Tag Archives: promotion ideas

Ideas to Promote your Dog Walking Business

In the early days of your business and possibly throughout the life of the business, you may want to offer promotions to acquire new customers. Here are some ideas to start you off.

New Customer Discounts?

Ideas to Promote your Dog Walking BusinessOne of the easiest ways of encouraging new customers is to offer a new customer discount such as a 20% discount for any new customer when they book their first ten walks or book five walks and get a 6th walk free.  The great thing about a dog walking business is that most of your clients become long-term clients, so giving away some of your profit in the early days with a new client is generally recouped very quickly.

You could also offer a loyalty card, similar to those seen in your local coffee shops. These are pretty easy to make yourself, and you just stamp or sign the clients’ card every time they have their dog walked. Once the card is full, give them a free dog walk and a new card – this will keep customers coming back for more and more.

Word of Mouth

When you have a few clients and you do a good job for them, they will in turn become your greatest advocates. So why not ask them to ask their dog-owning friends if they need a dog walker? Then, if you get a new client, give both the new client and the current client a discount of some sort – after all, you wouldn’t have a new client if it wasn’t for your current client.

You could also offer seasonal discounts – such as ‘Black Friday’ discounts for all new clients.

For other Ideas to promote your dog walking business, think about what you could do by way of promotions to get new clients and try them out as soon as you can. If they work, then do more of them to build up your client base. If what you try doesn’t work out, then try something else.  With these sorts of offers you have lost nothing but a little time.

Flyers

Ideas to Promote your Dog Walking Business 2Where should you advertise? Where should you drop flyers? The simple answer is everywhere, but most importantly everywhere your customers are likely to be.  Some of your perfect clients will work in offices and they could read your flyer on their office notice board and take action. Just one leaflet on an office notice board equals potentially dozens of clients. Other less obvious places to place your flyers are libraries, banks, post offices, convenience stores, gyms and kindergartens.

And here is a list of the obvious places you should also leave them:  Dog trainers (who you do not compete with), pet stores, dog groomers and vets.

As mentioned earlier, your current customers will become your best advocates The best and cheapest form of marketing is word of mouth – it costs nothing and works the best of all.  Do a good job for your clients and they will naturally promote your business for you. To help that process along in the meantime and reach a wider audience, you can ask for and use testimonials. Testimonials will re-enforce your trustworthiness and reliability.

With all your marketing, you constantly need to monitor your efforts. See what works and what doesn’t then do more of the stuff that works for your dog walking business.

For even more Ideas to promote your dog walking business, see this article: Free and Low cost ways to promote your Dog Walking Business

 Dog Walking CompanyDo you believe? There are no compromises on this one.  You need to believe in yourself if you want to be successful in your Dog Walking Company – after all if you don’t believe in your business, neither  will your customers?  When planning your business, make sure you include some milestones to celebrate your success, small and big – a milestone for getting your first customer might be to treat yourself to that new CD you want, or when you get your tenth customer treat your partner to a nice meal out.  Planning and reaching these ‘milestones’ will reinforce your self- belief on a regular basis.

Stand out from the crowd

Being unique and original is the best way to stand out from the competition, you don’t need to be completely ‘off the wall’ but you do need to do something that helps you stand out and is in keeping with your brand.  Can you offer a service that none of the competition offer?  Can you offer extra added services (example: free obedience reinforcement)?  Is yours simply the greatest website, that knocks the completion into a cocked hat!  Stand out from the crowd.

Keep Flexible

Dog Walking CompanyWhile it is always important to have short and long term goals as part of your overall business plan, and a strategy in place to reach them, it is also important to be flexible, particularly with your strategy.  This means listening to your clients (and prospective clients).  Let’s say for example that you offer a variety of different services within your Dog Walking Company, such as group walks, solo walks, kenneling, doggie day care, jogging dogs, small animal sitting, etc. etc. all with different price bands.  Now you might think, yes with all these services I can ensure different income streams coming into my business and at the same time offer a whatever my clients might require.  This might be true, but what also might equally be true is that some clients (especially those visiting your website who might be overwhelmed by the choices and differing payment plans) could skip off to the completion, where the pricing and services are simpler.  At the end of the day you need to work your plan, but be prepared to change to reach your goals – especially if your customers are telling you to.

Test what works and what doesn’t

If you have come across the 80/20 rule before—also known as the Pareto principle—you might know that 80 % of the results come from 20% of your actions. This principle applies to your Dog Walking Company.  So to balance out the time you spend promoting your business, you need to test what works well in promoting your business in your local area.   For example: You might get 4 new customers from forging relationships with your local vets, but only 1 new customer from the large leaflet drop you did.    The relationship building maybe only took up 20% of the time you have been using for promotion, but you got 4 new customers!   Monitoring how and what you do with your time and the result you achieve from it will stop you wasting both time and money.  Concentrate on the 20% of promotion that gets you 80% of your customers.  So in this example concentrate on building relationships with your local vets.

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Dog Walking Service WebsiteYou need the essentials when running a  successful dog walking business, safe transport, being  well organized, and great customer communication  with both your human and dog clients – but before all of that you need to attract your customers  in the first place, and one of the best ways to do that is with a professional and great looking Dog Walking Service Website.

Why do you need a website?  Well, where do the majority of people turn to when they want to research something (prior to buying a product or a service) – the vast majority go to Google (or another search engine) – and that’s where you need to be found to create a great first impression.

Of course you could use Facebook and Twitter to in place of a formal website, and whilst these social media tools are great in their own right, your own website will give you more flexibility about how you present your business. A professional website boosts your credibility and draws in more customers through organic search traffic.

Here are a top 5 ways your can take your dog walking service website to the next level

Build your customer base with the power of Google

When your prospective customers are looking for someone to walk their dogs for the first time - how do they find you?  It could be word-of-mouth from a friend, or they have seen one of your flyers or they have searched and found you on the Internet (searching for ‘Dog Walking Services’ in your home town) – in the end it doesn’t really matter how people find you, as long as they do and it is easy for them.

Having a website in place dramatically increases your online visibility. And if your service is one of the first few results to appear for “Dog Walking Service [your town],” new customers will find you easily on their own.

Keep the competition at bay!

Using free social networking sites such as Facebook are fine, but they have to make money somehow, and part of the way they create revenue is with advertising.  So, if you a have a Facebook page for your business, you might find ads from your competitors showing up on the side, so if you do have a Facebook page make sure it is directing them to your website where you have complete control over the customers experience and what they see.

Create interesting content on your website

When you are setting up your website always remember the job your website has to do – get you more customers!

A few of the rules when it comes to making your website are:

  1. Keep it simple.  Work out  your website on paper before you even start building it, what are the main pages you will need (about page, services, prices etc.), this applies if you are building your website from scratch yourself, or you are getting someone to build it for you (even more important).
  2. Use good quality bright photos, throughout the site, these will break up any text and give the site a more balanced look, no-one likes to read a load of text if they are shopping around, keep the text relevant and concise.
  3. Keep the layout of the pages clean and easy on the eye; don’t clutter them up with different colors and sizes of fonts, or adverts all over the place distracting the viewers from the main content of your site.
  4. Most importantly, let people know who you are, share your ‘story’ and background; a dog walking business is based on trust, and the more a prospective customer knows about you the more they will trust you, tell them what your experience is with dogs and why you set up the business, this will all help to build the relationship.  Along with telling your story, let other people tell your story; as soon as you can gather reviews of your service and place them prominently on the website. When people visit your website they should get a sense of who you are and what your dog walking business can offer them.

You decide the rules

Dog Walking Service WebsiteUnlike when you use Facebook or Twitter for your online presence, using your own website puts you in charge.  If Facebook suddenly changes its terms and conditions/or design or you can no longer post your updates to your Facebook page for some reason then you are out in the cold – not so with your own website.  With your own website you decide how it looks and what you put on it – you make the rules, this gives you complete control over building your brand.

Show new clients what you have to offer

A website isn’t an all-in-one solution that will magically have clients queuing up at your door (dogs at hand) —the hard part is up to you. Creating a base of loyal clients is all about the quality of your communications, the services you offer, and your power to connect with people.

However, a website does serve as an online version of your dog walking service where people can get to know you and see what you have to offer. And most importantly, your website is an opportunity for you to show your customers that you’re doing something different (or better) than anyone else in your area.

Keep in touch with Dog Walking HQ to learn more about how to set up a successful website and some of the easiest and most cost effective ways to develop an online presence for you dog walking business. See our Resources page for a list of tools to help get you get started.