To compete with national security providers, think locally. It’s no secret that national alarm providers have huge home security marketing budgets and commanding strongholds in the industry (ADT alone holds about 5% of the market). But that doesn’t mean these "Goliaths" can’t be defeated! After all, you have the home field advantage.
The Home Security Market Is Ripe for the Picking
Only 17% of homes have a security system. There’s plenty of opportunity to acquire new customers without taking them from some other alarm dealer. In addition, smart home features are catching on like wildfire and creating demand for services that didn’t even exist a decade ago. It’s no wonder that ADT is growing at an alarming rate, despite a less than dependable service reputation.
Don’t Lose the Alarm Equipment Arms Race
As a small local company, you have the benefit of selling equipment developed and manufactured by others, like Honeywell, GE Security, Alarm.com, Bosch, First Alert, and many more. You don’t have to recreate the wheel, but you do need to stay ahead of it, especially when it comes to the alarm equipment in your arsenal.
Pick Your Advertising Battles
A billion-dollar company can spend millions on advertising. It is estimated that ADT has a $100 million media budget. It’s no big deal for companies like ADT to pop out emotionally gripping videos or print ads that cause knee jerk reactions. An independent alarm company is never going to be able to truly compete in this arena.
This video is well produced and elicits and emotional reaction, but it didn't come cheap. There are other digital marketing approaches that the smaller companies can take within their budget reach.
As the underdog, small independent alarm companies have to think lean and figure out what’s working to give them the biggest bang for the smallest buck.
Local Ad Spend Is a Great Weapon
Advertising on a national scale or even a state-wide scale is expensive. In this sense, small alarm providers can focus their small budgets much more effectively than their national counterparts. Map out the borders of your territory and don’t spend money on advertising outside of those borders.
Within your borders, figure out where your customers and target market live, work, and play, and prioritize those areas over less desirable regions. Figure out exactly which zip codes you want to serve, and list out the neighborhoods in which you want to have a presence.
Whether it’s with Facebook advertising, Google ads, print advertising, or other media channels, a locally focused campaign is the only way to effectively compete with the astronomical budgets of your national competition.
Pick Your Allies and Engage with Them
If you’re creating useful security industry content for your website or have safety-related knowledge worth sharing, don’t be afraid to share that knowledge with your community. They will appreciate it. Reach out to and partner with local news channels, chambers of commerce, retail associations, local police, neighborhood associations, and other worthy organizations within your community.
If you engage with these influencers and prove that your allegiances to the community are honorable, people will tell your story. It might be as simple as local police retweeting your content, or it could come from a customer willing to sing your praises.
Here's an example of a tweet that shows how community engagement can take off. It was retweeted 9 times by local Police and Fire Departments, the Regional Emergency Planning Commission, a local Mom blogger with thousands of followers, and others.
Become the Local Influencer You Were Always Meant to Be
Having a presence in the community is one of the best ways for an independent alarm company to stand out from national competitors. Be involved in local events. Support local charities. Write about topics that are hyper-focused on issues important and pertinent to your target market, and the community at large will rally to your cause.
Come to the Field of Battle Armed with a Budget
The first thing you should do is figure out exactly how much money you are going to spend on marketing and advertising. This budget should be based directly on annual revenue. Learn more about how to set a marketing budget here. Once you have a budget, prioritize your goals, devise a strategy, and select a champion to lead your company to victory.
Many alarm dealerships don’t have the resources to hire a full time marketing expert, so don’t be hesitant about outsourcing some of these tasks.