“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” –Simon Sinek

Have you ever noticed that the majority of landscape companies in our industry all have very similar advertising and marketing messages?

In most cases, the landscape will have the company name, logo and a general marketing message, boasting something along the lines of “free estimates” or “fully insured.” Their websites show the company name and phone number along with generic low-quality stock photos of residential and commercial properties. They are accompanied with messages stating, “We will make your landscape dreams come true” or “We’ll make your lawn the envy of the neighborhood.”

Unfortunately, most companies in the landscape industry make the same broad-based and underwhelming promises to lawn and landscape service consumers. And, by doing this, their marketing actually has the opposite effect: Instead of drawing people in, companies blend into each other, so nothing compels a prospect to call one company over dozens of others. This conformity in marketing and advertising can be dangerous as it strips away the value and identity of an otherwise high-quality company by basically telling its audience, “We are like every other lawn and landscape service provider out there.” It also commoditizes the business, ultimately forcing it to compete on price versus benefits.

The root cause of this problem aside from lack of education in this area is the typical financial constraints small businesses face as they try to balance company growth, quality and financial health along with dozens of other learning curves.

In order to overcome this obstacle, companies need to clearly and consistently communicate their mission, vision and unique advantages to not only the consumer but also to their employees, vendors and any other partners they may work with. But first they must determine what this message is.

Dig deep and think about what truly makes you and your company unique. Why do your customers buy from you versus the many other options they have out there? Once you identify the top two to three key aspects that make your company great, you can then take your competitive advantages and roll them up into a clear and concise marketing message that can be communicated (repeatedly) via every marketing and sales channel you have.

What are some examples of great marketing messages that will speak to the consumer’s needs? One example a landscape design and installation company could use would be, “Everything we do is driven by the desire to create beautiful and unique outdoor living spaces. We do this by controlling every step of the project from the design creation to the installation of the landscape as a full service landscape firm.” Another example of a great marketing message a lawn care company could use would be, “We protect the value of your lawn and landscape by providing the highest quality of products and services to produce the healthiest landscape.” Communicating why your company does what it does and how you do it will attract a much more captive audience, hopefully making your phone ring.

Keep in mind that just like any other business challenge you have faced during your career, marketing improvement is a work in progress and you don’t have to conquer it overnight. As long as you have the correct strategy in place, you can slowly transform your strategic marketing initiative over time.

Here is a brief exercise to help you create a great marketing message. The good news is your company already possesses these competitive advantages or you wouldn’t be in business. The next step is to simply identify what they are so you can move on to marketing this message.

  • Identify what it is that makes your company unique within the marketplace and think about what originally inspired you to start your business. What were the original needs you were trying to fill for your clients?
  • Create and craft a strong marketing message that you can share with the world. This message should have staying power and should stand the test of time.
  • Share this message first with your employees by putting it in any literature your company creates, whether it be employee handbooks or training manuals, and present this message at regularly held company meetings and presentations.
  • Integrate this message into all of your company’s marketing and advertising initiatives. This should include all advertising your company engages in whether its paid or free print, digital, social media, direct mail, truck signage or job posting signs.
  • Start off your regular weekly or monthly staff meetings by reminding your team of what your marketing message is. What is it that makes you and your company get out of bed in the morning? Remind your team of what your company’s purpose is. They will then remind your customers of the same thing.