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Episode 18: How to Get More Pet Sitting and Dog Walking Clients

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In this episode of “Bella In Your Business”, Bella is joined once again by Kate McQuillan from PawsomeMedia. They discuss the timeless question they always get, “How do I get more pet sitting and dog walking clients?”

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List All The Services You Offer On Your Website:


In order to get more pet sitting and dog walking clients, Bella notes that people search for many different terms. For instance, she says that  if you are dog groomer and you want to groom small dogs or even cats, make sure you list that. Someone looking to get a cat groomed likely won’t search for a dog groomer first. Make sure you are putting all the services you offer, along with descriptions, on your website. Kate notes you should really review your website periodically and make sure what you want out there is very clear.

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Promote Yourself On Facebook:

Kate mentions that people often get caught up sharing pet pics, memes and news, but should not forget to put out something everyday about what you do. Images, articles you have written and tips are all good ways to do that. Also, make sure you have filled out all the about sections in Facebook, especially the contact information. Also make  sure your banner clearly says what you do. Facebook pages get Googled and so having all of that information in there may actually help you show up more often in Google searches. For those who feel such promotion is too “salesy” Bella recommends you check out “Gary V” (Gary Vaynerchuk ) who has a book called Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to tell your story in a noisy social world. He writes that it is about giving value, value, value, and then a sale. Bella says it’s ok to keep sharing valuable items, but don’t forget the “right hook”!

Blog About What You Do:

Bella says to blog and talk about what you do. Discuss things like “How much does dog grooming cost?”, “Should I get my cat groomed?”, “How do I train my dog?”.  She says to take every question people ask you, use the exact question as the title of your blog post, and then answer it. She says it’s not only good for SEO (getting higher placement  in Google results), but also gives you an “arsenal” to use when people call with questions. Ask them for their email address and send them the blog post that answers that question. Kate points out that you also need to SHARE your blog post (see tip #2)! And don’t forget to reshare things you wrote months and years ago.  Keep sharing it for those who may not have seen it the first time. And revisit them periodically to “tidy” them up and make them more current.

Make Free Downloads For Your Site:

Kate suggests that you offer things on your site like free EBooks you create or checklists (like one on things to do before your next vacation), cleaning tips, etc. It doesn’t always have to be about the services you offer, just things that are useful to your customers.

Create and use “Bark Cards”

When you are out performing mobile services (grooming, pet sitting, dog walking) and you (dog) hear barking at a neighbor’s house, your worker can leave one of these bark cards. Bark cards are small postcards with a picture of a barking dog you get made up that say “BARK, BARK, BARK, BARK, BARK”. On the back leave the top half blank and on the bottom put your branding, list of services, and contact info. In the blank area, take a pen and write something like. “I think I heard a small dog and they were saying ‘Come groom me! Come groom me!’.  I was in the neighborhood and if you call me for more information I would like to offer you….” Bella says these cards are shocking and attention grabbing. They also target your demographic. Personalization in key with these cards.

 

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Email Marketing:

Kate said to make better use of the email addresses you have collected through newsletter sign ups, or people opting in to your free downloads. Send information periodically to ensure people remember who you are and what you offer.  Bella suggests it could be a “drip campaign” where you have a series of say 5 emails go out over a period of time or it could be a short periodic newsletter.  Kate notes that email is important because not everybody is on Facebook or checking out your website, but they may likely be checking email.

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Talk To Vets

Bella says a lot of pet business owners just walk into a vet’s office, drop their cards and leave.  More than likely the cards get dropped in the trash. So Bella recommends that you build a relationship with the vet’s office manager. People rarely ask the vet about pet sitting or grooming services, but they do ask the front office staff or call in with that kind of question.

Start A Facebook Group:

Kate says that you start a private Facebook group not to sell services but to allow customers and members of the group to get to know you personally.  Members get to know each other, build relationships, talk about pets, etc., and build a good community.

 

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Start A Dog Walking Club!

Bella says that by starting these clubs you will have a micro area of people all interested in the same thing. Do it with your existing customers to build up brand loyalty or expose them to other services you offer. You can encourage them to bring a friend. You could start one at an apartment complex and have the complex promote the club as an activity. Kate suggests you could combine that with the private Facebook group as well.

Create Competition

Kate recommends that you create competition events as they are a good way to get new clients. But do it right! Don’t just do a like and share campaign. Really plan it out.  Kate has more information about doing so in her online marketing academy which Bella says is awesome!

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Here Are 5 Important Things To Do After You Publish A Blog Plus 3 Bonuses!

Did you know there are certain steps you should take AFTER you publish an article from your blog?

Yeah. Really!

And what you choose to do can help determine how far and wide your message is spread. After all, you are wanting to publish to a room full of people, right? Not just in the bathroom to yourself?

Haha. Ok get the image?

We spend all this time writing the articles and then hope that somehow, somewhere, there are people out there just following our website waiting for new content to come out.

But that isn’t reasonable.

We want lots of people reading what we write. It shows google that you are an authority on the subject matter. It can drive a lot of people to your website. Like the day I got 1700 hits in one day! So while your competition that is out there sitting dead in the water with their static 5 page website that hardly gets much traffic… you are out there being the popular kid that everyone is attracted to!

Want to learn how to do this? Without spending a TON of time?

 

5 Things You Can Do The Next Time You Press Publish:

Here are actual things you can do to get traction on your blog articles. I think it is really important when you are trying to get it going and let people know that you are out there.

In addition to creating a killer title, and I don’t mean by keyword stuffing, you want to post in these places:

BOOST your post on Facebook

 

Spend $5 to boost your post and see what happens! It is superb results.

A boost is something that you pay for, after you post the blog to your facebook page. It will get in front of MORE than just what the Facebook algorithm normally would show and it is all to people who have already liked your page. Unlike advertising, it doesn’t show up as a “sponsored” post.

Facebook Business Page: 

Again, teasing an article by asking a question around it is always a good thing. Think of a way you can create some foreplay to your article. Ask thought provoking questions like “Have you ever thought about…” or “What would you do if…” then link to your article.

If your article mentions any other business or area of your city, feel free to find their interest pages and post there as well. If you think it is a valuable teaching article, why not find a reporter or newscaster who often reports on subjects close to it and post it on their wall with your own “pitch” or even message them the article?

Remember, don’t spam them. You message should be inciting, relevant, and helpful. Otherwise you will turn them off. Who knows? Maybe they will either use your article in a story or look towards you as a resource on the topic?

Personal Facebook Page: 

There is no harm in sharing your business postings on your personal page. Especially in the warm, cute, and fuzzy business of pet sitting! It helps keep you top of mind awareness in your own personal network. People that actually like and care about you!

Twitter 

This is one of my favorite ones! A quick 140 character message with hastags for your city, topic, or your business always work well. Follow me @Bellas_Pets to see what I mean! Be relevant or interesting enough and others will retweet you!

Email: 

How many of you have a email service where you can send mass emails out to your list? Even if you don’t, I am sure you have a client database either in excel or in your client management system, right? How about sending out a link to your article to them via email? Maybe every Friday?

The name of the game these days is 10 seconds or less! Let me get your message and SCAN (not read) though it while I am at a stop light. We are a stop light culture!

So if you send a quick email out every week or every two weeks, just basic text “Hey everyone! Wondering what to do this weekend? Here are 5 pet friendly dog patios in CITY, and they have super yummy food! Hope you are well!  LINK” 

See? Now your brand just smacked them in the face and you are now top of the mind awareness!

 

3 Bonuses For You!

It really isn’t that hard to promote your articles. You just have to take ten min and do it all! Here are two other quick tips you can do:
Tip #1: Your articles can be like weapons! You need to fire up your arsenal and prepare to strike and impress!  Sometimes you might find yourself on your blog, reading articles, finding them for posting on FB or to an email you are sending a client. When you are ON YOUR OWN BLOG, press the social media share links while you are there. Share it to Twitter, G+, FB  It can’t hurt you and you are already there!

Tip #2: Insert your blogs into your website under major categories. For example, if you are talking about puppy sitting or cat sitting, take some of your existing blogs and insert them into your services list. It gives your company more depth and allows your potential client to get a 360″ feel for the actual service other than you talking them to death and boring them! I mean come on, let’s STAND OUT from the rest! 🙂 Right?

List of services

List of services

 

Tip #3: When you are sending an email to a potential client about their new puppy, or cat that they don’t know if you “get it”, send them links to your blog via email that talk about what happens on a puppy sit, ideas for cheap puppy toys at home, or a commentary from one of your pet sitters about a cat sleeping on her head. Your articles can be like weapons! You need to fire up your arsenal and prepare to strike and impress!

“Your articles can be like weapons! You need to fire up your arsenal and prepare to strike and impress! “

Just because you have shared an article once on FB does mean that everyone who follows you has seen it. Use it over and over again. Let it GROW. Plant the seeds! Promote it! Each blog you write does you no good if you just publish it and then forget about it. They can have a HUGE impact on driving lots and lots of visitors to your website if you promote them correctly.

What do you currently do? How do you get your hard work out there to the world? Do you do any of the above? Does it help? Do you have any other ideas to share?

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