The modern history of lawns and lawn care began in 1947 with the building of New York’s Levittown—when entrepreneur Abraham Levitt and his sons, William and Alfred, broke ground on a planned community located in Long Island. The Levitts converted rural farmland into a suburban community, named Levittown, and attracted droves of World War II veterans and their families.
For the next few years, the Levitts built more than 17,000 homes—each with its own personal yard. In fact, the community developed very specific rules requiring that all lawns be trimmed weekly and shrubs be kept shorter than four feet.
A shrewd businessman, the elder Levitt viewed a good lawn as a form of “neighborhood stabilization.” On adding lawns to each and every home, Levitt said: “No single feature of a suburban residential community contributes as much to the charm and beauty of the individual home and the locality as well-kept lawns.”
This obsession with lawn care still continues today. In fact, homeowners across America endlessly obsess over lawn maintenance, including tackling weeds, fertilizer, grubs, mowing, watering, drought and aeration.
And nobody knows this more than Ryan Farley, cofounder ofLawnStarter. Launched in 2013, Farley and his team have raised more than $24 million in funding and grown the online lawn care business into a trusted brand across the country.
While lawn care is definitely not an innovative, glamorous business, Farley insists that “being scrappy” is the way to propel an unglamorous business into success. The company’s marketplace platform helps lawn care professionals and consumers connect online or via an app to receive quotes and schedule various lawn services.
“Find ways to gain more reach by spending more time than money, and focus on achieving growth with what you have,” suggestsFarley.“Success doesn’t come from frills, perks, and expensive office spaces. It comes from attitude, being passionate, and growth hacking with a limited tool set until you can start scaling.”
While some services and products carry a very strong market appeal, many others do not. And selling an ordinary, unsexy product can be quite challenging.
Below are several tips on marketing and selling products that lack sex appeal from members of the Forbes Agency Council—an invitation-only organization for owners and executives of public relations, media strategy, creative, and advertising agencies:
Always Try to Share a Compelling Story: “The best marketing—for sexy products or not—happens when there is a genuine, compelling story told … Any product can have an interesting story and that is what drives people to action and keeps them coming back.” – Vinny La Barbera, CEO of imFORZA, an Internet marketing agency
Pull the Emotional Trigger: “No matter how ‘unsexy’ the product, there is still an emotional reason behind its purchase … Find that emotional reason and play it back to your consumers at every touchpoint possible.” – Jess Cook, executive creative director of branding agency TMV Group
Consider the Fundamentals of Marketing: “We’re selling to humans with emotions and desires to fulfill a need … the fundamentals of marketing are the most important things to keep in mind. The product is secondary.” – Jordon Meyer, president of Granular, a digital marketing agency
Differentiation is the Key: “Selling benefits will certainly speak to the customer, but how does your product stand out in the pack? … If you can identify and capitalize on your brand or product’s strengths over the competition, you’ll entice your customers with an important and strong advantage.” – Carm Lyman, president of the Lyman Agency, a PR and communications firm
Educate Users and Foster Engagement: “There are always users that need to know more to help them engage with a product, so market it like you’re educating someone and provide insight. – Lee Salisbury, founder and CEO of design agency UnitOneNine.
Focus on Your Brand’s Uniqueness: “Concentrate on creating a brand, not marketing a product, and you can create the market perception you want. Case in point: Geico doesn’t have a sleek product, but they have some of the best marketing campaigns. E-Trade is another great example of a concept that was made cool through creative branding and messaging. The key is to use your brand’s unique personality to fuel your marketing strategy.” – David Shadpour, founder and CEO of Social Native, a marketplace technology company
Highlight Your Product’s Problem-Solving Features: “My best piece of advice when trying to market a product that doesn’t have the industry-needed “sexy” appeal is to go for the solution. Feature a campaign on how your product solves a problem for the end user. How can it make the end user’s life better, faster, easier or remove pain? Provide the best solution and win the user.” – Kim Plyler, president and CEO of Sahl Communications, a public relations firm
Learn About Your Audience’s Preferences: “Just like every person is beautiful in their own way, the same thing goes for products. If it isn’t eye candy to some, it may be more emotionally or functionally beneficial to others. Make sure to keep it real and understand your audience. Selling a military jeep to a BMW fan isn’t going to end well.” – Omar Jenblat, founder and CEO of BusySeed, a marketing agency
Uncover Your Product’s Differentiators: “It’s the responsibility of the savvy marketer to discover what “sexy” is to their target. Every product can be positioned and messaged in a way that resonates with the target audience and differentiates itself from competitors. Our job is to do the research and ask the target the right questions, so we can discover the hidden sexy of every product.” – John Gumas, founder and CEO of Gumas Advertising
While your business may not be exciting and unique, it’s still extremely important and valuable. When designing your sales and marketing strategy, the key is to be creative and always think outside of the box. And keep in mind the wise words of the lawn king, Ryan Farley: “Success comes from attitude, being passionate and growth hacking.”
There’s always a way to sell your products, so get creative! And remember – NCH is here to give you the foundation to build a successful business. It all starts with aNevada LLC.