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Summer Conference 2013 Notes & Actions

DATE: 27th June 2013
LOCATION: Cambourne
COMPANY: UK Lawn Care Network
AUTHOR SJ
ATTENDING

Simon Johnson (UKLCN), Richard Salmon (ProLawnCare), Martin & Heather Ashdown (LawnsOne), Andy Watts (Thames Valley Lawn Care), David and Steven Randalls (Gras Roots), Richard Lilley (Garden Post), Nigel Clarke (Lawn Order), Jim Hewlett, Toni Norris, David Bradley (Lawn Tech), John Draper (GreenerGardens), Colin McKinnon (Lawn Restore), Tony Earls (Trinity Lawns), David Morris (Lawn Envy)

Speakers: Prof John Moverley, Mark Hunt (Headland) Mark DeAth (Headland), Colin Perry ( Perry Consulting)
CC  

 

POINTS 

Summary of Conference Notes – 27 June 2013 – Cambourne, Cambs – Sponsored courtesy of Headland Amenity 

The meeting opened at 9.00 am as Simon outlined the day followed by introductions. 

Simon introduced himself with a light-hearted summary of his commercial background; for those who attended, on a serious note however he failed to mention that he did study again in the 80’s at KingstonBusinessSchool and spent 2 years gaining diplomas in Business Studies and Marketing which are good foundations for the role of Secretary. 

Delegates introduced themselves and straight away we realised over 100 years of combined experience which will prove particularly useful for the 2 start-up businesses in the room. 

Action: Simon to consider start-up firms being assigned buddies to help with business development 

Simon explained how the UKLCN had lain dormant for some years but that within his marketing relationship with Richard of ProLawnCare he had been asked to assume the role of Secretary and, with the will of the Members, accept the challenge of regenerating the Network to once again be a going concern; the 2 principle objectives being new customer lead generation and running a Network for like minded independent domestic lawn care companies. 

We will need to re-sign existing members and grow membership to have national representation to make the site a plausible vehicle to meet the key objective of lead generation; other objectives would develop though member feedback both from the meeting and future developments. 

Action: Simon to canvass opinions of Network objectives via email and calls

Action: Simon to confirm membership from delegates and existing contacts, then grow membership

Action: Develop, improve, update and refresh frequently the UKLCN site 

Professor John Moverly OBE spoke on the Sustainable Use Directive in the UK and also the impact of the Water Framework Directive. 

Action: John’s presentation was well received and will be emailed at a later date

Action: UKLCN join Amenity Forum and share attendance among members 

After coffee Mark Hunt, Technical Director of Headland Amenity gave a fascinating talk including how weather patterns, particularly the jet stream impact weather, and the concern that meteorologists can’t really predict weather more than 10 days out.

 Action; Mark’s presentation will be emailed at a later date  

Mark De Ath, Operations Director at Amenity Headland spoke on how to increase the effectiveness oof lawn care treatments particularly by considering using soluble fertilizers.

 Action: Mark’s presentation will be emailed at a later date 

Colin Perry is an expert on managing keywords and maximizing benefit from adword pay oper click campaigns in Google; his presentation was most interesting and created lively debate.

Action: Colin’s presentation can be found at …………. 

The ‘marketing around the room’ session threw up some great ideas and caused discussion on tried and tested initiatives. 

Referrals – this source continues to be significant and it was interesting to see the breadth of incentivisation attributed to this valuable lead.  They spread from £25 cash, £10 off the next treatment, a £10 M&S voucher to no incentive at all. 

Leaflets with 3 business promoting individual but somewhat related services – eg: lawn care, patio cleaning, tree surgery, to share printing and distribution costs and risk.  1:1,000 ratio of customer to leaflets seemed the norm and delegates seemed to accept a fee of £40 a lead.

Adword campaigns – several members use adwords pay per click campaigns strategically to great success.

 Other tactics and ideas include: 

  • New home box
  • Collaboration with estate agents
  • Dor2dor leaflet distribution (experienced workers can cheery pick targets houses)
  • Offers – free soil analysis offers work!
  • Repetition of leafleting (keep on trying your target areas) works
  • Competitions – mixed success rates
  • Yell.com – keep details correct and track activity
  • Stall attendance at shows and village Fetes can pay off
  • Have Lawn Technicians’s leaflet drop in downtime weather – works even in winter
  • Consider promoting LT CRB check status

 Action: You can find Simon’s PowerPoint attached to this email

 UKLCN Benefits

 The following sessions explored and discussed some of the perceived benefits of having a Network and that by joining the UKLCN is not only about lead generation but a commitment to the UK lawn industry in itself.

 Action: Simon to portray benefits on the site and at other opportunities 

Site 

Simon displayed a revised and updated site with the original 2 pronged approach of new customer lead generation and independent lawn care company recruiting ground, but with a member area designed to be inter-active including classified ads and a forum.  Apart from encouraging communication, frequent update of site content and frequent refreshing should help organic SEO.

 Action: Simon to update new site and cutover when a quorum of new members sign up for the remainder of 2013 

Membership 

The offer is that interested companies join for the 6 months of Jul – Dec for the sum of £150 + VAT (Conference contributions will be subtracted).  The full year will be Jan 1 and the fee will be £295 + vat. 

Action: Simon to invoice attending delegates and share the offer with the others

Action: Simon to devise a monthly status report updating Members with key data

 Open Forum 

Towards the end of the day we decided to ask for contributions via email so if you haven’t already but would like to do so please email any ideas and I will collate and summarise accordingly.

 The Network wants to offer Value

  • How can we achieve this?
  • What do you want to see from the Network?
  • How could we improve the value?
  • What would make a difference?

 Action: Delegates to contact Simon on simon@uklawncare.net

Action: Simon to send Conference notes / outcomes to Gavin at HorticultureWeek 

Conference closed at 1645. 

Summary

 The concept was well received and we all felt that with some help, the site and the concept of the network will generate more leads and help to improve our separate lawn care businesses. 

 

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