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Travor
08-09-2009, 05:44 AM
About 99.9% of all the lawn care ads I've seen on Craigslist are just plain, boring text. I made up these 2 graphics and I wanted your opinions. Thx! :D

temeculagrassgators
08-09-2009, 12:02 PM
They look nice. Better then the other ones out there. Where did you make it?

Travor
08-09-2009, 02:59 PM
Thanks. I created them with Photoshop CS3.

Steve
08-09-2009, 06:59 PM
Great designs! You should consider putting up some without text so others can experiment with them too!

When you use these do you have any advice on what works best? Should you put text in the ad too? Would this help search engines find it or does the graphics alone stand out so much that it doesn't need additional text?

What's your advice?

Travor
08-09-2009, 07:29 PM
Thanks Steve. I'll take your advice and remove all the text, good idea!

As far as text in the ad, it is a MUST! Just in case someone doesn't know, if you put an image in your Craigslist ad and someone does a search, your ad will not show up in the search results. Why? Because CL search looks at text and it cannot read an image (jpg, gif). So what I suggest is underneath the ad putting keywords like: lawn care, lawncare, [city], [zip code], [service area], landscaping, mow, etc.

Steve
08-09-2009, 08:23 PM
Travor,

That is fantastic! Thank you so much!

What is your view on discounts or any type of special offers when using craigslist? Is it important or no?

Do you experiment much with trying to find which kind of ad brings in the most calls?

Travor
08-09-2009, 08:46 PM
Travor,

That is fantastic! Thank you so much!

What is your view on discounts or any type of special offers when using craigslist? Is it important or no?

Do you experiment much with trying to find which kind of ad brings in the most calls?
Thank you, Steve. Discounts on CL are a good idea, especially if you have more than 1 ad running. You can "test" which ad is working by offering the same discount but different discount codes. 10% off 1st service isn't much off the bill but it looks like a lot to a potential client. Plus, consider the fact that he/she may become a long-term client then it is well worth a small upfront discount.

My best advice: don't try to re-invent the wheel! Look at the BIG players and copy what they're doing! After all, they put A LOT of R&D into their marketing, etc. One example off the top of my head is pricing everything at $xx.99. So $30 becomes $29.99. Also, stores are really good about offering 5 for $10 so what do people do? They buy 5 of [product]! Why don't they just buy 3 @ $2 each? It's the same price but subconsciously they're buying MORE! :D

Steve
08-09-2009, 08:55 PM
My best advice: don't try to re-invent the wheel! Look at the BIG players and copy what they're doing!

This brings up a very good point. Are any of the major lawn care businesses using craigslist? Do you ever see the bigger companies in your area on there? If not, why not? Where else are they advertising and should those other marketing avenues be utilized?

Travor
08-09-2009, 08:58 PM
This brings up a very good point. Are any of the major lawn care businesses using craigslist? Do you ever see the bigger companies in your area on there? If not, why not? Where else are they advertising and should those other marketing avenues be utilized?
Good question. I don't know the answer to that. I was speaking in general terms of marketing and not so much specifically at big LCO's. :)

Steve
08-09-2009, 09:06 PM
Well I guess, have you ever seen any ads in craigslist that really caught your attention? That you thought to yourself WOW this company really has their act together? If so what made them stand out?

Travor
08-10-2009, 02:01 AM
Well I guess, have you ever seen any ads in craigslist that really caught your attention? That you thought to yourself WOW this company really has their act together? If so what made them stand out?
Well, I just went to houston.craigslist.org and put in "pest" in "all services offered" and checked "only search titles." I came up with 82 results and clicked on about 3 dozen. All of them, except for 1, had nothing but boring text. They were all pretty much the same except for 1 guy. He had a picture of his truck where you could see the signs on the side of the truck. Also, he put some animated text (his phone number) on the image.

Out of all those pest control guys in CL, this 1 is the only one I remember. I would have to read all other's text and maybe something would stick out and catch my attention.

Steve
08-10-2009, 02:12 AM
That is fascinating though isn't it? You noticed this and now you are able to stand out.

Did you do graphic design in the past or marketing? I ask this because you did a really great looking job on those graphic ads.

Travor
08-10-2009, 02:22 AM
That is fascinating though isn't it? You noticed this and now you are able to stand out.

Did you do graphic design in the past or marketing? I ask this because you did a really great looking job on those graphic ads.
I thought just a little bit more about this the past few minutes and realized that if ANY ONE of those pest control companies would have taken the time to put up ANY kind of image, like a picture of themselves, a mouse sitting on a stick of dynamite, or whatever, it would have stood out!

Thanks for the compliments on those 2 designs. Photoshop is just a hobby to keep me out of trouble. :D

Steve
08-10-2009, 03:45 AM
I thought just a little bit more about this the past few minutes and realized that if ANY ONE of those pest control companies would have taken the time to put up ANY kind of image, like a picture of themselves, a mouse sitting on a stick of dynamite, or whatever, it would have stood out!

It makes you wonder if you could put something like that together and offer those services and then sub them out :)

travis_lightner
02-02-2011, 11:43 PM
how do i put a pic on craigslist? i can not copy and paste im not sure how to put a template on CL?

jymie
02-03-2011, 01:55 AM
There is an option when you make the ad to add pics to the ad. If you are trying to add a template to the ad, you need to copy the html code of the template that you made, then paste it on the ad when you create the ad in craigslist.

travis_lightner
02-04-2011, 07:53 PM
the craiglist here does not have an add picture option in services. I wish it did. I can do it under barter but then it will get flagged. so im not sure how to add any kind of picture or anything other than bold print and colored lettering:confused: :rolleyes:

jymie
02-04-2011, 11:36 PM
the other option you have is save the picture to an image host such as imagecoast.com. Once you save it get the url for the picture from the top of the page in the address bar, or it will give you three options to copy,

then use the following html code when you make your ad.

< img src="insert the url of the picture here">

I put an extra space just before img src, you have to remove the space or it will not work when you post. I had to put the space in or you would not see the example.

SpokaneSRC
02-28-2011, 07:43 PM
Ok, I'm posting my first craigslist ad this spring (if the snow ever melts). Any way, wanted some feedback on it, please. I think the drop shadows might be a bit much and it kinda looks amateurish instead of professional, to me. I would appreciate any comments thanks.
Steve

shadrach
02-28-2011, 07:55 PM
Ad looks nice. The shadowing makes it look better.

jymie
02-28-2011, 10:20 PM
Ok, I'm posting my first craigslist ad this spring (if the snow ever melts). Any way, wanted some feedback on it, please. I think the drop shadows might be a bit much and it kinda looks amateurish instead of professional, to me. I would appreciate any comments thanks.
Steve

Remember that when you post your ad, make sure you ad some words in addition to the picture ad or it will not show up in search results. Be sure to type in your services and towns you service.

SpokaneSRC
02-28-2011, 10:43 PM
Cool. Thanks for the advice.

Steve
03-01-2011, 07:21 PM
Ok, I'm posting my first craigslist ad this spring (if the snow ever melts). Any way, wanted some feedback on it, please.

The middle of your ad promotes your guarantee. Because it is so big, I think it will really grab the customer's attention, but if they ask you about it, how do you explain it to them?

SpokaneSRC
03-01-2011, 10:45 PM
This is what I will tell them "If you are not completely satisfied with my work, then there is no charge". There may be a person here and there that would say something just to get free service once, but I don't think it will be an issue. I will honor my guarantee though.

shadrach
03-01-2011, 11:47 PM
"100% happy or its free" is a risky idea. There are more people than you think that will try to take advantage of you with that - probably a higher number with a craigslist ad.
"If we make a mistake we will do our best to make it right" or something similar will get you in less trouble and eliminates you being on the hook for customer mistakes.

SpokaneSRC
03-02-2011, 10:02 AM
Thanks for the advice. Maybe I'll take off the guarantee. I've done lawn maintenance with my brother-in-law for years and landscaping with my brother, years ago. But this is my first attempt at running the business end of things. So I appreciate all the help. Thanks.

psparaco
03-02-2011, 12:03 PM
As much as i thought about using graphics on craiglist. I thought some people may have slow pcs or graphics would take longer to load. Least with text anything is viewable.

Secondly with offering discounts. I usually offer various discounts on each marketing venue i use. So when I receive a hit i know which it was from.

Currently I utilize craigslist, thumbtack, flyers, google places, facebook, talking to friends and family/relatives. I am working on making a website this year. Lucky for me, I have designed a few websites in the past and i am familiar with the codes.

In the next week or so I will be tuning up all my equipment, getting an oil change on my truck, scheduling existing clients from last year.

Feels weird to be back in the grind of the business. This winter has been SLOOOOWWWW. time to kick myself in the booty and get back in gear.

Good Luck everyone this year.

Paul

shadrach
03-02-2011, 12:10 PM
I think that last post sounded better in my head than it did on paper. A guarantee of some sort is a good idea and the placement is a nice focal point on your ad.
If someone asked you about a guarantee could you say something like " We haven't really thought about it because we haven't had a customer leave unhappy yet" ( not very good wording -maybe someone smarter can clean that up?). I would try to work something like that before I would say "100% money back guarantee" is all.

jymie
03-02-2011, 12:27 PM
There is no law against using both graphics and text ad information in the same ad. In fact it is recommeded to add text to your ad as the information you put into the graphic will not be searchable. You would be limited to what is in the title only for search results. They would get the text and if the graphic is slow load they have the text.

SpokaneSRC
03-02-2011, 07:16 PM
I understand what you're saying shadrach. I removed the guarantee. I'll try it without it first. My point in using it was this - after the first maintenance job I do for them, they would know what to expect (quality wise), they're happy with the service I continue to take care of their lawn. If they weren't happy, I'm done mowing and they got 1 mow for free. If their not happy later in the season then that is something I would have to figure out.

On the issue of graphics over text. I think graphics would stand out over all the other text ads on craigslist.

What I meant in my earlier post was that I'm starting my own business this year. My own equipment, customers, etc. I have experience doing the work, just not the business end of it. What works, what doesn't, getting customers, providing a guarantee, etc.
Appreciate all the feedback.

Steve
03-02-2011, 08:23 PM
I think the concept of going with "100% Guaranteed Satisfaction" might actually work. See you gotta figure, if someone is unhappy with your service, they may not tell you and just go with someone else.

Or if they see your guarantee, they may think 'hey I am guaranteed, so I gotta tell my service provider that I am not happy with ______.'

Ultimately don't you try to make every customer 100% satisfied? If so, you might as well use it in your promotion and take full advantage of it.

If a customer abuses this too much, you could always discontinue service if they are too much of a trouble.

What's your view on this?

SpokaneSRC
03-02-2011, 11:08 PM
I agree. I figured if they aren't satisfied with my work, then they will say something after the first time. I just thought it might entice someone to try out my service, if they are thinking about using a maintenance service or if they are unhappy with their current provider.

I really don't know what to think now.

I spoke to my bro-in-law and he said he always fixes any problems asap, but he doesn't promote a guarantee (I already knew this from working with him).

I'm not launching until April so I have a little time to make up my mine.

Thanks for the help.

SpokaneSRC
03-02-2011, 11:11 PM
Jymie - So I just put words below my graphic that I think people will use in their search? Like "mowing, mow, lawn mowing, etc"?
Thanks

jymie
03-02-2011, 11:14 PM
Jymie - So I just put words below my graphic that I think people will use in their search? Like "mowing, mow, lawn mowing, etc"?
Thanks

Yes, use words for all your services, the towns you service as well. I even use zip codes also.

KartAnimal29
03-03-2011, 10:00 AM
The only people that look at CL for Landscaping are the one that are looking for the cheapest price. I run ad's on there and every place I go to look at there jaw drops when I tell them how much it's going to cost the. There have been a few places that I've got work at. I know my prices are at , or just below what everyone else in the area are charging. All the low ballers post on CL.

SpokaneSRC
03-03-2011, 06:17 PM
I have several newspapers I'll be advertising in as well as 4 other local service websites, business cards, etc. So I'm not just counting on craigslist.

Hedgemaster
03-03-2011, 11:04 PM
I understand what you're saying shadrach. I removed the guarantee. I'll try it without it first. My point in using it was this - after the first maintenance job I do for them, they would know what to expect (quality wise), they're happy with the service I continue to take care of their lawn. If they weren't happy, I'm done mowing and they got 1 mow for free. If their not happy later in the season then that is something I would have to figure out.

On the issue of graphics over text. I think graphics would stand out over all the other text ads on craigslist.

What I meant in my earlier post was that I'm starting my own business this year. My own equipment, customers, etc. I have experience doing the work, just not the business end of it. What works, what doesn't, getting customers, providing a guarantee, etc.
Appreciate all the feedback.

Advice from a graphic artist...

Ditch the drop shadows behind the "services". It's too dark and makes it more difficult to read. It's not that it's not readable, but the goal is for it to be EASILY/quickly readable. Drop shadows are fine for headlines, but not for body copy.

Also, the image you used must have been a low resolution file because it looks rather blurry. It's not the end of the world considering it's a Craigslist ad, but if possible, I would replace it with a better image.

Good luck!

SpokaneSRC
03-03-2011, 11:10 PM
I appreciate the advice. Will drop with the drop shadow, the graphic was shorter than I wanted so I stretched it to 800 pixels in Photoshop. That's why it looks blurry. I'll change it once I get some photos of my own work.
Thanks again

SpokaneSRC
03-04-2011, 10:01 AM
Ok. Made some changes. Latest amateur attempt. My goal is to get people to call, then I can sell them on my service.
Thanks for all the advice.

Steve
03-05-2011, 06:33 PM
It looks good. Try it out and see what you come up with.

You could also, make another ad that has a eye catching headline to compare it's results to this one.

Maybe you could say at the top, wouldn't you like to have your lawn look this great and then your business name at the bottom right. Or maybe use the headline call now for your free 21 point lawn analysis today!

SpokaneSRC
03-05-2011, 06:49 PM
Maybe you could say at the top, wouldn't you like to have your lawn look this great and then your business name at the bottom right. Or maybe use the headline call now for your free 21 point lawn analysis today! Good ideas, thanks. Yeah a good headline would work better than a business name. Will give it a shot.

jymie
03-06-2011, 11:28 AM
Here's another ad I made for Craigslist


http://www.imagecoast.com/images/jymiec/scandoc0007medium.jpg

SpokaneSRC
03-06-2011, 12:06 PM
Wow! That looks good. Very professional looking. Should definitely stand out on craigslist.