Digital Marketing and the Pandemic: What We Learned
The pandemic certainly changed a lot of our everyday behaviors that we took for granted.
No longer could we meet friends for dinner, go to the movies, or in some cases, even see our family if they didn’t already live under the same roof. Zoom calls became the norm, large conferences were canceled or became virtual, and our reliance on the Internet increased more than ever. According to PC Magazine, data usage surged in Q1 of 2020 by 47%. At the end of 2020, more than 2.8 billion people checked Facebook at least once a month, which is a 12% increase from 2019.
Not only did the pandemic change how we lived, but it also changed a few things about how we run our pest control businesses, especially sales and marketing. While most states deemed pest control as an essential business, if you relied heavily on door-to-door (D2D) sales, then you probably had to put that strategy on hold or eliminate it altogether. Pre-COVID-19, you may not have thought much about setting up a Google My Business account. But now? With the majority of the people still working from home, they’re more aware of pests, and the only way they’re going to find you is to search online. This report shows how searches for pest control increased 22% by the beginning of May 2020. That said, the importance of your online presence and digital marketing should be obvious.
If you’re a pest control company that quickly hopped on the digital marketing train, then you’re probably in a good spot, and you’ve been able to weather the storm. If not, what are you waiting for? Lobster Marketing easily integrates with the PestRoutes® platform. The Lobster CompassSM marketing portal provides pest control owners real-time visibility into critical marketing and business growth metrics. It eliminates time-consuming tasks such as sifting through reports from various programs and services, which can also lead to inaccurate data used to make important decisions about future marketing strategy and spending. The Lobster Compass marketing portal integrates with Google Search Console, Google Analytics, Google Ads, Google My Business, and Call Tracking Metrics.
The Lobster Compass marketing portal also provides access to recommendations from Lobster Marketing experts and educational tools. Pest control owners can begin each day confidently with the right data needed to guide marketing and business decisions as new trends arise. In addition to consolidating traditional marketing metrics, the Lobster Compass marketing portal will display:
- Brand value
- Performance by marketing channel
- Number of leads by source
- Lead close rates
- New recurring and one-time sales tied to marketing initiatives
- True return on marketing spend
- Insights on where to invest for further growth
Local search engine optimization (Local SEO) is more relevant now than ever, and you want to ensure you’re taking advantage of it. Lobster Marketing optimizes websites to be found by Google and other search engines using an agile approach that keeps your website ahead of the curve. Potential customers can even purchase pest control services and schedule themselves directly from your website, making you a 24/7 operation and never losing a lead.
Although you should never take your foot off the digital marketing pedal, with the rollout of the vaccine, things are starting to look up if you’re thinking about incorporating D2D sales back into your marketing approach. Selling is hard work no matter what industry you’re in, but D2D selling can be especially brutal. When you think about it, you’re going up to the home of total strangers and talking to them face-to-face versus having the protection of sitting behind a desk and “smiling and dialing.”
Not only do you have to deal with unpredictable weather and unruly pets, but having doors slammed in your face can take a mental toll on even the most experienced salespeople. However, one good thing about selling in today’s world is that technology has come a long way. For example, there are sales apps created specifically for D2D businesses. There’s no need to manually write down information about every door you knock on. Besides, that wastes paper and, more importantly, your time.
With a mobile selling app, such as SalesRoutes™, door-to-door selling is much easier than it was back in the good ol’ days. First, it provides a visual knocking sheet on maps, so there is no need for you to manually track where you have been. Second, it provides real-time payment processing, scheduling, and digital contracts so you can sign customers on the spot. And last but not least, once the contract is signed, the home office receives an automated sales notification and reporting.
Salespeople are naturally competitive and love to see where they rank among their peers. The SalesRoutes app has a leaderboard that not only keeps your team motivated but lets you view your consistent top performers and manage their territory. In addition, companies can view key performance indicators (KPIs) for office staff and technicians and compare teams. Other benefits include:
- The ability to easily convert leads to a customer
- Creating customer-specific notes for technicians
- Setting service subscriptions
- Secure, mobile payment collection
- Managing custom billing or autopay setup
- Receiving property details through Zillow
- Sales and marketing materials
Although most people may think that D2D selling is old-fashioned and on the decline, according to Direct Selling Association, “Person-to-person selling continues to lead other approaches accounting for more than two-thirds of sales.” In other words, door-to-door sales makeup 74% of all sales and continue to increase. The reality is door-to-door selling continues to be profitable because it works.
In conclusion, COVID-19 has taught us few things about marketing. One, predicaments are going to happen. Whether it’s a pandemic, financial, or social crisis—this won’t be the last. Two, your marketing plan should be focused but remain flexible enough to change course. And three, digital marketing is here to stay. It’s not good enough to put your logo on a website and call it a day. Incorporating all aspects of digital marketing will continue to drive your business forward and into the future.