Discovered in September 2014 in Pennsylvania, this unwelcome import has spurred the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture to place 21 towns in five counties under quarantine. The department received $2.9 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to fund efforts to control the insect, along with $25,000 for outreach efforts.
The spotted lanternfly is a plant hopper native to China, India and Vietnam, and has been introduced in South Korea and Japan. In Korea, where it was first detected in 2004, the spotted lanternfly is known to attack more than 70 species, 25 of which also occur in Pennsylvania, including cultivated grapes, fruit trees and hardwood species.
Dana Rhodes, a Plant Inspection Program Specialist with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, says the spotted lanternfly is definitely a threat to nursery growers.
“We are noticing some similarities between it and gypsy moths,” Rhodes says. “Like gypsy moths, it lays egg masses on anything with a flat, smooth surface."
That includes host trees, masonry, outdoor vehicles or the smooth sides of nursery containers. Review and inspect items stored outside in a treeline to ensure you’re not moving the egg masses. Accidental transport has been a key factor in the pest's spread.
If you find evidence of spotted lanternfly in your nursery, contact your local Penn State Extension office at http://extension.psu.edu/counties. Email photographs to firstname.lastname@example.org. Call the Invasive Species Hotline at 1-866-253-7189.
Make a great first impression
Departments - How To
Use these tips to craft great subject lines for email marketing.
If you’re using email marketing to reach your buyers, your No. 1 goal should be to get people to read your message. We all get too many emails. The best way to rise above the clutter is by crafting an attention-grabbing subject line.
Legendary advertising executive David Ogilvy said, “When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”
Here are a few tips for convincing readers to open that carefully-crafted email.
No. 1: Keep it short.
Email marketing software company Litmus suggests keeping your subject lines to no more than 50 characters. The quicker you’re able to get your point across, the better. The average human attention span has tumbled from 12 seconds in 2000 to eight seconds, according to a 2015 study.
There’s also a technical reason to be concise. Longer subject lines may get “clipped,” depending on the type of device and email client the reader is using.
Litmus Software’s Subject Line Checker lets you preview your from name, subject line, and preview text in real time in over 15 popular email clients. MailChimp, another email marketing platform, also offers a subject line researcher. You can run A/B test subject lines of differing lengths and predict how a word or phrase will perform.
No. 2: Use capitalization sparingly.
It may be tempting to resort to all-caps, but it’s never a good idea. Using all capital letters makes your readers feel like you’re screaming at them, and it scares them away.
No. 3: Change it up.
Using the same subject line structure over and over again gets boring. Data management and marketing company Knowledge Marketing says subject lines like “Today’s news” are easy to ignore. Take the time to draft something creative that will entice the reader to open your message.
No. 4: Get personal.
MailChimp suggests using merge tags to personalize your subject lines with each recipient’s name or location. Personalization is shown to increase open rates for most users, and may work well when combined with targeted automations such as birthday deals and post-purchase follow-ups. A merge tag is a unique, text-based identifier that corresponds to the data in a list field. NM
Like the three musketeers, growers, retailers and suppliers need each other. If each business had to do it all, profitability would tank and the garden industry would wither away. While external relationships greatly impact the success of your business, in today’s busy, high-tech world, it’s easy to get lulled into taking things and people for granted.
Here are seven simple tips for fostering “all for one, one for all” rock-solid relationships between growers, retailers and suppliers.
1. Always treat others with courtesy and kindness. While this seems to go without saying, it’s important to remember. The key word here is ALWAYS. Courtesy and kindness should be par for the course even when there’s a problem or conflict. Hostile, angry or critical behaviors can fracture relationships and will be remembered by the receiving party long after the problem is resolved.
2. Communicate clearly, quickly and in writing. Communicate expectations clearly and promptly put agreements into writing. Whether you or the other party generates the written communication, review emails and contracts carefully to ensure mutual understanding and accuracy.
It’s also imperative to communicate when problems arise as they invariably will. The worst thing you can do is naively ignore something in the hope it will magically resolve itself. If you let things build up, they will inevitably blow up. It’s far easier to have an honest conversation than to deal with the aftermath of what might be irreparable damage.
3. Plan ahead. While they may not tell you, making or changing an order at the last-minute can cause a great deal of frustration and destroy the profit margin of a supplier. Do it once and they will probably be happy to accommodate you, especially if you offer to pay a rush or change order fee. Do it repeatedly and you can quickly destroy the relationship.
4. Respond quickly. Whether it’s a grower, retailer or supplier, the quicker you respond when they reach out, the better. Even if it’s only to say, “We don’t need anything at this time. Please check back in two weeks.” When you and your team respond quickly to external partners, you will be trusted, appreciated, and viewed far more positively than a company who lets communications lag.
5. Pay promptly. Forcing a vendor to chase down a payment or to wait to be compensated past the due date destroys trust and quickly ruins a relationship. It may also jeopardize the very existence of their business if they are unable to pay their bills because you haven’t paid yours.
6. Express appreciation. Catch the people who service your business doing things right and let them know you’ve noticed. It’s easy to focus on problems than to focus on praise when the pressure is on. When good work is appreciated and recognized, growers, retailers and suppliers are motivated to do more good work.
7. Value the person beyond the services and goods they buy or supply. Show interest and concern for the individuals who help make your business a success. Take time to talk about things other than orders, and get to know what’s important to them beyond the services they provide your business.
Whether you realize it or not, your business is in the relationship business and you ultimately reap what you sow. Treat external relationships with the same care and respect you desire and deserve, and they will be there for you through thick and thin. Who wouldn’t want to do business and exceed expectations with as great a partner as you?
Sherene is a widely acclaimed speaker, author and coach who demystifies how to lead, motivate and resolve conflict for optimal results. Learn how Sherene can empower and equip your team to boost engagement, enhance effectiveness and raise productivity at sherenemchenry.com.
Digital marketing made easy
Marketing Supplement - Tools & Apps
Try these five inexpensive (but powerful) tools and apps to up your online game.
Having your business included in local search engines and online directories like Apple Maps, CitySearch and SuperPages.com is important. Even more important is ensuring the information about your business is up to date and consistent across each of these platforms. These citations across the web are a strong ranking signal to the search engines like Google and positively impact your search rankings.
Moz Local is a simple app that ensures your business listings are correct, consistent and visible across the web on the search engines, apps and directories that most impact local search results.
Moz Local takes the hassle out of manually updating all of your listings by pushing accurate location data to all the major data aggregators and several top-tier online directories.
Avoid the hassles and update your business information one time, in one place by using Moz Local. The Essential plan will cost you $99/year. It’s well worth the cost.
If your company is active on social media, then Buffer can save you a great deal of time (and headaches) by offering an app and platform where you can schedule, publish and analyze all of your social media posts in one place.
Buffer makes it easy to select which of your social accounts you want to post to. You can post the same message to all your social networks or add context by customizing each. The point is, you don’t have to bounce around between social networks to share your content.
The Individual Free plan or the Individual Awesome plan at $10/month makes this app a no-brainer for those companies investing in social media marketing.
Sumo arms you with a suite of tools to increase website traffic and generate more leads from your site.
List Builder allows you to create and add professional-looking pop-ups to your website. This is one of the easiest to use email capture tools available.
Smart Bar sits beautifully at the top of your website reminding your visitors to join your email list, check out your latest blog post or claim your special offer. This is a great way to make seasonal offers more visible and prominent throughout your website.
HubSpot Marketing Free provides easy to use, light-weight lead generation tools to convert more leads on your website and learn about their activity while on your site. The Lead Flows tool is similar to Sumo’s List Builder in that it allows you to easily add a pop-up or slide-in form to your website. It goes a little beyond Sumo, however, in offering insight about each of the visitors that converts on your website, like pages viewed, time on site and lead source.
HubSpot Marketing Free is a great next step for those of you interested in moving down the path toward marketing automation and inbound marketing but don’t yet have a significant budget for it.
The author is the founder and president of Landscape Leadership, a green industry marketing agency.
The need to nurture
Marketing Supplement - Opinion
Why you should embrace plants as pets and art, and sell them as such.
If you haven’t heard, people aren’t just growing plants anymore… they’re living with them. Personally, I’ve always felt like my indoor plants were more my cohabitors than things I had to maintain. That philosophy seems to be increasingly catching on with many consumers, especially apartment and small space dwellers who aren’t allowed to have furry babies. They’re adopting plant babies instead.
In nature, there are sources and sinks — places things come from and places they go. People are always looking for “sinks” for their emotions and basic instinctual drives. At a base level, I think we’re all seeking ways to care for and cultivate what and who is around us. Having recently lost two of my precious dogs in the span of two months, I’m acutely aware of the void and my need to put that built-up energy into caring for a new pup, or some other project or person that requires my love and attention. Creation and cultivation are powerful drives. More than simply looking for ways to connect with nature by bringing plants indoors, people are also looking to connect with something or someone that will willingly accept nurturing. Taking care of plants serves that need.
There are plant-centric consumer movements, however, happening organically and all around — if you know where to look. Take a peek at Instagram and you’ll see for yourself in about 60 seconds. People have gone crazy for collecting cool and unusual succulents, cacti, and tropical specimens and posting beautiful photos of them, as well as following other Instagram users in droves who collect them. My feed is flooded with houseplants shown off by proud plant parents and bloggers who focus on room styling. The zeitgeist of nurturing ownership, thoughtful collecting and creative display is in full bloom.
Do you know how many social media posts from Europe and Australia there are about Pilea peperomioides? It is the “it” plant right now. Do you know how long, and unsuccessfully, I’ve been trying to buy one domestically? No amount of inter-industry begging has helped my case. How many of you grow it and sell it online? Nada — that’s how many. It’s killing me.
The culture of possession is returning to the plant world and the industry needs to capitalize on this energy. There are plants that people want, and when they want them, they want them now. So, if you’re growing indoor plants or you can reposition certain outdoor garden plants as indoor specimens, you have a big opportunity to tap into what is resonating with the consumer right now. If we take a firmer grip on the marketing and social media wheels, we could even plan, drive, and grow these trends ourselves, and thus be better ready to supply the on-trend demand we created.
Houseplants have become the item du jour for styling your living space, thanks to interior stylists. I recently received my copy of “Urban Jungle,” a book that stems from an online blog collective of people who love to collect and decorate their homes with plants. The bloggers featured are seriously proud of their plant companions and treat them just like they would other key items of décor in terms of color coordination and scale. It’s lovely. It’s design. Do you know why Pilea peperomioides is so in demand? Because the plant is art. Just look at its form. Who wouldn’t want this plant as a sculptural focal plant in their living space? As a green industry professional, you might be fascinated by plants from a biological standpoint. For many non-industry people, plants may be purely art. Offer them as such.
Perhaps this is how we should go about selling the concept of gardening in general. As something to love and pieces of art. Individual plants become ingredients in a bigger picture. Without forgetting, of course, that sometimes customers just need temporary pieces of decoration — for events, gifts, and the like. That is perfectly fine.
Focus less right now on what you want consumers to want, and focus more on what the consumer already tells you they want, and how they are already engaging with plants. Take time to step outside the industry bubble to see how people want to use, possess, and care for their plants, ways which may not fit your conventional ideas about gardening. Botanical cohabitation — it’s the new gardening renaissance.
Leslie Halleck (CPH) owns Halleck Horticultural, LLC, through which she provides horticultural consulting, business and marketing strategy, product development and branding, and content creation for green industry companies. lesliehalleck.com