1. Missed the live Ask the Expert event?
    Catch up on the conversation about fertilization strategies for success with the experts at Koch Turf & Ornamental in the Fertilizer Application forum.

    Dismiss Notice

Anyone send newsletters to customers

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by 94gt331, Sep 3, 2011.

  1. 94gt331

    94gt331 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,718

    I was curious if anyone make company newsletters and send them to there customers. I thought this might be a good way to stay in touch with my customers and show them there more than a paycheck. I hardly ever lose customers but with the way the ecomomy is i want my customers to remain confident with my company. Anyone do that, and do they get good responses.:usflag thanks!
  2. tlc1994

    tlc1994 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 290

    I send out monthly newsletters via email. What I usually do is send out all my monthly invoices last day of the month, then write up the newsletter for the month (i.e just sent out invoices for August services and write September`s newsletter). They will include new services available, services popular this time of the year, as well as a topic that I include every issue. This month is topdressing lawns and leaf clean up. I have found them to be pretty beneficial considering it only takes about 10 minutes of time to send out to everyone. It also helps when I include an advertised service for the season, so when I mention it to a customer on a service day, they say "Oh yeah I remember that."
    Posted via Mobile Device
  3. 94gt331

    94gt331 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,718

    TLc wondering if you notice if the customers seem to enjoy the newsletters and do you think customers find more confidence in your company because of the newsletters other than providing good service.

    Messages: 1,343

    We don't do a newsletter. But each month with billing we include iinformation regarding weather, services, new services we may be offering and general tips to educate our customers. We do this all on their invoices through quickbooks. It tends to be a pretty good sales tool for us. Good luck.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  5. tlc1994

    tlc1994 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 290

    Well people can only be so interested in landscaping, and while I wouldn't say it has a SIGNIFICANT effect on my customers, at the very least it helps to upsell more services to them.
  6. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    Sounds to me like more crap I have to do for no good reason, don't get me wrong it just seems to me in this day and age
    no matter what I do doesn't have the effect I intended, I realize the intent of the newsletter is good but I've made many
    changes in my business where I had the best of intentions just to find out customers were using that change against me
    in ways I had never meant for them to do...

    You'd think they would enjoy it...
    But that, in my experience, isn't always the case.

    Some of it I can see why but it still doesn't sit well with me when a customer uses something against me, especially when I made
    the change to their benefit to begin with, seems to me like they either don't care or don't appreciate what goes into it, then again
    maybe I'm just not seeing it for what it is, either way it sure wears me out some days.

    My attitude is if you think you would enjoy typing up the news and sending it out then I don't see
    anything wrong with doing it but to me it would become a drag and I just don't see the benefit.
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2011

    Messages: 1,343

    $$$$$$$$$$$$$$ could be the benefit simply by the power of suggestion.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  8. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,872

    Yes, there are many of us who do this, and for good reason.

    First, you have to understand that the main reason for sending out a newsletter isn't necessarily to create sales from the newsletter itself. The main purpose of your newsletter is to make contact and keep your company name in your client's head. So that when it is time for them to buy some additional landscaping, hardscaping, irrigation, lawn mowing, whatever-you-do, then they will think of you first! It's more of a client retention tool than a sales tool. Keep that in mind and you'll be successful with newsletters.

    The secondary purpose of a newsletter is to maybe get some sales as a result. Reminding customers of seasonally important services that you offer may result in some of them calling you right now for those services. Every time I've ever sent out a newsletter, we got several calls and landed a few jobs. Not always as many as I had hoped. But it does generate some calls instantly, if there are enough customers on the list.

    The third purpose for a newsletter is to inform customers about products and services that you offer, that maybe they didn't know that you offered. I find that if we don't tell our lawn maintenance customers that we do other types of landscaping, they just assume all we do is maintenance. So from the very beginning when I land the maintenance account, we start reminding them that we perform other services. Nothing sucks worse than showing up to your lawn maintenance client's house and seeing that they've hired another landscaper to install their retaining wall or paver patio or sprinkler system when you also perform those services. Similarly, nothing sucks worse than driving by a home where you did a one time clean-up a year or two ago (and you know they were very happy with your work) and then you see another company working there. What you don't realize is that they probably would have hired you back but they lost your card, forgot your company name, never got any follow up, and so since they couldn't remember what company they hired last time, they just went with a new one. That could have been your job! And you should have been on top of staying in touch with them!

    So now as to how to create newsletters. I used to do really nice full-color glossy magazine style newsletters. 4 Pages. And then I'd send them in the mail to anyone who we were currently doing business with or had done business with over the past 2 years. That worked fairly well. But it was inordinately expensive. I can honestly say we got our biggest job ever ($200K Landscape Installation Job) because of one of those newsletters. But regardless, it was still a little too expensive to keep doing a seasonal newsletter like that 4x a year. I got lucky with that big job. And I knew I couldn't count on the newsletter creating leads like that every time.

    So these days the way most pro. companies do it is to use an online newsletter building service. It has a lot of advantages over doing one yourself and just sending it out via email. 1) It looks a lot more professional. 2) It tracks your responses for you (e.g. how many people opened and read the newsletter, how many people clicked the "subscribe" button, how many people clicked on a link in the newsletter, allow you to create surveys, see how many emails bounced, etc.) and 3) It keeps your email address list for you. So you don't have to sit there and cut and paste 1000 email addresses into your email program. You just upload those email addresses once (and add new email addresses for new clients as needed) and then when it's time to send out a newsletter, you just click "send" and they do all that for you! The only reason someone wouldn't want to use a service like this is if you just didn't want to spend the money. And I got news for you; if that's your mentality in this business, you're not going to get far. You need to invest money in looking professional or else you'll never be seen as one of the pros.

    So the most common newsletter builder out there is ConstantContact.com. I'm not a huge fan of them because I think their free trial is a total scam, I think their rates are outrageous, and I think their program for building newsletters isn't as user friendly as it should be. So the one I use is MyNewsletterBuilder.com . They are quite a bit less expensive, have a more user friendly newsletter builder, and the website is just much simpler to understand and navigate. Also, their free trial has very few limitations.

    The last newsletter we did was this spring. You can view it here if you would like. It did help propel our spring and we did land several jobs from that newsletter. But more importantly, it kept our name in front of our clients so they were thinking of us right at the most critical time of the year. I haven't had hardly any free time this summer to create a summer edition. So it may be fall before I get a chance to create another one. But that's a good problem to have. We've been growing like crazy these last 2 years. 45% growth last year ($500,000 in add'l sales in 2010) and we're up over 50% this year. So if you're staying that busy then I guess newsletters aren't quite so critical. But I still believe in them. I believe they are important. And I will continue to write them and send them out as I have time for all the reasons I listed above.
  9. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    Yes, Jim...

    And then, when despite your best efforts they still don't think twice about calling the next guy,
    like when some lowballer runs past their house and offers to snatch up some work at a cutthroat rate
    they don't even bother to call you to check and see if they're getting a good deal?
    Because they saw dollar signs and once someone sees those, they don't care.

    How about if you're helpful in your newsletters, I mean...
    What can you possibly tell them besides sales talk that they can't use for themselves, like when they use the information
    YOU gave them to get the $5 / hour high school kid to do the work, now that they have the instructions they can "teach" Johnny.
    To save a dollar, off your work.

    And if Johnny can't figure out how to price the work?
    I have had customers use my own estimates against me, they only called me because they had someone offer to do it but that
    someone didn't know HOW to price it so they called me to get an estimate and then they used that to bargain a better price.

    Not all of them, but there will always be those who will backstab you and not even think twice about what they're doing.
    I am sorry, maybe I'm just jaded but after 10 years do you think I don't see these things?
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2011
  10. tlc1994

    tlc1994 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 290

    I've heard some cheap stuff but that's right up there.

Share This Page