It’s been said time and time again that it is far more expensive to attract new customers than to keep an existing one.
This doesn’t mean you should stop trying to acquire new customers, but rather you should strive to keep in contact with former clients who already know your level of service and are more likely to hire you again.
It can be a delicate balance to stay in touch with these customers without seeming too pushy, but it is worth the effort to help keep your landscaping company top of mind, especially as they might be considering additional renovations at the start of a new year.
Below are some possible methods to consider when keeping in contact with clients after a job.
A good way to make sure you aren’t being too insistent with your interactions and to know when you should reach out again to certain customer is to utilize a customer relationship management system (CRM).
CRM software can help you track both ongoing projects and previous ones, allowing you to manage customers’ contact information, and some software also makes it easier to reach out to these customers.
If CRM software isn’t in the budget or not something you’re quite ready for, keeping track of former client details like their email and phone numbers in something as simple as a spreadsheet is better than nothing.
When sending emails, it’s usually a good idea to follow the golden rule and not send anything that you would not want to receive in your own inbox. This sort of mindfulness can help you craft emails that are more personal or useful to the clients you are reaching out to.
A monthly or quarterly newsletter that shares landscaping tips or announces any upcoming sales can serve as a gentle reminder while not bogging down someone’s mailbox too much.
“We have a pretty active email newsletter campaign that we push out twice a month,” Dave Marciniak of Revolutionary Gardens in Culpeper, Virginia, tells Houzz. “It’s not really an aggressive sales pitch. It features upcoming events and tips for the garden. We get a really good response rate, and that definitely helps us stay on their mind.”
If you’ve added on a new service, don’t just send an email blast saying it’s now available, but take the time to inform former customers what the service really is and how their landscape might benefit from it. Sharing topics like industry trends is another way to get clients thinking about their landscape without coming across as a pure sales pitch.
Hosting a party may seem a little over-the-top to some, but if it is done right, it can express your appreciation to past customers and generate brand loyalty or new business. These events can take place around a holiday or they can just serve as a summer bash of sorts.
For Greenleaf Landscaping & Gardens based in Greenleaf, Wisconsin, they host an annual Sunset Garden Party in July. The event includes live music, vendor tents from local microbreweries, wineries and cheese makers as well as a sale on both plants and gift items.
“We’ve kind of used it as a thank you,” says Dorene Schuster, who owns Greenleaf along with her husband, Ken. “We send tickets to all of our clients from the past two years and that gets them here and thinking about maybe another project or buying things from the garden center. It’s a lot of fun and all of our employees embrace it.”
Having local vendors join in is one way to help give a party some extra pizzazz, but other options include having a special guest or entertainment your clients would be interested in or making the gathering a charitable/fundraising event like Franz Witte’s OktoberBreast, a fundraiser to support breast cancer research and survivors that takes place in September.
Another way you can show your appreciation is to send a gift to clients thanking them for their business.
If you pick a gift that is unique or useful, it can lead to referrals or keep you in mind whenever they use it. Sending a calendar at the beginning of the year with photos of your projects can be the inspiration they might need to hire you for another job, or someone else might see the calendar and ask who designed that landscape.
Also, do not ever overlook the power of a personalized, handwritten note. Taking the time to write an authentic letter lets your customers you’re not too busy to show you care.