Navigating the Digital Marketing Landscape
AIMEE RAMETTA, Chief Marketing Officer, WorkWave
What’s important for digital marketing for pest-control companies in 2023? How has the landscape changed in recent years?
We’ve seen the costs of digital advertising continue to rise across the board, and it isn’t limited to just field service businesses or small businesses; it’s an ongoing trend happening across all platforms. This is affecting lead generation and ROI, with companies feeling as if they’re getting less even as they’re spending more.
There are many factors contributing to this, including but certainly not limited to: increased competition for clicks combined with flat demand; new SERP (search engine results page) features requiring frequent changes to digital advertising strategy; the continued rise of zero-click searches, where a visitor can find out information about a company and even book service without ever leaving the SERP; Google prioritizing physical proximity in search results (which can adversely affect field-service businesses who visit clients’ locations rather than the other way around); Google’s ongoing attempts to prioritize helpful content rather than SEO-optimized content; and the natural seasonality of PCOs’ business.
Digital marketing is a dynamic and occasionally volatile landscape. PCOs have to be extraordinarily nimble to respond in order to most effectively connect with their customers, and this can be quite a challenge when coupled with the everyday demands of running a business.
What is something PCOs can do to meet those challenges?
One of the most important things PCOs can do to increase lead volume is to optimize their Google Business Profile (formerly known as Google My Business), which is essentially a mini website for a business that is housed on Google. Businesses lacking this increasingly important page are potentially missing out on the 55% of traffic that comes from searches with local intent. A fully optimized profile will accrue seven times more clicks than competitor profiles, and those clicks are 50% more likely to end with a purchase or lead.
What about the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) for content creation? How do you see this affecting the digital marketing landscape?
A: There’s no question that generative AI will not be simply a passing technology fad. Google has invested heavily in its own AI-writing technology, and Microsoft has committed $10 billion to ChatGPT creator OpenAI. Obviously, this could be a game-changer for home-services industries. Beyond simply creating marketing content, generative AI could be used to revolutionize how PCOs approach customer service, recruiting and hiring—companies could use these tools to create bespoke sales pitches based on customer data, write detailed and effective job descriptions, even compose emails to customers and coworkers. AI-writing tools can be used to jump-start content that could take a person hours to compose from scratch. Consumers are even increasingly using AI in lieu of search engines to ask questions and gather information.
All of this comes with some major caveats, however. Effective content appeals to the emotions—empathy, urgency, humor, even fear and anger—and, unlike a human being, AI does not possess the emotional intelligence to do this. In addition, there is no guarantee that AI-generated content is factually correct or not plagiarized. These tools are an emerging and still-evolving trend, and it remains to be seen just how profound an effect they will have on marketing in general and service industries, in particular.