Uriah Hon from Lobster Marketing tells us how they’re the first agency to allow consumers to purchase pest control online. This helps them differentiate against other agencies and also penetrate the pest control industry.
Check them out here: https://www.lobstermarketing.com/
Here’s the video interview:
Here’s the full transcript:
Ryan Shank: Alright guys, welcome back to another episode of growing your agency. I’m your host, Ryan Shag today. Super excited. We have your Aja Han lobster marketing group, your riot. Thanks for joining us.
Uriah Hon: Thank you, guys.
Ryan Shank: Yeah. So, so tell us a little bit about, uh, about lobster marketing group kind of services you guys provide. Um, yeah.
Uriah Hon: Awesome. So, uh, I’ll be, we’re a full-service marketing group at this point. Um, so SEOs are our big thing naturally, uh, in custom websites from the ground up. So all the HTML and all. Um, naturally we do, uh, all our print collateral design, so you name it, we can probably take care of it. But as far as lobster goes, um, the great story really started in a basement a little over eight years ago, um, with somebody that was in the industry that we primarily market for it. So we primarily focus on pest control across the country. Uh, and he was in pest control and realized that the marketing there just wasn’t niched enough yet and, uh, decided to, uh, take it from there. And, uh, here we are a handful of years later with a, you know, a sister store in Dallas and, and, uh, you know, many more employees than we started with.
Ryan Shank: So that’s also how big, how big is your guys’ team now?
Uriah Hon: So we have a little over 30 in the office that I’m located, uh, in on the main coast. And then we have a sister store that has a little more than that in Dallas.
Ryan Shank: Oh Wow. And what’s the makeup is, do you guys, uh, is it, you know, mostly sales engineering people? Do you have the creatives in house? Um, team makeup?
Uriah Hon: Yeah, absolutely. Uh, actually in Dallas is all the software. Um, but we were able to, by partnering with a Software Company and ourselves, we were both kind of acquired together to create a product that had yet to be offered. And so they work on the software end. On our end is going to be all the websites, the SEO, the actual marketing value of that product.
Ryan Shank: Interesting. So, so let’s talk about, you know, when you, when you bring on a new client. So first, I’m curious to hear, you know, how do you guys go after and acquire new clients today? What does that process look like? And kind of like, you know, what’s the hook I guess, that you’re using when you want to like then go in for like a proposal potentially.
Uriah Hon: Sure. So to start it’s really simple. We’ve been really lucky and blessed to, I’ve been blessed with to work with some of the bigger pest control companies across the country. Um, word of mouth ultimately got us to where we are now. Um, and in fact, you know, marketing for ourselves wasn’t something that we had done up until the recent years. Um, ultimately when the software company and ourselves required together, that provided a giant portfolio of, of business. Um, so we get to the product that we’re able to offer, which is a very simple idea of purchasing pest control online had never been offered before. Um, as simple as that sounds, we were able to do that for the very first time. And so that going into it is very simple. We can give that to you and nobody else can. Ideally, you have to work with lobster and pest routes will be our sister company. Uh, you would have to have that relationship together as a whole in order to achieve that buying pest control online.
Ryan Shank: So basically buying pest control services similar to like you would buy like an ecommerce, like it’s really like an ecommerce transaction. Right?
Uriah Hon: Very much so. So in the past, the problem with pest control is it’s all defined by routes that the service techs have to achieve throughout the day. Yup. Making a purchase and scheduling online a bit intricate. And so we were able to combine that and correlate systems and uh, so we can, we can book that and assign that to a certain route and a certain person become pretty buttoned down with that sale.
Ryan Shank: Got It. And you have kind of like the algorithm behind, no, you know, it’ll like know where availability is based on the route of the tech.
Uriah Hon: Absolutely. It’s going to take your address kind of associated to a 20 mile radius that and that technician’s route is going to be included in there. It’ll automatically assign them to a free time slot. If they have, um, you know, they give them a two hour, a user, a two-hour time slot online, they pick that and it’s going to go ahead and give that to the tech to complete. And so ideally the user themselves, the customer, they’d never have to speak with anybody. A much like a pair of shoes make the purchase, it shows up on your door. The technicians for these companies are going to do the same and when they leave your house will be treated and you’ll never see them.
Ryan Shank: Got It. Got It. Alright, so, so you guys are working with pest control companies right now. Talk to them. Talk to me about your pricing model. Do you, you know, is the percentage of ad spend because you didn’t say you’re full service or you’re charging them for the build out? Like what does that look like?
Uriah Hon: Yeah, so all the parents, so we have multiple tiers of memberships. Um, a premium membership as we might call it, includes a custom build from the ground up. Most of the people, they’re going to be looking at that bigger companies, um, you know, over a couple million in that, probably that’s close to about 30,000 could be much more, depending on what they’d like a year. We have options down to a $100 a month for very simply just your, your base website. Um, and we kind of go off from there and we have some tiers naturally including bypass control online, uh, throughout that. Um, but ultimately if you were a, a full membership and you were paying a few thousand a month, uh, you get a full custom design website, you get inbound marketing content, uh, you know, usually four pieces a month of blog posts, whatnot. We take care of all those, we write them, we would edit them, post them. Um,
Ryan Shank: you guys use hubspot for online or for the inbound marketing or do you use like another CRM?
Uriah Hon: Yeah, so we have primary CRM or CMS, uh, more so, um, so it branch, so it’s kind of built around us located in Maine. So we have direct access to that architects or we’re fairly lucky that way.
Ryan Shank: Got It. Awesome. And then in terms, so, so you bring them on board, depending on the scope of services, it’s either couple thousand or whatever it is. If they’re just, you know, maybe it goes up from there. If they want to do the online, online booking or buy pest control, uh, online, and then it’s as far as reporting what, you know, what is the cadence of reporting? What are some of the KPIs that you’re actually giving to the client? Do they care about, you know, impressions and you know, things like that, or they only care about leads?
Uriah Hon: Yeah. So what we find on the customer end is lead as a focus and how many leads and how much am I paying. Um, and, and that’s the biggest thing that everybody’s really gonna focus on naturally. RN, we’re gonna look at impressions. If we’re looking at the paid side, click-through rates, we’re looking at time on page, all the metrics naturally because we build those websites custom and from the ground up, we’re constantly changing them. And we’re compiling elements from other websites that are far different and, and seeing what works. Uh, but from a user side it is leads and how much am I paying for them.
Ryan Shank: Got It. And do you find that most pest control leads are people’s fitting, like filling out forms, people buying pest control, online phone calls? Like what is the mix of, of uh, of conversion types, conversion actions that you see?
Uriah Hon: Uh, implementing chats been huge. Um, once we’ve, what we’ve seen with chat is so, so the backup phone calls are by far. Um, I would say 70% of leads and installing chat cuts that in half, but makes up for them there. Um, forums, forums, kind of make up the rest. But ultimately we see the majority of our leads come through on the phone.
Ryan Shank: Got It. And then a, so then you’re forwarding those calls, you know, directly to, um, directly to the clients. Do you ever, do you ever like listen to the calls? There’s sort of like guide the clients on like, Hey, you know, or, or even look at the metrics. Like, Hey, you’re missing 30% of the phone calls or hey, you know, I listened to this call and the customer said that they had to wait like, you know, two minutes for you to like finally pick up or when an agent finally pick up. Do you ever kind of like dive in and sort of like coach them on, on those sorts of things? Or is it like, hey, we delivered it. It’s like kind of out of our hands.
Uriah Hon: Yeah, so backing up to when I first meet my client, uh, and they’re new to me, I’m going to talk to them about how they want to be communicated with and what they want for investment automates what we’ve found. Some people don’t want all of that. They like to do things the way they like to do it and some are open to say, please share more knowledge with me if they’re open to that. The first thing I’m going to do after the first month is I’m going to listen to the majority of their costs. Uh, realistically, with a lot of our companies, there’s not a ton. You might end up with a hundred or so. Um, I’m going to listen to most of those and provide some feedback at that first reporting call or we’re going to go over the website as well. So, um, you know, we definitely do listen to them. Uh, we, we do find if discrepancies are great to be able to reference. Um, if a customer says, you know, one of my customers says we’re not sure how our, uh, you know, CSR handled this, can you help me out? We’re going to provide honest feedback about what we hear. So
Ryan Shank: got it. Um, that’s awesome. That’s incredible. What’s a, and then when you report to them, is it, you know, weekly, monthly, do you use a reporting tool? You know, maybe it’s in house, I’m assuming, but you know, what, what is that like actually look like? Like tactically?
Uriah Hon: Yes. So, um, you know, currently we’re utilizing Ninja cat, uh, for our, yeah, yeah. So, um, and that seems to work well with all the other data sources that we have, uh, naturally. And so, um, yeah, we’re using Ninja cat. We’re going to go ahead and send them a report every month. We provide them with an open dashboard, they can access it anytime and they can set their date range to reflect today or any day in the past. Uh, I’m going to send that report every month, the beginning of the, of the next month of course. Um, and give them an opportunity to go over that and not differs a little bit by your membership level. I spend more time actively with some members than I do others, uh, of course. Uh, but, and then every, uh, every three months, every half year and every year we’ll do overall reviews, but we, uh, we are in there, um, twice a month and with the member themselves, the actual customer every month.
Ryan Shank: So you have like set meetings out, I’m assuming hour-long calendar invites, boom, let’s go over the report and be in every month. And then you have it, you know, obviously getting sent out as well.
Uriah Hon: That’s exactly it. So we, at this point, uh, I prefer to, you know, automate it in the future, um, when we need to, fortunately, have a big enough team to break up all of our, our accounts, uh, so that I can go ahead and manually pull them and I like to send them with a little, a personal message. Um, something that I have found has attributed to some of our success is sending along a report and pointing out kind of the points of contention. Um, what we found. These people have been in business for a long time. They don’t want a pat on the back and they don’t want to hear how good you’ve done. Um, we want to know what’s broken and they want to know how you’re gonna fix it. And so diving in head first with that has seen far more productive and created much more assurance and trust. And so that’s Kinda worked really well. So I like to send those manually after I’ve checked the data. Um, and then, you know, with some time to go over it in the week.
Ryan Shank: Yeah. I think people also, you know, what I’m hearing is that people kind of like, like, yeah, give me the data, but then also kind of give me a humanized summary of the data and sort of like recommendations, like don’t make me as the client, you know, pick out and, and kind of like dissect what it means versus saying like, here it is and this is like, you know, recommendations going forward. Um, awesome. So when you got, so when you guys, um, acquire new clients, how many, you know, how many people kind of get assigned to, assigned to a client in, and I’m guessing it kind of varies based on, you know, scope of services that they sort of subscribe to, but, you know, do you guys use any project management, Trello base camps or anything like that? Uh, to Kinda like manage like the client?
Uriah Hon: Yeah, so salesforce is going to be our big tool there. Um, salesforce, uh, has been easiest way to combine two stores, two separate locations with a lot of people in a lot of accounts, um, because all ultimately have hundreds accounts that don’t, uh, on the other side that don’t necessarily utilize our service. And so we’re able to cross cross reference everything. Um, now as far as people in house, you know, it’s, it’s a lot. Ultimately we, we, uh, you know, we start there, they’re going to have that initial sales call with a salesman or somebody that can provide the value of the product. After that’s done, it goes to a whole implementation team of 15 people, uh, and their, their sites suck and they’re pulling content, they’re writing content, they’re editing it, they’re, they’re getting images ready, they’re designing the site and branding that site and they’re in there. They’re loading that site up. Um, it goes to, then it goes to proofreaders naturally, and then all ultimately hits either my desk or one of my team member’s desk, which would be the customer success. So that’s going to be the person that they ended up with a holding that responsible for that relationship. Right. Building that relationship, holding onto that relationship. Um, so they’re going to have kind of one person ultimately at our group that they will work with to be an advocate for them within our business and towards them for our business.
Ryan Shank: Yup. Yup. Awesome. And then, uh, what would you say your, you know, retention is a, for, for clients, you know, are you guys seeing high, high turnover, um, or are you able to, to retain them pretty well?
Uriah Hon: Yeah, so, um, you know, with, when our, uh, portfolio was, was gone over a, as part of the acquisition, um, we, we’re 90% retention rate, so we do really, really well. That’s changing now because of the types of accounts or appealing to, um, we can now offer something to everybody and we really couldn’t before. You kind of had to be somewhat, uh, set in stone out there and doing pretty well. Um, now we kind of have all sorts of memberships, which naturally does, uh, change that a bit, but we’re still in the mid 80%.
Ryan Shank: Wow. That’s great. That’s awesome. Um, all right, we’re coming up on, on time here. Uh, one final question that I like to, to ask everyone is what is your morning routine?
Uriah Hon: Yeah. So, uh, I will say it starts long before I get to work and, uh, it starts at home with a cold shower. Um, that’s been huge. I read about that in men’s health many years ago. I hated every day and, uh, but it makes all the difference. Um, the first thing I do is get to work and say hi to everybody is one thing. Uh, out of many other offices. Um, I found was important and that might not matter for everybody. It mattered for some and the ones who needed it really changed their day and excuse me. And then it’s two a, the coffee machine for a cup of coffee naturally and down to emails. And so if I, uh, if I make it through my emails and kind of going back and forth with those members, you know, and then digging into those, those numbers, uh, you know, just randomly, just taking the accounts that aren’t as good performing and just kinda just watching those little closer. So.
Ryan Shank: Well that, love that. That’s awesome. And you guys are, and you guys are in Maine. You said that the Cota Maine coast of Maine,
Uriah Hon: coastal Maine, and we’re located in Ellsworth, Maine,
Ryan Shank: Ellsworth also. I was up in Portland last summer on a little diamond island or great diamond island.
Uriah Hon: Yeah. Beautiful place.
Ryan Shank: So Nice.
Uriah Hon: Gotcha. MBI sometime we’re a, we’re about five minutes from Acadia national park.
Ryan Shank: Oh, okay. Yeah, my family went there. All right. Awesome. Rye Hahn, lobster marketing group. Thank you so much for joining us on growing your agency and where can everyone find you? Thanks, guys. So a, you can go ahead and find this lobster marketing group.com and I’ll tell you everything you need to know. All right, I’ll also, we’ll link to you guys in the show notes. Thank you guys for joining us on another episode growing your agency.