Marketing isn’t exactly a science, yet Tim Brock of Brock Lawn and Pest Control has been known to treat it like one. The successful business owner, who has three offices in the Florida Panhandle, mixes and matches marketing venues each year like a mad scientist who is brewing a powerful, effective cocktail.
“I try to spread my advertising dollars over several different mediums,” says Brock, who invests about 7-8 percent of his annual revenues in marketing and advertising. “My philosophy is that we need to be in a lot of different places, but not spread too thin. Wherever we do advertise we try to be a strong presence; if we can’t, we pass.”
For Brock, it all starts with the Yellow Pages. Even though he’s cut back in recent years, he still finds the book useful, even in the age of Google and search engine optimization. “The phonebook doesn’t necessarily bring the lead in, but we often find that’s how they got our number,” he says. “Oftentimes they saw one of our TV ads, heard us on the radio or saw a billboard, then went to the phonebook to call us.”
Beyond the phonebook, Brock also invests in TV and radio. When selecting radio or TV stations to put his money into, he carefully studies their demographics and reach.
When it comes to outdoor advertising, Brock’s experience has shown him that so-called “junior boards,” which are found on less-traveled roads, offer something of a bargain. Such low-priced billboards are often found on roads traveled primarily by locals.
“The outdoor companies always try to sell me on the bigger highway boards by saying the traffic counts are huge, but when you drill down to actual potential customers, it’s quite a bit lower,” Brock says. “On the other hand, a large percentage of the junior boards reach actual customers – people going to and from work or running errands. They are also super inexpensive so I can be on dozens of them in my market area.”
Although Brock makes a significant investment in traditional advertising, he hasn’t neglected Internet-based advertising. However, he’s discovered through years of trial and error that pay-per-click advertising does not, in his view, actually pay off. On the other hand, search engine optimization and organic searches are more effective.
“I took a 3-4 month period and invested a couple of thousand dollars per month in pay-per-click, and just didn’t get the results,” he says. “Personally, if I do a key word search, I skip right over the top and right side, because I know they’re paid advertisements.”
After talking with some of his customers and confirming that ‘organic’ searches are more effective for them, Brock now focuses on search engine optimization. “I started working with a third-party firm that focuses primarily on Internet and Web-based marketing and knows how search engines work on the back end,” he says. “They handle our Twitter, YouTube and Facebook accounts and tie them all into our website.
“As soon as we started focusing on search engine optimization, we immediately saw our Internet leads go up.”
This is one of three stories that appeared in Lawn & Landscape's Growing Green e-newsletter. To continue reading about Brock Lawn and Pest Control:
Tech savvy: Using separate lawn care and structural pest control technicians can still save you time and money.
Mad dash: Offering same-day service can work if you have the right chain of command.