Pest Control Marketing

The Definitive Guide to Developing a Strategy and Generating More Leads from Digital Marketing in 2017

For most medium to large pest control companies, killing bugs is the easy part.

Pest control marketing, on the other hand, is becoming more and more difficult, especially for larger operators who need a steady stream of leads to keep their business profitable.

Here at WSI, we work with pest control operators all over the country and have developed a proprietary system for pest control marketing that merges creative ideas with strategies that work. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the most common challenges we have to overcome as well as our 6 Step Noise Cancelling Marketing Formula (updated for 2017).

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Challenges with Pest Control Marketing

Challenges with Pest Control Marketing

Having worked with pest control operators at large and medium sized companies across the country, we’ve noticed several common threads which seem to get in the way of a really successful campaign. How many of these apply to you?

Time Constraints

Most people running pest control operations have alot to juggle... HR, accounting, payroll, cash flow, equipment, real estate, training, certifications, licensing, marketing... the list goes on and on.

Uncertainty & Budget Questions

If you built the core of your business in the 70s, 80s, or 90s, there’s a good chance that the marketing techniques used then are either totally out of date or a much smaller percentage of your marketing efforts today.

Knowing how to make the best use of your advertising budget is tough, especially if traditional advertising has been part of the mix.

Execution

Even with lots of good information about how to set a budget and which strategies to use, the real question is - who’s going to do all this work?

Do you have staff in house who can handle it? If so, can you properly supervise them and give them direction on what needs to be done?

Others go for the “outsource” or agency route, hiring someone like WSI to run their campaign. This makes it a little easier to relax as someone else is doing the “heavy lifting” to so speak, but also brings a different set of issues.

Both have their pros and cons, so it’s best to evaluate which scenario works best for your company.

Evaluation

How do you know when your marketing is working? How do you know if your digital marketing activities are paying off?

Did someone call because they read a review on Angie's List, saw your post on Facebook, clicked on your ad in a Google search, or because they saw your truck in the neighborhood working on a neighbor’s house?

Given today’s buying cycle, attribution can be a difficult thing to measure.

However, there are tools you can use to get a better understanding of your ROI, and with proper benchmarking it can be done.

If these challenges sound familiar, you're not alone!

Most successful pest control companies have good processes for hiring people, controlling pests and generally keeping their clients happy. The reason they are so good at their business is because they were founded by someone who had genuine expertise in the field of bugs and those founders also cared about people. That type of company culture is a big part of why they’re successful.

However, most “bug people” aren’t often “marketing people” too.  And given the rapid pace of change from offline to online (or digital) marketing, many pest control operators are scratching their heads about how to use their budgets to pick the right strategies that produce the highest number of quality leads at the lowest possible cost.

Now that we've outlined the challenges, let's get to the solutions! Digital marketing is really not that different. Here at WSI, we follow a proprietary 6 Step Formula to ensure each campaign has the best chance of success.

6 Step Noise Cancelling Pest Control
Marketing Formula

Here are the key factors to address with your developer or host in order to have a fully functional pest control website:

Photography

Stock photography is a cop out for a local or regional pest control operator. Get high quality pictures of your service technicians, your fleet, your team, your office and a sampling of your clients including the residential and commercial clients.

Photography of your people and vehicles can be used on your website, social media, email marketing and offline printed materials.

Mobile

In 2015, mobile devices overtook desktop as the preferred method of searching the internet.  Additionally, statistics show that on average, roughly 55% of searches have local intent, and 88% of those searches result in a local purchase.

Use Google’s Mobile Friendly Tool to test your site for it’s mobile friendliness and work with your developer to fix any errors.

Fast & Secure

Mobile isn’t the only thing Google is concerned with. In 2015, Google also announced changes to their search results to reward websites which loaded quickly and were secure using https security.

Use Google’s Website Page Speed Test to check your website load speeds. Then ask your web developer or host what can be done to speed them up as well as add https security to your site which is relatively inexpensive.

Good call(s) to action

Does your website have a good conversion strategy? Pest control websites should have at least 2 of the following calls to action

  • Telephone Number (clickable)
  • Schedule an Inspection or Request a Free Inspection (text or form)
  • Request Service (text or form)
  • Email/special offer signup
Logos/Certifications/Awards

Is your company accredited with the Better Business Bureau, Green Pro Certified, or a certified provider of certain products or services? Are you a member of a local, regional or national pest management association? Have you won an award for your service?

Make sure your design incorporates these logos so they are visible throughout the site either in the footer or sidebar.

Customer Reviews

Studies show that 88% of people trust REAL customer reviews as much as a referral, so make sure to incorporate customer reviews into your website in a highly visible place. You can link to your customer review portals or use codes to embed reviews directly onto their website. Testimonial videos are another powerful idea.

Pages for Each Service

I’m sure you have at least 1 page on your site dedicated to “pest control”, but is that a single page with a bullet list of services?

Do you also offer termite control? What about bed bug control? How about wildlife exclusion? Commercial service? Lawn care? Mosquito Control?

Build a page on your website for each service you offer, and consider doing the same thing for high interest products such as Termidor or Sentricon if you work with them.

Areas We Serve Section

One strategy that the big national pest & termite companies execute extremely well is developing content for each area they service. However, most local or regional pest operators simply put a bullet list on the home page which mentions their service areas.

How you build out an “Areas We Serve” section will vary depending on your service area and number of locations, but don’t overlook the importance of building good landing pages for each location where you service customers.

Once your website is up and running, it’s time to move into the next phase which addresses your local search visibility, or Local SEO (search engine optimization).

Local SEO Checklist

Google Local

Google Local, Google Plus, Google Places for Business – whatever you call it (Google keeps changing the name), this is your #1 step on the Local SEO checklist.

Insider tips for getting the most out of Google Local:

  • Make sure your business information is consistent – put the name of your company exactly as it appears on other places like your website, Facebook etc. Consistency of information is absolutely critical in this process!
  • Get at least 5 legitimate reviews – No matter what your long term review strategy is, budget some time to make sure you obtain at least real 5 reviews on your Google local profile in order to quality for star ratings.

Other Google Tools

Take some time with your web developer to make sure you are utilizing these important Google tools, all of which are FREE:

  • Google Analytics
  • Google Webmaster Tools
  • Google Structured Data Tools (for Schema markup)
  • Google Page Speed Insights

Local Business Listings

Once you’ve claimed and verified your Google Local account and installed the above mentioned tools correctly, it’s time to start the process of obtaining a business listing with a link back to your website from as many relevant websites as you can.

Setup profiles on websites where your business will be active.  This includes websites like Bing, Yelp, Angie’s List, Facebook, LinkedIn and the Better Business Bureau.

Use a service or vendor to add additional listings.  There are between 50-100 legitimate listing opportunities for most local or regional pest control companies including Merchant Circle, EZ Local, Insider Pages, Brownbook and Hotfrog to name a few.

Leverage your business network for links.  Make sure to contact every association you are a part of, every organization or event you sponsor and every vendor you work with to make sure your business is listed in the appropriate place.

Blogging

“Your business needs a blog” is certainly advice you’ve heard before. If you’re doing it and getting good results – keep reading to the next section.

But if you’re not blogging yet, it’s time to start.

You’ll find that well written blog content will be displayed high in rankings by search engines, and your customers and colleagues will engage with it on social media.

There are 2 main reasons pest control operators fail at blogging:

Don’t commit to a schedule. We have never seen a client blog successfully without first having a schedule for the month or quarter about what topics they want to cover.

Don’t hire a writer or assign blogging to an employee.  You must either assign bloging to someone in the company as part of their job, or contract with a writer who is familiar with the pest industry.

Non-Home Markets

Most pest control operators have an original or “home” location where they were started in which they enjoy above average visibility. The size of each “home” circle depends on the market, size of the company and how long they have been there.

However, once pest operators get outside of their home market, they often have a tough time. Local customers aren’t as familiar with the brand and they run into heavy competition from operators who are in their own “home” markets.

There are 3 primary white hat strategies for gaining traction outside your home market:

01

Location Marketing

Nothing trumps a physical location when it comes to marketing for new pest & termite customers.

If you have a physical location, make sure it’s listed on your website and follow the local procedures outlined above.
02

Website Content

Short of a Google local page, the next best tool in your arsenal is creating high quality website content including creating website pages under Areas We Serve and blogging about topics relevant to local markets.
03

Pay Per Click & Lead Generation Sites

Paid advertising on Google, Yahoo, Bing and lead generation sites like Angie’s List are great strategies for improving visibility in locations where your organic rankings are weak.

Not everyone is ready to schedule an inspection the first time they visit your site, but you can put them into a sales funnel by leveraging calls to action and special offers on your website.

4 Types of Lead Capture for Pest Control Websites

Email marketing with lead nurturing

Email marketing strategies can range from simple to complex, so if you’ve never done it, consistently start simple. As you learn, add in nuances such as tarageted messages to specific lists and eventually marketing automation.

The first step is to organize your existing client list by service – pest control, termite control, etc. Then, send a monthly newsletter with seasonal information. If you can’t get to it monthly do it every 60 days.

Studies show that 88% of consumers trust verified customer reviews just as much a referral.

Pest control companies are not alone in dealing with this shift in consumer behavior. That’s why you can’t afford to put off making a change in how you handle reviews if you haven’t done so already.

The new version of comment cards

Almost every pest control operator we work with has some system of feedback or comment cards which the technician has the customer fill out upon completing their job.

This is an old school technique that works for getting feedback and maybe an email address, but it does nothing for your online reviews.

Here are some practical solutions for being proactive with reviews:

Equip your technicians with iPads and ask customers to complete their feedback on the device then post it to their social networks.

Incorporate a request for reviews in your billing follow up system that goes out via email once a job is complete or with the monthly bill.

Educate your staff on how to ask customers to leave a review on Google at every opportunity including telephone, in person or via email.

Leverage a review portal such as Customer Lobby or Guild Quality which automates the review request process.

Invest in a reputation management tool which centralizes all of your reviews in one place and allows you to respond quickly to new reviews.

 

Our guiding advice to pest control companies when it comes to social media is to be the kind of company they like to follow. If you ask the average business owner or manager what they like on social media, they’ll tell you they want to be informed, entertained or connected.

Focus on how your business can do those things and you’ll be fine.

Social Media Strategies for Pest Control:

Inform, Educate & Entertain
  • Create & share educational content from your blog
  • Share images from the field which show real pests around homes & businesses
  • Curate & share relevant local, seasonal or industry news related to pest control
  • Repost fun, silly or interesting things from your local area even if they’re not related to your business at all.
Build Your Customer Base
  • Incorporate social media icons on your website, email signature and offline marketing materials
  • Set aside a small budget for Facebook Likes & Boosts especially in areas outside your “home” market
  • Post content about your lesser known services
  • Interact with other local businesses on social media
  • Contact commercial clients directly on channels such as LinkedIn
Convert
  • Post timely news in conjunction with relevant special offers
  • Utilize social media calls to action
  • Experiment with Facebook offers

Best Social Media Sites for Pest Companies:

Facebook

Facebook

YouTube

YouTube

LinkedIn

LinkedIn

Twitter

Twitter

Pinterest

Pinterest

Google Plus

Google Plus

Here at WSI, we focus the majority of our pest campaign efforts on Facebook, YouTube & LinkedIn as those seem to produce the best results.  However the other social networks have their place, so make the decision on which ones are best for you based on where you are with social media now and how much you want to invest of either time, money or both!

The reality is that there are only so many organic listings available for competitive local keywords and there may be dozens or even hundreds of competitors vying for those top 3-10 spots.

Buying advertising space on search engines like Google, lead generation sites such as Angie’s List combined with retargeting technology is a sure-fire way to make sure your company shows up when someone searches for a pest control provider in your local market.

Paid Advertising Strategies for Pest Control:

Pay Per Click (PPC)

A well run pay per click (PPC) campaign is perhaps the best use of marketing budget a pest control operator has at their disposal. Selecting a targeted group of keywords and running ads in a geographically targeted area ensures your listings show up in the top 3-4 search results where searchers are looking.

There are a few considerations for pest control PPC campaigns:

Budget –  PPC budgets vary wildly due to factors such as competition (national, regional and local), population density, the number of keywords and geographic targeting.

Keywords – Within pest control, there are a few primary groups of keywords which generate most of the activity. Those keywords are:

  • Pest control
  • Termite control
  • Bed bugs

Yes there are thousands of variations of these keywords and lots of others you could add, but for most operators, the activity associated with these keywords is enough to exhaust whatever budget they have.

Radius – Each PPC campaign requires the advertiser to set a radius within which their ads will appear. Generally speaking, the wider the radius the larger the budget.

Landing Pages – If you are buying a click related to termite control, send them to the Termite Control page on your website, NOT the home page. The same principle applies to any other ad group you create.

Retargeting

Retargeting, also called remarketing, tracks people who have visited your website and shows them an ad on selected websites for the next 30 days.

If they don’t call or fill out a form when they visit your website, a good retargeting campaign ensures they’ll be reminded of your business quite a few times over the next few weeks while they’re still in the decision phase of the buyer journey.

Display

Display ads are banner ads which appear on content based sites such as local news stations or blogs and definitely have their place for larger pest control operators.

Display addresses the “branding” end of the marketing spectrum and companies with larger budgets do see an improvement in the overall number of leads and improvement in ROI when utilizing at least a part of their marketing budget for display advertising.

Lead Generation Sites

As if advertising on Google, Yahoo and Bing weren’t enough, there’s a good chance you’ve heard from the sales team at Yelp, Angie’s List, Home Advisor, Thumbtack, Porch or other consumer-oriented website communities.

Over the years we’ve worked on pest control campaigns, the ROI from these types of lead generation sites have waxed and waned. It’s best to evaluate the results individually in your market.

Next Step

If you’ve made it all the way through our pest control marketing guide, you’re clearly looking to make a change in your business!

We wish you the best of luck implementing these strategies in your business. We haven’t hid anything from you…it’s all right here on this page!

Or, if you’d like a free consultation on how WSI can help, please contact us today!

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