The right touch

Reaching customers begins with a strong brand and marketing plan.

April 28, 2011
Lee Chilcote
Industry News

Mike Haskell mails postcards as part of his direct marketing.When Mike Haskell says that marketing is his hobby, he’s serious. He never stops thinking of ways to improve his business – even when he hangs out with friends. 

“I took a couple of guys out for beers after work, and one guy came up with the line, ‘Saving the planet one yard at a time,’” says Haskell. “It’s a little cocky but it’s true. We’re saving the planet by protecting lawns and using a true organic approach towards lawn care. I’m very passionate about protecting the environment.”

In addition to his catchy logo, the owner of Plant Solutions Tree & Lawn Care has worked hard to develop a strong, identifiable logo that conveys the company’s brand. “I believe in brand marketing,” says Haskell. “You’ve got to have a logo that people can identify, and it needs to be consistent.”

Haskell’s logo is prominently displayed, including on his $120,000 all-in-one truck. He bought the customized truck for its efficiency and environmental-friendliness, but it has also become a highly effective marketing vehicle.

“When people see our truck parked outside of a house, we get a lot of calls from that,” Haskell says.

But a good marketing plan is all encompassing. Haskell also invests in direct mail campaigns to reach his target customers, which are high-end residential homeowners in central New Jersey.

In late spring and summer, Haskell prints 50,000 postcards and sends them in three-week intervals to a targeted list of households. “They keep seeing the card, and eventually that pays off when people remember my name and call me,” Haskell says.

Haskell has also had success with Internet marketing. Through search engine optimization, he ensures that when potential customers in his New Jersey service area search under “lawn care,” Plant Solutions’ name rises to the top of the list.
“I get over 8,000 views of my main page each day,” Haskell says. “From those views, about 50-60 people click on the link and visit the site.”

Haskell also purchases advertisements in high-end home magazines.

Beyond Plant Solutions’ focus on organic lawn care, Haskell’s marketing hook is himself. “This is a third-generation, family business, and I really stress that.”


This story is one of three that appeared in Lawn & Landscape's Growing Green e-newsletter. To continue reading about Plant Solutions and Mike Haskell:

Custom built: After years of working for larger companies, Mike Haskell started his own small, specialized lawn care operation to fill the gap in customer needs.

On-the-job training: Employee education can go a long way in ensuring safety and a job well done.