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Lawn Care Marketing & Post your marketing material for review!

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  #11  
Old 10-01-2008, 03:38 PM
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It makes you wonder if you could put small yard signs that just stick in the ground. Would that still be door to door if you could do it from the street like this?

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  #12  
Old 10-01-2008, 04:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve View Post
It makes you wonder if you could put small yard signs that just stick in the ground. Would that still be door to door if you could do it from the street like this?
Every lawn that we treat gets a yard sign depending on the type of treatment. We have the cardboard type with the stick or the flag type.

But some of the areas don't allow a sign of any type, so we have to watch what neighborhood we are in when we do put our signs up.
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Old 10-01-2008, 07:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by agrilawn View Post
For example:
zip code 12345/c012
2006 we mailed 2x to 456 homes
we received 5 customers and have 60 in the area
Cost to obtain customer $40

2007 we mailed 3x to 456 homes
we received 2 customers
Cost to obtain customer $157

2008 we did targeted mailing 3x to 225 homes
we received 2 customers
Cost to obtain customer $84

From the example - 2006 we did pretty good mailing to the whole route. Saturation is pretty good in the area. But in 2007 we increased the mailing to 3x and the cost per customer shot way up. Since the saturation in that area is good we decided to try the targeted mailings 3x. The cost per customer went down but still not as good as we would like to see. (goal is around $60-70) Maybe if we had only mailed 2x the cost would be better?
So if I understand correctly, you ask the post office to specifically send these flyers to these neighborhoods ? I understand the direct mailing but I've never understood how it's done... if you guys understand me haha
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Old 10-01-2008, 10:13 PM
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Quote:
Every lawn that we treat gets a yard sign depending on the type of treatment. We have the cardboard type with the stick or the flag type.

But some of the areas don't allow a sign of any type, so we have to watch what neighborhood we are in when we do put our signs up.
What I was trying to say was could you use such signs and put them in the neighbor's yards as well that would promote your services.

Something like this

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  #15  
Old 10-02-2008, 08:57 AM
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We actually purchase a list of Single Family Dwellings from our mail house. That list is then divided into zip code and down to the actual mail carrier route so we can see how many people are in each area. The more homes that we mail to by carrier route the bigger discount we receive on the postage.
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  #16  
Old 10-02-2008, 08:58 AM
agrilawn agrilawn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve View Post
What I was trying to say was could you use such signs and put them in the neighbor's yards as well that would promote your services.

Something like this

No that is not allowed. To put any type of sign up in a persons yard you mush have their permission.
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  #17  
Old 10-03-2008, 01:52 PM
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First off, great post and some great follow-up comments. I'll try to touch everything, but with all the different nuances and aspects to consider, this one could make for a lengthy discussion. Regardless, here goes....

In terms of the size of the mailings, 300K sounds like a lot, but it also sounds like you've got the budget to make it work. The key is to make sure you're targeting VERY SPECIFICALLY. You've already mentioned that you started targeting your lists, but make sure you're only mailing to those prospects that meet your exact criteria. Age, income, home value, # of kids, interests, etc. I couldn't tell from the post if you're doing this, but NEVER just buy a list of home owners within certain zip codes. Always take it to the next level and specify the individual criteria for each prospect.

As Bob mentioned, $40 is FANTASTIC. Do you know the average lifetime value of your customers? I bet it's WAY more than $40, probably somewhere in the $1,000's. The $60-80 range is a good target, but I'd be willing to bet you could spend close to $100/customer and still come out way ahead of the game.

With respect to the mailings you're doing, unless you're sending them at the same time of year, with the same offer, you're not really testing. To accurately test, you can only test one thing at a time. So if you're sending one piece, with a different headline, offer, deadline, call to action, testimonial, etc. in the spring, and then turning around sending a completely different piece in the summer, it's not a valid test. You'll never be able to pinpoint what's working and what isn't.

You've got to test your spring offers against your spring offers. Your summer offer against your summer offers. Etc. What I'd do, is break up your list into at least 2 groups and mail slightly different offers to each group. Maybe a different headline or offer, but everything else the same. Gauge the response, and make some changes for next time. If you really wanted some good data, split your list into 4 different groups so you have more opportunities to test. But the key to remember is that you can only change 1 thing each time to get an accurate test.

In terms of response rates, I'd look at your offers. Are you making a strong enough offer? Is it low risk enough? Is it something that motivates them to pick up the phone EVEN IF they're not ready to buy today?

I'm going to catch a ton of flack for this, but marketing has changed. You see, at any given time only 3% of your TARGET MARKET is ready to buy from you today. As a result, to create marketing that's truly effective you've got to appeal to not just the 3% that's ready to buy today, but also the 97% that is just starting to think about buying what you offer.

What this means is that brand building, presenting offers like 'Free Estimates', or '10% Off', are no longer powerful enough to motivate your prospects to respond because #1 everybody does it so you sound just like everybody else, and #2 I may not be at that stage of the buying process yet.

Next, when it comes to clover leafing the neighbors, send a postcard instead of the door hanger. Your list provider should be able to provide you a list of home owners immediately next door to your clients, and just time the mailings to coincide with the service visits. Same idea as the door hanger and the money you spend on postage will be time saved by not having to hang the door hangers.

Finally, focusing on developing referrals is a GREAT strategy. Use everything at your disposal to develop a good relationship with your clients and they'll reward you with referrals. Email is a great way and definitely something I'd recommend, but it's extremely easy to delete. Consider sending a hard copy, paper and ink newsletter on a monthly basis. Yes, it'll cost you some money, but $.80/mo for an account paying you at least $100/mo (I'd hope you're getting at least that), is a SMALL price to pay to strengthen the relationship and build a referral base. Believe me, a newsletter sent every month via snail mail, and NOT included with the invoice, will go a VERY long way to helping you build your business.

Okay, I'm sure there's more I could say, but I've probably lost everyone by now with my ramblings. Again, this is a great post, a very interesting topic, and a discussion MANY LCO's could learn a great deal from.
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  #18  
Old 10-03-2008, 02:21 PM
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That is exactly what I am looking for! Thank you.

The 300K that is being mailed is not 100% targeted. I would say maybe 20% was targeted. The rest just went to homeowners. I would love to do just the 100% targeted and do a split test. (hard to get people to change their habits) I am comparing only the Spring campaigns over the last 2-3 years. Each year the piece was very similiar with little changes. This year I want to completely change it up because I believe we need to focus more on how everyone looks at things. Like someone said before. You need to catch their attention within the first 10 seconds. Looking at a piece that has a bunch of information on it that may be speaking over their heads, there is no way I would even attempt to read it. I am trying to make it more eye appealing and easier to read for those that may be a first time homeowner and have no clue what it takes to get their lawns looking great.

Excellent idea on the cloverleafing!

Newsletters: We do send the email newsletter to our email database. I tried to get a hardcopy newsletter out a couple months ago, where the technicians would leave it with every stop, but they never did it. We are going to start the hardcopy newsletter again in Spring 2009 and a new one will be going out with each of our 7 rounds.
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Old 10-03-2008, 07:33 PM
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So here you are, new in a larger lawn care business and find yourself trying to shake things up. What do you think is the best way to go about doing that? How do you plan on getting the owner to go along with your ideas on your marketing concepts?

It seems so difficult at times for businesses to shake off the old and continue pushing forwards. What is your view on all this?
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Old 10-03-2008, 11:44 PM
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Agrilawn,

I would definitely target ALL of your mailings. You'll increase significantly the response you get, even if you don't change anything else.

However, if you really want to increase the response you MUST do more than just branding. If you're targeting your mailings, then you already know you're sending your piece to people that are qualified and interested in what you have to offer.

However, you're probably not the only one communicating with them. So you've got to do more than simply capturing their attention. Yes that's important too, but you've got to differentiate yourself from your competition and there's no way you can do that with the same tired old marketing everyone else is using.

Don't be afraid to use more text than what you think you should because IF your targeting your prospects correctly, assuming you capture their attention within the first 10 seconds, they'll read what you have to say.

Now that's not to say you write a whole bunch of fluff they won't read. You write as much as it takes to convince them to take you up on your offer, which should be a very low-risk offer that allows them to identify themselves as someone interested in what you have to offer.

I could go on and on, but I'll save all the explanation and reasoning for this for another post. If anyone's interested, let me know and I'll start a new post that talks about why it is everything most people think they know about marketing is wrong.
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