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Effective marketing strategies

Discussion in 'Water Features' started by retxab, Oct 31, 2010.

  1. retxab

    retxab LawnSite Member
    Messages: 25

    Does any body have any suggestions for waterfeature marketing?
    Posted via Mobile Device
  2. pitrack

    pitrack LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,048

    I would like to know as well.
  3. tadpole

    tadpole LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,221

    Been trying to find the answer to that question for over 10 years. I've tried them all......Yellow Pages display ads, Newspaper display ads, Direct mail, Door Hangers, Flyers, Business Card placement, Website, Local search engine listings, Angies's List, Service Magic, etc. ad nauseum. With the exception of the Website, all of the others produced about the same level of results...Doodly-Squat. The local search engines do account for about 50% of the hits on my website, but these are not necessarily leads.

    When I started in the Water Feature business, back in the Glory Days of Pond Building, it was a niche business. Now, with the explosion of DIYs and, more recently, the 'Great Recession', the niche has gotten much smaller and harder to identify and reach.

    Customer referrals (word of mouth) have always been the mainstay in my area for leads and prospects.

    What may work in one metro area might not work in another because of the difference in demographics.

    Maybe someone will post the 'Silver Bullet' on this thread.
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    Messages: 604

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  5. Niagara Falls

    Niagara Falls LawnSite Member
    Messages: 149

    There is no such thing in marketing as a "Silver Bullet" when it comes to marketing. The closest to it would be innovation. I worked in marketing for over 30 years and some of the things I saw companies do made me both laugh and cringe.

    If I may offer the opinion that word of mouth is the bottom line best form of promotion for any business. And as I've said many times over the course of my career, "If it's a good idea, steal it!"

    The company where I bought my pond materials has a pond tour twice a year, where they rent a bus and visit the various waterfeatures his company has installed. When I was there at the winterizing seminar, I asked about signing up for one next year and guess what.....they're all booked. He is considering a third and will let me know. The problem is that it takes him away from his prime source of income, landscaping and waterfeatures.
    He got the idea from what is called "studio tours" that happen once a year in and around Ottawa, in fact we have one here in Brockville.

    My suggestion:
    Contact all the clients you have and get there approval to allow people to walk around their waterfeature, organize transportation that can expand or shrink depending on the need, and then let people know about it......

    There are numerous ways to get the word out, but before I spend a penny I would look at some free options. Contact you local TV station and see if they would be interested in either joining you on the tour, or promote the tour as a community interest.
    Contact the various groups/organizations in town, camera clubs, gardening clubs etc., and see if they'd like to have one exclusively for them.
    See if the local newspaper would like to do a story about pond building and that you will be conducting tours.
    It might start out that you will have just 5 or 6 at the beginning, but you need to start somewhere.

    The one i referenced is up to about 40 people per tour, and at $35 each which includes a small reception afterward, refreshments and finger food....

    It's not going to make you rich but it should cover you costs and get your service and name out there in the community.
  6. tadpole

    tadpole LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,221

    'Pond Tours' have been used as a marketing method for over 10 years. I remember Aquascape promoting the idea as far back as 1998.

    For some locales, this may be a workable idea; for others (like mine), not so much so. The drawbacks have been: reluctance on the part of Pond owners to have 30 or 40 people trekking through their landscaping, reluctance on the part of the Pond tour participants to pay a fee of any size.

    My question has always been: What percentage of the total tour participation are existing Pond owners, what percentage are true prospects, and what percentage are DIYs and 'tire kickers' just looking for ideas? In other words, what is the actual expected ROI?

    There is, of course, no 'Silver Bullet' (was being sarcastic). Customer referrals will probably always be the mainstay for supplying legitimate leads in this niche industry.
  7. Niagara Falls

    Niagara Falls LawnSite Member
    Messages: 149

    Are the percentages important? The "tire kickers" might find some good ideas and hopefully hire you to implement it. The DIY'ers like me, are going to buy supplies and product from you, and maybe pay you to give some "professional" advice, which knowing what I do now, I would have gladly paid for.......and the real prospects....I don;t think they'd be paying you $35 just for a can of pop and a doughnut.

    What I would suggest as a ROI would be in the form of free advertising at the least. You would hope that they would be impressed with what they saw and then tell 2 friends, who in turn would tell 2 of their friends etc., etc., etc.

    As an example, one of my neighbours brought some friends around to look at what I had done and they are doing something in the spring....and hiring a local landscaping company to do it.

    And make sure your costs are covered by the fee, maybe even make a few bucks.
  8. tadpole

    tadpole LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,221

    Tire kickers are basically 'Professioinal' window shoppers--Zero return from them
    they will usually purchase over the internet for less than I can purchase the same item from the Dist. or Manu.
    Big maybe, usually want free info
    would you have been inclined to pay for consulting prior to starting your Water Feature?
    True, but would they be willing to pay an additional consulting fee afterwards? I live in a, in the best of times, very tough market.

    Besides word of mouth, I have found that keeping the company name in front of people is a definite marketing asset and company vehicle signage and graphics plays a large role in getting this exposure. The more flamboyant the better. Look what the Weinermobile has done for Oscar Mayer!
  9. Niagara Falls

    Niagara Falls LawnSite Member
    Messages: 149

    Yes, I agree with you 100%. Keep your name/image out there. I'm not familiar with the Weinermobile, but I am familiar with a statement of one of baseball's most famous..." Let them say what they want about me, but just keep them saying my name!"

    Reggie Jackson
  10. tadpole

    tadpole LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,221

    All good points!

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