Today’s media landscape is more fragmented than ever before thanks to always-on mobile connectivity and the proliferation of social media as a rising source of news. According to Reuters, 77 percent of Americans turn to online resources to consume news, and as a result, more and more digital adoptive and digital native outlets are popping up than ever before. To help build credibility with customers, read on for three tactics to better position your company for success in today’s digital age.
TACTIC #1: PUBLIC RELATIONS. Reporters are tasked with publishing anywhere from three stories a day to upwards of 10, and are thus in constant need of quality content. By proactively reaching out to the media with seasonal pest topics, new product launches and company milestones, you’re ensuring that members of the media will turn to your company when expert commentary is needed, and not to your competitors. To guarantee your messaging stays top of mind with the media, public relations is key. Readers trust editorial content above any advertising or third-party endorsements. According to Forbes.com, public relations still accounts for 10 to 50 times as many conversions as advertising. Companies who embrace an open, proactive approach to media — both in good times and in bad — have the opportunity to earn a strong foundation of support and trust for their organization, the long-term value of which should never be underestimated.
A positive media placement can put your company on the map and can help boost sales without costing a dime. To capitalize on this potential revenue stream, try developing an editorial calendar that incorporates holidays, awareness weeks, industry events and seasonal pest topics as a way to tie in your company’s messaging. For example, Rodent Awareness Week is coming up Oct. 20-26, so consider distributing a press release ahead of time with tips to help customers spot an infestation. Mainframe.org, PPMA’s online digital agency, is a great resource for this, as well as other assets you may need to help your firm stay top-of-mind with the media.
Public relations also can be extremely effective in increasing local market visibility, as the media always wants to hear from local experts when issues arise. Monitor news on a daily basis and “newsjack” trending news to elevate your brand’s message. For example, if your local newspaper runs an article on holiday travel, reach out with tips to help their readers prevent bed bug encounters while on vacation. By staying apprised of daily news and reaching out with timely angles, you are giving your company an advantage in the media relations race.
TACTIC #2: WEBSITE. According to Inc.com, millennials check their phones 150 times a day, but this generation isn’t the only one that prefers the web over other forms of media. PPMA conducted generational research and found internet searches are one of the top three places millennials, Gen Xers and baby boomers turn to find a pest control professional. To ensure your website is successful amongst all age groups, it’s important to first assess whether or not the fundamentals are in place.
Kissmetrics notes 40 percent of visitors will leave a website if the loading process takes more than three seconds, and that a web page should ideally take one second to load to give users the feeling that they can navigate freely. A great tool to assess how your website stacks up in this race for attention is Google’s PageSpeed Insights. Just enter your website’s URL in the search bar, click “analyze” and Google will tell you how your site stacks up and what’s slowing it down. Once the site’s speed has been assessed, it’s important to then ask if the navigation makes sense and drives users where you want them to go? Are you providing helpful and educational information, and not just hitting them with sales messages? Are your social pages linked on the site for users to make those connections and easily follow you on those platforms? Is the site itself mobile-friendly?
To help ensure all of these important aspects of your site are up to snuff, make sure you have a solid hosting partner with reliable service and an easy-to-use content management system that allows you to make frequent changes to keep the site fresh. GoDaddy is the most popular web hosting platform at just $3.66/month and is great for small businesses with basic web needs. If you’re looking for something a bit more robust, TechRadar recommends InMotion hosting, naming it the best web hosting provider for businesses of all sizes.
TACTIC #3: SOCIAL MEDIA. Social media greatly influences customer behaviors and decisions. Sprout Social notes that as much as 74 percent of consumers rely on social media to influence their purchasing decisions. With more than 2.2 billion monthly active users on Facebook alone, it’s a great platform to invest time and attention in order to raise awareness of your company. To capitalize on the influence of Facebook, however, you must ensure your page is well maintained, as it serves as an extension of your company’s online presence. Regularly sharing information and news lends credibility to your company, and having a dedicated person to monitor for questions and comments provides an easily accessible consumer relations outlet for customers.
Frequency is also key with Facebook, as the platform prioritizes fresh content, so be sure to post no more than once per day as additional daily posts may cannibalize each other. Timing is also incredibly important when posting on Facebook, and Wednesdays and Thursdays between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. and 8-9 p.m. usually see the highest engagement. While these are good rules of thumb, however, the absolute best time to post for your page should be calculated based on data specific to your audience, time zone and industry. The Facebook Insights tool allows you to evaluate your page’s content and performance to determine what resonates most with your audience, and when.
FINAL THOUGHTS. The digital age and its implications are impossible to ignore. Companies can either hide from it, or capitalize on it to ensure the long-term success of their business. By finding timely tie-ins with trending topics in the media, ensuring your website is working for you and not against you and taking full advantage of the opportunities that await on social media, your company will be better positioned to not only survive but thrive in today’s digital-first landscape.
Cindy Mannes is executive director of the Professional Pest Management Alliance and vice president of public affairs for the National Pest Management Association. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about PPMA, visit www.npmapestworld.org/ppma.