Marketing your lawn care services
Apr 12, 2012 Lawn Care Business
No matter what your business is, you have to be somewhat of a salesperson to succeed. This is particularly true in the lawn care business where you depend upon customer relations and interpersonal communication to be successful in obtaining and retaining customers. If you cannot sell yourself and your services, you might as well not enter into the fray.
Yet, before you begin to decide on what form of advertising addresses and suits your needs, you need to make the first step. You have to give yourself a name. This is an important part of selling yourself and your company. You have to come up with the right name.
You can take one of two different approaches. You can adopt a simple name or a more complex one. For example, you could name your company after yourself e.g. McCall’s Lawn Care Business. There are pros and cons for each. If it is short, people will easily recall its name. As a result, they can look it up on line or in the phone book without a problem. People might also like the personal touch of a specific or family name.
The drawback to a name-specific business is its use of your name. It may come across as amateur. The use of your name may also cause problems in the future. When you sell the company, you sell the name. If you or your children which to start up a similar business some time in the future, you will not be able to use your own name in the title.
If you use an overlong or convoluted name, you may confuse customers. It may be forgotten easily. It may be too specific. It may also not catch on. If you want to advertise your business, you have to give it the right sort of name. It has to be able to be memorable. It must provide some indication of what you do. It must also be clear, concise and catchy. On a practical level, the name has to fit the side of your truck and be easily placed in an advertisement.
To enhance further the quality of your product and name, you might want to create a symbol, add a picture or cartoon-figure or object or even create an icon. You might wish to add something that catches the eye and remains in your customer’s mind. At the same time, it must be simple enough to appear on literature, vehicles and letterhead. When you appear at a client’s residence or business, or drive around, the sign on your vehicle becomes a form of advertising.
Advertising comes in many different forms. There are many different ways to advertise yourself and your company. Below are a few ways to approach and use the various forms of marketing available to you.
Strategies for making sales
Finding the right name for you and your company
There is one simple rule of thumb regarding advertising. This applies to beginners and mature business people. Never rely on any one promotion, advertisement or mailing. Before you embark on any type of campaign, you need to look at the industry and customer trends. You must study how others in the lawn care business market themselves and their services.
Compile a list of their approaches and see if they are applicable to your demands and needs. Be prepared to alter your initial approach if it does not turn out to be feasible or effective. Be aware that your basic approach to marketing may have to change as you grow. Also, keep in mind if you want to sell a successful company sometime down the road, you will want to provide a complete package. This means your Lawn Care Company is easily recognized. It has a familiar and identifiable name. The right type of advertising will help you obtain a sort of brand recognition.
In the past, business people have relied on two types of media: print and audio/visual. You advertised your products and services in the newspaper and through fliers, pamphlets and other print formats. You ran off and posted fliers. You distributed through the mail or hired someone to place fliers describing your services in mailboxes. A business ran an ad in a newspaper.
Another more expensive source of traditional advertising has been television and radio. While costing more, some advertisers felt this was the way to reach a larger audience. Using local or cable TV was considered a sure fire method of promoting the business. If the company had reached a specific level, it could even sponsor a show.
Cable TV or local networks can still carry your advertisements. You can still place an ad in the paper and send off fliers. These are still viable means of increasing awareness of your lawn care business. These forms of mass media can be effective in certain instances. In deciding to utilize the print and visual media, need to look at several factors including your financial situation. Another aspect is the effectiveness. Will traditional forms of advertising be able to help you build-up your business?
The answer to this question is not a simple yes or no. It can vary from instance to instance. Usually, however, a business benefits from using a variety of advertising forms and formats. You should run off pamphlets and (responsibly) post fliers. If it is financially feasible, run a small ad in the newspaper, or place one on the local TV or radio station. Do not, however, ever, restrict yourself to one form of advertising. To do so will create other problems and deny you your potential to gain customers.
Advertising has evolved in leaps and bounds with the creation and evolution of the internet. This new medium allows everyone to become their own promoter. It also encourages them to sell their services and products on line. You should take full advantage of the possibilities inherent in the internet.
There are a number of ways to utilize the potential power of the internet. You can and should establish a web presence. Set up (or have someone do it for you) your own web page. This does not have to be elaborate. It can be a simple but effective page or two describing your services. It should also include a brief biography on you noting your qualifications. You can add such things as lawn care tips and the latest issues affecting your region.
Another possible addition to your web page are testimonials. You can ask customers whether they wish to describe and/or promote your work. Alternatively, you can place pictures of before and after lawn care work performed by you. This will clearly illustrate the capabilities of your company. You can also try promoting your company through writing or creating interlinking Hub pages, using Twitter or joining Facebook or any of the other useful web groups. All these will help heighten awareness of you, what you do and stand for and your lawn care company.
If you wish to increase your customer base and establish your business on firm ground, you need to become creative. There are various ways to do so. One of the possibilities is to send out media or press releases. These can talk about such things as what your company is doing. It can show expansion. It can also point out how you are effectively adopting environmentally friendly methods of battling a specific pest. Such releases can also comment or bring to notice the need for treatment in the area of such-and-such or the increase of a specific lawn-related problem.
Another option to heighten the visibility of your lawn care business is to establish yourself as an “expert.” It helps if you have a background in specific area. It also requires a confidence and the ability to sell yourself. You could start off with a few articles in the local paper. You could also see if you can take part in a cable show. This will help establish credentials.
If you are capable and literate enough, try for publication in a trade magazine. See if you can be part of a radio talk show on the subject. Some local stations have phone-in shows where they ask questions of the experts. Make sure you are on the list. Yet, make sure you are knowledgeable and comfortable before you take on these types of promotion. You do not want any negative publicity.
Charity work, taking part in the local Santa Claus or other type of parade, sponsoring a little league team, and other similar work can also help your lawn care business. It makes you and your lawn care business more visible. It also shows you care for your community. Being involved actively on different levels within your home or operative town enhances the image of your business. It also leads to contact within the community. These, in turn, may result in an increased customer base.
The logo on your truck or van is advertising. Make sure it contains the pertinent information. The signage should also be simple, clear and effective. A potential customer should not have to hunt for your phone number, web site or e-mail.
Do not ever forget your performance on the job and your relationship with your customers is the best form of advertising. Personal contact is a primary aspect of good advertising. Clear communications helps you obtain and retain clients. Be in contact with your customers. Answer their questions clearly. Make sure they understand the terms of your services and the contract. Be clear in your billing practices and all other aspects of your job. Do a follow up. If they pay on time, acknowledge it. As in all service industries, be polite, reasonable and on time. This can lead to a traditional and conventional type of advertising – word-of-mouth. This form of promotion is very effective in gaining or losing business. Never, ever, underestimate the power of the person-to-person recommendation.
Advertising your business requires utilizing various forms of print, visual and oral media. You can opt for newspapers, fliers, television or radio. You can also choose to use the internet creating colorful and informative web pages. Such things as articles in trade magazine or appearances on talk shows can help you build-up your customer base. You can also achieve higher visibility if you take part in charity events, support local teams and efforts and have a float, or sponsor one, in an annual parade. The internet is an effective tool if used correctly. Yet, you can also advertise simply by placing a logo on your truck or vehicle.
Never forget the personal touch. Word-of-mouth can be a very effective way of building or destroying a customer base. Be sure your interpersonal skills, work habits and work speak volumes about your lawn care company. This will be important for both short and long-term results. When you sell your company to someone else, you are including its reputation.
In the end, it is best not to rely on one type of advertising to promote your services and product. You will have to dabble in what you think is effective. As you gain experience, you will be able to invest your money in the most cost-effective forms of advertising. In order to do this, you need to be aware of your customer base. You have to ask questions, plan a survey and find out how your clients heard about you and your company.
To ensure you have selected the right forms of advertising you will need to keep track on a regular basis. Be practical. Monitor what seems to be working. Ask your customers where they heard about you. Did they read about you or hear about you from a friend, neighbor, the radio or television? This is a simple way to determine how effective a specific type of promotional medium is. Be ready to alter your advertising pattern if your initial approach reveals itself as either ineffective or inappropriate. Like everything else in your business plan, advertising requires fine-tuning as you go and go along and grow.