Thursday, April 23, 2015

Answers To Common Lawn Problems

Picture by Hans on Pixabay
I received an email the other day with this very subject line from a major lawn and garden product manufacturer. From the outset, it had me hooked. Even though I knew that inside that email was a sales pitch to try to get me to buy their lawn products, that's not what they were offering. They were offering answers. Answer to weeds, insects, crabgrass (if only there was a real answer to crabgrass), and I was hopeful to find answers to any of my problems inside. So I clicked on the email to read it.

The reason this pitch worked was that it did not overtly try to sell me anything. Instead, it only tried to give me something for free. Answers that would otherwise have required at least a five minute Google search to obtain. When someone else has compiled those answers, or at least what they think them to be, and delivered them to my inbox for free, well, I should at least pay them the courtesy of reading, right? And what if one of those answers perfectly matched a problem I actually had? I might be inclined to purchase whatever solution they were peddling at that point.

To be successful, I noted this sort of approach has to have some basic tenets. Here are the ones I have figured out so far:
  • Start with the finish. This email was full of answers, not questions. They didn't even care what quesitons I had to ask. They had answers, and they were willing to give them.
  • Know what you can give away for free. In my instance, the company is willing to give the information and knowledge away for free because they anticipate that some of that will drive sales of their product. They won't give away the actual product for free. In some of your worlds, where your product is more intellectual capital, it becomes even more important to determine what you can give away for free and what you can't. 
  • Offer something of value without a sale. If every single "answer" to my common lawn problems involved the phrase "purchase our product," then the company would have failed. However, throwing out several freebies that don't even compete with their products doesn't negatively impact any business and provides a baseline to establish trust and rapport. If their free tip on watering my yard works well, or if I get my mower working perfectly with their mechanical tips, I might be more inclined to purchase their weed killer to solve my crabgrass issues. I'd do that because I trust their answers now, due to the free advice they have already given me.
What other companies use this approach? Do you trust them? Would you or have you bought from them?