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View Full Version : Looking to Expand our customer base


trademarklawns
04-23-2007, 06:03 PM
Our landscape company has been established since 1991 it has been a family owned business, this year I have took over ownership, I have added our website, gopher software, new equipment, we have well established customers but not to many about 20 they are highend and want the best, but we need to push our company to the next level and need more work like most, any suggesting on how to add to our customer base and to push our services will be appreciated

www.trademarklawns.com

Steve
04-24-2007, 08:57 PM
Hi trademarklawns,

Welcome to our forum!

What type of marketing have you been doing or are you planning on doing this year for your business?

trademarklawns
04-24-2007, 09:07 PM
well in the pass we have done none! just word of mouth. now that I have took over I am trying to fighure out what we should do for marketing, I was thinking about radio or tv but not sure at the moment.

Steve
04-24-2007, 09:18 PM
From what I have heard and please others feel free to jump in, radio and tv has been bad.

It doesn't target your ideal customer base.

Do you have a referral program set up at all to encourage your customers to tell their friends about you?

Let me see if I can pull in some of our forum experts to offer their input.

tiedeman
04-24-2007, 09:27 PM
You say that you do high end residential customers. Have you thought about expanding into commercial customers or even middle class customers?

KimKriel
04-24-2007, 10:15 PM
Hi. I agree with both and might suggest using the newpaper as a means of targeting your broad range of customers. As most of your customers will be reading the paper, you could do this with an ad or insert. Its just a personal belief but with radio you can only target the people that listen to that station, which can also apply to tv.

Steve
04-25-2007, 11:51 AM
Another thing we have seen for getting high end customers was to get a mailing list of customers in your target area and then send a sales letter to them.

It seems a sales letter better targeted high end customers.

Also why not go back to the basics and hand out business cards. Get flyers or door hangers made and hand them out too.

Have you checked out our marketing ideas in our book here (http://www.gophergraphics.com/forum/cgi-bin/ikonboard.cgi?act=ST&f=1&t=4379&st=&&#entry19778)?

trademarklawns
04-25-2007, 05:23 PM
I will go through that book, thank you guys for the replys.

Steve
04-25-2007, 05:29 PM
Keep us posted on how you are doing. There are tons of suggestions in the book. Apply a few here and there may help you push further than ever before.

trademarklawns
04-25-2007, 05:31 PM
One more thing, I know that many landscape companies have customers sign a yearly contract, now we have never required our customers to sign a contract, is that something that we should consider doing? And are there any benefits of doing it?

Steve
04-25-2007, 05:47 PM
Well, there are lcos who take both sides of this.

I think on the positive side, if you have a customer sign a contract, you can offer them to pay a budgeted monthly fee averaged out across the entire year. So it could lower the monthly prices if they are paying even in the winter when you are not servicing them.

Is that something you are considering?

LawncareMarketingMagic
05-08-2007, 11:58 PM
Getting customers on a yearly contract is always something I suggest. As TeamGopher mentioned, it allows your customers to budget your services and it lowers their monthly cost. As a plus for you, it allows you to forecast your revenue more effectively.

As for how to get more new customers, stick to methods that you can control. Radio and TV, while they can be effective, they're passive methods because you have no control over who hears the message. Yes, you could potentially get some good results, but it's an iffy proposition.

A more effective method would be direct mail. This allows you to very carefully target your prospects and you can control the frequency with which you communicate with them.

Here's what I would suggest. Put together a list of 1-2K names of ideal prospects. Then, commit to communicating with them at least once a month for the next 3 months. Twice a month if your budget allows. (Should cost between $.33 - $.80 per piece)

In these communication, introduce your service and why you're the only possible option. In other words, tell them about the benefits of your service and why it's such a good VALUE. Don't just send the same ol' boring sales letter each time. Make each communication refer to the previous one and present them an introductory offer each time.

If you'll commit to this, at the end of the 3 months, they'll know you and the services you offer very well. You'll have built some name recognition with them and it will be very hard for them to consider hiring an LCO without at least giving you a chance.

If you'll focus your efforts on the list you create, you'll soon have a solid base of customers that should more than pay for the cost and effort involved. Plus, once you have this solid customer base, you can then move onto creating some referral systems to expand that base even further.

Steve
05-09-2007, 03:37 PM
Quote[/b] ]Here's what I would suggest. Put together a list of 1-2K names of ideal prospects. Then, commit to communicating with them at least once a month for the next 3 months.

Chestin,

How do you suggest a lawn care operator go about putting such a list together?

LawncareMarketingMagic
05-09-2007, 05:17 PM
If you have the budget for it, the easiest is to just buy a list. It's fast, easy, and you can get a pretty focused list (rent vs own, home value, income level, kids vs no kids, etc.). For a list size of 1-2K names, you could expect to spend between $100-200 max.

If you don't have the budget, you could also build a list the old fashioned way by doing all the hard work yourself. Most government offices have real estate records you can get your hands on for free, but you have to do the work. Or, you could just drive through neighborhoods you'd like to work in, but with these you don't know much about who's in the house. It will take more work to weed your way through this type of list, but the only things it costs is your time and effort.

Steve
05-09-2007, 09:02 PM
Do you have a suggestion where lawn care operators should purchase these mailing lists from?

LawncareMarketingMagic
05-10-2007, 08:05 AM
There are several resources online such as EdithRoman.com or InfoUSA.com. These are probably the easiest and they allow you to target your list pretty specifically.

Or you could open the phone book and look under 'Marketing - List Broker'. These local list brokers can help you define the criteria you're looking for and help you put together a solid list. This option will cost a bit more, but it might be worth it to you to have a pro helping you pull it all together.