Is your customer invoice a part of your marketing plan? Why not? I mean, really. After all, it's a repeat point of contact with someone who already has decided to do business with you.
Presumably they are already happy with your services. So what better time to make another offer or to upsell your services than right now, while they have their hand on their wallet, thinking about paying you.
So, what exactly should be on your invoices? Well, of course all the normal business stuff. You know, the date of service, description of what you did, an amount to pay, etc. But have you ever thought about including any of these on your invoices:
--Method of Contact --
Yes, you need to constantly provide multiple ways for your customer to reach you. Sure you know all your phone numbers and website, but your customer has probably lost your business card by now. That's why all your contact information needs to be on every invoice. It's like a new business card every week, and your phone number is there at precisely the moment they are thinking about you.
You should include all your business phone numbers (including cell phone), your mailing address, your email address, your website addresses, infolines if you use them( you know,"call for free recorded information about your lawn."), and any other way your customer can get in touch with you or your services.
--Method of Payments--
Let your customers know how easy it is to do business with you. If you accept any form of payment other than cash or checks, you gotta let them know. Do you have a merchant account to accept credit cards? Do some research to find out if you can afford this. Know this... your bank isn't the only way to get one of these. What about accepting payment through PayPal on your website? An awful lot of people in your target demographic use Paypal. What about offering a payment plan to break up 9 months of service into a 12 month payment plan.
How about a short note concerning what services would be appropriate at this time of the year. Your customer may not be aware that a related product or service exists, much less that you offer it. Is it time for aeration? Let your customer know, while they are paying their invoice, what aeration will do for their lawn. You can come up with additional services at any time of the year. Put a short note on the invoices instead of sending out an entirely new mailing.
--PR Campaign Notice--
Are you using the PR tool to build free publicity? Bring attention to it in your invoices. Something like "Read an interview with me in the local paper tomorrow." Or "See our Fall Plantings Tips in this month's Real Estate News available at retailers everywhere." Maximize your PR efforts.
Make an offer in your invoice for reduced cost services, or print coupons for something like "One Free Tree with the purchase of Three." If you have a historically slow month coming up ( you can know this if you have marketing calendars from previous years) you can drum up extra business for those periods by running specials for your existing customers.
Use some space on that invoice to reprint testimonials (which you have solicited from other customers.) Be sure to describe the service performed which elicited those testimonials - it may be something which other customers didn't know you could do.
Print a survey or questionnaire on the bottom half of the invoice and include an incentive of some sort for your customer to take the time to respond to it.
This is a great way to find out what your customers actually want, not what you think they want. What better market research could you have than this? Have you been wondering what would make customers be loyal to you rather than switch to the next cheaper guy? Ask them(I'll bet it's not price either.) Are you struggling with what services to offer next? Put some choices in a survey and let your customers tell you what they want.
Offer a way for your customers to join your online newsletter. This will give you another inexpensive method to promote your services. It will give you unlimited opportunity to show your customers what your company can do.
As you can see, your invoices are actually VALUABLE real estate. Don't waste it by sending just another bill. Be creative and make it work for you.