How to Create 20+ Commercial Tree Surgery Leads in a Month
Check out a strategy we’ve implemented and if you should too…
- Date: 27 March 2020
So you’re tree surgeons as well? Great.
Today we’re going to give out advice to the other tradesman out there rather than a customer facing article. This technique should work for just about any trade out there. Sure, you’re just going to have to slightly adjust the strategy but the overall premise will work either way.
So, a couple of months ago we secured 15 commercial tree surgery quotes in a month – through email marketing! In this article we are going to detail how we did it so you can copy us and do the same in your city.
We have tried the technique for other businesses and got even more quotes out of it. For example, cleaning generated us as many as 50 leads in a month!
You might already be thinking of the effectiveness and if you should be doing this – don’t worry. We’ll cover the results and expenses etc. too.
Let’s start with how you do it
As we mentioned… email! This isn’t newsletter stuff, this is good old fashioned email blasting using modern techniques. We’re always looking for ways to increase the reach and sales of our tree surgery in Cambridge business! So we tried email.
This method is very much the shotgun approach. We’re throwing as much as possible at the wall and hoping it eventually sticks. It’s not pretty. It’s not popular with modern, slick marketing techniques, but it works. Not enough people, and someone is going to be experiencing problems with their trees.
So to be precise, we are sending out thousands and thousands of emails out a day to local businesses in our area. Again, we’ll go over the effectiveness of the strategy but it is certainly finite. It can be repeated each year for a few months but any more than that and you’ll be considered an absolute spam artist.
So we hit these thousands of businesses with a nice precise email describing us and our services. This is very much all about luck and timing combined with hitting enough people. Most people will not need tree surgery services right now. However, we are banking on catching out those that have randomly thought about it recently. Maybe they have a few problem trees with overgrown branches but they never got round to solving it. Well, now they have a nice, professional email in their inbox offering to come and give them a free quote soon. I’ll go into exactly how you write the email soon.
So it is unlikely that we will inspire somebody to take us up on our services.
However it is relatively likely that if they need a tree surgeon, they don’t know a tree surgeon and need the service – you will get a response. Sure, this is only going to be one in hundreds but only one in hundreds need our service right now. We are touching everybody to get to the people that need our services. Generally the response rate for us is a few per 1000 email sent.
Then we also occasionally get emails a few months in advance saying “hey we had an email from you about tree surgery and now we need help.” So if truth be told we are probably getting a less than 1% response rate. However less than 1% is not that bad if we can affordable and efficiently send out thousands of emails. Which is what we are going to do!
A lot of marketing these days attempts to be flashy over practical. The result is all that matters, this is getting results so we will continue to talk about it now, despite it being ugly.
We suppose a strength is that not every tree surgeon out there it’s going to be doing this strategy. Whereas, in the marketing industry itself there are millions of emails going out every single day. So it is pretty rare for you as a tree surgeon to be emailing people, meaning less competition in the inbox.
Also a lot of these marketing companies are from India and send pure spam. I am going to show you ways of personalising this email and making it attractive while also retaining the shotgun approach we need to get adequate conversions. This is also going to help us to fight GDPR regulations.
Building your data list
Firstly we need people to send these emails to. Hopefully you did not get too nervous when I said send out thousands of emails a day. This is actually easier than you would think. Guess what? You will not even be gathering the emails. You will be paying somebody from fiverr. Fiverr is good for some freelance work as the freelancers rely on good reviews to keep their business going. This generally means a good service, although you often pay for what you get.
We have messaged just about every freelancer on fiver to get the very best guy. If you would like us to share who gets our emails, no problem, just send us a message. What you need to do is hire a scraper. They are specialists at Python as far as we are aware.
They are going to get your list of email addresses from sites like Thomson, yelp and yell.
Gathering the contacts
This is the easy part. In fact, you won’t be gathering the emails. You will hire someone to do it for you. If you send us a nice email, we will consider giving you the person who gets our emails.
These directories have endless businesses on them. This means their website is listed on the directory. Your scraper can now run a program which scrapes specific parts of the directory a.k.a. the website link and then scrape specific information of the website a.k.a. the email address. Fortunately this is legal because we are taking public information, just efficiently.
You need to give your scraper two sets of instructions. The first set of instructions is that the areas you want to work, in or the radius. So for example we gave Cambridge Cambridgeshire, Newmarket, Soham, Ely, Mildenhall, Bedford, Huntingdon, Thetford and Peterborough as our target areas. You need to do the same. Pick areas that you are happy to travel to and work in. Obviously the wider the radius the more email addresses you can utilise and the more quotes you can get.
The next instructions are the business categories that we want to target. So, for example, you might want to target racecourses, dentistries, schools, nurseries and so on. Your scraper can now align the locations you want to target with the business categories you want to target.
You can make this process between yourself and the scraper more refined over time. We request there are no duplicate entries and the data comes in a specific format.
We have negotiated a deal of $50 for 5000 email addresses, which is about £40. We would see this is good value considering these are business categories that we want in areas that we want to cover all while not actually doing the scraping ourselves.
You will want to take us up on giving you our scraper as many will want to charge you prices like 1000 emails for £15 etc. And the strategy becomes a whole lot more expensive. Most of us tree surgeons don’t have thousands lying around to throw at a strategy we read about online! So let’s keep it cheap.
The other benefits of having specific business categories is that we can personalise I’ll message to each category. This makes our email see more attractive more specific and less spammy and ugly.
Go ahead and get on fiverr. Say you’re a tree surgeon and you’re looking to email local businesses. Type in scraper in the search bar and get asking how much it is per email. Obviously the larger the order, the more emails you can get for your money. Also, consider going for as wider group of businesses as possible so that you get an excess on the 5000 ordered so you know you can keep going. This strategy is effective when you can get 20-50,000 email addresses. So don’t be too stingy as you never know who will need your help.
Shipping the emails off
Cool, so now that you have your list of email addresses you can get them sent off. We use the software called sendgrid.
We believe it is now owned by to Twilio, Which is under the Amazon and Jeff Bezos umbrella. It’s been a great software for us. Reliable, useful and some good functionalities to protect us from GDPR. Also, sendgrid claims to not be for strategists like us, but they’ve never attempted to stop us from sending these emails out, even though it’s totally obvious.
Maybe if you were getting into the millions sent they would start having something to say. But as long as you’re paying their fee, they don’t seem to mind. The fee for you, good tree surgeon, is about £30-£40 per month for sendgrid.
So now that we have our email addresses, we need to upload them into Sendgrid. This is where it is useful to add another stipulation to your fiverr order. We specify that but you want a document per each category of business. So, we want an XML file containing all of the dentists and we want a separate XML file for all of the schools and nurseries.
We can then upload each file into send grid under the contacts page, obviously naming each group as the business category it is.
Another stipulation we need to specify to the scraper is that we want and XML file with three separate columns. The first two columns do not actually matter. Those are going to be first name and last name. We have always made up first and last names, Sendgrid does not seem to care. The third column is for our email addresses and send grid wants the format to be like this when we upload our list of contacts. So your scraper can give you the data how you like it for speed and efficiency.
Okay now that we have uploaded our various groups of emails, like schools, places or worship and offices, we can write the email.
Formulating an attractive email
Next we need to send the email. Our strategy is a mix of personalism and speed. So we use the same format for every single business category, just with a few tweaks. This is how it looks:
My name is X from X tree surgery (registered SafeContractor).
Your [something related to their business category] e.g. [place of worship] likely has a dedicated tree arborist already – if you aren’t completely happy with them or want another quote, I could be a good option for you. We’re a small company (won’t break the bank, 6 guys) and have all the experience and equipment needed.
We operate in [your service areas].
Please send an email back (or you can ask them to call) if you have any trees or hedges that require a quote for their care and attention. Here are some of our services:
Tree Surgery: then add a brief one line description of the service
Crown Reduction & Thinning: the same here.
Hedge Services: the same here.
Planting: the same here.
And any other services you provide.
If you need any help at your [about their business] e.g. [place of worship], just email me back!
[Your name] from The Cambridge Tree Surgeons – SafeContractor (or equivalent third party source of trust), [your mobile number]
[Your website link]
That’s it for the bulk of the email. Then you can create a footer which includes your name and an unsubscribe button. If anyone does unsubscribe, their email will fall into the ‘global unsubscribe’ group (should be default), meaning if you email this group again, they won’t get it.
Also make sure the email looks GOOD! Get nice spacing between the paragraphs, don’t make sentences too long etc. – the nice thing about Sendgrid yet again is that you can send a test email to yourself, it will be a function on the left hand side.
The subject line
So that’s the email itself written. Now we need a catchy subject line. We tested quite a few in the many thousands we sent. We won’t give the exact line, but we were blatantly introducing ourselves. Remember, this strategy is about being professional, honest, upfront and straightforward. We are doing extremely soft selling and almost apologetic to be disrupting their day. It’s kind of like a… “Hey, do you need anything doing on your landscape? No? Not to worry!”
We aren’t hard selling or trying to trick anyone. We are putting a simple, informative, short, effective and attractive email in front of them which will attract people that actually want out service.
So yes, go for an honest subject line that perhaps has a hint, just a slither of curiosity thrown in, but don’t dupe anyone. It won’t sit right with them.
When writing your subject line or the bulk of your email think who you are targeting. We aren’t targeting the company with no budget, no intentions of getting any tree surgery services or anything like that. We are writing to the people who have recently thought about hiring a tree company like yours and just haven’t got round to it. You are writing to that person. Hey, you need what we have, we’re professional, we’re nearby, we can give you a quote. That’s the mindset.
What about the dreaded GDPR?
We did a decent amount of research on how to get round GDPR. The blunt and honest truth is that GDPR can’t be policed or enforced. It’s just not possible. There are millions and millions of illegal emails going out. So unless you are also sending millions and millions out, there’s no way anyone is going to say anything to you.
Anyway, after doing some research we realised we can do what we do. For one, their email addresses on their website which is public information. Secondly is that we are sending the email with genuine intent. We are messaging say, a place of worship and acknowledging that’s what they are, that we have helped people like them in the past and that we have services which can help them.
On top of that we are giving people the chance option to unsubscribe in the footer. We add a little P.S. to our messages saying: if you would like to never receive an email again from us, simply click the unsubscribe button below!
That’s more than enough to protect you from GDPR.
… That’s most of the theory and strategy now. You can go out there and get it done just like we have!
How effective is the strategy?
The strategy is effective as we had 15 decent leads in a single month for commercial businesses. We quotes for most of the 15 and pulled a few jobs from it.
This is a great strategy for just about any tree surgery company as it’s sure to make a profit. Considering how cheap it is to run, it’s mostly a time investment you’ll be going for.
Considering you can get 20,000 email addressed for £150, it’s hard to think you won’t get a single business out of that number to hire you for a job. It’s almost impossible that anyone within that pool of people doesn’t need SOME sort of tree, hedge, landscape, firewood or crown work.
Organising the emails, re-writing the emails so they are correct for the category you are going for, speaking back and forth with the scraper and so on is your biggest cost. However, if you are an organised individual you can get several thousands pumping out each day in the morning without too much work.
For a brand new surgery company it’s a great way to get the ball rolling. Other strategies will take time but this is something you can do and have setup within a week or so. Then you can somewhat systemise it. When you eventually run out of emails, you can hold off for 6 months and do the rounds again. Maybe 12 months. It’s up to you. But Sendgrid works in that you can come back and revisit a send you made, so you can just send the same thing. This is what I meant about using modern software.
Of the quotes, as mentioned, a few came in. One was great. An invaluable connection. He owns a racecourse in Newmarket, which is obviously a big deal and has plenty of trees across Cambridgeshire. Another was a basic tree removal so that was good and another was a small trimming job.
All three jobs are worth a lot though as they are chances to get Google reviews, they’re chances to get referred and recommended and they’re chances to be used in the future one day too.
So the strategy is only effective if you can send in the tens of thousands range. Again, this is going to mean hitting a lot of companies where you would never think they have trees. You are simply hedging your bets and hoping not to miss anyone that could need your service. We even had instances of people saying they might want something at their house looking at.
Even of the 15 we suppose the conversion rate wasn’t that good if only a few came in. Again, we are happy with it overall, but it really is low converting from the amount you send out. So don’t expect bucket loads of enquiries coming through.
The other thing to think about is… Just because you are doing this strategy, it doesn’t mean you can’t be doing others. You are not married or limited to this. It affects nothing else you’re doing and is just a good side strategy.
Will we keep going?
As mentioned, we will be coming back to this in 6-12 months. We will get one more month of emails out then that will be it for as far as we are willing to travel.
There are probably better long term strategies than this. But again, do them then. It’s not a case of one or the other.
For any specific questions about the strategy feel free to get in touch and we are happy to talk about any more of the finer details if you need us.
Just drop us an email! Thanks for reading.
The Cambridge Tree Surgeons
Phone: 01223 653 965
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