When it comes to marketing, we tend to look at how much it is going to cost us to print out 1,000 flyers or door hangers and ask ourselves if we can afford it. After a quick knee jerk reaction we either go or don’t go for it. Not much thought is generally placed on such marketing efforts but when you look at where you are spending your money and where you are actually getting clients from, you might be shocked.
For every marketing dollar you are spending, you want it to work for you and you want it to bring you in customers. If it’s not, then cut it loose and get rid of it. There are more ways to waste money in marketing attempts than there are ways to make money.
One Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum member got this lawn care customer acquisition cost conversation started when he wrote “what has a new and old lawn care customer cost your business to retain for this season in advertising dollars (avg.)
(total advertising dollars spent) / ( total customer base) = cost per customer
We spent $ 6.83 to acquire and retain new and old customers (weekly mowing accounts) this season and was wondering what everybody else has spent?”
What kinds of things did you do this year to keep old customers and get new ones?
“I’d say the most important thing we did was to keep our name out front and fresh in the mind of our existing customers each month (November - February). We pushed for referrals and targeted the areas we wanted to work with fliers. Staying focused on target areas helped keep acquisition cost to a minimum
I must say that our website is picking up more traffic and estimate requests from stray customers.
My thought on this is: fuel prices chased a lot of lowballers out of the area or out of the business all together. I have seen more landscape business’s for sale. I almost makes you wonder what they know and I’m about to find out!
We’re going to ride out the storm, stay strong and hopefully next year will be even better.”
What suggestions do you have for start ups on how to keep their names out there in the winter months? Also would you buy lawn care accounts from those lawn care operations that are going out of business?
“We have been keeping our name out front by way of postcards to all past and present customers with a $5.oo discount coupon. This Works very well and I am always very surprised at the 2 year old coupons or an advertised price quote from last season that comes back to us. It makes me wonder, where do they put these things for such a long period of time? - and remember that they even still have them!
Regarding buying accounts: I would be more interested in the lawn care operator’s reputation and equipment condition. Buying accounts is nice but there is no guarantee that the client will keep you on - even with a contract (which we don’t use) so in the end, your left with reputation and equipment.”
Another member wondered “I am interested in a further breakdown. How much does a brand new customer cost to acquire per dollar of revenue he generatesÂ vs. how much does an existing customer cost to retain per dollar of revenue he generates? If we can get a general feel for the answer to this question we can get a better understanding if it is worthwhile buying customer lists from other lawn care companies and how much should be paid for those customer lists.”
These are all very good questions to keep in mind. Take a moment now and look at your different marketing campaigns. Take the total cost of them and divide them by the number of customers they brought you. That will tell you how much you paid to get each client. You might be amazed at how much you are spending to acquire customers and may want to re-think some of the marketing avenues you are pursuing. If you are planning an upcoming marketing campaign, you could also experiment with the online Lawn Care Marketing Return On Investment calculator to tell you if it will be worthwhile or not.
Tell us what you find as you look through your marketing campaigns. Get on the post about this on the Gopher Forum and share with us your insights.