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may june 2011

For MEMBERS ONLY of the National Pest Management Association

www.npmapestworld.org

Mark Your Calendar for

Academy 2011 July 21–23 Scottsdale, Arizona

Sales Marketing ALSO INSIDE: »

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 aking Social Media Sell M  aximizing Customer Reviews to Grow Your Business M

» The Ten Buck Marketing Plan


contents may june 2011

F e at u r e s

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Social Media Sell: 4 Making A Primer for your pest control business

By Jeff Molander The key ultimately to understanding social media is to understand that websites like Facebook, Twitter or YouTube, or blogs are tools that enable the sharing of information. The trick and challenge that most businesses face is how to use these tools to generate leads and sales. But there’s one more critical component to success. Being ready.

Insert

Library Update:

Understanding the EPA Rodenticide Risk Mitigation Decision for Ten Rodenticides In the 1990s, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) began reassessing the impacts and benefits of all rodenticide active ingredients designed for use to control commensal rodents and published measures designed to reduce risks associated with these products. The EPA Risk Mitigation Decision for Ten Rodenticides was released in May 2008. In the decision, the EPA concluded that certain types of active ingredients and formulations present greater opportunities for misuse and accidental exposure than others. Based on their conclusions, the EPA has taken steps to limit access to rodenticides based on the applicator type and the active ingredient of the product. Under the decision, rodenticide manufacturers are require to stop shipping rodenticide products bearing labels or packaging that is not in compliance with the decision by June 4, 2011.

For MEMBERS ONLY of the National Pest Management Association www.npmapestworld.org

!

Customer Reviews 10 Maximizing to Grow Your Business By Lee Gientke For most small local businesses, the internet is game changing. No longer does shoddy (or even great) service get restrained to that customer’s small circle of friends, instead, the internet has enabled a consumer to tell the entire world how great or how poor a company is in dozens of places. If properly harnessed, the power of customer reviews represents a huge opportunity for any company to spur growth and success or dramatically bomb in a distinctly public fashion.

Ten Buck Marketing Plan 18 The By Lee Gientke It’s tough to be a small local business but one of the greatest joys of the internet is that you can compete against the biggest companies for little or no money. If you only had $10 and a couple hours to spend on marketing, here’s where you should start.

d e pa r t m e n t s

2 Executive Vice President’s Message

22 Pest Focus 26 Marketing Corner 30 Calendar of Events

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l e t t e r t o t h e e di t o r

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Your short article on training in the March/April edition of PestWorld (Effective Technician Training) is a great refresher course. I admit I looked at the article, saw it was only one page, and thought “What can anyone possibly say in one page?” As it turns out, that’s a masterful piece of writing and pretty much sums up what good training looks like. As one tasked with creating interactive, interesting and engaging training content for 250 adults on a regular basis, I clipped your article out and am going to keep it handy for awhile, as a reminder of what I’m supposed to be doing. Thanks, Jay Bruesch, Plunkett’s Pest Control, Inc., Fridley, Minnesota


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e x e c u t i v e v i c e p r e s id e n t ' s m e s s a g e

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t's highly likely that at one time or another every single NPMA member has come to us for assistance—whether it’s identifying a pest, seeking guidance on state legislation, or connecting you to your potential customers. However, the technical assistance, legislative initiatives, and business opportunities won’t amount to much if we fail to bring both new and improved membership benefits. And, although we'll never be able to predict the future with 100 percent certainty, collectively we stand a much better chance at developing solutions that will maximize the effectiveness of our industry. The collective energy that NPMA embodies is forging ahead and we'll continue to inform our members as to what's new and what's needed. As I write this column, NPMA staff is in the midst of planning and executing the following programs: ■■ Sixteen regional bed bug workshops that will provide education to hoteliers, property managers, and college and university housing officials. These workshops will be held throughout the next few weeks. ■■ The National Canine Conference, a first-ever conference designed to offer information and certification to PMPs involved in canine scent detection. This conference is scheduled for June 1–3 in Philadelphia. ■■ On July 22–24, we will be once again hosting Academy, the tried and true one-of-a-kind meeting experience that is dedicated to motivating and developing the pest management industry’s emerging leaders. This year’s theme is “Get Connected. Get Inspired. Get Results.” and our program promises to help you gain knowledge and learn skills that are applicable to your professional and personal lives. ■■ And, of course, we are ramping up for PestWorld 2011, scheduled for October 19–22 in New Orleans. This year’s event focuses on Today’s Opportunities, Tomorrow’s Success and promises to offer you access to the most innovative products and technology, the latest industry research, and the opportunity to mingle with more than 3,000 pest management professionals from across the globe. Additionally, we are pleased to offer a brand new Chartis Limited Medical Benefit Plan, created by Weisberger Insurance Brokerage to provide you a costeffective way to deliver broad, affordable coverage for those employees who may not have access to traditional benefits and for those who want to supplement other insurance coverage. The flexibility built into the program allows you to customize your plan to suit YOUR preferences—from maximum coverage to maximum affordability. Our industry is changing every day—and it's changing the way we do business. But NPMA can't make decisions for you. While we're watching the overall picture, you need to know when it's time to upgrade how you process business. We give you the context and you throw the switch. And then pass it on.

Executive Vice President Rob Lederer Editor Janay Rickwalder Graphic Design Blue House © 2011 National Pest Management Association PestWorld is the bi-monthly publication of the National Pest Management Association (NPMA). Editorial Offices: 10460 North Street, Fairfax, VA 22030 Phone: (703) 352-6762 or (800) 678-6722 Fax: (703) 352-3031 Professional and Member Web site: www.npmapestworld.org Consumer Web site: www.pestworld.org For advertising information, call Janay Rickwalder at (571) 224-0384 or e-mail jrickwalder@pestworld.org.

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Thetrickandchallenge

that most businesses face is how to use social media

tools to generate leads and sales. But there’s one more critical component to success. Being ready.

businesses face is how to use these tools to generate leads and sales. But there’s one more critical component to success. Being ready. Social Media Isn’t for Everyone You wouldn’t send a tech into the field without the correct assortment of sprayers and traps to do his job and do it right. The same thing applies when it comes to marketing and social media. Your pest control shop needs to have made an investment in basic online marketing tools even before thinking about social media. Every business must have a majority (if not all) of the following in place in order to make social media pay them back: Website ■■

■■ ■■

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■■

■■ ■■

Have a website with its own domain (e.g. www.mypestcompany.com) Website is aesthetically pleasing and is easy to navigate Website content that accurately describes/portrays the business Phone numbers prominently displayed on the top of every page Lead capture forms on every page enabling a visitor to send an e-mail request for service A blog Analytics software (like Google Analytics) that measures visitor activity

Internal Practices/Knowledge

Staff with the ability/knowledge to update website on the fly ■■ Commitment and ability of staff to dedicate to content development ■■ Clear metrics for success/failure ■■ Responsible staff has clear understanding of what can/ should be shared with a potentially global audience If a business is able to definitively say “Yes, I have these things”, then social media might be a fit for your company. If it does not, then it’s time to start building and/or putting these things in place. Bear in mind, your competition is reading this article so the first person to commit will typically win. The last thing any business and business owner should do is throw up their hands and give up—your mantra is “I’ve been doing social media all my life. I already know this.” ■■

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The opportunity is clear: Take your existing marketing savvy and apply it to tools like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and blogging. Make them serve a singular purpose—to foster behavior that ultimately drives sales. Time to Act Now it’s time to help you quickly design a practical process—a system that makes your sales process easier. Let’s start with the purchase decision-making cycle most customers go through. Whether buying a television, a swimming pool or pest control, generally speaking, the sales cycle looks like this: Recognize a Need ➔ Establish a Relationship/Contact ➔ Identify Solution ➔ Close the Sale ➔ Deliver Services When it comes to social media, this process does not change. It’s critical to “plug social” into your prospect’s decision-making process—not the other way around. This way social media tools support prospects along each step in the sales cycle. Your Website and Blog The first place any social media strategy begins and ends is with your own website. Remember the checklist presented earlier. These things must be in place before using social media. Ultimately, your website is where a prospective customer will arrive and fill out a form, subscribe, enter a contest—or call you to request a quote or service call. Your website also needs to be a source of information that will position your company as an expert in the field. The content can come in many flavors. As we discussed, start by using answers that help customers solve common problems. This serves the purpose of pre-selling the prospect. Content also helps customers overcome objections your sales team often faces. Your blog is an ideal place to write about answers, solutions and other hot issues. Besides being a place for people to leave comments and interact with you, a blog helps your business get discovered in search engine results. Some ideas for blog articles include: ■■ Frequently asked questions. Each question and answer can be its own topic ■■ Current issues of the day, e.g. bedbugs ■■ Seasonal issues: termites, ants, etc ■■ Controversial industry practices (be bold, take a stand) www.npmapestworld.org


Community items: is there an even your company will be at? Or a political issue that will impact the business community? Be sure to set up an autoresponder—a simple tool that automatically sends an e-mail to the lead you’ve just captured. Most businesses simply thank the lead and say that someone will be with them shortly. Go one step further. In addition to thanking that person, provide them immediately with tips, tricks and problem-solving information. Do this by linking to short, useful videos and articles on your blog. This buys you some time to call the lead, gives the prospect a chance to do their homework that can ultimately help overcome objections. Do people in your area object to long term pest control contracts? Or do you hear nothing but silence when you quote a bedbug detection and removal job? Exactly what information you provide is up to you (and will be different for every company). By giving potential customers answers to questions and problems they are facing before the sales guy hits them, the prospect is more likely to reach out and convert to a sale.

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Twitter: The 140 Character Cocktail Party Many people deride Twitter as a waste of time because it was founded on the premise of giving people an outlet to tell the world what they’re doing. The scoffing continues with most people saying, “I don’t need to know that someone is doing insert unmentionable or unimportant thing.” But think about the last cocktail party or cookout you went to. Surely there were conversations you had with fellow attendees that were trite and downright boring. But often times you’ll hear people venting frustrations with a service provider, suggesting they’re looking for a new one. Or they may just announce that they’re in the market for a service. It pays to listen and then react. Getting going on Twitter is fairly simple. Visit www. twitter.com and signup. You’ll want to choose a username that is related to your company—the NPMA for example is NationalPestMgt. You’ll be prompted to upload your logo and a write a description of you, i.e. your business. You’ll next be asked to start following people. This is like assembling the guest list to your party. One of the best tricks is to find the local news outlets and follow their followers.

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Youwouldn’tsendatech

into the field without the correct assortment of sprayers

and traps to do his job and do it right. The same thing applies when it comes to marketing and social media.

The last step is to start participating. Remember all that content you created on your website? Twitter is a way for you to distribute all those articles. And as this is a party, participate in the conversations that are going on. Some of the people who you are now following might have something that piques your interest or relates to your business. Send them a note back by using the @ symbol with their user name immediately after. This will send them a public note. YouTube: More than Crazy Cat Videos If someone were to ask you what the second largest search engine on the internet was, would you ever have guessed it was YouTube? It’s true. More than 3.5 billion searches were conduced on YouTube during March 2010 while Yahoo, received 2.4 billion searches during that same period. Surely a couple of those searches are for things related to your business. Remember our earlier point about creating content that answered questions for your customers? Video creates a way to illustrate a point or answer a question in clear fashion. Using YouTube for business entails a slight investment in a camera (a Flip HD is a decent choice that’s inexpensive and easy to use) and your ideas. Perhaps it’s a video that shows how rodents get into peoples’ homes? Or how to identify the difference between new and old termite damage. With all this content, whether written or otherwise, it comes back to sharing it and making sure you get credit for it. While there are advanced features that will help you get more traffic for your videos, the most important basic step you can take is to ensure you’ve included your website’s URL in the video (most video editing software will enable this). With that done, get out there and start sharing it with your newfound Twitter, Facebook and Blog friends! Facebook: Contact Management for Business It’s hard to ignore some of Facebook’s statistics like that it has more than 500 million users or that it’s the largest photo sharing website on the internet. Facebook is all about connections—making new ones and maintaining old ones. It’s also important to understand that most consumers are there to spend time with their friends and play games. Very

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rarely are they there for serious purposes. A recent study by ExactTarget said that more than 70% of the people surveyed agreed with the following statement: ���Just because I like a brand [company] on Facebook doesn’t mean I’ve given them permission to market to me”. A statistic like that can be downright depressing for a marketer but there’s a way around it. Business marketing on Facebook begins by creating a Business Page. This is like a personal page but has a couple additional features geared towards businesses. The next basic step is to start finding your customers. You can suggest via Facebook that they like you. You should also let them know you are on Facebook via your other marketing channels. You’ll also need to think about your content strategy. As said above, Facebook’s members are there to have fun and interact with their friends—not be overly marketed to. There is also a tendency for members to want and expect discounts. While you don’t need to give a discount on your services, you just need to keep this in mind. Some other things to keep in mind is that Facebook gives you information about your fans such as their sex, marital status, birthday, among other things. Some of these data points can be valuable when marketing (think about birthday or anniversary greetings). One last point: because of the significant number of status updates one sees, you may need to be aggressive in leading a discussion via Facebook but don’t forget to make things fun. Contests, sharing old photos, asking questions in addition to sharing your blog content are all things that work really well on Facebook. Social is Sharing Perhaps the greatest thing about the internet is that there are so many free and easy to use tools that can help you grow your business. As with anything, you need to make sure that the goals of a social media campaign are clearly aligned with the goals of your business. Don’t get distracted by some of the technical challenges that you may face while using some of the tools out there. This is an immense opportunity for you to share your expertise with the world and have the world reciprocate by using your services.

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Jeff Molander is a marketing strategist with Webmix Marketing. He has a forthcoming book entitled “Making Social Sell”.

www.npmapestworld.org


If properly harnessed, the power of customer reviews represents a huge opportunity for any company to spur growth and success or dramatically bomb in a distinctly public fashion.

The data goes on and on about the power of reviews upon consumer buying decisions. Clearly dedicating time and resources to managing reviews is in a business’ favor—just don’t let it be a source of angst. Let it be a source of opportunity. The first place every business should start with their customer review management is to hop online and find and claim the listings related to it. The critical sites every business needs to be addressing during this process are: ■■ Google Places (www.google.com/places) ■■ Yahoo Local (http://listings.local.yahoo.com) ■■ Bing Local (https://ssl.bing.com/listings/ ListingCenter.aspx) ■■ Insiderpages (www.insiderpages.com) ■■ YP.com (www.yp.com) ■■ CitySearch (www.citysearch.com) ■■ Yelp (www.yelp.com) ■■ Superpages.com (www.superpages.com) The process of claiming one’s listing on these sites typically begins by searching for a business at these sites. Usually, there is a link that says something to the effect of “claim listing”, “update listing” or “change your listing”. Most of these sites will require basic business information such as logos, address, hours of operation and a description of services provided. For many of these websites, a post office box will be rejected as an address so a physical address is a must. For those utilizing a post office box, a home address or a mail box at a store like a UPS Store works perfectly. There is a great chance that during this process a couple negative reviews will appear. Don’t fall for the trap of writing a blistering response damning the reviewer to kingdom come. Instead, look at it as an opportunity. One key aspect of the customer purchase decision and reviews is that customers are looking for opinions they can trust. Oftentimes, if a consumer finds business listing with impeccable reviews, they will question the legitimacy of the information and move on to the next provider. That said, negative reviews should be dealt with two ways. The first way is to prevent them from happening in the first place. Every company should have an outlet such as an e-mail address or phone number for a

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customer to provide feedback to the company before airing their dirty laundry on the internet. While these e-mails and phone calls are uncomfortable, it is better to have a one on one conversation with an angry customer about their issue before they broadcast their complaint to a global audience. If the reviews are already in place, take a deep breath and respond candidly and apologetically. While most businesses like to think they are at the top of their game every day, the reality is most have off days and a customer service is not what it should be. Listings claimed. Negative reviews sorted. The next step is to get a testimonials/reviews page built on the company website. This page is really simple and has three elements: a handful of positive testimonials from past/current customers, a note that solicits impartial reviews and finally links to some but not all of the above review sites. As people leave reviews, change the links on this page periodically so customers are able to leave reviews on other sites and there is a fairly even smattering of reviews throughout the internet. Note: while these links to other review sites should change over time, the link to Google Places should never be removed. For most local businesses, Google provides a decisive majority of traffic. Once a business has claimed its listings on these sites and built the testimonials/reviews page, it is time to take a look is to look internally at company processes. Most companies are so mission focused that they miss dozens of opportunities to garner feedback from their customers. They perform their service and leave a bill behind. Or perhaps a customer calls in with a question. The question gets answered and everyone moves on. Chances are with a little self introspection, most businesses can identify dozens of daily interactions with customers where they could be soliciting reviews. The whole trick to this is to have a way to ask a customer for a review and to consistently ask. Perhaps it’s including a slip of paper along with the bill that directs people to the above page on the website or having a tech leave behind a door hanger that says a customer’s house was serviced and again, driving them to that page on the website. Another way is to spend some of the quiet season calling customers and again, getting them to visit that review page. There are limitless ways of communicating with customers and getting

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them to leave a review, the trick is to just ask and ask consistently. By this point, many businesses at this point are either enthralled with the prospects of leveraging their customers’ comments as an important sales tool or they have the sudden idea of posting fake reviews. Do not fall into this trap. The quickest way to earn a ban from Google or the above sites is to post fake reviews. All of the above sites have sophisticated algorithms that do a decent job of figuring out the real reviews from fake reviews. Similarly, posting reviews on behalf of your customers will earn a ban. While yes, the customer gave the testimonial, all the above sites want reviews placed by the actual consumers. One last point of note, avoid the temptation of leaving bad reviews for competitors as they can and will reciprocate the favor. Once this program is put into place with consistency, the results should quickly manifest. Most busi-

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nesses find that the leads garnered from the internet convert into sales without much of a sales effort. They find that the increased communication between customers reduces customer churn. Some are even reporting being able to reduce their paid advertising expenses as their reviews With a little self introspection, and presence over the web increases. most businesses can identify Ultimately maximizing customer dozens of daily interactions with reviews is about one thing: asking, asking and asking again. customers where they could be

ÂŤ

Lee Gientke is the managing partner of Webmix Marketing, a boutique marketing agency that specializes in online marketing, direct mail and marketing strategy. Visit www.webmixmarketing.com/npma for a free online marketing guide.

soliciting reviews. The whole trick to this is to have a way to ask a customer for a review and to consistently ask.

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Give cockroaches the preferential treatment they deserve.

DuPont™ Advion®: Preferred by more professionals. Loved by most cockroaches. Perhaps Advion® is becoming the preferred gel bait of choice by pest management professionals because it provides complete control against the toughest prevailing species of cockroaches, even gel-bait-averse ones. Perhaps it’s because it requires fewer applications than other cockroach control products. Whatever the reason, we thank you for choosing Advion® as your preferred cockroach bait. In return we will continue to earn your trust by consistently producing a cockroach control product that has a favorable environmental profile—while delivering the performance your customers expect. DuPont™ Advion.® Unbeatable results.

DuPont Professional Products

Always read and follow all label directions and precautions for use. The DuPont Oval Logo, DuPont,™ The miracles of science™ and Advion® are trademarks or registered trademarks of DuPont or its affiliates. Copyright © 2010 E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company. All rights reserved.


N P M A l i b r a ry u p d at e

Understanding the EPA Rodenticide Risk Mitigation Decision for

Ten Rodenticides** may / j u n e 2011

Background The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) began reassessing in the 1990s the impacts and benefits of all rodenticide active ingredients designed for use to control commensal rodents (Norway rat, roof rat and house mouse) and published measures designed to reduce risks associated with these products. The EPA Risk Mitigation Decision for Ten Rodenticides was released 28 May 2008. The objectives of the risk mitigation decision was to reduce the risk of accidental rodenticide exposure in children and to reduce the risk of accidental poisonings in pets and wildlife. In the decision, the EPA concluded that certain types of active ingredients and formulations present greater opportunities for misuse and accidental exposure than others. They cited data that suggested second-generation anticoagulant active ingredients were evident in the tissues of some wildlife casualties. Based on their conclusions, the EPA has taken steps to limit access to rodenticides based on the applicator type and the active ingredient of the product. The rodenticide active ingredients included in the risk mitigation decision are listed in Table 1.

Âť Table 1. Rodenticide Active Ingredients Included in the Risk Mitigation Decision Class

Active Ingredient

Acute Toxicant

Bromethalin Cholecalciferol Zinc Phosphide

First Generation Anticoagulant

Chlorophacinone Diphacinone Warfarin

Second Generation Anticoagulant

Bromadiolone Brodifacoum Difenacoum Difethialone

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N P M A l i b r a ry u p d at e

Mitigating Risks to Children In the Risk Mitigation Decision, the EPA reports that only a very small number of exposure cases involving children result in medical symptoms or cause adverse health effects each year. However, the Agency believes that the incidence of childhood exposures remains unacceptably high, and specific measures that are designed to reduce the risk of exposure to children are included in the decision. To minimize the likelihood of exposure to children, rodenticide products will only be sold to consumers packaged inside bait stations. Pellet bait formulations will no longer be sold to consumers, but will continue to be available to professional applicators. Mitigating Environmental Risks In an attempt to reduce accidental exposure of pets and non-target animals, restrictions will be placed on the sale and distribution, minimum package size requirements, and use sites for rodenticides containing the four second generation anticoagulant active ingredients (bromadiolone, brodifacoum, difethialone, difenacoum). Most of these hese restrictions do not apply to acute toxicants or first generation anticoagulants. The sale and distribution of second generation anticoagulant rodenticides will be restricted to the professional and agricultural markets. These products will only be available through professional distribution chains and farm supply stores and will not be marketed to consumers or made available in box stores,

» Table 2. Summary of Changes Required by the Rodenticide Risk Mitigation Decision

“Consumer Size” Products (Products containing ≤ 1 pound of bait) ■ May  not contain brodifacoum, difethialone, bromadiolone, or difenacoum (the second-generation anticoagulants). ■ Loose  bait forms such as pellets are prohibited. ■ Each  retail unit must include a bait station. ■ Bait  refills may be sold with bait stations in a single retail unit. ■ All  outdoor above ground use must be in a bait station and be applied within 50 feet of buildings. Second-Generation Anticoagulant Products for Use Around Agricultural Buildings Products must contain at least eight pounds of bait. ■ Bait  stations are required for all outdoor, above-ground placements of second-generation anticoagulant products. ■ Bait  stations are required indoors if exposure to children, pets, or non-target animals is possible. ■ Product  labels must indicate that the product is for use only in and around agricultural buildings and that use in residential use sites is prohibited. ■ Distribution  to and sales in “consumer” stores including grocery stores, drug stores, hardware stores, club stores will be prohibited. ■ All  outdoor above ground use must be in a bait station and be applied within 50 feet of buildings. ■ 

Second-Generation Anticoagulant Products for Professional Applicators Products must contain at least 16 pounds of bait. ■ Bait  stations are required for all outdoor, above-ground placements of second-generation anticoagulants. ■ Bait  stations are required indoors if exposure to children, pets, or non-target animals is possible. ■ Distribution  to and sales in “consumer” stores including grocery stores, drug stores, hardware stores, club stores will be prohibited. ■ Applications  must be made inside or within 50 feet of buildings. ■ 

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*Adapted from http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/reregistration/rodenticides/finalriskdecision.htm (accessed 8 march 2011)


N P M A l i b r a ry u p d at e

In the past, rodenticide bait labels included a distinction between “Urban” and “Non-Urban” use patterns. This label language will no longer be required, simplifying the directions for use section and clarifying application sites for users.

hardware stores or other retail outlets serving non-professionals. In addition to having limited sales locations, the second generation anticoagulants will only be packaged in less than 8 lb containers for products labeled for agricultural use, and 16 lb containers for products to be used in and around homes. Finally, all applications of second generation anticoagulant baits must be made within 50 feet of a building and all above ground applications must be inside tamper resistant stations. Application of second generation products inside rat burrows (without a station) is acceptable, provided the specific label allows it and the burrow is within 50 feet of a building. A summary of the label changes required for second generation anticoagulant baits is provided in Table 2. How the Rodenticide Risk Mitigation Decision Impacts Pest Management Professionals There are three label language changes which affect pest management professionals directly. In the past, rodenticide bait labels included a distinction between “Urban” and “Non-Urban” use patterns. This label language will no longer be required, simplifying the directions for use section and clarifying application sites for users. The new labels for all “General Use” rodenticides will include wording restricting use to the inside, or within 50 feet of a building. There are numerous rodent infestation control efforts which will be complicated by this new language. A few examples in which rodent infestations may be more than 50 feet away from a building include: ■■ Norway rat burrows under dumpster pads, and in embankments, or retaining walls ■■ Roof rat infestations in fruit and ornamental trees or those affecting outdoor food and feed storage ■■ House mouse infestations in telecommunication junction boxes and under cattle feed bunks In addition to these examples, many additional rodent infestation sites located greater than 50 feet from buildings will be off-limits for treatment. The third label language issue was not part of the original Risk Mitigation Decision but is expected to be found on new labels. On products labeled for Norway rat, roof rat and house mouse, manufacturers are now required to add the word “only” after the listed pests. This negates the 2(ee”) exemption written into FIFRA (use against a pest not on the label as long as the application site and technique are on the label). Therefore, rodenticide bait intentionally applied according to label instructions (i.e. within 50 feet of a building and inside tamper-resistant stations) for a target pest not listed on the label (ex. voles) could be interpreted as a misapplication. III


N P M A l i b r a ry u p d at e

What’s next? Under the Risk Mitigation Decision, rodenticide manufacturers are require to stop shipping rodenticide products bearing labels or packaging that is not in compliance with the decision by 4 June 2011. Some manufacturers have already introduced new packaging with revised labels in advance of the deadline. Distributors and pest management professionals may continuing selling and using products bearing old labels after the 4 June deadline until all supplies are exhausted.

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** At the time of writing this, there are two issues that may impact the substance and timing of these changes. The first is a lawsuit brought by the manufacturers of consumer rodenticide products against EPA. Secondly, NPMA and the manufacturers continue to talk with EPA about possible changes.

Frequently Asked Questions Can I continue to apply rodenticides according to the old label directions after June 4th? Yes. Distributors can continue to sell and professionals can use existing products until all supplies are used up. The June 4th deadline applies to manufacturers only.

When will I begin seeing rodenticide products with the new label language? Some manufacturers are already shipping rodenticides in compliance with the Risk Mitigation Decision. It’s important to note that during the transition time, products bearing the “”old” and “new” label language may be in your possession. Always read and follow the label instructions on the container you are using.

Can I apply bait in rat burrows that are located more than 50 feet from a building? No. Rodenticide products containing the new label language do not allow for application inside burrows if the burrow is located more than 50 feet from a building.

Are bait stations required for second generation products if they are applied indoors? If exposure to children, non-target animals or pets is possible, yes.

IV


By Lee Gientke

It’s tough to be a small local business but one of the greatest joys of the inter net is that you can compete against the bigge st companies for little or no money. If you only had $10 and a couple hours to spend on marketing , here’s where you should start.

E-mail Blasts

free

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domain name

$10 website builder

free

The Ten Buck Marketing Plan Google Places

free

Online Business Directories

free

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The Ten Buck Marketing Plan 1

Ten bucks. This is the biggest expense of the day—buying a domain name. There are literally dozens of domain registrars out there. Your domain name ideally should be a .com, relatively short and easily spelled. Avoid hyphens, and numbers. Pay attention to the impact of typos when it comes to domain names. Notice how one might say the two domains over the phone to a customer.

2

Free. The reality of today is that you need a website—period. Before your mind starts thinking of a pimple faced geek or a high priced agency, consider some of the free website builders available online. Unfortunately you are confined to a set of templates but at least you’ll have hung your shingle online. Make sure this site has accurate information about what you do, where you do it and how someone can contact you. Too many businesses bury their phone numbers deep inside their websites—don’t commit that foul.

3

Free. Claim or create your Google Places page by going to www.google.com/places. This will enable you to start appearing in the local search results in Google. You must have a physical address for this to work (Post office boxes don’t count). You’ll need a logo and a description of your business as a part of this process.

4

Free. Submit your company to the top business directories on the web. These include Yahoo Local (www.local.yahoo.com), Bing Local (www.bing.com/local), Yelp (www.yelp.com), MerchantCircle (www.merchantcircle.com), CitySearch (www.citysearch.com), Local.com (www.local.com), Superpages (www.superpages.com) and Yellow Pages (www.yp.com). You may be prompted to pay for an “upgraded service” either online or by a salesman. Ignore these exhortations and just create or update your free listing.

5

Free. Collect your customers’ e-mail addresses and send them a monthly note. There are many free solutions available online that are relatively easy to use. Make sure you are offering relevant and valuable information in this note or this newsletter will quickly get moved to spam or ignored. Including occasional promotion in this e-mail wouldn’t hurt either.

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Lee Gientke is the managing partner of Webmix Marketing, a boutique marketing agency that specializes in online marketing, direct mail and marketing strategy. Visit www.webmixmarketing.com/npma for a free online marketing guide.

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www.npmapestworld.org


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pest focus

Occasional Invaders by Jim Fredericks

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ccasional invaders are pests that don’t easily fit into a neat category like public health pests or stored product pests. They are typically defined as pests that are uncommon in occurrence and don’t complete their life cycle inside structures. Even though occasional invaders occupy a small portion of a pest management professional’s training and service time, they can cause big headaches in the form of customer complaints and call back services when unanticipated populations make an appearance in a customer’s home or business. Understanding and identifying the source of occasional invader populations can make a “major” difference when managing these “minor” pests. First, let’s define two of the terms we will use to describe the locations where inspection, habitat modification and treatment may need to take place. The definitions of source location and interception point are important to understand as these two places are where technicians will typically focus the majority of both their proactive and reactive control efforts.

To be successful and prevent pests from entering a structure, more time should be spent tracking down where the potential source locations are so that efforts can be focused there. Unlike plants, all animals need an external food source to survive. Food sources may come in various forms. Insects have successfully adapted to food sources of nearly every kind in every stage of development or decay. But identifying the food source is only one aspect of locating a source location. The source locations for occasional invaders include both the food sources and the harborage locations. In some cases the harborage area is associated with the food source, but in other cases the two may be in distinct locations.

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Pest interception points may be the areas where pests enter the structure; however interception points can also be any place between the source and the structure where pests are likely to encounter a treated zone. An interception point might be a weep hole in brick veneer siding where earwigs are entering a house, or it might be the perimeter of a mulch bed constructed from landscape timbers that crickets have to traverse to make their journey to the screened porch. Any place where the pest can be dealt with on its way to the structure is a potential interception point. Source locations and interception points should be approached with an integrated pest management (IPM) mindset. In some cases, removal of leaf litter around a foundation, dethatching a lawn, or altering a watering schedule can bring about similar (or better) results than treating sources locations with traditional insecticides. Filling a foundation wall crack with caulk or screening a weep hole can sometimes provide better protection from pests than repeated crack and crevice treatments to these same areas. Most technicians spend the majority of their service time treating the interception points and very little time locating and dealing with the source locations. Pest interception points are an extremely important part of the equation since they are the last line of defense between the pest and the structure. But to be successful, and prevent pests from entering a structure, the reverse needs to occur; more time should be spent tracking down where the potential source locations are so that efforts can be focused there. The following case studies illustrate the importance of identifying the source location and pest interception points. Case Study: Millipedes The environmental services manager of a mid-sized, multi-story hospital building reports that millipedes are being encountered by the housekeeping staff inside a stairwell adjacent to a ground floor exit door. The door is used for emergencies only and is kept closed at all times, since opening it triggers an alarm. Initially, the technician performed a spot treatment with a microencapsulated pyrethroid insecticide along the threshold of the doors and treated the cracks and crevices in the door frame with the same product. The

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problem was reduced, but dead millipedes were still being found by the housekeeping staff on a regular basis. After some time, a staff member made a shocking discovery in the stairwell, instead of finding one or two millipedes inside the door, thousands of millipedes are piled up an inch thick on the floor. In order to develop a management plan for the hospital it was important to understand the biology and behavior of millipedes. Most species prefer to spend daylight hours hidden under objects or under loose soil or debris. Millipedes feed on decaying organic matter and are important detrivores, helping to recycle nutrients back into the soil. In fact, in this case the technician identified a large, well mulched flower bed just outside the door leading from the stairwell to the exterior of the building. Removing the flower bed wasn’t an option, so with the help of the grounds staff, the mulch was carefully raked back and the beds were treated with an appropriately labeled insecticide to reduce the population

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of millipedes at the source. The technician continued to treat the interception point, and also recommended a new door sweep to physically exclude the “occasional� millipede that attempted to enter the building. Case Study: Springtails A homeowner reports seeing tiny, flea-like creatures jumping on the windowsill and countertops near the kitchen sink. Upon closer inspection, the technician correctly identifies the pest as springtails. Rather than treat the windowsill, frame and countertops, the technician correctly focused her inspection outside the structure adjacent to the area of infestation. The homeowner had recently installed an automatic irrigation system and upon inspection, the technician discovered that a sprinkler head was positioned in such a way that the brick siding outside the kitchen window was being saturated repeatedly with water, creating a damp environment conducive to mildew growth, and high

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pest focus

Millipedes feed on decaying organic matter...In fact, in this case the technician identified a large, well mulched flower bed just outside the door leading from the stairwell to the exterior of the building...The mulch was carefully raked back and the beds were treated with an appropriately labeled insecticide to reduce the population of millipedes at the source.

humidity; ideal conditions for springtail populations to thrive. A call to the irrigation specialist was all that was needed to adjust the frequency of the watering schedule and reposition the sprinkler head. In both of these examples, the key to solving the infestation was based on identifying the source of the invading insects and either altering it, eliminating it or treating it so that the insect populations residing there

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did not reach pest proportions. The formula works for nearly every occasional invader with the exception of overwintering pests like cluster flies, brown marmorated stink bugs, boxelder bugs, multicolored Asian lady beetles and other pests that can fly to a structure seeking shelter during the cold weather seasons. Identifying the location and focusing control efforts at the source can be highly effective against the major categories of occasional invaders such as millipedes, centipedes, crickets, isopods, earwigs and springtails. In addition to altering, eliminating or treating the source, treating pest interception points can be a helpful “last line of defense” against occasional invaders.

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References Brookes, F.E. 1919. A migrating army of millipedes. Journal of Economic Entomology. 12: 462–464. Hedges, S.A. 2004. Occasional Invaders. pp. 1028– 1097. In Hedges, S.A. [ed] Handbook of Pest Control: The Behavior, Life History and Control of Household Pests. 9th Edition. GIE Media, Cleveland, OH

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Marketing Corner

How to Befriend a Reporter (And Get Your Business Some Free Press) Media Relations Tips Every Business Person Can Use by Missy Henriksen

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t is no secret that a little publicity can go a long way when it comes to growing or sustaining your business. There are two traditional ways to achieve publicity in the media—through paid advertising and through public relations. Advertising has its undeniable advantages, of course. You can’t downplay the benefits of having guaranteed placements, a predetermined reach and complete control over your message. But the cost of advertising (including placement fees and also costs to create the ad, whether for print media, radio, television or the Web) can be expensive and can quickly eat up an entire marketing budget if you don’t spend wisely. For these reasons, there’s certainly something to be said about free publicity. First, for the obvious fact that it’s free—minus the time and effort that is put into landing the publicity, whether you hire a PR pro or go it alone. But more than the cost savings, there is immeasurable value in the third-party endorsement that comes when your company’s statistics or observations are cited in a news story, or when your spokesperson is quoted as an expert on a topic related to your business. Such publicity positions your company as a thought-leader with experience and knowledge in your field of expertise. If you’ve decided that public relations is a marketing strategy that makes sense for your business, there are a few key tips that can help you build relationships with media contacts and ultimately land publicity. Do Your Research Take the time to identify key media outlets that you want to target. Consider the geographic reach of the outlet as well as its audience. For maximum impact, these should closely match the geographic reach and customer base of your business. Be realistic about which type of outlets would be the best fit for your business and your story idea.

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It is equally as important to identify the correct contact at each outlet. Nothing frustrates a reporter more than receiving a phone call or email pitching a great story idea that has nothing to do with their “beat” or worse, their outlet. For example, if you’re going to pitch a business story about your company’s growth, make sure to identify media outlets that cover business topics, and find the business reporters within the outlet who have covered similar stories in the past. If you aren’t sure that you’ve found the right contact, try calling the general news desk to ask who the correct contact is for your story idea. You are much better off sending your pitch to a few, carefully selected journalists at key outlets than you are blindly firing off emails to every contact you can find. Craft a Strong Pitch It may seem obvious, but before you contact a reporter, you should know what it is you want them to write about. Make a list of several story ideas—or variations on one idea—that may appeal to the publication. In your pitch, whether you send an email or call a reporter, focus on why the publication and its audience would care about your story idea (and not why your business deserves to be written about). An overly self-promotional pitch rarely results in coverage. If you write an email pitch, identify a news “hook” that is likely catch the attention of the journalist. Keep in mind that the “hook” is rarely about your business, but rather about something that will interest the audience. Open your pitch with the most important and basis information—usually the “who,” “what,” “when,” “where” and “why.” Your next paragraphs should expand on this lead. Don’t make a reporter work to figure out what it is you are pitching by taking several paragraphs to get to point. Be clear up front. With that said, your pitch should also make the reporter want to learn more. When you write the pitch,

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ma r k e t i n g c o r n e r

think of it as if you are telling a story. Each sentence should make the reader want to continue reading. Keep it Short It is important to deliver your pitch in a succinct manner. Realize that reporters and journalists often receive hundreds of pitches a day, so it is essential that yours’ is short and to the point to ensure that it is given consideration. Email pitches that are longer than a few short paragraphs are often deleted before they are ever read. If you choose to email a reporter, be sure to include a catchy title in the subject line that summarizes your story idea. If you choose to call a reporter directly, politely start the conversation by introducing yourself and asking the reporter if they have time to talk. Sometimes, a reporter is on deadline and will appreciate the consideration you show by asking at the start of the call if they are busy. If they are, ask when would be a good time to follow up. Just like in email communication, it is essential to keep your phone pitch short and to the point. Before you place a call, practice your pitch out loud until you can summarize it in a short 30-second elevator speech. Like everyone, journalists are busy people and don’t appreciate those who waste their time. Provide the Basics Before you fire off a pitch, make sure you consider these tips: ■■ Use every day language and avoid technical terminology. Remember that the reporter may not be a subject matter expert on the topic you are covering. ■■ If you can offer supplemental information like photography or research, do so! It’s a leg-up over the competition and likely to help your pitch move to the front of the line. ■■ If possible, avoid sending attachments in emails, as they fill up reporters’ inboxes or wind up in spam. ■■ Don’t forget to provide your contact information within the body of your email so that if the reporter is interested, they can easily follow up with you. You would be surprised how many people forget to do this. ■■ Be relevant. The media love story ideas that are timely or have a local angle. If you can offer local statistics, quotes from regional experts or insight into trends that are timely, your pitch is all the more likely to be successful. ■■ Finally, before you pick up the phone or send out an email, do some research to see if the reporter 28 PESTWORLD

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has covered your story idea recently. If they have, it doesn’t mean that your idea won’t get picked up again, but you should be prepared to offer ways to expand, update or reexamine the topic. Stay in Touch Even if your pitch doesn’t result in a media placement with the reporter, continue to keep in contact. If the reporter is responsive to your ideas, take their feedback into consideration and adjust your strategy as necessary. Send them new story ideas every so often— but be careful not to hound them. Consider inviting a reporter that has been receptive to your pitches to meet for coffee or lunch. This is a great opportunity to get to know one other and discuss how you might each benefit from a working relationship. Plus, it’s more difficult for a reporter to ignore an idea if they’ve had face time with you. Even if you haven’t pitched a reporter before or don’t have a specific story idea in mind, it never hurts to reach out, say hello and introduce your company and its credentials. Sometimes, just reminding a journalist that you are there—and always available as a resource—can pay off big if they suddenly need information from someone in your industry. If you can make it into a reporter’s rolodex (mentally or literally), you’re much more likely to get a phone call asking for assistance next time a story opportunity rolls around. Conclusion If you are successful in achieving media coverage for your business, leverage the free publicity and third-party endorsement where possible. Post the placement on your company website, quote it in your other marketing materials and share it on twitter, YouTube or Facebook if your company maintains social media accounts. Although landing media coverage for your business can be a time-consuming—and often frustrating—process, the result of seeing your company’s name in print, or hearing it on television or the radio, is extremely rewarding. Successful media placements help to build awareness of your company, suggest expertise and lend credibility to your business—all of which can ultimately help to grow your business.

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Missy Henriksen is the executive director of the Professional Pest Management Alliance. She can be reached at mhenriksen@pestworld.org. www.npmapestworld.org


Now the best software in the industry just got better. The NEW Enterprise Edition of PestPac Online - more features, new price. * Increase revenue, productivity and profitability through PestPac’s advanced reporting features. View your technician productivity, revenue, marketing performance, and salesteam statistics for any date range. * Improve cash flow by using the Advanced Collections module features to organize your collections procedures to more efficiently and more effectively collect outstanding balances. * Generate more revenue from existing customers and cut customer communication costs by using the Customer Account access module. Now your customers can access key account and service history, request a service, and pay bills. You can even market new services to each customer with PestPac’s new cross-sell tool. * Integrate with QuickBooks or any other general ledger accounting software using the General Ledger Link. Seamlessly sync accounts receivable data to ensure that you have an accurate, up-to-date financial picture for your company. * Optimize your routes using the Visual Route Manager by simply highlighting appointments on a map and assigning them to a particular day or technician. * Close more sales and better understand the ROI of your marketing efforts using PestPac’s Lead Import tool. Link your web site lead submission pages or other online lead sources directly to your PestPac Software. You can even upload sales leads from Sales Genie or other list providers to track performance on all your programs. * Save the hassle and cost of having hardware in your office. Use one centralized database for all of your branch offices and ensure that your data is safe through the backups and redundancy of Marathon’s online hosting environment. Each branch needs only a high-speed Internet connection and a PC.

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May/June PestWorld