Jeff Rea of 1st Response Pest Control knows a business opportunity when he sees it. So even though only about 20 percent of his customers ask for green services, his marketing efforts clearly position his business as the company in Palmdale, Calif., to call for them.

“If a customer goes on Yelp and (looks for) ‘eco-friendly products’ in their search for a pest management company, we want them to call us,” Rea says, pointing out that he uses Yelp, Google and Bing to drive traffic to the 1st Response website. “Our hosting company handles search engine optimization (SEO) for us to bring in as many leads as possible. Once a customer connects with us, we explain their options. Some truly do want an all-natural solution, but many others just want to know that we apply products — whether green or conventional pesticides — responsibly.”

Rea adds that in recent years he has moved his marketing budget from print to digital. “People — especially millennial and Generation Z consumers — just aren’t reading print publications the way they used to,” he says. “They want to be able to ask Siri or Alexa to do a Google search. Response to our print ads dwindled to a call or two a quarter compared with 150 calls from our online presence. For us, a digital strategy makes sense.”

Source: Readex Research; 2020 Number of respondents: 191 (Those whose location used green products for its pest control services in the past year)

Jack Fimple backs a digital strategy as well, reporting that 75 percent of the leads that come into All Natural Pest Elimination result from online marketing. “Businesses can’t survive in the services sector today without having a strong online presence,” he says. “We have a full-time digital strategist on our team who handles search engine optimization and marketing (SEO/SEM), and we take full advantage of Yelp, Craig’s List, Home Advisor, Google and social media. We reach out to our customers and prospective customers through nondigital channels, too: by participating in home-improvement events and mailing out postcards, for example.”

Fimple and Rea aren’t the only business leaders aggressively investing in marketing green services. The 2020 State of the Naturals Market survey shows a 15-percent bump in respondents who say they promote their green products and services. Whereas about a third (31 percent) of PMPs promoted “green” just a year ago, today nearly half (46 percent) do. Going the extra mile, 21 percent of PMPs say they’ve also created a distinct green brand that lets customers know they’re getting something special — another notable indicator that the industry is moving toward a strong environmental message.