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View Full Version : New marketing strategies...and a new book


Chris Heiler
06-23-2009, 08:04 AM
Hi everyone,

I just registered with the Gopher Forum...thanks for the invite Steve!

My background is in design and construction-I own a design firm in Michigan. I'll admit I'm not "in the know" when it comes to lawn care.

I'm currently writing and publishing "The Little Green Book of Big Marketing Tips & Tactics for Landscape Professionals". This is mainly for designers and contractors, but there is also carry over into your niche. If you want to learn more about the book, you can get more details on my blog. Feel free to follow along, I've only got 66 days until the book is released.

In the meantime, I would love to hear what unique marketing strategies you are implementing in your businesses. Any new online strategies? What about "old school" strategies that are still working for you?

I'll throw a few out off the top of my head. Some of these are from contributors to my book-

- If you use Twitter, follow your local media, free lance writers and journalists. They will follow you in return. This is an easy way to get your message out.
- Facebook PPC advertising is driving a lot of traffic and generating a lot of leads to some companies.
- I read a thread on here about press releases. Combine traditional press releases with "online press release distribution" services such as prweb.com. Together, these can drive a lot of traffic to your websites.

So what interesting things are all of you doing?

Chris Heiler

andyjoneslawncare
06-23-2009, 11:06 AM
Thanks for the tips, Chris. I have a Twitter account but I have no idea why. Your idea to use it sounds great, since the only use I've found for Twitter is finding out what Snoop Dogg had for breakfast or when Ashton Kutcher is taking a bath. I never understood why anyone would care that I went to the mall, then the beach, then home for dinner. Maybe I'll have to try your idea out and see if I can get something with substance on there. I'll have my website up in a week or 2. Its pretty much done on my computer, I just need to find a host and get it up, but then I'll be looking for the best ways to market online too, and I'm always open to new and different ideas. Thanks, Andy

Steve
06-23-2009, 08:12 PM
Hi Chris,

Welcome to our forum!

Yea Twitter is something else. I got an account on it but its like a forum on speed. You write a limited amount of info and you are to write often.

I think I would like it more if I just was following friends and they updated what they were doing so I knew what they were up to and if I wanted to join in or something.

Commercially, I haven't seen too much benefit from it yet although I may be getting it wrong.

I am sure there are some that probably really are getting great results but I just haven't really seen anyone's twitter account yet that I found to be fascinating and wanted to read all day long.

I guess I still need to learn more about it.

What got you interested in writing your own book?

Chris Heiler
06-24-2009, 11:04 AM
Hi Steve,

Regarding Twitter, I think it's best for those people who are trying to expand their brands nationally and world wide versus more locally. Although, I think it can work for both.

For example, I use Twitter to promote my online business because it has a worldwide reach. I don't use Twitter to promote my landscape design business locally, the audience just isn't big enough.

Nothing specific really sparked my inspiration for the book. I'm the editor of LandscapeLeadership.com, so I have a lot of great contacts and resources in our industry. Because of this, I knew I could provide a top-notch marketing resource for other professionals. I thought doing it all in 90 days would be a fun experiment.

Chris Heiler

andyjoneslawncare
06-24-2009, 11:48 AM
I was just checking out your website. Very well done. Did you do it yourself? Very professional looking site, and I sent it to a friend of mine that has his degree in lanscape architecture but has a job upkeeping a catholic church, and wants to get back into it. I'm trying to find opportunities to use him and have him design yards for clients that I would install with him and then I'd handle the future maintainence. I think networking with other people in related industries is one of the most important thing you can do to promote yourself and find opportunities. Realtors, developers, banks (forclosures), landscape designers, people that service and clean pools, etc. I think building these relationships is a far more productive way of getting your name at there than flyers and ads. Obviously the more ways you market yourself, the better, but its been my experience in different industries that more money paid for marketing doesn't equal better results, and some of the best "techniques" are free. I'd like to try facebook ads, but I need to learn more about it. Is it applied geographically (only pops up to people in my area) and how are the rates applied? What do you think of google adwords for a new website? I like the press release idea and would also like to figure out a way to give yard care tips and advice online or in print (newsletters, etc) that provides info people can use so that it doesn't appear to be an ad, but will have all my info and make me appear knowledgable and an authority on the subject, hopefully bring leads. My brother is a fisherman in the keys and does a morning fishing show on weekends, and even though its not an "ad", its even better because people remember "Capt Chris" of "Mudpuppy Charters" and respect him as an expert and if your "lucky enough" to get him to take you out fishing, you're in the hands of the best! I think I'm giving you a good idea of what I'm looking for in advertising, I just haven't narrowed it down and figured out to apply it quite yet. There's another book on marketing sold on this forum that I'm anxious to get also, so the more ideas, the better. I'm also interested in statistics and science behind marketing, such as an average percentage of success for different methods.

Steve
06-24-2009, 05:00 PM
I'm the editor of LandscapeLeadership.com, so I have a lot of great contacts and resources in our industry.

For those that don't know anything about your site, can you tell us a little what its about?

My brother is a fisherman in the keys and does a morning fishing show on weekends, and even though its not an "ad", its even better because people remember "Capt Chris" of "Mudpuppy Charters" and respect him as an expert and if your "lucky enough" to get him to take you out fishing, you're in the hands of the best!
That is very interesting! Is there something online we can watch?

Chris Heiler
06-25-2009, 03:25 PM
Hey guys,

To answer your question Steve, my site is a membership website specifically for professional landscape designers and LA's. I just launched the site in October of last year. It's been going really well.

Andy, here's my response to some of the things you mentioned-

"I was just checking out your website. Very well done. Did you do it yourself?"

I bought a software license through a company called Membergate. It's a "turn key" solution. I just add the content to the site.

"I think networking with other people in related industries is one of the most important thing you can do to promote yourself and find opportunities."

I absolutely agree with you regarding networking. Chapter 3 of my book is devoted to the different types of networking- "pier to pier", "one-on-one", referral groups, community groups, and online social networking.

"I'd like to try facebook ads, but I need to learn more about it. Is it applied geographically (only pops up to people in my area) and how are the rates applied? What do you think of google adwords for a new website?"

I have never personally used PPC advertising -facebook or google. This is why I have others contributing to my book. Jason Cupp (past president of PLANET) is writing about PPC. I've heard of others implementing this strategy quite successfully.

"I like the press release idea and would also like to figure out a way to give yard care tips and advice online or in print (newsletters, etc) that provides info people can use so that it doesn't appear to be an ad, but will have all my info and make me appear knowledgable and an authority on the subject, hopefully bring leads."

You are thinking about doing the right things here. It's all about offering people something of value, not just promoting yourself. You can easily provide "yard care tips" either via a "Tip of the Week" or in a monthly newsletter, both delivered via email autoresponder. I cover both of these tactics in the book. The "Tip of the Week" works great for me.

"I'm also interested in statistics and science behind marketing, such as an average percentage of success for different methods."

I'm big into metrics as well. I like to know the exact ROI from various tactics. This is one reason I'm using a lot of case studies in the book, hopefully with some real specific numbers.

Hope that helps.

Chris Heiler

Steve
06-25-2009, 05:23 PM
"I'm also interested in statistics and science behind marketing, such as an average percentage of success for different methods."

I'm big into metrics as well. I like to know the exact ROI from various tactics. This is one reason I'm using a lot of case studies in the book, hopefully with some real specific numbers.

Although I have no data to back me up, I am thinking that there isnt going to be an average across the board response rate for different marketing methods in different geographic areas.

It seems a big part of what makes a marketing campaign successful or not is whether you are standing out in your area. In other words if everyone is doing one marketing method in your area and then you do it, your results will probably be a lot less than if you were one of the few that were doing it.

andyjoneslawncare
06-25-2009, 10:56 PM
Although I have no data to back me up, I am thinking that there isnt going to be an average across the board response rate for different marketing methods in different geographic areas.

It seems a big part of what makes a marketing campaign successful or not is whether you are standing out in your area. In other words if everyone is doing one marketing method in your area and then you do it, your results will probably be a lot less than if you were one of the few that were doing it.

Good thought. I guess if you're the only ad in the paper, you'd get a better response than if there are 30 others. I just remember from my realtor days different statistics that would say if you send 1000 postcards, you could expect a certain percentage of replies. Probably just compiled average results of other realtors in the past, but probably doesn't even take into account what was actually written on the postcard, which I'd assume is more important than the number that were sent. I see your point, and I agree, but there have got to be some kind of stats on yellow pages versus radio versus flyers versus craigslist. Actually, maybe a good idea would be to keep track everytime I do an email marketing campaign, or when I put an ad on craigslist, or if I sent flyers, newspaper, etc. Write the dates I put out the marketing, and dates I get phone calls, and how they got my number. I guess I'm just wondering if anyone's already done this (I'm sure almost everyone has), and what the results are, while at the same time understanding that there are lots of variables involved (content of ads, geographic location, what competitors are using, etc). For better results, each ad should have identical wording and put out at the same time of year, just to be more scientific about it. Sometimes I put ads on craigslist under "household" and other times under "labor/moving" but I'm always changing the wording so I can't be sure which is best. I've settled on "household" but you see my point? Has anyone logged anything already and have results to share? And Chris, thanks for the replies, the book sounds great. I just have basic ideas in my head but need a better education. For example, I had no idea there were 3 kinds of networking!

Chris Heiler
06-26-2009, 12:31 PM
Hey Andy,

You definitely want to track the success and ROI of your marketing campaigns. This is the only way to know if you are getting your money's worth. This also allows you to test different variables, which you mentioned.

Some promotions are easier to track than others. For example, an email newsletter is easier to track versus how many leads your truck signage brings in.

Chris

Steve
06-26-2009, 06:18 PM
Has anyone logged anything already and have results to share?

Some times we hear a 1 to 2 % response rate on postcards. But I know lawn care business owners can send them out and get no response.

I don't think there really is anything cut in stone with this though.

Does that help?

Chris Heiler
06-30-2009, 03:41 PM
I think 2% is on the high end when it comes to postcard mailings. I recently read that .5% is what should be expected. Take that for what it's worth.

I did a very small mailing a few years ago that brought in something like a 20% response rate. It was ridiculous. I'll try to add a link so you can read about it (this will also be in my book)

Chris Heiler

Steve
07-01-2009, 05:28 AM
That is very fascinating. You signed up for residential real estate listings that gave you results of recently sold homes in your area.

Do you have any suggestions on how or where a lawn care business owner could sign up for that kind of service? Can they do it without a realtor?

Chris Heiler
07-02-2009, 10:10 AM
Steve,

You could probably do something similar without a realtor by using a website like http://www.zillow.com/

Give that a shot.

Chris Heiler