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View Full Version : Lawn care specific direct mail response


MacLawnCo
01-21-2009, 11:02 AM
Long time no see - hope Im welcomed back.

Anyways, Im putting this here as I want responses from the Chem-care guys specifically. Im looking to sign for a direct mail campaign with my rep tomorrow and was wondering if anyone has any real world, lawn care specific direct mail response ratios. I was thinking 1% response would be realistic but my rep thinks that is quite optimistic. Of course there is a good 'motivator' for my ad campaign but I was just putting a feeler out there to see if anyone has anything they care to share. If you dont want to share publicly, please send me an email. Thanks!

FdLLawnMan
01-21-2009, 11:30 AM
I had about a 1.2% closing on 5000 post cards I sent out last year. It more than paid for itself.

LIBERTYLANDSCAPING
01-21-2009, 01:54 PM
Make SURE they are going to use a quality list! Doesn't matter how good your mailpiece looks, if they are sent to the wrong people! I went off a referral for Cactus Mailing last year & it was a disaster! I got many returned because the people had moved-then I found out many...no MOST went to the ghetto, trailer parks, apartments, etc! I specifically specified single family dwelling, home value above $175,000-LOT'S of money WASTED:hammerhead: Cactus Mailing said they didn't belive it. even though I had a few hundred postcards addressed to these type addresses returned to me. :confused:

Sorry for the rant-I'd hate to see someone get screwed the way I did!

Good luck with your campaign & find out how reliable the mailing list is:usflag:

Perfect Image TLM
01-21-2009, 03:11 PM
I had about a 1.2% closing on 5000 post cards I sent out last year. It more than paid for itself.

Thats a good response!

Ric
01-21-2009, 03:34 PM
Mac

Yes it has been a long time since I have seen you post. I missed your pretty picture.

My own direct mail experience was so small and many years ago that I can not speak from experience. But I did research it some. 1% seems to be a good closing rate from what I know. Multiply mailing to the same market over a period of time I am also told become more effective. I assume it has to do with Name Branding or recognition.

When I looked into direct mail I found several local mailing companies with Bulk rate postage meters. The one I was going to use was a one person Home office operation by a women who was very helpful. By printing the post cards to Post Office specs on one side she could address them with a special printer and mail them for less than I could buy the stamps for. The down side was I had to mail to everyone one on the selected postal route as per Postal rules. She would have to print the postcards in route order so no sorting had to be done. Still all in all the cost per contact was very reasonable. Just getting the addresses was a big savings. Of course she would not give out her address list or could I have used at a lower cost.

Now it has been a few years but she told me catching the customer eye was all important when mailing. Large colorful print straight to the point was important. You are playing a numbers games and you want the best odds. You have to address the Main concerns of the customer to get a second look. I key words I was going to use was "GOT WEEDS CALL 555 ANTS (2687)" in large print and my company name etc in smaller print but taking up very little room on the card. Yes that is my business phone number or at least the last 4 digits. IMHO to put much more defeats the eye catching appeal. Making your pitch short and sweet gets your point across. Now by writing a short Novel here I am doing just the opposite of what I am suggesting to you, and many will skip over it because they don't care to spend the time reading it.

DUSTYCEDAR
01-21-2009, 03:40 PM
I read it ric i still love ya

sclawndr
01-21-2009, 04:00 PM
1% is very optimistic but it depends on how you define a response. There are two rates to consider - the rate of people who ask for an estimate and the net close rate. We do a lot of mailings - .75% overall with a .40% net has been the average over the past 4 or 5 years. You definitely have to mail multiple times to get anywhere.

MacLawnCo
01-21-2009, 04:08 PM
sc, Im assuming from your name, you have a lawn dr franchise? Thanks for sharing the historical data - I do appreciate it.

Im trying something unique this year and should be able to to make both my inquiry and closing rate nearly equal.

Thanks for the info thus far and please keep it coming.

My logic says this: instead of multiple mailings, would a single mailing and multiple door hangers with the same theme and message get the same message across???

Ric, thanks for the warm welcome ;)

sclawndr
01-21-2009, 08:47 PM
sc, Im assuming from your name, you have a lawn dr franchise? Thanks for sharing the historical data - I do appreciate it.

Im trying something unique this year and should be able to to make both my inquiry and closing rate nearly equal.

Thanks for the info thus far and please keep it coming.

My logic says this: instead of multiple mailings, would a single mailing and multiple door hangers with the same theme and message get the same message across???

Yes, I have a franchise but that doesn't really affect this question. There are just a number of factors that influence response rate - number of competitors, timing of piece, your specific offer, etc.

So what are you doing that is so unique? Direct pricing is the only way to make the response a sale instead of a lead. That however doesn't necessarily increase the response rate though.

Multiple methods are fine but if you're only doing one mailing, you better hope your timing is perfect.

greendave
01-21-2009, 11:32 PM
Mac

Yes it has been a long time since I have seen you post. I missed your pretty picture.

My own direct mail experience was so small and many years ago that I can not speak from experience. But I did research it some. 1% seems to be a good closing rate from what I know. Multiply mailing to the same market over a period of time I am also told become more effective. I assume it has to do with Name Branding or recognition.

When I looked into direct mail I found several local mailing companies with Bulk rate postage meters. The one I was going to use was a one person Home office operation by a women who was very helpful. By printing the post cards to Post Office specs on one side she could address them with a special printer and mail them for less than I could buy the stamps for. The down side was I had to mail to everyone one on the selected postal route as per Postal rules. She would have to print the postcards in route order so no sorting had to be done. Still all in all the cost per contact was very reasonable. Just getting the addresses was a big savings. Of course she would not give out her address list or could I have used at a lower cost.

Now it has been a few years but she told me catching the customer eye was all important when mailing. Large colorful print straight to the point was important. You are playing a numbers games and you want the best odds. You have to address the Main concerns of the customer to get a second look. I key words I was going to use was "GOT WEEDS CALL 555 ANTS (2687)" in large print and my company name etc in smaller print but taking up very little room on the card. Yes that is my business phone number or at least the last 4 digits. IMHO to put much more defeats the eye catching appeal. Making your pitch short and sweet gets your point across. Now by writing a short Novel here I am doing just the opposite of what I am suggesting to you, and many will skip over it because they don't care to spend the time reading it.

It's been a while since I've been here and it's good to be back. Ric - it's great to see you are still here regulary sharing your wisdom as you have in the past. I'll be calling you soon, I'll have my lco up and running again next month.....

Ric
01-22-2009, 09:33 AM
It's been a while since I've been here and it's good to be back. Ric - it's great to see you are still here regulary sharing your wisdom as you have in the past. I'll be calling you soon, I'll have my lco up and running again next month.....

Yes Dave

been a Long time. You have my phone number.

Rayholio
01-23-2009, 01:35 PM
I just sent out 1300 letters tuesday.. got a couple hundred back, (bad address's etc) I've recieved around a dozen inquarys, and I've closed 6 sales off of it SO FAR. Others say that the 'contract' is in the mail to me. Theres no sign of the calls slowing down though.. Wy web hits are way up, and I've got 500 more to send next week. I'm under no illusions.. this is an OUTSTANDING response.

Here's the deal though.. Every one of these is the result of block leading. I've got lawn sizes for everyone.. and I had LA3 generate the mailing for me. I did 20% my regular pricing in the letter. (last year I offered 1 out of 5 services free.. same discount technically.. but VERY LITTLE response.)

I sent my letter out the day before an unseasonably warm clear day.. people have to be THINKING about being outdoors for this to be effective. And my next letters will go out the same way.

The letter was short. 1 page.. one side.. top one third was mailing info (for window envelopes) and my letterhead.. middle third was pricing, and a short sales message. Bottom third was a tear off remit slip (made to go into the included return envelope) It has check boxes for "sign me up!" and "I need more info. Please call me at:______" It's amazing that people will not pick up the phone to call me.. but they'll use a stamp to tell me to call them.. whatever works.

But at any rate, Last year, and previous years, I included a flier with my sales message, along with a couple business cards. my sales message was 2 sides, packed with info.. I attribute my success this year to simplicity. I opted to tell the customer what they want to know.. NOT what they need to know. When they open the letter, crap doesn't fall out of it all over their floor.. they're not overwhelmed buy paragrah of (to them) useless crap... It's simple.. Here's my price.. Here's why I should trust this company.. Do I want to know more?? -It was especially hard for me to simplify my writing... just look at this reply... Geeze!

If they contact me by phone or by letter, I IMMEDIATELY generate another letter, with the same formula as before, except instead of prices (which they allready have) I have about 12-14 bullet points which include text like "locally owned, non-franchise company" and "We do what we say; when we say we're going to do it" - just stuff about us, and about how we do business. On the back is a copy of out terms and conditions, another set of bullet points with our other services, and a tear-off contract at the bottom. With this one I include my flier, and business cards. I stick that in the mail, and 2 days later, I follow up with a phone call. So far, it has closed every sale.

Ric
01-23-2009, 03:10 PM
Ray

It seems you have Target list of address that should in fact have better response. But you also appear to have spend a great deal of both time and money on this project.

While 99% of response should come within the first few weeks, I am surprised by the number of people who keep these on file and call a year or two later. Not a great percentage for sure, but still the fact they keep them and then call after a year is amazing. Other case is my old Phone book ads from when I had a nursery. I still get calls from 2004 and older Phone books.

Rayholio
01-23-2009, 03:32 PM
Yep.. My list was hand made.. I sent out marketing crews last year, who not only knocked on doors, hung door hangers, and sold jobs.. but they also recorded lawn size info, and address's of EVERY lawn they walked by... These of course are ONLY in the areas where people would be likely to hire lawn care professionals..

I spent about $5,000 last year in labor... and about $1000 this year on materials.. (and a lot of my winter time 'off' However, between new customers last year, and marketing response this year, I'm allready ahead.. and I'll be adding to my list for next year :)

JAMEYBAXTER
01-06-2010, 01:40 AM
it is the time of year to start creating you marketing campaign if it will go through direct mail.

Historical, and industry-wide data is 1% for a letter and envelope. There MUST be a reason for the person to open the envelope.

Card mailer and postcard are the highest "read" rate, since they do not have to be opened.

Actual post card size are BY FAR the cheapest to mail, especially if you saturation mail bulk in standard presort order directly dropped into SCF's or lower levels. However, this cost you messaging real estate.

If you send a card stock (7 point card stock or higher), then you can do a flat, or a large bi-fold. If you bi-fold, MAKE SURE the fold is below the mailing panel so that you only have to tab the piece once on the top.

YOU MUST have:
(1) a call-to-action for your mail to be truly effective. It sounds like a couple of you guys have done this already.
(2) the right list, if you are not saturating a market. I know that lawn doctor has their own DM system and lists segmented according to the demographics that they are seeking.
(3) convenient way(s) for your customers to respond
(4) AN OFFER (information only pieces are a huge waste of time and $$$)
(5) the ability to RAPIDLY respond to the replies that do come in.