When it comes to finding new clients for dog services, word of mouth definitely helps. However, if your competitors are marketing themselves in ways that you are not, you’re losing out on untapped potential income.
Even if you are constantly booked, that doesn’t mean there’s no room for growth – hiring an extra helping hand, for example – or that your dog service business is immune to bad days. Here’s how you can market your dog service business to grow successfully and predictably in 2019 and beyond.
Have a Solid Social Media Strategy
Know what’s great about having a business where you’re surrounded by dogs all day? The Internet loves dogs. You automatically have share-worthy content simply due to the nature of what you do.
For example, if you’re a dog groomer, every appointment is a beautiful (and adorable) showcase of your talent. Or if you’re a dog walker or sitter, you can showcase the activities you do with your furry clients.
Even dog waste removal services can focus more on the doggy aspect of the service for social media content – and less on the waste. But you don’t just have to focus on photos of your doggy clients. There’s plenty of other content you can publish to market your business.
For instance, add captions on Instagram or Facebook about fun stories that happened while you were providing your services. Did two of the dogs you were walking become best friends? Post about it!
You should also mention any special discounts your readers can take advantage of, such as volume discounts for 10 groomings or a weekly dog walk. As long as you’re constantly posting great content that people enjoy, it’s okay to showcase your discounts as well.
To make the most of social media, here are a few more tips:
- Be consistent in your posting schedule – if you post once a day, people will expect your content once a day, so keep delivering
- End each post with a question to encourage your audience to engage with your content
- Always respond to comments and messages people leave on your social media page
Start a Blog
A blog is an effective platform to share your expertise about dogs and gain the trust of clients before you ask them for a sale. Not sure what to blog about? Luckily for you, there’s plenty of educational content to share about dogs.
As a dog groomer, you can share some insider knowledge on proper grooming and care or dog health. If you’re a dog walker, consider writing about the benefits of regular exercise for dogs of all types.
Anything that a dog owner could benefit from is a suitable topic for a blog post. Not only can blogging help you reach a new audience and nurture their trust, but it can also help your website rank in search engines to give you an organic boost of traffic.
Invest in Pay-Per-Click Advertising
If you have an advertising budget, local print ads are one way to go. But have you considered digital ads like pay-per-click?
In pay-per-click, you pay a platform every time a user clicks on your ad. The 2 most common platforms to do PPC on are social media (like Facebook and Instagram) and Google.
Google Ads for Dog Services
When people search for key terms on Google, you can pay to have your website appear at the top of the search results. The cost per click will vary depending on how competitive your key term is. Typical words for dog services can include:
- ‘Dog waste removal in [your city name]’
- ‘Best dog sitter in [your city name]’
- ‘Dog groomers near me’
You can direct on-line shoppers who click on your ad to a custom landing page with a BOOK NOW button taking them to a PodiumIO Real-Time Pricing Booking Page making it super easy for them to get personalized pricing, enter their customer info, schedule an appointment and pay. By redirecting online shoppers who are ready to buy – remember, they’re searching for your service – directly to a real-time pricing and appointment scheduling page, you’re reducing the number of steps needed for the shopper to make a decision.
This increases their chance of instantly converting to a customer while giving you a better return on investment for your ad spend. In the long run, you can even reduce your ad spend, since you’ll be converting more traffic!
Social Media PPC for Dog Services
Because social media isn’t a search engine, the technique for paid ads is different compared to Google. You can target people based on their interests and location and show them a promotional offer that links back to your website. But it doesn’t end there – you can retarget those who interacted with your ad and your website and show them a different ad based on their behavior. This way, your audience becomes exposed to your brand and are more likely to think of you when they need help with their furry friends.
Create a Referral Program
Our clients most likely have friends who also own dogs. Some clients automatically refer their friends to you for dog services, but not all of them will think of doing this, even if they had a great experience with you.
Create an incentive for them to refer their friends to you and you can effortlessly gain new clients in the process! With each new referral, you gain a chance at a bigger social circle and untapped market – especially if your services are unique in one way or another.
Which brings us to our next point…
Find Your Unique Value Proposition
What sets you apart from your competition? What do you do – or how do you provide dog services – that is unseen or rarely seen in the pet services industry?
If you don’t know, set some time aside to develop this.
For example, do you only use natural dog grooming products? Does your dog sitting business have top-of-the-line installations? Are you the fastest runner in your area and can offer dog running services to keep even the most active dogs healthy?
If you’re not sure, survey your current clientele on what stands out the most about your services. They’ll give you inspiration for what your unique value proposition could be.
Once you have it, make it central to every marketing effort!
Provide Stellar Customer Service
Another way to stand out from your competitors? Go above and beyond for every client. Don’t just stick to the basics. Many of these tips have been about new client acquisition. But client retention is just as important.
For example, you can make it painless for customers to remember their appointments with email and SMS text reminders – either for recurring or one-time bookings. And by providing onsite professional booking confirmations in addition to email and SMS text confirmations, customers feel more confident that they’ve properly booked you, instead of having to call you themselves to make sure.
Additionally, if customers can easily access personalized pricing and book you in less than 60 seconds, they’ll be pleased and more likely to book again!
Make your service a pleasant experience for owners as well as dogs. By doing so, you’ll increase your client retention – and since it costs 5 times more to acquire new clients than to retain one, great customer service is not something you want to skimp on.
Be Present on All Platforms
Yelp, Angie’s list, Google My Business – these are all platforms you should be on. These websites allow existing clients to rate you, and new clients to find you.
Think of it this way – if you’re not on Yelp, but your competitors are, all potential clients who use Yelp to find new pet services will never come across your business. You’ll lose to your competition every time.
Don’t forget to remind clients to give you a rating on these platforms if they appreciated the experience with you. Even if you provide the best possible service for their dogs, clients don’t always think about giving reviews when not asked directly. And if you already provide excellent dog services, clients should be more than happy to help you out.
Make it Easy to Book You
Do your clients have to jump through hoops to get an appointment with you? Having a great website designed for online shoppers with a solid real-time pricing and booking system in place for your dog service business doesn’t just help you provide a better experience – it saves you valuable time. Every appointment that is booked on an online platform is time you don’t need to spend chasing clients over the phone or typing up emails.
A frictionless experience is more likely to get clients to actually go through with the booking, as well as earn you word-of-mouth recommendation and returning clients. If they can’t see how much your service costs before booking, or if picking an appointment time is a chore, they may change their minds and move on to the next competitor.
So what makes a positive booking experience?
Make sure your online presence – including your website and social channels – make it easy for a growing number of dog service clients to:
- Instantly access pricing information for their specific needs
- Schedule real-time appointments
- Receive booking confirmations and reminders
- Securely pay online
Not sure how to pull that off? Check out PodiumIO’s fully customizable “All-in-1” business solution for dog walkers, sitters, groomers, and dog poop scoopers.
Grow Your Dog Service Business With These Tips
There are plenty of ways to market a dog service business, and it can feel overwhelming. But these tips do share a few common threads:
- Find a way to stand out from your competition on every platform
- Grow your community and social circle
- Give your clients every reason to choose you and come back every time
The bottom line? Marketing and advertising are just as important as constantly making your clients happy.
From the initial booking of the first service to the moment a client goes home with their furry companion, everything should be as easy as possible for dog owners to get services from you.