Which marketing method works?

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by bobbyc1980, Sep 8, 2010.

  1. bobbyc1980

    bobbyc1980 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 11

    I have just started a lighting company in Memphis. Im looking for ideas for marketing and the most successful ways. Are flyers, post card mailings, etc effective? Thanks




    www.memphis.lightsbylighthouse.com
     
  2. Alan B

    Alan B Sponsor
    Posts: 410

    Nothing beats word of mouth IMO.

    Word of mouth meaning:
    - your customers giving you referrals.
    -do one job in a neighborhood and network the area to get other neighbors (speaking to neighbors, talking to your customer and build relationship)
    -networking with other contractors (lawn guys, pest control, etc) and develop a close relationship (s) with otehr contractors. Help each other and refer each other business.
    -do whatever it takes to get known in the area as the goto guy for high quality lighting-- you are the guy that knows what he's doing and does it right.

    Its not a specific road map but the general jist is... reputation is the best form of marketing... and reputation is built on how you interact with people (not advertising mediums).

    People (esp in higher end homes) tend to choose contractors through referrals/recommendations when they can. In my opinion, try and break into nice neighborhoods with one job, then do your best to talk with the customer, get to know the neighbors, flyers after your done announcing the work you did at their neighbors, etc..

    To answer your question directly, I'm not a fan or direct mail. I don't think you'll see the roi and I feel its time has passed as an effective medium for most businesses.

    Good luck!
     
  3. bobbyc1980

    bobbyc1980 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 11

    Thanks for the info. But when first starting out, what is the best method to break ground with these neighborhoods? They have to start somewhere.
     
  4. emby

    emby LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ontario
    Posts: 380

    A demo kit is a must when starting out. There are many people here who have commented on previous threads about demos and how important they are.
    Rather than give somebody else your money for marketing, invest it back into the business via a demo kit and go and do a couple of demos. I am pretty sure someone will say sure to a free lighting demo for a couple of nights.
    Once you establish a few customers then word of mouth is very important. Your customers are now your sales people so ensure they get nothing but a top notch professional low voltage lighting design and system. With top notch service they will talk about you.
    Read up on some of the old threads here as they have some very valuable information.
    Just my 2 cents.

    Ken
     
  5. bcg

    bcg LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Tx
    Posts: 1,835

    I'm not sure I agree on needing a demo kit. I would have agreed 2 months ago but now I think that if you can describe to someone the effect you're going to create that most people that want landscape lighting are artistic enough to be able to visualize what you're describing. I think the most important thing is to be excited about what you're describing. If you sound like you WANT to do the job and you're describing a scene and an effect that the customer wants to achieve, a demo isn't going to be needed.

    What a demo kit is good for is experimenting with how to create the effects you're after and to be able to setup various scenes to photograph for a portfolio but most local distributors will probably have one you can borrow so you won't need to buy one.
     
  6. Classic Lighting

    Classic Lighting LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 491

    Offer to install basic systems for friends/ family for material costs. This will help develop a portfolio. Advertise in the neighborhood after the job is complete. Encourage friends/ family to refer you to others. Truck lettering also adds to the professional perception. In the customer's mind, perception is reality.
     
  7. Mark B

    Mark B LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,020

    In my simple opinion I think a demo is priceless when starting out. Once you have some experience then customers will since that in your sales spill. When you can show them pictures of your work I would start with a demo. Also you can suck up to as many mow & blow companies, along with the irrigation guys. I would say the LCO first get to hear about the customers needs first (in most cases).
    Posted via Mobile Device
     
  8. The Lighting Geek

    The Lighting Geek LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 875

    Well, this what I did and it worked and still works for me. Word of mouth is everything as Alan stated. You need to protect your reputation beyond all else. It is the foundation for everything you do.

    Demo kits are absolutely crucial to a new business. Customers can't visualize what your talking about in the beginning. There is a specific vocabulary that you will need to develop that works for you in order for the client to see in their head a picture of what you want to do to their yard. Demo kits will buffer your learning curve and allow you to close jobs. I did a demo on every house that didn't say no. If they didn't buy, many times the neighbor did. IF you are in the right neighborhoods, a demo kit will make you money and teach you at the same time. Your vocabulary and sales technique will develop and the need for demos will diminish over time.

    Every market is different. Your market may support a good ROI on postcards, magazine ads, television, or radio. It might not. I found that a combination of word of mouth, lots of demos, well marked trucks, home shows, and full color ads in home improvement magazines worked best for me. Doing work on home improvement TV shows has also helped. It is a combination of these things that makes it work, not one. Your combination may differ a bit, but the basics will be the same.

    That is my 2 1/2 cents :)
     
  9. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,102

    All the posts above have excellent advice! It is possible to launch a new lighting business and succeed, but it will require a ton of commitment, passion, drive, and perseverance. (a bit of a bank roll would help too)

    I started out with a $0.00 marketing budget. I borrowed some images from a colleague (with permission) and prepared a bunch of colour flyers that I posted on bulletin boards in all the local stores. A couple of weeks later I had my first lead. Upon completion of the installation, I began the process of gaining their referrals. That has been my 'secret' ever since. One referral after another. If a contractor/builder/architect is involved in the project make sure they see your work at night, and then go after their referrals too. When one good job generates several new leads, you are onto something. But, you have to deliver the goods too... treat those clients like they are family, or better. "New friends are Silver, but old friends are Gold." By keeping in touch, offering remarkable service, and continually impressing your clients you will gain continual referrals.

    For the record, I have done a demo.... once. It was an experience that I didn't enjoy very much and thought was an inefficient use of my time. I much rather take my prospects to a job nearby and have them walk through and experience the effects full on - another form of referral. Let your work do your bidding.
     
  10. extlights

    extlights LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 439

    I'm confused....your link goes to lighthouse. Aren't they a franchise, and if so don't they go over marketing with you? I know they talk about the demo. I agree it's important to get information from others in the industry, so I'm not knocking you about it at all, I just thought that franchises were marketing specific on a lot of things. Anyway, we still use the demo.....we like it because nobody else does it. It shows that we care about getting it done right and will spend the time with the customer to make that happen. Marketing is really tough right now because of the economy. It's a process of elimination sometimes, although you might try something now that works, and next time it won't. Being that this is a niche business makes it all more difficult. Good luck.
     

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