Promote these 8 elements for brand growth


June 10, 2024

Bob Williamson

Bob Williamson

Growing your business requires a large investment. This is especially true when you exceed at least 10 employees. The primary cost includes staffing, vehicles and advertising. Many pest management firms never make it past five employees for this reason.

Advertising alone can be a money pit that is difficult to track and manage — but an easy way to spend money.

An important perspective is that there are plenty of free advertising opportunities available that you can capitalize on before you sacrifice your next vacation on your monthly Google spend.

My definition of “free advertising” is stuff that is totally free or otherwise required to run your business effectively anyway. Here is a list to cover below, in ascending order of effort.

1. Brand your vehicles. These are your everyday traveling billboards. The most common comment I hear when I say where I work is “I see your trucks.” My wife and kids will routinely tell me that they saw my trucks today. Keeping vehicles clean and clearly labeled and super uniform is very important. Choosing a stock factory color makes this easier and less brand-dependent. Glitzy wraps are nice, but probably more beneficial to the company who sold you the wrap design. Your fleet needs to look uniform across the brand.

2. Invest in uniforms and “swag.” Uniforms for all employees are very important for branding, security and employee pride. When I have a vendor at my home without a uniform, it does not appear legitimate. This is especially true for new hires, who feel like outsiders until they are wearing some sort of uniform. We developed a process of sending a care package overnight to new hires at their home so they have something to wear on Day One. Even some new T-shirts will suffice until regular uniforms are available. Swag, which is company-branded merchandise or promotional items like magnets, fly swatters, pets, hats, etc.,  also go a long way to promoting where folks work.

3. Solicit word-of-mouth referrals. Happy customers will recommend you to reinforce their buying decisions. I’m not a proponent of routinely paying for residential referrals, however. A well-run business will generate referrals. Just be sure your ability to respond is well-managed. A mishandled referral will polarize all parties.

4. Participate in civic, youth and church groups. Employee involvement here will get you in front of diverse groups. Seeing your employees at their kids’ games wearing your swag  is great.

5. Offer free service for non-profits. Such projects are great for the community and far less expensive than a cash donation — and all involved may throw work your way.

6. Be available as an on-air or background media resource. This is not for everyone, but it’s great exposure to have you or a company representative share industry expertise with local media when pests make the news.

7. Write articles for local (or state or national) publications. Most publications are happy to have contributions and will assist on editing. You can serve the public with your knowledge and present yourself as the expert in your field.

8. Create (and use) an elevator speech. Always be prepared to say what you do. It needs to be simple and easy to remember. Having a few well repeated stories ready to tell is important.


About the Author

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Williamson is pest & lawn director for Cetane Associates. He serves on the Pennsylvania Pesticide Advisory Board, is former president of the Lawn Care Association of Pennsylvania and former president of Warrington PA Rotary Club. For over 30 years, Williamson worked with Moyer, a large Mid-Atlantic residential service provider. Williamson has managed services including heating oil, propane, HVAC, plumbing, home security, swimming pool, lawn and tree care, and pest control.

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