3 Ways To Get More Calls For Pest Control And Which One Is The Best
In the world of digital marketing, it’s tough to figure out where you should spend your often-limited pest control marketing dollars.
You know you should advertise on the internet, but all the jargon and constant changes often make digital marketing seem, well, just too difficult.
How do you know how much to budget for online marketing?
What type of ads will give you the most bang for your buck?
How much traffic do you need and how quickly?
And most importantly, what is the best way to do it?
To answer these and other questions, it’s important to have a basic understanding of digital marketing.
A Quick Primer on Digital Marketing
Understanding your options means understanding the different ways to market online.
While there is a lot to know about digital marketing, you can get started by understanding this basic premise:
You can pay for your advertising and leads, or you can earn your way to more pest control customers.
SEO, PPC, and CPA isn’t a law firm in Idaho, it’s the lingo of online advertising and here’s what you need to know to get started.
Search Engine Optimization, is when you focus your marketing strategy to rank as high as possible in SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).
Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other search engines determine your pest control company’s rank in searches based on keywords your customers tend to use in their searches.
But it’s more than just knowing what your customers are searching for.
Search engines base their rankings on content that positions you as an authority, how people interact with your online presence, and links from others online.
Think of SEO as a type of digital marketing that “spreads the word” about your company through interaction with potential customers.
Pay Per Click, is a form of paid advertising where you pay a set amount every time someone clicks on your ad.
You are “buying” visits to your pest control company website instead of “earning” visits organically through SEO.
A PPC campaign targets an audience based on their specific interests using relevant keywords. Think “ants”, “termites,” and “pest control.”
The biggest difference between PPC and SEO is that PPC costs money and SEO is “free” (more on that later!).
When someone clicks on your PPC ad, you pay the agreed upon CPC (Cost per Click).
Pay Per Lead, is another form of paid advertising that isn’t as popular as SEO and PPC, but it has its place and deserves a look.
The PPL approach means you only pay for leads or conversions, instead of clicks.
Leads are usually in the form of phone calls or form submissions for pest control services.
With PPL usually a 3rd party owns the website where the leads are being generated from and they will sell them to you for a pre-determined cost.
These 3rd parties can be some of big players in local home services such as Home Advisor, Thumbtack, and Angie’s List or they can be small shops like a SEO agency who builds out a website with the intent to rank it on Google to generate leads to sell.
PPLs are designed to capture information about a potential customer and are much more targeted than PPC campaigns.
No signup or phone call = no cost!
So, what now?
So, you have a basic understanding of digital marketing, and you learned some cool new abbreviations.
Do you focus on SEO, PPC, or PPL? Which is best for your pest control business?
The correct answer may be “All three.”
No, we’re not copping out here, but determining which marketing approach YOU should take means understanding YOUR goals.
- Are you established in your industry or are you a small fish in a big pond of large pest control operations?
- Are you promoting a new service like wildlife control or commercial pre-treats.
- Is your service or product easy to understand? Do you need to educate your customers?
- Who are your most desirable leads? Are they large corporate accounts, or residential pest control customers?
Now it’s time to break all this down with a better understanding of what each method can and can’t do.
SEO vs. PPC vs. PPL: The Pros and Cons
Cost: Organic traffic is “free.” Free in the sense that you don’t actually pay for clicks or leads, but not technically free! All that great content and social media interaction will cost you time and money, but these efforts may provide the best return on your marketing dollars in the long run.
Branding: Creating visibility for your brand using the organic approach creates a level of trust that just can’t be achieved through paid advertising.
Visibility: Effective SEO tactics create higher rankings in search results using keywords that target the customers you want to attract.
Traffic: Organic marketing drives traffic to your company giving you opportunities to create awareness and establish your company as an authority through valuable content.
Competitive Advantage: Once your SEO efforts take hold and begin driving traffic, it’s hard for the competition to simply “buy” their way in with PPC or some other form of paid advertising.
Patience: The organic nature of SEO means that all that branding and visibility takes time and energy. Be prepared for the long-haul.
Time: SEO takes a lot of commitment to putting in the time to build your presence through great content, social media, and link building.
Content: Part of SEO is positioning your company as an authority, and that means having great content. You must either be able to create great content or pay someone to do it for you.
Learning Curve: SEO is less expensive than other digital marketing, and it can eventually drive consistent traffic, but there is a lot to learn to make your SEO campaign successful.
Visibility: Paid ads have higher visibility thanks to their prominence in search results. Google AdWords is the most popular PPC platform, and it allows you to use the power of Google to get your company noticed.
Targeted Audience: PPC campaigns are designed for your target audience which means more relevant leads.
Fine-tuning: Testing new products or a marketing message makes it easy to fine tune your approach. You can run different ads or try different visuals and get valuable feedback on what works and what doesn’t.
Budget Friendly: PPC strategies allow you to allocate specific amounts of your advertising budget so you can monitor your spending. You know what you will be paying for every click, and you can set a limit to keep things under control.
Clicks don’t equal buyers: Getting more “clicks” doesn’t necessarily mean you are getting more customers. From accidental clicks to searchers who are “just looking,” each click costs you money.
Cost: You have to pay per click of course, but you also have to bid on specific keywords. Without careful planning and a good strategy, all those clicks and locking down the right keywords can get expensive quickly.
On-going investment: Once you commit to a paid advertising campaign, you have to keep putting in the time and money and be patient until it starts paying off if you are not familiar with optimizing it.
Time: There’s no magic bullet that is going to generate new business overnight, so be prepared to wait for all those new customers. A successful PPC campaign can take up a lot of your time in monitoring it to make sure it is working right.
Cost Effective: You only pay when you get an actual lead. This allows you to spend more wisely.
Targeted Audience: The leads you receive should be vetted and this allows you to cherry pick what kind of business you would like to do.
Predictable: You can predict your revenue more easily due to knowing how many leads you are likely to get in a given amount of time.
Branding: You miss out on customers getting to know your brand as they are on a 3rd parties site to look for services.
Exclusivity: Unless you have an exclusive contract with the lead provider, you might be buying leads that have been sold multiple times.
Cheap Buyers: Depending on the platform the leads are being generated on, your prospective customers might be cheap or looking for a deal which means you might have to price your services lower to win a job.
So, should you choose SEO, PPC, or PPL?
If your company is just getting off the ground, then PPL may be the way to go. You need customers NOW, not weeks or months down the road.
If you are an established company, but you are introducing a new service, then PPC may be a better choice for getting that quick exposure.
You must be prepared to capitalize on those leads with effective landing pages and content that prompt those leads to become customers.
You must have the resources to engage with those leads while they are hot by having a process in place for keeping them on the hook like email campaigns and valuable content.
If you have more time than money and want to learn digital marketing, SEO might be a good choice, but keep in mind it is long term strategy and takes months to see significant results in most cases if you don’t know what you’re doing.
If you haven’t figured it out by now, there is no easy answer, but the best answer will probably consist of using SEO and paid advertising together.
A recent article on Moz by the Enquisite team sheds some light on this either/or dilemma.
The article cites research that shows organic results are 8.5 times more likely to produce a click than paid search results, but paid search results are 1.5 times more likely to convert clicks into customers.
So, do you need clicks or conversions?
These statistics simply show that there are advantages and disadvantages with any digital marketing campaign. There is no clear-cut winner because your goals and needs are different from the pest control company across town.
The best alternative will usually be to use different types of marketing together in an overall strategy.
All together now…
If you want to get the most comprehensive results, then you need a combination of SEO and PPC/PPL approaches to get the word out.
SEO is often considered a separate approach from paid advertising, but there are a lot of key elements of SEO that go into a paid campaign.
When you use PPC/PPL and SEO together, you end up with an online presence that is more effective than just using them separately.
Some of the benefits of using these different approaches together:
- Targeted users across a broad spectrum, from those just doing a little research to those who are ready to buy.
- More traffic from effective keywords from a variety of channels.
- You can take up more real estate on the SERP to gain more clicks from those who like to click on ads, map results and or organic results.
- PPC can save time and money by measuring the effectiveness of specific keywords before deciding on long-term SEO efforts.
- Better test results. Copy and images from landing pages can be tested with paid advertising, but they can be verified further with organic listings.
Whether you are new on the block, looking to expand, or just need to crank up your marketing, you need to use a combination of organic and paid advertising to reach the most potential customers. Get started today with an assessment of your current marketing efforts and what goals you would like to achieve with a marketing plan.