In order to stay relevant and connected to consumers, a company’s digital marketing strategy needs to stay up to date and continually develop to keep pace with competitors. The good news is that in 2019 experts are not expecting any major groundbreaking or revolutionary trends to come out of nowhere and completely change the game. Rather, they anticipate the continual development and increasing importance of trends from the past year to guide brands in the New Year. In particular, video content will become a priority and a social media presence will become a necessity. Pest control companies that are able to evolve their existing digital presence and capitalize on modern trends should succeed in retaining and cultivating loyal customers while also attracting new business.

According to a 2018 survey of businesses across the U.S. by Clutch, 83 percent believe their digital marketing efforts are effective in helping them achieve their goals as a company. However, a 2019 report from Infusionsoft found 29 percent of small business owners surveyed don’t plan on utilizing digital marketing this year, citing a lack of time and resources. Although it may seem intimidating, establishing an online presence and executing an effective digital marketing strategy can be done and can deliver exceptional results, even on the smallest of budgets. In 2019, pest control companies without a digital marketing plan will risk being left out of the conversation and ignored by potential consumers who are spending an increasing amount of time online and relying on digital content when making purchasing decisions.

Here are a few digital marketing trends experts expect to see in 2019, and how to take advantage of each in order to position your company at the forefront of the industry:

1. Video Content Will Dominate:

Consumers are increasingly favoring video content when it comes to getting information. In fact, a recent Pew Research Center survey found 73 percent of Americans use the video-sharing platform YouTube, more than any other social media forum (vs. 68 percent of adults who use Facebook).

Whether it’s a quick tutorial on how to properly seal cracks or an informational piece regarding a particular pest, video content can be produced on a wide range of budgets and easily distributed across social media platforms, as well as featured on a company website. Videos providing useful information will engage consumers and position your company as an industry expert and go-to resource.

2. Social Media Presence Is Not Optional:

For those who are actively using social media in their digital marketing mix, this one may seem like a no brainer, yet there are still many companies that are not fully on board. It’s no secret that social media has become a major aspect of modern-day life, as Statista reports 77 percent of Americans use it. Aside from connecting people with friends and family, platforms allow companies to enter the public dialogue and interact directly with consumers.

In 2019, pest control companies can no longer ignore or underestimate the impact of social media when developing their digital marketing plan. Platforms such as Facebook and Twitter will help companies showcase their capabilities and expertise, while also serving as a valuable customer service tool. According to Ambassador, 71 percent of consumers who have had a good customer service experience with a company via social media are likely to recommend the brand to others.

Is your company using video to better its online footprint? Videos engage consumers and position your company as an industry expert.
3. Online Reviews May Have Final Say:

Although it may not seem like a “marketing” strategy, monitoring, responding to and encouraging online reviews from customers is essential to a pest control company’s digital presence, perception and overall business. Although a Bank of America survey found 51 percent of small business owners don’t consider social media reviews and online ratings to be important to their business, BrightLocal determined that 84 percent of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from people they know.

Make sure your company is listed on review sites such as Yelp and optimize your listing by adding company information and photos. Consistently monitor review sites to maintain a sense of public perception, always responding politely and promptly to any negative reviews. Never engage in a public fight or argument with a customer online, no matter how harsh or perhaps unfair the review is. Instead, validate the concern, take the conversation offline and vie for their future business with promises of improved service.

4. “My Business” Profiles On Google Suited For 2019 Consumers:

Today, when people search for a pest control company or business they’ll likely turn to Google as their first source. Upon doing so, a business’ profile will typically appear on the right-hand side of the results, either associated with the company searched or related to the general industry the user is interested in.

Developing and updating your Google “My Business” profile will be essential in 2019, as more and more users are opting to get any needed information from the profile rather than taking a step further and visiting a company’s actual website. Be sure to create and/or claim your company’s profile, updating it with any relevant information for interested consumers. Do what you can to make it as easy as possible for consumers to find your company and get in contact.

5. Only The Best Content Will Be Seen:

While the increasing participation of people online allows business to potentially connect with more people, this influx of users has also begun to saturate the internet with an almost unmanageable amount of content. Both companies and consumers are producing new materials every day, creating an environment in which digital marketing content that generated buzz just a few years ago now has little to no impact.

There are a number of strategies you can employ to rise above the crowd and reach your customers. First, strive to create content that addresses a subject nobody else has, or rep- ositions a popular subject in a new way. Second, produce content that addresses a difficult subject in a way that’s easily under-standable as well as visually appealing. For example, the Professional Pest Management Alliance (PPMA), which serves as the con-sumer education and public outreach arm of the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), recently employed these content principles by videotaping 500,000 termites demolishing a miniature dream home to show-case the dangers of these pests and the need for professional pest management in a unique and eye-catching way.

FINAL THOUGHTS. In 2019, companies won’t need to completely revamp their digital marketing strategies or significantly increase their budgets in order to have success. Instead, they’ll need to capitalize and adapt to dev- elopments in the digital space, such as the growing impact of social media and increasing popularity of video content. Consumers are spending more and more time online and are putting increasing confidence and weight behind digital content when it comes to making purchasing decisions. By prioritizing smart and effective digital marketing, firms can maximize their time and resources by making worthwhile online impressions, subsequently attracting new customers while building brand loyalty in the year ahead.

Cindy Mannes is executive director of the Professional Pest Management Alliance and vice president of public affairs for the National Pest Management Association. For more information about PPMA, visit www.npmapestworld.org/ppma.