Originally Posted by Steve
What methods of advertising do you suggest lawn care business owners use?
I used to have a lot of success with door hangers and flyers. I like that method of canvasing because you're not really bothering anyone. They might just throw it away, but you're not going to piss anyone off just leaving a flyer on their door. Plus, I could make inexpensive black and white flyers and copy them for 2 cents ea. at Staples. So it was a very cheap way to get our name out in front off hundreds of people a day for just $8 an hour or so.
I don't do flyers much anymore these days partly because they don't seem to be quite as effective as they used to be. But mostly because I've just moved on to other types of marketing that don't require anyone to be out on their feet. My main problem with flyers or door hangers was finding reliable workers to do it.
I love the internet. That accounts for a good 50% of the new customers we get. But internet is tricky. Just having a website isn't good enough. Even having a great website isn't good enough. You have to get really good at making sure people FIND your website. There are lots of ways to do that. Some of them cost a lot of money, others are free. But that's been something I've recognized more people gravitating to. Hardly anyone opens the Yellow Pages anymore. I even tried 2 Yellow Pages ads again last year, just to see if they would produce anything. My wife almost shot me. She knew from our previous experiences with Yellow Pages that they never end up producing the results you expect. But I got suckered in once again. But that won't happen again Yellow Pages is almost a total waste of money, in my opinion. The internet is the new Yellow Pages. And I don't mean places like SuperPages.com, YellowPages.com, QwestDex.com or any of that. I mean just plain old Google and Yahoo and Microsoft Live. That's where people are looking for businesses these days.
I think it's imperative that you have a company theme or brand imaging or USP (whatever you want to call it.) That means having a common theme on all your vehicles, and that theme extends to all your business cards and estimate forms and website too. The vehicle lettering may not produce many calls (although we do get calls from that) but it reinforces your company name in people's minds. So when they go to the internet or wherever and see your company name they're thinking, "Oh yah! I've seen those guys around town. I think they do a home just down the street! I'll call them!"
I like Service Magic, I know most people don't. We get a lot of crappy leads from Service Magic. But we also get probably $200K-$300K per year off of the good leads that we do get from their company.
I am pretty much in favor of any advertising that is free or things that you only pay for when you get a real, live, interested customer. Things like Service Magic or Pay-Per-Click advertising I think are great because on slow months you pay almost nothing. You only pay a lot if you're getting a lot of new leads/work.
Craigslist is free. So I advertise there too. But I rarely get calls from that. I think it's worth a shot though, just because it's free. But you can get a lot of cheapskates from Craigslist too. So I put a blurb in my ad saying that we're not cheap.
I guess that's about it.