On LawnSite.com, the online discussion forum, (and part of the Turf family) a participant from Illinois asked:
“My advertising plan for spring 2021 is 3k direct mail flyers in areas currently served. I will also use 50 road signs in high traffic areas currently served. I’m also considering door flyers. Has anyone had success with these tactics? Do you run specials or coupons?”
Here are the responses (edited for content and clarity; location given when available):
“Did you get a website running or a Facebook (FB) page? Google My Business website is free. Get existing customers to leave you a Google review. Don’t flood your page with them all at once, trickle them in. Get that started ASAP to build your Google presence. I finally started getting some calls from Google searches this summer—turned some down, but took others that worked out well.” — VA
“Got the website going, Google My Business is up, and I post on FB three times daily to local classified groups.”— author, IL
“Making posts to your Google page with pics also helps. Make the post on your Google page, then share it to FB to help the ‘organic reach.’ Even informational blog style posts. Occasionally I’ll make a post on regularly servicing your equipment.” —VA
“Direct mailers and road signs are decent value for money, but not if you’re relying on them to bring business; they’re best for name recognition, coupled with direct interactable marketing like Google and FB.” — OK
“Have you had more success with Google or FB?” — author, IL
“It’s 50/50 either way. Early season, FB seems to have more traffic because people are posting pics/posts about weeds. By midseason, traffic shifts to Google as people look for answers to summer dormancy and heat issues. FB marketing is easy. Set your radius and it goes on autopilot based on info posted to your business page. Google is a little bit trickier. You need to know the local vernacular and ‘keyword.’ When I ran marketing for a local franchise, I did targeted mailers and road signs in a specific area coupled with a blitz of online ads. For every 100 signs and 1,000 mailers, you’ll get three to five customers. With online blitz marketing, for every 1,000 that see your ad, about 300 will interact, and about 30 become clients.” — OK
“Check with the town if they allow road signs, or you could get fined per sign.” — PA
“No flyers in mailboxes either.” — NY
“Don’t do door to door. It seems like you’re just trying to intimidate the person into signing on. Not a good look IMHO. I did door hangers when I was younger, but think it’s kind of cheesy now. Online ads or mailers are your best bet.” — MO
“I’ve considered door hangers. I agree on the face-to-face. Some people encourage it, but if someone comes up to me to sell me something, I’m already wary and leaning towards ‘no.’ Too much pressure.” — Midwest
“We have four main advertising areas.
- Put your name and number all over; people will call from a stoplight!
- Get your Yelp page setup (don’t pay for click ads). The more pics you add, the better. We gave customers a $5 coupon for leaving reviews. Five-star reviews are priceless.
- Nextdoor. This was the cheapest (free) and our best revenue driver in spring and early summer. I have a few customers I ping when I send out a post for them to “Love it” to keep it at the top of the feed.
- We have an ad in our church bulletin—more for name recognition. We have a few clients from it, but it’s not a big driver.” — FL
“We still do very well in our cost-per-acquisition on postcards. We hit areas we’re already in. I only did one mailing last year, but tripled the return. Since all are still customers, it will continue to increase the value of the investment.” — TN
“Don’t count out Craigslist. You can’t beat $5 ads. I received at least $5k-8k in side jobs. It works best to post a new ad daily at peak season. Daily ads through leaf season for 30 days cost $150, and I’ll get 10 to 20 jobs. Most become return customers. Fall cleanup is the second best time to pick up new customers.” — CT
“After viewing the [author’s] site, here’s advice which should be helpful for others:
- In the Google My Business/Maps listing, go into dashboard and select a Service Area Business—one that doesn’t accept customers in-person. (If the service area is near the city center with minimal competition, it won’t impact maps ranking.)
- Ditch your web company. A good site builder is Squarespace. Put the phone number into page headers. Start writing content.
- Work on basic SEO. I recommend: Beginner’s Guide To SEO at moz.com and SEO Starter Guide at developers.google.com.
- Company name. Pick one, stick with it, and be consistent everywhere.
- Stick with one domain. Allocate $12 and buy the business name.
- Your logo should reflect your name. For instance, is a letter lowercase in the logo, but uppercase in other uses?
- Shoot as many photos of your own work as you can. Don’t use stock. Competitors might be using that same photo.
- Postcards. The Call to Action should send people to a special, unindexed landing page on your site—like yoursite.com/spring-promo-2021. This segments out and tracks those visitors to gauge campaign success.
- Facebook: Create a business page. Don’t use a personal page.
- If posting often, don’t repeat the same info day after day. It looks like lazy spam and doesn’t drive sales.
- Check out LawnSite’s Digital Marketing Forum. There’s lots of useful stuff in the archives.” — CT