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My First Advertisement - Craigslist and Beyond

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  • #31
    Could you experiment with the ad design and alter it to have some kind of 'special offer' for craigslist users? Maybe see if that pulls any response?
    I dunno... I can design the ads well enough, but "marketing" is a whole other animal.

    As mentioned, I don't have contracts for people to sign up with me, so I can't really say "Free something with contract".

    Seems to me that you can't offer the "freebie" up front, or there is no incentive for them to continue to use your services.
    That said, since I'm a noob, a "cheap first cut" would get me in the door, AND give me a feel for how much time it actually takes to do a specific property. (I still have a hard time eyeballing and knowing how long it will take to mow) From there, I can determine an accurate price quote for potential future work.

    Maybe something like:

    FIRST MOW FOR TEN!

    The FIRST TEN Craigslist readers to call/email will get their FIRST cut for $10.00*
    No contract required, but if weekly/bi-weekly service is requested, special consideration will be given on pricing as an additional "thank you".
    *Lawn size, mileage, and other restrictions may apply.
    Offer expires one week from posting, or when ten person limit is reached, whichever comes first.




    What do you think?

    At 10mpg, $10 will at least cover my gas within a 10-15 mile round trip.

    What about the number of "$10 offers"?
    Too low, too high? Just right?
    I can't afford to work for "nothing" for TOO many people. Hell, if I got ten calls, I'd be thrilled since I've gotten ZERO to date.

    I need to have a "backup offer" for those who miss out... "I'm sorry, you are the thirteenth caller. To show my appreciation for your interest, I would be happy to offer a free estimate and give you $10 off your second cut of the season."

    My one concern is the "FIRST" cut may be 1 foot tall grass!
    I've already cut MY grass, but some people may wait another week or two.

    Comment


    • #32
      I dunno... I can design the ads well enough, but "marketing" is a whole other animal.

      As mentioned, I don't have contracts for people to sign up with me, so I can't really say "Free something with contract".

      Seems to me that you can't offer the "freebie" up front, or there is no incentive for them to continue to use your services.
      That said, since I'm a noob, a "cheap first cut" would get me in the door, AND give me a feel for how much time it actually takes to do a specific property. (I still have a hard time eyeballing and knowing how long it will take to mow) From there, I can determine an accurate price quote for potential future work.

      Maybe something like:

      FIRST MOW FOR TEN!

      The FIRST TEN Craigslist readers to call/email will get their FIRST cut for $10.00*
      No contract required, but if weekly/bi-weekly service is requested, special consideration will be given on pricing as an additional "thank you".
      *Lawn size, mileage, and other restrictions may apply.
      Offer expires one week from posting, or when ten person limit is reached, whichever comes first.




      What do you think?

      At 10mpg, $10 will at least cover my gas within a 10-15 mile round trip.

      What about the number of "$10 offers"?
      Too low, too high? Just right?
      I can't afford to work for "nothing" for TOO many people. Hell, if I got ten calls, I'd be thrilled since I've gotten ZERO to date.

      I need to have a "backup offer" for those who miss out... "I'm sorry, you are the thirteenth caller. To show my appreciation for your interest, I would be happy to offer a free estimate and give you $10 off your second cut of the season."

      My one concern is the "FIRST" cut may be 1 foot tall grass!
      I've already cut MY grass, but some people may wait another week or two.

      hey man $10 a call to get you started is good but watch out with people who are looking to get their 4 feet lawn mowed you should mention something about how high the lawns should be, also you should really try the strategy i gave u it should work.

      Comment


      • #33
        You could also offer something like one free cut and then have the free cut near the end of the season.

        Or offer something else free that they would get near the mid or end of the season depending on the value of it.
        - Subscribe to my Lawn Care Marketing Blog Feed and get daily tips sent to you. Free!
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        Comment


        • #34
          hey man $10 a call to get you started is good but watch out with people who are looking to get their 4 feet lawn mowed you should mention something about how high the lawns should be, also you should really try the strategy i gave u it should work.

          Hmmm... "Overgrown/Unkept lawns do not qualify for $10 cut."



          As for the keywords, I don't think half of what you sent me is applicable to what I do. I don't do "irrigation", or "tree removal", or much of any of what is listed actually.

          Here's what I already have a the bottom of my ad:
          keywords: pittsburgh, east, squirrel hill, point breeze, edgewood, forest hills, rt 30, route 30, 376, rt 376, route 376, churchill, penn hills,
          15235, pennhills, wilkins, wilkins township, wilkins twp, monroeville, murrysville, plum, verona, oakmont, lawn servce, lawn-care, lawncare,
          cut, mower, lawnmower, mow, insured, insurance, licensed, registered, estimate, edge, trim, leaf blower, blow, blowing, sidewalk, driveway,
          walkway, mulch, mulching, mulches, spring, fall, clean-up, cleanup, twigs, weeds, branches, trees, recycled, recycling, compost, summer,
          winter, rain barrel, weedwack, weed-wack, weedwhacking, weedeat, weed-eat, weedeater, shrubs, shrubbery, bush, hedges, forsythia, trimming,
          cutting, pruning, fertilize, organic fertilizer, fertilizing, plant, plants, planting, beds, flowerbed, garden, gardens, raised garden, prune, annuals,
          flowers, flower, rake, raking, shovel, digging, sweep, haul, hauling, debris, removal, honest, honesty, integrity, pride, diligent, reliable,
          responsible, fair, detail-oriented, affordable, satisfaction
          Is there something about this list that is "wrong"?

          Comment


          • #35
            Hmmm... "Overgrown/Unkept lawns do not qualify for $10 cut."



            As for the keywords, I don't think half of what you sent me is applicable to what I do. I don't do "irrigation", or "tree removal", or much of any of what is listed actually.

            Here's what I already have a the bottom of my ad:


            Is there something about this list that is "wrong"?
            you should add the zip codes you service and the surrounding areas that has helped me hope i can be of some help

            Comment


            • #36
              I thought I'd post an update.


              Craigslist advertising has been good to me.
              I've gotten many calls and many clients as a result of the ad I've been running, and aside from that first "discounted first cut" that I mentioned before, I've not needed to resort to any sort of "promotions" to get the phone to ring. If anything, I'm turning down work I don't have time, or the desire to do.

              I've gotten no spam (yet) so it looks like I worried about that for nothing.
              It's a bit of a pain having to check two email accounts, but as a whole, my ad on CL is getting me work. (I have one email for my "regular/business" email, and the other (gmail) set up specifically for Craigslist in order to avoid spam in my regular account)

              I'm not currently doing any other form of advertising and I'm getting between 2 and 5 calls a day. I've noted that most calls come from areas listed in my posting title. I've only gotten 2 calls that were from well beyond my service area that I had to decline.


              ETA: Here's my most recent posting... http://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/fgs/2382335097.html
              Last edited by Hedgemaster; 05-17-2011, 09:08 PM.

              Comment


              • #37
                Hey Hedgemaster,

                That is a very nice ad. Are you running a full-time operation? How many clients has the Craigslist ad brought you?

                Comment


                • #38
                  Hey Hedgemaster,

                  That is a very nice ad. Are you running a full-time operation? How many clients has the Craigslist ad brought you?
                  Thanks.

                  Ummm... This is my only source of income if that's what you mean by "full time operation". lol
                  Just myself - no helpers.

                  I'd have to look at my papers, but I've gotten about 15-18 directly from the CL ad (with 3 more clients that I got who are neighbors of the CL clients), and 3 from a flyer I hung at a grocery store.

                  These are all new - I really just started out this spring.

                  So far, so good.

                  Comment


                  • #39
                    Glad to see you doing good.

                    Comment


                    • #40
                      I picked up another client today.

                      Was yanking out some 8' arborvitae with my truck this morning when the phone rang... "Let me step inside my truck and take down your info".
                      Always answer the phone if you can, as it's best to make that first contact without leaving messages.

                      She wanted an estimate for regular mowing and I was able to stop by after the "tree job" was complete.
                      "Can you tell us how much to mow weekly and for a one-time hedge trim?"
                      I measured the hedges, wrote down my price on the back of a business card, and rang the doorbell again.
                      "OK, let me talk to my husband - I'll be right back".

                      Two minutes later it was "You can start whenever you'd like".

                      We talked for a while and I asked if she got my name from Craigslist - she did. I was complimented on my advertisement - it's what prompted her to call me over some of the others.

                      I also learned that they had someone else lined up to do their lawn and they came over once and haven't returned in two weeks. She said that if they come to cut before I do, she will "let them go" at that point, as she doesn't want to deal with people who are no-shows and don't even call.

                      Their loss, as this one is less than 2 miles from my home.



                      Also, I may have a "barter deal" happening with a potential client.
                      I stopped to give an estimate yesterday, and sent my quote via email, as nobody was home when I stopped by.

                      The first reply I got was "Thanks, but I think I'm going to do it myself now."
                      No big deal - it was at my maximum range of 10 miles (for reg mowing svc) anyway. I sent him a "Thank you for considering me" email, and mentioned that I saw the info in his signature and I'll be looking at his website.

                      Turns out he owns a small sportswear/promotions company. Long story short, he further explained that his young son was wanting to mow the lawn for spending money, but if I was interested in a "trade", to let him know what type of things I was interested in, and we could swap services.

                      I got a price on some yard signs from him and I'm going to look into the price for some shirts. I've been putting it off (shirts/hats/signs) for lack of funds, but this may work out pretty well... I help him - he helps me.

                      I'll let you know how it works out.

                      Comment


                      • #41
                        This sounds like a real interesting opportunity! The way you are going with all this, you are going to need to hire some employees by the end of the season!
                        - Subscribe to my Lawn Care Marketing Blog Feed and get daily tips sent to you. Free!
                        Download your Free trial of Gopher Lawn Care Software.

                        Comment


                        • #42
                          I was starting to get overwhelmed, so I stopped posting my Craigslist ad about a week and a half ago. I still get a few calls a day which tells me that people do use the "search" feature and not just look at the most current postings.

                          Without the keywords, my "old" ad would never have shown up.

                          I have to say that this whole "Craigslist" thing has worked out much better than I had anticipated.

                          Comment


                          • #43
                            That is great news. And amazingly enough, many members seem to experiment a little with craigslist and shortly give up after placing an ad or two. Here you are really doing well with it, so a key factor to success may just be sticking with it.
                            - Subscribe to my Lawn Care Marketing Blog Feed and get daily tips sent to you. Free!
                            Download your Free trial of Gopher Lawn Care Software.

                            Comment


                            • #44
                              That is great news. And amazingly enough, many members seem to experiment a little with craigslist and shortly give up after placing an ad or two. Here you are really doing well with it, so a key factor to success may just be sticking with it.
                              I'm not sure that there's "one" key factor, but no matter what type of advertising you do it requires repetition. Getting your name in front of people on a regular basis is very important. Anyone who runs one ad and claims it was a waste of money really doesn't have a firm grasp on how advertising works.

                              I think that part of my success with the Craigslist posting is that my ad isn't a typical "classified ad" - there's an actual advertisement - an image to look at. I appear ten thousand times more professional than anyone else who is posting even though they may have been doing this for decades. I've gotten a lot of "I liked your ad", and "very professional" comments from people when I inquire how they found me and what made them choose "me" when it came time to pick up the phone.

                              Another part is lack of competition. Don't get me wrong - there are a LOT of listings in Pittsburgh, but not a lot in my specific area. I started out advertising a very broad area - "the East", but as I started picking up more clients in one particular area, I decided I wanted to get more clients in that area rather than driving further than I needed to, and began using that area in my posting title. Lots of postings for the "East", but only one other guy posting ads specific to the general area that I'm targeting now.
                              (I've also noted that he's "improved" his ad since I started posting. )

                              One other factor is likely "location". Surely some areas get better results from CL advertising than others. I was convinced that I would get nothing more than cheap bastards looking to get work done for nothing, but the people who use CL to seek services come from all walks of life.

                              I dunno... I had no money to advertise using traditional methods, so I turned to Craigslist. It worked for me. And amazingly, no SPAM! (knocks on wood)

                              Comment


                              • #45
                                I don't know much about clickable pics or if it's only on this forum, but the clickable pic on post #7 takes me to a Cruz lawn care...

                                probably not a big deal on this forum but thought i'd let ya know!

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