Marcus Sheridan signing copies of Youtility

Marcus Sheridan signs copies of Youtility for attendees at the 2013 PetSittingOlogy Conference!

About this time last year, a book came across my radar that has literally changed the way I run my business.

It had such a powerful and profound impact on me that I purchased 40 copies of the book to give away to our 2013 conference attendees.

The book is called Youtility, and it continues to be the guiding way I choose to operate.

Why?

First, look at the book’s tagline: “Why smart marketing is about help not hype”

Did you catch that? Help. Not hype.

Sadly, much of what we do as business owners tends to fall into the hype category more often than not.

Want an example of HYPE?

“Looking for a pet sitter in Seattle? Book today and save 20%!”

Want an example of HELP?

Keep reading to see how one local restaurant owner blew me away this week.

It’s no surprise that I am a big fan of both Youtility’s author, Jay Baer, and the man who wrote the book’s forward, Marcus Sheridan.

What did surprise me, however, is when I experienced Youtility in action from a customer point-of-view.

The Private Message Heard Around The World.

Here is what happened.

Earlier this week, my complete household (my wife, daughter, and me) found ourselves under the weather.

We could barely get out of bed, and even something as simple as preparing lunch seemed like a painful task.

My wife is part of our local neighborhood Facebook group.

She innocently posted this request on the board:

Facebook screenshot

Fred & Murry’s is a Kosher Deli about 7 miles from our home.

A mere 12 minutes after posting this on Facebook, my wife, Heather, receives a private message from the owner of Fred & Murray’s, offering the following:

Facebook screenshot

Say wha?!

After the initial amazement and OMG moment passed, it hit me:

This was textbook use of the Youtility concept!

The owner of the deli saw an opportunity to help in a way that would make the biggest impact possible.

He was also securing a customer, and brand ambassador, for life.

Ask yourself these 2 questions…

1) If and when we are in the mood for Deli in the future, where are we going to go?

2) And how many people do you think we shared this story with? (Many!)

“You know Fred & Murray’s? Well, you’ll never believe this…”

Do you think if we simply ordered lunch, ran out to pick it up, and enjoyed it at our table there would be anything to share with anyone willing to listen?

Of course not. It would have become just another fine lunch.

Now, however, we have an incredibly generous and helpful story to share boosting the credibility and awareness of Fred & Murray’s.

Youtility For Pet Care Professionals

Can you imagine achieving the same result in your pet business? Whether you are a pet sitter, dog walker, cat sitter, dog groomer, dog trainer or other pet care professional, these ‘rules’ apply.

How incredible would it be for you to make such an impact on a pet parent in your community that she is amazed at your action?

How can you use the concepts and ideas explored in Youtility in your own pet sitting business to achieve a similar result?

How can you help your community of pet parents in a way that goes above and beyond all expectations.

And in a way that asks for nothing in return? And in a way that allows the recipient of the help to become a lifelong fan and ambassador of your business?

Think of (literally) all of the benefits you will receive from this approach.

Imagine never having to worry about or compete on price again.

(Do you think my wife and I will now care about saving a few dollars off of a ‘turkey on rye’ sandwich from another Deli?)

The First Step in Youtility for Your Business

How do you begin to put Youtility in place?

Before anything else, get the book! You can get it for next to nothing in a wide variety of preferred formats (hard cover, audio, kindle…) and you can even read a free chapter.

OK, now how do you use this in your business?

First, you listen. Find places where your ideal clients are already communicating online and listen to what they are saying or asking for.

Listen for a problem or issue they are having that you can help with.

  • Is someone looking for a dog groomer you can recommend in their area?
  • Is someone trying to figure out how to properly trim her dog’s nails?
  • Is someone asking what raw food diet she may consider for her pet?
  • Is someone asking about the best breed for her new grandchild?
  • Is someone asking if you can really train a cat to use the toilet?
  • Is someone asking how to travel with their pet? Or where to stay with their pet when travelling?

This is the perfect place to offer your advice or insight.

Want to take things a step further?

When appropriate, offer to send someone your copy of the book that changed your life. Or send them that perfect leash or collar you no longer use.

Get you imagination going here. For a tiny investment, you can make a world of impact, at the right time.

Look in your local Facebook groups, or other pet related groups for conversation. Look in forums or message boards where pet parents are talking.

Engage your current clientèle in appropriate dialogue to see what other needs or concerns they have and where you may help.

Remember, in order for this to effectively work, you need to put any reference to your company or “sale” out of the equation. Simply offer the help. You are not directly looking or asking for anything in return at this time.

Bottom Line: This does not even begin to scratch the surface at what bringing the idea of Youtility to your pet business will do for your bottom line.

If you have not explored Youtility, get excited. This may very well change your entire business model.

Everybody is doing it… even my lil daughter, Danica!

Danica reading Youtility

Over To You

Have you read the book? What ideas can you use in your pet business to HELP those in your community?


  • Anthony

    Excellent post and kudos to Fred & Murray too!

    • Joshua Cary

      Thanks, Anthony! And I would add kudos to Jay & Marcus ;)

  • daniel rose

    Thank you.. for sharing it.. I am also running a pet business. This guide will be really helpful for me.

  • kristinsk9

    Hi Josh, As I read this I am reminded of a local FB group that I belong to. A lady had posted that her husband was on disability and money was very tight that month. She has 4 cats and they needed food. I responded to her request and met her at a local Walmart. She picked out cat food and cat litter and we walked to the checkout and I paid for it for her. Since then she referred potential clients my way and praised my business. I was humbled to help her at her time of need.

    • Joshua Cary

      That’s Youtility at its best, and it paid off for you! Good job!

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