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KParks
12-26-2005, 09:10 PM
I'm considering direct mail as a marketing tool to increase my customer base. Can you provide any feedback regarding direct mail such as, type of communication: letter V postcard, target audience, response %, and do you continue to use it?

Keith Parks
Parks Lawn Maintenance

TJLANDS
12-27-2005, 01:01 PM
I use post cards. After trying many others in my opinion its the best. You can target a number of different homeowners, new houses only, new move-ins or just different neighborhoods. Response is better than other advertising for me and much more cost efficient. Somewhere in the range of .20 per card including postage.

walker-talker
12-27-2005, 01:27 PM
.20 per card including postage.That's incredibly cheap...who and where did you get a deal like that? I did postcards a couple years ago and it came out to .40 cents each. That was for design, print and postage. I got about 30 calls and picked up 4 mowing accounts. Oh, that was from 5,000 postcards.

Rebs
12-27-2005, 01:33 PM
TJ what company did you use for your hew homeowners list? Any info would be great!

Thanks

mikefromny
12-27-2005, 03:46 PM
tj what company did u use for .20 cents printed and mailed? im definately interested
-mike

nobagger
12-27-2005, 04:03 PM
I was going to do the direct mail thing but it was too expensive and it didn't target any differently than if I ran an ad in a local paper. I think it was around $800.00 for 4 zip codes (about 35-50k customers) where as if I ran my original ad in that paper I reach almost 260k potential customers for about $90.00 per month. To me its not worth it. In spring and summer when I run this ad I average about 2-4 calls every couple of days in the spring until June, and about 1-3 calls every few days in the summer until late August. Then in fall I average about 1-2 calls every couple of days for fall clean ups.

walker-talker
12-27-2005, 04:14 PM
That's incredibly cheap...who and where did you get a deal like that? I did postcards a couple years ago and it came out to .40 cents each. That was for design, print and postage. I got about 30 calls and picked up 4 mowing accounts. Oh, that was from 5,000 postcards.I forgot to mention that also incuded the mailing list. Twenty cents each for the deisgn, print and mailing list and another .20 cents for the postage.

TJLANDS
12-27-2005, 10:38 PM
lpb graphics.com.
They have many good postcard programs and they can help you obtain
a mailing list. Easy to work with. Much cheaper than I thought it would be.

TJLANDS
12-27-2005, 10:44 PM
They actually have a special now 5000 mailed full color for 445.00.
They mail bulk rate and you can design your own postcard on their website.

dsmrolla06
12-28-2005, 11:07 AM
Does the 445 include postage? Because that would only make it 9 cents a card.

walker-talker
12-28-2005, 02:53 PM
No, TJLANDS does not have his numbers right. You might pay .20 per card, but that's going to be postage only. I agree that that site has some decent prices, but it's nothing he has made it out to be. Here is a link of their pricing sheet and feel free to correct me if I am wrong.

http://lpbgraphics.com/Mailing%20Services/mailing_services_prices.html

GlennZ
12-29-2005, 08:45 AM
I believe door hangers are the most effective and cheapest way to go. Why? A basic door hangers cost .03. One person can put out 100 per hour in a neighborhood. If I pay someone $10hr to do this the total cost is .13 per door hanger.

Now when I get home and get my mail I stand in front of the garbage can, there goes your nice direct mail. I come home and there is this bright thing hanging on my door. I have to walk over to it and read it on the way to the garbage. Now since my flier says "$20 Lawn Mowing" in large print, I got them hooked to read the whole thing.

This is the only way we advertise. Plus it is 100% target marketing.

Glenn
Clip Lawn Care

ArizPestWeed
12-29-2005, 11:52 AM
I get 30,000 post cards for $750 and postage is $3,600 total $4,200 for 30,000 cards .
No addresses needed here where I live

TJLANDS
12-29-2005, 04:27 PM
just so you know walker bulk mail rates for standard post cards is alot cheaper than .20, more like .14-15. And I would guess
you could even get it cheaper than that.

dsmrolla06
12-29-2005, 04:30 PM
I have a local mailing company around here that does alota stuff for Notre Dame. To get the cheaper rate you need to have the mail sorted by carrier route. I think the number i was told would be 16 cents per postcard then.

drsogr
12-29-2005, 04:55 PM
I have a local mailing company around here that does alota stuff for Notre Dame. To get the cheaper rate you need to have the mail sorted by carrier route. I think the number i was told would be 16 cents per postcard then.

You can request info regarding this from the usps website. They sent the info to me, yet I have still not gotten around to looking it over.

dsmrolla06
12-29-2005, 05:29 PM
Ya dont quote me on the price, i wont know until i do a mailing in like march. But its definately going to be cheaper than the 23 cents it is now. Of course prices are going up to 42 cents for a stamp on the 8th and who knows how much for a post card stamp.

DUSTYCEDAR
12-29-2005, 06:20 PM
i have hit and miss luck with my adds sometimes they kill other times i wasted my money

dsmrolla06
12-29-2005, 06:56 PM
Dusty do you keep any statistics on your ads? I just made a basic marketing excel sheet for tracking mine. Id share it if i knew how.

DUSTYCEDAR
12-29-2005, 07:04 PM
i keep track on the bottom of my est sheets but all my adds have a coupoun they have to give me back so i also have them
i can have a 135k adds go out and not get 10 phone calls
and my local paper sucks biggest waste of money but it worked well for other biz in my area so who knows

Trinity Lawn Care, LLC
12-29-2005, 07:13 PM
Dusty, I have to ask two questions: When do you send these ads out? How professional are they? 135k and not get 10 calls sounds like some tough numbers. Even if you only made contact with .0025% that is 337.5. That is only 1/4 of 1%. I would probably change what I was sending out:dizzy:

DUSTYCEDAR
12-29-2005, 07:20 PM
i have done all kinds of adds in the past and 2 years ago i went with every clown that showed up at my door
all adds went out in the spring march april may june then again in sept
my name was everywhere people just werent spending money
val pac
money mailer
clipper
mega coups
hometown mag
newspapers 2 of them
sponsered a little legue team
and even church bulitens
spent about 16k that year and got poor results
my area has a lot of compition and i am sure i am not the only call them make
and i am by far not the cheepest guy in town but then again i only do fert

Coreyb
12-29-2005, 11:48 PM
i've done door to door hangers. it's okay, but very time consuming. try church parking lots on sundays. you can get hundreds of cars in a very short time. send out a few guys, give them 8-10 churches and you can turn out a few thousand fliers in a few hours.

Drafto
12-31-2005, 10:31 PM
I am not a marketing professional, and I am not trying to start any debates the below is just MY opinions and experiences:

Just to be clear, I am advertising hardscaping and fence, but advertising is still advertising no matter what you are trying to sell. I am now in the process now of laying out my advertising for 2006. In 2005 I tried many form of media, NP ad, Valpak, some oversized post cards, none of which I was happy with the end results.

Most of my leads came from the newspaper, but only sold 2 jobs, I feel the NP ad attracts price shoppers, which leads to wated time. It is tough to convey a message to your target market with a NP ad, yes it DID generate calls, but not quality calls.

The Valpak mailer was in my opinion a complete waste of time and money, the salesman I had to deal with pushed me around, my ad looked horrible, it was rushed, I did not like the whole experience at all. It would be easy to chalk this up as a bad experience and try it again but I probably never will.

I designed some oversized postcards myself and mailed them out, no luck their either. So here I am starting fresh in 2006, where do I begin? Well, the winter is great for landscapers because we have time to educate ourselves in parts of our business we sometimes can blowoff b/c we are too busy anyother time of the year. This winter? I read some advertising books, specifcally dealing with direct mailers, I designed a new mailer and have created a group of homes to test them on. I advise all of you to take some time to educate yourself in advertising, it is just as important as anyother aspect of our businesses.

I will post my results from my new campaign, but if you advertise to 100 homes, if done right someone will call, if done wrong no one will call. You first need to TEST your advertising to see what works, then change it accordingly. Thier is no simple solution that will work for everyone, but education is the key.

HNY fellas!

Dan

DUSTYCEDAR
01-01-2006, 01:00 PM
if you advertise to 100 homes, if done right someone will call
OK
so how do u propose we do that
there is a rule of thumb in adds the 7 rule u have to get your name in there face 7 times be for they call u
that is why u see a chevy car add every 10 min on the tv kind of brainwashing
but in the service biz-- be it whatever u sell most just cant afford to do that
so how do u propose we all do that?
and to be honest i dont want 1 in every hundred to call if they only want a free estimate or something free u r giving away to waste my time

i have dealt with every clown in the add biz over the last 15 years and they all say the same thing " well we cant guarantee any results but we feel if u do more adds with us things will pick up" yeah right for who the add guy

so if u have some magic trick u would like to share enlighten me i am all ears

Drafto
01-01-2006, 02:59 PM
DUSTYCEDAR, where are you located in SE PA? I am in Wilmington, DE.

Anyways, to answer your question, there is no magic trick. But there are some rules to advertising. Message, Market, Media. If you know who your market is, getting there attention is easy. Once you have their attention they get your message, or offer, or whatever you are proposing.

Example: If sending to a newer development
Message: Just Moving In? or Not Familiar With the Area? Send them a post card with your logo and contact information but put on it the local fire dept phone #, the police #, local doctors #, a pizza place........something they will hold on to, even if only for a short while. But from the time they get it and hold on to it, you have thier attention. If for any reason during that time period they need some work done and they think you could help, they will call.

We all advertise at the same time. It is easy for our target marketers to be saturated with advertisements in the spring and then you are not only competing to get there attention you are also competing to stay out of the trash can.

I guess my point is, think outside the box a little, what worked 5 years ago might not work today. My advise is to buy a few books on small business advertising that were written in the last year or two, it might be the best advertising dollar you spend.

Oh, and anyone that uses that phone # idea I just shared, plase send me a check. (LOL)

Dan

allaccesslandscaping
01-01-2006, 04:07 PM
Drafto

Val pac is horrible.. DIrect mail is the best way to go.
I live in the bay area in Califorina. We have a lot of new houses going up... This is funny but A 500,000 home is not a targeted area... I know in other parts of the country it will be a gold mine ...

Anyway I advertised in what i call very very direct maling... I go to high end area's. Pass out a very nice post card size flyer.. Writr all the address down for that communty . And send out flyers through the mail Feb,march,april,twice in may and june.. When I get a job in that area I again pass out flyiers..

I also put ads in Their so call commuinty paper.. It works wonder for me that is. oh yeah that a great ideal about the phone# the check is in the mail via vaule pac

Drafto
01-01-2006, 04:17 PM
allaccesslandscaping - We are on the same page, you can't target an area if you don't see them, that is how I feel. Rainy days work woners for advertising.

Dan

P.S. I WILL be looking for the check.

Coreyb
01-01-2006, 07:42 PM
val pak is a waste of time because no one opens it. i have a bachleors degree in advertising and sold radio advertising in a major market for 7 years. it's a rule of 3. customers need to hear, or be exposed to your ad 3 times before they even know who you are or what you do. dustycedar said 7 times. it may take 7x for them to make a decision.

even if they know who you are, if they don't need you it doesn't matter. not now anyway. phonebooks, fsi's, and internet are the best, in my opinion. it's not proactive, but it's pricey to be proactive in our field. it's nice to keep your name out there for when they do need you. i'm trying an ad agency in a few weeks, i'll let you know. good luck to all

mikefromny
01-03-2006, 06:55 PM
Im ordering with LetsPrintBaby dot com so i will definately let you guys know my turn out im shooting for a march 1st mail out

TJLANDS
03-08-2006, 11:42 AM
Some of you guys must have called LPB. For that I say Thank You! and I hope they did you well. They gave me a good discount for referring them.

RobinsonLawnScape
03-08-2006, 07:56 PM
I sent some postcards out in the mail and each postcard can me about 40 cents and i had a 10 percent return on all that i sent out...I feel it is not the best way of advertising...the best in my mind is mostly your vihicle

mrusk
03-08-2006, 07:59 PM
10 percent return is awesome! But you think it sucked?

TJLANDS
03-08-2006, 08:22 PM
I sent some postcards out in the mail and each postcard can me about 40 cents and i had a 10 percent return on all that i sent out...I feel it is not the best way of advertising...the best in my mind is mostly your vihicle
that is way to much, I paid half that, well allittle More than half for full color front and back. And yes 10% is awesome

roushjh
03-08-2006, 09:09 PM
I think he means 10% were returned to him (bad addresses)

EliteImpressions
03-09-2006, 07:05 AM
If they were returned for bad addresses, you should be able to get atleast the postage back from the company you bought the list from.

Joe