The U.S. Small Business Association estimates there are 30.2 million small businesses in America, and in a competitive industry like pest control, the pressure is on to expand and grow operations each and every year. If a company does this too quickly, however, the ramifications are sometimes impossible to recover from.
While the idea of growing quickly may be enticing, it is important to understand what factors into that growth, and how to ensure the steps taken are calculated and pragmatic. BrandUNIQ notes the three areas most responsible for impacting a company’s bottom line are image, services and sales. To effectively define that image and market towards it for growth, business owners must first truly understand the pest control landscape. This means knowing your competitors, as well as the needs and wants of your consumers, and employees, inside out.
With effective marketing paramount to success, here are tips to help pest control companies hone their skills and effectively strategize for optimal growth.
IDENTIFY IDEAL CUSTOMERS AND MARKET EFFECTIVELY
According to Entrepreneur, the greater clarity you have with regard to your ideal customer, the more focused and effective your marketing efforts will be. Pest control services are rendered on a case-by-case basis, and so a “one size fits all” approach is rarely the best choice for growing a customer base. While most pest control companies are equipped to treat a myriad of issues and infestations, by analyzing your customer base, it’ll be easier to identify those that are most profitable for your business to take on.
To do this, a little research is key, as it will help map out the full profile of your ideal customer. You’ll gain valuable insights into age, location, gender and income, all of which will help tailor marketing campaigns and pricing accordingly. The Professional Pest Management Alliance, the consumer marketing arm of the National Pest Management Association, also regularly conducts consumer research and is able to provide detailed insights into key customer segments, including what pests are considered most problematic in their homes, how likely they are to contact a pest control service, and the overall sentiment and perception of the industry. These studies are available for use on the organization’s digital marketing service, PPMAMainframe.org, and are often shared at industry events.
KNOW THE COMPETITION
Having a clear understanding of the competition is the only way to ensure a competitive advantage. The Business Journals, an industry leader in covering business news from a local, regional and national perspective, notes that while most business owners think their companies stand out from the competition, roughly one-tenth of those companies have actually attempted to validate their beliefs. To be competitive, many business owners believe that pricecuts and discounts are a quick fix. Without evaluating the competitive landscape, however, there is no basis to judge what is truly “competitive,” and so serious profit could be left on the table as a result. By understanding your competitors, the services they provide and the prices they charge, business owners can effectively price their time so as to ensure both competitiveness and profitability, simultaneously.
Forbes warns that companies don’t fail because of changes in the environment, they fail because their leaders are either unwilling or incapable of adapting to change. In today’s technology-driven world, the ability to adapt to new modes of communication is essential for pest control companies to stay in business. Chances are, your competitors are leaning more on technology to market to consumers, and by not doing the same, pest control companies are effectively conceding the race before even leaving the gate. Whether it’s investing in marketing automation software like HubSpot to capture and track leads, or developing a robust social media marketing strategy to capture the attention of active consumers, continually adapting to and employing the latest technology will ensure no opportunity is left uncovered.
HIRE THE RIGHT PEOPLE
When experiencing growing pains, it may be tempting to hire the first person that walks through the door. Unfortunately, this is the worst thing you could do for your business, as the U.S. Department of Labor estimates the price of a bad hire is at least 30 percent of the employee’s first-year earnings. Your employees are the face of your pest control company, and represent your business on your behalf (and quite honestly, the industry, too!) when in the field with customers. Because of this responsibility, it is important to ensure that those hired share the same vision, values and goals of the company. To determine who those candidates are, avoid the standard job interview, and instead open the process up to others at the company to weigh in. Since there is likely a team of trusted employees already in place that will have to interact with this potential new hire every day, their opinion should, and does, matter.
The pressure is on for pest control companies of all sizes to expand operations and increase revenue, but those that do so strategically are poised for long-term success. By identifying ideal customers, knowing the competition, adapting to change and hiring the right employees, businesses can achieve optimal growth instead of rapidly expanding into oblivion.