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DVS Hardscaper
02-15-2010, 09:08 PM
Anyone send out like quarterly newsletters to your previous (and current) clients?

And I'm talking install / hardscape clients, not maintenance clients.

I'm thinking this is a great way to stay infront of people's faces, to remind them you exist, and to keep them informed of who you are and what you're about.

In 2008 we did a small patio for a very nice couple. They told me they'd be calling us back to do a lead walk. 6 months later I did a follow up call, they told me they were not ready to do the walk. We got busy so I never bothered them again. Well 3 weeks ago I was in their neck of the woods so I drove by to see if they were ready for that walk. Low and behold someone had installed a paver walk. I'm pretty sure they had a contractor do it because it was radiused and I can't see these people creating a radiused walk. From the road, the design and workmanship did not look very impressive. The width of the walk was not proportional to the length, meaning it was too narrow.

How come these people did not call us? They were so nice. When we were working they were outside much of the time chit chatting with us. They were very down to earth and I know they were very happy with the workmansip of the patio we did for them, no doubt about it.

Did they misplace our name and phone number? These people are very well educated, down to earth, enthusiastic, etc. They said they'd call me when they were ready, so I kinda let my guard down and figured they haden't called because they weren't ready.

I'm thinking that if I start sending out quarterly newsletters this will hopefully prevent this from happening again. 4 times a year they get to look at our logo, see pics of some of our projects, view a list of services we offer, AND get my Grandma Helen's world renowned desert recipes!

Anyone here do newsletters for your install clients? Do they help you generate additional sales AND REFERALS?



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Bru75
02-15-2010, 11:54 PM
This is an idea that I have bounced around for a while, and I think it could be very effective with a pretty low investment.
The closest thing to this that I do is to have a calendar printed each year of the previous year's projects that I send to past customers. Most seem to really enjoy seeing thier project in print, and it also helps to remind people of my existence. I usually end up with at least a few new jobs from this each year.
I'm also interested in how others do this, and what results they get.

kootoomootoo
02-16-2010, 12:03 AM
How come these people did not call us? They were so nice. When we were working they were outside much of the time chit chatting with us. They were very down to earth and I know they were very happy with the workmansip of the patio we did for them, no doubt about it.





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maybe they didnt like you

stuvecorp
02-16-2010, 01:30 AM
I haven't done anything like that but definitely wouldn't hurt. What would you put in the mailer/newsletter? Or even how big? Would an email version be better?

There has been some projects where the neighbor comes over and raves, give them a card and cheerfully tell them give me a call but then you never hear back.

DVS Hardscaper
02-16-2010, 09:02 AM
I haven't done anything like that but definitely wouldn't hurt. What would you put in the mailer/newsletter? Or even how big? Would an email version be better?

There has been some projects where the neighbor comes over and raves, give them a card and cheerfully tell them give me a call but then you never hear back.


Personally, I would definitely NOT do an e-mail version. An actual, physical newletter would have the potential to have "Shelf Life", meaning it may be put in the drawer, or in a file for future home improvements.

I have a buddy whom has an established, residential home improvement business. He sends out newsletters (I'm on his mailing list). He does it through a 3rd party company. But in his newlestters he has energy saving tips, he has a section where he welcomes his new clients to his family of clients. He has a food recipe. Stuff like that.

We could probably offer landscape maintenace tips, paver maintenance tips (opportunity to sell paver power washing, re-sanding joints, sealing).



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STL Ponds and Waterfalls
02-16-2010, 10:59 AM
Send a news letter quarterly and a short email message monthly. This way they have your hardcopy and an electronic reminder who you are.

4Russl5
02-16-2010, 11:55 AM
Pretty soon it is just junk mail in both boxes and annoying.

I have been looking into this for this year. Quotes for 4 pages color copies, 300 run, $1.72 each! I am mixed.

I am more of the mind potential clients & existing clients are going to spend when they are ready. Not because they were reminded month after month or quarterly of your company. I am still on the fence though. Right now, I like the money in the bank.

STL Ponds and Waterfalls
02-16-2010, 12:42 PM
Pretty soon it is just junk mail in both boxes and annoying.

I have been looking into this for this year. Quotes for 4 pages color copies, 300 run, $1.72 each! I am mixed.

I am more of the mind potential clients & existing clients are going to spend when they are ready. Not because they were reminded month after month or quarterly of your company. I am still on the fence though. Right now, I like the money in the bank.

OK but how would you stay in the minds eye? The monthly email can get annoying, but you have to stay in the customers mind past and future clients. I ran into a past customer at wally world and he asked if I was still in the business. I said yes and it landed me a nice end of season healing in a bad economy. I should have kept a presence with them from the first job back in '03. I don't care if it goes to junk mail but all advertising good or bad is going to keep you in the minds eye. A personal note on letter head can also go a long way if you don't want to spend bigger money on printed material.

DVS Hardscaper
02-16-2010, 12:55 PM
I am more of the mind potential clients & existing clients are going to spend when they are ready. Not because they were reminded month after month or quarterly of your company. I am still on the fence though. Right now, I like the money in the bank.

They could very well be spending and they could very well NOT be including you.

An example:

We installed a lawn (sod) and did some hardscape work for some people back in 2000. They really liked us. They are friends of friends, yadda yadda yadda. About 3 years ago they decide to have a pool built. Backyard is sloped, so a wall was needed, along with landscaping. I never got a call from them. Wasn't even aware they were doing this. My bet is the pool contractor took care of the wall and the landscaping. Not much I can do about that. We have over 350 hardscape clients whom we have done work for over the years. I have no way of keeping tabs on all these people to know when they're about to build a pool, or build a garage, or move and build a new home.

So yeah. They certainly spent when they were ready. And guess who they didn't spend anything with??

But for my own piece of mind, what would make me feel better is I wish I had implemented a program (such as newsletters) to try to rescue potential jobs in such scenerios. Had I remained infront of their faces, when the pool contractor told them they need a wall - they possibly could have said "we know just the guy for that, he's done all the other work here already we'd like to provide him a fair opportunity to do the work...."



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4Russl5
02-16-2010, 02:16 PM
Sounds like you will be doing a news letter.

You will still never really know the answer to how well your investment for this marketing item paid off. The little voice inside your head will drive you crazy as to why that one client hired someone else to do a job for your previous customer. It does for all of us!

Whatever you do it has to be sincere and be consistent with you and your company. Good luck with it.

scagtiger
02-17-2010, 11:55 AM
We are also thinking of doing a qauterly newsletter this year.. this shows the customer your still around if its not a regular customer and its an easy way to sell new products that come out or extra services in slow months

DVS Hardscaper
02-17-2010, 12:52 PM
Sounds like you will be doing a news letter.

You will still never really know the answer to how well your investment for this marketing item paid off. The little voice inside your head will drive you crazy as to why that one client hired someone else to do a job for your previous customer. It does for all of us!

Whatever you do it has to be sincere and be consistent with you and your company. Good luck with it.


With all due respect, I wouldn't consider marketing an "investment". Marketing is a necessity :) Just like liability insurance, telephone service, etc.

Isobel
02-17-2010, 05:41 PM
I send one out every 3 months. It definitely helps keep me in people's minds.

Sometimes it's a bit hard to come up with topics that sound fresh.

Moneypit
02-17-2010, 10:35 PM
I agree 100% that reminding old clients that you exist is important. I lost a large wall and patio because an old client couldnt remember the exact name of my company. She found one thats name was "close" and thought that was me (the other company played along). When she met with the owner, she asked him "what happened to the guy with the shaved head?" He told her that I would be there later. I ran into her about a year later and couldn't believe it when she told me this story.
Since then, I mail out a color flyer with name/number/pictures/services offered every year. I dont have the patience to come up with recipies or other interesting nonsense to do a newsletter. Frankly, I dont think the customers care about that stuff.

STL Ponds and Waterfalls
02-17-2010, 11:00 PM
Frankly, I dont think the customers care about that stuff.

Some do some don't. The thing is to put a couple different ideas in the letter. Since I'm a car guy I'll try to mention things that work towards car events /tips etc. I've met more hotrodders with VERY nice landscapes than any other hobbyist. Take a mental note of the interest that your clients have and build on those interest for hopefully a good article for all to enjoy. This is just another way to brand yourself.

DVS Hardscaper
02-17-2010, 11:16 PM
I dont have the patience to come up with recipies or other interesting nonsense to do a newsletter. Frankly, I dont think the customers care about that stuff.

LOL - my mentioning of "recipies" was done to add a touch of humor to the subject..........





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Moneypit
02-17-2010, 11:42 PM
I guess sarcasm doesn't work over the internet.

PaperCutter
02-18-2010, 08:21 AM
I've been doing a monthly email newsletter for over a year now. I think it really does its job- I'll get emails or phone calls from folks who decided not to do anything 6 months prior, who saw the newsletter and decided it was time to move forward. Occasionally someone will really like an article so they forward it to their friends. That's way easier for them to do electronically than with a printed newsletter.

I use Constant Contact. They make it dead simple, and the tracking is great. I can see how many people opened my email, what links they clicked on, and whether or not they forwarded it. I can also watch the trends over a few months, and if I see someone's not opening any of my emails I drop them from the list.