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  #1  
Old 12-20-2000, 10:50 AM
Turfer Turfer is offline
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Join Date: May 2000
Location: Cary, North Carolina
Posts: 99
When is the best time of year to start your marketing campaign for full service lawn care ? Our season starts in late February. Should I send out a mailing in January or wait until February ? I read somewhere that it takes 6 - 7 mailings before you get real penetration in your market area. I have sent out 2 flyers and have had reasonable response. I plan on mailing out a post card followed by a more detailed listing of my services about a month after the post card. There is a site called anywho.com that you can get names / address' / phone numbers by street. It's fairly current.
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  #2  
Old 12-20-2000, 11:07 AM
HOMER HOMER is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Alabama the Beautiful
Posts: 3,183
Get a yellow page ad and spend your time doing more productive things. Other businesses advertise year round, just because we are in the off season there are still people out there that have needs and are not satisfied with their current service provider. I picked up a yard yesterday-$100.00 first cut-$100.00 a month year round. All I had to do was pick up the phone. This years ad costs me $13.70 a month!

I did the flyer thing, relied on word of mouth, put ads on the ad channel on T.V. None of these provided much response-the yellow page ad has done what the guy that sold it said it would do and more.

This is the best advice I can give ya!

Homer
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  #3  
Old 12-20-2000, 12:39 PM
Barkleymut Barkleymut is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Richmond, Virginia
Posts: 1,117
$13.70 per month???? Now I'm pissed. I want to advertise in the Y. Pages but here you have to have a business line (extra $40/month) plus the ad itself is over $200/ month for a business card size. I can target my customers better with mailings/flyers than I could in the Y. Pages and with the 3 grand a year I'll save I can mail a whole lot.
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  #4  
Old 12-20-2000, 12:57 PM
Lance720 Lance720 is offline
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Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Vancouver B.C. Canada
Posts: 54
I don't know about other area's but in B.C. if you use your cel. phone or pager number you can advertize for approx that price and do not require a business line. I have done both now and if you are not going to purchase a large add then don't bother with the business line. I have had very little return on investment in my area (I currently run a 2 or 3 line add)
Lance
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  #5  
Old 12-20-2000, 04:48 PM
JimK JimK is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: St. Johnsbury, Vermont
Posts: 136
This is Jim at TURF Magazine. I've been in the advertising business 20+ years. I don't advertise a lot, but I get to observe successful and unsuccessful strategies for advertising.

So here's my 2 cents: (1) Check out what your (quality) competitors are doing for advertising, flyers, yellow pages ... whatever. And be where they are. Some people believe that they should NOT be where (or when) competitors are promoting themselves. But notice that when a McDonald's restaurant moves onto a strip ... soon Burger King and the rest are there. If there are three gas stations at an intersection ... the fourth corner is the best place to build another gas station. Ever notice that in larger cities ... the car dealerships are always close to each other?

Cent #2: Also notice how your competitors promote themselves. Most promote the FEATURES of their operation ... lots of equipment, low price ...whatever. It's more effective to push the BENEFITS your company offers and follow that with the FEATURES. Example: FEATURE = We've been in business 15 years. BENEFIT = We really know how to do a great job for you BECAUSE we have been in business for 15 years.
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  #6  
Old 12-20-2000, 10:17 PM
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1MajorTom 1MajorTom is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 6,097
Personally I would wait until February to start your advertising.

I just think January is a little too early. People are still recovering from their Christmas purchases, and I think the last thing on their mind in January is hiring a lawn service.

This year we are going to try the door hangers to target a few select areas that we want.
Up here in PA, the season if it's an early one, won't start until at least March, so we'll be hanging them in the middle of February.

JimK, like your thoughts and ideas on advertising. Totally agree.

P.S. .. Thanks Brian for sending us a sample hanger. That was a sweet thing to do. BTW, they look great.


Jodi
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  #7  
Old 12-21-2000, 05:36 AM
JVS JVS is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: I am not here
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Advertising

Here is my 2 cents. I advertise in Jan, March, May, July,Sept and November. I get very creative with my marketing and offer excellent offers in Janurary and actutually recieve a very good amount of "new " clients from the early ad. I firmly believe in saturation marketing.
I have never found door hangers, flyers on cars work well- usually get a type of call from those you dont need.

I know its difficult to sell an air conditioner in the winter or a heater in July, but I adverise all year long.
Why not? I have a service thats 12 months why not let prospects know this. But make sure you can handle the load of new calls you may get.

Joe
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  #8  
Old 12-21-2000, 06:04 AM
HOMER HOMER is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Alabama the Beautiful
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I have to have a business line to run my ad too, but so what! If you worked in a little shop downtown you would have to have one anyway. It keeps the kids from answering the darn thing and sounding like some little operation that is run out of the house. It is but hey, they don't have to know!

My ad last year ran me $300.00 a month. My ad this year is $13.70 because it is a one liner. My business name and my phone number. I haven't seen any reduction in the amount of calls I get because I don't have a flashy 1/4 page ad, they still call. $13.70 plus the phone line is pretty cheap for the amount of traffic you get.

I agree with what Jim said, go where your competition goes, as long as it works for them. I did that. I looked at who was "busy" and then looked at the yellow page ads to see if they were there and sure enough they were. You have to think about how many times you have referred to them, did you call a number you were looking for, were you price shopping. Sure you were, whoever you bought from just got a return on his investment just as I have on mine. We have another compnay around here that you can advertise in, it's called Pioneer. They put out a phone book too and the prices are not as high. I was told by a competitor that he uses them and it only costs him $300.00 for the whole year and that was for a bigger ad than what I have. With them you might not even have to have a business line, I'm not sure.

Choose whatever advertiseing system you want, I know the yellow page ad has helped me. I don't even run signs on my truck anymore. Whatever works in your area is what you need to go with.

Homer
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  #9  
Old 12-21-2000, 08:27 AM
thefarmer4 thefarmer4 is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Lancaster, NY
Posts: 71
Last year the only advertising we did was:

1. Buying new signs for the truck
2. Business cards

3. One Flyer and Cards were placed at a local small engine shop.(who happens to be family)- We gained 5 customers directly from them and also one time mowings.

4. Word of mouth
5. We had some friends go door to door a couple of days in spring. Gained a few customer there

I believe the most return for dollar spent is the combination of signs, cards and word of mouth. I think it would be wise to have signs on your truck even if you advertise in Y Pages. Name recognition is the key. They may see your name on the truck and then look you up in the Y Pages later.

This year we will advertise in the local classifieds, Go door to door, and we are getting custom shirts made. We may consider getting a Y page for following year. (just name and #)

Our advertising campaign will begin about mid March which is
about 45 days prior to first mowing.

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  #10  
Old 12-21-2000, 10:04 AM
Turfer Turfer is offline
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Join Date: May 2000
Location: Cary, North Carolina
Posts: 99
I actually used to be a customer of the competitor I'm targeting. He did my lawn for less than I thought I could do it for ! This guy basically used door hangers as his advertisement. He also sent out his complete customer list, including address, as a reference. (about 600 accounts.) He also sent out a letter trashing ChemLawn when they bought out another local company. Guess what ? ChemLawn bought him out this year ! I still have the letter too. I think this is a golden opportunity so I do not want to miss my "window" by not advertising at the optimum time.
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