Marketing, marketing, marketing… if you’ve got a dog walking or pet sitting business, you’ve probably heard a lot about marketing, and how important it is to establish your presence online. If you’re a pet biz hustler, this is the post for you.
It’s true that marketing is so much more than the traditional aspects, especially as a business that may not have a physical location. A lot of pet sitters will tell me that they have all they need from referrals and WOM. Well guess what? What happens if….your biggest client moves suddenly? What if you end up moving and you don’t have a website or marketing system in place and you’re starting from scratch? What if a new pet sitting company comes into town and steals a good majority of your clients?
I’m not saying this to scare you. I’m just letting you know that things do happen, which means it’s good to have your marketing efforts in many baskets, so you can have all of your bases covered. It’s great to have referrals coming your way, but it’s not anything guaranteed forever.
As a pet sitter or dog walker, you have to be willing to try new things that are outside your comfort zone. Professional web design and social media strategies can feel scary, but it doesn’t have to be!
There are some simple ways that you can expand your marketing efforts, and I promise, they’re simpler than you’d think!
I put together 10 simple things you can do today to improve your digital marketing strategy for your dog walking or pet sitting business:
1. Get a website for your business.
Having your own website is like having a home in the digital space to welcome your customers to. You can easily create or get a designer (hello!!) to create one that’s professionally designed that’ll be user-friendly for new and returning customers. You can include booking features, making it much easier for you to grow your business.
Trust me, that’s not all! In fact, I listed 8 detailed reasons why your business needs a website in another blog post.
Already have a website, but not sure if you're doing it quite right?
2. Get licensed & insured!
In case you aren’t familiar, PSI Exams are tests that you can take to gain more credentials. There are licenses you can acquire which will help you get insured more easily, and they also help you establish expert status in your field.
You can’t just LOVE dogs if you want to make it in the pet industry. You’ve got to show that you’re dedicated, educated, and certified.
3. Get booking software.
There are plenty of software and tools out there that you can use, which will allow you to automate certain aspects of your business. One software that I recommend in particular for pet sitting businesses is Time To Pet.
P.S. If you click the link above, you do get a 14-day trial AND 50% off your first three months! Something to consider. Yes, it is an affiliate link. BUT, it’s only because I’ve seen it save time first-hand for my clients!
4. Get a Facebook business page and use it strategically.
I’m sure you’ve got a business account set up on Facebook, but how are you using it? Don’t just post cute dog photos and viral videos of cats! Sure, they’re adorable and your audience probably loves them. But, your business page is meant for business after all, and you should take advantage of it.
You can add your phone number and email address, which will make it easy for potential customers to reach out to you. You can also set up that tiny button underneath the cover photo to present a call-to-action to your audience. These simple to-dos are endless on Facebook! Do some research or hire some help to make sure you’re using it to its potential!
5. Stick out on social media.
Social media can feel like a drag sometimes. If you’re gonna use it, you really have to go in and be consistent. That doesn’t mean you have to show up every single day post multiple times. It means you need to schedule and strategize and show up when customers expect you to show up.
Also, what are you doing to stand out from your competitors? Make sure you’re posting different types of content. You can post video content because it’s much more engaging, and also use special social media features, like “polls” on Facebook and Instagram.
HINT: That’s a great way to hear directly from your audience. What are they looking for? It doesn’t always have to serious, make it fun too! Ask your followers who caught the ball first OR how many times you think he pooed. ;) They’re animal lovers, after all!
6. Start a blog on your website.
Blogging is so much more than a random collection of thoughts and the latest happenings in your business. You can get really focused, and share content that fits your pet sitting business. Think about the most common questions you’re asked, and why your target customers should hire you. From there, you can write up posts like “why you need to hire a professional pet sitter” or “how to avoid accidents in the house.”
Need some blog post ideas to get started? I've gotchu!
7. Get business cards and start handing them out!
Business cards are a great way to hand out your contact information and get people to remember you. You should be passing them out and sharing them. This goes for other promotional products as well, like frisbees or poo-bag holders. Just make sure when investing in promotional products, that they are things your potential customers will USE and be likely to use in front of others so as to spread the word automatically!
8. Claim your online listings.
There are plenty of places on the internet where your business information is probably listed. A couple of examples are Google, Yelp, Bing, and Yahoo. Did you know that you can claim your businesses, though? Every site has instructions on how to claim your business. You can set up your business name, contact info, and hours of operation. As far as Google is concerned, you can set it up via Google my Business.
9. Partner with a shelter to offer discounted services to newly adopted dogs.
Get out there and start networking! There are plenty of local businesses where you live, right? You can start building a referral network with your local community as well as build partnerships. If you’re looking to partner with other pet businesses in particular, I’ve got a post detailing how you can approach them.
10. Don’t be afraid to talk about yourself!
SHARE YOURSELF! Don’t be afraid to share your story and post photos of yourself. Your audience will find that you’re very genuine. They’ll begin to feel a personal connection with you. They’ll like you, which means they’ll trust you. Guess what that means? They’ll be much more likely to buy from you!
I would be wayyyy more likely to book a pet sitter if I knew:
What he/she looked like
A little about their personality and story
Similar to this, it's time to make your process stand out. Get yourself a welcome packet that goes over all the things clients need to know: about your business, how to get started, how to make a reservation, FAQs, important resources, tutorials, etc. You can do this with a Welcome Packet. Click below to access our Welcome Packet Templates for dog walkers and pet sitters, so you can get yours started today!
There ya go. These are 10 simple ways that you can boost your marketing efforts as a pet sitter or dog walker.