The Benefits of Online Marketing in the Waste Industry

When it comes to marketing online, it often requires a “cocktail” of strategies to keep your company noticed. However, there are simple and cheap solutions out there—even for the “average company”.

Geri-Lynn Van Sant

For those of you who have been around the waste industry like me for more than 20 years, do you remember when life was simple? An annual visit or phone call from the phone book representative and then it was back to running your business. Your biggest advertising decisions once included what size ad should you run and how many “A’s” to place in front of your company name for better placement? As the technology has advanced over the years, it was supposed to make life easier and improve productivity, and in many ways it has, but for many of you—especially in the waste industry—advertising your company has now become a tangled mess of spider-webs (that is “www” webs). The explosion of the Internet in the last 10 years has left many of those in the waste industry questioning where advertising dollars should be spent. Unfortunately, there is no clear answer when it comes to marketing online and it often requires a “cocktail” of strategies to keep your company noticed. However, there are simple and cheap solutions out there—even for the “average company”.

Speaking with waste companies on a daily basis, I find that some businesses are not too eager to let go of their traditional forms of advertisement such as phone books, newspaper ads, magazines and even radio/television. The problem with this form of advertising is that once something is printed it cannot be changed. The good news with online campaigns is that they can be continually updated and monitored. Modifying wording or changing a graphic is as easy as a few clicks. Don’t think that there is only one way to do this. There are a variety of online marketing strategies that will help attract new business.

Helpful and Simple Strategies


Email is the simplest way to reach out to a large number of customers at one time. Many areas of the waste industry require routine maintenance or service calls and a great subject line such as, “50% off” or “Fall Special” may remind your customers that it’s time to contact you for service. The better you get to know your clientele, the more tailored your subject lines can be.


Many companies find that blogging is a major marketing tool. I understand how busy your schedule can be and many of you cannot imagine taking time out of your day to “blog”. Most people think of blogs as places for people to express their thoughts and feelings and nothing more. Wrong! Recently, I was online and showed my husband statistics I read in an article that stated more than 350 million people visit blogs daily. It also stated that if blogs are appropriately placed, they can increase traffic to your business Web site. Web sites such as already have the sites configured for blogging, so you don’t have to know anything about web design or spend a lot of time programming. Templates are already there for uploading content and they require very little effort and cost. Getting friends, family or satisfied customers to blog about your company are also great ways to promote your business.


Just as you would receive a newsletter in the mail, newsletters online or “e-newsletters”, offer a great way to get your customers interested in the products or services your company may offer. Some tips on issuing an e-newsletter:

  • Include your company logo and any other company branding.

  • Deliver on a regular basis (monthly, weekly, etc.)

  • Keep the articles brief—“less is best!”

  • Offer helpful tips or advice

  • Place share buttons in the newsletter so they can forward it to friends

  • Design or select a template in a two-column format. They are the most popular and easy to read

  • Contact information—make it easy for someone to contact you

  • Subscription information—always allow the user to “unsubscribe” if needed.

Social Media Sites and Business Web sites

Your one main goal is to get your company name out there and there are many social media sites and business Web sites to help you do that. The important thing is to choose the ones that are “business-friendly.” Facebook, Twitter, MySpace are great sites and the more Web exposure for your company, the better. However, recent studies show that only 5 percent of online users choose these Web sites as a way to find a business. There are sites such as LinkedIn, Hotfrog, and MerchantCircle that are geared directly toward promoting your company and offer their services for either nothing or a nominal fee. Joining your local Chamber of Commerce & Service Organizations (Rotary, Elks, etc.) are another way for you promote your business online. A majority of these organizations have online newsletters and forums that help you build a potentially valuable customer list.

Web site

Everyone thinks that once they have a Web site for their company they have completed the necessary steps to market their company online. Creating an online presence is the most fundamental reason for building a Web site but making your business stand out requires much more effort. Good business Web sites can be used to capture potential customers. Connect with your consumers and find a way to continue marketing to them. Your Web site can be used as a valuable tool that can incorporate all kinds of online marketing strategies. Developing a great Web site may be more of an expense than you initially bargained for, but think of it is as a potential customer’s first impression. These first impressions mean a lot especially when you are in the waste industry!

Pay Per Click Programs

Pay-per-click programs such as Google are great because they can attract more targeted customers to your business listings. Almost 40 percent of online users choose Google as the search engine of their choice. You can also get real-time results for your marketing campaigns and receive up to the minute results. The downside is that pay-per-click programs can be costly. If you think of the money you would normally be spending on a phone book ad per month, then it doesn’t seem so bad. Pay-per-clicks programs are also helpful to use when it is your busy season, and also great to stop when your company is slow. Be forewarned that anyone can click on your site (including competition) and that can run up your pay-per-click bill very quickly.

Pay Per Call

Pay-per-call programs charge a fee for a legitimate lead. Since most pay-per-call companies record their phone calls for quality assurance, they offer the security of allowing you to listen to your calls and monitor how your employees deal with customers. Even if you don’t have a Web site, pay-per-call programs are designed to supplement your advertising where other avenues may not be reaching.

Are You Overwhelmed Yet? Does all this take time? Yes! Many customers expect instant results and they can vary from area to area. Everyone wants to be the first hit on the first page right away. There are a lot of options available for any size company when it comes to Internet marketing but it will take time initially to see results – especially in the free listings.

Many companies have become frustrated with all the time required and money needed for all these online marketing programs. Many large companies in the industry have the luxury to leave these decisions to their IT departments or to hire an employee to handle all of their Internet advertising. These large companies comprise only a small percentage of the waste industry. Most are family owned and operated companies. You work hard in your line of work and probably even harder in this economy, and Internet marketing is the last thing you want to spend your time and money on. Unfortunately, times have changed and it is now time to consider your online marketing more of an investment and not just a general expense. Take advantage of all the variety of services the Internet has to offer. Even though it will seem overwhelming in the beginning you will be more than satisfied with the results in the end.

Geri-Lynn Van Sant has been in the marketing and technology fields for the past 20 years both in New York City and for her husband’s waste companies. Currently, she is the Marketing Director for Your Local Business on the Web, LLC (Bayville, NJ) and has a Master’s Degree in both Information Science and Technology. Your Local Business on the Web, LLC is unique because it is one of the few companies that market only one company per county or multiple counties, therefore eliminating all of your local competition for that area. It is also an Internet marketing company that is specifically developed to promote only the rental and service industries on the Internet. Try them risk-free by mentioning that read the article or saw the ad in Waste Advantage Magazine and they will wave the one-time $99 set-up fee. Now opening up on a first-come first-serve basis is the two newest areas of the service industry, and can be reached at (877) 266-0012, via e-mail at [email protected] or visit