Do not underestimate any marketing opportunities to get your message into places where people are—that goes for both the real world and online.
By Fearghal Murphy

Running a garbage service company has many challenges and growing your business and customer base is always key. One of the most common questions that we get asked is if we have seen any effective marketing campaigns that deliver more residential customers. We have broken down the checklist into eight areas and have given helpful examples and tips to help you in this process.


Photo courtesy of WIS.

#1: Branding
You cannot underestimate the marketing opportunity that your trucks, carts, and uniforms present and it is vital that you get it right. A well delivered brand shows professionalism and attention to customer service. Another way to look at it is how much would you spend on lawn signs or hiring a mobile billboard? Both are very effective, but can be costly. Wouldn’t it be great to have both of these with no costly advertising fee attached? Well, the good news is that you have this because your truck is your mobile billboard and your carts are the lawn signs. Simply put, the cost of getting unique colors combined with your logo is the greatest long term expenditure you will ever invest in marketing. In addition, because it is a long term expense, it is also the most cost effective. Your trucks and branded carts are, without a doubt, the best outdoor advertising you have. A well-positioned billboard is hard to ignore.

#2: Website
Practically everyone you want to do business with is in the habit of buying goods and services online. Having a facility for online sign-ups or other service requests is an absolute must. Just picture someone sitting down on a Sunday afternoon who has moved into a new house and is looking for a trash service. They want to book it there and then; they are very unlikely to wait until the next day to call a company. If you do not have a sign up facility on your site, you are probably going to lose that customer to a competitor. Simply put, by having a good system you are going to get more customers and get an edge on your competitors. You also need to have regular reviews and audits of your site, so that you can continually improve the design, speed, and facilities that it offers customers. We see a lot of waste haulers that spend a lot of time and money on getting a great website developed, but then neglect it after it is live. Remember, your website is very often where people will first do business with you.

#3: Advertising on Social Media
You can break use of social media into two categories. The first is organic content and the second is paid advertising. In this section we will focus on paid advertising. Your two areas of focus with paid advertising are: 1) Content and 2) Targeting. With content, our advice is to keep it simple and to the point. Do not over elaborate on the key message; you have to be concise and relevant. The second is targeting. Social media allows you to target precise groups of people through the use of location, age, demographics, interests, and much more. For example when developing your target profile, you can start by entering the geographic location of your service area (town/city etc.), then add an age profile that fits with the typical type of new customer you get (25 to 35 years old). You will then be able to select a budget and deliver your message directly to this target audience. When getting started, do a quick google search for ‘social media marketing’ and you will find some great articles and videos that will give you a step-by-step guide.

#4: Organic Content on Social Media
The power of content delivered by social media is massive and just keeps growing. But it is important that you use it correctly. If all you are doing is posting messages about service calendars or changes to collection schedules, you are hardly going to get a lot of followers or friends. You need to be interesting on social media to get attention. The good news is that there are many opportunities for waste haulers to deliver interesting content and create sales hooks that can win business. We have seen companies running recycling competitions in schools that get huge engagement. Similarly, we have also seen companies using promotions on social media that get new customers, increase loyalty, and more. Here are some examples of promotions that we see working for many clients:

Customer loyalty: Customer retention is gold and running a campaign that encourages customers to stay with you will work very well.

Competitions or giveaways: You will see more and more examples of this on social media. ‘Like + Share’. This is a way not just to connect with your own customers, but you also connect with their friends.

Referral Programs: Similar to the above, but in this instance you are offering a discount or reward to someone if they deliver you new customers. This is very common for any utility-based company like broadband or phone network providers.

#5: SEO
This is an absolute must; in our experience, this is an area that you should definitely consider using a third party who specializes in this area. The goal with search engine optimization (SEO) is to rank higher in search results for garbage services in your area. This requires a particular skillset and always requires continual work. To improve your ranking in results pages, make sure that you are using local search terms such as your town, city, or state in your content. Two areas within SEO that you should be focusing on are content and backlinks. Can you share your content with other websites and get links back to your site? If the answer is yes, you just need a plan that will get this working for you. (Note: there are many available articles online that explain both in depth that you can search through). We always recommend outsourcing SEO at the start just to get your online presence on the right path.

#6: Local Advertising
If there are local advertising opportunities such as newspapers or radio stations, reach out to them to look at both advertising and press relations (PR) options. Most haulers only use local media for advertising, very few discuss PR. Advertising is straightforward and most outlets will work with you to develop a plan, just do not miss the opportunity of leveraging your advertising spend against some PR. Ask if they will carry some of your content on their social channels. Can you run competitions together or offer tips and advice around recycling? Media outlets will not refuse good or interesting content. Get creative and see what you can put together.

#7: Local Associations, Partnerships and Events
Getting involved in your local community is a no brainer. It gets your brand out there and shows that you care about what happens in your community. There are some great ‘win-win’ opportunities that can get your brand into some good locations. Just look at places or events that get high traffic or footfall. A school is a perfect example. You can offer your local school a discounted service rate where they benefit from the lower cost and you benefit by having your branded carts in prominent high visibility places. You can easily apply this idea to many other areas like local clubs or events. Is there an annual parade that you could get involved in? Are there community events that you could partner with? By getting involved in your local community, you do not just show that you care about your community, but you are also getting your brand seen in some great places

The Basics
In summary, focus on getting the basics right because this is where you will get most of your wins. Concentrate on your brand and how well you stand out on your trucks and carts. And make sure that you get your message into places where people are, and that goes for both the real world and online. Remember, nobody has an unlimited budget when it comes to marketing and advertising, so make sure that you track your spend versus the return that you get. Finally, if you find something that works for you then keep using it. Do not fix something that is not broken! | WA

Fearghal Murphy is the Marketing Director for WIS. As a highly skilled marketing director who is experienced in both B2C and B2B markets, his work and advertising campaigns have won national awards. He is also a regular contributor to various publications and industry reports. Fearghal can be reached at [email protected] or visit