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JBlawn
03-26-2010, 02:16 PM
Ok so TG was going around putting lawn posting signs in every yard stating what that price was to service that yard. Has anyone done this? doesnt seem to bad of an idea, but still kinda putting trash in someones yard. they put one in my fiances parents yard for 29.95 an app and they have 14,000sf?

SeedPro
03-26-2010, 02:32 PM
I'm thinking of hiring TGCL to do my lawn. They can do it cheaper than I can.

No wonder they lose money.

LIBERTYLANDSCAPING
03-26-2010, 06:00 PM
Ok so TG was going around putting lawn posting signs in every yard stating what that price was to service that yard. Has anyone done this? doesnt seem to bad of an idea, but still kinda putting trash in someones yard. they put one in my fiances parents yard for 29.95 an app and they have 14,000sf?

From what I've seen, the fine print usually reads something like: $29.95 only applies to lawns 5k & under:rolleyes:

JBlawn
03-26-2010, 06:31 PM
didnt say anything like that but figure its on the first app. but what do you think about that idea as advertising?

rnd
12-02-2010, 04:42 PM
Visit rndsigns.com to see hundreds of different layouts on custom posting signs for legislative requirements, curb advertising, point of sale. We have a variety of layouts that show a wide range of our capabilities. NEW within the last couple of months is our UV coating for all full color signs that make the colors jump out and add durability

azjojo99
12-03-2010, 08:55 AM
They do it here also. Personally, I wouldn't like it if somebody stuck a sign in my lawn. Also, I think the costs would add up rather fast. I could also see people calling up saying "come pick up your trash out of my lawn" and telling their neighbors to do the same.

rcreech
12-03-2010, 11:18 AM
I do not like the sign idea personally.

I have seen them stick signs in around us and they have coupons on them, but no price.

I think you would get the same results as a post card...and probably about the same cost by the time you bought the signs and drove around and stuck them in a lawn.

I had great success with post cards in 07 and 08...but I will probably never do them again. I like to grow by referrals (much better customer).

When you market like that it isn't the best customer to have!

Dunno!

Ric
12-03-2010, 11:42 AM
Well BMW doesn't have the Blue Light Special like K Mart as part of their marketing plan. If you going to sell on price then you best keep your overhead very low. It is one thing to post signs in peoples yards if you are out of, or slow on work. It is an other to pay someone to go around and post signs. It seems to me TG/CL had excellent Equipment and some upper management. Their problems comes from the low wages and large turnover of employees.

But I barrow their Marketing Ideas or the ones I like, in a NYC second. I make no bones I work out of a Old TG/CL truck and love it. I wouldn't use the Price on a stick idea, But I have used the """LOOK WHAT I FOUND IN YOUR YARD""" Weed in a bag Trick I learned from TG/CL.

rcreech
12-03-2010, 12:07 PM
This may be a whole different topic..but I would highly recommend getting a website and getting it out there.

If you do end up leaving a sign in a yard go with Ric's idea and make sure there is a website on there.

Most customer I end up meeting with has been on my site before I show up.

I think it is BIG for me right now!

Put your money where it will best work for you and get your name out there on invoices, business cards, pens, literature etc.

I order 1000 pens at a time and put my name, website and phone number on them then go to the local banks, Post Office etc and give them hand fulls at a time. These are a very nice and good quality pens (not the best just very nice). I also leave pens with my customers on Round 1 and Round 3. They love them!

I want the banks and Post Office customers to TAKE the pen out and hopefully build my brand with them and hopefully they will forget them somewhere too!

If you buy cheap pens...you are wasting your time. My pens represents my work!


Anyway...I was at gas station about a year ago and when I went to sign my credit card invoice...there sat my pen at the counter.

I didn't put it there...but it could have been from a customer or from the bank etc.

That is how it works...get your name out anyway you can.

fl-landscapes
12-03-2010, 02:59 PM
Well BMW doesn't have the Blue Light Special like K Mart as part of their marketing plan. If you going to sell on price then you best keep your overhead very low. It is one thing to post signs in peoples yards if you are out of, or slow on work. It is an other to pay someone to go around and post signs. It seems to me TG/CL had excellent Equipment and some upper management. Their problems comes from the low wages and large turnover of employees.

But I barrow their Marketing Ideas or the ones I like, in a NYC second. I make no bones I work out of a Old TG/CL truck and love it. I wouldn't use the Price on a stick idea, But I have used the """LOOK WHAT I FOUND IN YOUR YARD""" Weed in a bag Trick I learned from TG/CL.

Although bmw doesnt have the "blue light special" car manufacturers have in the past borken into the market with cheap "affordable" cars, once they build a repuation they begin to sell higher end cars. Take hyundi for example. Not long ago they were the new company selling very cheap cars, now I see lots of "elantras" and I believe one or two more that they sell with a much higher price tag then where they started not to long ago. Like creech said, he use to do post cards, now he is established and preffers refferals. If you have the bank roll to afford to market at a lower price to get established and creep your prices up after you have proven to your customers you are worth just as much as anyone else in your area....it may be a good business plan.

Ric
12-04-2010, 08:58 AM
Although bmw doesnt have the "blue light special" car manufacturers have in the past borken into the market with cheap "affordable" cars, once they build a repuation they begin to sell higher end cars. Take hyundi for example. Not long ago they were the new company selling very cheap cars, now I see lots of "elantras" and I believe one or two more that they sell with a much higher price tag then where they started not to long ago. Like creech said, he use to do post cards, now he is established and preffers refferals. If you have the bank roll to afford to market at a lower price to get established and creep your prices up after you have proven to your customers you are worth just as much as anyone else in your area....it may be a good business plan.

Fl-land

You make a good point about Hyundi, However I believe the Elantra is still a much lower priced car than the BMW. Now I am not saying the Elantra isn't just as good as the BMW. But the perception build by companies like BMW and SCOTTS Fertilizer are hard to beat. They also give the impression that if it COST MORE it is BETTER.

Now my point is, it is all about salesmanship. Any ORDER TAKER can give a Low Ball Price, Look at the Popular E mails ""The People of Walmart"". But it takes a real salesman with some product knowledge to sell upscale pricing for quality work that in fact might not be that much better.

This all falls back on the Idea of SMALL ACCOUNT BASE WITH HIGH MARGIN or HIGH ACCOUNT BASE WITH LITTLE OR NO MARGIN. I know you and you are the High Margin guy.

fl-landscapes
12-04-2010, 12:13 PM
Fl-land

You make a good point about Hyundi, However I believe the Elantra is still a much lower priced car than the BMW. Now I am not saying the Elantra isn't just as good as the BMW. But the perception build by companies like BMW and SCOTTS Fertilizer are hard to beat. They also give the impression that if it COST MORE it is BETTER.

Now my point is, it is all about salesmanship. Any ORDER TAKER can give a Low Ball Price, Look at the Popular E mails ""The People of Walmart"". But it takes a real salesman with some product knowledge to sell upscale pricing for quality work that in fact might not be that much better.

This all falls back on the Idea of SMALL ACCOUNT BASE WITH HIGH MARGIN or HIGH ACCOUNT BASE WITH LITTLE OR NO MARGIN. I know you and you are the High Margin guy.

Read this essay on the history of BMW the last two paragraphs explain that they did indeed start by selling cheap cars back in 1925 "blue plate special 3 cylinders". Starting a business by breaking into a market at low cost services or goods is a good way to BREAK INTO a market, however I agree it is not a sustainable business model I want to be a part of. I think its a start and you evolve into a higher margin comapny in time.

Barefoot James
12-04-2010, 01:07 PM
but I would highly recommend getting a website and getting it out there.

Most customer I end up meeting with has been on my site before I show up.

I think it is BIG for me right now!

I order 1000 pens at a time and put my name, website and phone number on them then go to the local banks, Post Office etc and give them hand fulls at a time. These are a very nice and good quality pens (not the best just very nice).

Love the pen idea - suppliers??

My website works great for me too. we do tons of post cards.

Ric
12-04-2010, 02:08 PM
however I agree it is not a sustainable business model I want to be a part of.

HELLO

Not My Idea either. If I can't get a Fair price I will sit home on Obama Well-fare

fl-landscapes
12-04-2010, 04:19 PM
HELLO

Not My Idea either. If I can't get a Fair price I will sit home on Obama Well-fare

:laugh: I know....I wasnt talking about you. We would both sit home with obama bucks before we lowballed services.

fl-landscapes
12-04-2010, 04:21 PM
Love the pen idea - suppliers??

My website works great for me too. we do tons of post cards.

I got 1000 from www.pens.com the ones I got are decent but I would like to get a better quality pen. Like RC said it represents your company.

rcreech
12-04-2010, 04:40 PM
I use PensRUs.

They are easy to order and design.

Once they have you in the system you can place an order in 5 minutes and usually get them within a week or so.

The Pen I get is awesome and it was $.41 each...but they just went up to $.51.

I get great comments and actually see people using them so I know they like them.

If you buy a $.21 pen people will either throw them away or throw them in a kitchen droor and never use them.

You are much better to spend the extra!

I will try and post a pic of them soon.

rcreech
12-04-2010, 05:02 PM
The pen that I order is called:

Gateway Express


It feels good in your hand and writes really well.

Some pens look good...but don't feel good in your hand.


You can call them and ask for samples of any pen you are thinking about ordering. That way you can see how it feels and writes before you buy them.

Ric
12-05-2010, 09:04 AM
RC

I did Felt Tipped pens about 7 years ago only I didn't distribute them like you. I had more than enough business at the time. I still find stashes of several Dried up Felt Tipped pens around the house. I guess the moral of that story is you got to follow through. I will agree when I find a comfortable pen I hold on to it. Most of those are advertisements. Yes this is an excellent Idea.

A subject for another thread is the Vanity Phone Number that spells L A W N. At one time I had 555 Y A R D. The Question is, are Vanity Numbers better than Popular Numbers like 555 6666 or 555 5000 or 7900 etc etc??? I can debate either side since I have or have had both.

Think Green
12-05-2010, 09:56 AM
In debate of the ink pen idea.........while sitting at gymnastics class with my youngest daughter, I talk to other mothers and fathers while sitting on those uncomfortable bleacher chairs. Often, I will notice a pen of a unspecific company being used or in someone's pocket. I would ask about that company or ask of whom they would suggest doing the work of............lets say home health care. The pen they are holding says the name--number,etc. and the people can only say--Well, the phone book is full of providers.
I guess what I am trying to sell here is, the ink pen is a writing tool.......often dropped on the floor and often stolen from the truck-forsaken for its original use and target markets.. However our desires to see our name in print makes us feel professional. The ill fated fact is, most people don't give a pen the second glance to refer someone to the services provided. I have hundreds of pens in my truck, home, and office from other services and they collect dust. Rarely do I tell a customer wait a minute--let me dig through my truck and find their pen. NO!
Most times business cards are used to write down other important information and then end up on the floor board of the car. I have had numerous forms of advertisements stolen and or discarded from other competitor's.
Now, I only give cards or pens to immediate customer's whom we talk with face to face. What they do with them is their business. As for the baited lawn sign or the door tag methods..............it has worked somewhat for us, but I feel that it is risky and productive in other markets. As far as getting the sign to the door is something that can be done while finishing up a service on the way out of the subdivision or commercial property. Your machines are making noise, so don't think that people don't see or hear you working in the area.

The way I see it------ 95% customers will drive home, hit the driveway, raise the garage door, drive in and get out. The use of the front door for advertising has become a thing of the past. You have to find a way of getting ads to the garage door without defacing the customers property. A form of light hanger . I put a business card somewhere in the cracks of the garage door opener..........there always is one somewhere by the door. There is more times that the customer will see this before they see the front door. Too often, the front doors are riddled with Pizza coupons hanging or wet and mangled in the shrubbery beds. This is a clue to the front door not being used at all............??

rcreech
12-05-2010, 11:44 AM
In debate of the ink pen idea.........while sitting at gymnastics class with my youngest daughter, I talk to other mothers and fathers while sitting on those uncomfortable bleacher chairs. Often, I will notice a pen of a unspecific company being used or in someone's pocket. I would ask about that company or ask of whom they would suggest doing the work of............lets say home health care. The pen they are holding says the name--number,etc. and the people can only say--Well, the phone book is full of providers.


I agree with you totally!

If I pass out 1000 pens...about 600+ are to customers...and probably another 200 for passing out to others.

It is all about branding and name recognition.

I totally agree with you that many are not used or whatever...but out of 1000 pens if I can get 2-3+ new customers or upsells, not only am I in the BLACK but I also got some advertising and hopefully had some people appreciate the pen.

I would have to say it works better then postcards as they are in the mail today and in the trash can tomorrow.

Pens are something that is used everyday and get passed around continually!

Bullet proof...NO
Do they work well....YES

Ric
12-05-2010, 01:40 PM
I agree with you totally!

If I pass out 1000 pens...about 600+ are to customers...and probably another 200 for passing out to others.

It is all about branding and name recognition.

I totally agree with you that many are not used or whatever...but out of 1000 pens if I can get 2-3+ new customers or upsells, not only am I in the BLACK but I also got some advertising and hopefully had some people appreciate the pen.

I would have to say it works better then postcards as they are in the mail today and in the trash can tomorrow.

Pens are something that is used everyday and get passed around continually!

Bullet proof...NO
Do they work well....YES


RC

So you are saying 2 or 3 new customers per thousand pens or a 0.2 % to 0.3 % sucess factor. I am thinking Direct mail done at bulk postage rates might be a better investment to a more targeted customer base?????????? We have Direct mail providers with Bulk Postage rates who actually have mailing lists and can Direct mail by Bulk rate cheaper than the 1st class postage would cost on a post card.

ted putnam
12-05-2010, 01:51 PM
I have a few hundred customers. I started at zero and it has been slow but steady growth ever since. I have to admit that I have done this without sending a single post card. It has been done through word of mouth/referral. This past year I had a very nice, large yellow pages ad done that I pay $193/ month for. No matter what the salesperson says, my return on investment has been marginal at best. I was considering purchasing a mailing list that I filtered/edited so I could pay for only the choice neighborhoods/prospects and send them a professionally produced postcard. I'm thinking that by the time I pay for the list, the postcard artwork and the postage, I'll have at least what I've paid for the yellow pages ad and I'll probably get less of a return on my investment for the reasons Creech voiced as far as all that work and money going straight from the mailbox to the trash can. To say the least, I'm having doubts whether this is a strategy I should pursue. The more I listen to Rodney, the less I think I will. Instead, I'm thinking I'll push the referral bonuses harder.
Creech, I wrote a check this morning where I purchase fuel and had to borrow a pen from them. The pen style was exactly like the one you have pictured. Very comfortable to the hand, easy to use, black ink(pet peeve of mine) I even read the name of the business to myself. I couldn't tell you the name of that business to save my life right now.:laugh: I gave them the pen back when I was finished using it. The quality and feel of the pen stuck with me but the name didn't. I'm terrible with names so that could be it.

MacLawnCo
12-05-2010, 07:02 PM
I have a few hundred customers. I started at zero and it has been slow but steady growth ever since. I have to admit that I have done this without sending a single post card. It has been done through word of mouth/referral. This past year I had a very nice, large yellow pages ad done that I pay $193/ month for. No matter what the salesperson says, my return on investment has been marginal at best. I was considering purchasing a mailing list that I filtered/edited so I could pay for only the choice neighborhoods/prospects and send them a professionally produced postcard. I'm thinking that by the time I pay for the list, the postcard artwork and the postage, I'll have at least what I've paid for the yellow pages ad and I'll probably get less of a return on my investment for the reasons Creech voiced as far as all that work and money going straight from the mailbox to the trash can. To say the least, I'm having doubts whether this is a strategy I should pursue. The more I listen to Rodney, the less I think I will. Instead, I'm thinking I'll push the referral bonuses harder.
Creech, I wrote a check this morning where I purchase fuel and had to borrow a pen from them. The pen style was exactly like the one you have pictured. Very comfortable to the hand, easy to use, black ink(pet peeve of mine) I even read the name of the business to myself. I couldn't tell you the name of that business to save my life right now.:laugh: I gave them the pen back when I was finished using it. The quality and feel of the pen stuck with me but the name didn't. I'm terrible with names so that could be it.

wait, you run real green but are having doubts about doing direct mail?? :confused:

grassmasterswilson
12-05-2010, 07:16 PM
i've done postcards, fridge magnets, i wear a shirt with logo, truck logo, and have small pesticide lawn signs i use....although not required here in NC

grassmasterswilson
12-05-2010, 07:23 PM
my direct mailers were sorted by zip code and combined income.. ok results and better than my phone book add. what kind of income would you target? 75k and up would hit the higher end clients, but might miss the single/retired/elderly. working on my website and will do another huge mailer in January. would love to know what your search peramiters would be on a town of about 50-70k.

ted putnam
12-05-2010, 08:50 PM
wait, you run real green but are having doubts about doing direct mail?? :confused:

No, I use Billmaster Software. It doesn't matter what software you use IMO. Mailers are a "shotgun blast" at best.Rodney uses Real Green and it sounds like he has his doubts about direct mailing.

FdLLawnMan
12-05-2010, 08:59 PM
Without a doubt the best advertising I have done is direct mail postcard cards. I have done it three years and have received about a 1 to 2% close rate. After three years of doing this I am at my target number of customers that I am comfortable with can handle a much slower and more manageable growth pattern now with referrals only. Rodney is correct, those are great and reliable customers. I have done the yellow pages thing but will only maintain a small presence in them now. Small local shopping papers are almost worthless in my experience unless you have really large ads in them. One thing that I have used that is informational and helps me are little scales that show the correct height to mow your grass at. I got mine from RND signs. I just tell customers mow your grass at the height shown on the gauge and you will have a much nicer lawn. I am going to try the pen idea. It is relatively inexpensive and it does get you name out there a little bit. If I could find something that I could use to stick my leave behind paperwork in the plastic on the garage door I would use that in a minute.

rcreech
12-05-2010, 09:02 PM
RC

So you are saying 2 or 3 new customers per thousand pens or a 0.2 % to 0.3 % sucess factor. I am thinking Direct mail done at bulk postage rates might be a better investment to a more targeted customer base?????????? We have Direct mail providers with Bulk Postage rates who actually have mailing lists and can Direct mail by Bulk rate cheaper than the 1st class postage would cost on a post card.

Ric,

Look back at my post above.

Out of 1000 pens...I give most of them to my current clients for the most part and hand out a lot just for advertising and when I give estimates etc.


I should have stated that if I can gain 2-3 customers out of the 200-300 pens I am good. At $.51 a piece that is cheap.

So if I hand out 200-300 pens to the post office, banks etc...what I was saying is if I pick up a couple customers, that pays for ALL 1000 of my pens plus some, plus I pick up a new customer.

How I was comparing direct mail vs pens is...pens last for months if not longer and a direct mail probably has less then 5 hours of viability.

rcreech
12-05-2010, 09:09 PM
less I think I will. Instead, I'm thinking I'll push the referral bonuses harder.
Creech, I wrote a check this morning where I purchase fuel and had to borrow a pen from them. The pen style was exactly like the one you have pictured. Very comfortable to the hand, easy to use, black ink(pet peeve of mine) I even read the name of the business to myself. I couldn't tell you the name of that business to save my life right now.:laugh: I gave them the pen back when I was finished using it. The quality and feel of the pen stuck with me but the name didn't. I'm terrible with names so that could be it.

Referrals are the best!

I know what you mean about the pen and not remembering the name.
That is what I stated earlier as far as everyone not paying attention.

BUT....if for some odd reason you were in the market for a lawncare company and you seen a nice pen with a lawncare companies name on it, you may call.

What I like to see happen is people TAKE the pens not just use them at the bank.

If it is in a womans purse (that she took from the bank) she may not need me today but she may need me in a month or 2 months.

rcreech
12-05-2010, 09:13 PM
Without a doubt the best advertising I have done is direct mail postcard cards. I have done it three years and have received about a 1 to 2% close rate. After three years of doing this I am at my target number of customers that I am comfortable with can handle a much slower and more manageable growth pattern now with referrals only. Rodney is correct, those are great and reliable customers. I have done the yellow pages thing but will only maintain a small presence in them now. Small local shopping papers are almost worthless in my experience unless you have really large ads in them. One thing that I have used that is informational and helps me are little scales that show the correct height to mow your grass at. I got mine from RND signs. I just tell customers mow your grass at the height shown on the gauge and you will have a much nicer lawn. I am going to try the pen idea. It is relatively inexpensive and it does get you name out there a little bit. If I could find something that I could use to stick my leave behind paperwork in the plastic on the garage door I would use that in a minute.

Fdlawn,

I leave a pen behind every other app to my customers also. I don't just use them when looking for customers.

When you give a customer something for FREE it makes them feel good. Something like that goes a long way!

grassmasterswilson
12-06-2010, 08:08 AM
what kind of discount do you give for referalls?

i have done direct mail in the past. it is my most successful way to pick up business, but don't get near the 1-2% close that people hear talk about. maybe people in my area don't want the extra services or maybe the fact that there is a lot of competition in a smaller town. i don't know. it kills me because there are only 1 or 2 guys here that do apps on a regular basis!!

rcreech
12-06-2010, 09:59 AM
what kind of discount do you give for referalls?

i have done direct mail in the past. it is my most successful way to pick up business, but don't get near the 1-2% close that people hear talk about. maybe people in my area don't want the extra services or maybe the fact that there is a lot of competition in a smaller town. i don't know. it kills me because there are only 1 or 2 guys here that do apps on a regular basis!!

I give the person referring and the new customer $15 each off an application.
Works really well!

I had great luck with post cards in the past...but I don't like all the work for the closings. I know we were better then the norm as far as closings...but a lot of phone calls and work in a 2-3 week period!

We are growing just as fast now with referrals and getting a much better and more sound customer.

If a person is calling you on a post card...they probably don't know anything about ya.
If a person is calling you on a referral they already know about you and your work and probably even pricing!

ted putnam
12-06-2010, 11:46 AM
I give the person referring and the new customer $15 each off an application.
Works really well!

I had great luck with post cards in the past...but I don't like all the work for the closings. I know we were better then the norm as far as closings...but a lot of phone calls and work in a 2-3 week period!

We are growing just as fast now with referrals and getting a much better and more sound customer.

If a person is calling you on a post card...they probably don't know anything about ya.
If a person is calling you on a referral they already know about you and your work and probably even pricing!

I offer $20 for every one they send me.
Rod, you are "dead on" in those last 2 sentences of your last post here.
Also, giving the customer a pen is also a great idea as well. Your pen may very well be sitting on the counter or in the car when the customer is talking to friends, neighbors or relatives in person or on the phone and with any luck, the Mrs. will stick it in her purse to use. Giving one every other visit from you is a great idea too.