Pest Control Branding

A pest control owner's guide to keeping customers for life & lowering your cost per customer acquisition

Your Brand is What People Say About You When You Are Not in The Room

In today’s competitive marketplace, it is more important than ever for pest control companies to have a strong brand identity. Thousands of companies spend millions of dollars on branding. A well-defined brand can help you to stand out from the competition, attract new customers, and build customer loyalty.

To understand this you need to just youtube “Super Bowl commercials”. Soon you’ll find a plethora of videos that all say “top ten Super Bowl commercials”, “Most funny Super Bowl commercials”, “Super Bowl commercials you don’t want to miss”. 

When you click on a commercial and start to watch your eyes will quickly fill up with water from laughing so hard. You’ll zoom past each commercial just waiting for the next one to appear on your screen. but if someone were to ask you what brand was behind each commercial, chances are you wouldn’t be able to match more than 30% of the brands with their commercial. 

But if that is the case, then why do the top businesses spend millions of dollars on these commercials each year?

You’ve already guessed it — their brand image. 


Wouldn’t it be nice if you too could spend millions of dollars on branding? 

You could tell funny stories such as a young couple that just moved into their new home and finally unboxed the last box. When they sit down and begin to relax their power is cut because there are two animated mice having a race to see who could cause the most damage the fastest and the electrical wires are only the first item on their list. 

You could run YouTube ads to any and every homeowner in your area. Sure, they wouldn’t buy right away but when they did see a nasty cockroach crawling around their kitchen at night, you would be the first person they call. 

But if this is ideal, have you ever wondered why pest control companies and other service-based businesses don’t run massive branding campaigns?  

There Are Different Types of Branding For Different Types of Business

While marketing, advertising, and branding are all important for pest control companies, branding is particularly important. If you had to guess why most pest control businesses don’t run branding campaigns you might say because it is too expensive and margins are already tight when it comes to marketing. 

And sure, that is 100% one of the reasons but it is not the only reason. You see, consumers think about problems in a very different way. 

When the Diet Coke commercial comes on during the Super Bowl the company is trying to position itself in a unique way so that when consumers ask themselves “Do I want a Diet Coke or a Diet Pepsi?” the answer is obviously a Diet coke.

Notice how the question isn’t “I am dying of thirst and I need something to keep me alive. Do I want a Diet Coke or water?”  Now there are some Diet Coke enthusiasts out there that even after 20 days in the desert would still prefer a cold Diet Coke over a tall glass of water but the majority of people wouldn’t even look twice at the Diet Coke. They would push it aside and let it spill over the countertop as they guzzled the water and droplets leaked out of the corner of their mouths to slide down their dried out cheek.

When a homeowner sees a cockroach crawling around their home at night, they don’t ask “Do I want pest control or to burn down my house and move away?” They freak out. They scream. They might even throw up if they see the cockroach crawling on their toothbrush in the bathroom. 

Their reaction is intense and although it isn’t a life or death situation, to some it can feel like it (Arachnophobia anyone?). 

That is why pest control has such a quick sales cycle. The average customer typically has found a pest control solution the very same day they encountered the pest. 

So you could say that there is no time to think about a brand but only a solution. 

What Types of Branding Work Best For Pest Control Businesses?

Most pest control owners think that they don’t need to worry about pest control branding. Or they will slap some slick decals on their trucks and vans and call it good. But that type of thinking will lead to losing hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue. For pest control, branding starts after the sale. 

Let me say that again because it is that important — pest control branding starts after the sale. 

Here is why branding a pest control business is so unique

Pest Control Branding Starts After The Sale is Made

Pest Control Has a Quick Sales Cycle

The motivation to solve rid their home of pests is high and the consequences of picking the wrong pest management company are not that great. They simply will just hire another one if the problem doesn't go away.

Branding Campaigns Are Expensive

It is more profitable to run advertisements on campaigns that get you, customers, than it is to run campaigns on branding and then wait and see if they were successful.

People Think Bugs Are Gross

Unlike Nike or Under Armour who can show incredible ads of all-star athletes wearing their brand to captivate their audience pest management companies can't get people excited about bugs or even the removal of bugs.

The Pest Control Branding Guide

You might be asking “So what is the solution? Everyone says that branding is important and I am proud of my company, I want people to know about it.”

You’re right! You should be proud of your company and branding is extremely important. It is just that branding comes after the sale has been made and not before. 

In our pest control marketing guide we break down how to attract customers to your business. Using sound marketing psychology, conversion rate optimization tactics, or working with a marketing agency like GrowthBound you will be able to get customers at a very good CAC or customer acquisition cost. 

But as you know, pest control is a subscription business. You don’t make money off of one-time services. You make money when you keep a home or property pest-free by signing them up on quarterly services. 

This is where branding becomes extremely important. 


1) Every Customer Interaction Builds Your Brand

From the moment your office assistants answer the phone and your potential customer hears “____ pest control, how can I help you?” your branding campaign has started. 

This is because interactions with people are so much more powerful than any advertisement. You want to train your office staff to understand your brand. You want them to know when the customer is right and when the customer is wrong. You want them to have a playbook of things they can say or do when a problem arises. You want them to know and use sayings that will strengthen your brand with the customer. 

2) Your Pest Control Service is Your Best Branding Tool

Can you imagine being terrified of spiders and calling a pest control company and paying extra to a same-day service just to find out that the spiders aren’t actually gone? 

It wouldn’t matter what the office assistant said or what the pest exterminator promised to do — the trust would be broken. 

But on the other hand, what if the spiders disappeared that same day?

Additionally, what if the tech found other pests in their home as well and was able to take care of them at the same time? You can quickly see how this is a customer that wouldn’t go to another pest control company but would stick with you because of something called legacy switching costs. Or a little voice inside the customer’s mind that says “the next company won’t be as good. I better call my trusted pest control company.”

3) Word-of-Mouth Is King For Pest Control Marketing

In the digital marketing world, there is a saying “content is king” but digital marketers often forget what brings in 80% of a service-based business’s revenue and that is word of mouth. Your customers talk and they talk often. 

The trick is making word-of-mouth marketing consistent and reliable.  You can do this in a couple of ways but the important thing to remember is to give your customer talking points and a direction to lead the conversation.

Referral programs are one way to do this. Another is to create yard signs that do the talking for the customers. Or you create a PR campaign such as a scavenger hunt that takes people all throughout the town that will have everyone talking about how cool of a company you are. 

The important thing to note is that advertising your brand to create an affinity for it is expensive but if you can create a PR campaign that creates a lot of buzz and positions you in a positive light, there isn’t enough money in the world that can buy that type of brand building —  Bloomberg will back us up on this one. 

4) Branding Pest Control Trucks & Vans

Often the first thought of, pest control trucks and vans are excellent branding tools. As your techs zip around town to complete their routes bystanders will see your brand. They’ll see you hard at work and know that you are the trusted pest control company in the area.

However, there are some things to be careful about. If your techs cut people off or tailgate other drivers then that road rage is going to carry over to your brand. It sounds like a crazy “what if” but one time my wife and I were filling up gas at a crowded gas station and a service truck for a lawn company started to yell at and harass my wife because we were at a diesel pump with a regular car. The only thing is there were no other pumps open. 

That anger carried with the brand and all of the bystanders got to see what type of company they were. 

5) Retargeting Ads Are Better Than Regular Branding Ads

If you want to be aggressive with your branding then retargeting ads are almost always a better spend than regular branding ads. The reason is that retargeting ads are going to show up to potential customers that are in-market or are actively looking for your services. 

You should have the Facebook Pixel installed on your website as well as the Google Analytics tag. These pieces of code will track visitors to your website and you will be able to show them ads in hopes to capture them as a customer before they pick another company or decide on a DIY option.

6) Radio Ads Are Best For Mass Branding

If you have the budget and you want to make a real splash in the market then we suggest radio ads. But remember, that you won’t be able to measure the success of these ads with new customers like you would be able to do with digital ads. These ads are ‘top of funnel’ ads or designed to bring awareness to your brand and not customers who are ready to book appointments. 

When running radio ads for your pest control business you should think of one message that you want your service area to understand really well. 

This could be that you are funny, efficient, or have the best customer service. 

Once you have your message, then you should design a story around that and blast out your message over the radio waves. My favorite example of this is a local Volkswagon ad that has been blasted out for years. 

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