Hort Innovation is responsible for investing the turf marketing levy into a range of activities to drive awareness and use of turf, under the Hort Innovation Turf Fund. Read on for a snapshot of activities and results form 2020/21.
The 2020/21 marketing plan aimed to increase the demand for turf by positioning turf as an unbeatable way to improve the value of your home and quality of life. The campaign activities aimed to educate, inspire, and remind consumers of the benefit turf provides, via fresh content and trusted voices on digital and media channels.
There were two bursts of public relations activity in 2020/21 which achieved media attention with interesting news ‘hooks’ around turf. The newsworthy information was created through conducting a cost-effective YouGov survey, paired with stories from a brand ambassador and lawn-makeover case study.
The YouGov survey results illustrated the huge surge in Australians seeking to transform their backyards following the start of the pandemic and provided helpful statistics for media outlets to reference. This was brought to life with the case-study of Mike Tyler, former successful corporate magician who, was out of work due to travel restrictions, and like many Australians, had used the time to focus on improving his backyard. The story personified the Lawnspiration messages and included an impressive lawn makeover video and images.
The media activities resulted in a total of 47 articles or clips across traditional and social media, generating more than 9.4 million opportunities to see the Lawnspiration messages. This exceeded the media KPI, with 90 per cent of coverage in top-tier media such as the Daily Telegraph, Courier Mail, Herald Sun and RealEstate.com.au.
Strong uptake of coverage can also be attributed to media pitches aligning to current trends, such as themes of home maintenance during the COVID-19 news environment. This was supported by a survey to understand the ways people were using their outdoor spaces since the pandemic. Hort Innovation also worked closely with Turf Australia to create media pitch materials referencing industry trends, adding depth and insight to Lawnspiration communications.
Throughout the year, there were 29 posts on the Lawnspiration Facebook page (www.facebook.com/lawnspiration), plus community management and social advertising. Facebook advertisements helped grow the Facebook followers, drive traffic to the Lawnspiration website and increase intent to purchase. Video content on the channel aimed to drive engagement, understanding the value proposition of turf and increase intent to purchase.
The Lawnspiration Facebook fanbase grew by 768 in 2020/21. In terms of audience, men aged 25-44 represented more than half of all impressions. Traffic to the website as a result of Facebook activity increased by 100 per cent and delivered a click through rate of 7 per cent, which is 9 times greater than the industry average of 0.7 per cent.
The Lawnspiration audience continues to be highly engaged with the page, showing the content is resonating well with consumers. Top performing posts include before and after contrast images (17 per cent engagement and 65,800 reach), the Lawnspiration competition post (11 per cent engagement and 40,300 reach) and the pets post (12 per cent engagement).
A social competition was created to encourage user-generated content and to build engagement with Lawnspiration fans. The ‘Win a $1,000 lawn care kit’ competition secured 180 quality entries of Australians showing their before and after lawn transformation photos. The competition resulted in a total reach of 40,300, and Facebook engagement rate of 11 per cent, well above industry average engagement rate of 3.6 per cent.
Electronic Direct Mail (eDM)
A lead-generation campaign was held to increase the eDM database and achieved 709 new subscribers (vs KPI of +500), resulting in a total of 3,110 engaged subscribers. The eDM featured the social media competition and expert tips on lawn care and achieved an open rate of 26 per cent (vs 23.5 per cent industry average) and click rate of 4 per cent (vs 3.02 per cent industry average).
The Lawnspiration website (www.lawnspiration.com.au) has been an effective tool in providing further inspiration, education and resources to simplify the process of selecting, laying and maintaining turf.
There was continued website management, maintenance/security, search engine optimisation and reporting during the year, as well as a newly developed plan to update and enhance user experience.
In terms of demographics, website sessions are dominated by users viewing the website on their mobile phone at 77 per cent, followed by desktop at 18 per cent and tablet at 5 per cent. In line with our target market, our website user demographics skew male (74 per cent of users) and is between 25 and 44 years old.
The website session duration increased versus last year to 0:57 seconds (+8 per cent). There were 6,234 sessions during the year, with total 5,542 users, suggesting that often users are returning to the website a second time. The SEO results show the top performing keywords were ‘New turf’, ‘Lawn tips’, ‘Lawn supplier’, and ‘Fertilising’, all of which will be incorporated into the content creation in 2021/22.
We will continue to push consumers to the website, and further enhance the user experience. Specifically, there will be a focus on driving potential consumers to the “Find a turf supplier” webpage, to encourage conversion.
These marketing activities are strategic levy investments in the Hort Innovation Turf Fund