3 Reasons Why Your Landscape Business Should Not be in a Home Show
When it comes time to consider whether or not your landscape business (or pool company) should be involved in the next B2C home show in your area, we know you question the ROI every single time. Things like how many leads you were able to get last year, how many customers you closed, the cost in preparation and day-of execution are the initial questions we hear a lot. There is often a complex answer to the first two - you might not be looking for a lot of leads, you might be looking for a few really good ones, or maybe the lead won't call you for a couple of years; was it still worth it? We know that, in most cases, you should not participate in a the usual home show and here are the top three reasons why. We say "usual home show" because the exceptions include those home shows that cater to your target market = free wine + cheese and elaborate booth spaces of 30x30. Haven't found those home shows yet? Great, then don't participate in a home & show!
1. TARGET MARKET
You target market doesn't shop for contractors at home shows. (learn more: do you know your target market?) The typical landscape contracting business or pool company is targeting projects well over $50,000. Your target market, the homeowners who are considering this high value landscape project don't go to home shows, or home and garden shows. They are absolutely reviewing their options online. Sure, they might talk to their friends for some tips on who to pick or referrals, but their research starts and ends online. Even with a referral, they'll be looking for more reviews and more about you. They know that a home show will bring them limited options. This doesn't mean they won't find themselves at a home show - they might go to entertain their kids (in the bounce houses), keep their teens busy, or find a new hot tub or shed. They will not be there to find you and with all the people there, they will not stop to talk to you about a $50,000 home reno, unless you're offering up some wine and cheese. If they do stop to talk, consider your ROI (after reading #s 2 and 3) and decide if there is another way you can reach this lead.
Your home show booth cost somewhere between $1,200 to $6,000 (depending on the size and home show promotion). But, we all know that's the smallest cost of participating. Your materials will cost you somewhere between free (if you're lucky) to approximately $2,000. Then, comes your biggest cost: time and labor. Time you've put in towards the preparation of the visuals and labor associated with that - including the days leading to the home show day - in which your crew sets up the actual display and deals with any final issues. Don't forget your display materials - banners, printouts, etc. (Please don't go into business cards, read more why here). These promotional materials of course include costs associated with design work and printing. Finally, logistics of travel, delivery, storage, rentals, etc., drive the total cost up - usually at the last minute. We won't put a total cost here since the quality of your home show booth can significantly impact the total, but we encourage you to put some dollars here and come up with the total and then, based on #3, decide on the ROI.
The reason you did this in the first place! If you've been in the industry for over 6 or 7 years, you'll know that after participating in home shows back then, you walked away with amazing leads - you were thrilled, jumping for joy. You also know that the last few home shows, you've noticed that the leads (qualified leads, meaning they wanted more than weekly lawn-care service), are decreasing every year. Are you hoping that despite the trend (validated by what you are hearing from similar landscape contractor's experiences) - that it will suddenly change this year? It won't. The trends of the $50,000 project leads have been on the downhill - mostly because of the above first reason, will continue to go downhill. It's simply not where you'll find your prospects anymore. It's time to consider your other options. After coming up with your total for costs involved, we urge you to consider other ways to spend this budget. Ways that align to the new way that your prospects buy (not at home shows!). They buy online. And the way you attract, convert them, and make them happy is with marketing that uses your website content as the foundation. Read more here about what this kind of marketing can do for your business here.
We know that changing a key annual marketing approach can be hard for small businesses. Especially since you have limited resources in researching other options, but ROI on your marketing is the most important thing you can spend time evaluating - its what will either keep you on the path of growth or get you there. Good luck!