Experts Share How to Market Your Lawn Care Business with Flyers [Examples Included]
There are a ton of different marketing strategies and advertising tactics you can use for your lawn care business.
But, choosing which is right for you can be difficult. It all depends on your budget, the services you offer, the time of year, and your overall marketing plan.
One of the most low-cost and high-return things you can try is flyer marketing. When done right, it can help you to bring in new clients and grow your business without taking up your entire budget.
We spoke to lawn care business owners, Ed Ramsden from Enviromasters Lawn Care, and Chris Gardner from Edmonton Lawn Pros, to get the down low on what actually works.
They share how lawn care flyers made an impact on their business, and what exactly they did to make them a successful part of their profit margins and marketing strategies.
Ed Ramsden, Enviromasters Lawn Care: Flyers for a scaled business
Making lawn care flyers and choosing drop areas
I usually do flyers in-house—hire a designer, get it printed, bundled, and drop it off at the postal office so they could send the flyers out.
I did the work myself because I didn’t want to pay!
For choosing neighborhoods, we took our customers and broke them down by neighborhood and ZIP code. This helped us figure out what our route density per neighborhood was.
Then I would draw a heatmap (using Darkhorse) across the city. That way, I’d know where I had the most customers based on ZIP codes.
I’d map out new ZIP codes based on my existing customer list to see how the route density would change with these new leads.
Before I sent out the flyers, I’d drive through different neighborhoods in that heat map.
Looking at properties is super important––especially if your city is growing. There are tons of new neighborhoods, and your postal service might tell you that there are 60,000 people living there. But, you really have to drive through and see how many homes there actually are.
If you go drop flyers in a new subdivision, but the neighborhood is only 50% built, then 50% of your flyers are going to an empty postal box and a dirt lot.
If the subdivision is brand new and there’s no grass on the lots, then you’re a year too early to even do lawn maintenance for them.
So, it’s a matter of finding who your customer is and understanding what you need. You have to get a vibe for the clientele based on what their houses look like, too. A drive through is crucial.
Deciding where to do lawn care flyer drops
In my case, my goal was route density. I didn’t want a lot of “windshield time.”
I have four or five trucks, and my scale is totally different from a solo mower. My drops were very strategic.
If you care about your windshield time because you have a few crews, then try to minimize that with route density. It’s okay to drive half an hour to your route, so long as your route is tight.
You can take a tool like Darkhorse and put in your postal codes from an excel spreadsheet and it will map out your heatmaps for you.
How to know how many flyers to drop
You can get up to a 3% return on flyers. If I needed 500 new clients, I’d work backward. So, if I wanted to get a 1-3% return on flyers, then I knew I needed how many flyers I’d have to send to get that.
Keep in mind that you can’t just drop flyers once (I learned that from a marketer). You have to drop maybe two, three times to the same house.
So, to drop 30,000 flyers, I’d buy 90,000 flyers.
Over the course of a month, I’d drop three times in one neighborhood because messaging takes repetition.
I went a step further, and made two different versions of the flyer.
Like version A week one, version B week two, and then one or the other week three depending on what worked the best.
How to know when flyers work
To know what worked, you can do two things:
- set up a ‘how did you hear about us’ system
- or, add a different phone number to your flyer.
So, whenever you book a new customer you need to ask them or have them tell you in some way how they heard about you—it’s not 100% accurate but it’s a baseline for year over year. You have to keep notes of that though, I kept mine in my CRM.
The second thing you can do is add a different phone number on the flyers. All you have to do is go check that phone bill and compare. It’s just attribution.
Understanding flyer marketing success and your ROI
I spoke to a lot of marketing companies who did flyers and they said that 3% is a good return.
I personally think you should realistically expect between 1-3%. There are a lot of variables. For example, if you drop on commercial clients, you might not get the same return.
The objective is a 3% return. “Return” means on phone calls and inquiries for a specific flyer.
To really know how successful it is, you need to know your close rate, and what that rate is with regard to your return rate.
So, if 600 people are going to contact me and my close rate is 35%, that’s roughly 220-230 people.
The close rate is based on what you go through daily. We would count the number of phone calls and emails each day, and how many we closed out of that number.
You could also do the same thing based on how many quotes you sent out versus how many quotes you closed.
Residential versus commercial lawn care marketing flyers
I only ran residential campaigns. Commercial work is a lot more dependent on personal relationships. (If I knew the building manager for a commercial job, I was able to get the job.)
When you do flyers, you can select residential, and not choose commercial, farmsteads, duplexes, etc., through your postal service.
Just like with other marketing strategies, you need a compelling Call to Action (CTA).
So ask yourself “why should the client call you?”
Is it because you can do a better job, or offer a service they need, or because you’re offering a discount? There are many different ways to create a compelling CTA.
On flyers, you can’t just put your phone number and say, “call me this week to get your customized quote.”
It needs to be compelling enough for the reader to contact you. Create urgency and demand on that flyer.
In our case, we didn’t include all our services––just whatever the most compelling service was for the time of year.
Sometimes it was, “book your spring cleanup this week and reserve your spot,” or “20% on aeration when you buy a full season package.”
Every year we would try different discounts. We found that one of our most compelling discounts was giving something away for free.
So instead of 20% off an aeration, we’d offer a free soil conditioner worth $45.
You don’t even need to look at your own industry for inspiration. Look at what you’re getting in your mailbox. Even if it’s a pizza place, try and reverse-engineer it and figure out what you like about the flyer and how you can make it work for your business.
Chris Gardner, Edmonton Lawn Pros: Flyers for small lawn care business owners
Dominate a specific area
I sat down with a postal service representative and mapped out where I wanted to send my flyers. Whichever city you’re in, you dominate a segment in neighborhoods and that’s your prime demographic.
With flyer drops, you can pick targets by postal code. So, make sure you’re targeting an area of the city you want to dominate.
I chose my postal codes based off neighbourhood. If you break my city down into northwest and southwest, there are always going to be low- and high-end neighborhoods, but for weekly mowing, you’re charging relatively the same price for both. I just didn’t want to travel because that’s where you get killed when you’re a little guy.
If I could choose between ten houses in a neighborhood on the same street that were $40 per mow compared to ten that were priced at $70 but spread around the city, I’d rather take the ten houses at $40 that are in a row.
Timing is everything
Traditionally, my first flyers went out two months prior to the start of my spring campaign. So my flyers would say something like:
- “do you need a spring cleanup?”
- “do you need to get rid of the stuff on your lawn?”
- “do you need us to come out and do your first aeration of the year?”
This way, anyone who responded to spring cleaning was added to my sales list for my weekly mows and they would usually say “yeah, come back bi-weekly and do a $40 mow for us” after the cleanup was done.
Those flyers were amazing for us.
My client list after my first spring was up to 72 people. They paid for themselves off the spring season alone. Those clients were on my client list mowing forward year over year.
At the time, I had no other marketing—no website for my business, no digital ads. All my inbound calls came exclusively through my first flyer drop.
The second year, I did offer a promo on my flyers and I had included a message to “mention X to get 10% off.”
This helped me track progress a bit better, and know where leads were coming from as my client list grew.
Year over year, I got around 50-70 new clients each year for this type of campaign. It was very successful!
As far as tracking goes it was kind of difficult. It might be even more challenging now because your flyers might not always be going to individual mailboxes at a actual home, but at neighborhood mail units.
What ends up happening is people open the mailbox up and they put all their flyers straight into the garbage right next to the mailbox.
Those flyers can be a little less effective, which is where Mailchimp and Jobber have come in and done a really good job of offering email marketing solutions.
Making digital flyers are great because at least customers have to see the email in their inbox (and sometimes even open it) before they delete it.
Don’t forget to learn from your mistakes
Figure out what works for you, and what doesn’t.
I did one extra flyer drop for the fall/winter season for cleanups. It did not work at all. I got a couple clients, but at that point in the year, most people already had somebody for that.
Also, keep up with marketing trends.
I didn’t put client testimonials and reviews on my flyers. I would have if I was doing it again.
An online presence is so important today, too. If you’re doing flyers, put a link to your Yelp profile or wherever your client reviews––even if it’s on Angie’s List or Home Advisor.
Reflecting back on things, I’d highly recommend thinking outside of the box.
I would tell myself to start a referral program for sure. If your client tells their neighbor, “we have this great company if you use this company we’re both going to save some money,” you would have captured double the customers.
People still talk to their neighbors, especially about lawn care. On those flyers, I would have had a referral program built-in so I could capture a bigger demographic.