Things have been going well for Houston, Texas’ Richard’s Backyard Pool Solutions.

JR Richards, Richards Total Backyard Solutions
JR Richards, Richards Total Backyard Solutions

In 2023, the pool side of the business fell somewhere higher than 2020’s numbers, but a little lower than 2021. “But obviously, 2021 and 2022 were crazy because of Covid,” Richard says.

While he’s happy with that part of the company, it’s the spa side that has been the star performer lately. This comes largely a result of certain realities facing pools.

“We’re seeing a significant increase [in spa sales] because the cost of pools has gone up,” Richard says. “People are looking at hot tubs as an alternative to getting pools. And more people are looking at wellness concerns and doing things that are good for their health.”

With a strong January, Richard expects this product category to remain robust through 2024.

Aware of the effect elections sometimes have on sales, Richard has been paying close attention, but so far sees no effects. “It’s always a little sketchy, because sometimes people hold off on making decisions until they see who’s going to be in the White House,” he says. “So far we haven’t seen a decline in our hot tub sales at all, and pool sales are steady.”

Targeted approach

To help his company keep sales figures in check, Richard and his team have boosted and modernized its marketing efforts to reach the right people.

It had already focused on Google ads and using sound SEO practices to place it top of page during searches. The company has recently begun increasing social media engagement, posting more videos and information than before.

Now it’s added streaming commercials to its marketing mix. With platforms such as Hulu and YouTube, the company can designate the demographics and specific zip codes that it wants to reach. This contrasts with cable commercials of old, where a business would have to choose the channel and programs to advertise in.

“You don’t care if they’re watching 'Real Housewives of Atlanta' or the sports channels,” Richard says. “It’s just targeting that audience. They could be watching anything, and our ad would show up.”

He attributes the more targeted campaign to the company’s ability to maintain or even gain market share in its area.

“I did a real test on it for about 120 days, and it did seem to help with sales,” he observes. “We were not down as much as the whole market. We didn’t stop our pay-per-clicks or SEO, we just added this to our mix. I believe it helped us gain market share and keep us from being off as much as some of the other companies.”

Richard expects to continue this approach through the year. He believes the more honed targeting will help the company reach potential customers three or four times per campaign, which he believes is crucial to make a lasting impression.

“You only have so many buyers out there, so the more times you can be in front of those prospective buyers, the more you’re top of mind,” Richard says. “If they see you three times... you’ll be one of the people they remember and call, instead of them just Googling.”

Generally speaking, he tries to make such an impression in 90 days.

Drip campaign

Once a customer reaches out to the company, Richard and his team continue to use frequency in its favor, through a drip campaign to maintain a connection with leads.

After prospects contact the company, they immediately begin receiving emails to welcome and thank them, followed by messages containing information or notifying them of specials to motivate them to come back. All is meant to keep them in the loop.

This regular communication continues after the sale is made. They’ll receive updates on the status of their project, such as permit filing. If the crew is preparing to deliver a spa, for instance, they might send a video to the customer, showing the team on the way.

“It just makes them more confident and more excited about getting their product, and they know they’re on our radar and we’re not forgetting them.”

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