A quick look around this industry will tell you that a significant percentage of lawn care and pest control companies in America are locally owned family businesses. While they certainly understand that online advertising needs to be part of their overall plans, Lawn Care & Pest Control Digital Marketing is not their area of expertise. As a good example, a family-owned and operated company in Central Florida had already achieved a lot of success. In a short time, they were profitably operating from multiple branches with a very strong, readily recognized brand presence. However, they recognized that a little push in the digital marketing area would be helpful. Let’s dive into what they decided to do.
The Client Perspective
The client was, as discussed, a family-owned, Central Florida-based organization that had already made significant branding investments. There was a powerful local visual presence generated by meticulously uniformed employees and trucks that were all wrapped in a very prominent, memorable logo. Additionally, management had taken a bold step and produced very professional local TV ads. Finally, the company’s service technicians were uniquely effective ambassadors and extensions of the marketing department.
All that being said, there were some very specific additions needed to the marketing lineup.
#1 Website Refresh
The company’s website was a well-done marketing element that functioned acceptably as an “online brochure,” was nicely branded, and served as a portal for existing clients to pay regular periodic bills. However, the general consensus of opinion was that a refresh was in order that would bring in more effective Lawn Care & Pest Control Digital Marketing. This had to include more and improved industry-specific content, a stronger SEO (search engine optimization) approach, and more extensive and responsive calls-to-action (CTA’s).
#2 Google Marketing
Most of us are familiar with Google as a search engine. In fact, it is so dominant in its space that it has transcended the category and become a verb. Just “Google it.” The client was savvy enough to recognize that, although Google was a global behemoth, a small company in Central Florida could still leverage the power of that advertising platform through a judicious, pay-as-you-go approach. Google PPC (pay-per-click) ads and Google Business Profile management were the logical avenues to explore.
Facebook was launched in 2004 as the brainchild of Mark Zuckerberg and three fellow students while they were students at Harvard. Since then it has become the largest social network in the world, with nearly three billion users as of 2022. About half of those participants are using Facebook daily. The demographic profile of a lawn care and pest control company client is typically a homeowner, aged 35 to 70, with sufficient disposable income to be able to afford the service, rather than taking the DIY approach. No other social media platform better matches that profile, making Facebook a logical place to invest ad spend dollars.
In this instance, the client possessed a strong, accurate email database consisting of both active and inactive customers. There was no reason that this well-earned business asset could not be leveraged to style a communication plan that would benefit both the customer and the company,
Perhaps the greatest challenge for the client was the range and disparity of issues that needed to be addressed. They really wanted a single vendor to handle all of them. This required a “partner” to create and manage advanced website marketing, social media advertising, and professional email campaigns under one roof, which would provide one point of contact for all their Lawn Care & Pest Control Digital Marketing efforts.
Evans Design and John Valentine had decades of experience with all these requirements. However, the client had carefully nurtured a uniquely powerful brand identity that transcended mere “grass and bugs.” It was mission-critical that this branding should remain consistently expressed across the website, on social media platforms, and within email campaign messaging. Naturally, all this had to remain consistent with the available budget of a locally operated, family-owned company.
Solutions & Results
Given the pain points that the client was able to provide, the game plan to refresh the website looked like this
We made absolutely sure that existing customers were still able to log in and pay their bills using the website as a portal to the payment system. If anything, the net result of this critical functionality was an improved user experience.
The client does not always understand the importance of technical SEO. We make clear that site components such as page loading speed, proper HTML tagging, viable internal/external links, mobile readiness, and more have been addressed and corrected where needed.
There is an old saying that “all politics are local.” Increasingly, you can make an argument that “all SEO should be local.” In this case, we added over 100 pages to the site that addressed very specific localities and services provided for that community.
That was a start. Naturally, there was more work done on overall content, keyword placement, improved CTAs, etc. But, our direction was clear.
The company website had very low overall activity. The percentage of organic traffic, that is, the users who found the site through a classic search, was less than 20%. In fact, a significant chunk of visitors were logging in to simply pay their bills. Also, the number of visitors “converting” by completing contact forms on the site was insufficient and not a significant source of leads.
Three key metrics now show major improvement:
Overall website traffic has a seven-fold increase.
Organic traffic, as a percentage of total traffic, has doubled.
Website form completion conversions are up 300%
Everything started with a solid Google Business Profile, which entails comprehensive business info, imagery, keyword content, CTAs, and more. This piece has become essential for a local business that wants to benefit from a good result when a client enters a search term like “pest control near me.”
Evans Design was able to marry Google PPC (pay-per-click) to the individual company branch locations. We ran classic Google search ad campaigns with global geo-targeting that reflected existing branch locations. Lastly, beyond basic keyword planning, a great deal of time was spent on the proper selection of negative keywords to prevent costly clicks for services not provided by the company.
Given that the company had not made any previous investment with Google, we had a wide-open field in front of us.
Two key activities now benefit the brand:
Organic inbound phone calls have risen from an unmeasurable value to >500 per month.
Paid inbound phone calls have risen from nine to approximately 200 per month.
There is no question that the Facebook platform has taken some hits in terms of negative publicity over the last few years. A great deal of that was probably self-inflicted. Nevertheless, as previously discussed, the Facebook user demographic aligns correctly in terms of Lawn Care & Pest Control Digital Marketing.
Our Facebook strategy for this client was fairly simple:
Maintain “loyalty” to the demographic messaging. We never wanted to lose sight of the “buyer persona.”
We were very active, posting daily. We knew that both the Facebook users and algorithms would recognize and reward our efforts.
Short video clips, which are proven to drive higher levels of engagement, were a key part of our toolkit. There was quite a bit more to it, but these were the key pieces
Facebook marketing for this brand remains a work in progress. Reach, impressions, and engagements have shown significant improvement. However, despite their advanced audience targeting functionality, Facebook is not always the most user friendlily platform to advertise with. Consequently, our client decided to move their ad spend in the direction of Google. That said, we have maintained a Facebook presence in anticipation of future advertising investment.
The nature of this service-based business generated a robust email contact database. However, the client was not yet using it as a strategic marketing tool. Experience had taught us that some clients worried that email campaigns would be seen as a “hassle” by customers. But that same experience made us understand that email campaigns, if they added value, were welcomed by their recipients.
This was another instance where our customer had not yet engaged, so there was plenty of room to grow.
Three key accomplishments are below:
Internal data mining has resulted in a hearty and responsive email list.
The current open rate for all campaigns greatly exceeds industry benchmarks.
Clicks from email campaigns to the company website have contributed significantly to site traffic.
Simply put, the client was pleased with the overall number and quality of the leads generated by the digital marketing campaigns outlined above. Additionally, the CPL (cost per lead) was in line with or below dollar figures discussed in trade publications such as Pest Control Magazine. From the perspective of the Evans Design Group team, a great deal of credit for the success of this effort should be attributed to an open and forward-thinking client. Collaboration has made all the difference.