I notice this time of year a lot of people (including myself) are planning your advertisement assault to the public for the upcoming season. I see a lot of "what do you think of my add?" threads and I try to give some helpful advice but I hate typing long winded responses to each individual. Once upon a time I went to college for graphics design and had to take a bunch of classes on business marketing, visual marketing, marketing statistics, and even some finance stuff. Its not all playing around in Photoshop and Illustrator (which is what I thought and which is why I am no longer involved with that program haha). In between a lot of naps during lectures, I did actually pick up a few pointers that have suck with me and helped me a few years down the road when I found myself creating advertisements for my own business. So, like I said I wanted to pass some of those along to everyone else, and also wanted to create a thread where others could share some advertising techniques that they have found to work well over the years. After all, we are all here to help each other, right? so anyway...about door hangers and mailbox stuffers. A lot people don't understand about these door hangers/mailbox stuffers is that something like 40% of people don't even look at them and they get crumpled up and in the trash. Out of the other 60% that do, less than I think its something like 5% actually will say "wow! I am looking for a landscaper!" and read your advertisement with all of their attention and read it top to bottom, front to back. The rest of the people (35%), you have from their front door or mailbox where you left the flier, to the garbage can and very little attention from the potential customer to get your point across. Think about it, you come home from a long hard day at work, have your arms full of a briefcase, maybe some groceries and whatever else, you get the mail, grab this thing off your door, fumble with your keys to get in the house, the dog is barking, kids screaming, and at some point when you get in you start weeding out the un-necessary items. SO, in that hustle and bustle, your advertisement piece is getting MAYBE 20% of the person's attention so you have to do 3 BIG things to make them take note: 1) big, obvious graphics: at first glance from far away you can tell its for an outdoor service, without ANY words. 2) name: pretty obvious. 3) contact: get the phone number on there as big as you can. So, in that time of probably less than 2 seconds, they know its Richardson's Landscape Services and they can be reached at 868-2326. If you get past that, great then you have their attention and they will read more into the advertisement. Somewhere in that 2 seconds something in the brain clicks (word association maybe? I think this is one of the places I fell asleep in class....) and makes a link between your add and the thought that was created at some point in the past of "I need someone to cut my grass, plant my flowers, gee this house would look a lot better with some mulch" etc. Then you're in and they will ready further into the add and set it aside for later. If they don't need your services, well that connection in the brain is never made and your add gets thrown out. The other way adds get looked over and thrown out is theres so much going on in them that people don't know what they are even for, so out of overwhelming confusion they just get thrown out. Perfect example is I was reading a print publication that I receive through this forum and there was an add in there that I starred at for a good 3 or 4 minutes and I couldn't figure out what the name of the company was, how to contact them, and to be honest I wasn't even sure what they were selling. I think it was lawn mower parts because thats literally what took up the entire add but nowhere on there did I see "lawnmower Parts" or a name and contact. Newspaper adds (and yellow page adds) are kind of the same idea. I will use a personal example here to explain. Locally, theres a community newspaper that goes around to all the town and villages. They have a very large home services classified, and many people have found great success advertising in there. Open up the classifieds and looks under Landscaping the first week in April and theres about 100 adds in there. Everything from big, double-wide fancy graphics with big type and decorative fonts to microscopic, single line plain typed "Joe Blow's Lawn mowing. Call 555-5555". Open up any news classified section or phone book that time of year and you will see a similar situation. The particular publication I am familiar with does a special for a few weeks each spring where the whole front page of the classified is in color and devoted to landscapers. It's a lot more expensive than just a regular add, but you get noticed, and when theres 100 other landscapers in the classifieds, you want to be first. Same thing generally applies as with door hangers, you want your name and contact as big as you can. This time, if you have a nice logo, make that big too. Whether you are on the front featured page or in with the other 100 guys, people generally know they are looking at landscaping adds, so listing your complete line of services isn't as important. Make yourself look better than Joe Blow's Lanwmowing by showing things he doesn't have. Use phrases like "licensed and insured" or list your website for people to see pictures of your work. I personally have found that sucking it up and opening up your wallet for the front page add is the only way you're going to get calls. I had a real nice logo add mixed in with everyone else last spring and didn't get a single call. This fall, I had a plowing add on the front page (same deal as spring, everybody and their brother is plowing driveways) and I actually got a decent amount of business from it. SO, lets hear from some other people what successes (or lack there of) in adverting you have had over the years!