I was on the train from New Jersey to Philadelphia, and as I sat and stared out the window, I found myself counting all the inground pools as we passed. It was somewhat challenging because the train was moving so fast, but in total I counted 50 inground pools. The reason I didn't count the above ground pools was because there was just too many.

I thought, "if I owned a pool service company, how could I harness this power of visually counting the number of pools in a given area?" Then it hit me! Google Maps.

When I got home, I rushed to the computer, Google Mapped my address and switched to satellite view.

When I zoomed in, I could literally see and count all of the inground pools in my development.

This was a simple, yet innovative, way to build up a customer base for FREE. You can map out a pool route or create a mailing list of targeted customers.

The following is just some ideas on how you could use this new information. I'm sure there will be limitations on what you can do, but it's fun to try out.

  1. Find a housing development that you suspect has a plethora of inground pools.
  2. Create a personalized letter that has a handwritten address on the envelop. In my experience, mail that is handwritten gets opened (and don't try using a handwriting font, that's cheating and it won't be as effective).
  3. Offer them a special discount and/or reward them for referring a neighbor.
  4. Provide one simple call-to-action, whether it be a phone number or website address to claim the offer.
  5. Record the amount you send versus the responses you get and constantly try to improve this number (conversion rate).

Test this on one development to start and see what kind of response you get. If no one calls, don't give up. Try it again, but change your offer and your message. Keep testing until you find a formula that works for you and gets you a good return rate.
This may seem like a tedious process, but it will give you a better chance to create an intimate relationship with that customer and build it on it. Plus, it's a free way to grow your customer base without paying for out-of-date list from the township or from a mailing list company (which I strongly suggest you avoid).

This idea is not about blanketing your dull message to a ton of pool owners and hoping for a response. This gives you a good opportunity to refine your message and figure out what works best for you.

If you try this out, or have done it already, I'd love to hear from you in the comments about your experience.

Happy Swimming!