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  • #31
    Starting in January I will be creating a hardcopy newsletter for our techs to pass out to their customers. It will go out with each round. In the newsletter it will promote a new supplemental for the round, like flea & tick, aerations, seeding, soil testing, etc. This will help the techs sell more supplementals and keep our current customers informed of any changes.
    This is a really good point too. Will you be training any of your techs as far as customer interaction? Like for instance are they trained to make sure they are the first ones to say hello when greeting the homeowner or family? Do you train them on asking any specific questions?
    Also do you train them on how to upsell?
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    • #32
      This is a really good point too. Will you be training any of your techs as far as customer interaction? Like for instance are they trained to make sure they are the first ones to say hello when greeting the homeowner or family? Do you train them on asking any specific questions?
      Also do you train them on how to upsell?
      They had been trained in the past, but we have a bunch of new Techs. My new Sales Manager will be incharge of training them on the sales approach. They are trained to look for problems in the lawn. If the customer is not home, they will write a note on their invoice recommending a specific product/treatment. Our Techs always go to the door and knock before doing any treatment. If the customer is home they will see if there is anything specific they want them to look at.

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      • #33
        You had hit on a lot of great points here I wanted to expand upon. I never know when expanding on them is going to lead to more great ideas so let me jump in here.

        Next year I would love to have an "open house/family day" to where we invite our current customers to the shop for a day of fun and information (to help them learn more about their lawns). Have BBQ, drinks, games, bouncy castles, etc.
        I was thinking, could you open this up to more than just current customers? Could this be open to the community. Even for different seasons. Like a fall festival with pumpkin painting? Or maybe you have more thoughts on this. Could you involve other local businesses to help defray the costs?

        Starting in January I will be creating a hardcopy newsletter for our techs to pass out to their customers. It will go out with each round. In the newsletter it will promote a new supplemental for the round, like flea & tick, aerations, seeding, soil testing, etc. This will help the techs sell more supplementals and keep our current customers informed of any changes.
        Ideally how does this help the tech sell more? Would the customer see the newsletter and say I want that additional service? Or is this just to make the customer aware?


        When researching our cancellation history I found that most of the cancelled accounts had been cancelled within the first 3-4 months. If they had been more informed from the beginning, maybe we could have saved the sale.
        I think this is something most small lawn care businesses miss. They never find out why a customer is canceling. When a customer cancels with you do you ask them on the phone why? Or does a sales staff member talk to them?
        Do you ask them any specific questions as to why they are canceling and do you offer any inducements to try and keep them with you for a little longer? How do you keep track of this? Does your staff have a check list of questions to ask?
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        • #34
          I was thinking, could you open this up to more than just current customers? Could this be open to the community. Even for different seasons. Like a fall festival with pumpkin painting? Or maybe you have more thoughts on this. Could you involve other local businesses to help defray the costs?
          I wouldn't want to open it up to everyone, only because we cover such a large area. I would open it up to our current customers, friends & family. I haven't thought about the time of year, but that is a good idea. When I find the right sales manager, I am hoping that they will be able to contact the local businesses on the referral side and while doing that we could talk to them about helping with an event like this.



          Ideally how does this help the tech sell more? Would the customer see the newsletter and say I want that additional service? Or is this just to make the customer aware?
          It is mainly to make the customer aware of the services we offer. It will help the techs get a "jump start" with the customer. If the customer is already aware of the service it will make an easier sell.



          I think this is something most small lawn care businesses miss. They never find out why a customer is canceling. When a customer cancels with you do you ask them on the phone why? Or does a sales staff member talk to them?
          Do you ask them any specific questions as to why they are canceling and do you offer any inducements to try and keep them with you for a little longer? How do you keep track of this? Does your staff have a check list of questions to ask?
          When a customer calls in to cancel, we alway ask if there is a specific reason. We always try to satisfy them or resolve the issue. If for some reason they still cancel, I send them a cancel letter along with a small survey asking more specific questions. A lot of times the customer does not tell us the real reason when we are talking to them over the phone, but they will tell us on the survey. During early spring when the weather is more difficult to work with, our techs can use this information to try to call the customer back up to gain their business again. Also when we receive the survy back, one of the managers that can handle the issue will give the customer a call to talk to them about it and try to resolve the issue.

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          • #35
            This sounds like a dream job in the sense that you have a large enough business to really experiment with all these great marketing concepts.

            Have you been thinking about doing any publicity stunt kind of things to get the media to pay attention to you?

            For instance doing some holiday makeover on a house with Christmas decorations. Or cleaning up a local park when your business slows down.

            Have you been writing other ideas down to present if given the opportunity?
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            • #36
              This sounds like a dream job in the sense that you have a large enough business to really experiment with all these great marketing concepts.

              Have you been thinking about doing any publicity stunt kind of things to get the media to pay attention to you?

              For instance doing some holiday makeover on a house with Christmas decorations. Or cleaning up a local park when your business slows down.

              Have you been writing other ideas down to present if given the opportunity?
              In the past we have renovated the lawn and landscape of our Local Ronald McDonald House. We participate in Green Care for the Troops. We are the winner of 2008 Central Oklahoma Better Business Bureau Torch Award for Customer Service and Ethics in the Marketplace.

              As far as experimenting with the marketing concepts... many those are what I would love to try, but they all depend on the approval of the founder & his wife. Right now I am just having a hard time trying to get them to do more of the targeted marketing for the Spring mail drop.

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              • #37
                When a customer calls in to cancel, we alway ask if there is a specific reason. We always try to satisfy them or resolve the issue. If for some reason they still cancel, I send them a cancel letter along with a small survey asking more specific questions. A lot of times the customer does not tell us the real reason when we are talking to them over the phone, but they will tell us on the survey. During early spring when the weather is more difficult to work with, our techs can use this information to try to call the customer back up to gain their business again. Also when we receive the survy back, one of the managers that can handle the issue will give the customer a call to talk to them about it and try to resolve the issue.
                What should you send in a cancel letter or in a survey?

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                • #38
                  As far as experimenting with the marketing concepts... many those are what I would love to try, but they all depend on the approval of the founder & his wife. Right now I am just having a hard time trying to get them to do more of the targeted marketing for the Spring mail drop.
                  You seem to have a big following here. Who knows, maybe you could start offering lawn care marketing consulting to newer lawn care businesses as a side project!

                  In the past we have renovated the lawn and landscape of our Local Ronald McDonald House. We participate in Green Care for the Troops. We are the winner of 2008 Central Oklahoma Better Business Bureau Torch Award for Customer Service and Ethics in the Marketplace.
                  Did you get much press coverage from that? Did it help you attract more customers? What types of things did you do to promote you were performing these great services?
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                  • #39
                    What should you send in a cancel letter or in a survey?
                    Here is a sample of what we send:

                    Attached Files

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                    • #40
                      Did you get much press coverage from that? Did it help you attract more customers? What types of things did you do to promote you were performing these great services?
                      We did it in 2006. I believe they had an article in the newspaper and it may have been mentioned on the news. Each year we get invited to a red carpet galla for the Ronald McDonald House Charities. We continue to do free lawn & plant health care for them. We have the information and pictures posted on our website.

                      I am in the process of trying to contact the Extreme MakeOver Home Edition to offer free lawn service for a house that will be built in our area. So hopefully they will contact us when they are planning to do something near us. I think that would be a great opportunity for advertising and showing support for our community.

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                      • #41
                        You seem to have a big following here. Who knows, maybe you could start offering lawn care marketing consulting to newer lawn care businesses as a side project!
                        I've helped a few businesses grow and become prominent in their industry, but the lawn care business is new to me. I have loads of ideas, but I'm not sure who would pay me for consulting. That would be great though!

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                        • #42
                          but I'm not sure who would pay me for consulting. That would be great though!
                          Well right here. All of these posts could be potential free advertising for you!

                          Have you considered setting up a website? That would be cheap and a great way to get started. You can experiment on here and see how your ideas apply to the lawn care industry and as you go you could scale up and offer the services to more lawn care businesses.

                          I like the idea. It's a great way to express yourself and get a chance to really play with all those marketing ideas you have. If one business doesn't want to use them, others might.

                          I bet if you sat there and thought about it, you could come up with many many more ideas you thought were to wild or extreme but might just work!

                          Maybe we could do a marketing makeover for a current lawn care business on the forum as a way of promoting your talents.
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                          • #43
                            Another thing I was wondering, do you have any thoughts as to how this company got so big? What factors do you feel made them stand out enough to grow and expand while most other lawn care businesses stay small?
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                            • #44
                              Agrilawn,

                              You're definitely doing a lot of things right. Now if you could only convince the owner that they'd do a whole lot better if they simply targeted their mailings! The key to that is to simply show credibility or proof that it works. I've got some resources/numbers I'll post that you might be able to use as back-up. Until you get more targeted with your mailings, you might as well take a % of your marketing budget and throw it out the window because that's basically what you're already doing!

                              One comment about the customer cancellation rates. It's pretty typical in ANY business to see the majority of your cancels refunds occur very shortly after the purchase. It's called 'buyer's remorse'.

                              One of the things I suggest to my clients is to send a customer 'stick' letter/card shortly after the first visit or two, reminding them about your great service, why you're such a great VALUE, and of all the BENEFITS they'll be getting. You might even consider including in your 'welcome packet' (which is another FANSTATIC idea I recommend to all my clients as well) a customer survey asking what they're hoping to receive and/or the reasons they hired you. Consider including a postage paid envelope to make it easy for them to return, but when they do, send them a 'thank you' card with some type of gift card or other 'goodie' as a way of letting them know you appreciate their feedback.

                              Again, great job with a lot of what you're doing and it sounds like your biggest constraint is the owners. It may take a bit of work, but there are definitely ways you could persuade them to 'let go' so to speak.
                              Chestin

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                              • #45
                                I've got some resources/numbers I'll post that you might be able to use as back-up. Until you get more targeted with your mailings, you might as well take a % of your marketing budget and throw it out the window because that's basically what you're already doing!
                                Could you tell us more of what you mean by that?

                                send them a 'thank you' card with some type of gift card or other 'goodie' as a way of letting them know you appreciate their feedback.
                                Any thoughts on what type of goodies would work well? How much value should it be worth?

                                “When researching our cancellation history I found that most of the cancelled lawn care accounts had been cancelled within the first 3-4 months. If they had been more informed from the beginning, maybe we could have saved the sale.”
                                Do you have any idea what % of the customers were canceling? This could help figure out how much money is being lost and how much value should be put into a 'goodie.'
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