For an industry like pest control that isn’t necessarily the “sexiest,” creating a marketing strategy that is enticing and effective can be a challenge for any marketing team. Virginia Beach-based company Mosquito Joe recognized that challenge when it began franchising in 2013. The brand was reliant on standard marketing practices but couldn’t understand why marketing wasn’t driving more, new customer acquisition to its franchisees or leads to its franchise development site.
Leading the charge on the brand’s latest marketing initiatives is seasoned marketing professional Angela Zerda Paules, who joined the brand six years ago to help streamline the brand’s strategy after identifying the lack of cohesion and audience reach in their existing efforts. Paules’s first objective was to tie in a digital component to make marketing a more effective tool for all departments.
When designing the new campaign, there were three key areas that Paules decided to concentrate on, and she believes success for nearly any franchise marketing campaign can be measured against the following criteria.
Is our marketing campaign driving leads?
Mosquito Joe wanted to blend both traditional and new marketing methods to drive traffic, from direct mail campaigns and yard signs to Facebook posts and emails. While these methods were great for driving consumer traffic, they weren’t the most effective way to reach potential candidates. This is when digital advertising began playing a pivotal role in the recruiting process.
After identifying key markets where Mosquito Joe was looking to develop, digital marketing efforts helped push the message in front of qualified individuals with interests closely mirroring the franchising offering.
“We understand what our target candidate looks like and use digital marketing as a way to draw these individuals to our franchise development site,” said President of Mosquito Joe Lou Schager. “It’s been a great tool in markets where we currently don’t have an existing presence but might be looking to grow.”
Are we getting in front of the right customers?
While direct mail and yard signs might be considered a dated approach, the two hand-in-hand play a large role in new customer acquisition for Mosquito Joe. Recognizing how muddled messaging could get if they let franchisees run their own local marketing efforts, the marketing team opted to manage their direct mail program in-house, allowing their corporate team to have full control while providing premium support to their franchise owners.
“Direct mail is a highly targeted marketing strategy, so we are able to send pieces directly to homes that fit our target audience in the specific areas we want to market,” said Julie Green, Marketing Manager at Mosquito Joe. “It's also trackable, which allows us to monitor success and optimize the program year after year.”
The team also created bold, bright branding so that when potential customers are sorting through the mail, Mosquito Joe’s postcards are hard to miss. They took a similar approach with their yard signs.
“Our branding and designs are helping to drive new customer acquisition,” according to Green. “The bold colors and logo draw initial attention to the sign as it stands out from its surroundings. Then the humor and messaging help to differentiate Mosquito Joe from competitors and encourage customers to call for service. And the simple design of the sign easily gives customers the information to do so.”
Can it be replicated?
Buzz Franchise Brands, parent company of Mosquito Joe, launched two new concepts within the past two years – Pool Scouts and Home Clean Heroes. Because all three brands are in the home service category, Mosquito Joe wanted to create a marketing approach that could easily translate across all concepts.
Pool Scouts was the first to launch in 2016 utilizing a similar combination of direct mail, yard signs and digital advertising to drive new customer acquisition and potential leads. Within two years, Pool Scouts has signed 10 franchisees and has serviced more than 1200 customers, which Marketing Manager Gwen Marsh believes can be attributed to both Pool Scouts superior quality of service but also to brand recognition.
“When we launched, a number of franchisees joined Pool Scouts because they had heard about Mosquito Joe and wanted to become a franchisee but availability was limited in their territory. That’s when they would turn to Pool Scouts, realizing that we had a similar model.” said Marsh. “Now, we’re vetting inquiries from candidates who have seen our ads online, and franchisees are getting inbound customer requests because of our direct mailers.”
As a parent company with two seasonal concepts, social media and email marketing have become top priorities for Buzz Franchise Brands during the off-season. While Pool Scouts had to create original content for its franchisees, finding out why these types of outreach gave Mosquito Joe an edge over competitors was knowledge Marsh could pass along to her system.
“Being active on social media helped Mosquito Joe stay in touch with customers and leads year-round, which we knew was something Pool Scouts needed to drive brand awareness and retention,” she said. “Utilizing similar strategies to Mosquito Joe, we offer special discounts, provide existing customers with educational materials, and pass along service reminders before the season kicks off. It’s been a great way for our franchisees to maintain ongoing communication with their customers.