Dave Matz opened the Atlanta Landscape Group in Georgia in October of 1999. As golf in Georgia explodes in popularity, Dave realized the profit potential of putting greens as an “add-on” product and service for his landscaping business. Late last year, he found the All Pro product, liked it, and began installing it. Then there was the addition of Nicole, Public Relations Director, to the All Pro staff, so he called to see what she could do for him. After several informational interviews, he sent Nicole all the materials so she could do her job of establishing a relationship with a local reporter from Atlanta. It took 3 months for a reporter to become interested in writing about putting greens, however, a freelance writer for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, picked up the information and wrote a feature story in its Home & Garden insert.

On December 26th, 2002, a well-written story about putting greens appeared in the AJC. Because reporters write objectively based on the research they collect, Dave was only 1 of 4 Atlanta-area dealers mentioned in the story. However, Dave has booked over $92,000 in estimates just from that story. He has already converted $20,500 of them into actual sales of which he is 30 days backlogged with installations. PLUS, he booked a job in March for a 36’x40’ green worth $13,500 alone! All from FREE publicity. As a result, Dave decided to add “GolfScapes” as a sister company to the Atlanta Landscape Group, in January 2003.

Sometime in January, one of Dave’s landscaping competitors asked if he was going to exhibit his products at the upcoming “Atlanta Garden & Patio Show.” Dave found out that this guy charges an average of $36 per square foot on putting green installations. Dave had not planned on exhibiting, but as soon as he hung up the phone, he realized, “I have to be at that show!” So he bought his 10’x10’ booth space for $1,000. This competitive leap of faith proved to be a profitable one.
About 30,000 people attended the show, many of which recognized Dave from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Home & Garden insert. Dave invited one of his potential clients (also an AJC inquiry) to come and test his product at the show, which is a common practice in the industry. Doing so actually confirmed the gentleman’s purchase decision, resulting in a $3,000 sale. Dave sold another $4,200 green, and booked $10,000 more in estimates during the show. An owner of a landscape supply company approached Dave wanting him to install a “sample” green at the entrance of an upscale neighborhood where he works. This green will be visible for all the neighborhood residents to see as they pass by and is certain to be a promising sales venture for Dave.

During the show, Dave held a raffle with his display green being the grand prize. Doing this served many purposes:

  • Raffles almost always attract larger numbers of visitors to a booth.
  • Dave received all of the entrants’ names, addresses, and phone numbers that are a valuable database of potential customers for a follow-up campaign such as a newsletter or post cards.
  • The buzz of the raffle increased his visibility during the show because he wasn’t raffling off an inexpensive product, and,
  • The rule of the raffle was that the winner had to pick up the green at the end of the show — so Dave didn’t have to haul it out!

Considering Dave’s profit of 60% on the sales from the Patio Show, his investment of $1,000 for booth space has been more than justified. He blew through 500 brochures before the show ended, and formed many positive relationships with those who have the propensity to buy goods such as putting greens, even during an uneasy time with our economy.

In yet another leap of faith, Dave created “GolfScapes” as a subsidiary company to the Atlanta Landscape Group — as his full-time job! His trustworthy staff will now run the landscape side of the business.

Dave built another green for the Atlanta Golf Show, which took place at the end of February. From this show, he already has 3 estimates booked; one of which is a $15,000 job for an apartment complex!

Every contractor can achieve similar results by entering your green in Home & Garden shows, Spring Expos, Home Builders Association shows, Patio & Garden shows, Golf Expos, Golf Associational shows, Golf Tournaments, etc. Get involved with your community and the sales opportunities will abound for you, too!

Okay guys, here it is. When you call me for free publicity, I am going to need several things from you in order to facilitate the process. Here’s why:

Public Relations is the management function that establishes and maintains mutually beneficial relationships between an organization and the publics on whom its success or failure depends.

I must establish such relationships with the members of the media that will benefit your company best. This is why publicity does not happen overnight. It may happen in two weeks, two months, or longer. Putting greens are not “hard” news, which means I only get one chance with the media. Once a publication runs “soft” news, or a feature story, it will not run anything similar anytime soon. It’s also extremely difficult to get stories into a competing publication from the same town. Once something runs as “news”, no reporter will write about what his or her competitor already covered.

In order to make this process go as smooth as possible, I need the following cooperation from you.

1 I need ALL of your company information.

  • Name, address, phone, fax, email, web site.
  • Background info, years in business, how old is the putting green aspect of it, who are majority of your customers?
  • What are you doing to market yourself currently?
  • What is your town’s culture, its trends, personality, etc?
  • I can get all this from a phone interview, but if you have it typed or written, that is even better.

2 Decide what newspaper or city magazine you would like to possibly be written about in.

This paper should be local, and you should have a customer from the exact area the paper is from. Example: if you want a story in the Denver Post, you need to have a customer with a green in Denver. Send me a FULL issue of that paper – Sunday papers tend to be best, 2 newspapers or magazines maximum.

3 I need 2 or 3 of your customers’ names, addresses, and phone numbers.

The media likes to see that this product is already in use by the local community. If you don’t have a customer yet, see the article “Marketing Mania!” in this issue of Golfscapes for a way we can work around it.

Include any of your marketing materials such as a brochure, letterhead and business card.

4 Provide photos of your install(s)!

These help tremendously when I try to describe your work to the media. Plus, with photos, you could be featured in one of our Golfscapes magazines, GolfScaper newsletters, or Pictorial magazines.
And finally: this free service is first-come, first-served.

5 If you want priority with free publicity, you need to be the first from your market to send me your materials!

Understand that this type of publicity insulates and protects you from other companies in your market. Once a newspaper or magazine runs a story about a putting green business, it will not run the same type of story about another company. Hurry and get FREE publicity about your putting green business before your competition does!

I am doing my best to get you guys what you need to help explode your business but I need your help to make it happen! Thanks, and good luck.