Lawn Care Door Hanger Critique

Listen to this lawn care door hanger critique to optimize your marketing and get more customers.

I am critiquing this door hanger, and giving feedback. Originally there was a phone number at the top left, in the center there was a logo, and at the right there was a web address. Down below it said “call today”. It had a phone number, it said “visit us” and it had a web address. I’ve removed the identifying information, and I’m critiquing this door hanger for an individual. You can listen to my feedback. This is in no specific order and I’m not going from notes. I’m just going to go down through here and give some pointers.

On this door hanger there’s no door hanger hole and I personally think that is ideal. I don’t believe you want a door hanger hole, so I think that’s good. In certain markets you may feel that you need one, but generally I don’t see most door hanger companies using the hole to hang the door hanger on the doorknob. That’s good that gives you more space. In your email you mentioned that on the other side of this door hanger you were going to use some pretty pictures and some imagery. My suggestion would be that you use some imagery on both sides, and also that both sides have some compelling information.

Whether the door hanger has a hole, or you rubber band it to the door, what you don’t know is which direction this will hang on the door or which side will face out. You can imagine that the individual grabs the mail off their door and they walk it to their trashcan in the kitchen. You don’t know which direction your door hanger will be facing as they’re holding that and walking your door hanger to the trash. For that reason I recommend that your door hanger has a headline and something compelling at the top on both sides.

My first thought on this is at the top you have a phone number, your logo, your web address, and so it could be that that’s the first thing I see. But, nothing about that communicates to me what’s in it for me. So, you have just a couple minutes to catch my attention. Your main hope with this piece is that I am in need of lawn care, and when I see this I think to myself, “Well, lawn care’s exactly what I’ve been looking for. I’ll call these guys.” You’re banking on lawn care, and the words “landscape” and “lawn care” to resonate with me because I have immediate need. But, that’s the only way you’d grab me at this moment with this piece.

My suggestion would be that at the top, you have some type of a headline that grabs my attention, and states a benefit to me. That headline could be what you’re going to do for me, what problem you’re going to solve, or some type of promotional benefit of what I’m going to get. Such as, if I sign up for lawn service, I’m going to get a free iPod shuffle or something along those lines to catch my attention. But, you’ve only got a couple seconds to do it, and it needs to be at the top. I’d recommend that same statement to be on both sides because you don’t know which side I’ll be looking at as I walk your door hanger into the house to the trashcan. That’s point number one.

You need to think about what your client’s number one, two, and three wants are, what their top one, two or three fears are, and you need to answer those in the headline. Give them some reason that they should contact you versus anyone else. If I’m your competitor and my door hanger’s on the door with yours, why is yours going to get their attention over mine? You need to have some type of headline that pulls them in, gets them to read, and continue reading this door hanger.

If for your services you have lawn maintenance, landscapes, snow removal, and then you have some additional services down here. I think that is important to call out the specific services that you offer. You don’t have a price on here, anything like that and I think that’s perfectly okay. What you’re doing here is you’re calling out the key services so that if I have a need, I see these and I think, “Oh this might be for me”, and I continue reading. Good job with that. I would continue that. You might try a slightly different design. Let me come back to that, let me mention design.

If you’re going to print ten thousand of these and you’re going to distribute them, you’re going to have some cost. I would recommend spending one or two hundred dollars, or some amount of money, and get somebody to quickly put together the design for you. I know you’re running out of time here, but it could make all the difference in your results. By spending a couple hundred dollars you could potentially double your response rate. I would absolutely have somebody help you with the design of this. The cost could be all over the board. They could lay it out in Photoshop or Illustrator or professional software and they could get it laid out in font. They could use all the same font types and they could make it look really nice for you and bring in some imagery and your logo and make it look like you’re a large operation.
This is not doing justice in appearance to your business. In terms of what you actually are as a business, this doesn’t look nearly as professional as you are or nearly as professional as your website. Your website looks really professional, but this doesn’t communicate that same message. I would recommend having a designer try to bring that same level of look and feel and professionalism to this, so that when I see this I get immediate confidence that this is a professional company. I would spend the money on that. I’ll just focus on copy from here on out.

The reason I said all that is, within that design I would probably somehow bullet point or call out the services here. It’s maybe not the first focus point. The first focus point, the biggest copy, the thing that my eye falls on, should be the headline. Then this would be another focus point, but not the primary one, somewhere on here where all the services that you offer are grouped together. That would be one thing I’d do.

The direction you’re going with an interesting fact, that’s a good one. Your thought process, in my opinion, is good. I hope you don’t take offense to anything I say here in terms of critiquing this. I would go a different direction based on what I’ve learned. I don’t know your market, so it may be different. My hunch is that you’re not trying to convince the guy that doesn’t have his lawn mowed to suddenly start hiring a company to mow his law, or provide whatever service you’re trying to sell. Rather, your buyer is most likely someone that already has lawn care company, has already decide that it’s worth spending the money, and doesn’t need to be convinced; they’re your easiest sell. I would market to them.

For example, if I was competing against you in your market and you gave me 20 home owners that don’t buy lawn care and haven’t in the last three years, or you gave me a list of 20 home owners that buy lawn care and have been buying lawn care for the last 5 years, I would only market to those people and I’d ignore the 20 that don’t buy lawn care. There are a small number of them that will convert and most that do convert may not stay with it long term. I don’t even want to focus my energy on them. You don’t know who those individuals are when you’re putting out your door hangers, so you need to at least craft your message to your most likely buyer and your most likely buyer already has a lawn service.

The direction here is good. An alternative would be to speak directly to that individual that has lawn service now. What is their concern going to be? Their concern is going to be that my gates are not being closed, that the last lawn care company that I had, the one that I’m looking to replace, doesn’t show up consistently, that the company I have now when there are weather delays or problems they don’t tell me what they’re doing or when I can expect them. They just show up, they don’t answer their phone when I call, I never get my invoicing on time, it’s always a different individual at my home and the work is never consistent. You could go down the list of the complaints you’ve heard from your potential clients about the companies they’ve been working with and that’s why they’re calling you. Answer those objections here.
What you’re doing with the interesting fact, great idea, but how could you tell me some of the benefits that I’m going to get. Bullet pointed lists work well on this stuff; it’s easy to read. It’s easier to read a bullet point list and it’s easier for the mind to quickly sort it out then it is to have to read several paragraphs. It might be that you bullet point out some differences and why we’re your best solution.

That’s another point. I would use more of “you” in this. This is about “you” as in the client. When you’re talking, make sure you’re using a lot of words like “you” instead of words like, “we”, “our”, “us”. Try to shift the writing just a little bit so you’re focused on the person that’s reading it, because it’s about them. You might make your headline something like, “You will receive this”, “you will get this”. Something, again, about them, that’ll be part of the headline. Then, make your bullet points, again, something about them. “You will experience this.” “You will get this if you use our company.” List out the ways you’re different than everyone they’ve used in the past. Tell them what the services are that you offer, and then give them a reason to take action with you.

“Spring is right around the corner. We are now booking our lawn mowing accounts for the year. So call today.” My critique here would be yes, you’re reminding them that spring is right around the corner. Again, I hope you don’t think I’m being too harsh. Where I’m going with this is I don’t know if “Spring is right around the corner” is necessary to say. They know it. The reason I say that is, one thing I’ve learned, and I don’t necessarily do a good job at this, is I’ve heard that great writing is about editing out every unnecessary word. I tend to be a wordy person and so I don’t think I’m necessarily good at that. I’m thinking that maybe this doesn’t help sell anything. I would probably edit those words out and focus on just power words and bigger things that you need to communicate because you have limited space.

Where I felt like you were going, “We are now booking our lawn mowing accounts for the year.” You could go a couple directions with this. One, maybe you are trying to say that “We serve your neighborhood and I’ve got one crew available. We can accept 14 more accounts in your market, in your area, in your zip code, in your city, and then we’re filled up for the year.” Maybe there is some angle like that where you can tell me, “You need to respond right away if you want to do business with our company.” At the top you lay out in the headline the benefits of why I should use you. In the middle, you tell me what you can do for me and why my experience with you is going to be different. Why are you better than all your competitors? Then, at the bottom give me a reason to take action immediately. One could be that it’s limited, in some way there’s a limitation. If I don’t take immediate action I’ll miss out, there’s scarcity. That could be that we only have one crew in your market and there are only this many slots left on that crew and we won’t have availability until next year.

Then can you give me something? If I sign up and I become your client, could I get something from you? You have to imagine what those things might be that you could give away, that you’re comfortable giving away. I don’t tend to like things like $5 off, or the second mowing free. People do that and I think it works, but I think you can come up with something little bit more powerful. What is an account worth to you? What could you potentially give them that would be of value to them? You want to work maybe those two things in. Can you create some scarcity? They need to call you right now or they’re going to miss out. Then, what do they get if they call you over the other door hanger?

If I’m looking at these two door hangers and they both look about the same, the companies feel about the same and appear to be pretty good, then why is it that you’re going to get the call over the other one? What can you give them to get them to call you? Maybe it’s as simple as promising you answer the phone and you’ll get them an estimate the day of. That’s pretty difficult to do in spring. Think about that and those points.

I would put your headline and such at the top. At the bottom, that’s where I think our logo, your name, phone number and email address or web address is most important. I would make the top a headline versus your logo and your name. Again, it’s all about them. They don’t really care who you are until after they start working with you and like you. Right now your logo means nothing to them. My logo at CitiTurf means nothing to anybody, nobody cares. What they care about is what they’re going to get and how they’re going to benefit. I make it all about them at the top and then have your stuff more towards the bottom.

Continuing on with your second piece, just a different version. I again, would say that make sure you use both sides. You have room to put copy on both sides of this piece. On both sides you want to have your headline, and on both sides you want to have your web address, your phone number, potentially your logo. Then you could vary the copy in the middle. I’m picturing a headline at the top, phone number, web address, things of that sort at the bottom on both sides, and then the middle could change.

I would like to see, in my opinion, some imagery on both sides. It doesn’t have to be a lot, maybe a nice use of color, things of that sort. I’ve violated what I’m about to say with success, but I tend to prefer black copy not white reverse copy. Not a black door hanger with white copy. It tends to be a little more difficult to read.

Continuing on here. The nice thing about this is that lawn maintenance, landscapes, snow removal, are right at the top. I immediately know what you do. That’s important. Your headline should probably include lawn care or something like that in it, that way I immediately know what you do as I’m walking your piece to the trash. It might make me pause and think, “Actually, I’m looking for a lawn care company. Maybe I should read this.”

A couple things I’d like to see you do on this…105% lawn mowing guarantee, what does that mean to me? What does it mean exactly? It would be nice if you made that guarantee a bit more powerful and said, “It’s 105% money back guarantee!” meaning that if you are dissatisfied with our service and for any reason we can’t make it right, then we will pay you back the full amount of that service that you paid us for, plus 5%. Maybe even with your picture next to it to make it a bit more of a powerful guarantee.

GT Lawns loves cutting grass and it shows. I would say on this one, this is more about you then it is about me. How could you re-position this line to make this to my benefit? Right there you’re talking about yourself, 33 years, that’s okay in my mind because you’re building credibility. Again, this “still having fun” is a little bit about you. Not that it’s bad, it’s just how could you maybe reword this to make it about me and what I get out of this? I get to work with a company that has 33 years of experience, I get to work with a company that has a strong reputation taking care of high profile properties in my local market. What are those big benefits that you can communicate to me and word in such a way that it’s about me and not so much about you? That’s definitely something I’ve learned over time, is make it about them.

I think that talking about your people, your training is valuable. I think that it’s worth mentioning that. I think sometimes we have to be a little more clear on what that means to them. For example, why do I care that you train your people? That’s definitely something I’ve learned. We spend all our time in this business so a lot of times when we picture what we’re saying … for example, we have a visual picture that goes with the words we’re saying such as, where was it, “detail is in the people”. You have a mental picture in your mind of what that means because you’ve been doing this business for so long. But, Mrs. Smith hasn’t the faintest idea what you’re doing and actually thinks what you’re doing is very easy and doesn’t put value into how hard what you do is. The “detail is in the people” might mean nothing to her. Who knows what that picture in her head will be.

Sometimes when you say something like “we train our people”, it’s not so much “we train”, it needs to be repositioned as a statement of benefit, such as “we background check our people” . I would not say it this way but, “We background check our people to protect your family” or something along that line. Background check is the word you want to use but what does that mean to me? What that means to me is that you’re not going to put anybody on my property that you haven’t checked out and you’re not 100% certain that I do not have any concerns about them being around my home, my belongings, or my family.

When it comes to training, what does that mean to me? That means that you’re going to actually close my gates, that I’m going to get a consistently well mowed lawn every single week, there’s not going to be route marks, there’s not going to be debris left in the yard, that the edging is going to be good. What does that training mean to me? You’ve got to almost paint the picture of what that means. State that as a benefit.

When it comes to services, I even like to state the service as a benefit. You can say lawn care, but maybe you want to say something along the line of “beautiful weed free healthy lawn” or “we make your flowers brilliant”, I don’t know, that’s not a good word. How could you state even flower installation in a different way? How could you state flower installation in a different way? Let me add this…you do lawn care, what’s the result of lawn care? You’ll end up with a well manicured, healthy lawn. What’s the benefit of snow removal? It will ensure you can get out of your driveway and eliminate the risk that you slip and fall. Or, however you want to say that. Tell me what the benefit is. You can work the benefit and the word snow removal into one sentence and outline what you can do for me.

I would go back through this, work on some headlines, work on maybe restating some of these services into bullet points. Then I would also think about why you are better than all of your competitors and tell me what those reasons are. Why should I do business with you? Just lay it out for me and then give me a reason. Here you’re making an attempt, our schedule fills up in April, you’re making an attempt to tell me that I better hurry up or you’re going to be full in April. You’re creating some scarcity and reasons for me to take action. Maybe you could define that just a little bit better and make it a little bit more clear to me why your schedule filling up in April matters. Such as, my example I used earlier, you have one truck in my neighborhood this year or you’ve got 14 spots available, do I want one? Historically they’re filled by April 17 every year, or something like that. Tell me why I should take action.

I hope that helps. Thanks a lot.

Timing Tips: When To Distribute Door Hangers

 Watch this video to learn the best time to distribute door hangers.

This question comes from David and it has to do with the timing of placing door hangers and marketing on homes. He has been waiting until the “perfect” time to put out his door hangers but has noticed that competitors have already taken over some of the properties in the neighborhoods that he wants to target. He wonders if he should continue to wait and follow his schedule or if he should go ahead and get his marketing out there.

If I’m targeting, and aggressively going after a neighborhood, then I would think in terms of putting out door hangers, and other marketing, more than once.

The ideal time generally, to market lawn mowing, is when the grass is just starting to grow, the weeds are just started to pop up, and the weather is just starting to warm up. It feels like suddenly the birds are chirping and spring is happening and the grass is going to go from dormant to a little bit of green in the next week or two. Right there, at that moment, is the ideal time.

Now, if you’re doing fertilization and weed control, then you back up. There is an earlier time point that makes sense because weeds have already started to pop through the dormant grass and so homeowners and commercial properties are already thinking about this. If it’s pest control, or irrigation it’s different and so on.

Let’s just use a simple example of mowing. There is an opportune time. If you have a budget and all you can do is put out one or two blocks of door hangers or letters, then you wait till the time that will give you the highest probability of selling the most work.

Who cares that you’re going to lose a job here or there? Who cares? You want to go after the most. You will lose the work on the early movers. You’ll lose the late movers as well. So be it. But, you need to put your door hangers out at the time when the greatest number of people are going to be receptive, and so you don’t want to panic. Don’t worry about the early movers.

Now, the ideal scenario is that you have enough door hangers or enough letters to put them out more than once. David mentioned that he was putting out letters.

When I hear letters, I generally think of something you could produce on your own or at very low cost. Also when I hear, it’s a neighborhood across the street, I think, if you’re just starting out, you could put those out yourself and could do it 7 times if you had to. If that’s the scenario, then don’t wait. Get your letters out now, and then get them out again in 2 weeks, and then get them out again in 2 weeks. I mean own it. Pound that neighborhood. If it’s a good one, then it’s one you want to own.

The answer to your question David, comes down to your budget. If you have virtually no money, and for whatever reason you can’t print more of these things, then you wait until the absolute best moment when the greatest number of people are potential buyers and you don’t worry about those that are moving a little more quickly.

If you have a little bit of money and you can afford it, then you go out and you put them out multiple times. That’s going to give you the highest chance of success. You start a little bit early and you put them out several times. That’s the winning formula. Good luck.

Door to Door Sales: Should I Pay Commissions

 Learn The Basics of Door To Door Sales…

The question is, should I pay door knockers by the hour, or by commission? There’s only one answer for this, by commission. There’s no scenario, where I would ever pay by the hour for door knocking. Now, if I had some available employees that were already on my payroll, where I’m already paying them and I’m not going to take them off payroll because I’ve committed to keep them on payroll even while we’re slow, then I would continue to pay them. But, I would offer an incentive of a commission.

I would still not send them out and say, “Hey, just spend the day door knocking and see how it goes.” No way. I would give them a very lucrative commission for every single sale. There is no scenario where I would not do this.

If you’re hiring individuals to door knock for you, then you’ve got to do a little work to find the kind of guy that will do this type of work. A great way is to talk to the guys that are already door knocking at your house, selling you other things, and see if you can swipe them.

There’s a couple of models for door knocking. The two models to consider are, one where you have an individual who canvases the neighborhood, knocking on doors, and attempting to make a sale. If they make a sale, you give them a commission. If they don’t make a sale, they don’t get a commission.

They tend not to work full time. They tend to work in the evenings and on weekends, and they’re getting a commission for every sale that they make. You’ve got to figure out what that number is. Be generous with it and don’t be cheap about it. Think about what it would cost you to acquire a new client.

For example, if it costs me a hundred dollars to acquire a client through door hangers, or a hundred dollars to acquire a client through direct mail, then I’m going to pay a guy a hundred dollars every time he makes me a sale, because I want as many sales as he can possibly bring me.

I’m not looking at this as a scenario where I am trying to save money. No way. I want the guy to make a lot of money, because I want the guy to bring me a lot of sales. That’s model number one, you pay a guy for making the sale.

Model number 2 is a two person team. You have a setter and a closer. The concept is, you have setters canvas the neighborhood, they knock on the door, they drum up interest. Their entire purpose is just to garner interest and ask if they can have a follow up with them. Can somebody come by and chat with them, can we give them something? And, at the minimum, they’re collecting names and phone numbers.

That’s what you’d call a setter. They’re setting the appointment. That’s their entire purpose. You’ll see this model a lot with roofers. Roofers will go around with a setter, and then they’ll come back around with a closer. The setter, will make a commission as well.

Then there’s a closer that follows up with that person. The setter gets the name and the phone number. The closer then goes back to the home, or calls them on the phone.  Their job is to close the business, to get the deal, to basically win a new client. That individual then makes a commission . Setters can make less than closers, or it could be a 50/50 split. You’ve got to figure that out. There are different models.

Great industries to look at are pest control and roofers. They both do a ton of door knocking, especially the roofers. Watch how they work. Read about how they work on the internet. I’ve actually never done that, which would actually be a pretty good idea. Read about it and see how their model works, how they pay, and what their commission is. I always talk to these guys when they come to my house so I can learn additional ways to do this, and I would recommend the same of you.

Next time somebody tries to sell you something, engage them and find out how they get paid. Find out how long they’ve been doing this. Find out the hours that they work. That’s how I know that most of these guys work late afternoons, into the evening, and then they work weekends. Most of them are students, or they also have another job. Do a little studying and you’ll get all the answers you need on this one, but look at those two models. Good luck.

Getting Started: How To Break Into Your Market

Are you having a hard time getting started in your lawn care business and breaking into your local market?

Watch this video and learn how to get lawn care, landscape, tree care, irrigation (and any type of) business in the area you serve.

This is one of the more important questions that I’ve probably ever answered because, I believe it’s on a lot of people’s minds and, I believe it is a huge misconception.

The question is from Andrew. He wants to know how to break into a market that is controlled by industry veterans. They have been in the lawn care business for 5 or 10 years. He’s just getting started and the veterans have all the jobs and their customers aren’t willing to switch. Andrew goes on to say that from a money standpoint he has a small budget so, it makes it even more difficult to break into this market.

The way it is right now, and I think this is an important mindset, no matter what business you start, it is going to be in an industry that is insanely competitive. It is a rare business idea that there are not a lot of people already serving that market. In fact, if there’s not many people in that business or serving that market, it’s probably a red flag.

First and foremost, forget the idea that you’re going to find this thing that is not going to have a lot of competition. The alternative is that you invent something new, which tends to be in technology right now. In technology, yes, you could invent a new concept. The problem there is that you need an insane amount of money to educate the market, to get traction, and to get people to buy into what this thing. That’s usually not a good game to play either, unless you can go raise a ridiculous amount of money.

Let’s just take it off the table and just say, no matter what you’re going to do, it’s going to be ridiculously competitive. Once you get that in your mind, you no longer have to have that conversation. Now, you can focus on how to solve the problem. You’re the new guy coming into a market that’s crowded. A crowded market is a good sign.

Now, think about it from this standpoint. Think about all of those retail stores, restaurants, and service providers that you use personally in life. Think about how difficult it is to get a return phone call or to have someone follow up with you. Think about how difficult it is to get somebody to actually send you the estimate when they say they will. Think about how difficult it is to get good service, a quality product or solution. Think about the employees that come to your home to provide a service. How many of them seem knowledgeable and actually like their job as opposed to going through the motions to earn his 12 dollars an hour? That’s the typical experience. There are some great companies out there that don’t deliver that experience at all, but if you think about it, this is the experience you receive from a lot of companies.

The idea that in your market place, you’re coming into a market with tons of veterans, and all these veterans happen to be on top of their game…there’s no chance. The reality is that the majority of your market is under-serving the market. The majority of your market is filled with competitors that are less than awesome, and so, it gives you a tremendous opportunity. Marketing is the right way to think about this. I would add to this though, that when you think about marketing, my marketing education gave me more than a sales and marketing education, it gave me a mindset education.

The mindset education is this, think about everything from your client’s perspective. As an example, if you’ve identified that you want to be in this certain neighborhood, imagine their world and life as it is for them. Think about their wants and needs. What would be their ideal outcome of working with somebody like you? That really shifts everything. When you start to think about things from that standpoint, then you start to be able to figure out how to break into the market.

Now, I will say that in the very beginning of getting started, what I’ve observed in most businesses, they usually are a little bit of a slow start. You have to figure out what language to use, what the opportunity is, what the core market is, and what your niche is. Then, you can capitalize on that. But, it takes a little while to figure that out. You’re looking for that crack. Yes, you are coming into a big market. And yes, you are coming into a market with tons of competitors and seasoned competitors, but there’s a crack.

There are a lot of things that are happening. You’ve got guys that have made it and now they’re comfortable. You’ve got guys that have been in business for 20 years, but they got there slowly over time by of word of mouth, not because they were great. Then, you truly have some great competitors. So, where are your cracks? Assuming that maybe 20% of your competitors are great, that leaves you 80% of the market. Excellent service is key.

Now, if from day one, you provide ridiculously good service, making your clients feel cared for, wanted and valued, it doesn’t immediately mean that you will have great success. It’s an investment that will yield results over time. If you only have four clients, you’ve only got four clients to preach your message. When you have 500 clients, now you’ve got 500 clients talking about you.

That’s an example of how it takes a little time to reap the reward of providing great service. You can’t necessarily feel the benefits of it day one. It’s something you stick with and it yields results over time. That’s a core element, I believe, of eventually breaking into your market. So many of your competitors, as I said, have become complacent at customer service and that leaves you this huge opportunity. Focus on that area.

Number two, from a marketing standpoint, you’ve got to be seen. That means, if you’re serving a big market, you don’t spend all your money from a marketing standpoint, to try to be seen throughout the entire market. Rather, you focus on one neighborhood or small section of town. Yes, you hope to get work all over town, but you concentrate your small pile of marketing dollars on one small area. You want to be seen all the time. You knock on doors, put out fliers, send out postcards, and do whatever you can to be seen in that area. That means your trucks need to be painted and must stand out. You need to look the part. You need your potential clients to feel they see you all the time.

You also need to be different. If you want to break into a crowded market, you can’t look like everybody else. It’s very rare that you see a company that stands out. Customer service will make you stand out, but it’s a slow road to travel. Look at Zappos. In the beginning, when they ran out of money, all they had left was this idea the idea that they wanted to become the best customer service company out there for selling shoes. That became their angle and that became the thing that spread word of mouth. They had a client base to do that with. You don’t have that yet if you’re just starting out and you don’t have many clients.

Service alone won’t propel you to be a great company. That’s why you have to  use marketing. You need to be different. You have to look different, appear different, act different, talk different, and everything needs to be different. Just think about what you see out there in the market place and who stands out, and what they’re doing that makes them stand. If everybody’s truck is white, then yours should be pink. If everybody puts their employees in a brown uniform, then you should be in a blue uniform, a pink uniform, a light green, a neon yellow, I don’t care, but different. If everybody sends a marketing piece that looks one way, yours should look different. If everybody puts a door hanger of a certain type that says a certain thing, your should be the opposite. Think about different because different matters.

You also need to take away clients’ risk. It’s all about risk reversal. If you want me to do business with you, and you’re an unknown commodity, what is it that you can say and do that will get me to give you a try. I don’t have a freaking idea who you are, I’ve never heard of you, I’ve never seen you, but you want me to give you a try. You’re a little more risky than True Green or some of the other bigger names, because they’re a known company. With you, you could be just like all the other guys that have been a bad experience. They eventually quit showing up, they never close my gates, they always blew grass under my garage door, they whatever. They gave me the low price and they were only worth keeping for one season and then I had to go re-shop it.

You want to make sure that you take the risk away from your prospect. You’ve got to consider their fears, frustrations, and all the things they hate about companies like you. Then you reverse that and do what’s called risk reversal in marketing. You use testimonials, marketing copy, and guarantees to overcome their fears.

For example, I think it’s Benjamin Franklin Plumbing that uses the guarantee that if they’re late, they pay you. I might be getting the company wrong, but I think it’s them. Well, it’s genius. What did they do? They took the most common complaint about plumbers, they are late or give you a huge window of wait time, and made it part of their guarantee. That is now what they are known for, and that one thing just so happens to be the biggest frustration of most consumers that use plumbing.

Think about it from that standpoint. I’ll give you another one. Wow, One Day Painting I believe is the name. It’s the guy that founded 1800 Got Junk. Great company. I don’t know if you’ve ever been through a situation where you have had your home painted. My home, to paint it, was a multi-week project. In fact, I just had the downstairs portion of my house painted and it took two weeks just to paint that. It’s a fairly big house with a lot of rooms and we used different colors in each room. On top of that, when you consider the rounded edges where two colors meet, it adds more time and difficulty because of the attention to detail that it requires. There’s a lot of little challenging things. It was a hard job.

We had to live through the smell, having rooms taped off, and the guys coming in and out of our house. The guys were awesome. But, I really used them because I like them. It was not a great experience but, we knew the contractor. If it weren’t for that, we would have used somebody that could do this faster.

Think about it. If the common experience for the consumer is a feeling of dread, frustration, and inconvenience because of how long it takes to complete the job and the lingering paint smell, think about how powerful their name and marketing is.

Everything about that company communicates that they are going to solve my biggest concern and frustration.

One company guarantees that they’ll be on time for plumbing or they’ll pay for every minute they’re late. The other one says that they will paint your entire house, not matter how big, in one day. They both answered the biggest problems in their market. That’s great customer service. Then they also address my point of being seen. Both of these companies have painted their trucks and included their guarantees on their trucks. They’re also different. They’ve completely differentiated themselves from everybody else in the market.

Using guarantees, they are capturing testimonials. Think about it. If you go in, you answer the biggest objection, the biggest frustration, and then you capture testimonials from clients talking about how great it was to get their house painted in a day. How incredible it was that, my gosh, the plumber was on time. He’s always been on time for the last five years I’ve used him. Then he was actually late for four minutes one time and he paid me for the four minutes. I didn’t even care about the four minutes, but he paid me anyway. Think about the power of that testimonial.

You have tons of these and you take all of that to this really competitive market where half of the guys you’re competing with are lackadaisical and apathetic because they’ve been doing this for so long. Really, they’re bored with their businesses and you’ve got all this energy. You enter the market and you do all these things. I think you could be extremely successful.

I guess my last point is a point I made earlier. Think from the perspective of the buyer. Think about what they want, what they’re going through, and what challenges they are having. Think about what they don’t know that they need. For example, you might be in a market where a lot of guys are using the same people over and over again. The reason they’re using the same people over and over again is because nobody has told them there’s something better.

If you drive around an F-150 pickup truck all the time because you can buy it for 30,000 bucks, and you’re thinking, for that price it’s the best truck you can get. Then, one day somebody comes to you and says, “Hey, you can buy a Ford Raptor, that’s normally 60,000 bucks for 30.” You never knew that before. Wouldn’t you suddenly say, “Screw the F-150! I’m not buying that. I’m buying the upgraded Raptor from now on.” Until you found out you could buy a 60,000 Raptor for 30 grand, the F-150 was satisfactory. It was good enough and you were happy with it. One day when somebody tells you, “Hey there’s a new world you don’t know about. There’s this new thing you can get. There’s a new way of doing things.” Suddenly then you’re looking and you have a need. Before that, you just assumed that’s how it was.

That’s how it is for a lot of your clients. They’ve tried other companies, done business a certain way and that’s just what the lawn care market does and how lawn care guys do it. If you’re different, they don’t know you’re different. You’ve got to tell them your different and you’ve got to show them you’re different. When they find out there’s something better, there’s another way, they will give you a try. But, you’ve got to do all those other things I talked about.

When I started my lawn care company, I guess about eight years ago, I was a nobody. People have been mowing their yards forever. The market fully existed and was insanely competitive even before we started up in 2005. Nothing has changed, it was that way in 2005, and I started as a nobody. Now I have, I guess, the biggest residential lawn care company around my market. I just did what I talked about.

Now, I didn’t do it in the first couple years because I didn’t know better. My business wasn’t growing fast enough and it wasn’t very profitable. I had to start searching for ways to do it differently. Everything I just told you is what I did.

If you follow that model, do some research and reading, and thinking like the buyer, you will totally break into your market. One day, you’ll wake up, after a whole lot of struggle and frustration and pain because, keep in mind, that’s where learning and breakthroughs come from, and realize you have created an extremely successful business. It happens over time. The key is you have to make the right moves every day. You must be doing the right things to end up with that type of business. It is 100% totally possible, no question. No market in the United States, Canada, Australia, or anywhere that you cannot break into. Be confident of that, and do the things that make you different than everybody else. In five years, your business will be really interesting. Good luck.

#1 Lawn Care Marketing Door Hanger Mistake

Lawn Care Marketing - Door Hangers

Are Your Lawn Care Door Hangers Delivering Big Results? If not, watch this video and learn how to fix your lawn care marketing.

This video is about why most marketing does not work.  I’m giving just one tip, focusing on one thing, in this example.  Before I talk about door hangers, let me tell you a quick story.  This morning my oldest son, he plays select soccer which is higher level soccer, and we were at a big soccer tournament. As we walked out of the tournament there was a business card on my car.  The business card actually turned out to be from his coach.  Apparently he had somebody pass out these business cards and put them all over the cars.  Basically, the business card just said something like, “Soccer Academy,” and had his phone number.  That’s it.  There was an address or something else on there.

I have absolutely no idea what the point of that card was.  I know that we were all there playing in a soccer tournament, and I know that it said “Soccer Academy,” and it has a phone number.  What does that mean?  Does it mean he’s trying to recruit other kids on to my son’s soccer team?  Does it means he holds a soccer academy?  Does it mean there’s a soccer tournament, or academy, or 3-by-3, or some event coming up soon that he wants to get some kids to participate in?  Does it mean he wants to do some one-on-one teaching?  What in the world does it mean?  It didn’t say anything.  It didn’t tell me anything.  It didn’t give me any benefit.  What am I supposed to do with it?  Am I really going to put it in my wallet and someday call this guy and say, “Hey.  I got this card on my car.  It says Soccer Academy.  Tell me about that.”

It was pointless.  Whoever he paid to put those out, and the printing costs, he might as well have just donated the money to charity.  It was a complete and total waste.  That’s what I think most marketing is.  It’s a complete and total waste.  Yeah, you might get a few clients off of it, but for the most part, you blew your money because it didn’t say anything.

Look at the door hanger on my screen.  As best as you can, imagine that you’re a homeowner.  Get out of the mindset of knowing so much about the lawn care business, and knowing what you do, and knowing why your customers need it. Think about how you, living in a house or an apartment or whatever, would receive a door hanger that says, “Painting.  It’s all about pretty walls” and it’s got a picture of a guy with a paint brush.

What would that mean to you?  Let’s say this is the only thing you get on your door.  Would you think, “Oh.  Thank goodness I got this!  I have to go get my house painted today and this is the company.”  What’s it tell you?  Does it tell you they’re good? And, if it did say, “House painting.  We’re good.” What’s that mean?  Who cares?  You said you’re good.  I don’t believe you.  Everybody says they’re good.  What if it says, “House painting.  Satisfaction guaranteed.”?  Are you like, “Oh.  Wow.  Great.  Satisfaction guaranteed.  I need to call these guys.  I mean these guys, they’re something unusual here.”?  It means nothing.  Everybody says it.  Nobody cares.  It’s pointless.

Really, really think about it from the perspective of this painting concept because you’re not in the painting business I’m assuming. What is it that I would have to say if I put a door hanger on your door, house or apartment, that was trying to sell painting.  What is it that I would have to say to get you to buy?  First thing that comes to mind, if you live in an apartment and I put a house painting door hanger on your door, number 1, it doesn’t matter what I say you are not buying house painting.  You don’t care.  Number 2, if you just had your house painted 2 months ago, and I put a house painting door hanger on your door, you’re not a buyer.  You don’t care.  If number 3, you live in a neighborhood where you can tell nobody hires house painters, and if they do paint their house it’s because they got a citation from the city and they’re going to do it themselves, the door hanger is wasted. Do you really think it’s going to work?

Let’s say you are putting your house painting door hanger on a door of somebody who could legitimately buy house painting.  They’re in a really affluent area.  What is it that you’ve got to say to get them to take action.  I am 100% certain it’s not saying, “House painting.  Satisfaction guaranteed.”

Now, put 2 door hangers on the door. One says, “House painting.  Satisfaction guaranteed” and the other one says, “We can paint your house in one day for 65%  of the price of everybody else in the marketplace. And, when we paint your house, it will not smell.  You won’t even know that we were in your house.  All you’ll experience is an incredibly, beautifully painted house.”

Now, if you could make that statement which is impossible, but how different would that be? Who would they call?  It’s all about what’s in it for me.  Nobody cares about you.  Nobody cares about me.  You don’t care about me recording videos and I don’t expect you to.  You don’t really give a flip about what I’m going to do tonight, or what I did 5 years ago.  You don’t really care.  It’s not going to change your life.  You do care about the stuff I’m saying if it resonates with you…if it’s of value to you, if it can make some difference in your business, if it can change your business and therefore allow you to make changes in your life, then you care about that.

If I was selling this information to you and not just giving it to you, I’d probably have to sell it to you under the idea that if you do what I’m saying, then you’ll get to go to Hawaii next year. And, if you don’t do what I’m saying, I’m pretty positive that you’ll rack up another $25,000 on your credit cards and your line of credit. I’d have to give you something that you feel pain to not buy my product.

I’m being overly dramatic and I’m exaggerating my point, but I’d have to sell you on this thing you want.  I need to get in your head and know what means something to you.  For one person, it could be going to Hawaii.  For another person, it might be taking care of their disabled parent who’s in a retirement home.  If I knew that intimate thing that you wanted and needed so badly, and I could put that on a door hanger and guarantee you were going to get that with no risk, I’d have the ultimate chance of selling you something.  You can’t get in my head at that level.  You can’t get in your customers head at that level, but you can do way better then just, “House painting.  Satisfaction guaranteed,” or “Green Lawns.  It’s all about curb appeal.”

That doesn’t say anything to your customer about what they’re going to get and why you’re different.  How is this going to be good for them?  How is this going to help them brag to their friends about this great deal that they got?  That’s the concept.  We’ve got to get inside our clients head.  We’ve got to answer the question, “What’s in it for me?”

If you’re stuff isn’t answering that, you might be getting some results, but it’s for the most part luck.  You happen to show up at the right time and you were probably the only person on their door and they happen to need you at exactly this moment.  If there’s no other options and they’re too lazy to go get on the Internet and do a Google search, this door hanger might work.  Short of that, this is not going to work.

I’ll add one thing to it.  If you answer the question of what’s in it for them, and you put it on their door at the wrong time, how do you get them to keep it?  What do you have to say, what offer do you have to make that would actually get them to hang it on their fridge, or put it on their kitchen counter, or put it somewhere so that when they need you, they remember you?  That is a little bit more challenging, but it’s doable.  Think about that.  What’s in it for me?  Answer that.  You’ll greatly increase your response rate and your close rate, and as a result, you’ll greatly increase your profit.

Why Most Door Hanger Templates Don’t Work

 

This video is about door hangers, so take a look at my screen and tell me which door hanger jumps out at you.

The point I’m about to make is how I started in the business and why things didn’t work for me.

If you look at this, doesn’t every door hanger on here sort of look the same? I don’t know what jumps out to you, but for me there’s really one exception on this page and that exception is right here on the right. It’s this white one with a lot of text.

Otherwise, for the most part just about every other door hanger on here looks just about the same. They’re very comparable. They’re all basically green with maybe a little bit of yellow. They don’t have many words and they’ve got some picture related to lawn mowing, probably a dog or maybe a baby.

I’m not knocking any of that stuff. I’m not saying a dog or a baby or green and yellow or whatever is bad, because I think I’ve pretty much used all those things. My point is that everybody looks exactly the same. That’s the big problem.

As you create your door hangers, direct mail pieces,  and your marketing pieces, the thing that you need to be really aware of is how do you stand out.

For example, the typical homeowner doesn’t receive all of these door hangers in their mailbox at one time, where flipping through them you just totally blend in. But, if you think about what’s going onto the door if you’re putting out door hangers, or if you think about what’s arriving in the mailbox, how do you stand out? How do you get noticed in a stack of mail? How do you get noticed when there’s four other door hangers on the door?

Then, deeper than that, when there’s a lawn care door hanger or a business card on the door every three days, how is it that your piece happens to grab their attention? That it happens to stand out?

I would encourage you that as you’re designing your door hanger, as you’re thinking about door hangers, go out to Google and do a search on door hangers and look at the images. You might already do this to get ideas. The problem is that with that approach, which does not work, is you’re copying other ideas that don’t work. This is kind of what got me into marketing in a big way back in 2005, 2006.

When I started my business, I looked at all the door hangers I was getting on my door and I looked all over for ideas on putting together door hangers. I then had a designer create me something that looked really nice. Then, I sent out a lot of door hangers and postcards and it didn’t really work that great. I got business, but it wasn’t that great. I didn’t get a great result. It was going to cost a lot of money to build the business that way.

I started researching marketing because I had experience selling and growing the business through sales, but not really through marketing. So I started to study and learn marketing and got really interested in it. The point there is that it’s really key that we don’t just, look at these door hangers and copy what somebody else did because most of this stuff does not work. A lot of this stuff is produced by companies that sell door hangers. More importantly, sell printing.

Have they tested it? Does it really work? Yeah, it might work a little bit, but does it work as good as it can? This stuff can work really, really well if done right. Copying what everybody else is doing won’t work. The take away on this video is, how do you look different? How do you stand out? This is a world that we have to stand out.

I think it’s a combination of words, selling and telling the client exactly what the value is that they’ll get, what the problem is and what their fears and frustrations are that you will solve. Give them a compelling offer, why they need to do business with you right now. Create risk reversal so that they don’t have risk in doing business with you. There’s a bunch of other component parts to that. You have to have all of that wording. You have to have the right message. You have to tell the right story. You have to convey all of that.

Then you also use imagery. If you think about Pinterest and Facebook, that stuff is heavily driven off of imagery. So, there’s an imagery element to this as well. Whatever piece it is that you put together, think strongly about your imagery.

Interestingly here, look, this house right here and that house right there. They’re so close it could be that house right there. They are very similar.

Then, there’s a lawnmower that’s used, it’s like a red push mower that everybody uses. There’s all these images that everybody’s using over and over. Therefore, the results are less effective, less exciting.

I wanted to make the point that if you look around and pay close attention to what everybody else is doing, what is coming in the mailbox, and how to make yourself stand out, that’s the key to making this stuff work.

 

How To Market Your Lawn Care Business Without Money

Interview from 2009. Patrick Dougher of Doer Success TV interviews Jonathan Pototschnik about how to market and grow your lawn care and landscape business when you don’t have any money.