Common Pest Control Marketing Mistakes
It’s no secret that the pest control industry is cutthroat. With so many competitors out there, industry success often comes down to marketing. My strategic management instructor constantly drilled that specific concept to the class. Without product or service differentiation, business success always comes down to marketing. I can still hear his voice, “Marketing, Marketing, MARKETING!” After all, pest control, is pest control, is pest control… At least in the eyes of our customers.
With a pest control company’s success often coming down to effective marketing strategies, it’s critical that mistakes are avoided. Here are the three biggest marketing mistakes pest control companies make:
1. Having No Concept of Your Target Customer.
Most of us pest control operators know our businesses up and down. We know what chemicals work best on each and every pest we treat. We know that our customers want pests out of their homes and away from their families. What we are not always clear on is who our ideal customers are.
Example: You’re sending out a coupon mailer about cockroach control, but to a zip code that is comprised mainly of apartment complexes. The problem? Apartment renters are not your ideal customers for cockroach control. Cockroach control is generally left up to a landlord, and those receiving your mailer just don’t sign pest control service agreements. Many pest control professionals don’t identify their target market because they believe their methods and products are the best, and they simply sell themselves.
Bottom line: If you are marketing to someone who is not your ideal customer, they will have no interest in what you’re selling. You don’t want to market your pest control services at a PETA rally.
2. Not Listening to Your Target Customer’s Needs.
Even if a pest control operator spends the time and money identifying their target demographic through market research, many don’t listen to what those ideal customers really want. This actually happens quite frequently when a pest control company has too many add-on services.
Example: The target market for pest control in Texas is a customer in need of bee control. If a customer is looking for help with their bee problem, and you begin to tell them about all the other services you have through sales and advertising (i.e. bedbug prevention, lawn and pool care, etc.), then you have sidetracked their thought process. Instead of listening to your customer’s primary need of bee control, you have created what is known as cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance occurs when the brain receives two or more conflicting signals. When this happens, the brain shuts down and you have likely lost a customer.
Bottom line: Focus your marketing efforts primarily on one specific customer need. Show customers the benefits of a pest control service agreement, and how it will alleviate their pain, their fears, and their pest problems. Once you get your foot in the door, offer other services.
3. Having an Insignificant Value Proposition.
A value proposition is a pest control operator’s promise of the worth to the customer. A customer must believe that the value of your service, and the products you use, will actually work. Simply stated, customers must believe you can effectively solve their pest problem. It’s best to keep your value proposition short and to the point.
Example: On the side of your pest control truck you have the name of your company, “Tony’s Pest Control” in big, bold, vibrant lettering. Your customers really don’t care all that much about the name of your company. They really want to know what your value proposition is, or what you can do for them. When a potential customer sees your pest control truck, or gets an advertisement in the mail, always make your value proposition with a guarantee the main headline. Make your company name or logo a little smaller on any advertisement, and ensure it’s not the main attraction.
Bottom line: If a customer wants what you are selling, then they will make an effort to find out the name of the company selling it. Remember, a customer wants to know what you can do for them first and foremost.
Improve Your Marketing
By identifying your target customer, listening to their needs, and delivering a significant value proposition, you will avoid costly marketing mistakes made some pest control operators and will be more successful by increasing your sales and growing your business.
Written by Anthony Ball