I got this in the letter box recently from a local Sutherland Shire plumber. It got me thinking about how a letterbox drop like this could be made more effective for this plumber, and for other home service business owners.
It could be a valuable lead and customer generating marketing activity.
Why Is It Important To Get Letter Box Drops Right?
Most plumbers, electricians, pest controllers, air con contractors, and other home services businesses, rely on word of mouth referrals to get new customers. For many it’s their only source of customers. I believe you should have several lead generation engines that you can count on for growth over and above word of mouth referrals. Letterbox drops could be an excellent way to get a flow of new leads into your business.
As a small business, we are always looking for our new customers and efficient ways to new customers. Letterbox dropping works very well for some businesses. And it could work for lots of home service businesses if you get the underlying strategy right and you tracking it properly.
So that’s what this blog post is about.
There are things that are important when you’re building a lead or sales funnel. Some of those are:
- The offer.
- The likely response rates.
- The marketing execution.
So let’s get under the skin of this offer and take a look at the likely response to an offer such as this.
The offer was a family owned and operated plumber who offers blocked drain services and hot water service in the Sutherland Shire, which is a suburb of Sydney.
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Working Out Demand For Your Offer
I initially want to work out whether that strategy or that offer in the first place is likely to be effective. A great place to start is to go to the keyword planner tool in Google Adwords and I saw that there were:
- 880 searches a month for blocked drains.
- And 596 a month for a hot water service.
Given there is going to be other related searches for this type of service, we can just round those search volumes up to 1,000 and 750.
There are 1.6 million households in Sydney. Based on this the number of people are actually looking for to solve a problem with blocked drains or hot water in any month is about .01% i.e. 1.1 people per thousand.
Just think about that for a second. You drop 1000 leaflets, and 1 person might be in the market. Would they already have a plumber?
So on my reckoning that offer is too specialised and narrow.
From the plumber’s point of view that it’s a really appealing service to offer because make lots of money.
I’m suggesting two things here:
- If you are you going to offer something in a letter are letterbox drop then make it about something that appeals to a decent percentage of the home owners you target your flyer at.
- That you just use it to generate the lead as opposed to trying to create a sale.
Think about this from the customer point of view. They need more info and experience with you before they are going to stump up for a big buy and treating the first step they have to make as a low risk step for them is going to put more people into your funnel and generate more sales in the long run.
Think beyond the sale today to the total value of the customer. You can work out the value of your plumbing or home services customer here.
I wouldn’t want you paying are more than a third the value of a customer. And you can acquire a client for less than what you earn from them in the first year, then you really going well.
How Can You Improve On This Plumbing Mailbox Drop Flyer?
Please don’t misread me here, I’m not trying to bag out this business rather just illustrating some points. I think it’s great that the firm is experimenting with their marketing and it’s great that they are finding out what does and does not work.
Some issues I would recommend other home services business owners consider of you are going to do leaflet drops.
Strong Point of Difference and Offer
It’s very common for business owners to make generic claims – in this case ”I can do your blocked drains and I can service your hot water system” well so can every other plumber in the Sutherland Shire.
Also, you need a unique position or point of difference in your promotions. In this leaflet it says ”they live and work in the Sutherland Shire” and “they are a family owned and operated business” again this applies to every other plumber in the Shire.
If you are the same as everybody else, then people use price as a way of deciding among the many alternatives they have and your business on a race to the bottom on pricing.
The Differentiating Power of Social Proof
A point of difference should be:
- Unique to your business
- Difficult to copy
- important to customers and prospects
You can say what you like about your business, but customers believe that about as much as they believe other advertising.
Nothing sells and converts as well as what your customers say about you. So an essential thing to include on a flyer is customer testimonials and reviews of their experience with your business. That’s why word of mouth referrals are as important as a source of customers.
And your interaction with customers can be a unique point of difference that meets all the criteria listed above.
Collect customer reviews at the end of every service delivery.
You Need To Know If It’s Working
Last and not least you need to be able to answer the question – did it work? The only way you can do that is to:
- Track phone calls.
- Track website enquiries.
- Track sales to these calls and enquiries.
If you use your standard phone numbers and website address it can will leave you not knowing what happened. The best case is there’s a few more calls and some mention they got the leaflet – if you manage to remember to ask and record it when you are in someone’s kitchen or bathroom fixing their sink.
But would you really ever know which customer sales came from the leaflet drop?
Better Phone Call Tracking
Here’s what I recommend to improve the tracking:
- Use a tracking phone number for this activity and divert it to your regular phone number. There’s a call tracking service we use in Australia that allows for a call whisper before the caller is put through. This makes it easy to track.
- Plus if you use that number for only the drop at the time, then you can see the calls that came from it.
Campaign Link Tracking
Track clicks to your website via tracking links. Set up Google UTM tracking links and then shorten the link with a link shortener like Bit.ly (more private) or Goo.gl. Or you can even get your own business URL shortener (I use Gohere.link/ for example)
You could also put a QR code on the flyer so those geeky people who know how to use them can quickly call you. Just remember to set up the tracking first and make the target for the QR code the tracking link.
When you have your tracking sorted out, you can effectively test your way to success.
- Have a leaflet that works better? Tweak and go again. Test some more.
- Change the neighbourhood – test again.
- Test one offer against another for pulling power
Use More Relevant Offers To Get The Lead
Leaflet drops should be about building lead flow, not making sales. And on this point, I believe in giving and getting. If you generate the lead, then your activity afterwards will convert the lead into a fully paying customer.
So here’s a couple of examples
- Offer them a voucher for $50 off their first plumbing repair with you – I know it’s expensive (but only 2 clicks on Adwords for Drain Clearing) and you need to think long term. It only costs you if you get a new customer – who would be worth $1,000 plus on life time value.
- Offer to repair their leaking taps for free. Nearly everyone has a leaking tap. While you’re their property, look for other real work that needs doing. It’s a cost effective way of proving your worth with a new customer and low risk to them.
Low Cost Leaflet Design
You can get a basic flyer designed online these days for less than $20. It’s a great investment as good design will make our offer stand out.
Here are a couple of sources:
Go to GraphicRiver.net and search for flyers templates. You will find 100’s of pre-designed templates that you can purchase for $6-$10. You can then adjust them from there.
Go to fiverr.com and look for and graphic design and fliers/posters and you’ll find people there who will make you flyers for a $7 a gig.
These will both look better and work better than you can produce at home on your MS Word document.
- Strategy – focus on lead generation, not sales
- Make the offer with broad appeal
- Focus on customer service and give social proof and testimonials
- Tracking it accurately so you know what’s happening
- Don’t give up the first time – keep testing
- Use good design
If you have any thoughts or additions to this list of tips, drop them in the comments below.