Episode 357: How To Appeal to Millennials and the Hybrid Work Model To Gain More Clients in Your Dog Walking Business

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In the dynamic world of dog-walking businesses, the winds of change are blowing stronger than ever. Picture this: a new generation of clients, the tech-savvy and trendsetting Millennials, are on the lookout for the perfect dog walking services. At the same time, a revolution in work arrangements—the hybrid work model—is reshaping the way people live and work. Now, imagine combining these two forces to catapult your dog-walking business to new heights! Yes, you heard it right.

In today’s episode of  "Bella in Your Business: Pet Industry Business Podcast,"  I talk about this important group and as we all know millennials are a huge demographic and they have unique preferences when it comes to choosing products and services. And with the rise of the hybrid work model, it's even more important to understand how to reach and appeal to them. One of the critical things to keep in mind when marketing to millennials is convenience. They value seamless experiences and want things to be as easy as possible. So, one tip I have for you is to utilize online booking services. This allows millennials to easily schedule appointments or services with just a few clicks, without any hassle.

But wait, there's more! To learn more tips on effectively marketing to millennials and boosting your pet industry business, be sure to tune into the full episode. I don't want to be a spoiler, but I've got some valuable insights and strategies waiting for you. So, stay tuned, and let's take your business to the next level!

Topics & Key Points

  • Building a strong foundation is crucial for business success. Evaluate if you’re solving new problems or stuck in a cycle.
  • Adapt your marketing strategies to cater to millennials, who lead the charge with hybrid work models.
  • Millennials value convenience and seamless experiences. Offer quick online booking services and provide pre-visit notifications and text message updates.
  • Leverage technology like Calendly for effortless bookings and showcase your use of technology to build trust with potential clients.
  • Consider geo-targeting Facebook ads to reach remote professionals and customize every touchpoint to prioritize convenience and flexibility.


[01:23] Mark Shaver’s success story

[02:16] Building a strong foundation

[05:19] Marketing to millennials in a post-pandemic world of hybrid work

[10:09] The importance of seamless integration

[11:16] Appealing to the remote workforce

[12:32 Leveraging virtual features and technology

Notable Quotes

[00:06:10] “When you’re looking at your marketing strategy, this group of millennials really needs to be front and center, but you need to understand them and you need to use language speaking directly to them on your website”

[00:09:01] “Millennials place a much higher value on things like location independence and setting their own schedules compared to older generations. They are 50% more likely to want a hybrid or fully remote setup long term.”

[00:13:34] “Selling the idea of instant seamless booking, that’s a big deal guys. It’s a big deal..”

[00:17:00] “When it comes to your current clients who are shifting more hybrid. Be proactive about surveying them and their ideal setup.”

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Welcome back to another episode of Bella in Your Business. My name is Bella Vasta. And today we’re going to talk about something we’ve never talked about before. But before I get into that, I want to give a big shout-out to one of my clients from way back when back in 2017 2018. I had the pleasure of consulting with Mark Shaver. He is from Buckhead Paws dog walking and pet sitting in Atlanta, Georgia. And I remember sitting at the Marriott because that’s where I used to go and just work. I liked the ambiance there. And in talking with him, he had just bought this business. So it was already established. He had about eight to 10 contractors, and he knew he wanted to switch them to employees wasn’t sure exactly how had so many services, it was like 10 minutes, 15 minutes, half an hour, 20 minutes. 4560 like all this craziness. What we did was we worked hard to simplify the business and get a really strong foundation that matched up with the goals that he wanted for the company. And I just saw it on Facebook the other day, and I know Mark won’t mind me sharing this because he wrote it publicly. He showed this beautiful picture of all of his staff member members together. And as a pet-sitting business owner, I’m sure that you know how hard it is to get them all together in one place. Kind of like a mom or dad trying to get all the kids in one spot together, right? But he wrote I don’t often write about my business, but I’m enormously proud of it. I bought Buckhead Paws dog walking and pet sitting services way back in January 2012. And it was just me walking dogs as a solo pet sitter. We’ve grown steadily over the years. Today, we have 34 employees and provide loving care for pets all over the northern half of Atlanta. This evening, we took a get-together with our pastel-colored polo shirts to celebrate Robin Hanneke. Hancock, our outgoing General Manager congratulates Charles Wilds on our new GM General Manager. This is a quality group of people, I often tell them that they pass the beer test. That is I like every one of them well enough that I’d love to sit down and have a beer with them. And special thanks to my darling wife, Karen, for helping put this evening together. And her support always.

Mark is one of he was always such a shining star. He is a shining star. He’s a delight to talk to asks the right kind of questions, and works hard to implement things. And so I saw this post come up on my feed, and I was so excited for him. I said yay, love this so much. Mark said, You’ve been an integral part of it, Bella Vasta, Your advice and counsel back in 2017 18 have proven to be invaluable. And I replied to him, like I do to so many of you because it’s the truth, while you did all the hard work, and built the proper foundation and the launching pad. And guys, that’s what I want to tell you like I just hope this inspires you. I know there are a lot of you that are starting that are restarting it feels like they need to restart or get up to the next plateau. And I want you to consider what is your foundation doing for you. Is it helping you giving you a good launching pad and a way to build your company? Or is it prohibiting the systems and the process is in the flow of it all? Now, you may be you’re you’re sabotaging yourself. And so I just really want you to kind of consider and think about what problems are you solving daily. And are they the same problems? Because chances are if you’re solving the same problems, then you need to have different solutions, processes, and systems. Because if you’re solving the same problems, then that’s a problem.
All right. And if you want to talk this out, if you’re not exactly sure or clear, just head on over to jump consulting dotnet forward slash 20. If you and I have never talked I would love more than anything to meet you and talk with you. Like hash it out, brainstorm, and figure big problem that you have. So go ahead and sign up for a complimentary pick-my-brain 20-minute call. Now onto today’s episode, which is quite interesting. This kind of came to me when I was looking at a website. And the thing is, is that we’re doing we’re talking about websites in my community this week, or this month. We have an expert coming in who’s helped me a lot if you are on my email list. You kind of know this already. But he’s coming in and he saved my website when it was hijacked. The beginning of this year. Yes hijacked. There’s an episode on that. I’ll have Jillian put that in Shownotes for you.

But listen, I, I want you to consider like, what are you doing? Are you talking to people? Or are you leveraging and paying attention and listening is your ground to that is your is your ear to the ground? Today I’m going to put your ear on the ground. And I’m going to make you think of some things a little bit of a different way. But first, I want to reintroduce myself. Hello, my name is Bella Vasta. And I am a millennial kind of on the cusp of honestly Gen Z and a millennial. I am 41 years old and currently, all the millennials are 27 to 42 years old. So I want you to think about how old are most of the clients that you are servicing right now. A lot of the millennials are starting in their mid-30s to get their first house settled down and get and get married and all that stuff. This is who I’m talking about. Okay. And I want you to think about how are you marketing to millennials, because there’s a major thing that has happened after the pandemic, and that is hybrid. And I’m going to tie all this together today, I’m excited about this episode. So when you’re looking at your marketing strategy, this group of millennials needs to be front and center. But you need to understand them. And you need to use language speaking directly to them on your website, like flexible scheduling at your fingertips. Or one last task to worry about during the day. Be sure to highlight services perfect for dividing up a dog’s care throughout a hybrid schedule to let me back up that a hybrid schedule means basically that they are not working in the office or out of the house anymore. Sometimes that office is in the house or on the couch. Okay? I want you to think about this. After 2020 A lot of things shifted a lot

There’s a study out there by Forbes, it’s 12.7 full-time employees work from home, and 28.2 do a hybrid model. That’s almost 40%. Now, you can look up some statistics on your own maybe in your exact area, I would encourage you to do that. Because the statistics are going to shift depending on who was who was service. But it depends, and I looked a lot of a lot of research on this.No matter where you are, the trend is that more people are working from home. And I think one of the things that we get stuck in with this industry like others, like you know, ICS, and how dare they and we’re just not a good fit. And there’s like all these like Buzz terms. And I think one of them also was that, you know, you’ve long day at work, let us walk your dog. That’s not as relevant anymore, at least for a third to fourth to a third of the workforce these days. And so I want to encourage you to consider what are you saying on your social media. What are you saying on your website, All these very members still need attention, exercise, and stimulation even when their owners are on back-to-back Zoom calls. And that’s where you my savvy pet business owner jumper come in. There’s a huge opportunity in front of you to fill in need and provide a service specifically catered to this new hybrid workforce. But the key is an understanding of who these remote workers are, so we can effectively market to them. Hands down the group leading this trend are millennials around 2530 40% Depending on where you go now fall into the 27 to 42-year-old category. And guess what these people as they get older, this opportunity is only going to get bigger, millennials place a higher, much higher value on things like location independence, and settling, setting their schedules compared to older generations. Research consistently shows they are 50% more likely to want hybrid or fully Remote Setup long term compared to what Baby Boomers and Gen Xers are doing. Having the liberty to work where they want when they want and avoid long commutes is a big priority. Who wouldn’t want to grab their laptop and work from the park on a nice day right? Or on their couch or be able to go get their hair done at one o’clock in the afternoon and then come back and work. Not to mention Millennials have come of age in the digital world. They’ve come to expect everything to be easy, seamless, and on their terms. This part’s funny for me because like I said, guys, I’m 41 years old. And so I’m like one of the last like people that were both analog and digital.

Um, like, I watched, like with Oregon Trail come up, and having Apple computers, and the printers and all this stuff like we kind of were on the cusp of all of it. And so it’s really funny, you know, for me even to think that people 510 years younger than me who are also millennials, which is where like, I’m a very old millennial, they never even had analog, like, they just always had computers, right. And so when you think of things like that, and you think of the way people have gone around in the world, things like clicking quickly booking services for their pets with just a few taps are a must. Not this extraneous back and forth of emails and phone calls and scheduling.
The you’re going to lose them, you have probably lost them. Everything needs to integrate smoothly into their lifestyle. And it’s not just enough to have online scheduling. I see a lot of you guys have online scheduling, but have a form they have to fill out before that, or they do online scheduling, and they can only sign up 10% of the way and then they have to wait for you to send an email. No, you’re gonna lose them. So as busy professionals yourself, I’m sure that you can relate and appeal to the flexibility. You guys are all busy moms, some dads, you know, rushing around getting pets, it’s taking care of your employees, sometimes taking care of family members or children. I mean, we need to use language that speaks directly to them on there on our website. That whole like I was saying, schedule, flexible scheduling at your fingertips or one last task to worry about during your day. You know, be sure to highlight services, perfect for dividing up a dog’s care throughout a hybrid schedule to maybe some owners want mid-morning messages for bathroom breaks or others like afternoon playtime. So they’re pooches and stuck inside all day. Showing that you can make pet parenting a hybrid workforce is life easier is key. What about, hey, we let you know 10 minutes before we come? So you can close that door and not listen to the dog bark because they hear us unlocking the front door. Or, you know, we’re gonna text you the notes so that we’re not interrupting your work day. Or we can sneak in and out of your home. You know, you can know when to expect us so that you’re not interrupted or feeling like you have to, you know, say hi to us. You know, as a person who works from home myself, I would always feel like I have to say thank you, or you know, at least say something to them. And when you can have this verbiage that’s just like, hey, we’re completely stealth mode. We’re going to be we know your work-from-home today will be in stealth mode. Okay, I already know some people who are going to take this stealth mode and run with it. I’m gonna get I’m gonna get messages on my Instagram DM I have you in my head. This is hilarious.

So anyways, tools like Calendly are also important for like, you know, making bookings a total breeze, the sink to Calendar, that’s all they live by. They live by their virtual calendar, okay? If you don’t live by a virtual calendar, or you’re still pen and paper, please put your ways aside and listen to what I’m saying right now it’s going to make it easier for people to sign up with you. So, you know, they want those calendar invites, they want it automatically appear on their calendar. They don’t want to have to put it on their calendar. We know how precious every minute of downtime is during the day. We don’t want anything disrupting our focus. So selling the idea of instant seamless booking. That’s a big deal guys. It’s a big deal. Are you doing that? Or is your social media your reel your is your Facebook? Is your website all talking about you, you, you, you you, you you? Or is it appealing to this type of person’s situation? This is no different than what we used to talk about the busy mom who’s trying to plan the family vacation or the workaholic who is stuck at the office all day. This is a new
demographic that you can appeal to and I hope to God that you are your social media should be laser-focused on this target audience to post fun real stories getting work-from-home clients a peek inside what a typical visit entails. More so than what it looks like. What they can experience. Show them the cell phone, show them the text messages, show them what stealth mode looks like in your business so that they’re not going to get interrupted while they’re meeting with their boss on Zoom. Share pet parenting hacks schedules that combine working remotely and caring for animals. Build trust by openly relating your own experience.

It’s a juggling job and four-legged children boost geo-targeting Facebook ads within a 10 mile10-mile radius of big tech campuses or companies and co-working spaces. That’s another great hack, tap into where the remote for professionals congregate. And heavily market your flexibility right to them. Maybe you guys have a coffee shop that’s like a trendy hip coffee shop that’s literally for remote people. I have one near me. It’s called schmooze. And I love it. They have the most amazing chef. And then later on in the day, they have happy hour and they have a bar. I’m usually there in the morning. Because those of you who have been following along you know, like, right now I’m recording this and it’s 6:03 am. Okay, I’ve been up since like 5 am. And this is where my brain function is the most. But anyway, anyway, I digress. Do you have those cool hip trendy coffee shops, that’s a great place for you to have a yappy hour if they allow you or to have some sort of an event or to partner with them in some way that you can get your signage around that because most of these people, most of them, millennials, they start with a pet of their own. Okay, boosting those geo-targeted Facebook ads within a 10-mile radius of these places, is going to get you better exposure, so that when these people are looking for a dog walker or pet sitter, they’re going to feel like they already know you at it, if they see your ad enough times, the word will spread naturally through their social circles to they’re going to be the ones that if you feature them on their socials or like on a post that they will share it when you tag them. So even in your signup, having them you know, give you their handles and say, Hey, do you mind if we tag you on social media? is a great question other than asking them where the cleaning supplies are four times on the signup, when it comes to your current clients who are shifting more hybrid, be proactive about surveying them, and their ideal setup. How many of you guys know what percentage of your people actually are hybrid? So getting genuine input on customizing your services will be invaluable to evolving your business and speaking directly to them. Or, rare you taking those better marketing with Bella emails that we give you for the ones who are in better marketing and tweaking them to the stay-at-home people.

Overall, focusing heavily on convenience and flexibility will attract more new remote workers and clients to your business. Tailor every touchpoint like your website, social profiles, and service packages with their busy schedules top of mind, Get creative for testing out virtual features you haven’t considered before. Get out of your mindset. If you are of the older generation and you’re listening to this, and you love the back and forth, you have to get on a phone call, you’re going to miss out on this. It might be why your business is taking a downturn, you have to understand the buying market and up and coming-and-coming. Okay. And I want you to consider how can you leverage this really important topic to create more business for yourself. You guys this month in the mastermind we are talking websites, and we have a very special guest very special guests coming in. Again, I told you the guy who helped save my website from being hijacked, is coming in and giving website audits for everyone. Of course, I don’t ever stop at the brain flow and the ideas on the way that you can tweak your website. And then of course, using what we used in July to help leverage things we can also leverage artificial intelligence to help you come up with those creative ways to implement everything that we just said. There are endless amounts of possibilities and changes and improvements happening in my communities. And I would love for you to be there. So if you want to learn more about the mastermind, go on over to jump consulting dotnet forward slash mastermind. And we will see you inside. But this has been another episode of Bella in your business. Please like share, subscribe, and give us some feedback. I want to hear Wow, this is great. Wow, I’m already doing this. Yes, all of my clients are millennials and they like it because of this. Or Wow. I just realized I’m missing out on a big opportunity. Thank you. I want to hear your feedback. Please, please, please give me your feedback. And until then I want you to remember that when life gets you down, remember to always keep jumping By now

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