“Yeah, we tried postcards and mailers and they didn’t work. Oh, and we spent all this money to put ads in this magazine and that was a bust too.”
I get it. I managed an annual marketing budget of over $300,000 for many years for a full-service lawn and landscape company and tried all sorts of mailers and ads. Unfortunately, it’s a lot of trial and error.
But, I may be able to spare you some frustration. After all, if you’re dropping tens of thousands of dollars each year on lawn care and landscaping mailers or advertisements, you should be able to achieve and measure success, right?
It shouldn’t be blind failures over and over. Here are 5 ways you could be sabotaging your efforts with direct mail and print advertising.
1) Your Campaign is More About Your Company Than Your Prospect
For just a minute, take a deep breath and close your eyes and imagine that you are not a lawn and landscape nerd. I know. It’s hard.
Get into the mind of your prospect.
Stop copycatting your green industry peers. Look at your direct mail or advertising campaigns and evaluate these areas:
Ratio of Empathy & Authority: Look at each word you choose. Imagine your campaign as a recipe. Authority is the salt. Just a pinch will do. Don’t make your prospects gag on award seals, credentials, etc.
Photography Messages: Hire a professional and stop relying so much on stock photos (like your competitors). Put clients in your images, using their spaces and living their life to the fullest.
2) You’re Marketing to the Wrong Problems
Lawn care and landscaping companies are notorious for marketing to external problems. Install a patio. Spray your lawn for weeds.
But your prospects don’t buy because of external problems. They buy because you have used empathy to connect with their internal problems. “I can’t even invite more than two people over because this patio is so small.” Or...“I’m so mad that I skipped golfing last Saturday to spread this stuff on my lawn and these weeds are still alive and kicking!”
(Here's a good example about what is truly important to your prospective customer.)
Identify these internal problems and then subtly connect an external solution to them in your ads and mailers.
3) Your Offer Sucks
Yes, I said it. If you are going to stand out in a sea of future recycling bin filler, you need to get a few things very clear:
Generous Incentives: If your offer isn’t going to make your competitors nervous, then don’t even offer one. Think about how much you’d pay to acquire a new customer. What is it worth to you now and in the lifetime value of the client? You’re interrupting their life with your promo. Make it worth their while to do something now.
Urgency: Don’t run the same promo over and over. Give a firm expiration date that isn’t too far out. Your prospects need a fire lit under them.
Easy Process: People don’t buy the best. They buy what’s easy. When possible, your ad or mailers should show in less than 3 steps how your prospect can go from frustrated to confident and worry-free. Stop over-explaining before the prospect responds.
4) You’re Relying on Only One Platform
Next time you’re ready to create a campaign, consider how many ways you can deliver the offer to prospective clients. Instead of only using a print ad or mailer, add at least 2-3 of these as well:
Promotional banner/widget on your website’s homepage
Digital retargeting ads
Door hangers/invoice inserts
The more times your prospect sees your promotion, the more likely they will reach out to you. It’s easy to ignore the one postcard that came in the mail. It’s harder to forget when your ad seems to be everywhere they go.
5) Your Tracking Methods are Keeping You Clueless
If you rely on the old, “How did you hear about us?” method and then enter the data in your green-industry CRM (or worse, a spreadsheet), you’re going to miss a ton of valuable insight.
Track the delivery method that finally made your client reach out to you. Here are three critical elements needed for good tacking and future marketing decisions:
Landing Pages: Don’t just send people to your website’s homepage! Create simple, short URLs and put them on mailers and ads, directing them to a landing page that has only the essential info for the offer and a form where they respond or a unique number they can call (more on that in a minute). If you’re using printed materials like magazine ads or mailers, make URLs unique. For instance, have one for your postcard and one for the magazine ad.
Website Analytics Tracking: Whether the URLs are on printed materials or if you’re adding other online campaigns, be sure you know what’s really happening. Using a tracking system like HubSpot, will help you determine how many visits, leads, and new sales you got from each source.
Call Tracking Numbers: In order to know which ads and mailers are working, create unique tracking phone numbers for each delivery method. A great call tracking platform will show you not how many calls you got but also can associate them with specific contacts so you can see if the call resulted in an estimate and ultimately a sale.
(RELATED READING: 5 Meaningful Website Metrics to Track & Understand)
Successful Lawn Care Mailers and Landscaping Advertising Means Doing the Work
Sound like a lot of work? It actually is. But if you want to stop flushing your marketing dollars down the toilet, then it’s a necessary step to make better decisions based on data instead of frustrated gut feelings. Your campaigns could be doing better (or worse) than you think.
In order to succeed, it may require you to hire a marketing coordinator at your lawn or landscaping company or get the help of a marketing agency to help implement and analyze the tools I mentioned above. It will be money well spent but could keep you from wasting money campaign after campaign, year after year.
If you’d like to truly learn what marketing efforts are working (or failing) for your lawn care, tree service, or landscaping company, schedule a meeting with us. We’ll take some time to learn more about your company and discuss how our Total Marketing Review can help you make better future marketing decisions.