Tuesday, October 27, 2015

PestWorld 2015 recap

I'm still digging out from my great week in Nashville at PestWorld 2015. Here are a few highlights from my week. How about yours?  From the perspective of ACE, here are my top three highlights:

1. Presenting the ACE Professional Award to Mr Michael Goldman, President of Purity Pest Control in Canada. Michael became at ACE at a time when ESA still did not have a way for PMPs to become ACE-certified if they were not based in the United States. His only option was to seek a cross-border license. Which is exactly what he did. Michael has been very active in Canada, Ontario, and Toronto with his community, working hard to make it a healthier world. This prestigious award includes free registration to PestWorld. To apply for the 2016 ACE Professional award, keep an eye on the ESA Awards site.

2. Proctoring an exam session for those taking the ACE exam. I always love doing this. For those that get through the exam successfully, there is nothing better than being able to hand them their new ACE pin and tell them congratulations in person. And for those that don't get through, it is a good opportunity to talk about the program in specific detail and offer encouragement for their next attempt. Overall we were pretty successful in Nashville. We had four people earn their ACE during PestWorld, including one new ACE-International. Congratulations to Henk Pottas (ACE-I), Brian Beining (ACE), John Stellberger (ACE), and Paul Scott (ACE).

3. Debuting the new ACE Study Guide. We had a hard time keeping the books stocked in our booth. Maybe it was the introductory discounted pricing (through Dec 31, 2015 -- hurry and you can get it too!) or maybe it was the general industry buzz, but this is a good book that is finding a home in the structural pest control education market.  We were (and still are, while supplies last) giving away a free copy of the Handbook of Household and Structural Insect Pests with every copy sold. ACE applicants get the book for about 1/2 of the cover price and we have a file folder of  new applications received from people who stopped by our booth. One of the authors, Richard Levine, was working with us in the booth for part of the meeting. I hope you got a chance to meet him.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Newest ACEs and BCEs

Please help us congratulate the newest PMPs to proudly wear the BCE and ACE designation, including a class of 15 people from Clark Pest Control who all passed on the same day.

New BCE:
  • Mr. Marc C. Potzler, BCE, ACE , (Buffalo Exterminating), Orchard Park, NY  USA.  Certified on 10/1/2015. 
New ACEs:
  • Mr. Eddie E Mulkey, ACE, (Rottler Pest & Lawn Solutions), Fenton, MO  USA.  Certified on 9/21/2015. 
  • Mr. Richard Michael Norcross, ACE, (Terminix International), Gulfport, MS  USA.  Certified on 9/22/2015. 
  • Mr. Michael Steven Williams, ACE, (Rottler Pest & Lawn Solutions), Saint Louis, MO  USA.  Certified on 9/25/2015. 
  • Mr. John L. Wells, ACE, (Atlanta Pest Control), Woodstock, GA  USA.  Certified on 10/1/2015. 
  • Mr. Mohammed Nadeem, ACE, (HomeTeam Pest Defense), Antioch, CA  USA.  Certified on 10/7/2015. 
  • Mr. Richard Keene, ACE, (Clark Pest Control), Lodi, CA  USA.  Certified on 10/9/2015. 
  • Mr. Leonard Travis Curtis, ACE, (Clark Pest Control), Lodi, CA  USA.  Certified on 10/9/2015. 
  • Mr. Erik Alvarez, ACE, (Clark Pest Control), Lodi, CA  USA.  Certified on 10/9/2015. 
  • Mr. Robert Golubski, ACE, (Clark Pest Control), Lodi, CA  USA.  Certified on 10/9/2015. 
  • Mr. Carl Justice, ACE, (Clark Pest Control), Lodi, CA  USA.  Certified on 10/9/2015. 
  • Mr. Jim Phillpott, ACE, (Clark Pest Control), Lodi, CA  USA.  Certified on 10/9/2015. 
  • Mr. Phil Layfield, ACE, (Clark Pest Control), Lodi, CA  USA.  Certified on 10/9/2015. 
  • Mr. Aaron Bird, ACE, (Clark Pest Control), Lodi, CA  USA.  Certified on 10/9/2015. 
  • Mr. Chance Howell, ACE, (Clark Pest Control), Lodi, CA  USA.  Certified on 10/9/2015. 
  • Mr. Chris Atchison, ACE, (Clark Pest Control), Lodi, CA  USA.  Certified on 10/9/2015. 
  • Mr. Kevin Chapdelaine, ACE, (Clark Pest Control), Lodi, CA  USA.  Certified on 10/9/2015. 
  • Mr. Nicholas Chase, ACE, (Clark Pest Control), Lodi, CA  USA.  Certified on 10/9/2015. 
  • Mr. David Valdez, ACE, (Clark Pest Control), Lodi, CA  USA.  Certified on 10/9/2015. 
  • Mr. Matthew Lester, ACE, (Clark Pest Control), Lodi, CA  USA.  Certified on 10/9/2015. 
  • Mr. Jose Rueben Pabon, ACE, (Clark Pest Control), Lodi, CA  USA.  Certified on 10/9/2015. 
  • Mr. Howard Andrew Cohn, ACE, (Orkin), Tampa, FL  USA.  Certified on 10/14/2015. 

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Video marketing - 6 tips for pest control marketing

YouTube started in February of 2005 and -- like so many other stories from the early days of the net -- rose meteorically to become one of the most dominant forces on the web. The site, which is now owned by Google, receives more than a billion unique visitors every month. According to Cisco, by 2017 video will account for 69% of all consumer internet traffic. And that's just YouTube (though admittedly they are by far the most dominant player with over 71% market share in the US, according to Statista) . Don't forget Facebook videos, Netflix, Vimeo, Hulu, Vine, and dozens of other providers.

Aside from you getting your daily kitten video fix, what does this mean for you as a business owner and marketer? 64% of marketers expect video to be a part of their strategies in the near future. If you are not contemplating how to use video in your marketing, you are already falling behind.

Here are a few quick tips for how you can get started, or get ahead, in your video marketing.

1. Develop a unique voice
Just like in traditional marketing, you should have a standard look, feel, and sound in your video marketing. If you have not yet created your own YouTube channel, that is step #1. This is your "store front" for all of your videos and is an easy way for you to showcase your stuff.  One of the cardinal rules of traditional print marketing was always to have your print ads look similar, or at least have a unifying theme, so that your customer could know at an instant what your product or service is. (Think of the brilliant Absolut vodka ads as an example).

Jeff White of BedBug Central does a great job of this on BedBug TV. In his YouTube channel, he delivers instructions in everyday language in a calm, properly-cadenced approach. Jeff has become the "face" of BedBugTV and is featured in every video (at least all the ones I've seen). Plus, their YouTube channel is featured heavily on the BedBugCentral home page, allowing for good cross-promotion. Which gets us to point #2....

2. Link to your videos from your sites
Sounds obvious, right?  And yet some video providers do only that: They create a YouTube video or channel and don't tell anyone it is there. This is akin to shouting in a closed room with only yourself to hear.

YouTube has a simple way for you to embed a video into your website. Don't just add links, it is far better to embed the video as a way to build your traffic and exposure. To embed a video from your channel, click Share, then embed. You'll see an html tag box open up that should look something like this:

Work with your web host to add this to your web site on the appropriate page and your video will be embedded on your site (the video below is embedded). Be sure to include links to your content on all social media platforms as well.

3. Don't be afraid to have fun

ESA is actually pretty good at this. Our video team has filmed a lot of fun videos that -- while conveying a serious message -- do it in a fun way. Our YouTube channel includes parodies of the Dos Equis "world's most interesting man" ads, the TV show Portlandia, and others. Our newest video, just released today, promotes our new ACE Study Guide and the fact that you no longer need to carry around 10+ books to study for your ACE.

4. It doesn't have to be flashy to work
You'll notice a lot of varying quality in the videos online. Take some standard care with your equipment, such as using a tripod, adequate lighting, avoiding ambient/nearby sounds, and ensuring that the subject is in focus, but you don't need to have a $10,000 camera to record effective videos. Many of the ESA videos were recorded on either iPhones or Flip cameras.

5. Consider your audience. And consider their audience
When you record your video, think about for whom you are preparing the files? Is it for restaurant managers who have insect problems? Homeowners who just found bed bugs in their house? Or someone else?  Make sure that your approach is appropriate for the audience. And be mindful that it is incredibly simple for your video to move beyond your intended audience.

6. Think about VSEO
VSEO is video search engine optimization. (If you don't know what SEO is, click here before reading further).  But the basic idea is that you can improve your overall search engine ranking by producing videos and adding the proper tags. It has been reported for years that videos are 50 times more likely than text to get on the first page of a google search.  There are a lot of links to "bed bug removal" on the web. For your page to rise above and get increased traffic, look at VSEO as a way to increase your hits.

7. Edit, edit, edit
Script your video before you start, but don't think that you have to do this all in one take. You can edit the video with some pretty inexpensive software until you're happy with it.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Helping you promote your ACE

Your ACE is an investment. You paid an application fee. You bought study books. You took time away from your business and family to study for your exam.

You earned this.

But how do you communicate this to your customer?  How can you sum up simply what it means to be an Associate Certified Entomologist (or ACE-International)?  We've written before on this blog about the reasons to choose an ACE (or BCE), ways that you can promote your certification, and how earning your ACE can even sometimes help you to get a better rate on your business insurance.

It is the customer you really need to convince though. The restaurant owner who is putting your bid up against other bids. Or the homeowner who has a pest problem and needs to find someone they can trust. And it can be nearly impossible to keep up with the places you "NEED" to be ably represented, including Angie's List, Craigslist, the yellow pages, newspaper ads, radio, TV, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, Yelp ... the list is seemingly endless.

Managing your reputation starts with your ACE. It can be a huge asset when you are competing with other businesses for accounts. Less than 1% of PMPs nationwide (and significantly fewer globally) have earned their ACE. Be proud of what you've done and let your customers know what it means to be ACE certified.

Stop by our booth (#717) at PestWorld 2015 in Nashville and pick up a few free copies of our new brochure, "Why Hire an ACE". These flyers are designed as a tool that you can give to a client to explain why they should hire you. We even left space on the back for you to add your own marketing message.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Buying the new ACE Study Guide

If you've already ordered your copy of IPM for the Urban Professional: A Study Guide for the Associate Certified Entomologist, then those orders should ship from our warehouse on Tuesday, the 6th of October. Depending on where you are located, you should expect to see them start to arrive by sometime the following week.

If you have an interest in acquiring the study guide, I'd consider buying it soon as the title is priced at a discount through the 31st of December, 2015. Prices are not yet for next year, but I expect them to rise.

Click here to learn more about the guide and purchase it online. You can also buy the ACE Study Guide at any show where ESA is exhibiting and save the shipping fee.

2015 Introductory pricing:
  • List price - $85 USD (+ shipping)
  • Discounted price for current ACEs, ESA members, or BCEs:  $69 (+ shipping)
  • Discounted price for current (and new) ACE applicants:  $49  (+ shipping).  Current applicants should contact ace@entsoc.org to get a discount code if you did not receive one already via email.
  • For a limited time and while supplies last, all orders also include a free copy of the Handbook of Household and Structural Insect Pests
You may consider collaborating with some colleagues and start a study group and purchase your books in bulk. If you purchase 10-50 copies your price drops to $55.25/book. If you purchase 51-99 copies your price drops to $46.75/book. If you want more than 100 copies, contact ace@entsoc.org and we'll price that for you. In all cases shipping will be extra.

US Shipping:
  • 1-2 books = $10
  • 3-5 books = $15
  • 6-9 books = $20
  • 10+ books = contact ESA
Canadian Shipping:
  • 1-2 books = $15
  • 3-5 books = $20
  • 6-9 books = $25
  • 10+ books = contact ESA
Other International Shipping:
  • 1-2 books = $35
  • 3-5 books = $40
  • 6-9 books = $45
  • 10+ books = contact ESA

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Excerpts from the new ACE Study Guide

We're pretty excited about the new book, IPM for the Urban Professional: A Study Guide for the Associate Certified Entomologist.  I mentioned in a recent post that the book had gone to the printer. They are currently printing the cover and then will bind the pages together. We're expecting to get our copies into the ESA offices by the first week of October, 2015.

As we were reviewing the proofs I thought it may be good to highlight a couple of sections of the book to help people understand just what it is they would be buying. The tone of the book is what I really love. It is written in a conversational tone designed to appeal to a wide variety of learners.

In the book you'll find text that covers a wide variety of topics, including insect biology, behavior, control, IPM, chemical classifications, etc. Excerpted below you will find a few short text samples and screen shots of pages from the new guide (all text and images copyrighted to the Entomological Society of America, 2015, not to be used or reproduced without expressed written permission).

(from page 37)
"Integrated Pest Management is sometimes defined as the use of two or more control tactics. Based on this idea, some may think that using two or more pesticides qualifies as IPM. However, IPM is of course much more than that. In addition to proper pest identification, knowledge of pest biology, monitoring, and action thresholds, IPM relies on integratings tactics from the following methods:
1) Quarantine and exclusion to prevent pests from beginning an infestation.
2) Making the environment less suitable for pests through improved sanitation and/or changes in building design or construction.
3) The use of cultural control methods to ensure that habitats (especially outdoors) are less susceptible or attractive to pests.
4) Physical controls involving electricity, heat, cold, humidity, light, or sound ..."

(from pages 96-97)
"One of the prominent features of the insect head is the mouth. Along with the number and arrangement of eyes, the form of the antennae, and the shape and texture of the head, the ability to recognize different types of insect mouthparts can help to identify them.

Insects have four basic kinds of mouthparts:
1) chewing, 2) piercing-sucking, 3) sponging, and 4) siphoning. These are not the only types–there are actually several more classes of mouthparts. In fact, some insects have no functional mouthparts at all as adults (as you might guess, they don't live very long). However, these are the major types that are found in most structural insect pests."

(from page 113)
"One useful way of identifying ant species is to look at the thorax. In some ant species, the thorax is smooth and hairless, while others have ornamentation or setae (hairs). Some species bear spines in different numbers and configurations. And some ant species have a thorax that is smooth and round when viewed from the side, while others look uneven with distinctive shapes.

The gaster can also be used to identify ants. For example, most individuals in the subfamily Formicinae have an acidopor, a circular cone-like anal orifice at the tip of the gaster that is surrounded by a ring of hairs. However, most members of the subfamily Dolichoderinae have a slit-shpaed orifice with no ring of fairs. None of the ants in either of these two subfamilies have stingers on their gasters, but ants in the subfamily Myrmicinae do (see following section on Ant Classification)."

Read more on these and hundreds of other topics in the new study guide for the Associate Certified Entomologist program. It is on sale now at a discounted price until the end of 2015. Click here to reserve your copy.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

New ACEs and BCEs

ESA congratulates the latest PMPs who earned their ACE, ACE-I, or BCE:

New ACEs:

  • Mr. Christopher Mosley, ACE, (Terminix), Meridian, MS  USA.  Certified on 8/4/2015. 
  • Mr. John Matthew Zehner, Jr., ACE, (Alpha Ecological Pest Control), Vancouver, WA  USA.  Certified on 8/26/2015. 
  • Mr. James Michaelson Truslow, ACE, (BASF Corp.), Grass Valley, CA  USA.  Certified on 8/27/2015. 
  • Mr. Robert A. Ostrop, ACE, (Invader Pest Management), Glendale, AZ  USA.  Certified on 9/10/2015. 
  • Mr. Greg Epley, ACE, (Food Protection Services), Memphis, TN  USA.  Certified on 9/14/2015. 

New ACE-Internationals:

  • Mr. Peter Brigden, ACE-I, (Rapid Training), Stafford, QLD,   Australia.  Certified on 8/10/2015. 
  • Mr. Ryan Frawley, ACE-I, (Active Pest Solutions LTD), Edmonton, AB  Canada.  Certified on 8/26/2015. 
  • Mr. Shakeel Iqbal, ACE-I, (STERITECH), Milton, ON  Canada.  Certified on 8/28/2015. 

New BCEs:

  • Mrs. Elizabeth H Foley, BCE, (United States Air Force), Beavercreek, OH  USA.  Certified on 7/24/2015. 
  • Mrs. Karen (Kim) Kelley-Tunis, ACE, BCE, (Rollins, Inc.), Atlanta, GA  USA.  Certified on 7/31/2015. 
  • Dr. Craig A. Stoops, BCE, (United States Navy), DPO, AA  USA.  Certified on 8/12/2015. 
  • Ms. Amanda Rose Newton, BCE, (North Georgia College and State University), Leesburg, VA  USA.  Certified on 8/12/2015. 
  • Mr. Daniel W Scott, BCE, (JC Ehrlich/Western Exterminator Co.), Anaheim, CA  USA.  Certified on 9/3/2015.