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Lawn Care Marketing Expert Interview with Speakeasy Marketing Inc. [Part 3]

In the final part of this interview we discuss… why Lawn Care Marketing Expert doesn’t just work with the big $1,000,000+ companies but also companies just getting started and exactly what type of lawn care entrepreneur makes the best lawn care marketing partner.

The interview was conducted by Richard Jacobs of Speakeasy Marketing Inc. & My DUI Attorney another fantastic direct marketer based in New York.

Richard: You said that earlier that you work with small guys who are out there doing the lawns by themselves all the way up to million dollar operators. But in that what kinds of lawn care entrepreneurs would be a fit that would work well with you and which ones wouldn’t?

Andrew: That’s a great question. And you know what, I think probably the most people are going to think the answer to that question is, oh well, we only want clients that are bringing in $250k a year or $450k a year. They can afford our $2,500 a month package. They can afford our $5,000 a month package, whatever. That’s not the approach that I’ve taken from the beginning.

We’ve grown to a pretty respectable size and we still take on the $40,000 a year clients that are, where the business owner is still in the field, he has one crew. He’s busting his ass, but he really wants to grow. So I think the ideal client would be 1) somebody who really sees the value in spending money to make money. Somebody who understands that marketing is an investment and when you give your marketing agency a dollar they’re going to give you back $10 in clients.

And that’s important because it really is an investment. And a good marketing agency can really identify the return on the investment that they deliver to you.

Richard: Okay.

Andrew: So we’d also like clients that understand customer lifetime value. And this is a business concept. This is business 101. I don’t have a business degree. I have a design technology degree. I mean that’s my background. That’s what I’m versed in, but that’s a, customer lifetime value is such a critical business ideal that I think every business owner should understand it.

And it’s something that I understand in my own business and it’s something I hope lawn care business owners understand in theirs. I’ve actually done a couple of videos about that, you can check it out on blog at lawncaremarketingexpert.com.

But basically customer lifetime value means that getting a new customer isn’t just $40. It’s whatever that customer is going to spend in regular lawn care service or landscaping service as well as all the up sell services that you’re going to sell to them whether it’s planting flowers for fertilization or chemicals, or anything else that you’re going to do over the lifetime of that relationship.

That can be three years. That can be four years depending on how good your retention is and whether or not they move out of your market or any number of different things. And as well, on top of that, how many referrals each of your customers are getting for you.

So at the end of the day that client that you think is only worth $40 because they came through your website and they called you and you mowed their lawn once, well they’re not a $40 client. They’re probably a $4,800 client in the lifetime value and I think that’s a really important concept that business owners should understand because when you understand that number, you can start to justify spending a $100 a lead.

You can justify spending more than that if you need to. So once you realize that your marketing gets you leads initially and then your team converts them into reoccurring weekly clients, and puts in a really strong up sell, a campaign behind that, you can squeeze a lot of money out of your existing clients, that’s a huge concept.

So we really appreciate clients who understand that and if they don’t, we would be happy to explain it to them.

On top of that there’s a couple of other things. I mentioned that we think of marketing as a partnership. We really do need our customers to cooperate and to give us the things that we need to help us be a big success.

So they need to know how to deliver great value and great service to their customers in the leads that we give them. They need to be able to close those leads. Have operating procedures for when an incoming lead comes in they need to close those leads they should have a very high close rate. If not, they need to implement some standard operating procedures.

And this is shocking to me and I rant about this all the time probably too much and I’ve actually been known to unfortunately lecture some of our clients, they need to answer their phone. They need to answer their phone. It’s shocking to me how many lawn care companies let those phone calls go to voice mail.

And it’s something you can solve with a $50 or $80 live answering service that actually collects those calls. Because if you’re not answering your phone, those leads aren’t calling back. So basically you’re paying my company to get you the leads, and then those people aren’t leaving voice mail message or calling back. They’re calling the next guy on the list.

So if you want to get the most value from our online marketing campaign, answer the phone, close leads, and implement the strategies that we’re going to suggest. That includes getting reviews and testimonials. I give out instructional book to all of our clients about the value of getting really good video testimonials and it’s an unfortunate, a lot of our clients don’t go to the trouble to do it.

But the ones that do, they see a huge number of leads because again they’re building credibility for themselves on their website and having that interaction with your clients and showing them that you appreciate them and that you care about giving them good service and that you’re asking them for a testimonial and their opinion on how well you did, that’s big. That builds a relationship between you and your clients.

So that’s also another thing and we actually go so far as to put a little check box in their contract that says, are you actually committed to growing your business? Are you actually committed to making your business success.

Richard: Oh wow.

Andrew: It might be meaningless but I think it’s important because we really want our prospects and our future partners to know that we want them to be dedicated to what we’re doing. We don’t, we have tons of clients. We don’t want another client, we don’t want any client that are going to just rely on incoming leads from their website and they’re going to be passive about growing their business.

If you’re a passionate business owner, then you’re probably the best ideal client. And another thing is we need them to track leads. We need them to know that what we’re doing is effective. So whenever they get a phone call we expect them to log it, a lot of our clients our using Service Autopilot or we actually give them a lead tracking form so they know exactly where their lead came from. If it came from Yelp. If it came from Google Local. If it came from PCP ad. We want you to track it.

Track it. Measure your return on investment. We want you to know exactly how much value we’re bringing you to the table every single month. So that’s another thing that’s very important. Track your leads. Track your return on investment. And when you do that you know that you are truly giving us a dollar each month and we’re giving you back ten.

And my final point is, you mentioned on sort of how much a lawn care company should make in order to [inaudible 47:47]. How much you make is not important. We would rather partner with aggressive and hungry kid making $40k a year who can initially only afford our basic $199 marketing plan than a $400k a year passive business owner that’s stuck at $400k because they only want to get leads online, but they don’t want to do any of the additional leg work offline that really helps them grow and take their business to the next level.

And that includes up selling the e-mail marketing, doing door hangers to build density in each of their markets, and just really going that extra mile to grow their business.

We expect our clients to do this. The ideal ones and the ones that we have the best relationships with and the ones whose business is really exploding, we have the best partnership with those kinds of guys.

So we want implementers. We want people who are serious and who are serious as we are about making them a success.

Richard: All right, well for the serious lawn care entrepreneur who is probably listening to this interview or reading it, so the guys that are now convinced that all of this stuff you can do will be able to help them, which I’m convinced, how should they contact you specifically to move forward with this?

Andrew: Sure. I make myself available to everybody. So they can e-mail me directly at andrew@lawncaremarketingexpert.com or they can call our office and speak to our staff, our account managers are awesome, they’re super well trained in all aspects of online marketing and that number is 786-309-7898.

And they can also, I’d also recommend go get educated. Go get some education. Visit our blog at lawncaremarketingexpert.com. We have probably 30 or 40 hours of free training videos on there. Sign up for our newsletter. I’m not going to spam you. I’m going to send you an e-mail maybe once a week, maybe once every two weeks to let you know we have a new video, we have new free training.

That would be the place to start and I’m also really honored, I’m going to be speaking at the biggest lawn care trade show in California in January.

Richard: Oh wow.

Andrew: I’m going to be speaking for two hours on lawn care related topics. So if you’re a member of the California Landscape Contractors Association, come out to the Landscape Industry show on February 13th and 14th. I don’t know exactly which date I’m speaking at yet. I think the 14th but come out. Come meet me, I’d love to chat with you and get some free education.

Richard: This has been really informative, eye opening, I don’t do what you do but I’m certainly a customer and a fellow marketer and I really appreciate all the effort you put into being transparent, teaching people what they need to know without asking anything in return unless they’re truly interested and it’s been really good talking to you Andrew.

Andrew: Well, Richard, I’m honored that you ask to interview us. I mean, we really respect what you guys are doing over there and it was great talking to you.

Richard: Again, I’m going to go check out your blog and see what I can learn to open my eyes and I probably won’t be able to make your trade show, but I’m sure some of the people listening will and it will be great for them to meet you in person and learn more.

Andrew: That would be fantastic. I’d love to meet them all.

Richard: All right. Well take care.

Andrew: Thank you, Richard.

Andrew Pototschnik is the founder of Lawn Care Marketing Expert, the largest online marketing agency in North America specializing in marketing strategies for the lawn care and landscaping industries.

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