According to a Gallup poll, more than four out of 10 Americans look forward to checking their mailboxes each day. As a landscaping business owner, direct mail can be a great way to reach potential customers in your area. However, is it effective, and what is the best way to get started?
According to the Pew Research Center, 85% of Americans own a smartphone. In the age of digital marketing, is direct mail still relevant? Can you still effectively use direct mail as a way to advertise your landscaping business and get potential clients? The answer is yes, especially when you combine it with a digital marketing campaign that incorporates content marketing, social media marketing, and PPC.
According to a study that the Small Business Administration cites, mailbox/door direct mail generates purchases five times larger than email. If you combine direct mail with email, you can drive purchases six times larger than email alone.
Direct Mail May be More Effective than You Think
One of the reasons direct mail campaigns are so effective is the trust factor. Young people, in particular, aren’t as likely to consider a direct mail piece as junk mail compared to how they view promotional emails - which they oftentimes view as spam.
Furthermore, sending a landscaping postcard via direct mail lets, you stand out. The problem many marketers now face with email is that it is oversaturated. Every business is sending emails, and the inboxes of people are typically overflowing with emails from dozens of companies, websites, and mailing lists.
Sending a lawn care flier, in particular, is a valuable strategy due to the extra visibility you will get. Your target audience is likely married couples, not single people living alone. If you send an email, only one person will probably see it. If you send lawn care postcards, both spouses can see them and decide to contract you together.
On the other hand, it’s essential to target your audience carefully. While two-thirds of consumers will discuss direct mail from a brand they have never heard of if it’s in a category that interests them, people will generally throw away direct mail immediately if it’s not relevant.
So, how can a lawn care business run an effective direct mail campaign? There are multiple aspects of your campaign you must get right.
First, decide which materials you will use to advertise your landscaping service. Here are some of the most popular types of direct mail:
Catalogs might be more beneficial for shops selling many physical products than landscaping services.
An attractive flyer or postcard might allow you to immediately catch the viewer’s attention. One disadvantage of catalogs, in general, is that they can be overwhelming, while a postcard can display a single, sought-after offer.
The next step is choosing a direct mailing list. It’s best to start with your existing and previous clients instead of targeting new customers.
According to the SBA, more than three out of four people will discuss a direct mail advertisement from a company they have purchased from before. Your previous customers clearly need a landscaping service and are willing to pay for it.
Even if they started to mow their lawns themselves or hired a different contractor, you could pull them back in with special offers, such as discounts or a low-rate long-term subscription.
Furthermore, you can set up a loyalty program to increase retention among existing customers. Did you know that it’s 5-25 times cheaper to retain existing customers than to acquire new ones?
However, if you’re interested in growing your business and establishing yourself in the area, you’ll also need to target new customers. So, how can you build a mailing list?
One of the easiest ways to start with direct mail, in general, is to use the USPS Every Door Direct Mail service. It allows you to map your audience using mail routes, neighborhoods, and demographics like household income and recipient age.
You can then pay online and have USPS deliver your postcards to the list you have created. With USPS Informed Delivery, you can combine your direct mail campaign with a digital campaign to increase visibility.
Some other places to buy targeted lists include:
These are list brokers with massive databases and demographic information that you can use for more accurate targeting.
When using direct mail, it’s essential to use a header on your postcard that immediately attracts the recipient’s attention. It’s also critical to hire a good designer who knows how to design postcards, using plenty of white space to help the most important information stand out.
You should also use good images and bold calls to action that stand out. Highlighting benefits with bullet points can be effective as well. In many ways, designing a physical flyer is similar to creating a digital one, but there are some crucial differences, mainly in the call to action (CTA).
In an online post, you can include a button that people can press on. On the other hand, with a physical direct mail postcard, you need to be more creative.
Ultimately, it depends on your target audience. For older individuals, a “Call Us” CTA with your phone number in big letters can be very effective.
Another option is to include a prepaid envelope they can return to you with their information. However, that often requires extra steps (filling out the physical form, writing their contact details, and mailing it back to you) that could decrease your conversion rate.
For younger individuals, you might try one of the following:
You can also combine all of the above.
A very efficient way to get a response is to include a QR code. QR codes are printable codes that people can scan with a QR code scanner app (which Apple has built into iPhone cameras by default) which then takes them to an embedded URL. The QR code can bring people to a landing page, online form, social media page, or your GMB review page.
An effective way to increase your conversion rate with direct mail is to include exclusive promotions and discounts only available to direct mail recipients. Add a unique discount code they can use when calling you or checking out online.
A limited-time promotional code can be very effective at creating urgency and getting people to respond sooner rather than later. There are a few types of limited-time discount codes. One option is having the code expire after a few weeks or a month (you must give it more time with direct mail compared to digital ads).
Another option is expiring the promotional code after a specified number of people use it. That incentivizes people to act quickly to be among the first to use the code.
Testing is critical for increasing your conversion rate. Constantly test out different:
You might even segment your list and send each one a different version of your postcard. That way, you can better understand which types of CTAs or promotional messaging work best.
Sending direct mail too often can annoy your recipients. On the other hand, it’s worth following up, just in case they haven’t seen your first one.
Once every few weeks or once a month is a good rule of thumb. Once you’ve acquired someone as a customer, you should remove them from your primary list that focuses on customer acquisition. Instead, send them direct mail with special discounts and offers to help with customer retention.
Repeated Direct Mail Pieces Build Brand Awareness Among Your Prospective Customers
As you saw above, combining your direct mail campaign with an email campaign is beneficial. If you manage to obtain a customer’s physical and email address, you can use a schedule that looks something like the following (this is just an example):
To understand the answer to the question, “Is direct mail a good way to advertise your landscaping business,” you must track your direct mail campaigns.
Tracking your direct mail success is a bit harder than monitoring digital campaigns. However, by using some of the techniques mentioned above, it becomes a bit easier.
For example, you can use a dedicated phone number or extension that you only print on direct mail postcards. Alternatively, create a unique URL that you only print on your postcards or embed in the QR codes you print on them. That makes it much easier to determine the conversion rate from your postcards.
If you run a split-testing campaign (sending postcards with different CTAs to different segments), create several short URLs or phone extensions. That way, you can discover the response rate for each email segment.