Marketing Question?

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by beautifullawns, Jan 29, 2006.

  1. beautifullawns

    beautifullawns LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 313

    I was wondering what other people do for marketing and what the best outcomes were.
    I am trying to get 30 new cutomers this year.
    last year i got about 15 new customers from a newspaper ad and 1 customer from about 150 door hangers.
    i was thinking telephone book, or a flyer/postcard mailing.

    Thanks
    Matt
     
  2. paponte

    paponte LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,366

    I will let you know. We are trying a couple of different approaches this year starting the middle of next month. We have tried running ads, etc. and havent had all that much success from it. Not that we didn't have any calls, but not as much as I would have liked for the $$ invested. :)
     
  3. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,842

    Over the years, I've tried just about every form of marketing there is. And not just once, either. I've tried them all in different ways, several times.

    Probably the one I like the best is door flyers. Not door hangers. Those are different. I never got nearly as much response out of my nice full-color glossy 2-sided door hangers as I did from my old black and white one-sided, cheap photo-copied flyers. But either way, the thing I like about door flyers or door hangers for that matter, is that it's just a numbers game. You are in COMPLETE CONTROL over how many accounts you get. The numbers you quoted for flyers seem a little low, but it fluxuates from season to season and from area to area. I have certain areas of town where I expected to get tons of response from flyers and got almost nothing (1 call per 100 flyers). Then I have other areas of town where I got TONS of response (1 call per 10 flyers).

    The thing with door hangers or flyers is you can't just stop at 150 and in one neighborhood. 150 is freakin' nothing! I can get out 150 in 2-3 hours in one day. You gotta start slinging those things out all over! Do flyers for 4-8 hours every week for 3 months (starting March 1) and I think you'll find that you'll have your 30 new accounts quicker than you think!

    I am assuming you already have lettered up trucks too. This is a no-brainer if you are trying to grow. If you are just some white truck across the street mowing lawns, people just assume you're a lawn boy and they aren't going to be so apt to call. But if you have a truck that is professionally designed and lettered, you look like a professional company and word starts getting around about your company. If you are trying to grow like you say, this part is essential. It, alone, isn't going to get you those 30 accounts this year. But it's definitely going to make it a whole lot easier. When they see that flyer on their door or ad in the newspaper or whatever....if they recognize the name and logo, you're going to have 3x the response as if they had never heard or seen of you before.
     
  4. griffy77

    griffy77 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 102

    I also was wondering this too. I am in my second year and placed a color ad in the yb for around $1500!! I am trying to target commercial clients. I am hoping a color ad will attract more calls than just a listing. Can anyone here comment on your experience with yellow pages? Iam also going to have a small billboard in a busy intersection of town. Has anyone tried billboards? Iam also going to do flyers and put fliers up at grocery stores with phone tags. However this usually turns into a turf war over the cork board:gunsfirin
    When the season is over I am going to reveiw my accounts and do a comparative study to find the best marketing strategy. I have to agree with the above that there are changes from year to year and fliers might not net as many accounts as you expected.
     
  5. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,842

    Yes, I have experience with Yellow Pages ads - 3 of them, 3 different years, to be exact. Like I said above, I've done extensive work with just about every kind of marketing there is.

    My experience with Yellow Pages in a nutshell was this; not worth the money.

    My first complaint with the YP is that you pay for the ad each month, for 12 months, but only receive calls for about 6 months. So for 6 months you're paying for nothing. My ads have been different sizes over the years. But the last time I was convinced by some quick-talkin' salesman that the reason my previous ads hadn't done so well was because 1) I needed to be in the number one position (largest ad in my section) to really get a lot of calls. and 2) I needed to have a nicer, full color ad. So I took his advice and my last ad was the largest ad in the Lawn Maintenance section of the yellow pages and it was nice, full-color, and all that.

    That last ad did produce a good amount of calls for 4 months or so. It produced a decent amount of calls for 2 other months. And like I said above, nothing at all for about 6 months. Nothing as in the phone didn't ring once all month. Which was a huge disappointment.

    As for the calls themselves, some of them were for commercial work. But not nearly as many as I had expected or wanted. At the time, I was really wanting to break into the commercial maintenance market but I really never did get any of the big leads I was hoping for from the YP. I got a few calls from some small [and broke] appartment complexes, a small strip mall, and that was about it. Most people who use YP are residents, which was fine for me at the time because residential was what I had done up to that point anyway. Nowadays I JUST do residential. But at the time I was thinking I wanted to do commercial.

    For this ad, I was paying approx. $800 per month. And since I wasn't getting any calls for 6 months from the ad, you could say I was basically paying $1600 per month for the 6 months where I did receive calls. Were the calls I was getting worth $1600 per month, HECK NO! Nowhere near worth it.

    What got me suckered in was a phrase the salesman told me, "How many residential lawns does it take to make $800 per month. About 6? Ok. So if you just land 6 new accounts from this ad, it has paid for itself!!! See!!!" I thought to myself, "He's right! Yah! That's a no-brainer! I'll do it!" Well, that was fallacious thinking on my part. 6 accounts might well bring my company in $800 or even more per month. But we're talking total sales, not profit. With that $800, I gotta pay for employees, all my overhead, gas, insurance, phones, you name it. When I pay for all that stuff, the profit I am left with from that $800 in additional income is really only about $80 or $100. So really I needed to land (and keep) about 50 customers in order for the ad to pay for itself. And, of course, we didn't land that many new customers, nor could I have really handled that big of an increase for that year.

    For those of you who are thinking of getting into the Yellow Pages one day, start studdying the yellow pages. Keep a copy of the same yellow pages year after year. What you'll eventually notice is that there are a few really large companies who advertise in there each year. But the remaining 75% of the ads change from year to year. Most of the ads that are there one year aren't there the next. THERE'S A REASON!

    That's my 2 cents. I wish you well.
     
  6. griffy77

    griffy77 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 102

    Excellent point!!! I have noticed LCOs one year and then gone the next and the big boys-trugreen and davey just run little ads, and for local big boys they just have a listing. I have read alot of comments on Yellow pages here. Some had good returns while others not even one call. I think where you live has alot to do with it. If you live in corn fields in Ohio (go bucks!!) then yea probably you arent going to recieve that many calls. I live in a fairly densely populated area so we will see how thing go this year. It does suck that you have to pay for months that you arent even mowing knowing that no one is going to call. I have to keep telling myself that its an investment. I just hope now after reading everything I have here that I just get my money back.
     
  7. nobagger

    nobagger LawnSite Gold Member
    from Pa
    Posts: 3,065

    I agree with Jim on the phonebook. IMO its a waste of money unless you have a huge, full colored ad in there I really don't think they are worth the 900.00 investment. I just use a little local paper, it gets seen buy 200k potential customers and we have had very good responses from it. And the cost is something like $40.00/mo. ya can't beat that! But I am trying door flyer's this year only because my wife's friend is a manager for a printing co. and he said he will do them for free in return for some minor snow plowing (his driveway) every once in awhile. Talk about lucky! Best of all we have NO SNOW!:p
     
  8. Team Gopher

    Team Gopher LawnSite Platinum Member
    from -
    Posts: 4,041

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