8 Ways Pest Control, Exterminator Businesses Use Text Messaging to Grow
As a pest control business, one of your goals is to provide great service to customers, while also bringing in new customers. The question is how do you do it without breaking the bank or working yourself into the ground?
It’s a common problem, and a popular solution is text messaging. How does it help? I’ll show you.
Below are eight ways pest control businesses use text messaging to grow. None of them add to the pile of things you already have to do, or stretch your budget. In fact, they will probably help you save both time and money!
8 Ways to Grow Your Pest Control Business with Text Messaging
1. Schedule more appointments.
Customers' work hours are the same as yours, so they can't always take your calls. Besides, the stats show most people won’t answer calls from numbers they don’t instantly recognize. It also takes hours for people to see an email. So what do you do?
You play phone tag, send a few emails, and sometimes never schedule an appointment. That’s wasted time and lost money!
What if you could connect with your customers the first time, every time? Wouldn’t it be great to schedule appointments without all the extra steps?
That’s why so many other exterminators use text messaging to schedule appointments. Virtually every text is read, and in only five seconds on average.
So whenever a new lead comes in from your website - or Google listing, or friendly referral - text them to schedule an appointment. You can do the same with existing customers whenever “it’s that time again.” Here are a couple of examples:
Saw your message. We can have a guy there Mon. or Tues. Cost about $80. What time works best for you? Thanks! - Shane @ Ace
Hey Carrie! It’s time for our next visit. Would Thurs. at 10 or Fri. at 2 work for you? Let me know. Thanks! - Chelsea @ Reliable Pest Control
2. Confirm and keep more appointments.
People forget, things come up, and life happens. Sometimes that affects your business. What you don’t want is to send a technician to a location, only to be locked out and unable to reach anyone with a key.
Text messaging will help you confirm more appointments, avoid lockouts, and easily reschedule appointments as needed. How?
People often don’t answer calls, check their voicemail, or see emails in time. That makes it hard to get a confirmation that yes, someone will be there to let you in. But almost every text is read within a few minutes.
So, a day before an appointment, text your customers to confirm. Something like this will work fine:
Good morning! Is tomorrow still good for us to come by? - Ace Exterminators
Using Text Request’s BCC group messaging feature, you can send that same message to all of tomorrow’s customers at the same time. People will see your message and reply with either “Yes, tomorrow’s great” or “actually, no I need to reschedule.”
If they confirm, great! If they need to reschedule, a couple more texts will take care of it.
You can also text owners if you do get locked out of a home or office. For example:
Hey [Mr. Ranieri], we’re at your house, but no one’s home. Is someone on their way?
Chances are you’ll get a response similar to “Yes, I’ll be there in 15. Sorry!” What would have been money out of your pocket is now another kept appointment.
3. Send promotions people actually see.
Less 18% of emails are opened. Facebook ads can get your offer in front of many of your customers, but you’re going to pay at least as much as you would for a postcard per person (if not 3-5X that). There’s also no guarantee they’ll do anything once they see or click the ad.
Postcards could work, but they’re hit and miss.
All of these options are good to use, but the best promotions also use text messages. Why?
Because 99% of them are read! Promotional texts also have a 45% response rate, and a 36% click through rate (depending on your call-to-action). Texts only cost a few cents, too. At these rates, you could forget your emails and ads, and simply text your promotions out to customers!
Many pest control companies do. For example, they’ll send texts like:
Spring is here! And so are the pests. Let us get rid of them! 30% off if you book by Friday. Just reply to this text. - Joe’s Exterminators
New giveaway! Leave us a review, and be automatically entered for a free iPad! Follow this link: [goo.gl/xyz]
These promotions work better, because you’re able to connect with everyone instantly.
4. Get more leads.
Most exterminators spend a lot of time and money getting their business to rank high in local Google and Bing searches. But the work isn't over when you rank towards the top, or even #1.
You still have to get those viewers to reach out! That’s where texting helps.
Adwords Message Extensions
Pay per click ads are a popular choice for getting to the top of search results. And since 72% of local searches come from mobile devices (which have smaller screens), the more space your ads take up, the better.
Adwords message extensions can help you control more screen space, and provide an enticing call-to-action.
Put your value proposition or discount in the ad, then prompt viewers to text you for it. Viewers click the message icon to send your business a text. Text Request Keywords are a great option here.
For more details, view our guide: How to Add Text Messaging to Your Google Adwords Ads
Google Business Listing Messaging
Did you know Google shows a 3-pack for local searches? That means the top three companies ranking for a local search term (like “pest control Chattanooga”) automatically get grouped together with their businesses shown in Maps.
Did you also know that you can add a Message option to your listing? With this, viewers don’t have to visit your website or even call. They just click a button to text you - straight from the listing.
For more details, view our guide: How to Add Text Messaging to Your Google My Business Listing
Website Text Button
We call this option Click-to-Text, and it’s an easy way to turn website viewers into leads. Place this button on your website, and any mobile viewer will be able to click it to send you a text.
Popular phrases and placements include “Text us for an estimate!” in your header bar, “Text us to schedule a visit!” on your home and contact pages, and “Send us a text” throughout the site.
Viewers often would rather text you than call or fill out a form - so they do. This leads to more customers and revenue for you. For more details, view our guide: What is Click-to-Text and How Can My Business Use It?
Floating Text Button
Viewers aren’t always ready to take action as soon as they land on your website. They’ll often view several pages before making up their mind. When they finally do, this floating Click-to-Text button will there waiting.
This button floats at the bottom of the screen, only on your mobile website. It’s always there, perfectly positioned, as viewers scroll and click through your website. A tap of the button opens a text to your business. For more details, view our Queuniversity Click-to-Text guide.
5. Collect more payments faster.
Most pest services either leave paper invoices with customers after the appointment or mail them out. But what happens next? That piece of paper goes in a pile, and sits there untouched.
People forget - even if they have the money to pay you. This keeps you from gaining well-deserved revenue, and normally forces you to spend extra resources to get the money you earned! There’s got to be a better way, right?
There is. In fact, there are two ways text messaging can help you collect more payments faster. First, you can send a simple reminder text, maybe two weeks after you’ve sent the bill.
Hey [Customer], hope you’re well. Just a reminder, your pest services bill of [$150] is due by [4/18].
Including where and how to pay that bill is also helpful, which is why option #2 works so well. If customers can pay their bills online, send a text like:
Hey [Customer], your bill for [Speedy Pest Control] is due by [5/12]. You can pay here: [yoursite.com/payment] Thanks!
Your message will be seen, and many will click the link to pay right then.
6. Earn more 5-star reviews.
90% of people say online reviews influence their buying decisions, and businesses with 10 or more reviews earn 50% more conversions than those with none. When you get more reviews, your business will grow.
Customers want to know they can trust your business before they work with you, and many pest services are texting to make that happen. Here’s an example.
You service a customer. They seem like good people, the kind you enjoy working with, so you send them a text:
Hi [Customer], would you consider leaving us a review? Here’s the link: [site.com/yourbiz] Thank you! - Sandy @ Arrow
Where you get reviews is up to you, but I’d recommend the platforms people use most, like Google, Facebook, Angie’s List, and Yelp. Another option is to schedule messages in advance. Within 24 hours of servicing a customer, you can send a text saying:
Tell us about your experience! Leave a [Google] review here: [goo.gl/abc] Thank you! - Perry’s Pest Removers
Some like this approach, because everyone gets the same message. (You can effectively set it and forget it.) Others want to vet customers before asking them for reviews.
I’ve seen both work. For more details, view our guide: How to Get More 5-Star Online Reviews for Your Business
7. Renew more customer contracts.
Customer contracts are the lifeblood of many pest service companies. Each one means you’re guaranteed to keep three to 12 more appointments on the books. That’s good for business!
Text messages - even picture messages - will help you get and keep more of them. As applicable, you can send a simple text saying:
Hey [Customer]! It’s time to renew your contract with [The Bug Police]. Follow this link to esign: [goo.gl/link] Thanks! Have a great day - Jenny
Customers can (and do) sign these contracts, even in the middle of a work day.
Another option is to use picture messaging. Whenever a service tech signs a customer up, they can text a picture of the signed document to the office. The contract can be processed (and appointments scheduled) while the tech heads to their next location.
8. Text for internal, field updates.
You’ve got a lot of techs out and about all day. What are they up to?
You probably know, because they call in for updates or give you a sheet of appointment details at the end of the day. But this creates more for you to manage, and potentially ties up communication channels that should be left open for customers. What can you do?
Techs can text you when they arrive at and leave a location. In Text Request, you’ll have a timestamp and the message permanently recorded - and it doesn’t take anything away from customer communications. There’s no waiting on hold with text messages.
Techs can message customers before spraying their yard. Addresses can be sent to tech’s phones, so they can just tap the message to pull up directions. And pictures can be sent for easy documentation. All of this simplifies your field communications.
How to Get Started
The important thing is that you start texting, because it’s going to help your business immensely. If you’d like to learn more about Text Request and see how it works, pick a time for a live demo here. We’ll answer all your questions at that time, too.
If you’re ready to jump in and get started, head to our Pricing page to pick your plan. We’ll help you get up and running ASAP once you’re logged in.