When a person had termites or rodents in their home back in 1995, where did they search for help?
Correct. The Yellow Pages.
It was a very fair and square game: if you had a telephone—you were listed. You could pay extra and get an ad, but most pest control companies relied on the simple listing.
Back then, pest control lead generation was a child’s play because there were only 1-3 companies near you. That’s it.
Today, the variety is more than x10.
So where does your potential customer turn to today when the first sign of a roach attack rears its ugly head?
Let’s take “bed bugs” for example:
A staggering 823K searches per month.
And the competition for each click is steep, with almost 110 million results from an estimated 20K pest control companies in the US.
And given the high cost of paid clicks (the search term “pest control” averages $21.50 per click), it pays to be smart about how to strategize your marketing budget.
Ok. So we’ve established that pest control lead generation is a winner-takes-all game. But how do you become that winner?
Follow these 3 tips, and you’ll give your company better fighting chances:
Tip #1 – Know What People Search for When They Need Pest Control
You would think the first thing people would search for when they need pest control would be… well, “pest control.”
Wrong. It turns out pest control isn’t the most frequent keyword related to the industry—nor is it the cheapest in terms of cost per click (CPC):
Americans searched for pest control only 135K times per month in the past year, 6x less than the total number of searches for “bed bugs.” What’s more, pest control returns almost 5x more search results than bed bugs and—given the fierce competition for clicks—5x higher CPC.
So it will be wiser if you focus on the problem and not on the solution (i.e., termites instead of exterminators).
Here is the complete list of essential keywords you should consider including in your Google Ads campaign:
Do your own research. Use online tools such as SEMRush or Ubersuggest and run keyword searches. Check the search volume, compare it to the average CPC (Cost Per Click), and draw your conclusions.
But it’s not enough to know what people are searching for.
It also pays to know when.
This graph showcases the search trend for “pest control”:
Not surprisingly, searches spike in spring-summer, when pests like bed bugs, ants, fire ants, mosquitoes, and bees/wasps typically invade American homes. Over the past 5 years, “pest control” and “bed bugs” have peaked in June/July, with 2-2.5x more searches than the low period in December-February:
The keyword “termites” tends to peak in May, with 4-5x more searches than December. Given these statistics, it’s worth using the extended winter downtime to plan your big summer campaign.
Tip #2 – Know What’s Important to People Who Seek a Pest Control Service
As we’ve mentioned on this blog many times before, brand recognition is becoming a thing of the past.
Your potential customer is typing in non-branded search terms and compares brands before purchasing. This goes to most consumer industries, but it’s especially true for pest control. Non-branded searches like “best pest control” and “bed bug exterminators” have risen 20% in the past year, while branded keywords like “Terminix near me” and “Orkin pest control,” have only grown by 4%.
Just like consumers in other industries, pest control seekers search for service comparisons and reviews to help them understand which company is:
- The cheapest
- The quickest
- The closest to their resident
Because there is relatively low brand awareness compared to, say, website builders, where 3 companies (Wix, Shopify, Squarespace) dominate the market—users also place a premium on what comparison services and other consumers recommend.
Lastly, it appears demand is growing for eco-friendly, non-toxic pest control services.
Here’s an example:
Search volumes for “eco pest control” consistently outstrip “cheap pest control” by a factor of 1.2-1.5x.
So it’s only wise to emphasize in your PPC ads and website copy your company’s environmentally sensible approach. And if you still use archaic pest control devices and materials, it’s time for reform.
Now let’s talk about conversion.
Google observed recently that consumer journeys have become more non-linear.
What this means for pest control companies is that people no longer detect a cockroach and immediately pick up the phone and call you directly.
Instead, your potential clients set off a flurry of Google searches, where they learn they need the services of a pest control company. They quickly narrow their search to a handful of promising businesses. Next, after reading about the different methods of pest control, they take a step back and broaden their search to look for eco-friendly services. Finally, after taking all factors into consideration, your potential client makes a decision.
To increase your pest control lead generation, you need to be there for all the stages (or as we call them, stages of intent) with informative content, comparison & reviews, and a prominent call to action, “get a quote,” to seal the deal.
By implementing the 3rd tip:
Tip #3 – Create a Marketing Funnel That Responds to the 3 Intent Signals
Once you know what users want and how they search for it, it’s easy to create a marketing funnel that draws in more customers.
A useful shortcut to understanding user queries is to divide them into 3 categories: informational, navigational, and transactional.
An informational query is—as the term suggests—a search for information.
These can be simple strings, such as “bed bugs solution,” or more complex ones, like “how to get rid of a wasp’s nest.” Informational queries indicate that a user wishes to learn more about a subject before deciding how to handle it or whose services to hire.
True, just because someone looks for information about pest control doesn’t mean they’re in the market for your services.
But you shouldn’t ignore these people altogether.
Providing useful content is an effective way of grabbing their attention so that they come to you when they are ready to make a decision.
Here are 3 things that will help you boost your pest control lead generation and convert people who seek information:
- Add informative content pages to your company website.
- Set up keyword-customized PPC ads.
- Add backlinks on informational webpages to gain SEO authenticity.
A navigational query is a search for a particular pest control company (e.g., “Orkin Atlanta” or “Ehrlich website”).
If a user searches for your business, the best thing you can do is to position yourself at the top of the search engine page result for your business’s name and deliver solid content that highlights your brand.
Here are 4 things you can do when a buyer seeks your website:
- Run branded PPC campaigns.
- Build dedicated landing pages.
- Buy keywords even if you rank organically for them (because paid ads appear above organic results).
- Create ad extensions to increase user interaction with your business.
A transactional query signals that the user has decided they need to hire an exterminator but hasn’t yet found the right brand (e.g., “pest control near me” or “best exterminators 2019”).
This is where the big bucks are.
This type of query is low on brand consideration but high on purchase intent. Users rely heavily on third-party sources like comparison sites, online reviews, and listicles to help them make a decision.
You need to be there at the exact moment they compare service providers.
Now Combine These 3 Tips into a Strong Pest Control Marketing Strategy
Most people don’t search for pest control until they need it.
The typical user journey begins with the tragedy of discovering a bed bug under one’s pillow, wasps inside the socket, or another pest in their kitchen.
They immediately hop on to Google and type in a search query. In order to convert them, you must be present, show up first, and provide the compatible content.
When it comes to exterminating unwanted house visitors, people like to compare providers—it’s in our nature. The company that has more listings on more websites wins a bigger market share.
Click here to find out how Natural Intelligence can help you be there when users compare pest control services.Get pest control leads