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  #1  
Old 10-31-2010, 10:20 PM
retxab retxab is offline
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Effective marketing strategies

Does any body have any suggestions for waterfeature marketing?
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  #2  
Old 10-31-2010, 11:48 PM
pitrack pitrack is offline
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I would like to know as well.
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  #3  
Old 11-01-2010, 11:13 AM
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tadpole tadpole is offline
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Been trying to find the answer to that question for over 10 years. I've tried them all......Yellow Pages display ads, Newspaper display ads, Direct mail, Door Hangers, Flyers, Business Card placement, Website, Local search engine listings, Angies's List, Service Magic, etc. ad nauseum. With the exception of the Website, all of the others produced about the same level of results...Doodly-Squat. The local search engines do account for about 50% of the hits on my website, but these are not necessarily leads.

When I started in the Water Feature business, back in the Glory Days of Pond Building, it was a niche business. Now, with the explosion of DIYs and, more recently, the 'Great Recession', the niche has gotten much smaller and harder to identify and reach.

Customer referrals (word of mouth) have always been the mainstay in my area for leads and prospects.

What may work in one metro area might not work in another because of the difference in demographics.

Maybe someone will post the 'Silver Bullet' on this thread.
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  #4  
Old 11-03-2010, 01:56 PM
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TheBetterDoorhanger TheBetterDoorhanger is offline
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Hi there - I don't want to intrude on your forum but I know one of the main things I hear from my customers with advertising is the desire to find a cost effective way to keep the ad in view of the customer... or even just keep it on the door until they get home if you are distributing door hangers. Just wanted a moment of your time to tell you about our products that help keep your advertisement on the door and off the lawn. Our Band-It feature is specifically designed easily & securely attach your door hanger to EVERY door. The Stick-It feature even allows them to bring your ad inside and hang it on the fridge like they would a magnet - but without the cost! We have a great start up special on our innovative Door Hanger Band-It Stick-It products and even offer free design services if you mention this forum post!

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  #5  
Old 11-05-2010, 09:39 AM
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Niagara Falls Niagara Falls is offline
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There is no such thing in marketing as a "Silver Bullet" when it comes to marketing. The closest to it would be innovation. I worked in marketing for over 30 years and some of the things I saw companies do made me both laugh and cringe.

If I may offer the opinion that word of mouth is the bottom line best form of promotion for any business. And as I've said many times over the course of my career, "If it's a good idea, steal it!"

The company where I bought my pond materials has a pond tour twice a year, where they rent a bus and visit the various waterfeatures his company has installed. When I was there at the winterizing seminar, I asked about signing up for one next year and guess what.....they're all booked. He is considering a third and will let me know. The problem is that it takes him away from his prime source of income, landscaping and waterfeatures.
He got the idea from what is called "studio tours" that happen once a year in and around Ottawa, in fact we have one here in Brockville.

My suggestion:
Contact all the clients you have and get there approval to allow people to walk around their waterfeature, organize transportation that can expand or shrink depending on the need, and then let people know about it......

There are numerous ways to get the word out, but before I spend a penny I would look at some free options. Contact you local TV station and see if they would be interested in either joining you on the tour, or promote the tour as a community interest.
Contact the various groups/organizations in town, camera clubs, gardening clubs etc., and see if they'd like to have one exclusively for them.
See if the local newspaper would like to do a story about pond building and that you will be conducting tours.
It might start out that you will have just 5 or 6 at the beginning, but you need to start somewhere.

The one i referenced is up to about 40 people per tour, and at $35 each which includes a small reception afterward, refreshments and finger food....

It's not going to make you rich but it should cover you costs and get your service and name out there in the community.
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Old 11-05-2010, 11:55 AM
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tadpole tadpole is offline
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'Pond Tours' have been used as a marketing method for over 10 years. I remember Aquascape promoting the idea as far back as 1998.

For some locales, this may be a workable idea; for others (like mine), not so much so. The drawbacks have been: reluctance on the part of Pond owners to have 30 or 40 people trekking through their landscaping, reluctance on the part of the Pond tour participants to pay a fee of any size.

My question has always been: What percentage of the total tour participation are existing Pond owners, what percentage are true prospects, and what percentage are DIYs and 'tire kickers' just looking for ideas? In other words, what is the actual expected ROI?

There is, of course, no 'Silver Bullet' (was being sarcastic). Customer referrals will probably always be the mainstay for supplying legitimate leads in this niche industry.
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Old 11-05-2010, 02:34 PM
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Niagara Falls Niagara Falls is offline
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Are the percentages important? The "tire kickers" might find some good ideas and hopefully hire you to implement it. The DIY'ers like me, are going to buy supplies and product from you, and maybe pay you to give some "professional" advice, which knowing what I do now, I would have gladly paid for.......and the real prospects....I don;t think they'd be paying you $35 just for a can of pop and a doughnut.

What I would suggest as a ROI would be in the form of free advertising at the least. You would hope that they would be impressed with what they saw and then tell 2 friends, who in turn would tell 2 of their friends etc., etc., etc.

As an example, one of my neighbours brought some friends around to look at what I had done and they are doing something in the spring....and hiring a local landscaping company to do it.

And make sure your costs are covered by the fee, maybe even make a few bucks.
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Old 11-05-2010, 04:06 PM
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tadpole tadpole is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Niagara Falls View Post
Are the percentages important? The "tire kickers" might find some good ideas and hopefully hire you to implement it.
Tire kickers are basically 'Professioinal' window shoppers--Zero return from them
Quote:
Originally Posted by Niagara Falls View Post
The DIY'ers like me, are going to buy supplies and product from you,
they will usually purchase over the internet for less than I can purchase the same item from the Dist. or Manu.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Niagara Falls View Post
and maybe pay you to give some "professional" advice,
Big maybe, usually want free info
Quote:
Originally Posted by Niagara Falls View Post
which knowing what I do now, I would have gladly paid for.......
would you have been inclined to pay for consulting prior to starting your Water Feature?
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Originally Posted by Niagara Falls View Post
and the real prospects....I don;t think they'd be paying you $35 just for a can of pop and a doughnut.
True, but would they be willing to pay an additional consulting fee afterwards? I live in a, in the best of times, very tough market.


Besides word of mouth, I have found that keeping the company name in front of people is a definite marketing asset and company vehicle signage and graphics plays a large role in getting this exposure. The more flamboyant the better. Look what the Weinermobile has done for Oscar Mayer!
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  #9  
Old 11-09-2010, 01:46 PM
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Niagara Falls Niagara Falls is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tadpole View Post
Tire kickers are basically 'Professioinal' window shoppers--Zero return from them
In the world of the used car, "they didn't come out here for nothing" find a way to set the hook and reel them in!!

they will usually purchase over the internet for less than I can purchase the same item from the Dist. or Manu.

Then maybe negotiate a better price form you suppliers

Big maybe, usually want free info
That's when you give them just enough info, so that they can't proceed without you being involved.

would you have been inclined to pay for consulting prior to starting your Water Feature?
No, but before I started my Water feature, I hadn't seen any other, so I thought it was just a simple process. Had I seen some others, I might have paid for some advice and services.

True, but would they be willing to pay an additional consulting fee afterwards? I live in a, in the best of times, very tough market.


This is the most unknown part. How has the recession hit your area? I know in the boating world, that big boats continue to sell as always, but the ones the average guy can buy, are sitting waiting for the economy to turn around....in five years maybe.

Besides word of mouth, I have found that keeping the company name in front of people is a definite marketing asset and company vehicle signage and graphics plays a large role in getting this exposure. The more flamboyant the better. Look what the Weinermobile has done for Oscar Mayer!
Yes, I agree with you 100%. Keep your name/image out there. I'm not familiar with the Weinermobile, but I am familiar with a statement of one of baseball's most famous..." Let them say what they want about me, but just keep them saying my name!"

Reggie Jackson
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  #10  
Old 11-09-2010, 02:30 PM
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tadpole tadpole is offline
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All good points!
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