One to Watch: Spring-Green
“Activity Highlights” focused on merchandise mailers targeting the homeowner, and our “One to Watch” is yet another example. A lawn care company, it faces surprisingly stiff competition in the mailbox from other lawn care providers.
Why so stiff? Partly because the window of opportunity for lawn care companies is short, as in most regions of the country lawn care needs to begin in the spring and then carry through the early fall. And, unlike merchandise (like pet supplies, supplements and cosmetics) that can abandoned for a competitor a few weeks later after purchase, choosing a lawn care provider is often a year-long commitment.
In March, the Who’s Mailing What! Archive witnessed several skilled efforts from such lawn care companies as Scotts (with its “Free Planning Kit” complete with attractive pictures and useful calendars, Archive code #356-174122-0803A), TruGreen (an information-packed self-mailer, Archive code #356-178407-0803C) and Lawn Doctor (with a $50 off coupon that resembles a $50 bill, perfed to the bottom of its self-mailer, Archive code #356-171895-0803C). Spring-Green, however, took the cake … err, lawn … with an expertly personalized, in-line printed effort.
The outer of Spring-Green’s plain white, 8-1/2˝ x 9-1/2˝ envelope gives three reasons for the prospect to open it up: better lawn, discount and gift. Personalized to the “[Last name] Family,” it asks, “Do you want a thicker, greener, healthier lawn this season?” Then it invitingly says, also in bold black letters, to “Sign up now for your special neighborhood discount!” Next, the words “free gift inside” and “open at once” are stamped in red on the outer. And, for some environmentally minded prospects, the reverse side tells the prospect to “ask about Spring-Green’s NEW Organic Alternative” (Archive code #356-714221-0803B).
The letter is the first component the prospect comes across inside, and it’s a dandy. A Johnson Box says it “takes only $32.95 to be on your way to a thicker, greener, healthier lawn,” and a business card is stuck to the top as well, with the name of a local Spring-Green manager and an offer (“call today and SAVE 20%!”) The letter is signed by the same manager, who says that his franchise is offering a “neighborhood discount price” and “three lawn care programs to match your needs and budget.” On the flip side of the letter is a thorough breakdown of these three levels.
Next is a reply form that’s perfed to a BRE. The form cleverly runs the “neighborhood discount code” along the bottom, right-hand side and gives only three options (boxes to be checked), all of which can move the prospect towards a sell. First is a “yes” that asks to be scheduled, second is “I have questions” and third is another “yes” that signs the prospect up for a free e-newsletter; for each box, one thing is asked for—in order, phone number, best time to call and e-mail address. Meanwhile, on the left side of the reply form are “three easy ways” to contact Spring-Green, including the reply form, a toll-free number and a URL.
On the back of the reply form is “the Spring-Green guarantee,” in a certificate-like presentation. It reads simply, “If you aren’t completely satisfied with the results of a Spring-Green application, let us know right away. We’ll make it right, or we’ll refund the entire cost of that application.”
Lastly, two additional components not normally seen in a lawn-care package complete the excellent performance. One is a sheet of free address labels, with attractive flowers next to the prospect’s address, “from your [prospect’s city] Spring-Green neighborhood lawn care professionals” —an unprecedented freemium from a lawn-care company. Also, a buckslip all about its new “organic-based fertilizer” is included.