What type of advertising works best?

Discussion in 'Industry Surveys & Polls' started by LawnStars2012, Mar 3, 2014.

  1. mhelpdesk

    mhelpdesk LawnSite Member
    Posts: 82

    I feel like Facebook should pay me for what I say about them, but if you're interested in a particular area you can spend a very small amount and get a super-targeted ad on Facebook. You can target it to age range, zip code, you name it. Of course, you have to have a Facebook page first. And LinkedIn ads can bring you a more affluent customer; their ads are cheaper than Facebook's, ironically. And yes, you have to list yourself in Google's Places/Businesses index because it pops up above search results. It's a huge, impressive ad for free. I don't know if Kijiji is a thing where you are, but where I live they're the upscale rivals to CL.
     
  2. recycledsole

    recycledsole LawnSite Gold Member
    from MD
    Posts: 3,231

    Craigslist, website, flyers. Only do direct mail if the areas are fenced, or far apart. Passing out flyers yourself is better when you can.
     
  3. FoghornLeghorn

    FoghornLeghorn LawnSite Senior Member
    from Texas
    Posts: 750

    Word of mouth is the only advertising we do, and it's free!

    I've tried Google (competition sits online all day and click-frauds your budget).

    Yelp has a terrible review filter, none of your actual real reviews ever stay posted.

    You can spend $400-10,000 per month on advertising and still possibly get no results, or you can keep your head down, put in an honest days work, treat your customers right and build your business through referrals.

    The only advertising I'd pay for at this point is trailer/vehicle wraps and a well designed website with good pics and easy to understand navigation. My two cents.
    Posted via Mobile Device
     
  4. tonygreek

    tonygreek LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,393

    If you're at that stage of your business life, that's fantastic...but, you can't scale word of mouth. It's fine for those who have been around for a while, have a solid customer base, and want to steadily grow or add customers here and there, but for anyone starting out, or looking to grow sooner, rather than later, word of mouth accomplishes very little.

    I was a long-time Google Adwords Certified partner. In all of those years, and clients, at the local service business level, click fraud was almost all but non-existent. The vast majority of the time, the bad clicks were due to the person running the campaign (and just as importantly, the landing pages on the businesses' website) not setting up something to convert. I've looked at a lot of Lawnsiter's Adwords accounts. It usually takes me 10 seconds to tell them they're doing it exactly the wrong ways. :) It's definitely not for the casual, "I'll give it a look, write some words, add my credit card, and turn it on crowd".

    For example, if your ad copy actually gets people to click on, say, "Custom Flagstone Patio Design" and then you dump them on your home page or contact page, etc, and not the content they're actually looking for (flagstone patios), your conversion rate plummets. By and large, people love to lazily blame this on click fraud. You'd be surprised at how many local business owners don't sit around clicking their competitor's ads all day long. The IP address, alone, for your typical business isn't going to allow this to happen.

    Yelp, while it does have it's various, obvious issues, "none" is a very big word. I oversee dozens of Yelp accounts. Keeping legit reviews tends to not be a problem. Why would it be? Getting rid of bogus reviews, which are usually too easy to spot, are not difficult to remove. I don't usually have a problem of flagging a review from a competitor and having it gone within 24-48 hours. Compared to Adwords click fraud, this one happens a lot and is very easy to identify, mostly because of the sloppy and overly aggressive writing. You really only need look at the reviewer's account history to come up with supporting detail for why it's bogus. The guys are incredibly sloppy here, sometime using their own names, or being in another state.)

    Now you're cooking with gas! Those go a very long way. The repeated, branding impressions of your vehicles alone should do quite well.
     
  5. PaperCutter

    PaperCutter LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,938

    you have to be careful asking questions like that. I was working on a water pipeline project in Chula Vista with a crusty old Navy guy and during a political debate I asked him "how do you sleep at night?" He took it as an invitation to tell me about the best night of sleep he ever got and it involved a port of call 20 years ago, a Filipino escort, and a rabbit costume. Up on a pumphouse roof and he was between me and the ladder...
     
  6. PaperCutter

    PaperCutter LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,938

    your specific case my be totally different, but in a lot of cases "we ONLY do word of mouth and it works because we're rockstars" really means "we get enough calls off the trucks, the jobsite signs, and the occasional referral from an old client that as long as we price smack dab in the middle of the market we get enough work." That's how one of my old employers was. And when the economy took a colossal dump, their marketing plan went from "we're awesome we get word of mouth" to "maybe if we pray hard enough the phone will ring again."

    Don't get me wrong, word of mouth is gold and you need to do whatever it takes to build and maintain those relationships. But if your sales pipeline is getting filled from just one tap, what happens when the water runs low for everyone in the industry?
     
  7. FoghornLeghorn

    FoghornLeghorn LawnSite Senior Member
    from Texas
    Posts: 750

    Our situation is a little different. We do only commercial and high end residential. We write 3 year contracts and then pamper the living heck out of our HOA boards and Homeowners, on top of doing 8-9 quality work.

    Our clients tend to stay with us and are very forgiving when it comes to the occasional mess-up because we've cultivated a close personal relationship with them all...
    Posted via Mobile Device
     
  8. Blue Jay Irrigation

    Blue Jay Irrigation LawnSite Member
    Posts: 8

    The best form of advertising is word-of-mouth. Referrals from friends, family and community members have a certain level of trust associated with it. You cannot get this kind of trust through a flyer, newsletter or vehicle wrap.

    That being said, you will need to establish a customer database from which you can update them and achieve TOMA (top of mind awareness). Ideally your clients will immediately think of you whether its landscaping or sprinkler systems.

    When it comes to generating new business, people want resources, not a personal greeting. If you're not useful they don't want anything to do with you. Time is valuable. Using content marketing (blogs, emails, videos) providing tips, tools, and useful information is the key to get new business interested in what it is you have to say. Once they realize that you offer something more than just a service they will be more likely to trust you because you know what you're talking about. Trust=Business.

    Traditional advertising/marketing practices still work however, the key to growth is adapting and changing with the demand. Staying current and relevant will improve your bottom line.
     
  9. Blue Jay Irrigation

    Blue Jay Irrigation LawnSite Member
    Posts: 8

    When you're just starting to grow your business, getting your name out there is the first step. In doing so get the most for your money. Flyers, posters and business cards are your best bet. The next step is to get contact information, most importantly emails. From here you can spread your messages and deals. It also becomes easy for your clients to forward these messages to their friends and grow your business that way.

    The rate of return for cold-calling is usually 4 out of 20 might be a lead and then 1 out of 20 will be a sale. Always better to cover more territory and maximize your leads.
     
  10. Lrd3

    Lrd3 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 10

    Has anyone had experience with AL? I've heard they eagerly take your money but when a problem crops up they are slow to respond.
     

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