Are your marketing dollars being spent effectively?
Once upon a time when I ran painting franchise, they told us someone had to see your marketing SEVEN TIMES before they acted on it. This could simply be that they get 7 postcards from you. Or, it could mean they get 1 post card, see your truck twice, see your yard sign, get a door hanger, get an email, then see you on the internet.
In the image below you can see where our leads have come from so far this year:
In my experience, the following order of marketing is the most cost effective per lead. In other words, I would recommend maximizing your marketing budget on #1 before moving on to #2. It should be noted that this list is in order assuming that you are paying someone else to perform these services for you. If you are going to do all the marketing yourself and don’t know how to perform SEO, you may be better off starting with door hangers or yard signs.
Marketing Strategies for Small Business
- Re-market to your Existing Lead and Client Database
- Digital Remarketing
- Phone Calls
- Search Engine Optimization
- Yard Signs
- Truck and Trailer Decals
- Google Adwords
- Direct Mail/Door Hangers
1. Re-market to your Existing Lead and Client Database
This option should be maximized before pursuing any other marketing tactic!
The idea here is this: don’t go chasing down new customers when your current client base isn’t buying all of your services yet. Your clients already know you and trust you, so they are much more likely to buy from you. Also the less customers you have, the less overhead you have (collections, customer service, billing, etcetera).
Email is free! Once you have already paid to acquire this client and leads database, you should maximize the return on this list. Using Service Autopilot Automations or another service like MailChimp you can easily email this database automatically.
With this same database you can re-market using digital marketing such as Google Adwords and Facebook Marketing. If set up properly this will only show ads to these same people to keep your expenses low.
Another tactic you can use is to simply call through these lead and client lists to touch base and keep an open relationship. If you don’t have time you can use a service such as SendJim to send voicemail bombs which are pre-recorded voicemails that get automatically sent out to your clients upselling them on your services.
2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search Engine Optimization is the act of manipulating your website to be at the top of search results on search engines such as Google and Bing. For example, when you search for “Landscaping <your town>” ideally you would be the first search result. As you can see 50% of our leads come from Google searches. This is huge! This should be where the majority of your energy should be focused and where the majority of marketing strategies for small business should be focused.
Not only are more leads generated though Google, but they are also better quality leads because the people that contact you are actively searching for your services. Other marketing tactics such as direct mail are targeted towards people who are not necessarily seeking out your services. You are sending a postcard to a cold lead hoping that they might want your services. It is a harder sell!
You can perform SEO yourself, or hire an outside agency such as Small Business SEO for a few hundred dollars a month. Whether you perform SEO yourself or hire an outside firm, you should add regular blog posts to your website, make sure you are listed on all the major platforms such as Facebook, Yelp, and Google My Business, to name a few. Your website itself should have on-site SEO work performed so that your site is relevant to search terms.
Surprisingly, we get quite a few leads from Craigslist and it is very affordable. We run ads and renew them once a week. One we run for general landscaping, we run ads for job applicants, and we also run season-specific ads for certain times of the year. Ads only cost $5 to post for a service ($25 for a job ad), and as you can see depicted above this is where 11% of our new leads come from.
4. Yard Signs
Yard signs are CHEAP and EFFECTIVE. Through UZ Marketing we are able to get 100 double sided 18 x 24 yard signs WITH STANDS for just over $300. That is just over $3 per sign. Before discovering UZ Marketing we were purchasing signs from signsonthecheap.com which was roughly $5 per sign, and before that we were purchasing them locally for $25/sign. I do believe in buying local whenever feasible but for less than 1/5 of the price it doesn’t really leave me much of a choice..
So what we do with these yard signs is plaster them around town in public areas such as by telephone poles and major intersections. The signs should be precise and easy to read- remember people will be driving by these signs at 50 mph+. We put up different messages on the signs for different times of the season.
5. Truck and Trailer Decals
One of our lead sources is “Saw Truck.” If you are driving a truck around, you need to have your company name and phone number on it, period. The initial cost to decal a trailer might be around $1500 or sign a truck is a couple hundred dollars but it pays off for the lifetime of the vehicle!
6. Google Adwords for Small Business
As you can see about 50% of our leads come from Google. This is a mix of paid marketing and SEO mentioned above. Ideally you maximize your SEO budget before you start using Google Adwords, as roughly 80% of users click on organic (non Google Adwords) links when searching, plus you don’t have to pay for the SEO traffic. On Google Adwords, you pay for each click. With my landscaping company we spend about $500/week on Google Adwords. So it is expensive, but it does generate leads! Again, you want to maximize your cheaper marketing ROI before moving onto more expensive ones like Google Adwords.
7. Direct Mail/Door Hangers
I put direct mail and door hangers in the same category, as one way or another you are paying someone else to walk around and put out flyers. Direct mail and door hangers are one of the most expensive forms of marketing. They should be a last resort after exhausting all of the other marketing strategies above. Again, I will reiterate that this assumes you are paying someone else to put them out. If you want to put them out on your own time, this costs far less as all you have to pay for is printing.
Direct mail costs anywhere from $.25 to $1/plus per piece, and response rates are anywhere from 0 to 3%. If you do use direct mail I would recommend doing it in conjunction with other marketing strategies such as geographically targeted digital advertising or yard signs.
A company we work with, SendJim, can automate postcards and letters for you. Through the integration of a CRM such as Service Autopilot, you can automate this process so, for example, when you complete a job the adjacent neighbors receive your postcard. This is a much cheaper, targeted approach to direct mail. For more information on SendJim, check out our page here.
The reason I spend more on SendJim versus paying my guys to put out door hanger is simple: SendJim is automatic. Sometimes it is challenging to get employees on board for putting these out. You may not always get calls directly from these door hangers or postcards, but it is yet another way that potential clients will see your name.
Conclusion: Marketing Strategies for Small Business
As you can see there are many marketing strategies for small business that work! Depending on the resources you have on hand, you may want to deviate slightly from the order recommended here. But remember it is not just one strategy that works for all small businesses! You must use a combination of strategies so potential customers see your name several times before they react. Good luck!