let your clients and other contacts know what you are doing in the community. MA: http://bit. The media loves stories like this and its great PR for you. 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).ly/4bboBC). 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/qQ3R0). . First. 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. include a description of your charitable work in your company newsletter. All charities need volunteers to serve on committees and this is a great way to meet new people and build your network. use this as an opportunity to send a press release to your local media. then let the world know about it! This is a great opportunity for piggy-back marketing. Second. If you are currently doing many of the things discussed above. And third.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.
84 | The Little Green Book #26: A Win-Win-Win Proposition Many non-profit organizations. up-scale wine festivals as well as my local botanical garden. 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. These groups are always looking for individuals and companies to donate goods and services. yet very effective. Keep in mind. Many times. At the predetermined end of the auction the highest listed bidder wins the item and pays the price he or she submitted. in some instances this has led to extra billable design time and even installation work. I created a full-color insert that fit into the sign holder and also had rack-cards made for people to take home. local high schools. schools and other groups host an annual event of some kind which features a silent auction. Typically a one hour consultation and three or four hours of design 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. bids are simply written on a sheet of paper often left on a table near the item. I've participated in silent auctions for the March of Dimes. The auction is “silent” in that there is no auctioneer. It was a very simple and inexpensive set up (less than $100). many items are auctioned simultaneously and your item is just one of many that are typically poorly displayed on the tables. donating six hours of my time for one event led to a . For example. I've donated consulting time and design time in the past. although.
Only you can be the judge of that. First. follow this bit of advice.Sow Your Seeds in the Community | 85 $10. . Second. Lastly. don't overextend yourself by participating in more than two or three silent auctions each year. keep it to five or six max. don't burden yourself by donating excessive hours. The goodwill and additional revenue earned easily made up for my time invested. The benefits of your donation to the organization are obvious—they get a monetary donation when someone bids on your offering. and most important. your new found client gets your professional services in return for making a generous donation. If you are going to add this strategy to your marketing plan. carefully select events which your targeted demographic is most likely to be involved.000 installation project. In addition.
Botanical gardens are another venue with numerous opportunities for sponsorship. .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. I do a great deal of work in this neighborhood so this event is a great sponsorship opportunity for me. Golf anyone? There are numerous events and institutions you could sponsor. When you pay to sponsor a local event. team or institution you will receive advertising in return. Besides events. sponsoring organizations and events enables you to reach an even wider audience. institutions such as museums. The key is to pick something that you care about and that places your name in front of the right people. such as charitable golf tournaments and garden tours. symphonies and other arts organizations offer many sponsorship opportunities. Your support paints you as someone who cares about community causes and keeps your name front and center. Frederik Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids seeks sponsors for everything from garden lectures to their summer concert series. need sponsors. There is a neighborhood of historical homes in Grand Rapids Michigan in which they host an annual home tour. Many events. This advertising can help you become widely known in the community. 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. These venues often attract affluent crowds which are the exact people we want to be in front of.
be sure to let people know about your involvement. . will be thrilled to hear about your involvement and commitment to helping your community. as well as prospects. Comes Around. Your clients.Sow Your Seeds in the Community | 87 As I recommended in tactic #25: What Goes Around. List your sponsorships on your website and include information about it in your newsletters.
but the key to his success was the tour itself.88 | The Little Green Book #28: Lead the Parade In the previous marketing strategy I wrote about sponsoring community events such as garden tours. Turn goodwill into good PR Beyond simply creating an event for his community. Steve’s annual. If planned and executed properly your tour can lead to tremendous PR opportunities and wide visibility in your community. a great deal of time and expense was put into organizing. Steve demonstrated more goodwill by donating the proceeds from his garden tour to a local charity. Grand Rapids. MI) hosted his own garden tour for seven years. The tour featured Steve’s best work all within a small geographic area that was easy to navigate.000 and $10. I recommend hosting your very own garden tour. My good friend and fellow garden designer Stephen Rosselet (SJR Garden Design. Because of this. 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. two-day tour was his primary means of marketing himself and his business in the community. Tickets were made available for $10.000. typically between $7. promoting and hosting the tour. And the tour was a huge success each year. For those of you who want to take this a step further. Steve’s garden tour was expertly promoted which drew in large crowds. Steve’s tour was featured in community newspapers and other publications as well as public television and radio spots—all at no cost.00 before the event at a local bookstore and during the .
If the idea of hosting a garden tour appeals to you but the amount of work involved does not. 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. then consider organizing a tour with other landscape professionals. You could post photos from the event on your website’s Community Page.00. post a video from the event featuring testimonials from garden visitors. or better yet. you could send a press release to the local media along with photographs and comments from visitors. marketing opportunities abound. For instance. This collaboration will still increase your visibility in the community as well as generate positive PR.Sow Your Seeds in the Community | 89 garden tour at each garden stop for $12. Even after the tour. .
APLD—Susan Cohan Gardens Chatham. Many companies subscribe to the doing well by doing good marketing philosophy. can be extremely beneficial for landscape companies.90 | The Little Green Book #29: If You Build It…They will Come Guest Author: Susan Cohan. although summer and fall events are becoming increasingly popular. Their jobs range from creating an event website to planning the opening . 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. Like many high profile charity events. these events have grown to include the landscape that surrounds the house as well as terraces and courtyards in urban locations. The idea behind this philosophy is that by giving back to their communities in a visible way. show houses have public relations and special events committees. Not only does the completed garden area get seen by the thousands of visitors to the show house. usually a month. craftspeople and legions of committee members volunteer their time and materials in exchange for the exposure that will be created for their businesses. those communities in turn will support their businesses. and is open to the public whose admission fees support a charity. Over the past five to ten years. plus the special events that surround it. NJ A designer show house is created for a short period of time. The charity makes money because admission is charged to the completed venue while all of the designers. Most show houses take place in the spring. suppliers. but the public relations generated from the show house itself.
A phone call to the landscape chairperson is the first place to start. The next step is to be invited to participate. You may also want to contact the Home and Garden editor of your community newspaper. 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. Because of the immense effort these events take. 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 final step is to build your show house garden and promote it. Promotional materials such as signage and printed materials have to be weatherproof.000 visitors in one month. Invitations are usually issued by the committee approximately nine to ten months in advance of the event. many are biannual. The garden needs to be built with the idea that it will be disassembled after the event is finished. Each participant will usually have to compete for a space by submitting a proposal for that space. 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. a site plan will be issued that has been divided up into designated spaces. It also needs to withstand a lot of traffic—typically 15. These books are often saved as references by visitors who are often looking for ideas or thinking about renovation projects. Once invited. Have a representative in your garden for as many special events and weekends as you can .Sow Your Seeds in the Community | 91 benefit party to generating press interest.000 to 20.
donate to a silent auction or be a sponsor for the organization? Next.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. 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. 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.92 | The Little Green Book manage to personally greet attendees. can you and other allied professionals create a similar event? . Is there a way you can become more active and visible? Could you serve on a committee. View photos of Susan Cohan’s work from Show Houses in New Jersey: Scothigh Farm: http://bit.ly/1p8inf Espalier Grill: http://bit. (2 to 3 hours) Research annual garden tours in your area. the designer or contractor. 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.
This contrast calls for a balanced marketing strategy of both online and offline tactics. There still remain a very high percentage of companies in the landscape industry who do not even have a website. While more and more static company websites are just now appearing. People expect to find us online. The trend is now towards a more interactive and engaging online experience through blogging and other social media. You can reach a larger pool of prospects while at the same time easily connect with clients. You don’t have to be. I would estimate we are three to five years behind others in regards to both marketing and technology. Five years from now we will be trending in a new direction—and our industry will still be behind. it seems as though even this marketing platform is becoming obsolete. even if only minimal. The opposite is also true—some people completely ignore the online world. Having a significant presence on the web gives your brand and image broader exposure to a vast online audience. media and other landscape and allied professionals. . Some people seem to live their lives online—you need to have a presence in their marketplace.CHAPTER SIX Develop Your Presence Online A s an industry. All landscape professionals should have a presence online. most notably in the online world.
MO In today’s technically advanced world. It used to be that simply having a “template” website on the Internet was sufficient to gain customer confidence. our company. special offerings. and also internal information. online portfolios. blog. a website is the first step. our certifications. etc. which change often. when we post a blog entry. Our blog has information on the industry itself. we send it out via a Twitter update . there are many online mediums that can help advance your brand – not only your personal brand. We utilize Twitter and Facebook to attract clients. but also your business brand. our professionalism. Granted. our community resources.94 | The Little Green Book #30: Maximize Your Exposure Guest author: Jason Cupp—Highland Outdoor Kansas City. It’s amazing to me all of the online resources that help us promote our products. Our project portfolios. our services. it automatically shows up on both our website homepage and Facebook page. our affiliations. Sometimes. are photo galleries of our work. but integrating different mediums into one global brand can be extremely worthwhile – and have an appropriate return on investment. It works out great – for example. Our website has information on our company – our values. like staff outings and community service projects. Twitter and Facebook. colleagues. friends and family to visit our other online resources. It’s often hard to understand how to integrate all of the different options that are available into one cohesive marketing strategy. Our company has many places it can be found on the Internet: our main website. timely information on landscape care.
many of us likely have clients who have turned into friends. colleagues and industry professionals are aware of our company now more than ever. We all know this to be true. I remember my dad telling me that clients prefer to do business with people they like. which makes us come up higher in the search engine rankings.Develop Your Presence Online | 95 as well. Given my desire to be transparent to my clients and colleagues. vendors. I have also chosen to link my personal blog. 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. and drives traffic – which increases our “interest” on the Internet. As life-long salespeople. Many years ago. My guess is that this did not happen overnight. There are many free tools available online which can automate this integration process for you. This cross-references our online presences. and Twitter account to my businesses online mediums. I’ve found over the past several years of this integrated online marketing that clients. Facebook. Show some personality I’m also a fan of linking my personal online presence to my business as well. I encourage you to do the same. . team members. when I was just starting my business.
so a blog was created using a free (and fairly easy-to-use) tool called WordPress. We decided to layer social media into the event to model using the tools for public relations. We connected with aligned organizations. So.com’s community site. Twitter account and LinkedIn group while we at Nemetschek North America had a Facebook page. Announcements were placed on the Facebook. Twitter account and Linkedin group. Our kindred connection. community engagement and communication. Yes. rather. Our plan included piggybacking on an APLD (Association of Professional Landscape Designers) New Jersey chapter event. What was missing was a container in which to place all the information. Then we went to work creating and integrating material. we took stock of the resources we could use for free. for which Susan was one of the leaders. An article was written for the APLD e-newsletter. We also asked Chris Heiler of LandscapeLeadership. The APLD NJ chapter had a website. Here’s what we did … First. we hatched a plan.96 | The Little Green Book Case Study ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Jessie Newburn—Vectorworks Nemetschek North America Columbia. APLD International had a monthly e-newsletter. newsletter and email list. Susan Cohan and I found in each other kindred spirits. but I’m a marketing gal at heart. such as posting messages on Land8Lounge. not a landscape designer like Susan is. Twitter and LinkedIn sites. and at which our industry specialist for Vectorworks® Landmark was doing a CAD software presentation. Facebook page. MD In early 2009. was in the deep belief that social media tools were ascending in importance and were valuable for landscape industry professionals to understand and use.com (and author of . I like to garden.
community engagement and communication. we were able to support an organization important to us. . including live tweets. I’m happy to report that the NJ chapter is still actively using it. we used Web 2. All in all. I believe we accomplished our goal of modeling the use of social media tools and how they can be used for PR. And we kept on going.Develop Your Presence Online | 97 this book) to create a podcast with Eric Gilbey. uploaded pictures to Flickr and shot video that was later uploaded to YouTube. we posted that on Twitter. the Nemetschek NA industry specialist for landscape design. at the event. Not only did we use multiple tools. Facebook. When I checked in on the blog we created for the event (http://apldnj. Our Vectorworks Landmark sales manager told me. For example.wordpress. Then. once Chris’s podcast was available. that Chris’s podcast produced a software sale from a landscape designer in Colorado! Plus. the blog and LinkedIn … you get the picture.) From a corporate perspective.com/).0 tools. anecdotally. it was a success. This may seem like a lot of work (it was. but we also connected and integrated information where possible and appropriate. right? Integration was the name of the game.
judging your company based on what they see. we will focus primarily on how you can use your website as a marketing tool. your prospects could be prequalifying you as well. keep it simple and only have a “Home Page” with your company contact information. As I’ve discussed in previous chapters. At a minimum. Another reason to have a company website is for credibility’s sake. I believe your website should be at the center of your overall marketing strategy. But. . your website could include a “Press Page” featuring PR you have received as well as a “Community Page” featuring your community involvement. How extensive and deep your website will depend on your site’s purpose. keep in mind. an entire book could be dedicated solely to this topic (In fact. I mean all other marketing tactics. Your website is also a great tool for prequalifying prospects. If this is your website’s sole purpose. By this. For this reason. even if minimal. Your prospects expect you to have a presence online nowadays. I believe every landscape industry company should have a website or a blog. This is a terrific way to display your past work as well as explain your company’s services. Your online brochure Many landscape industry professionals choose to use their website as an online brochure. you will want to make it very easy for people to locate you online and contact you. whether you are a company of one or one thousand.98 | The Little Green Book #31: Your Marketing Hub The subject of web design and how to use a website is vast. I’ve written one—see the Author’s Resource after tactic#32).
and perhaps only. I would then be able to communicate with the reader multiple times in the future. This approach is becoming very popular as more and more people are becoming active in online social networks. The key is to engage visitors beyond their first. beyond the initial advertisement. Let me illustrate this idea with an example. visit to your website in order to build a long term relationship. This ability to communicate with readers into the future. If I could entice the reader to visit my website by offering something of value. 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. . via a newsletter sign up form as an example. should lead prospects to your website. which is very costly. this would be a second impression. You need to leverage every marketing opportunity in order to move potential prospects to your website. If I were to collect the visitors contact information. can justify the cost of the ad space. If I were to buy advertising space in a local lifestyle magazine. I would only get one impression per reader.Develop Your Presence Online | 99 whether a mass post card mailing or your vehicle signage.
This is a very powerful shift away from the original concept of a website serving as an online brochure. Sounds great. but… Do not start a blog simply because you see other landscape industry companies doing it. which allows you to engage visitors with fresh content. Before you get rid of your company’s website and start a blog. A blog is also simple to update on your own which eliminates maintenance costs like those associated with a static website. allows you to communicate with your readers and build a sense of community. This is both the biggest difference between the two and the greatest advantage in blogging. Operating a successful blog will take a tremendous amount of time. As a journal. there are other counter points to consider—the first being time investment. Setting up a blog is fairly simple and requires very little web programming skills or professional design help unlike a static website. are moving away from static websites and moving toward blogging (many utilize both). as well . Because of this. you can set up a blog quickly and inexpensively. your blog is updated frequently. While a static website can be considered an online brochure.100 | The Little Green Book #32: Your Personal Platform More and more professionals. much more often than a website. There are many valid reasons for this. one of which is cost. and companies. Blogging also provides the opportunity to interact with your readers which is just not possible with a static website. The ability for readers to leave comments on your blog posts as well as subscribe to your blog’s “feed”. your blog is more like a personal journal.
I believe your focus should be on providing your readers with interesting and valuable content that they look forward to reading. or even years. let’s say that you are a landscape designer or contractor and you are targeting a local readership. • • • • • . Reviews of landscape tools and books for homeowners.Develop Your Presence Online | 101 as patience. Their posts are also well written with considerable thought going into each post. If you have the time. What does successful mean? To me. Profiles about other partners such as subcontractors and other artisans. The most popular and successful bloggers write consistently— typically daily or weekly. builders and interior designers you have collaborated with (or that you would like to collaborate with!) Guest posts by the partners mentioned above. but this doesn’t mean your blog should be 100% focused on you personally. Determine the audience you are trying to reach and plan your writing accordingly. do you have the patience and perseverance required to gain a large readership and build your community? This can take months. 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). Also garden centers and retailers you recommend. it means converting your time spent blogging into clients and revenue. To illustrate this point. Installation and maintenance tips delivered via video. You may very well be the most interesting person in the world. Profiles about architects.
visit: http://bit.102 | The Little Green Book • • • Posts about PR and publicity you have received. you can then lead visitors to your company’s website or your other online social networks. From your blog. blogs and building their brand online. Also. This was originally an online course. Author’s Resource ----------------------------------------------------------------------- If you would like to learn more about how to build a strong presence online. For instance. after which I published it as a book and dvd set due to its success. The book. writing about other professionals is a terrific way to meet new people and build collaborative relationships. your blog will appear higher in the search engines driving more and more traffic to it. For more information about WebSavvy. along with over four hours of video.ly/wlejg . teaches landscape professionals everything they need to know about websites. Company events as well as relevant community events. From the above list you should be able to see that there is much to blog about if you look beyond yourself. Personal stories as well as stories about your employees. I recommend a course that I developed titled WebSavvy. when you write consistently week after week with keyword-rich posts.
up-todate content on the Web is the best information available. your customer. contractor. 93% of them selected landscaper as their number one choice. Why? If your blog links to your website it is telling Google. that it recommends that website content. Ask your customers! It is so simple. Naperville. and other industry phrases my competitors were using. as a respected authority. .com or spyfu. I surveyed my customers with this question: “If you were searching the Web for a company like ours. and that is why Google ranks it higher. and some social media content. specifically. architect. This is why your blog is technically more important than your website for getting found. Your job is to think like a human being. While you can use analytical tools such as wordtracker.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. blog posts. You just have to point or link your blog to your website. Google loves blogs because the content tends to be updated frequently. SEO experts seem to enjoy being in the know about how Google uses complex algorithms to index Web pages. IL Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of using keywords to be found by potential customers searching for your products and services. 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. Let them do their job. which of these words would you use?” From choices that included landscape designer. Your website benefits from that link.com to determine the best keywords to optimize for.
copy. Within 60 days. both my blog and website rose to a page one Google search ranking for Naperville landscaper.104 | The Little Green Book I added my city as a modifier and sprinkled that keyword phrase into the titles. We determined our leads from the Web increased from 5% to 23% that first year alone. and tags for my blog and website. . And the phone started ringing.
Once you do break the code. The secret power of short messages It takes minutes to get started with Twitter. The approach is best described as socially acceptable stalking. Naperville. Here’s a tip: The strength .Develop Your Presence Online | 105 #33: The Real You in 140 Characters Guest Author: Jeff Korhan—True Nature Inc. Over time you will gather more followers as your network grows. you can get results that may not have otherwise been possible either offline or with other social networks. This is when you will begin to realize Twittering is like having a conversation in a crowded room. IL Twitter is a multi-media broadcasting network with a global reach. To be effective you have to manage interruptions and stay focused on your objective. Your goal with Twitter is to connect with people by following them and engaging in short communications known as Tweets. which you should be able to describe in 12 words or less. Presently the representation from the Green Industry on Twitter is minimal. but months to truly understand how it works. which are text messages that Twitter limits to no more than 140 characters. Your involvement now will virtually assure you of a leadership position in this powerful social media marketing network. Knowing this. 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.
or controversial information is transmitted around the world via Twitter within seconds. It encourages interaction on the network.106 | The Little Green Book of Twitter rests within the possibilities that are created when communications are limited to a handful of words. This means your Tweet from home can reach out across the world and come right back to help you in your local community. which is counterproductive to how Twitter works best. There is a reason Facebook has adopted a similar format as Twitter’s. which is a rebroadcast of your message by a follower to their network of followers. The functionality of Twitter continues to expand as it grows. Real time global search Some people like to keep their Twitter networks small and private. However. This is how interesting. which increases the benefits for everyone. You can choose from multiple applications to embed images. And you never know who is connected to whom. which only increases its value further. When everyone is forced to reduce their message to its core value. You may not necessarily be interested in what’s happening around the globe. your messages are going to occasionally get retweeted. . and that attracts even more participation. even if you have just a few followers. valuable. This effectively encourages a real-time conversation between you and your followers. and so on. attracting even more followers. not through the social networks. but the neural networks in the human brain. These conversations attract more followers that can participate and add to the content. the quality of the content goes up. but you have to keep in mind that we live on one planet where all communities eventually merge into one. It also allows for rapid transmission and reception.
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. . with a searchable trail that leads back to you. trust the process. then Twitter can help you increase your search engine ranking for customers searching for your products and services. What is interesting is what happens with that multimedia content that some consider idle chatter. Enjoy the conversation. Watch.Develop Your Presence Online | 107 video. listen. That’s okay. It is a true multi-media platform. Get involved. but go easy at first. Twitter is one network where to some extent you can fake it till you make it. Twitter not only has a real-time. Getting results The best way to learn Twitter is the same as any other network. You will discover that many Twitter relationships expire quickly. it builds a sustainable Web presence for your business. such as a new relationship that you may not have been able to develop through traditional networking. a Tweet is no different than a page on the web that is potentially indexed by Google. After a period of a few weeks you will begin to have small successes. global reach. We know with certainty that Google rewards multi-media content with higher rankings. and music into your Tweets. If you are using the right keywords. Search for industry leaders and trusted friends and learn by following them. and learn. Notwithstanding its limitation to 140 characters.
Video will grab and hold a prospects attention longer enabling you to pull them further into your marketing and sales process. Before convincing yourself that you cannot possibly do this. First. film crew or production company needed. Second. almost to the point that consumers expect video when they visit a website. You can do all of the work yourself— no videographer. Video sharing websites like YouTube. The biggest advantage to using video is that it enhances communication. Regardless of how tech savvy you may or may not be.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 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.com are flourishing. the tools to create a video and share it with the world are accessible to everyone at very low cost. It’s impressive—your prospects will definitely take note. This means more people will find and visit your site. This convergence of technologies has made online video commonplace. Putting yourself front and . understand that a small number of landscape professionals are already utilizing video to promote their services. The reasons for using video online are many. as mentioned previously. Instead of reading standard text. your prospects can see and hear you deliver your marketing message. using video on your website or blog actually places your site higher in the search rankings. using video is a great way to stand out from your competition.
see here: http://bit. Where to begin There are numerous ways to create video beyond using a traditional camcorder or professional video camera.Develop Your Presence Online | 109 center also adds a personal touch—prospects can put a voice and face with your company.com in the form of screen capture video by simply recording the action on my computer screen (See an example here: http://bit.ly/idWfb). You can use video on your website in multiple ways. 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. Talk to a website designer or programmer if you are not familiar with how to do this. You can then share this same video across other social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. You can turn your photographs into a slideshow video with music or a voice narration—no video camera required (For an example. there are many ways to share it online.ly/8xG8V). Adding the video to your website or blog is the final step. I create video tutorials for LandscapeLeadership. The easiest way is to upload it to video sharing sites like YouTube.ly/14Vgpu). You read in the . After you have recorded and produced your video.ly/3ypabu).ly/3ypabu).com. Posting your video to multiple platforms ensures that it is exposed to a broad audience. as mentioned in tactic #30: Maximize Your Exposure. I personally use video as one way to showcase my portfolio (see here: http://bit. 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.
video allows people to feel like they know you. Landscape designer Genevieve Schmidt creates “How To” videos for homeowners on her blog (see here: http://bit. much less using video online! But online video has been one of the easiest ways to presell to potential clients that I’ve found.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). 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. Think about it--if writing doesn’t come easily to you. then it can be hard to make a real connection to people in pamphlets or a traditional website. CA Genevieve Schmidt—Genevieve Schmidt Landscape Design When I talk with my landscaper friends.ly/zVRgC).com. Video allows you to talk directly to your potential clients and tell them about yourself in a way that feels natural. uses video as part of his sales process (see here: http://bit. Jody Shilan. editor of FromDesign2Build.ly/1HljKc). All of these examples illustrate the many powerful ways you can utilize video to market your company. In addition. before you’ve even spoken on the phone! The fact is that people decide to hire you because they like and trust you.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. Case Study --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Arcata. most of them are intimidated by getting a website up. If you can help them feel .ly/2xziXj).
and smile whenever it feels natural. which you copy and paste into the html code of any website or blog. YouTube provides an embed code.Develop Your Presence Online | 111 comfortable with you before they call. glare spots and wind rushing by the microphone. If you get nervous. . I use a $70 Flip Video recorder. Zoom in and record your head and torso. talk slowly. not your entire body. Keep each video short and about one topic . which has software bundled in to allow you to edit your video very quickly. Expect to do many takes to get one video you’re happy with. I find it takes at least two tries to get comfortable.under 3 minutes is best. Don’t be intimidated by cost or the technology – video is super-simple nowadays. which is free and easy to use. then two to three more to say things succinctly. to upload my videos. Here are some quick tips for shooting great video: • • • • • Don’t read directly from a script – use bullet points instead. you’re that much more likely to land the job. Shoot in a quiet location on a still morning to avoid squinting. Then I use YouTube. just breathe deeply. Shoot your video straight through so you only have to edit out the beginning and end.
Twitter. Brainstorm ways in which you can incorporate video as a part of your web presence. how can you make it more consistent? (1 hour) Sign up for a free Twitter account at www.com/jasoncupp.com. then jump in. (1 to 2 hours) Watch the videos included in tactic #34: The Future is Now. Don’t worry about posting anything at first.com/jeffkorhan and Jason Cupp at http://twitter. If you see value and potential in the service. You can follow me at http://twitter.com/chris_heiler. .112 | The Little Green Book What You Can Do Right Now (1 to 2 hours) Evaluate your current presence online. Is your current status sufficient or should you expand it? Is your marketing message and image consistent from one platform to another? If not. just follow a few interesting people to evaluate how they are using Twitter. You can follow guest authors Jeff Korhan at http://twitter.
Your message also needs to be more personal. I . advertising must be more targeted. It’s time to separate yourself from the competition and be heard through the noise. targets an individual community of homeowners on a personal level. you will read how Jason Cupp.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. provide more value with less salesmanship and must be delivered at an opportune time. In this chapter. 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. The marketing strategies in this chapter will teach you how to do exactly that. We need to cut through the noise by applying the new rules of advertising. First. These are the new rules of advertising. CEO of Highland Outdoor.
It is not the most effective strategy for establishing a strong position in the marketplace. First—and second—impressions Advertising is expensive. 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. Everything is negotiable—ask for a lower rate and for something additional in exchange. Second. This is a terrible excuse for throwing money away. There are legitimate reasons for adding a dose of print advertising to your marketing mix. In my opinion. We don’t want to ignore this sector of the marketplace. Some play the “We just want our name in front of people” game. it’s most valuable for companies who already have a strong position in the marketplace—and need to sustain it. 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. First. there remains a large percentage of the marketplace that still gets a majority of their information from publications such as local newspapers and magazines. In addition to that.114 | The Little Green Book #35: If You Must… Let me first state that I am not a big proponent of traditional print advertising. Next. especially for a full-color ad that is large enough to grab a reader’s attention. purchasing advertising can provide you with extra leverage in dealing with publishers. the ad must run consistently over time for your brand to stick in the .
Encourage visitors to subscribe to your blog’s feed. Give away useful information. Give away coupons and other special offers. which means you need a higher return on that investment than just a few measly glances from readers. As an example. You must then go the extra step and encourage them to take action. 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. Post “how to” maintenance videos on your blog that coincides with the season and time you are advertising. Readers could visit my website and download the list for free in exchange for their name and email address. I offered a free list of heirloom plants appropriate for these homes. when I advertised in a neighborhood of historic homes. blog or Facebook. Offer a weekly email tip that they can subscribe to. Here are some ideas: • Offer a monthly company newsletter with valuable information that they can subscribe to (see tactic #39: Deliver Your Message Monthly). Offer maintenance advice via video. • • • • . If you are able to do this. 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. 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. This adds up to big bucks. signing up for your company newsletter or following you on Twitter.Leverage the New Rules of Advertising | 115 mind of a consumer. 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. Of course.
000 versus a newspaper with circulation of 300. Don’t try to be all things to all people when it comes to advertising. You could be better off advertising in an inexpensive neighborhood newsletter with a circulation of 3.” Where to advertise is another question that requires careful consideration. “Follow us on Facebook”. In the advertisement. Keep in mind. instead encourage readers to. . blog or Flickr. whether it’s on your website.116 | The Little Green Book • • Encourage readers to visit your online portfolio. Target those publications with readers at specific income levels.000. don’t just say. “follow the progress of Smallville Library’s landscape renovation on our Facebook fan page. Encourage readers to visit your online social networks. large circulation numbers are not as important as matching your business to specific demographics. professions or hobbies that are in alignment with those of your clientele.
There are six steps to crafting an effective postcard campaign: . high quality post cards are inexpensive to produce. The fact is. Two to four percent is an average return rate for most direct mail campaigns. It’s not enough to send a pretty picture hoping it is memorable enough to stick in the prospects mind. The typical conversion rate of those contacts to an actual sale is typically around 50% in my experience.Leverage the New Rules of Advertising | 117 #36: Mail Your Message Guest Author: Susan Cohan. 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. APLD—Susan Cohan Gardens Chatham. This means every 100 cards should yield one qualified lead. whether it be visiting your website and signing up for your company newsletter or contacting you directly. Putting it all together It is your job to create a compelling postcard that engages your audience with a call to action. This means you can expect two to four direct contacts for every 100 postcards you mail. relatively simple to design and the least expensive option to mail. As with any direct mail campaign. Direct mail marketing can seem like an expensive and daunting venture. 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. You need to lead them to action. you must have realistic expectations.
You can use a local print shop to produce your postcards or one of the many production houses online. You may love that one project you did at a client's country place.Unless you have excellent graphic design skills. You can learn a lot just by visiting a few websites.You can create a very specific recipients list based on a variety of demographic data. Step 2: Designing the card. Step 4: Identifying the recipients.118 | The Little Green Book Step 1: Your visual and verbal message. Be sure to include your call to action and all contact details.Choose a highresolution image that showcases your best work. Often. 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. A good example of a full service company is ModernPostcard. Start with zip codes and then add the criteria for the customers you want to reach. Your name should be on the front and back of the card. Business-to-consumer (B2C) lists are available from many list services. If not. Some provide list and mailing services and are considered full service postcard marketing companies. Step 3: Producing the card. Often. collaborate with a graphic designer. postcard printing houses have design services that you can use. All will require that your postcard layout be uploaded to their site and that you approve their proof copy before the cards are printed. Ask yourself if this image also represents what your target market can visualize in their yard. don't design the postcard yourself.com. as well as the postcard printing .
USAData. For a spring postcard.Allow plenty of time to stamp and label your cards if you are going to mail them yourself.Leverage the New Rules of Advertising | 119 houses themselves.com is a good place to start. Timing can make the difference between success and failure.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. If you use a full service postcard company. If you want to generate your own list. . Some postcard services will be able to get better volume postage rates and will take care of the labeling and stamping for you. Step 5: Choosing the mailing date. Bundle them by zip code for faster delivery before you take them to the post office. Step 6: Mailing the card. allow four to six weeks. mail your card during that week and try to time it so it arrives on a Wednesday or Thursday—right before the weekend. 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. If you want to tie into a major event like a regional flower show or festival.
and a twist on the previous strategy. An often overlooked market segment is “New Home Buyer’s”. sells in one of three local neighborhoods. These folks are often in need of landscape services upon purchasing their home.000. but matches my niche perfectly. I send the new homeowners a handwritten. like postcard mailings mentioned in the previous tactic. With a little more effort. I have received an outstanding 20% response rate from these personalized cards. matching very specific criteria. whether it’s design work. a lawn renovation or maintenance plan. The reason for this. targeted and personalized direct mail strategy that can be executed in real-time (unlike an annual mass mailing). you can actually achieve an even higher response rate. beyond the personal touch. I only send cards to homes located in three neighborhoods. You . 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. You do this by personalizing your marketing message. What I’m referring to is an automated. built before 1930 and valued at over $400. This is a strict criterion. 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. personalized greeting card welcoming and congratulating them on their new purchase.120 | The Little Green Book #37: An Automated Lead Source Most direct mail campaigns. average a 2% response rate on the high end. is because these homeowners are highly qualified. I’ll use myself as an example to illustrate this: When a home. It’s important to get your company in front of this market before your competition—and in memorable fashion.
Just as before. The process This begs the question. you may want to contact them right away. it’s important to get the parcel number. Next. If you are a landscape designer or contractor. This is what I did. sale price. “How do I easily find new home buyers?” Your first step is to identify your search criteria: location. year built. Whichever service you use. How you find the name of the new homeowners will vary by state. enter your search criteria and sign up to receive email alerts.Leverage the New Rules of Advertising | 121 can do the exact same thing based on the demographics of your unique target market. How and when you approach the new homeowners is up to you and depends a bit on your business. You can also use Zillow. If you are a maintenance company. you might have more luck waiting until the homeowners are settled in. contact a real estate agent and ask them to set up a listings search of sold homes based on your criteria. You will be notified of homes being sold within just a few days. This targeted direct mail strategy is ideal for companies with a specialty or niche who can really focus in on their perfect . Most counties will have a website that enables you to look up specific parcels. This is truly an automated source of leads (and free). The agent should be able to set this up so the listings are emailed to you automatically. square footage.com to set up a similar system yourself. but I suggest starting with your county’s online service. giving you a jump start on your competition. This will aid in your search for the new homeowners. etc. I typically waited six months after receiving the listings before I sent my introduction cards.
ly/1v5X6V . and budget conscious.ly/4C5Acj You can view the actual introduction letter I send to homeowners here: http://bit. A combination of this personalized approach mixed with a mass mailing of postcards would be ideal. Author’s Resource ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- You can view an example of the real estate listings that I receive here: http://bit. This may also be better suited for smaller companies who need to be more selective. in how and who they market to.122 | The Little Green Book prospects.
Recently. MO As landscape and exterior design professionals. Hence the reason the majority of client leads come from referrals and from those that actually witness our work. but also their names and telephone numbers. and client’s property. 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. 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. our work product speaks for itself . company. The letter included our company’s elevator pitch and outlined the details of the landscape project we would be coordinating. We used multiple online resources that not only gave us the neighbor’s addresses. We always make sure our office staff knows when a landscape project is about to begin so we can send the . we wanted to make it much more personal to generate more interest in our work. We felt the letters would be more effective and impactful if we personalized each.the better the design and installation our reputation reach increases. Although yard signs and door hangers have worked in the past. even hand writing the names and addresses on the envelopes. 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.
124 | The Little Green Book letters the same day we call for a utility locate. is a recipe for future success in this neighborhood. which in turn builds anticipation in the neighborhood. You can do the same wherever you work.ly/KRmJX . 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. It’s often the little things we do that catches the attention and earns the respect of potential clients. the letters arrive right before we begin the project. This. yet the increase in brand awareness and reach is an incredible payoff. combined with a strong reference from the actual client. My hope is that our introduction letter encouraged this action. Author’s Resource ----------------------------------------------------------------------- You can view the introduction letter from Highland Outdoor here: http://bit. This way. This direct mail strategy does not require massive amounts of time or money to execute. This is a marketing strategy that all landscape companies and professionals can execute in any neighborhood. One night during this particular landscape installation.
including architects.Leverage the New Rules of Advertising | 125 #39: Deliver Your Message Monthly While mass postcard mailings. Publishing a newsletter that is valuable to your readership can take a lot of time. 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. and the more targeted approaches discussed previously. interior designers and even realtors. Keep in mind. 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. most people still prefer to read newsletters in print so a combination of both print and email is ideal. Tell your story There is much you can include in a company newsletter. and is less expensive. Anyone who has the potential to provide you with a referral should be on your list. family as well as allied professionals such as contractors. especially if it’s in print form and mailed to your readers. builders. you will also need a way to stay in front of your clients and other contacts to generate referrals. I recommend publishing your newsletter quarterly and then work up to monthly if you are able. Your newsletter mailing list can include current and past clients. I suggest implementing the 80-20 rule: 80% of your content should be valuable to your readership and the other 20% can be . friends. making this format ideal for monthly delivery. The key is to include content that appeals to your unique readership. landscape designers and suppliers. A newsletter delivered via email takes less time to publish. prospects.
include one of your recent posts to encourage your readers to visit you online. Product and book reviews that appeal to your readership • • • • • • • • If you choose to publish your newsletter as an e-newsletter.Let your readers see behind the curtain. 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.com or Aweber. You can also ask other professionals to contribute tips to your newsletter. PR and press you have received Announcements such as events and special promotions or offers Tips and advice. If you have a blog.126 | The Little Green Book marketing and sales focused. Both Constant Contact and Aweber offer in-depth . whether it be design.com. Feature employees Discuss your service within the community. Share a bit about yourself personally and “what’s new” with your business. Here are some content ideas for your newsletter: • Personal commentary. Feature a different project in each issue with photographs and testimonials. I personally use Aweber for my business. These services allow you to design your newsletter using numerous templates—it’s a very painless process. construction or maintenance. I recommend doing so using email marketing software such as ConstantContact. or e-zine. 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.
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. 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. Email marketing software will cost around $15 to $20 each month. which you can view here: http://bit.ly/3sndCj Westover Landscape Design in Tarrytown New York offers a newsletter on their company website. This is the best way for people to subscribe to your newsletter.ly/2V04un .ly/4qDRSI They also publish a monthly newsletter for homeowners titled Growing Together which you can view here: http://bit. Author’s Resource ----------------------------------------------------------------------- The Davey Tree Expert Company publishes a print newsletter they send to commercial property managers and homeowners titled Arbor Topics.
Another notable difference is that my weekly tip includes much less information than what a typical monthly newsletter would. I try to keep it short and on point each week—making it easy for readers to digest (and for me to write).ly/1mz9Kt You can view one http://bit. I co-founded the website FromDesign2Build. 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.com Beginning in October of 2008. 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. 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. In October of 2009. In fact. I know Jody feels the same way about his weekly Trade Secrets. I have published a weekly newsletter written specifically for professional landscape designers and landscape architects. You can view one of my Profit Tips here: http://bit. We both use email marketing software from Aweber. Subscribers sign up via a form on our websites and are then automatically added to our newsletter lists—it could not be any easier. Jody also sends a weekly tip titled Trade Secrets which is written for landscape design/build contractors. writing my Profit Tip is one of the most enjoyable tasks for me each week.128 | The Little Green Book Author’s Case Study ----------------------------------------------------------------- Chris Heiler—LandscapeLeadership.com with Green Industry veteran Jody Shilan.ly/3HGUEX of Jody’s Trade Secrets here: .
we can target our prospects using all of that data. The Facebook PPC program is simple to set up. clients say in the sales process. Most everyone has heard of social networking – and even more have heard of Facebook. . birthday. and has proven to be highly effective for some landscape professionals (see the following case study). and spur creativity. MO More and more savvy clients in today’s marketplace are using online methods to find landscape firms to do business with. Often. You have seen Google’s PPC ads listed at the top of search listings as well as to the right of the listings. Users openly share their age. Facebook users place heavily coveted demographic information online – all behind a user name and password. “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. hobbies. You pay a small fee only when a web user clicks on your advertisement and visits your website. neighborhood. marital status. validate their reputation. Pay-Per-Click advertising is when you place an online advertisement that links to a specific page on your website (landing page). such as Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Pay-Per-Click advertising (PPC) to name just two. employment – and virtually everything in-between. Google Adwords is the most popular form of PPC advertising currently. Since Facebook has mined this demographic information. education. budget controlled.
PPC advertising also allows for greater flexibility—you can update your ads almost instantly. what pages they look at and from which pages they leave your site. pulling them further into your marketing and sales process. 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. as well as how to monitor it. so you can view metrics such as how long visitors stick on your website.130 | The Little Green Book Targeting your prospects Pay-Per-Click is not new to the online advertising game. Most PPC companies have tracking software built in. This is all valuable information. 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. PPC is a very controlled form of advertising from a budget standpoint. 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. If you have a well-designed company website. 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). business owners are finding their targeted clientele much easier. . Due to web users giving up a significant amount of demographic information. A word of caution however: Research PPC advertising thoroughly before jumping in. 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.
Through discussions with our staff. To create your ad. After setting up an account and logging in. This was well worth the investment. this activity led directly to sales of over $50. Facebook will automatically charge your credit card for the PPC fees. my landscape design/build consulting firm.75. etc.Leverage the New Rules of Advertising | 131 Case Case Study ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Jason Cupp—Highland Outdoor Kansas City. You will also determine how much you are willing to pay per click— usually $0. Choose your wording carefully! You will then set a daily budget of how much you would like to spend. You will need to have a Facebook account first. In turn. Setting up a PPC campaign on Facebook is easy. education. you will upload a photo and write a description about your company.276 unique visitors to the Highland Outdoor website. Facebook will even tell you how many users fit into these demographics. including a few of our marketing partners. We also attracted a different type of client that we would have not otherwise. location. You can then build your advertisement based on specific demographics such as age. I suggest $5 to $10 per day for one week just to test. In six months.064 impressions! These impressions resulted in 2.652.50 to $0. Highland Outdoor. A tutorial will walk you through all of your options and show you how to set it up. . This is all there is to it! Your advertisement will appear on Facebook the day after setting up your PPC plan. MO In the winter of 2008. click on the “Advertising” icon in the lower right corner. marital status.000—all at an advertising cost of $970. our ad received 3. we decided to use Pay-Per-Click Advertising through Facebook. decided to try some alternative marketing ideas to spread the word of our company.36.
design/build contractor or maintenance service. think about one of the neighborhoods you may be working in right now. . Google Maps and your county website’s parcel/property search. What can you offer readers in hopes of communicating with them in the future? (2 to 4 hours) Whether you are a landscape designer.132 | The Little Green Book What You Can Do Right Now: (1 to 2 hours) Evaluate your print advertising campaigns. 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. 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.com.
You will never have more fun than this marketing your business. you will be publishing your own magazine and books on-demand. Now is the time to learn how to leverage the wealth of technology available to us. You will publish your portfolio on CD. This chapter serves as a perfect example of why you need to scrap the old ways of marketing your landscape 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. You are different! You will flip through your portfolio effortlessly on your iPhone. When others are printing expensive brochures by the thousands.
I suggest creating a portfolio that is compact and easy to carry.Organize your photos in a logical way. And don’t underestimate the need of many people who prefer the tactile experience of flipping through pages. Bring your portfolio to networking events. You need to prove to people that your company is relevant right now. I suggest updating your portfolio annually. this is your brand that you carry with you everywhere. 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. professional conferences and speaking engagements. Because of this.134 | The Little Green Book #41: Take Your Work With You Even though we are living in the 21st century digital world. There is nothing less impressive than a portfolio with outdated content. especially photography. No doubt it is important. or hard-copy. we need to be able to quickly show them something. your portfolio should go. Only use your best photography. not 10 years ago. 8 ½” x 11” or 11” x 14” is a sufficient size. just as you would your company website. More than just a pretty picture Photography is only one part of your portfolio. After all. Wherever you go. but don’t overlook other elements that can be included. meetings with prospects. there is still a place for our physical. portfolios. A well-designed and impressive portfolio also contributes to your professional image. Do not use low-quality photos . I organize my photos by project and group “Before” and “After” pictures together to create a strong impression. Here are some things to include in your portfolio: • Photography.
I suggest including a page filled with client testimonials.Include charitable organizations and other community work you are involved with. • • • • • • A lot of effort can be required to create an impressive portfolio. • Drawings. If you have received Thank You cards and other notes from clients. and vice versa. I suggest including sketches. and your local chamber of commerce—any association that will lend credibility to your brand. civic groups such as Lion’s Club. Again. If possible. copy them and add them to your portfolio. There are many professional options available . Published Work. perspective drawings.When you win awards. so be sure to include them in your portfolio.If you have been featured in a magazine or newspaper. or earn certifications. Testimonials. This includes articles you have written for industry trade publications. Community Involvement. include these in your portfolio. include photographs of your involvement and testimonials from the organizations. Special Features. One beautiful photo delivers more impact than a dozen mediocre pictures.Include affiliations such as landscape industry trade associations.If you have written articles for magazines or other publications. Make sure the outside looks just as nice as the inside. then reproduce it and include it in your portfolio. Affiliations. only include your best work. Recognition.People enjoy looking at beautiful drawings and designs. This is more impressive than simply listing written testimonials. plan-view enlargements and whatever else best displays your talent. I suggest reproducing the article and including it as part of your portfolio.Showcase Your Portfolio | 135 simply to fill space.
It puts control 100% in the potential client’s hands. It’s like handing them a deck of cards.” “Me too.” “Oh. one limitation of a physical portfolio is that you most likely will not leave it behind with people. I’ve got 3 kids. It replaces frame. Choose one that best represents your brand.” I hate that. I suggest creating a complimentary portfolio on CD that you can leave behind (see tactic #43: Leave Your Work Behind). Keep in mind. For this reason. but also from scratching. it’s a little smaller than that. We used their mounting board product called “M6” (see here: http://bit. We found a mounting system online made by Pres-On.136 | The Little Green Book when it comes to packaging your portfolio. FAPLD—American Academy of Landscape Design Glenview. well I have this brown spot in the lawn that I’ve been trying to deal with for a couple years. In fact. That is one reason we came up with a pocket portfolio.ly/nMnoK). It not only protects them from bending. 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. The product is a self-adhesive. actually I design landscapes. . clear plastic that mounts to the face of photos. IL “So I hear you’re a landscaper.” “Well. but what. How do you explain to someone at a cocktail party what you actually do for a living? Are you a “landscaper”? Maybe you are. Study Case Study ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Tim Thoelecke. It is a miniature version of the one we take to client meetings. exactly.
but it puts control in the potential client’s hands. do not give the potential client the same kind of control. We put together 60 of them from 5x7 photos. stacked and passed around. They can also be put down when done. The beauty is that.Showcase Your Portfolio | 137 mounting and glass all in one. but I think there is value to the tactile element.ly/1SQjnY . not only is it a professional way to present your portfolio. See examples of Tim’s portfolio cards here: http://bit. as nice and flexible as they are. electronic portfolios. It’s now 10 years later and they are still very presentable. The main thing is that you are not locked into a linear process! Okay. you could have a portfolio on your iPhone. Also. Some people are glued to them. Others would rather talk business. The cards can be sorted.
options and more options You have many options when it comes to putting your portfolio online.com and Photobucket. but I do recommend complementing this with an online version.com. you can simply share a URL which will lead people directly to your portfolio. You no longer need to email gigantic files to share photos. Another benefit of uploading and sharing your photos online is that you can “tag” your photos with keyword-rich titles and descriptions.138 | The Little Green Book #42: Share With The World Just like everything else in the world. Picasa. you may even want to watermark your photos with your company name or website URL to gain even more brand recognition. your photos will appear in search rankings leading more traffic to your website. Along with this tagging. you can access them from wherever you may be. If done properly. After moving your photos online. I don’t suggest giving up your beloved physical portfolio. You don't need to be sitting across from them at their kitchen table. The most important reason for this is so potential clients can access your portfolio 24/7 on their own time. 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. Websites such as Flickr. portfolios have moved online. These are great for organizing and sharing pictures of your professional work as well as personal photos. Other social networking . whether at a client’s home or a networking event. Options.com are considered photo sharing websites.
such as Land8Lounge. Here are two examples: Chris Heiler’s VisualCV: http://bit.ly/XXId9 Jody Shilan’s VisualCV: http://bit. The possibilities are endless.com.info.ly/bLmw7 . are specifically for uploading and sharing your portfolio. edit and share my photos.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. such as Carbonmade. go here: http://bit. These services can work great in combination with a portfolio on a company website. I update my Flickr account immediately after photographing any of my work. have a built-in portfolio function for members to upload their photos to. This allows me to share my photos in real-time across multiple social networks.com and Landscapedia. While I update my website’s portfolio annually. Author’s Resource ----------------------------------------------------------------------- For a step-by-step video showing how I quickly upload. All of these options are free services. Other websites offering a paid service.Showcase Your Portfolio | 139 websites within the landscape industry.
I make the portfolio CD’s myself using relatively simple software in order to keep my costs down. To keep things interesting. First. Instead of featuring specific projects. I use PhotoShop Elements to edit each picture so that the view or detail is exactly . as if I gave them a very special gift. Only use your best photos—the ones that show your work in the best light. I explain that the CD will enable them to look at my portfolio in depth after our initial meeting on their own time. It is important to remember that you want your CD to reflect your design style. These portfolios are geared towards consumers and should ‘unfold' like a glossy magazine article. This serves two important functions for a potential client. Second. APLD—Susan Cohan Gardens Chatham. NJ Each time I visit a new client I hand them a copy of my portfolio on CD. This format keeps the portfolio and website as companion pieces to each other. so the format you choose should reflect that. They are always thrilled.140 | The Little Green Book #43: Leave Your Work Behind Guest Author: Susan Cohan. Putting it all together You will not be showing your portfolio to an art director or another professional. I have organized the photos in my portfolio differently than on my website. I feature design elements such as garden architecture or cottage gardens. they are appreciative that I am not wasting the consultation time to promote myself. via the CD I am actually selling myself and my services a second time—after I'm gone.
Next. Any office supply store will have paper sleeves and plastic jewel cases for you to select from.com. This program is easy to use and relatively inexpensive. Picnik. I use PowerPoint to create the actual portfolio. 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. Resource Author’s Resource ----------------------------------------------------------------------- You can view Susan Cohan’s portfolio here: http://bit. also from Avery. For this process I use labels from Avery and a product called CDStomper.com is a free online photo editing tool that also works well. You have many choices available when it comes to packaging your CD. less seems skimpy.ly/Rr9IN . More than this is too much to absorb. Once the PowerPoint document is complete. Free PDF converters are available through a variety of on-line services such as CutePDF. I save it as a PDF because most people are more familiar with viewing PDF files versus PowerPoint files. The next step is to copy the portfolio to the CD from your computer and create and apply the CD label. I try to limit the slides or portfolio pages to about 20-30 including title slides and contact slides.
com). hardscape and structural details. be sure to include macro-photography of plants. You . The first step is to download Blurb’s free BookSmart bookmaking software from their website. Imagine pulling out your very own hard cover book to show a prospective client. whether online or on a CD.142 | The Little Green Book #44: Become Your Own Publisher Anyone can publish a book—I’m living proof. Your book can contain less information than a magazine and will mostly focus on your photography. I highly recommend using Blurb.com (this book was not published by Blurb. Why should you? Because there is not a more impressive way to present your portfolio than in book format. You will design your entire book with this easy to use software. “I’m intrigued. but…” There are many options available online that will enable you to create your own masterpiece. As with other portfolio formats. you will also differentiate yourself from your competition. This isn’t to say that you should only print a picture book— you can do much more than this. Also. Blurb makes this easy for you. Publishing your portfolio in book format can also be less work than publishing a magazine which I discussed in the previous marketing tactic. You could also include pictures of the clients themselves as well as testimonials. only use your absolute best photography in your book. during and after construction photographs along with descriptions such as design-intent statements or challenges involved. You could chronicle individual projects by including before. Beyond making a great impression.
com website. You can also add an author description. and professional contacts to view your book online as well as share your book preview across social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.ly/1riZwh). but also with your past clients and other allied professionals. family.95 for a 7”x7” hardcover to $59. 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.com. I recommend not only sharing it with prospects. as well as link to the preview from your website or blog. it’s just a matter of placing your order on the Blurb. 2009).95 for a 12”x12” hardcover of 20 to 40 pages (pricing as of October. Your book can be printed and in your hands within seven to ten days. When you create your book using Blurb. This metadata. you can invite friends. You can even display your book at garden centers and nurseries that refer . There are two distinct ways to use your book for marketing purposes—online and offline. Using Blurb’s BookPreview function (see examples: http://bit. You can do all of this before even printing your book! Sharing your book online is great. as well as the book’s content. is searchable online which means your book will appear in search rankings just as your website would. Shipping is a flat rate of $6.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. You also have the option of hiring a BlurbNation expert to design your book for you. Display your book at garden shows and bring along to networking events. artwork and text.99 for one to five books. but what we really want is to hold the book in our hands and share it with people. Prices range from $22. After designing your book.
Too bad they have already collected a dozen other brochures throughout the event. a 20-page magazine would be $4. plus shipping.144 | The Little Green Book you to customers. you think to yourself. Because you will only print a small number of books. What happens? Without getting even a decent glance. all of the mailing is done for you. And unlike brochures from your local print shop. you cannot possibly give them away to everyone. This will not get thrown away! MagCoud. Magazines are brilliant full color on 80lb paper with saddle-stitched covers--they look terrific.00 plus shipping. 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 also have the ability to subscribe all of your clients so you never actually touch the magazine. these are printed ondemand with no minimum orders. Each magazine costs 20¢ per page. For this reason.com enables you to design and publish your own custom glossy magazine for about the same price as a quality four-color brochure. architects and realtors. As an example. your pretty brochures find themselves in the bottom of a trash can. You can’t do that with brochures! You could also send copies to prospects. you confidently place a beautiful. "They will be so impressed with my work". builders. full-color glossy magazine into their eager hands. or whomever else you want to get in front of. . Now picture yourself at the same event and instead of handing out a generic company brochure. Author’s Resource ----------------------------------------------------------------------- Picture this: You're at a networking event introducing yourself to folks by handing them your freshly-printed full color brochure.
ly/4ATRmX .Showcase Your Portfolio | 145 When planning the content. PhotoBucket and Picasa. Can you expand on what you are currently doing by creating a complimentary portfolio in a different format? For instance. the other 20% is about you. Provide your readers with real value. if you have a physical portfolio. testimonials. not 101 reasons why you think your company is great. etc. What You Can Do Right Now: (1 hour) Assess your current portfolio. think like a magazine editor.? Consider what other things you might add to your portfolio beyond photographs. Can you do the same? You can see how I organize my photos on Flickr here: http://bit. Does it need to be updated with fresh photographs. (1 hour) Spend some time online browsing photo sharing websites like Flickr. Plan your content using the 80/20 rule—80% is valuable information readers can use. consider creating a portfolio online or putting it on CD. (1 to 2 hours) Assess the content of your portfolio. Take note of how other landscape professionals are using these sites.
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!
a Certified Landscape Professional and Kolbe Certified Consultant. Ltd (www. speaker and leader. designer. Susan Cohan.stevegriggsdesign. is a renowned landscape designer with decades of experience creating unique outdoor spaces for a high-end clientele.vg33.com) servicing the southeast side of Grand Rapids for lawns and snowplowing.Contributors Award winning.larryslawnservice. is a Green Industry business owner. (www. and 131) Larry Ditkoff operates Larry’s Lawn Service and Snowplowing. (see page 94. the Professional Landcare Network. Learn more about Jason at www. and redevelopment of apartment buildings in Brooklyn (www.com).susancohan. 117. and all of West Michigan for stump grinding and tree work. Steve’s business also encompasses development of properties in the Catskill Mountains. He recently served the industry as President of PLANET.com/susancohan) is often featured in traditional and digital media. 129. and 140) Jason Cupp.com. Via her blog Miss Rumphius’ Rules (www. 123. in 2008 and 2009. (see page 90. (see page 27) .twitter. APLD. Susan was recognized in 2009 New Jersey Life ‘Editor’s Choice’ for exterior design.com/blog) she regularly shares her thoughts on design. consultant. (see page 37) Steve Griggs of Land Design Studio Inc.com or contact him at jason@vg33.
community engagement and brand awareness in her work. and encourages landscape professionals to check out the Vectorworks Landmark-US Facebook fan page.com.gardenofpossibilities. tweets as @vectorworks. communications. (see page 76.com or follow her on Twitter @NCoastGardening. IL.com and resides in Naperville. (see page 110) . (see page 48) Genevieve Schmidt is a tech-savvy landscaper in the redwoods of Northern California. Jeff blogs at www. owner of Roberts & Roberts Landscape and Garden Design (www.jeffkorhan.NorthCoastGardening.com. reputation. and 105) Jessie Newburn is the PR Gal at Nemetschek North America. She writes for www. CT.com.com) in Stamford. freelance writer and lecturer. She blends PR. 103. the makers of Vectorworks® Landmark design software. (see page 96) Deborah Roberts.GenevieveSchmidtDesign. is a professional landscape designer.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. and you can reach her at www. and referrals. Deborah can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Her blog can be found at www.
Contributors | 151 Jody Shilan. Tim’s current venture is the American Academy of Landscape Design (www. He can be reached at 201425-1869 or jody. Tim’s awardwinning design-build work has appeared in over 70 publications.com. now Green Industry consultant.com). is a past president and Fellow of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers. a professional development program that improves the confidence and skills of landscape designers and landscape architects.shilan@FromDesign2Build. MLA is a former design/build contractor.aaldweb. (see page i. and 136) . His website. FromDesign2Build.com. 50. is the perfect resource for landscape contractors who want to take their business to the next level. (see page 65) Tim Thoelecke. FAPLD.
For speaking topics and more information visit: www.Who is Chris Heiler? At times a landscape designer.com.com/ChrisHeiler . always a dreamer. editor.ly/v6iu2 Chris' Lifestream: http://bit. Connect with Chris: LinkedIn: http://bit. He is addicted to coffee.ly/uI5vV Facebook: http://bit.VisualCV. travel. Self-proclaimed lazy. Chris is also an author. 1980’s music and is a rabid Notre Dame Football fan with a son appropriately named Rockne. Chris is editor of LandscapeLeadership.ly/X0uGL Twitter: http://bit. LLC. cofounder of FromDesign2Build. works less than 30 hours per week and manages to sneak in an afternoon nap each day.ly/f9vJK Hire Chris for your event: Chris is available to speak throughout the country at Landscape Industry events. he takes great pride in the fact that he has no employees.com and President of Fountainhead Gardens. and blogger.