How does the public search for Businesses?

Posted: March 17, 2009 by Thos003 in Marketing
Tags: , , , ,

The answer is as widely based as the public itself. This question hits the core of marketing. How do you get your product or service in front of the masses when they are looking for you? Yellowpages have a great argument, “customers only pick up a phone book when they are ready to call someone.” This is a great selling point and its probably accurate. Its also close to accurate that 60% of the phone book users already know who they are looking for when they reach for that phone book (Stat pulled from a DEX media packet). The phone book is used as a directory.

Search engines or online searches on the other hand are different. If someone knows who they are looking for, say Bulwark, then they don’t search for a generic term like “Exterminating” or “Pest Control“. They search for “Bulwark”. If they are searching for “Pest Control” then they are shopping or information gathering. And since they are window shopping, conversions for these online visitors is very low.

The best converting clients from people who are shopping and find your service come through referrals. Most people will ask friends or family members for recommendations when it comes to common household services or products. Some argue that this falls into branding.  You want to be the “first of mind”.  They argue that you need to spend money to get your name out there and make the public aware of your service. But saying, “I have heard of Joe’s Bug Shop.”, is different then “Use Bulwark, they have been good to me and my family.”

Searching for a business probably covers all the above touch points and more. Many businesses will use a combination approach believing that all the pieces of the pie are important.  They will spend in branding, radio, TV, and yellowpages because arguably “they all play a part.” This is called marketing overlap. It’s nice for advertisers because their is no concrete answer to what is working and what is not working. In reality there is some overlap, but where do you get the best bang for the buck. In the end, shoppers will take their friends recommendations and then do a little more online research. Or they will pick up a phone book and remember as they are turning the pages that Joe next door uses Adam’s Pest Control or that “Bulwark” has a recognizable logo. Because of marketing overlap it is easy to get confused on what touch points really drove them to buy or call.

So how do you know what works for you and your business. Test, Test, TEST… Record your results and keep testing.

Thanks for visiting.  Please add your comments.


P.S…. A customer coming to you or searching is different then you finding customers.

  1. Gerry says:

    You bring up some good points. Certainly, we at Hearts Pest Management ( can and should do even more with customer referrals. Our customer referral rate runs 15-20% and we offer Starbucks cards for gratitude.
    Yellowpages are dead. Perhaps there are some services that generate enough money to justify YP advertisements, but at what cost. A smart SEO can bring in lots of new business at a fraction of the cost. Old customers can and should incredible find information to assist in add-on sales and new prospects should be able to find you on the net by creating search criteria unique to your business that sets you apart from the crowd. Even the large pest control companies can not match swift footed small pest companies that are capable of making fast and decisive marketing moves on the web.

  2. thos003 says:


    Thanks for stopping in. It seems that you are on the same path as we are. In fact, I have found your comments on other pest blogs and I enjoy your input.

    I think you hit one of the biggest advantages a smaller company has… “swift change”. I feel that if you are not moving forward then you are falling behind. The quicker you can make those moves the better.

  3. […] posts: How does the public search for pest control and how should you spend your marketing dollars? Bulwark ExterminatingCreate Your Badge […]

  4. dan says:

    on with internet

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