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View Full Version : Important numbers - marketing idea


Steve
09-08-2008, 07:57 AM
Here is an idea to make sure your magnet sticks around.

Get a list of local important numbers in the area.
Town numbers like the mayor, police, library, water and sewer dept. You can find most of these on your towns websites.
Then list other numbers like local pizzerias, sub shops, and others.

Maybe get a local electrician, plumber, carpenter, roofer etc. They could potentially help you buy some of these magnets and hand them out themselves as well, to help offset the costs.

Then have a section for lawn care and list only your phone number.

Stick these on doors in your area and be sure that your number will stick around for quite some time.

You could also have different discounts for services through out the year.

ritchiem
09-08-2008, 09:31 PM
What a fantastic idea Steve!

Big Lebowski
09-09-2008, 01:18 PM
Totally another brilliant idea.

I would not include anybody that didn't participate in paying for the printing costs. However I would definitely include local municipalities like police, hospital, poison control etc. to keep the value beyond some lawn service with a large business card.

I am really, really impressed with this idea. The best part? If you include enough brick and mortar businesses, they will hand them out for you. Of course you could hand them out door to door but it wouldn't be completely necessary.

I am so thrilled about this I am going to start this today. Thank you Steve!

Steve
09-09-2008, 02:03 PM
Great! Let us know how this works!

Big Lebowski
09-09-2008, 08:30 PM
OK. I had a rain day today and when I saw this thing I knew right away it is something I wanted to do and do right away. Except rather than Steve's original idea, I actually thought of a two fold money maker.

1. Put something together with just me under lawn care as suggested above.

2. Sell ads on this refrigerator magnet. My thoughts are selling them just like the place-mat ads except this is something that goes home and becomes a permanent part of the kitchen. It has emergency numbers on it, the main reason to pick one up and take it home. See picture. The idea is this. I sell ads to whomever wants in. I create or add them to a category on the magnet. They could be the only one or with several other businesses in the same category - like pizza places - there are tons of them around here. They will pay for the one-liner just like the yellow pages. Bold and extra lines would be extra $$. If they want the exclusive, that would be at a premium price. I would sell ads until the space is full - just like a place-mat.

My plan is to decide how much I want to make per run. I have something in mind right now but I don't think i will share these ideas. I will keep selling ads until it's full and to any type of business that wants to participate.

Distribution is this. All brick and mortar locations will get the magnets to place on their counters until everyone that wants one, takes one home. The positive is they are advertising to folks that are already familiar with their services, but because these are located at other establishments, they can benefit from their customers also. How awesome is that? No need for me to distribute by the piece.

I will commit to a certain number of prints and distribute them to businesses based on traffic. Below is an example I came up with that is shown on a 8.5 x 11 sheet but it is sized to the size I have researched for the actual product. I will see if the company will send me an example to show to potential customers, or maybe they can send me one with my own artwork as an example. Of course once I get the first print done, I can then use one of those as an example. I may even low-ball my first small run and get the closest local businesses on board and get a kick off started and see what pitfalls arise, and work out any kinks.

So how do I continue to make money? Two ways. First of all these are all local based businesses. And just like all of you I have many boroughs, and towns, cities near me. I could literately keep selling these until I sold 3-4 runs in each town and never repeat the same business twice. I hate to say it but I think this is going to blow up huge. The second way to make money is the same premise as the yellow book. They do one every year. It's not like they made one book and said, "well boys, what do we do now?". Keep selling to those that want on and I can assure you that once other company reps see your product out there being picked up by other customers, they will almost beg to be apart of it. Especially if their competition is on there.

I could sell ads in even bigger areas near me. I feel this idea is so incredible and that taking it just a step further can turn this into something outrageous. Oh and letting you in on it is no problem either. There are so many towns & cities across this crazy planet that the chance that you step on my area would be nearly impossible. And even if there were two of us here, there are so many areas and businesses, there is enough to go around.

I'm really excited about this. Thank you Steve for yet another brilliant idea. The only thing I am thinking about ahead of time is that some businesses may want their town or location listed so they get calls from the folks in their area. But we'll see. I am working the next few days so I won't be able to get started canvasing this but I can assure you, if I were free tomorrow, I would knocking doors and talking to business owners and managers. So in the meantime I will show this to a few business friends of mine, see what they think and more importantly see if they want to participate.

Peace!

Steve
09-09-2008, 08:47 PM
Those are great ideas!

You know if you could get it working in your area, you could potentially do this in other areas you don't even offer lawn care service for. It could be a great winter money maker and you could keep charging more and printing more as needed.

Big Lebowski
09-09-2008, 09:12 PM
Absolutely. I went into this at first thinking that I would get my name out there and let others pay for it and maybe even make a few bucks from the proceeds.

Then I started crunching the numbers and wow. I knew this could be a big hit not to mention quite profitable. So next my thoughts went to Syracuse which is a really big area and 45 mins to an hour away at 65 mph. This is way too far for me to do lawn care but defiantly not too far to sell ads.

So I am curious of what your thoughts are to all of this? What about the example? Do you think it would be something you - yourself would do?

I happen to know that the people that sell place mats around here don't print them at all. They just sell. In fact I never placed an ad with them because I never trusted them to print (or have printed) the amounts they said they would. Let's face it their only cost is the actual printing and the gas to get you to give them money. Anyway that was my experience with them and I always felt that $350 was too expensive for very little assurance that my ad would make it on front of potential customers. See the restaurants that got them, got them for free so they never cared what was on them, who bought what, or how many they got. So the people selling them would resell them over and over and do lots of short runs. I'd say there would be maybe 20 ads on a place mat, multiply that by $350 and they took in $7000 and promised to print 3000 or whatever then they would have 500 printed and then move to the next 20 ads. Around and around they would go until they were in your face again. How would you know? I never advertised on anything that wasn't tangible. At least something measurable. Some people might look at them while they wait for food but your business would soon be forgotten when the food arrived and you certainly never walk out with a place mat to take home.

Steve
09-10-2008, 05:28 AM
Those are good points. I like the idea and I think it's viable but as with everything else, no one knows for sure what will happen until it's tried :)

Big Lebowski
09-15-2008, 03:41 PM
I knew it. I totally knew it.

I sold 7 out of 9 people ads today on this idea. I had to stop because I had to be somewhere but you bet your *ss I will be out again tomorrow. I'm actually disappointed that I made an appointment to do some clean-up tomorrow because this by far exceeds any amount I will make doing that. I will do it later in the day.

I am not quiting lawns just yet ** but I will tell you this. I made more today (gross and net) than I could make mowing all day. And I only had 4 hours to do it and I spent less than 15 minutes with each person.

I am truly blown away right now and anxious to get going tomorrow. I just knew it.

Steve
09-15-2008, 05:36 PM
Rob,

Congratulations!

How many of these people that you sold to are people that already knew you versus people you just met?

Were you just walking into stores and proposing the idea?

Did you bring any kind of sample with you? How did you present the idea to them?

Big Lebowski
09-15-2008, 06:37 PM
Well Steve, those are pretty good questions because truth be told, I did happen to know all those people, except one. See I owned a business in town and these folks were all customers of mine.

I know that owning a brick and motor business - every jerk near and far wants your money. They will try and convince you that what they have is the best thing since sliced bread - but really, you know your business better than anybody else. So when they were selling, I wasn't buying 99% of it.

This is a smaller rural area I believe my ratios will change once I get out in the big world and here's what predict. Because this is a more rural area, many owners and people that can make the decisions are actually there. They feel very strongly about community loyalty because they live it everyday. They recognize their customer and many of them by names. Those points were positives for my success today (that and they did know me).

What's going to change is the fact that there will be less owners and decision makers available to speak to me. Leaving material behind is way less effective, no matter what it says even if it's written in blood or gold. However there will be more businesses to talk to. Some have corporate offices that will require me to go to or make appointments with.

But in summary I believe that with less owners/decision makers but with more businesses I will have more foot work but I will still make out better. I believe that based on how easy many handed over their hard earned money, they believe this is a bargain. Like I was saying, once i get the first run out of the way, I will raise prices and adjust them most likely weekly until it's just so. I'll know when I'm getting close.

One thing I do is I go in and say I wont take much time, and I stick to it. I also tell them I take no for an answer because they better understand whats best for them than I do. This puts their defenses down and allows them to make a more informed decision. For me, I usually knew I didn't want it before they even got started.

I also feel that once somebody gives me indication they are not interested, like "geez my budget etc." I am starting to say my good-byes. My time standing there is wasted if they aren't buying. (like driving to a lawn and not mowing it)

Once this product starts showing up around town, next time they will be all over it. Oh I should point out that I said to many of them "you've seen these before right?" They all but one said yes. One guy said yes all over the place. ha ha.

As far as something tangible, I only have an example on paper. Another reason to keep the price lower for now. I have some samples on the way as I write this. What will be better is one of my actual printed magnets to show for next time. I will build up a cache as time goes on. I will frame the first one (that or put it on my fridge).

As far as proposing, I explain the product and why people will put it on their fridge. And more importantly, why they will take it home. It's free. I said to a few, "I have no real study on this but my guess is that if I didn't print a new version each year or two, this magnet will remain on a persons fridge for many, many years to come." They all agreed.

Stealing a part of this line from elsewhere, I have on the top of my price sheet "Advertising that sticks around". Now I am going to put together my attack route, so I am not so willy-nilly like I was today.

Thanks Steve for this idea!

Steve
09-15-2008, 09:24 PM
those are pretty good questions because truth be told, I did happen to know all those people, except one.

This is so fascinating. This just goes to show how important it is to be known before you even set foot into a facility to try and make a sale. The same thing you are able to do with these calendars could be recreated with your lawn care service sales if your potential customers knew of you before hand.

I am convinced the more you are known the better you can sell what ever it is you are trying to sell. When all things are equal, people buy from people they know, first.

So I think this is a great learning lesson for us all about the importance of reaching out to those we want to sell too. Doing community volunteer projects. Helping neighbors. Developing positive word of mouth and good will within your community will help you so much in the long run.

Big Lebowski
09-17-2008, 06:40 PM
Update. Yesterday everybody said no. I got one sale and it was a cold-call I didn't know. I felt a little beat up from it all.

Today another victory. I am ready to go to print. I might be able to squeeze a few more.

Problems I have discovered. Even at 5x7 I ran out room quickly. I am going to have to raise prices quite a bit to get the number of pieces that some want to see. I could keep prices lower if I could fit more names on the magnet. But then the magnet gets more expensive and too big for the fridge. I will have to leave off the little avatars to really get more numbers on.

Well, that's it. I may report whats going on later but I will be shutting up a little more about this since it is not lawn related.

Oh I have to say that my success today was from learning from a friend who had a few selling tools that really worked. And today was the biggest day I've had yet.

In case anybody was wondering, I am start up with the lawns and I mow 2 days a week on my own and occasionally with a couple guys and that is why I have time for this.

Steve
09-17-2008, 08:12 PM
Well, that's it. I may report whats going on later but I will be shutting up a little more about this since it is not lawn related.
You don't have to shut up. This is all fascinating stuff!

Oh I have to say that my success today was from learning from a friend who had a few selling tools that really worked. And today was the biggest day I've had yet.

What kinds of things have you found that he showed you that really helped?

Big Lebowski
09-17-2008, 09:14 PM
First my approach was wrong. I always hated sales people, so to be sure that I wasn't high-pressure, I was saying to everyone that it was OK with me if they didn't want it. He said NO! He said they have to! Their crazy not to! The world is coming to an end if they don't participate! You get the point and he's right, the product is really creative and valuable.

And this one floored me. I'm still a little in awe about it. Here is the suggestion. Before I go into an area, know who I will be visiting, put these businesses on the example that I show (paper). "What?! That's brilliant!!!!" So I immediately thought what it meant to me and my product: This little nugget works two-fold (you'll love this). First they see all these other businesses they recognize already on there (you don't offer that you haven't secured them just yet). They will immediately see the value and will not want to be left out or missed. Secondly, they see themselves on it already. How would you feel if I said, "it's OK I can take you off". Ha ha! So the effort involved in this? Minimal really, edit them daily after you get home. This also allows me to have a current running version and know exactly where I stand for filling it up. So what happens if I visit a business that isn't a planned stop? No problem, you say you have 1-2 spots left and one actually says "still available" and the other you are following up on later today. This is their chance to be apart of a very exciting opportunity and their chance is passing by quickly - they had better hurry.

Isn't that brilliant?!!! It pulled me out of the funk of not selling yesterday. I was so anxious to get started today I awoke at 6:30 and started planning my day and had the best one yet!

I have one spot left. I mow the next two and will use the weekend to make plans for the new magnet and area. I knew it! I knew it!

Steve
09-17-2008, 09:55 PM
Thats great stuff!

It makes you wonder too if you could create some kind of offer that was only good for today before you leave. Like 10% off? Something that would make them want to jump on it and not miss the offer.

We talk about this all the time in lawn care how you should make an offer and a time limit to get them to act, well how about with this as well?

Big Lebowski
09-18-2008, 08:14 AM
Good idea. But for me, I hate giving money away. I'm telling you, this product is worth it. So far people love it. It's going to keep me busy for quite some time.

But rather than offering a discount, I'd rather offer something that would add value and at the same time, not cost me a thing. I always like these ideas, they get more - I don't lose or give-away money. Here it is: Free bold-type today. Right now I have bold listed at $45. That is a nice add on. They can see the savings and more importantly they can see how it would increase the value of their ad. Let's face it, we can all spend a lot of money on things if we really want it. But all we really want is value. Is it worth it? I can't tell you how many times I thought I was getting a good deal and it turned out to be junk. I would have rather have spent a little more to get that extra value.

The reality is this, what does bold-type really cost? Nothing. It never has, it never will. But the genius was to offer it for a price, a fantastic idea by the phone book people and boy it works! The best part is that you can use it as a tool or leverage to sway somebody that is on the fence and you've really only bartered with perceived value and nothing that shortens the stack in your pocket.

I have started to reply many times to some of the topics on here where the ideas cost money but every time I stop so I don't step on anybodys ideas. I am from the school where I don't believe you have to throw away money to convince folks to pay attention to you. If I am to lower prices, I would rather do it the the way furniture sales people do it. Raise it by double then have a 1/2 off sale. ha ha (illegal by the way)

Steve
09-18-2008, 09:26 AM
You know, you could expand into calendars too. Have local community calendars with coupons at the bottom of the calendar and pictures on the top?

Also, what would be the best way to break into other markets? Should you contact other lawn care businesses in other areas and offer to put them on for free if they help you build up a list of potential customers? Or do you even need a lawn care business to take part in it like that?

Ric3077
10-02-2008, 10:07 PM
Where is the best place to get the larger size magnets printed in bulk?

mario543k20
10-03-2008, 09:13 AM
Where is the best place to get the larger size magnets printed in bulk?

ask your local print shop, and tell them you'll give them a spot on the magnet for free under advertising etc.

This is a great idea. I think once my business is registered and I have a few more clients I will try this out.

Big Lebowski, how much are you charging each business for a standard ad on your magnets if you don't mind me asking? I know prices for each advertisement will change, depending on how good of a deal you get from the print shop, I just want to know a rough estimate of what your charging.

Fotch
10-30-2008, 07:26 PM
I had a quick look into this too, great Idea. But.. for my little town, the free weekly newspaper distribution is 10200, they will put an insert in it for $75 per thousand, For the magnets themselves, cheapest place online I can find for a 5x7 is 48 cents each based on 10000, so.. $4800 plus shipping for the magnets and another $750 for distribution put me at $5550 before taxes and labour. it looks like I can get about 40 companies on there. So for about $140 per company I can break even. How can you offer bold for $45? what is your circulation estimates? how many magnets are you looking to create?

Are you just getting each contact a certain amount of magnets and letting them pass them out to whoever?

Steve
10-31-2008, 04:26 AM
I had a quick look into this too, great Idea. But.. for my little town, the free weekly newspaper distribution is 10200, they will put an insert in it for $75 per thousand, For the magnets themselves, cheapest place online I can find for a 5x7 is 48 cents each based on 10000, so.. $4800 plus shipping for the magnets and another $750 for distribution put me at $5550 before taxes and labour. it looks like I can get about 40 companies on there. So for about $140 per company I can break even. How can you offer bold for $45? what is your circulation estimates? how many magnets are you looking to create?

When you say inserts, are you saying the newspaper will insert a magnet? Or what kind of insert do you mean?

Are you just getting each contact a certain amount of magnets and letting them pass them out to whoever?

I think this is what they are doing.

Fotch
10-31-2008, 11:41 AM
When you say inserts, are you saying the newspaper will insert a magnet? Or what kind of insert do you mean?

Yep, the paper will add it into each paper with the other fliers. easy distribution. But I think getting people to distribute them might hit your target area better. It keeps them out of appartment buildings and news stands, where the people aren't probably gonna call you anyways.

I'm thinking of directing it to homeowners. have numbers of companies they might need, Heating guy, plumber, etc. it keeps focus on your target market.

It'd be cheaper too. 10000 is a lot of magnets.

Steve
10-31-2008, 11:43 AM
The thing I like about this is that you can scale it up. Start with a short run and see how that works. Then get more people involved and print more of them up.

What is your plan so far? How many businesses are you trying to get involved and how many magnets do you want to print?

Fotch
10-31-2008, 04:13 PM
Thats a good Idea. maybe I should scale it back a bit and do a small run with just a few buisnesses first. it would take up less of my time too. ah man.. too many possibilities.

Steve
10-31-2008, 04:19 PM
Yeah try it out and if you get good feedback scale it up. Let us know what kind of feedback you get from the other business owners you contact.