Offers on Direct Mail

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by Trent, Feb 9, 2007.

  1. Trent

    Trent LawnSite Member
    Posts: 10

    I have been reading lawn site for several years now. I have not made alot of post. This is my 3rd year as a full time LCO. This year I am sending out 50,000 direct mail adds. I would like to put offers in the add to get new customers, Like 20% off 1st cut. Has anyone used an offer that they had good success with.
  2. mastercare

    mastercare LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 289

    You'll get opposing opinions on this, but I would say you need to offer something bigger. Maybe a free cut, maybe free Fert, Aeration, or a gift card to your local restaurant.

    Just make sure that whatever you give away should be given at the end of the season, or at least after you've collected on a few months worth of bills. You don't want to give away freebies then have them cancel.

    Say you give 20% off of a $24 cut. That's $4.80. If someone comes in with no discounts, and offers to cut it weekly for only 18 cents cheaper, they'll beat your bid. (Math $4.80/26 cutting weeks = 0.18 discount per cut). If you have good service and a good customer retention rate, don't worry about giving away something a little bigger if you beleive that your customers will stick with you year after year. You'll recover it.

    $4.80 is the cost of 13 stamps. I'm sure you're spending a ton on mailings, so in comparison, 20% discount is VERY small to spend on advertising/promotion. Take a bigger hit, and pick up more customers. Just don't be too generous or you'll attract the price-shoppers who will find a better price next year.

    Hope this helps.
  3. bullethead

    bullethead LawnSite Senior Member
    from Texas
    Posts: 273

    I'll offer the opposing point of view - I think the mailing is more about timing in regard to basic lawn service. If they get your direct mail piece when they are thinking they need lawn service, they will call regardless of whether you offer any free or discounted stuff. For example - If it hits them the day the yard guy no-showed - you get called. If it hits the day after they move in and realize the grass aint getting any shorter - you get called. etc.
  4. JRSlawn

    JRSlawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 636

    50,000 post cards is going to be quite a large expense. For 15,000 targeting 5,000 home owners I am looking to spend close to 5,000
  5. Matts lawn care

    Matts lawn care LawnSite Senior Member
    from MD
    Posts: 829

    I think that 20% off the first cut is too low. has any one thought about a coupon like (sign up for a yearly agreement and get $20 off your next add on service) something like that so not only are you "giving" them something you get more work out of it. Just an idea any one try this. Maybe 20% off your monthly bill
    EX: $100.00 a week regular bill down to 80.00 with the 20% off
    they get $20.00 off
  6. Trent

    Trent LawnSite Member
    Posts: 10

    Thank you for the input guys. Very good advice.

    Mastercare you make a good point, I did't do the math on 20% off the price of a cut on a small lawn. And over the years I have retained 90% of my customers. So a bigger offer does make since, considering what a new customers means over the span of years.

    JRSlawn - I am going to run the add in a direct mail magazine that will have other business advertising as well. So the cost will be less than you are talking about.

    thanks again all the replies are appreciated.
  7. Prestige-Lawncare

    Prestige-Lawncare LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 753

    My response will be on a different line then the others. I'm not talking about a discount, something for free, or anything along those lines.

    My thinking on advertising like this is that I lose all control of exactly where my advertising is going. By using post cards, flyers, or something along that line (I prefer post cards) .. you can target the areas you want ... the neighborhoods you want to work in and for. Opening up your services to all who pick up get the magazine, or read the ad can get you a lot of calls from the PITA customers.

    I would prefer to get me 5,000 post cards and hit the neighborhoods I want to service. Word of mouth will add a few accounts as well ... and your quality of work seen by others as they drive by the properties you service will get you a few as well.

    Take the extra advertising dollars you budget and get some signs or lettering for your trailer and/or truck if you desire. Also ... never, ever leave home without your business cards.

    Just my opinions ... it works well for me.
  8. GreenN'Clean

    GreenN'Clean LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,512

    How many people have really had good luck using direct mail? I have usually just ran an ad in newspapers and have had a good return on the investment.
  9. Duekster

    Duekster LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 7,961

    Wanted to be sure that was seen. Too many people will stiff you in Res too. I would photo most bad looking lawns before the work begins.
  10. Duekster

    Duekster LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 7,961

    My $02. unless it is a mag type and you have front page the ad will never be seen on the way to the junk mail circular file.

    About the only time I open the mail-pack is if I am looking for a coupon for a car wash.

    I know people look at them for restaurants, oil changes and stuff so you can be seen.

    It is a percentage game.

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