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Here are some suggestion paraphrased from 'TLC' who sells yellow page ads. These suggestions apply to yellow page ads as well as website design.
- Don't have your name at the top but instead a headline telling the reader what benefits you can offer them or what you can do for them.
- Within the body of the ad, list the most profitable work you do, the type of jobs you offer and/or the most common requested information.
- Put Free Estimates right above your phone number to generate more calls.
- Put your name close to the bottom of the ad just above the number or to the left of it.
- Put your web address at the bottom too. If they can't reach you on a weekend, there is a good chance they wil go to your website to learn more about your company and the services you offer.
- Make sure your website has testimonials.
- Include before and after pictures on your website.
- Always have your phone number forwarded to your cell if you are not in your office. Many customers will try another company rather than leave a message on an answering machine or with a answering service.
Here are some suggestions paraphrased from Jim Bettke,
Create a 'Before and After Book.'
Take pictures of any jobs you do before you start them and then when you are completed, take an after picture. Insert these photos into a photo album with the before picture on the left and the after picture on the right. Take this book with you when you meet a new client and show them your different before and after pictures.
This should allow you to charge higher prices because the customer will feel more comfortable with your abilities.
"All good advice there Gopher. One thing that you mentioned, that I don't have, is the testimonials on my website. By the way, thanks for the template....check out what I have done with it. I am not quite finished or happy with it, but it's a start and my first.
"Also, you could have a "speak with a customer program' The cyclone rake has somthing similar to this, they allow prospectiev clients to speak with a customer who already has the product, for an honest and open opinion. This could be used here as well."
"Great suggestion Gopher. I have said for a long time your web address should go on all your material. I learned this several years ago when I had the opportunity to take a sales training course.
I worked for an internet start up in tech support but they sent some of us through the training to get an idea of what our sales force was being told and to keep them on the straight and narrow. The guy teaching the course said he almost did not get the job because his company did not have a website."
Here are some suggestions paraphrased from Lawrence,
Don't wait for people to call you from flyers. You must go out and actively meet with new potential clients.
Go to local mower shops and hang up your flyer so if a customer's mower is in the shop being fixed, they can call you to service their lawn. Once they see how much easier it is for you to mow their lawn they may decide to stick with you rather than do it themself.
Knock on the doors of residents in your neighborhood and others. Offer them to mow their lawn on the spot. When you are done, knock on their neighbor's doors and show them how you just finished the next door lawn. Offer them a good price to mow their lawn since you are already there.
Many home owners who have a company maintaining their lawn may not be happy with the level of service they are receiving but will stick with that company out of convenience. If you meet with the potential client and offer your services, you give the client a great opportunity to switch to you.
Get in touch with realtors and let them know you are available to service the lawns of the homes they are trying to sell. A home with a nicely mowed lawn will sell faster than an unkept one. Also ask the realtor for the names and numbers of home owners who rent their houses to maintain their lawns as well. Read your local paper's homes for rent section and contact the numbers advertised to offer your services. Contact local businesses that need a nice looking lawn that you could service.
Remember if you are sitting their waiting for people to contact you from your fliers, take advantage of your time and reach out to them. Make it happen.
Here are some suggestions paraphrased from b.fahle,
Customer Aquisition Costs:
If you hand out 200 flyers and get 5 calls from them you can figure out a baseline. If your costs for handing out flyers is $0.10 per flyer printing and another $0.10 per delivery, you get a total of $40.00 to get 200 flyers out. Now divide that number by the amount of calls you received.
$40.00 divided by 5 calls = $8.00
You paid $8.00 to get each phone call.
If one of those callers converts to a customer, your marketing cost is $40.00 per customer. If two callers convert to being a customer then your marketing cost is $20.00 per customer.
Are these customers signing up for one-time or re-occuring services. How much will you make from each of these customers? Will you make more than it costs to aquire them? Are you making more than the $40.00 it costs you to aquire a single customer as shown above? If you are then keep it up and get out as many flyers as you can each month.
If you are losing money with this process you need to re-evaluate what you are doing. Your customer aquisition costs are too high so you need to figure out a way to make your flyers get more customers (offer a better service discount) or find another avenue of delivery to get your message out.
We began last week, and I must say, the success rates go way up when you meet most of the people while their home, totally seperates you from the pack. Sunday I met so many nice people in a brand new development...out of 60 homes I knock on the door and either spoke to or left the info when I left, we signed 6 on the spot, 2 more estimates Thursday night, and a topdress job. Not even going to advertise again until this Saturday. All 6 of the people from last week are also getting an Easter Lily
Here are some suggestions paraphrased from b.fahle,
Put before and after pictures on your flyers. Most people read flyers right above their garbage can so give them a reason to look through your flyer. You might not get another chance at showing off what you can do. Most people just won't visit your website to see this information. This should increase your response ratio and therefore lower the cost per customer lead.
One of my best marketing successes was fixing up a trifold brochure. We placed pic's of our services with a brief description and then mailed the brochures to all the area builders and realestate agents. The brochure was designed so that one side could be used for addresses so we didnt need envelopes The response was tremendous and we havent advertised since. I also placed these same brochures at the local home and garden center and at the local mower repair shop. I keep one of those business card holders at each place and make sure to refill the business cards from time to time.
Here are some suggestions paraphrased from b.fahle,
Waiting for people to call may be the easiest way to get new customers, it also is the most efficient way for your business to fail.
There are three main types of customers.
1. People who already have a Lawn Care Operation taking care of their property and are happy with the service.
2. People who don't use the services of a Lawn Care Operator but would like to.
3. People who have a Lawn Care Operation taking care of their property and are UNhappy with the service.
Your best bet is to go after group 2. Those who don't have a LCO but would like one to take care of their property. Now the next question you should be asking yourself is, how do I find these people?
New homeowners are in this group. One way to reach them is to contact a title company that deals with houses in your area. Set up a deal with the title company where they provide you with a list of new homeowners and you send the new homeowners a thank you for your business letter from the title company on the title company's letter head that includes a coupon for a free lawn mowing which is sponsored by the title company.
The title company benefits from this because you are creating good will for their company. You are sending out a thank you letter that they may or may not have done. They also come across to the homeowner as sending out a free lawn cut they paid for as a gift, which they didn't. This is your promotion.
If you can't get a title company to take part in this with you, contact a realtor or broker or maybe even an alarm company. They would be dealing with the same clients. Maybe you could also offer them $5.00 per customer who signs up for your services after the free 'gift' cut.
The alarm company might be able to use your free cut as a gift for their potential new client to get them in the door and meet. Make sure that this promotion is focused only on the area you service.
If you provide landscaping and not lawn maintenance, maybe offer a free landscape design or a free tree planting with a job of certain value or 10% off a purchase of $1000.00 or more. You have to give the potential client a reason to use you. There is a hidden benefit here in it being a gift from the alarm company or realtor. The potential customer doesn't see this as being free but as a gift with a purchase they have made so it doesn't de-value your service. This weeds out a large percentage of tire kickers that would just want a free design from you or are simply looking for a one time free cut because they are too busy on a weekend to cut their lawn themselves. You have already pre-qualified them to be a potential customer by their new home ownership status.
A week after the letter goes out, if you haven't heard from them, call the customer and see if you can schedule a time for their free lawn cut. Let the homeowner knw the free cut is for a regular cut and not if the lawn hasn't been touched in half a year. If the lawn is in that shape, tell them you will cut the first time for a fee and then the second one will be the freebie with the coupon.
When you are finished with the cut, leave them with an estimate to cut their lawn in the future. How much per month? If you haven't heard from them in a week from that date, give them a call and follow up on your estimate bid to see if they want your service. Maybe tell them your fifth cut will be free. Not every fifth cut, just the first time. Make sure you offer that or another incentive to get them to sign up with you over a competitor.
To get more residenals I would put out flyers in the immediate area where I am already working. Those people already see you in the neighbourhood every week so they are more likely to go with you. At least this works for me. I find it very easy to sell services to those people within eye sight of the jobs that I aready have.