Pest Management Professional asks its columnists and editorial advisory board members every month for responses to its “Question of the Month.” You can see this month’s section on p. 10. The November issue’s question, though — “What’s a good way to give your brand identity more exposure in your community?” — really made me take inventory of all the good ideas I’ve implemented at my company, as well as what I’ve seen work for several of my colleagues. Shockingly, I had more to say about this than just a couple of sentences, so the editors encouraged me to put forth more of my thoughts on the topic here.
BEST FOOT FORWARD
Start building your identity by marking your truck with your brand. I love seeing trucks that are well marked and clean at all times. This, coupled with the way you drive (courtesy counts), will make an impression on your customers and their neighbors. Be sure to park at each customer’s house in a manner that the neighbors will see.
Your personal appearance makes a difference, too. Wearing a clean uniform with company name and logo, and being clean-cut and presentable — no visible tattoos, for example — will make everyone love having you in their homes and give them good stories to tell their neighbors. Of course, if you have grown to working in an office as opposed to your home, make sure you have as big of a sign as you can. Ensure that the grounds of the office are well maintained so that everyone notices you. Put flowers in landscaping beds to draw the eye.
With vehicle and self/headquarters taken care of, the third part of the professional branding trifecta is your website. Get it registered with Google. Your location is important, because when people search for pest control, Google normally adds “near me.” If you are not registered by location, your company will not show up. You also can mark a service area if you want to service areas outside of “near me.”
BIG IMPACT ON A SMALL BUDGET
There are numerous ways to spend small amounts of money to get your name out there. Two big ones are:
1. Sponsoring youth sports in your area. While times have changed and prices have increased, this is still a great way to put your name out there. It is also a really good way to help your community.
First, make sure your company name is on all team uniforms. Also, inquire as to what level of sponsorship includes a sign on the field. Some signs may be banners put up for games, whereas in other cases you might be able to get a permanent sign on the field. (This has been my experience with baseball sponsorships especially.)
We have long sponsored teams in soccer and baseball. Eventually, we grew to be able to get signs hung in several local high school gymnasiums and on football field scoreboards that are there year-round.
2. Donating services to those in need. Begin with your church or a local charity that will give you exposure. Ask whether you can at least be introduced to the leadership, so your story of generosity begins to spread. To expand from there, look at local charities and donate your service there, being sure to ask for exposure and that all people who work there or are served there will see your name — such as on a plaque with your company name on it as they walk in.
If the charity has a marketing contact, work with them to send a news release about the donation to get both the charity’s name and yours out into the public. I realize there are many people out there who prefer to donate anonymously, which is fine to do as well. But keep in mind that many customers and employees like to be associated with companies that give generously. It shows your company has integrity and compassion, and can perhaps lead others to be more generous with their time, talent and treasure, as well.
As you grow, you can add more traditional advertising such as web pay-per-clicks (PPC), or radio or TV, assuming these platforms work in your markets.