This week Chris asks, “What is more effective for attracting customers, postcard mailers and door hangers, or email marketing and websites?”
This is a great question, and it’s one that I get quite often when I do my strategy sessions with new clients. Lets break your question up into a couple of bits, because it’s actually a question that I would follow up with a couple more in-depth questions.
I really need you to tell me what your market is, not necessarily the city, but what your main services are. If it’s a lawn care, the strategy is going to be a bit different than if you’re a landscape design build. I’m going to answer that from the perspective that the person asking the question is a residential lawn care company. I’m going to assume residential lawn care.
Here’s why. You’re not going to use the same strategy for every service that you offer. If you’re offering lawn maintenance, there’s certain strategies that are going to be more effective than strategies you would be using for fertilization, weed control, landscape lighting, and all of the services that fall under a landscaper or lawn care professional that you might be providing. You’re going to have to customize your strategy for the service that you’re offering and the profit margin on that service as well. I just want to point that out.
So for this question I’m going to assume that we’re talking about lawn maintenance. So if we’re talking about lawn maintenance, which is better; postcards, door-hangers, email marketing or websites? Well, lets start with websites. Website is going to be the foundation – it’s going to be the glue – that binds all of the other strategies that you’re going to implement together. So whether you’re running a pay-per-click campaign, or search engine optimization, or even directly on door hangers, any offline stuff, that’s going to bring traffic to your website.
The website is going to be the cornerstone of all the marketing that you’re going to be doing. Consumers are going to be coming to your website and making an educated decision on whether or not they can trust you and if they should hire you. So website is very important. Invest in it. Get something professional that converts visitors to customers. It’s not just a matter of throwing up a pretty picture. Having a good looking website is part of it, but there is much deeper concerns. We want a website that converts visitors to customers. That’s very important, and that’s how we design our websites for our clients. You’ve heard me in other videos say, “Your website has two purposes: to get people to call you or email you for an estimate.” That’s it. Bringing a pretty website, that’s nice and all, but we want customers above all else. So your website’s the cornerstone. Get that right. It’s going to be the foundation of everything that you do.
Next, you asked about email marketing, and you asked if that’s a good way to get new customers. First of all, email marketing is going to really be out of the equation for attracting new customers, because you can’t spam. Don’t spam. Do not buy a list of random email addresses of potential consumers in your market and spam them. It’s bad behavior, don’t do it. Don’t email anybody who hasn’t contacted you directly, requested an estimate, come to your website and provided you their info. That’s one thing, you can email them. You should absolutely be following up with any leads that you get using their email, using their phone number, using their address. You have permission to market to them if they’ve contacted you. But, you do not blindly email people and try and solicit your lawn care or landscaping services. So email marketing, not so good on getting new customers. It’s great for upselling and increasing the value of the customers that you have, so I definitely recommend an email marketing campaign. We have a really in-depth one that we run for our clients. So definitely email marketing is good, but not for capturing new clients because we don’t spam. Very important.
Next one is postcard mailers and door-hangers. I’m going to address both of these at the same time because they’re very related. Postcard mailers, door-hangers, we’re talking about direct mail, we’re talking about direct marketing techniques, direct response. They’re both effective, and we recommend that you use them in conjunction with a solid online marketing campaign. The reason is online marketing is going to have a lower client acquisition cost because it costs time or money to acquire any new customer that you get. You’ve never got a customer for free, you always have to estimate, you always have to spend time on the phone with them.
Well, I take that back. Maybe your mom, maybe your brother in law hired you, and they didn’t care about your references, they don’t care if you did good work, so they’ll just hire you. So maybe you did get one or two clients for free, but your typical new client: it’s going to cost some money to acquire them. That’s true with postcards, that’s true with direct mail, that’s true with door-hangers, that’s true with online marketing. Every strategy that you implement has a different client cost per acquisition. That is going to be dependent on a number of different factors. It’s going to be dependent on the service that you’re trying to sell, it’s going to depend on the market that you’re in, it’s going to be dependent on how competitive that market is, it’s going to be dependent on a number of different factors. If you’re doing direct mail, then it’s going to even be dependent on the weather. How good your door-hangers or your postcards or flyers, how well your mailers convert, is going to be dependent on the weather. It’s going to be dependent on whether or not your potential customer has a need for your services that very day that door-hanger or that mailer arrives in their hand.
That’s one of the reasons online marketing is typically much cheaper to acquire clients than offline marketing because it starts with a search. Your consumers are searching, and when they’re searching, they have a need because they’re searching for it. They’re ready to buy either that day that they’re searching for your products and services, or in the very near future. That’s what makes online marketing so powerful. That’s why we’ve had such great success with our online marketing strategies, search engine optimization, pay-per-click, all of that. But it‘s more than just throwing up a website at the same time. We mentioned that earlier.
Website is a cornerstone to everything that you do, but putting up a website alone will not bring you new business. You have to get people to that website, and that’s where marketing comes in, whether it’s offline marketing that promotes your website, whether it’s the branding on your truck that promotes your website, whether it’s your search engine optimization campaign that gets you to the first page in the number one ranking in Google; any of these different marketing tactics that you’re going to be employing are necessary to make your website really the lead-generating monster that it should be. So keep that in mind. We implement five to seven different strategies for our clients, and it depends on their business, their services, their market. Everything is tailored to them and their needs. There’s no one-size-fits-all in this industry, and that’s the way that we approach it. This was a great question. I hope it really answered it for you.