In the film, “The Shawshank Redemption,” Red says to Andy Dufresne, “Let me tell you something my friend. Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane.”

Hope is its own prison. Hope didn’t get Andy out of prison, taking action did.

Do you know what is one of the worst website calls to action?


It’s weak because it’s passive. Do you have any buttons like that on your website? This is not how people that are ready to do business talk.

Look, I get it. You’re afraid of scaring people off. Nobody wants to say goodbye, but they will if you don’t call them to action.

#1. Show your audience you can fix their problems.

Modern marketing websites are clear and concise. They quickly get to the heart of what matters most. When you clearly state the problems your business solves, you signal your power.

Nearly every day I read emails or listen to recorded customer calls from clients. Rarely does a buyer state that he or she wants a beautiful landscape.

They are specific. Buyers on a mission know what they want. That means your marketing needs to be, too.

Here’s a snippet from one customer inquiry: “The only evergreens I really like are boxwoods. I prefer low maintenance.”

Studies show most buyers are searching for a company that understands them. When they discover words that communicate this they take notice.

That attention is what prepares them to buy. Either call them to action or call them to attention with a statement like this:


This is not a genius statement. Or is it? While most buyers know that low-maintenance is subjective, it signals that this is a company that knows what’s important to customers like them.

Problem-solving statements open conversations. That’s marketing’s role. Now, you have the opportunity to talk about everything, including what low-maintenance means to this particular customer.

#2. Clarify what your company does.

Most people are not initially interested in a list of services as much as what those services collectively do for them.

In the early days of Zappos, founder Tony Hsieh recalled a comment made by one of his associates: “We are customer service experts that happen to sell shoes.”

That distinction helped Zappos earn the trust of buyers that were reluctant to buy shoes, sunglasses or anything else online.

What do your buyers really care about?

Your marketing has to get buyers excited about your business solving their problems. You have to activate emotions by using active words. We’re talking about powerful words, not flimsy, flabby, uncertain words.

Flimsy words are uninspiring. Powerful words are specific.

‘Low-maintenance’ is specific.
‘Irrigation systems that never leak’ is specific.
‘Lawn care that’s safe for children and pets’ is too.

Embedded within each of those statements is a problem and a promise

I’ve been thinking about what we do here at Landscape Digital Institute. The list of services we offer has grown significantly to include website design, SEO, branding and over a dozen additional services.

Then it hit me. We fix marketing. That’s what we do. It’s clear, short and actionable.

For decades, marketing wanted to be clever. Nowadays, change moves at a pace that makes us want to be sure.

Do you tend to open your wallet for clever or for sure things?

Clarity is the new clever. And specific is its best friend.

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