May 15, 2018
Three approaches to a membeship makeover
LO staff, Myscha Stafford, Kim Burton and Meghan Greaves discuss a targeted marketing campaign.
By Denis Flanagan CLD
LO Manager of Membership and Public Relations
Denis FlanaganWe generally lose a few members over the winter months for various reasons. Some go out of business, some change the focus of their business, and some feel they are not getting enough value for their membership dollars.

Cost savings and benefits

When members don’t renew their dues, we often take the opportunity to chat with those business owners to remind them of the many benefits available to Landscape Ontario members. Using just one or two of the member savings programs offered through the endorsed supplier program administered by the Canadian Nursery Landscape Association (CNLA) can save enough money to cover the cost of dues for several years. Members also get access to some great resources, services and marketing materials.

We find that sometimes a company has not attended Congress or a local chapter meeting for a couple of years, or has lost track of all the educational, networking, information sessions and industry updates available to all LO members. In spring, landscape companies are extremely busy taking stock of their equipment, hiring crew, and preparing for the upcoming season. So when they finally get around to requesting free promotional material, or a confirmation letter of membership to save thousands of dollars on a new truck, they then realize these benefits are gone because they somehow forgot to renew their membership over the winter. If this happens to you, don’t worry, just contact our membership team to get re-instated right away.

Targeted marketing campaign

Our second approach to increase membership numbers involves an annual campaign directed at companies that should seriously consider becoming a member of the association. This year, we took a different approach. We used the information from various lists to narrow down eligible companies and then developed several different ways to market to them. In total, we targeted over 2,000 firms. Of these, 500 were phoned with a personalized message, 500 received a customized post card, and 1,000 were sent a personalized e-mail. We are tabulating the results and will give a report at the next provincial board meeting. Hopefully, the campaign will give us an indication of what marketing methods are most effective to companies in the landscape sector.

Of course, none of these targeted marketing efforts happened by magic. A hard working team spent the last few weeks phoning, e-mailing, mailing and calculating the results. I would like to thank Myscha, Meghan and Meredith from the membership department, and Kim from our communications department for her creative assistance.

Member Days

Over the coming months our membership campaign will hit the road to hold our popular Member Days at the locations of some of our Associate members in various chapters across the province. We will serve breakfast, provide information on the many benefits available to LO members, and give out some free swag. We hope you can stop by. Watch for dates, details and locations in your weekly LO e-news.

And finally, on the public relations front, we will be using what’s known as the pull-through effect, by sending out press releases focusing on how to hire a professional landscape company. The goal is to educate the public on what to look for and what to ask when hiring a contractor. Things like WSIB clearance, liability insurance, solid references, and of course, Landscape Ontario membership.

Denis Flanagan can be reached at or at 905-875-1805, ext. 2303.