Cover Story: Growing Leads
A "one size fits all" approach certainly has its place, such as with hats, gloves and the like. But when it comes to marketing lawn care services, that method won't translate into more quality leads. For Spring-Green Lawn Care Corp., the Plainfield, Ill.-based lawn and tree care service franchise, a tailored strategy was necessary to maximize local exposure and generate leads effectively.
Serving markets in more than 7,500 neighborhood communities around the country from Marietta, Ohio to Raleigh, N.C.—where the demographics and psychographics are dramatically different—Spring-Green identified a need to drill into its markets and treat them uniquely. "There's a lot of distance between the markets that we're serving," notes James Young, president of Spring-Green. "In a lot of cases, it's as if we have a lot of very small islands."
Direct mail is the marketer's largest source of lead generation and new sales, and it influences 60 percent to 70 percent of new customer acquisition, according to Young. However, 20 percent of that activity interrelates with the company's online marketing efforts. According to Young, the Web currently is the fastest-growing channel for Spring-Green; although factors such as income level, age and home values cause some markets to respond better to direct mail.
Marietta, Ohio, for example, is characterized by an older demographic that typically responds to Spring-Green's direct mail more favorably than its online marketing efforts. Conversely, the Web tends to be a more effective channel in cities and tech-savvy towns like Raleigh, N.C. "As both channels grow, I think we have to continue to drill into the demographics and the psychographics of our customer base and then offer our franchise owners options for both [channels]—and that's where that balance comes back," explains Young.
With an interest in improving its Web presence and making its site a more efficient tool, Spring-Green hired Oneupweb, a Traverse City, Mich.-based digital marketing agency, more than four years ago and began creating microsites off its corporate domain. What initially began as a small project to test the viability of search engine marketing evolved into a much larger program encompassing search engine optimization (also called natural search) and paid search.