Marketing Your Dog Walking Business for Success
By far one of the most important elements to starting a dog walking business is to know how to convert potential customers into long term, loyal paying clients.
While much of what you do in your dog walking business will be made up of your reputation, you cannot rely only on word of mouth or good service – especially if you are just starting your dog walking business.
Without getting into a detailed list of specifics, most people think the only ways of marketing a dog walking business are exclusive to:
- Business cards
- Print advertising
The truth of the matter is that while all the methods above can all be great ways to acquire new customers, they can all cost a significant amount of money and in some cases have mediocre results.
There is a big difference between using the aforementioned advertising mediums to brand your dog walking business and in building your dog walking business. You see, the best bang for your buck will be investing your time and energy into forms of advertising that will result in sales and leads. While advertising in flyers may hit just a couple of prospective customers out of hundreds you distribute, you KNOW that people looking in the phone book are looking for you.
So it’s up to you to not only invest in the mediums that make the most sense in being found by your best qualified customers, it also makes sense that you are using the best possible sales pitch to get them to contact you first.
To do this, you need to clearly develop what your selling proposition is – that is, what makes your dog walking business different or what explicitly is the focus of your business’s core values. Do you care the most for their pets? Do you offer the longest walks? The best price? The best training?
But one of the most often overlooked marketing strategies that are missed is using your existing customer base to carry your message to other people.
If you have read anything about our “How to Start a Dog walking Business” startup kit in any of the other pages in this website you may have noticed that we spend a lot of emphasis on developing well thought out customers service policies, ways of keeping your customers coming back to you and getting current customers to buy additional service offerings from you.
We do this because it’s just as important to your existing customers to see you re-enforce the values of your company as it is to send this message out in other advertising promotions. It offers consistency and ensures that the message potential customers get is the same as the actual service you deliver.
Once you have your marketing message honed in on, you can start to investigate the best possible advertising mediums you will need to use to start your dog walking business.
Flyers and Mail Outs
When used effectively, this medium can work, but be careful as it can also be very expensive and work poorly if you are not targeting your demographics. Plus, it may be illegal in your state to distribute them yourself so you will have to be prepared to investigate the best way to get your mail-outs to your customers.
With the proper message and a couple of sneaky strategies, your dog walking business can really stand out in the phone book and be the first to get called before any of you competitors. But used improperly you can end up being just another name in the crowd.
This can by far be one of the most important elements to your dog walking business if designed properly – and I’m not talking about the look of the site, I am talking about the content and pages within the site itself. Websites can be cheap to make now-a-days, but make sure you know what needs to be in the site itself before you begin!
It can be expensive to advertise your dog walking business in the newspaper, and doing so usually means you will be hit up by an advertising salesperson trying to get you to buy bigger and better than what you actually need. Classified ads can work well if the ads are written properly. Depending on the circulation of the newspaper and size of your city you may choose other more cost effective avenues for advertising your dog walking business..
Generally this is a waste of money for a dog walking business unless you can find a specialized magazine that that is read by individuals in your target market, and that the magazine is being utilized as medium to “find” businesses. For example, a magazine that outlines local pet businesses might make more sense than a magazine that showcases dog clothing.
The cornerstone of any business is building a good relationship with people in your industry. When starting a dog walking business it always makes sense to take a soft approach to introducing your services to local veterinarian offices and then build off of this by taking a more involved approach offering services to the clinic itself, and then getting them to refer you.
Business Card Distribution
Business cards are a must. Every new client you meet, every potential client you shake hands with and every person you talk about your business to needs to receive a business card.
Word of Mouth
Relationships are key and getting referrals from your customers is a true indicator that not only your business is well thought of by your customers, but that you are using the right marketing strategies to get your customers to promote you.
While all the above methods are briefly mentioned, they are still just “mediums” to advertising your dog walking business. The true success in using any of the above medium comes with developing a well though out marketing plan and executing to perfection.
That’s what we set out to do in our “How to Start a Dog Walking Business” startup kit – show you how to effectively ingrain your marketing message into every possible marketing medium that comes along. Over time you will be presented with many different advertising opportunities to market your dog walking business but in the end it is up to you to ensure you are getting the message you intend to your audience.
Marketing your dog walking business is so much more than just sending out a message to your audience. It message must be ingrained in your marketing customer service policies, in your contracts and forms, your business cards, website and your every day service offerings.
To learn how to start a dog walking business and develop a concrete marketing plan you need to look no further than our “How to Start a Dog Walking Business” startup kit. It guides you through the process of developing a marketing strategy, but more importantly it ensures that at each step of the way of building your dog walking business you are not “guessing” about what to do.