sunday lawncare marketing strategy

Sunday’s Marketing Strategy: Growing a Lawn Care Subscription Box to $100m in Sales

We’re back at it with another bite-sized marketing strategy! Today we’re taking a look at a company called Sunday.

To be honest, I never thought I’d have so much to say about a lawn care company. Turns out there is a lot to unpack here.

Their product is pretty cool. When you hit the site they ask you to enter your address so they can create a custom plan for you. Then they ask you a bunch of questions that spit out a recommended series of products at the end.

I’m guessing they have a massive database on the back end for a few key variables like average temperature, sunlight, soil nutrients by region, etc.

Good stuff.

Their website, branding, purchase process, and creative are all fantastic so I won’t spend any time digging into those.

Rather, I’d like to focus on growth strategies.

Growth Strategies – A High Level Analysis

The make or break for this product lies in showing killer lawn pictures/testimonials. And then, giving new customers a killer offer to hook them. It’s classic direct mail marketing 101. And would serve them well as a foundational element to their marketing as a whole.

This is especially important because the product itself is not that new. Lawn care products already exist. And I’m sure their “zero-chemical” angle is fairly easily copied by industry incumbents. The novel elements here are a modern brand, pinpoint custom recommendations via big data, and a subscription model.

So we’ll want to leverage all that as much as possible by promising results people want. And getting them into a program right away.

Another high level area of focus I’m interested in here is residential vs. commercial. This looks to be a residential play at face value, but I could see them expanding into commercial as well. Notable that their lawn analysis tool scales to commercial lawns without tweaking much. I think this is worth pursuing mid- to late-game in the company’s growth plans… perhaps after raising a big funding round in the future.

So! That said, let’s get into the specifics of channel strategy. Because their target market is so big and broad, there is a lot to unpack here… starting with offline strategies.

Growth Channels and Strategies

Door-to-door Flyers

Something I’ve learned working in a variety of industires is that each industry has unique customer acquisition channels. For home and lawncare, door-to-door marketing falls into this category.

We’ve all seen those doorknob flyers for local lawncare, roofing, and home maintenance businesses. They do it because it works. And what better way to reach someone for a home product than at their actual home?

With a well-designed flyer with before/after photos and quality copywriting, this strategy could have a ton of ROI.

A bonus kicker would be advertising flyers in areas where they have existing customers. Then, use those customers as examples on the flyers. So, each prospect can go physically check out the testimonial lawn.

This would be super hard to do at scale, but these guys built their company on big data, so I think they have the chops to pull it off.

Spin up a big order of doorknob flyers, hire a bunch of college kids in each target market, and go to town.

Direct Mail

Continuing this line of thought. Direct mail would be another highly scalable avenue for the same sort of thinking. Each address corresponds 1:1 to a homeowner, so you know its the right audience.

The key here will be again, quality before/after photos, great copywriting, and a killer offer to hook people.

Also, an interesting CTA they might want to explore is to push people to go to their website and take their free lawn analysis. This would get offline traffic engaged on the website, and show them what the product has to offer.

The big challenge with this will be people who are already happy with their lawncare company/products/options. That will come down to what the real value props of this product are. For example, lower cost, ease of subscription, or higher quality ingredients. This will need to be tracked and tested.

Fun Lawn Signs & Stickers

Sticker marketing has been around for a while. Some great examples are:
Evernote sending laptop stickers that say “I’m not ignoring you, I’m taking notes” for people using their product in meetings.

Or, every snowboard and ski gear company ever sending logos and tags to slap on boards/skis.

Sunday has an opportunity here to use this time-tested tactic to spread brand awareness with fun, lighthearted tags and copy. Especially because they have really solid design and branding.

For example, a protective lawn sign that says something like “Please keep off the lawn, I can’t breathe when you step on me!” or “Shhh, this grass is sleeping. Please step around me”. Perhaps a little cheesy, but hey, I came up with those in 5 minutes.

Stickers could similarly be a good way to spread the brand with fun slogans and copy.

Facebook Ads

Any time we’re talking B2C marketing, Facebook is usually a worthwhile investment. Here, I think we can do a couple really specific things with this platform.

First, targeting homeowners in higher income brackets. This is a no-brainer.

Second, sending offers and blog content to a regargeting audience pixeled off of the Sunday website. This is also a no-brainter.

Third, hyper-specific retargeting tagged off of options selected in their signup funnel. For example, Big vs. Small lawns. Kids vs. Pets on the lawn. Sunny vs. Cloudy climate. The list goes on and on.

Fourth, demographic-specific lawn solutions and copy. For example, lawncare for people with kids. Or, lawncare for people with pets. These will be very different and specific targeting would kill here. As a side note, I’d also like to see this addressed more on their website. Perhaps as a Mega Menu of different target personas under a “solutions” menu option of some sort.

Fifth, video ads. I’ll dig into the creative element in a little bit, but I think there is an angle for video ads here as well.

Google Ads

This is an easy one — target bottom of funnel keywords on people looking for lawncare products to a keyword-specific landing page. It might take some tinkering to find an ROI though as I’m sure the competition has thinned out margins to shit.

The make or break for this channel is going to be balancing a well-calculated CAC:LTV ratio with the channel costs. It’s possible their subscription model is a competitive advantage over one-off product sales companies via this channel, if they have a higher LTV. So in this case they can spend more on higher CPCs.

Outside of that, they probably have two options on this one… take the hit upfront on ROI knowing referrals and spreading the brand will make up for it later. Or, optimize the hell out of their signup process to create a really low cost per lead/customer to profitably allow high CPCs.

Outbrain / Taboola

I have a love/hate relationship with this channel. You can get massive reach but it doesn’t always lead to sales.

However, because of the broadness of Sunday’s audience, I think this could be fruitful.

They just need quality blog content, or customer stories, and a decent-sized budget.

Video

This is an opportunity to get seriously creative. These guys should hire a legit creative agency (shoutout to the team at The Shop, who are killer creative geniuses) and make lawn care fun again.

For example, we’ve all seen the hilarious Dollar Shave Club ads that went viral. Sunday has a chance to replicate that success.

The reason why I believe so strongly in this is that lawn care A) has such a broad audience, and B) it’s not that sexy. Most lawn care companies I can think of are bland and boring. They inspire images of easily forgettable daytime TV ads that have been overedited to tasteless paste.

So, this would be yet another chance to leverage their fresh branding to stand out from the rest of the pack.

With some high quality video creative, they can do a few things.
First, pre-roll video ads on Youtube via Google Ads, and other video content aggregators.

Second, direct video ads on Facebook like I mentioned earlier.
Third, TV ads. The right demogrpahic is there. And most importantly,good creative will stand out vs. the competition.

Again, they could also add a verbal/visual CTA in video ads to visit their website for a free lawncare analysis. Thus transforming offline traffic to website traffic (and Facebook regareting pixels).

Partnerships

This is an interesting angle that I’m not sure will pan out, but might be worth exploring. I could see partnerships with landscaping and maintenance companies working pretty well… if they can nail more of a bulk product/audience.

It’s hard to say how this works without more knowledge of the unit economics. i.e. do they have a competitive advantage here vs. other lawncare products.

Channel development

More on the commercial side, there could be an angle for developing deep channel relationships. Again, I don’t know too much about the space, but I imagine there are middlemen for these kinds of products at scale.

For example. Are there MSPs for commercial lawncare? For gate communities? For corporate office lawn care?

What about consultant networks and bulk resellers?

Could be interesting.

Retail

I would love to see a retail play here. Get products into Home Depot, etc. But, it’s probably more of a late-game strategy after pursuing most of these other channels.

Perhaps a good entry point could be a “starter kit” that has 6 months, or a year’s supply.

It would be great for opening up to owned retail customer bases and capturing long term subscription revenue.

Referral / Affiliate Program

Last but not least, these guys should absolutely set up a referral program. The easiest way to get started would be to add a slip into each box. Let people know they can refer a friend to get $x off their next order, and give friends $x off their first order.

It’s a classic 2-sided referral program and will speed up regional penetration. Which is important for Sunday as they are targeting local communities at scale. So as one customer joins in a new area, they then spread the love to all their neighbors.

Tons of opportunity here.

On the affiliate program side, they could break into the many homeowner-targeted niche websites, blogs, gurus, and whomever else to layer on big audiences at scale.

So man, that was a lot

Turns out there’s a lot to unpackwith a big audience such as this.

Hope you took something away from this read and if you liked it please give it a like/clap/upvote/internet high five on whatever platform you read this. And check out my website at AndrewIshimaru.com for more.


Also published on Medium.

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