How to leverage a low advertising budget

April 4, 2022


A lot of times we as marketers cap our potential because we don’t have the money someone else has. We had a landscaping client who did not have the budget the national players in the market have, but they outperformed all of them.

In specific, they earned $4.5 million in annual recurring revenue, a 30% market share, and a 3,000% ROI all from an interesting strategy that included door-knocking, referrals, and a few emails to bring it all together. Here’s how:

#1 — One item offer

While a lot of other landscaping companies may compete on maintenance or products, our client offers only weed control plus some fertilizer. They have a very specific niche, which has worked in this case with our landscaping customer.

#2 — Clear messaging

We helped our client apply the Unique Selling Proposition (USP) formula to make their messaging very easy. Essentially, it breaks down who you serve, what you’re helping them achieve, and how your service helps them achieve that.

#3 — Incentives to sell

Our client gave all of their employees—no matter if they are in customer service, an application expert, or something else—incentives to sell.

  • The sales team gets a commission on their sales
  • The maintenance people can leave door hangers with a little QR code on them that identifies who left them on the back end. When those QR codes get scanned and people come through as leads, that gets attributed to the maintenance person and they get a commission
  • Customer service reps are able to upsell when people call in for new treatments or property maintenance
  • The accounting team gets a commission if they talk to someone

Everyone in the business can earn extra money by selling the product, and that incentivizes the entire team to have that on the front of their mind.

#4 – Word of mouth

Our client was spending as little as $10,000 a month on all of their advertising campaigns that spanned half a state, but they were able to leverage their low-cost channels via word of mouth, two means in particular:

Knocking on doors: Every new person at this company starts in door knocking, which is beneficial for a number of reasons:

  1. It’s great for the company’s culture
  2. It establishes a baseline of leads that you as a marketer or salesperson can expect

Digital referrals: Our client built a referral program primarily through email that incentivizes people to share the email and get others to subscribe so they can earn things like swag or discounts on service.

It’s easy. You trade something like a $5 mug or a $45 hoodie for $2,000+ prospects all day long. You make that trade all day long, so that became easy math for us.

The two means together work as a push and pull mechanism: people out door-knocking with this longer-term drip campaign incentivizing new email subscribers running in the background.

#5 — Easy subscription

Their online app is tied to Stripe so you can quickly sign up for monthly service. No phone call with anyone, no in-person estimates where someone is sent out strictly to try to upsell you.

Prospective customers just have to go online, follow the referral link, and sign up. Simple, really: the fewer the barriers, the more the followers.