Jeremy Hunt, owner of Hunt Irrigation, says that when he started his business in 1997 the phone book was the “holy grail of advertising.” “If you weren’t in the phone book, people didn’t know you existed,” he says.
But things have changed drastically since those days. Today if consumers need a phone number they typically find it online. With the Yellow Pages no longer being a prime marketing approach, Hunt realized he had to come up with some new strategies. He tried three new approaches – the third of which, proved to be the charm.
1. Hunt’s first new marketing approach involved an email campaign. He decided he’d do a blast with some information about the company and its offerings three or four times a year. But he ran into a snag. “We were amazed to learn that even after doing business with clients for over a decade, many of them were still reluctant to give out their email addresses,” he says. “We eventually realized that we weren’t reaching enough people through an email marketing approach.”
2. With email not working out, Hunt says he decided to try a mass mailing approach. He used a printer to come up with some nice materials. Like email, it wasn’t a success. “We were seeing less than one percent return from our mailers,” Hunt says. “It seemed that our materials went right from the mailbox to the trash can, which was a disappointment.”
3. Finally, Hunt decided to give television a shot. It’s something he says he’d never looked into and didn’t know what to expect, especially cost-wise. “But what we found was that we were able to run a very good TV campaign for the same price we were paying for a Yellow Pages ad,” he says. “So it seemed like a no brainer. When we started running our first commercial, we were amazed at the result. We’ve now done five commercials.”
Here are some of the lessons Hunt has learned from his TV commercial experience.
Space it out. Initially Hunt says that he ran the ads on the first and fourth weeks of the month, but during those times they’d get such a huge influx of service calls and installations that they were getting backed up. “So we now run ads on the second and fourth weeks, which spaces things out better,” he says. “We don’t get quite as backlogged.”
Be creative. Hunt says he’s taken the opportunity to be funny in his ads joking that for every drop of water saved, a child learns to read – or more recently, doing a spoof on a Viagra ad. “It’s just an opportunity to work on the light-side of things,” says Hunt. “Customers realize you’re down to earth – and it’s an attention getter.”
Get more viewers. Once the ad is available and has run on television, Hunt also makes sure to put them up on YouTube and the company’s website. “We don’t get millions of views but it’s another way to reach more people.”
This is one of three stories that appeared in Lawn & Landscape’s Water Works e-newsletter. To continue reading about Hunt Irrigation:
Ahead of the game: Hunt Irrigation picked up clients from competitors who dropped the ball on water efficiency.
Time management: Splitting workdays between the field and the office can be a difficult decision for business owners.