Using Direct Mail to Grow Your Lawn Care Customer Base
Laying down a strategic marketing plan that results in healthy growth of your lawn care and landscaping customer base doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. If you take the time to think about the answers to the following key questions, you’re already halfway there.
Key Marketing Questions
- Who are my ideal customers?
- Where are my service areas?
- What services do I plan to offer?
- When should I promote my business?
- How do I want to promote my business?
Use a consistent message and decide how you’ll track performance, adjusting when needed, for a solid marketing campaign.
Many times, landscaping and lawn care businesses look at marketing as a task that detracts from revenue-producing work. Instead, consider lawn care and landscape business marketing a vital investment in your growing business. Effective marketing with the right agency should free you up and produce more sales.
Let’s answer the key marketing questions.
Key Marketing Answers
Who are my ideal customers?
Your ideal customers are people or businesses you would like to use your services. For marketing purposes, you would define these ideal customers using demographic and geographic indicators.
For example, you might only perform lawn care for residential homes within a 20-mile radius in your county’s northwest. In that case, homeownership may be one demographic indicator. If you’re only interested in high-income homeowners, you might also select a household income level of $150,000 or more. Then, you would define your service area using ZIP codes or boundary lines. The result is a very specific mailing list of leads.
When it comes to targeted direct mail, you would use this mailing list to mail promotions to your defined audience. Keep in mind that the more specific your audience, the greater your direct mail costs will be, because postage rates will be higher for targeted mail than for mailing to all households in a delivery route or ZIP code. Often, the response rate will be higher also, but only you can decide if you want to test that approach.
Where are my service areas?
How far are you willing to go to perform your services? Do you have a crew of workers? Set the boundaries of your service area based on the distance you are willing to travel to perform work for customers. Once your boundary is set, then you can decide where and how to advertise to get new customers.
What services do I plan to offer?
Every business is unique and offers a unique set of services. After you create your menu of services, then you can decide which lawn care and landscaping services to promote. Ideally, you would promote a service with low overhead costs so your return on investment (ROI) is healthier.
Consider creating a “first time customer” discount with a percentage or dollar off the cost of a service. Or, generate ongoing business by offering one service free after 10 services. When you develop your offer, include the amount of profit earned from that service in your marketing and advertising expense for a true ROI. You can learn more about direct mail coupon marketing and tracking performance and ROI.
When should I promote my business?
Lawn care and landscaping are seasonal services, but that doesn’t mean you should only advertise during the season. Plant seeds in potential customers’ minds by advertising a couple of months before the high season. Direct mail is proven to produce 70% higher brand recall than digital ads, so it’s a very effective marketing method.
Repetitive marketing will help ensure your business is the one consumers think of when they need lawn care and landscaping services. If you also provide services that are useful year-round, then change your offer accordingly, but don’t stop putting your brand in front of your ideal audience. Consistent persistence is key and “right now” is always a good time to get your lawn care and landscaping marketing plan going.
How do I want to promote my business?
Direct mail is still one of the most effective methods to use to advertise your business and promote your brand. A recent Borrell Survey of 1,640 businesses, along with the annual report from Data & Marketing Association (DMA), produced the following insights:
- 9% of all U.S. households (around 65 billion) obtain their coupons via direct mail (Borrell)
- Prospect response rates for direct mail increased over 190% in 2017 (DMA)
- Over 86 billion (an 8.4% increase) made purchase decisions based on direct mail ads (Borrell)
- Direct mail garners a solid response rate of 7% with a 13% ROI for letter-sized mailings (DMA)
Again, targeted mailing lists and targeted direct mail campaigns do cost more than standard direct mail delivered to every household in a Neighborhood Trade Area® (NTA). One NTA equals 10,000 addresses. You could instead decide to mail to two or more NTAs within your service area, which might bring cost savings. Valpak’s direct mailer, The Blue Envelope®, is a perfect vehicle to grow your customer base, increase brand awareness and generate revenue. With it, you can choose the NTAs you want to reach with your offer.
If You Aren’t Marketing Your Lawn Care Business, You’re…
…Helping the competition
Only marketing your lawn care and landscaping business during peak season leaves the door open for competitors to take your customers. Consistent persistence builds repeat business that turns into loyal customers. Are you sure that, when customers need your services, they will think of your business first?
…Risking customer loss
Marketing is a way of establishing trust and credibility. By not advertising, customers might wonder if you’re still in business. Savvy businesses are regularly visible and if people aren’t hearing or seeing your name and brand through marketing, doubts may seep in.
…Missing out on new business
When a customer is new to your neighborhood, they have no idea whom to contact for the services they need. This is where your marketing will generate fresh revenue. But you must advertise for them to know you exist. New customers will more likely choose the company whose branding and messaging has most often captured their attention.
Where Does Digital Come In?
You can make your direct mail marketing even more powerful by having a digital presence. Setting up a simple, search engine optimized (SEO) website increases consumer trust and improves your ranking in search results.
Maintaining a social media profile featuring customer reviews is another vital aspect of digital marketing. Nielsen asserts that 84% of consumers rely on recommendations from influencers, family and peers more than other forms of marketing. And where do they go to get recommendations? Social.
Combining these and other digital methods with a direct mail campaign will boost your brand awareness and increase response.
Other Marketing Solutions to Consider
They say, “if you build it, they will come.” Team up with Valpak and build an effective marketing campaign for your lawn care and landscaping business. Reach out today to have your local Valpak representative contact you.