It’s no secret that technology is becoming a bigger part of everyone’s life both at work and at home. Technology is advancing and changing so rapidly that it can be overwhelming for a business owner to stay on top of it. On the other hand, the correct application of the right technology can help pest control owners and managers supercharge revenues. Here are some revenue-boosting ideas to consider.
CUT THAT OUT! One of the best ways to increase revenue is to stop doing the things that don’t increase revenue so you have more time to work on projects that do increase revenue.
As pest control business owners and managers, we are pulled in a thousand directions. It’s easy to get sucked into tasks that seem urgent, or that we are good at, but which do not increase revenue. The first step is to identify such tasks. If you can’t eliminate it or delegate it, then use technology to handle it, so you have more time to work on revenue-generating tasks.
Here are some ideas for using technology to eliminate non-revenue-generating tasks.
1. Hire a Virtual Assistant (VA). If you have repetitive tasks that need doing, a virtual assistant may be the way to go. There are numerous websites where you can hire a VA. Before starting, read a few articles first on how to successfully select, train and use a VA.
2. Outsource. There are tons of websites where you can find someone to do it for you. Sites like Fiverr.com and TaskRabbit.com have thousands of talented people who will do jobs for modest fees. Chances are, they can do it better than you because they do that one thing all the time.
3. Personal Technology Tools. There are a million of these tools for personal and team productivity. Most personal productivity experts suggest the use of time tracking to determine where you’re allocating your time. There are scores of programs and apps to help you manage your time better. Some examples: Evernote, Slack, Followup.cc. The last is a personal favorite, which allows automatic follow up of any email you send to employees, customers and vendors.
YOUR WEBSITE. There’s a pretty good chance your prospects and customers are checking your website before they call you. When was the last time you updated your site?
Websites have shorter life spans than they used to, and the bar for a great website is continually raised. Review your site or hire someone to review it. Some of the problems we see with many pest control websites are:
1. Brochure-ware. These websites are an information dump about how great the company is in controlling pests. These websites are not interactive. They are more focused on the company than on the customer. Remember WIIFM — What’s In It For Me. Your customer doesn’t care about you. He cares about solving his problem. Make sure your website is focused on your customer.
2. Decisions, decisions? Most pest con-trol websites have only two actions that a prospect can take: Request a service quote (or free inspection) or leave. The prospect may not be ready to commit to a service quote. She may be happy with her existing service; she may be at work; who knows? Don’t let your prospects get away. Give them a reason to give you their email address so you can stay in touch. This is called a lead magnet. Here’s an example:
Once you get their contact information, put them on a “drip campaign.” Keep in touch through regular emails or snail mail that contains helpful, useful information. Keep your name in front of the prospects, so your company will be the one they think of when they are ready to act.
3. Google Adwords. Most pest control websites have a general home page and pages focused on specific pests. Another way to do it would be to optimize your pages for Google Adwords and natural search results. Some examples are:
- Landing page for each service area, e.g., Pest Control Mesa, Arizona.
- Landing page for each pest problem and service area, e.g., Scorpion Control Mesa, Arizona.
- Landing page or blog post for each question your prospect might ask, e.g., How Do I Get Rid of Scorpions?
Some great tools for finding the questions your customers ask are Google Keyword Planner and AnswerThePublic.com. Creating separate pages can be simple, quick and low cost.
4. After hours. What happens to website visitors after hours? What if they have a question? Do you have a way of responding or capturing their question? If not, they may get frustrated and go to another website. Remember, everyone’s attention span and tolerance is approaching zero. There are plenty of tools (phone, email, chat) that allow you to capture the customer’s question and respond promptly. Your efforts (time, money, brain power) to get the prospect to your site worked: Don’t let them get away.
5. Are you interactive? Does your website play nice with others? Select a website platform that interfaces well with the other tools and applications you will need, as well as those that haven’t been invented yet. For example, your website needs to communicate with your customer relationship management (CRM) software so you can stay in touch with your prospects and customers. Other tools and applications that may come into play: customer reviews, rewards programs, send-out cards, etc.
This usually means a good Automated Programming Interface (API), which allows computer programs to talk to each other. This is beyond the scope of this article, but be sure to ask about it when selecting a platform to host your website.
6. Reviews. Reviews on your website are no longer optional. Customers look for and base purchase decisions on reviews. You need an automated way of capturing and posting customer reviews on your site and to Google.
SOCIAL MEDIA. Is social media a valuable tool or a necessary evil? It seems like every month a new social media platform arrives which seems to demand more of the business owner’s attention. Social media can be frustrating and overwhelming, and the older you are the more overwhelming it seems.
You probably can’t have an effective presence on all social media channels. It is better to have a significant presence on fewer platforms than to have a negligible presence on more platforms. Pick one to three where you think your customers and prospects hang out. Make an impact on those platforms.
For example, it might make more sense to be the pest control expert for your neighborhood on NextDoor.com than it is to try to cut through the noise on Facebook.
Your social media posts also need to be interesting and valuable to your prospects and clients. Every post can’t be a sales pitch or a tribute to your company’s greatness.
Gary Vaynerchuk, one of the world’s leading social media experts and a boxing fan, wrote an interesting book called “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook.” A “jab” is an interesting or valuable bit of information to get your prospect’s attention. After a few jabs, the prospect will be more receptive to your offer or pitch (the “right hook”).
We all know that social media can be a black hole for time. There are some great tools out there to make it easier. Tools like Hootsuite and Meet Edgar allow you to write all your posts in advance and automatically schedule them.
FINAL THOUGHTS. The number of technology options for your business is unlimited, as is the opportunity to waste massive amounts of time and money on the wrong areas. Figure out which areas are most important for your business and focus your efforts there.
Sometimes seeking out help can be cheaper, faster and more effective than wasting time and opportunities struggling with new technologies.
Andrew Greess is a pest control equipment expert and author, and president of Qspray.com, the pest control equipment website, as well as a partner in Discovery Retreats, the pest control marketing experts at www.raiseyourprofitsweekend.com.