Marketing Discussion

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by naturescaretaker, Aug 8, 2010.

  1. naturescaretaker

    naturescaretaker LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 851

    I thought I would start a thread for a marketing discussion. There are those of us in this business that have been doing this for a while. Therefore I was wondering if others would like to share their typical and non-typical marketing efforts and the results from their endeavors. Newspaper, direct mailing, fliers, etc.

    I know for us that the typical stuff hasn't worked this year and now we are exploring some different efforts like direct mailing to homeowners in a particular zip code. Anyone care to share their experiences and results?
  2. Hell on Blades

    Hell on Blades LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 513

    I mailed 1000 postcards earlier this year -- not one call.

    Paid to have 300 flyers pasted on doors -- 1 call and it did not even come close to closing a deal.

    I'm having a huge problem getting routine maintenance accounts - mowing etc. But I have a huge demand for tear outs -- new gardens -- etc... I need mowing accounts...
  3. mowerbrad

    mowerbrad LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,273

    The "normal" things I've tried have included just the newspaper and flyers. I ran a small ad in the newspaper during the spring for a couple weeks, with almost no response. The only response I got from the newspaper ad was from a guy looking for work. As for my flyers, I usually get a couple calls per 500 I pass out and maybe 1 or 2 jobs from them. Being part-time I don't do the 10,000 flyers or door hangers, I get 500 flyers at a time and pass them out in certain neighborhoods that I would like to get work in.

    I did do a local parade a couple years ago. In my town we have a huge festival every year around the beginning of August (its a celebration of the coast guard since we are considered coast guard city usa). The festival lasts about a week and we have 2 parades during that time, the first one (which I did) is a Kid's parade, smaller parade with lots of candy for the kids. The other parade is the "grand parade" which is enormous (160+ floats, 75000+ people). The smaller parade I did went okay, it was more of a last minute thing so I really wasn't as prepared as I should have been. I decided to do the parade about 2 weeks before and was out of town for the week leading up to the parade. So I had no flyers prepared to hand out, just candy to throw to the kids. I wish I would have been more prepared, because that could have really brought in some business. I haven't done it since, mainly because I'd rather try to enjoy the festivities than have to "work" during the whole festival.

    I also had a website for about a year. I got a couple jobs from it, but they were all crappy, one-time jobs. Never got anything else from it. It was nice to be at the top of the page on google when you searched for LCO's in my town. The web designer who created it, did great graphics and logo work, but was horrible with the grammar on the website. The grammar was what killed me, it made me look like an idiot...there were tons of words misspelled throughout the entire site, punctuation was wrong in many spots and some of the sentences made me look like a hillbilly. Then the designer never finished the site to put my correct address, contact info, etc. Plus he never corrected the grammar mistakes. So needless to say, I no longer have that website.

    I'd like to participate in the large parade that I mentioned earlier, but I'd have to think about it. I don't want to gain too much more business....just a hand full of accounts would be nice.
  4. watatrp

    watatrp LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 496

    I've had the best success when sending letters directly to the business or property owner. I try to target potential customers that are on my route. Find a property that looks good and just send them a very personal letter describing what you have to offer and mention some of the neighbors that you also service. I've also done well with just asking for help from existing customers to forward my name to potentials.
  5. gene gls

    gene gls LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,213

    The best form of advertising is visual apperance of each property and word of mouth for quality work. You have to set standards for your way of doing things and do the same for each property. You compeat with yourself on each visit to each property to make that property just a bit better looking each time you service it. Every property you service needs to look better than all the others in that area. Make them stand out. It may take a while but people will notice your work and your phone will ring. Its a nice warm fuzzy feeling when you over hear people talking around town about how nice your properties look and even better when someone comments directly to you about one of your properties.Treat every customer as if they are your best coustomer. All customers want a little extra now and then, be flexable if its a minor request and consider it as a form of advertising,PR work. A happy customer bragging about how nice thier property looks to other friends goes a long way in the form of advertising. Your competition will hate you for having a high standard of work quality.
  6. Keegan

    Keegan LawnSite Senior Member
    from CT
    Posts: 606

    I am sponsoring my sons soccer team for the first time. See how that goes. I usually just do a small ad in the local paper with some success.
  7. naturescaretaker

    naturescaretaker LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 851

    First, Here's what we are doing right now. We have developed a letter directed to real estate brokers and are sending it to select brokers in the area that deal with high end homes and rentals (both annual and beach rentals). We are sending out about 100 letters at 10 per week.

    Second, we are having one of our Isuzu's with a 16' Box done is the body wraps. I mean it is a rolling billboard. I cut a deal with the place that does it so that they get a 2'X3' spot on each side of the box to plus their business. It dropped the cost down from $3300 to $1000. If we generate enough leads from that then we will start wrapping some more trucks.

    We also popped for $100 to put an 30 day add in the local trade paper, the one that lets you place an ad for free and you find at the store on leaving. It's a quarter page ad so we'll see if that does anything.

    Next week we are going to do some cold calling on larger accounts that we would like to have. We specialize in larger area mowing so that is our target market right now.

    Will keep everyone posted on updates.
  8. naturescaretaker

    naturescaretaker LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 851

    Anyone care to add anymore input? We are trying a local penny paper that is given away in the free racks at stores. $115 per month for a 1/4 page ad. We are getting 2-3 calls per week that are relating to one job a week. The best of the year so far.
  9. gasracer

    gasracer LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,049

    Be seen. I have shirts with my Logo on them I hand out to my customers and people in my area that I know will wear them. I had magnetic calenders made this year I am sending out for Christmas to everyone on my list and to property management companies. Everyone at our church is on Facebook. I have my business page and I post to it regular announcing my services for that season. Network with your local Lawn shops and agents.Some of the business I am getting now is neighbors,friends and people who see me around regular in areas and see my work. I have banners that I use at local soccer fields,race tracks,Even local events at community centers to hand out cards and have drawings for a free service. Ink Pens are another idea. Every time you go somewhere and sign something leave them your pen.
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2010
  10. gasracer

    gasracer LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,049

    I had even looked into Bus stop benches, getting my truck "wrapped" and the side or back of a MTA buses.You have to do 5 buses(each one changes routes every day) @$250 each per month for 3-6 months. That would get DEEP in the wallet.
    Yard signs are good but be careful where you put them. I only use them on properties that I do every few days or week in high traffic areas like our church.It sits at a intersection. Putting them in public places will get in trouble.
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2010

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