As a marketer, I feel my professional life was vaulted when I discovered Dan Kennedy, one of the foremost direct response marketing experts. Dan’s principles are applicable to pretty much all small businesses and are particularly salient for landscape companies. In fact, I see an incredible lack of direct response practice in the green industry and feel there is significant opportunity for landscape companies to dramatically grow by applying these powerful strategies. I will certainly be giving a considerable share of writing to this topic overall.

As a starting point, let’s review what Dan Kennedy dubs the results triangulation. This became a mainstay in my consulting work throughout the world. My nomenclature was slightly different (I call these principles the three pillars). Name aside, these principles provided a simple yet significant paradigm shift in my thinking about marketing and sales early in my career. It is ever more pertinent to understand in the digital age.

So what are these three pillars? Simply put, they are: market, message, media. Every marketing campaign should be framed using these three pillars. Before you deploy a single Google or Facebook ad, send an email or distribute a press release, you must first consider the three pillars.

Beginning with the market pillar, you must consider who your customer is. What are their pain points? What are their aspirations? What keeps them up at night? What do they crave? You have to know your market, your customer as intimately as you can. Being in the hearts and minds of your customers is the starting point for any marketing and sales effort. Too often, companies start deploying ads with general messaging that everyone else uses and hope that someone sees it. You need to know your market before you can write ad copy or messaging that will resonate. Start here- write a profile of your ideal customer. This is the basis for everything to follow.

Next is message. This pillar pertains to the messaging that you are sending to customers whether it is through digital marketing, direct mail, etc. The centerpiece of your messaging should be your USP. I have written here regarding developing an effective USP. Your unique selling proposition gives your customer a reason to choose you over your competitor. Spend time developing it, it is one of the most critical things you will do for your business. In addition to your USP, your marketing messaging should ALWAYS contain an offer. ALWAYS. Creating an effective offer gives your customer a reason to respond NOW. Your offer should be irresistible to your customers. An example might be a discount on a new landscape design and installation plus 6 months of free maintenance. I will write further on designing effective offers in another post.

The final pillar is media, or the vehicle through which your messaging is employed. Make no mistake, this is an important pillar. However, may companies often focus on this pillar first without first developing offers that will resonate with the needs of their customers. Deploying Facebook or Google ads for the sake of doing so will not produce results. Sending a direct mail postcard and hoping that the homeowner will like your graphics and call you just won’t work. The media vehicle is important- you must learn to get directly in front of your ideal customer. But without giving them a reason to choose you, without giving them something irresistible to act on, your message will fail to inspire action.