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.
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.
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
- 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
- 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
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,
- 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
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
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.
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.