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social proof

Episode 113: How Social Proof Can Help Increase Your Conversion Rate

Social proof can be an excellent way to establish trust and credibility for you and your pet sitting business. When we talk about social proof, we mean borrowing third-party influence to sway/persuade potential customers. Today, Erika & I will discuss the different types of social proof, the pro’s and con’s of each, and how you can use social proof to enhance your pet business!

Biggest Takeaways You Don’t Want To Miss

social proof

What Is Social Proof?

Social proof is borrowing third-party influence to sway/persuade potential customers. Some examples of social proof would be Bella’s endorsement on Barketing.co, testimonials on your website from influencers, or even a testimonial from someone who had the same problem as a prospective customer that you solved for them. Social proof helps consumers connect to your business at an emotional level as well as gain trust and confidence, which then helps them make a purchasing decision. Genuine reviews on native platforms are the best. If friends and family have used your services and tell people how trustworthy you are and how they had peace of mind while away, that’s money right there!

 

What Is Negative Social Proof?

Negative social proof is something you NEVER want to use. It means that you don’t publicly bash another company. Focus on your pro’s and not other companies’ cons. Focus on why you need a professional pet sitter instead of why you shouldn’t use a tech company (i.e. Rover or Wag!). Be positive! The negativity towards a competitor can actually be damaging to you.

 

Six Types Of Social Proof

 

1. Mini Case Studies 

This is when you tell a story that hits potential clients emotionally. Did you save someone’s house from a flood? Maybe you stopped a break-in? Did you go above and beyond? Do your daily dog walks keep dogs healthier? You’ll want to talk about the outcome the customer had with you and what the outcome would have been without your services. If you have facts to back it up, that’s even better! Mini case studies are an especially powerful tool for dog trainers.

 

2. Testimonials/Reviews.

This is when you ask your clients to reviews your services on websites such as Google, Facebook, and Yelp. Don’t be afraid to ask for reviews! A happy client will happily write you a review. Be sure to add a link to review websites in your thank you emails that you send out post-service. Use these reviews on your website and add them to your social media strategy (with the clients’ permission of course!). Be sure to use images when you’re posting on your website and to link to the original review to show it’s real. Feature your happy customers on your website. This can also display what type of pets you accept (and if you offer retail, this is a great tool!). You’ll never, ever want to use fake testimonials or review your own services. Use quotes that are short, specific about the value of your service/product, include a picture, and make sure they match your buyer personas!

 

social proof

 

3. Social Media 

When customers share your business with their Facebook friends or on Instagram, that is another form of social proof! Monitor and save all of this positive promotion (can you say free marketing!?). Encourage social proof on social media by posting photos of pets in your care and tagging/telling their pet parents. There’s a good chance they will share the photos so make sure you add your watermark! Encourage sharing. Other ways social media can serve as social proof is through a referral program, leveraging local Facebook groups, encouraging geotagging on Instagram, adding social sharing icons to your blog posts, and finding ambassadors that will recommend you to their friends, family, and groups on social media!

 

4. Trust Icons

Trust icons are a form of social proof that makes sense sometimes but not always. If you have special certifications, won an award, or were mentioned in a well-known publication, this can help boost social proof. Do you have recommendations from a trusted Vet, real estate agent, or divorce lawyer? Publish them and play it up to your advantage! Use quotes from influencers (that your customers know) about the importance of professional pet sitting. If you have any media mentions or even a celebrity client that endorses you, that could be huge. Try to think like your customer and ask yourself if it would influence your buying decision (i.e. Chamber of Commerce might not impact your decision but being certified in Pet CPR or being insurance and bonded just might!)

 

5. Data/Numbers/Facts 

A single number can be worth a thousand words. What makes you stand out? Have you walked over 100,000 dogs? That shows something – experience! More examples would be 25,000 tired dogs when parents get back from holiday vacations, being a top-ranked service for the past 10 years, an official service provider for the airport, or helping avoid euthanization of 153 dogs because you trained them from aggressive to pet-friendly.

 

6. Other Social Proof Ideas 

Promoting limited availability can be a great tool. Using language like “only a few spots left for the long weekend!” This shows you are an in-demand service and instantly increases your reputation. Waiting lists also make your service sound exclusive. You can also ask your clients to send post-service videos or photos to show a job well done (or change in behavior). Last but not least, use urgency, fear of missing out (FOMO), and time clickers for special offers

 

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buyer personas

Episode 111: How To Use Buyer Personas To Reach The Right People

It’s difficult to start marketing for your business if you don’t know who you’re selling to. This is where buyer personas come in, a.k.a your “dream client.” In this episode, Erika & I sit down to discuss all things buyer personas such as what they are, how to make them, and how you can use them for your business advantage!

 

Biggest Takeaways You Don’t Want To Miss

 

buyer personas

 

 

What Are Buyer Personas?

Buyer personas are fictional, generalized representations of your ideal customers within your target audience. Think of it like a sketch of a key segment of your target audience. BUT, be sure to keep it realistic. Buyer personas can be used to help you understand your customers, prospects, and who you should be focusing your time on targeting. They can help you tailor content to fill the needs, behaviors, concerns, and triggers of different target audience groups.

 

How Do You Make A Buyer Persona?

First, you’ll have to do some market research and gain insights from your current customer base. Start small. The number of personas you have should depend on the size of your business. Specific targeting allows you to target to get more out of your marketing efforts. You can do research, send out surveys, and interview your target audience. Remember to define from your client’s perspective when creating buyer personas.

 

What Are Negative Personas?

Negative personas are fictional, generalized representations of individuals that you DON’T want as customers. This will help you “get over” people who don’t fit so you can move on. They allow you to not beat yourself up when you pass on a potential client and when new clients try and bargain your rates. In other words, negative personas will save you time! Knowing the type of person you don’t want as a customer is sometimes more important than knowing your customer.

 

How Can You Use A Persona?

Personas allow you to personalize and target your marketing to better relate to segments. For best results, use your buyer personas to create content for your prospective clients to hit them at different stops along their buyer’s journey. For example, you won’t want to use the same messaging to a persona who is in the awareness stage and another who is in the decision stage. Other things to try are:

  • Try segmenting your email marketing. Create campaigns targeted at different personas at each stage of the buyer’s journey.
  • Make a newsletter for each persona.
  • Create Ads and create audiences on Facebook and boost the ads to the appropriate
  • Use negative personas to filter out those who are a bad fit to lower your clicks from ‘bad leads’

 

buyer personas

 

To Set Up Your Persona…

You’ll need to give them a:

  • Name & Photo.
  • Background
  • “A Day In The Life” Story
  • Goals, Hopes, & Dreams
  • Challenges, Worries, & Fears
  • Digital/Online Habits
  • Biggest Influencers
  • How Your Company Can Help Your Persona
  • Common Objections
  • Real Quotes
  • Marketing Messaging & Elevator Pitch

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facebook groups

Episode 110: How To Use Facebook Groups To Grow Your Local Pet Sitting Business

Facebook Groups are a powerful tool on social media that can serve a number of different purposes to help your pet sitting company. They can be an asset in finding new clients, networking with other local businesses, and becoming a driving force in your community. This week, Erika and I take a deep-dive into all things Facebook Groups to discuss how they can be used to grow your pet sitting company.

 

facebook groups

Biggest Takeaways You Don’t Want To Miss

  • Before setting up any Facebook Group, we always want to consider the logistics of the group and how you plan on running/growing it. Think about what type of community you want to build and nurture. Is it “Pet Lovers of CITY,” “Pet Mom’s & Dad’s of CITY,” or something else? Give some thought to what the description of the group is. Why should people join? What are the rules? Do you allow advertising, pets for sales, and/or negative talk about other businesses?
  • Next, it’s time to actually create the group. You’ll need to click in the top right of your Facebook browser and select “Create Group.” From there, simply enter in your group name, add group members, and then choose the privacy setting of the group. Be sure to pick an icon and upload a cover profile as well. Click “Create” and you are up and running!

    facebook group

How To Grow & Leverage Your Facebook Group

  • So now you have your Facebook group – but how do you grow the group? When you are just getting started, I would only invite people that you know personally until you get it built up. Get your grounding and feel comfortable. You should have this in no more than a week! You’ll then want to start thinking about the types of people you want in your group. It might be easier to attract businesses who already have a great following on Facebook in your community, and then ask them to invite THEIR community.
  • How can you leverage the group? Use it as a conversation starter at networking meetings. You can also use it as a way to break the ice and connect with pivotal people in your city. It’s also an opportunity to do Facebook Live videos where you interview people in your community on split screen. Lastly, it’s also a place where you can post lead generations.

Do Your Research

  • An important step that you don’t want to forget is to research who has large Facebook pages with good engagement in your community. The best way to do this is to type your city name into the search box on Facebook, click “Pages,” and then click on “Groups.” When you find a group you’re interested in, click the page/group, and add the administrator as a Facebook friend. Try to get to know them personally whether it be through a phone call, email, or even over coffee. Share the intent of your group and ask if they would want to help by promoting your group or even becoming a moderator. In return, you might offer them a free plug of their business once a month.
  • There are a few things that you want to beware of when running your Facebook group. It is critical that you lead the group and check in at least once or twice a day. Always respond to everyone in the group, and feel free to find some other Moderators to help you. Try to plan content in advance and schedule it to post (I suggest a minimum of Monday, Wednesday, and Friday). You may have to ban people that don’t follow the rules or create drama. Be willing to be a leader and keep the group on track.

 

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grow your instagram following

Episode 109: Organically Growing Your Instagram Following For Your Pet Sitting Or Dog Walking Business

Are you hearing that Instagram is a great way to get more followers and customers but just confused as all heck on how to use it? Maybe you started using it but have no idea how you can convert your time and energy in the platform into tangible success? Do you just blindly post without a strategy and see little engagement from local pet owners? Is your follower based more other businesses instead of pet owners?

If any of these questions resonate with you, then you’ll definitely want to tune in to this episode as Erika and I break down exactly how you can organically grow your following on Instagram for your pet sitting or dog walking business.

growing your instagram following

Biggest Takeaways You Don’t Want To Miss

 

How Do I Get More Instagram Followers?

  • The number one question that business owners ask is how do I get more followers? Before we can get into that, it’s important that we make the distinction between relevant and irrelevant followers. It is much better to have just 250 followers of local pet owners following your account rather than 1,000 random accounts from around the world that will never use your service. Therefore, it’s not the quantity of followers that is most important, but the quality!

How Do I Grow My Local Audience On Instagram?

  • First and foremost, you want to make sure you are using a business profile that is set up and optimized. This means using a professional username (tip: try to keep it as close to your URL as possible), linking your website, and using a high-quality logo as your profile photo.
  • Next, you want to start following local pet owners – like and comment on their photos! Although it will take time, eventually they will start to notice you and will remember you when they need your service. But, don’t be annoying! You can also follow local hashtags that your prospective clients follow and search location tags in your area to look for pet owners. Search for nearby businesses, parks, etc. and follow/engage with their followers who are pet owners. Also be sure to see what your current clients post and the hashtags that they use.
  • Use this same technique by partnering with local businesses that share the same target audience. You can run contests that will help boost engagement!
  •  On your own profile, you have to put time and effort into consistent posting and be engaging. You can extend your reach with Instagram ads when you have a promotion.
  • Lastly, you can check out Instagram accounts for a local business that’s a competitor. Try to study what they’re posting and see what’s working for them. It doesn’t hurt to follow their ideas, but perhaps you can think of even better ideas. Brainstorm with your employees as well! Also, if your competitors have followers, they might be more likely to follow you back since they already like the same type of business.

    growing your instagram following

What Hashtags Should I Use?

  • First, you’ll need to find the hashtags that your clients are following so you can appear in their feed when they are browsing. Leverage these local hashtags and ask engaging questions!
  • You can use the notepad on your phone to save a few groups of hashtags to copy and paste into the comments section easily.
  • Once you’re following a good amount of Instagram users in your area, be sure to like their photos! Continue to like their photos and comment. Eventually, the local Instagram users you follow will follow you back and interact with you. It does take time and you need to be persistent. But don’t act desperate or pushy!

 

Should I Buy Followers Or Use An Engagement Bot?

  • Absolutely, NOT! Scheduling software is okay but never, ever, ever buy followers or use an engagement bot that auto-likes or auto-comments.

 

How Can I Get People To Actually Contact Me On Instagram?

  • The number one way is to publish relevant, interesting content that affects prospective clients emotionally. You don’t want to sell and you don’t want to overpost either. Avoid unthoughtful comments that might be mistaken for a bot.
  • Engage with local pet owners. Be human and be genuine! Interact and respond to comments, messages etc.
  • Lastly, create a pattern and use Instagram stories!growing your instagram following

How Can We Use Instagram Stories To Generate Leads?

  • Show your business! Have your staff record videos of playing with pets, walking dogs etc. Show off what makes you AWESOME!
  • Be sure to touch on pain points your are solving (think trust and security).
  • Make people want to care about what you are saying by sharing valuable information. Show people you are trustworthy, reliable, and knowledgeable!

Resources & Links

 

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facebook page

Episode 108: 8 Things You Need To Do On Your Facebook Page To Grow Your Pet Business

For most of us, Facebook is one of (if not THE) #1 social media websites that we use in our business. It’s such a useful tool for so many things including getting our businesses out there, finding new clients, and even finding new staff. Plus, it’s a great way to network with other local businesses in your community to establish those critical relationships. In this week’s podcast, I sit down with Erika to discuss 8 things you MUST do well on your business’s Facebook page in order to grow your business.

 

 

facebook page

Biggest Takeaways You Don’t Want To Miss

  • Facebook is ever-changing, but there are a few aspects of the website that will always stay the same. Facebook will always be focused on community and interaction. Understand that Facebook is meant for people who already know and are following your business – it’s not really designed for first-time visitors. Don’t forget that Facebook is “borrowed land” – in other words, you need your own website as well!

 

facebook page

 

  • One of the biggest questions pet business owners ask me is “how do I start more conversations on my Facebook page?” Or, “how do I get more people on my Facebook page?” First and foremost, respond to everyone! You wouldn’t like it if you started a conversation with someone and they didn’t answer, so don’t do it to your Facebook page visitors. Next, invite people to like your page. There are loads of potential people that you could be inviting to like your page.

 

  • Aside from our businesses Facebook page, there is another way that you can get more eyes on your brand and content. The best way to do this is to join Facebook groups in your area. Mom groups are especially powerful for pet businesses. Some ideas of useful content to post might be:
    • School bus etiquette for the dog
    • What to do when the dog loses his playmate for school
    • School vacations
    • Kid & dog-friendly restaurants

 

facebook page

 

 

  • The biggest mistake business owners make on their Facebook page is not using enough pictures! You absolutely must add a picture to everything you post on your page. Social Media Examiner reports that 74% of social media marketers use visual assets in their social media marketing, ahead of blogs (68%) and videos (60%). BrainRules.net states that “When people here information, they’re likely to remember only 10% of that information three days later. However, if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retain 65% of the information three days later.” A final statistics show that “People following directions with text and illustrations do 323% better than people following directions without illustrations.”

 

Resources & Links

 

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site design

Episode 107: The Importance Of Site Design, Usability, & Frequent Monitoring Of Your Website

This week, Erika Godwin and I sat down to discuss all things relating to your website! I like to say that this is your 24/7 business card, so it is important that it’s always in tip-top shape. Today we’ll talk about site design, how to tell if your website needs an upgrade, why you should upgrade, how to upgrade, and more!

 

site design

Biggest Takeaways You Don’t Want To Miss

 

Does My Website Need An Upgrade?

  • There are quite a few tell-tale signs to figure out if your website needs an upgrade. Take a look at your website and then ask yourself the following questions:
    • Is my website unresponsive? Is it mobile-friendly?
    • Has my website been updated within the last few years? Does it look dated and old?
    • Am I using low-quality photos?
    • Do I use old SEO techniques (being sales-y vs. informative)?
    • Does it have a frustrating user experience and is it difficult to navigate?
    • Am I using out-of-date information and plugins (i.e. contact info, staff members, prices, services, etc.)?
    • Do I use a free template?
    • Am I doing ongoing daily/weekly monitoring and maintenance?

 

Why Should I Update My Website If I Have Enough Clients?

  • At this point, you may have determined that your website needs an upgrade. Let’s talk about why you should update your website, EVEN IF you have enough clients currently. One of the reasons is that you’ll want to make a good first impression when a potential customer lands on your website. A good first impression can lead to increased conversions from organic and paid search traffic. Plus, you’ll want to keep current with the constantly changing search algorithms to make sure your website comes up on the first page of Google. From a security side, an up to date website ensures your customer’s data is kept securely AND ensures that your website itself is protected. Last but not least, a great website can really help you stand out from your competition!

 

How Can I Update My Website?

  • When you’re ready to refresh your website, there are a couple of key things you can do to get the ball rolling. The first thing is to make sure that all of your content is current. This means removing old employee data and updating them with your most current employee biographies and photos. Next, you’ll want to replace any low-resolution photos with web-optimized high-quality images. Be sure that your phone number, hours of operation, policies, prices, email addresses, etc. are all current as well.

 

Why Do I Need Frequent Website Monitoring?

  • So now that you learned why you should update your website and how you can do so, let’s discuss why you need frequent website monitoring. The biggest reason first and foremost is security. You don’t want to leave your website prone to virus, vulnerabilities, and threats. Frequent website monitoring also allows your website to undergo routine maintenance, as well as staying up to date on your tracking, analytics, and optimization of your content for SEO! But you shouldn’t do all of this yourself as a busy business owner. Hiring someone to manage your site monthly prevents your website from becoming a one-time purchase that gets ignored. If you’re not technical, hiring someone also gives you one less thing to worry about!

 

site design

 

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