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Hedgemaster
02-11-2011, 10:52 PM
I think it's important to let your customers know that you appreciate their business. This is what I did...

I'm just starting out and I don't have that many customers to thank, so that kept my costs for doing so relatively low. (I sent out 25 cards) Also, to keep costs to a minimum, rather than buying "blank" thank you cards, I chose to make my own, using some nice, heavyweight ivory paper that I happened to have lying around. I set up a template so I could cut two cards from each sheet, and found matching "greeting card" envelopes at W-mart for about $4.00 for a box of 50.

I printed a big "Thank You!" on the outside, with appropriate text inside. I did a search for "thank you" letters for business and used one that was closest to my needs, re-wording it to my liking.

I already had the post cards printed in advance and designed them (I designed my own logo, and promotional pieces) to be somewhat "multi-purpose" in their usage, so I included one in each envelope along with a magnetic business card, and two regular cards, one having a handwritten "offer" on the reverse. I couldn't justify having such a small number of cards printed with an offer on the back, so while not looking the most "professional", it's what I decided to run with.
I numbered the offers to track their usage, and included an expiration date of two weeks before Memorial Day weekend so I wouldn't get hit with a bunch of calls at the last minute to do discounted work for people getting their yards ready for a party.

I also included a handwritten note in each that noted the work I had performed, or some other personal touch in case they didn't immediately make the connection as to "who" the card was from. (I had worked for most of these people before I had a business name)



http://i802.photobucket.com/albums/yy309/IntegrityLawnCare/Promotional%20Items/Thank%20You%20Mailing/104_6101.jpg


and the text inside the card...

http://i802.photobucket.com/albums/yy309/IntegrityLawnCare/Promotional%20Items/Thank%20You%20Mailing/104_6104.jpg



I used clear Avery address labels and printed them using the same font used in the card to give it a nice, uniform, and "formal" appearance. While I was at it, I printed a second sheet of labels to have handy should I decide to send anything else out at a later date. (I'm thinking website announcement/seasonal offer)

Note that before "packaging" these mailings, I took two envelopes with the enclosed items to the post office to have weighed to ensure that the envelope would not exceed the weight for standard postage. I was good to go. :)

In addition to those I did work for, I sent a few to people who had contacted me for estimates, but I did not do work for. (some jobs were beyond my scope at the time) They were all very pleasant people, and it never hurts to let folks know that you are still available.

I had my business cards, magnets, and post cards printed at Overnightprints.com (http://www.overnightprints.com/). So far, I've been very pleased with the quality of the products. Although that photo doesn't show it well, the cards are nice and heavy, bright white (whiter than the Vistaprint sample card I have), and include a glossy finish at no charge if desired. They run really good specials on different products all the time and it's worth getting on their e-mail list for the discount codes.

Anyway, that's what I did. Feel free to comment or ask questions!

picframer
02-12-2011, 03:19 AM
Very good idea! Handwriting the clients name and your signature adds the personal touch.

Hedgemaster
02-12-2011, 11:54 AM
Very good idea! Handwriting the clients name and your signature adds the personal touch.

Yes, and believe it or not, that is the reason behind choosing blue ink over black for my signature. A black pen could have been mistaken as a part of the "printed", text, and thus, appeared more "cookie cutter", than a hand-signed note.

Sometimes I tend to over think things. LOL!

picframer
02-12-2011, 02:57 PM
Yes, and believe it or not, that is the reason behind choosing blue ink over black for my signature. A black pen could have been mistaken as a part of the "printed", text, and thus, appeared more "cookie cutter", than a hand-signed note.

Sometimes I tend to over think things. LOL!

Funny you mention Blue, many years ago when I worked at the bank one of our sessions held at a resort included colors, in business Blue anything is the best color one could use as it means trust.....the color thing has stuck with me over the years although I do wander from it:)

Anyhow what you are doing really cements a relationship, we as providers like hearing that our work is appreciated, clients like hearing that their business is appreciated just as much.

Steve
02-12-2011, 04:20 PM
I used clear Avery address labels and printed them using the same font used in the card to give it a nice, uniform, and "formal" appearance. While I was at it, I printed a second sheet of labels to have handy should I decide to send anything else out at a later date. (I'm thinking website announcement/seasonal offer)

First off, let me say, outstanding job! Very very nice.

Now in the past, I have read that people are more inclined to open letters when they are hand addressed vs ones that use mailing labels. What is your view on that and how important is that to you?

Second off, what would you say the function of this mailing is? A lot of newer business owners may not understand this marketing technique. Do you feel there is a specific goal with this mailing?

Hedgemaster
02-12-2011, 05:47 PM
First off, let me say, outstanding job! Very very nice.

Now in the past, I have read that people are more inclined to open letters when they are hand addressed vs ones that use mailing labels. What is your view on that and how important is that to you?

Second off, what would you say the function of this mailing is? A lot of newer business owners may not understand this marketing technique. Do you feel there is a specific goal with this mailing?

Thank you, sir.

As for the labels... well, my handwriting is horrible, and my printing isn't as nice as it once was. I don't know how much of a difference it makes, but I think using labels was the right choice.

First and foremost, I truly wanted to thank those people. Without them, I may have lost my house.
Secondly, while many of them knew that I had talked of starting my own business, I needed to let them know that I had actually done so.
Lastly, you need to keep yourself "out there" in front of people. As my neighbor who is in marketing stated when I asked if she thought it would be "tacky" to include business cards in this mailing, "It's not tacky at all ... you have to hit people over and over and over and over ... ex: everyone knows McDonald's yet they keep running ads ..."
By "reminding" people that you are available, you increase your odds of making sales.

This is simply advertising on a personal level. There are no less than 4 items in each envelope that can be stuck up on a refrigerator, or handed to a friend, or relative. My phone number is included on the card as well.
If only a few of those people give my name to someone who uses my services, it will have paid for itself.

Steve
02-14-2011, 09:10 AM
Do you think this package could be utilized again next year to thank your customers along with trying to get them to re-sign up with you in the new year?

If so, would you change anything on it to make it functional for that purpose or would some other way be better?

Hedgemaster
02-23-2011, 12:09 AM
Do you think this package could be utilized again next year to thank your customers along with trying to get them to re-sign up with you in the new year?

If so, would you change anything on it to make it functional for that purpose or would some other way be better?


I don't see why not.
I'm sure I would re-word it, and perhaps add some sort of "coupon/incentive"... not sure yet.



BTW, one of my snow removal people today used the "$10 Off" discount. :)

Steve
02-23-2011, 04:07 PM
That is fantastic news!

Do you ask any of these customers for referrals when you are working on their property?

Upscale2
02-24-2011, 11:48 AM
Ummmm, your cards are nice and that is a great idea, I can't stress that enough. Handwritten, Blue ink, all of your points are correct.

I've been on this forum, own a landscape co. and utilize cards every month for various things, from thanks, promotions, seasonal offerings, holidays and birthdays.

If you want to take the labor out of it try this: www.marshallscards.com

This is my winter business. You can add your own signatures, photos, fonts, color of fonts etc...PLUS it is a contact manager that holds all of your clients.

When you want to send a bunch of cards it only takes about 10 minutes and the card is sent from a production facility. Completely customized.

I have a video on my youtube channel under upscalelandcarellc check it out.

Good luck!

Steve
02-25-2011, 01:03 PM
I can't stress that enough. Handwritten, Blue ink, all of your points are correct.

Do you mean in the card or on the envelope? For those that don't know, can you tell us why it is so important to hand write and use blue ink? What is the value in it?

Simpkins
02-25-2011, 08:39 PM
WOW! Nice job to OP. You are new to the business and it seems you have a pretty good grasp on some great marketing strategies. You are already ahead of 80% of your competition.

The chances of these clients choosing a competing lawn care service provider for the coming year just went way down. People love hearing "Thank You".

Hedgemaster
02-26-2011, 05:13 PM
Thanks Simpkins, I appreciate the compliment.




Also, I thought I'd share that I received an e-mail today from one of the people I sent a "thank you" packet to...


Hello Kirk, Happy New Year, and Congratulations on Oak Leaf Lawn service!

I was so happy to receive your mailing and see that you'd taken the plunge and moved forward with the next step in the life of your new business. What a thrill! I was so impressed and pleased with your work last summer trimming our giant hedge and adding stones to the little patio out back and I'm excited about the possibility of working with you again.

This summer, we're interested in expanding the little patio in the back that you added stones to last year. I'd love to schedule a time in the next several weeks when we can get together to discuss specifics about how many stones, how far to expand, etc. If possible, I'd love for you to actually purchase the stones this time in addition to installing them. It also may be time to remove the small ***** willow tree in the back, so I'd like to discuss a quote for digging that up and out as well.

Perhaps we can look ahead to a date in late March for an initial conversation? Hopefully by then we won't have any more snow to worry about!

Feel free to contact me by email (removed) or phone (removed) with any questions.

Thanks so much!

Happy Customer
123 McHappy Street
Pittsburgh, PA 12345


Happy customers make me happy. :)




ETA: forum software edited out "pu$$y", from "pu$$ywillow" above. lol

Simpkins
02-26-2011, 07:12 PM
Nice job Hedgemaster, Thanks for sharing. This single job alone will more than pay for your whole mailing, right?

Hedgemaster
02-26-2011, 08:53 PM
Nice job Hedgemaster, Thanks for sharing. This single job alone will more than pay for your whole mailing, right?


For sure.

Not only will it pay for the items I mailed, but it will surely cover the cost of purchasing the entire order of 500 business cards, 50 magnetic cards, and 500 postcards.

That's pretty much the message I was trying to get across in my "Knocking on Doors Works" thread... a small investment in time and money can yield profitable results.

More importantly, although this customer told me she was happy when I did the job, it was made very clear by the text of her email that she was more than pleased with my work. I made a "connection" by sending out what I did. I reminded them that I'm "still available", and by doing so, may have prompted them into thinking about work they may need done - things they may not have even considered without the "reminder".

Simpkins
02-27-2011, 05:57 AM
Absolutely true hedgemaster! Far too often I hear "I can't afford to do that (advertise)" In reality, you can't afford not to. When going into any business, you have to have a marketing strategy and budget for it. It doesn't have to be anything too elaborate. You have budgeted to buy your equipment, purchase insurance, etc. Marketing needs to be on that list too. If you can't afford a little bit of advertising, wait until you can before starting.

It is no secret that word of mouth is the greatest advertisement, it's free and is the most powerful. However, you can't count on that alone. You must market yourself and it is good to see that you understand the importance of keeping your name in front of your current clients. Oftentimes, this is overlooked.

FloridaBoy
02-27-2011, 10:10 AM
I think this is a great idea. I am now reserching a few companies to have boxes of cards made up for different occasions, ( birthdays, aniverseries, get well and condolences)

One of the moble home parks that i go into for work ( have about 80 customers in that park) has a a HOA website that posts all of residence birthdays illnesses, and even new people that have moved in.

As many on here have stated you do need to advertise, BUT, keepng existing customers happy with your work and YOU is what spurs that wonderfull advertisement known as WORD OF MOUTH! There is nothing better.

At Christmass time i always send cards out, this past year i had photo cards made up with myself, wife and daughter infront of my truck and equipment, i recieved the most compliments from that card then ever, the customers told me they felt like they where getting a card from family.

Sorry this is so long, i guess my point is, we do need to run are business as a business and treat clients as clients, but adding a little care from the heart can go a long way.

Simpkins
02-27-2011, 01:24 PM
Yes Florida. You are totally right. I love what you did with the Christmas cards. I always encourage people to put their picture on their website. It adds a personal touch to it. If someone is exposed to your company for the first time, the feel a bigger connection when they can see your face.

Sorry, didn't mean to get off topic. It's Florida's fault. ;)

Steve
02-27-2011, 08:13 PM
That is a great response! Does this help you at all with future marketing ideas? Are you thinking that maybe you could experiment more and bring more of yourself in your marketing to reach out to future customers?

Will this marketing direction you are taking help you create an angle to make you stand out from competitors?