2020 has been a wild ride (to say the least). COVID-19 definitely changed the landscape of how we conduct business from now on. Although no one could've predicted a pandemic, if you had a solid marketing plan in place, then you probably weathered the storm fairly well. However, if you didn't, then your pest control business may have struggled. No one can predict what will happen in 2021, but if you make an effort to create a marketing plan, you'll be able to adapt without feeling overwhelmed, should the next major world event occur. Here are five steps to creating an effective marketing plan for 2021:
1. Review your current situation.
Understanding your current marketing situation using a SWOT analysis will help you better plan for the future. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. According to this article from Entrepreneur, "Strengths and weaknesses refer to characteristics that exist within your business, while opportunities and threats refer to outside factors. To determine your company's strengths, consider the ways that its products are superior to others, or if your service is more comprehensive, for example. What do you offer that gives your business a competitive advantage? Weaknesses, on the other hand, can be anything from operating in a highly-saturated market to lack of experienced staff members." To help get you started, you can download a SWOT analysis template here.
2. Determine your target audience.
No matter what industry you're in, trying to appeal to everyone is a big mistake. For one thing, you can't afford it. Determining your target audience enables you to focus your marketing dollars on customers who will purchase your pest control services. Creating a buyer persona will help you customize your marketing approach. Hubspot defines a buyer persona as a "semi-fictional representation of your ideal customers based on data and research. They help you focus your time on qualified prospects, guide product development to suit the needs of your target customers, and align all work across your organization (from marketing to sales to service)." In the long run, this is going to be more efficient and effective in reaching potential customers.
3. Determine your marketing goals.
Once you've determined your current situation and narrowed down your target audience, it's time to set your marketing goals. For example, what do you want your marketing plan to achieve? Do you want to increase your online purchases by 25%? Or maybe you want to increase your SEO by 50%? Writing down SMART goals is a great way to help you achieve this. SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound goals. Your marketing goals should be very clear and easy to understand.
4. Research marketing tactics.
The fourth step in creating your marketing plan is choosing which marketing tools you're going to implement to reach your audience. This could include a combination of things such as email, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), or PPC (Pay-Per-Click). According to Entrepreneur, "A good marketing program targets prospects at all stages of your sales cycle. Some marketing tactics, such as many forms of advertising, public relations, and direct marketing, are great for reaching cold prospects. Warm prospects – those who've previously been exposed to your marketing message and perhaps even met you personally – will respond best to permission-based email, loyalty programs, and customer appreciation events, among others. Your hottest prospects are individuals who've been exposed to your sales and marketing messages and are ready to close a sale. Generally, interpersonal sales contact (whether in person, by phone, or email) combined with marketing adds the final heat necessary to close sales."
5. Set your budget.
Last but certainly not least, you will need to set aside a portion of your anticipated sales to determine your annual marketing budget. Some marketing tactics are cheap, like email and posting on social media. However, if your marketing tactic includes advertising on Facebook or any other social media platform, you'll need to pay. Keep in mind that marketing is essential for your pest control business to succeed. There is a combination of tactics to choose from that fit any budget. Get started with our marketing budget calculator.