How to Build Your 2019 Lawn Care Marketing Plan – Part 1


Hey, I’m going to give you some ideas for a marketing plan. I’m going to do this video in two parts. So the first part is I’m going to tell you about some data that you might want to pull together. And if you are unable to pull this data together, I hope you’ll still watch the video because it’ll give you some clues as to what you should be thinking about and tracking inside your business so that you can get the business to where you want to go in the most profitable and fastest way possible.

So in this video, I’m gonna tell you what you want to pull together, maybe how to be thinking about your data. And then in the next video, I’m going to tell you how to put together the marketing plan. So let’s start at the top of my list. So ideally, and I’ll explain the why behind these items. So it’ll take me a few minutes to get through the video.

So what you want to do from a sales standpoint is you want to look at your previous year sales. And we want to pull the previous year sales by source and by zip code ideally. And so when I say source, I’m talking about did they become a client? So last year, did you get, let me rewind.

Let’s say you earned eight clients in the month of April of the previous year. And you’re reporting this data by source. And so two clients came from Facebook. One came from your website or Google. Three came from a client referral, two came from door hangers. And one came from, they called and said they saw your truck. That’s what I’m talking about. So that’s a source. A source is how did they hear about you? And then by zip code says you won eight clients in this zip code, and two in this zip code and one in this zip code.

And then finally, let’s say you’re a commercial company and you have salespeople. So if you’re a commercial company and you have salespeople or maybe you’re residential and you have salespeople, you want to know how many of your sales, whether it be dollar value or volume or account, originated from a sales individual, a specific cells individual.

So the reason for this type of data is it helps you figure out where to double down in the next year. So as an example, if you were looking at back at the previous year in the majority of your sales are coming through Facebook versus let’s say client referrals, it tells you that in this coming year you might want to double down on Facebook. It also tells you other things. If you quit doing Facebook in this calendar year, then you can expect that your new client acquisition count is going to be lower than the previous year because that was an important channel or an important way of finding clients.

I could talk for hours on this video, so I’m only giving you the high-level data. You can do a little additional research if you’d like to. But the idea is we need to know what your best zip codes are, meaning, where are most of your clients coming from? We need to know what your best lead sources are, whether it be door hangers or trucks, that are most likely to turn a prospect into a client or lead to a client buying.

Here’s another example to get a little bit more sophisticated. You might have Facebook and door hangers and what you might find is that door hangers work best in a certain zip code versus another zip code. So hypothetically you put out 1000 door hangers in two different zip codes, but one zip code massively outperformed the other. So that tells you as well maybe you want to put most of your marketing efforts and most of your money in that zip code versus continuing to spend in the other zip code for door hangers didn’t perform as well.

And when you don’t have a lot of money is, it always matters what I’m about to say. But when you don’t have a lot of money, you cannot afford to make marketing mistakes or your year won’t turn out like you want it to turn out and it will take you that much longer to grow the business to where you wanted to go.

Another thing to be thinking about is where are your clients terminating? It’s a similar concept. So you’ll want to look at a termination report, and I like to look at these by month. So do I tend to lose a lot more clients in a certain zip code? Do I tend to lose a lot more clients from a certain type of source? We’ll go back to my example. Maybe Facebook brings in three times more clients than Google Ad Words or door hangers or something, a client referral.

And so let’s just make it simple. So Facebook brings in three times more clients than let’s say Google Ad Words. But what you find is that on average your highest number of terminations, meaning clients that leave, are from Facebook. And it’s not three to one, it’s like five to one, meaning that Facebook clients know that came to you through Facebook don’t stay with your company nearly as long as a Google Ad Words client.

And as a result, that might even give you some indications where to double down. You might look at the data and say, Hey, you know, I am getting a lot more clients from Facebook and they’re good, but if I had to spend my money in one place, I might rather get these Google AdWords clients that stayed with me twice as long or much longer.

Now again, I’m making up the data and I’m making up my example. So don’t read into that and say oh, Google Ad Words is better than Facebook. Frankly, right now Facebook is probably outperforming Google Ad Words in most markets from a cost standpoint. So we want to look at which of our lead sources and which zip codes are losing us the most clients and see if there are any clues there as to how to determine where we want to go spend our marketing dollars in the upcoming year.

So again, we need this data so we can build a marketing plan. And if you’re listening and you’re like oh my gosh, it’s too complex. It’s not as bad as it sounds, but if you’ll do this work, you will outperform all of your competition. Now, if you want to get a little bit more, or let’s finish that thought. On terminations, you might want to look at which of your salespeople tend to lose the most accounts. So you may have a sales individual that just outperforms everyone else on the team. They bring in a lot more work and they close that work, but they don’t keep the work. Meaning those clients tend to leave your organization.

Maybe that’s because they overpromised, they set your company up in a way that there’s no way your company could deliver on what they promised when they made the sale. And so their clients, while they look like a stud of a sales individual, they’re not because they’re bringing in clients by overpromising. Or maybe it could be you’re losing the work because you’re terminating the work after a year or maybe the client won’t renew when you have to raise the price because your sales individual is selling work at too low a price, an unprofitable number and so you need to look at that data as well.

Now, if you want to get a little bit more advanced, you could look at why are clients terminating. So that’s the reason, if you kind of look here under advanced, what is the reason that they’re leaving you? And that can give you some clues, not so much in your marketing plan, but clues on things to work on next year. Are they leaving over quality, overpricing? And if it’s overpricing, it may be as simple as changing the way you’re talking about what you’re selling on the phone or it might be as simple as you need to do something a little bit more when you’re providing that service that doesn’t require a lot of additional costs but provides more value to the client. That too could be an hour-long video in and of itself. But there are some clues and understanding why clients are leaving.

So then we want to pull data around the prediction. That’s this next part. And by prediction I mean I want to know, so if I was at your office and we were trying to figure out the master plan to get you where you want to be in five years, if you’re not tracking this data now, I would be adamant that we start tracking and so we can make decisions. I want to know how many leads you bring in by month. And in the longterm, we’ll have this data over many years and we’ll be able to look and say oh, on average you bring in 200 leads in the month of April every year. Great.

Now if I know what your conversion rate is, which is the percentage of leads that become clients, if I know your conversion rate is 50%, then I know and I can predict that this coming year in April, if everything is as it has been in the past, then we will bring in 100 new clients because you generally bring in 200 leads, you close 50%, so you have 100 new clients.

When you get into marketing plan stuff, you could say okay, if I put out X amount of door hangers and this amount of money on Facebook and this amount of money on Google Ad Words or whatever the case might be, and I were to double that budget, is it possible, and this gets a little more complicated, but could we take 200 leads to 400, which would mean 200 sales? Those are the things we’re looking at when we make your marketing plan.

So I need to understand on average, doing what you’ve historically done, how many clients are you bringing in by month? And then knowing your conversion rate by month, we can predict. And this data gets really cool because it’s more than marketing. Eventually, this is how you figure out when to hire and it’s how you figure out when you’re going to need to buy trucks, to make sure you have the money, to buy equipment to make sure you have the money. It allows you to predict so that your business becomes a little bit, one, easier to run. But also you can buy the equipment and the trucks and hire the people and train the people and run the ads to find the people at just the right time versus waiting till it’s too late or doing it way too early and carrying them for too long on your payroll, which costs you money.

And then finally I would have you sit down, and there’s more we could do, but these are the biggest things. I’d have you sit down with a sheet of paper and I would say please on this sheet of paper, think about every service you provide. So if you provide lawn mowing, when is it, month and day of the month. So in Texas, it can be anywhere from March 1st to March 15th. That is the most likely time that an individual that will buy mowing is going to have pain. Meaning they’re going to get home and realize oh my goodness, I need to replace my lawn care company, I need to call my lawn care company. I need a new lawn care company. I need my lawn taken care of.

There’s going to be some event that happens. In our market it happens when the sun is out, the weeds are starting to pop up in the grass, the leaves are starting to change color, it feels nice outside, maybe you hear the birds chirping. And suddenly when you pull up in your driveway and you look at your lawn and those events are in place, you’re like oh my gosh, I got to take care of this. That is when you’re going to get the highest number of calls. That’s when marketing on their door, Facebook ads, running Ad Words, ads running at the top of Google, all those things, that’s what all those things are going to work the best. Is when that individual is thinking I need to do something. They have pain.

So what you do is you take every one of your services and you write down when exactly is the client most likely to buy these services. And I gave you the example for mowing. In Texas, for fertilization, weed control it might be as early as February that it becomes more easy to sell that service. It’s definitely even easier as you get into March and April. When is it for aeration? When is it for pest control? When is it for irrigation, irrigation repair, startups, and turnoffs? When is it for snow? All those types of things.

Now, I’ll use the snow example. It might be that it’s not when it’s about to start snowing, it’s when are they thinking about budgets and signing contracts. Is that June or July? so you’ve got to think through that because that’s going to tell you in your marketing calendar and your marketing plan when you need to start running ads and you need to start ramping up your marketing and when you need to start having your salespeople make phone calls.

And then I’ll just leave you with a couple other concepts. So a more advanced. If you want to, what you might look at is let’s just say you provide 10 different services. You might look at what you make on average per man hour by service because if you have a limited marketing budget, and everyone does, but you make a whole lot more money on fertilization weed control than you do on mowing and you know that by looking at your per man hour rate and some other factors, but mainly per man our rate. Then you can say you know what? Let’s put our marketing spend into growing the fertilization weed control side of our business more than the mowing side. And so again, if you provide 10 services, which are the two that would be best to market?

Now there is this more advanced concept called the gateway. So the gateway concept is that while fertilization weed control might be way more profitable to your organization, it carries a higher man hour rate and therefore you should be selling it, it may be the harder thing to sell. And as a result, you sell the gateway service that may be less profitable. The gateway service is the easiest thing you can sell with the highest number of potential prospects on the street or in a market that you serve will want to buy. And you sell them that thing and then you sell them the other things that you want them to buy that are more profitable.

So the gateway is that service that brings them in and makes them a client and the backend is the additional services that you sell to them. Other terms for that are expansion revenue, all right?

And then finally, this is rarer, a lot of software systems, a lot of software systems don’t really have any of this, but this one’s going to be probably the rarest, maybe these two advanced ones. And if you have this one in your software system, it’s incredibly valuable. And it’s a means of tracking campaigns. What I mean by that is if you’re running a door hanger campaign, a postcard campaign, an EDDM campaign, a Facebook campaign and Ad Words campaign or whatever, just a client call and say hey, I saw your truck or a client that, let’s just call it, I was going to go off on a tangent but a referral strategy campaign.

These things can all be tracked. And if you’re tracking your campaigns, then depending on the system you’re using, that system can tell you the return on investment for that campaign. What did it cost, how much did you make? And then what average retention is some systems can tell you that on average when a client bought from a door hanger versus from Facebook, they stay with you 365 days versus 628 days. And so there’s lots of things that a campaign tracking system can do from conversion rate by marketing type to return on investment to how long a client stays with you on average to all these other factors that help you figure out if I could only run seven campaigns or two of seven campaigns, where should I put all my money in this calendar year?

So this is the data. I understand that for many you don’t have this data. I’d encourage you to eventually get to a place where you do have this data. Of course, Service Auto Pilot, this company I’m associated with, provides all of this data and tracks all this data because this is how I have to run my business and how our thousands and thousands of members have to run theirs. But we’re not the only system that does things like this.

So you need to find a system that does. And if you don’t at least find a method, whether it’s in Excel or some type of method where you can start tracking this data. It’s absolutely imperative you have this data to make decisions, not only from a marketing standpoint but from an operational standpoint. I gave you an example of that earlier.

Just think about finally understanding when you need to start running ads when you need to get people so that you can train them and then when you need to go buy equipment. That plan lets your company keep running fairly quickly. Versus what happens to most companies, they just grow ever so slowly because they have no understanding of when they’re going to need to run advertisements, hire people when they’re going to need to do their marketing. They’ve not thought through any of that. And it’s very important to do all of that.

It sounds complex and you might say oh, well that’s what I’ll do when I get to $5 million if you even desire to be that. Or that’s what I’ll do when I get $10 million. But I’m telling you, the individuals that were running $100,000 businesses or $200,000 or $400,000 or $500,000 businesses started doing these things when they were little bitty. That’s how they became $5 million and $10 million businesses. You don’t get to where you want to go not doing what the big guys are doing. You don’t get to where you want to go by not paying any attention to your numbers, not having a marketing plan, not thinking about planning, not thinking about recruiting.

You don’t accidentally wake up with a $5 million business. You might accidentally someday up with an $800,000 or a million dollar business over a very long period of time. But you’ll never wake up and have a big business and you absolutely won’t wake up with a profitable business. And by wake up, I mean magically it will happen and appear someday out into the future.

The way all of that stuff happens as you start doing all this when your business is small. And so again, it’s kind of a lengthy video here but it’s really important. So I hope you’ll do this. And if you have a data, a computer system, a software solution that can do this but you’re just not putting the data into it, you’re not tracking it, I can’t encourage it enough. There’s a lot of money being left on the table.

I hope this was of value. Next part I’ll talk about how to build out your marketing plan.

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