In terms of marketing your business I can think of 1 quote: “These times they are a changin’.”
I would actually say they have already changed and to successfully market your business you need to adapt to the new marketing landscape. You’ve heard us talk about adding content, blogging, posting videos etc to up your online presence.
What about the other side of the marketing coin? Is it still important to pound the pavement and get in front of people? Definitely!
But that has changed too! When is the last time you called a number that was printed on a pen?
Pet sitting is a personal business. In addition to creating content on a regular basis, you also need to get out and be active in your community.
To put a face, your face, with your business. That is what builds relationships! Relationships build your business.
Here are specific ways pet sitters around the country have not “pounded the pavement” but instead “interacted with the community”:
Kelley Stewart, owner of Sit-Stay-Play in Muncie, IN.
Kelley takes setting up a booth at a local event to the next level. In addition to great signs, brochures, maybe a treat jar (for both human and canine!) she also offers $5.00 nail trims.
Genius! If you have read the book Youtility by Jay Baer, this is exactly what he is talking about. It’s not just about getting your name in front of your audience, it’s being useful to them!
“But I’m not good at trimming nails and so I have nothing to offer”. Stop that thinking right there. Of course you have something to offer! It doesn’t have to be a nail clip – what kind of information are your clients looking for?
Healthy treats? Talk to someone in town (or in the nearest town or in your online network) that makes healthy treats. They will probably provide you with free samples that you can hand out.
Sarah Bara, owner of Best At Home Pet Sitting in Humble, TX.
Sarah has had great luck with local networking groups including her Chamber of Commerce.
The Chamber is probably the easiest place to start and many have smaller networking groups within the members. They offer continuing education classes, social events – a lot of great ways to support other businesses in your community and to receive support for yours!
An added bonus of meeting other local businesses is when your client asks “do you know a good electrician?” you can say yes! It’s another layer of being helpful to your clients outside of their pets. (Youtility again! Seriously, read the book!)
Carol White, owner of The Furry Godmothers in Frederick, CO.
Carol is a part of a network of local pet sitters who refer clients to each other. Wait, Am I suggesting that you join up with my competition? Yes. Because they are not “competition”.
What if you don’t have availability? What if you want to take your own vacation and need help covering visits? What if someone calls who is just outside of your territory?
If you have an answer other than “no, I’m sorry I can’t help you” to the person who calls for pet sitting; how you you think they are going to react when you can still help them out?
How about when you get a call that says “Carol White told me to call you”. Pretty great huh!
Laura Capra, owner of Keep Me Company Pet Sitting in Longmont, CO.
Laura does a lot of blogging and has figured out a way to get out from behind the computer: Interview pet professionals in your area. Actually, let’s go further: Interview people and businesses in town that your clients may have an interest in.
Start by interviewing your vet. What is a common illness/ailment/issue that pets in your area face? When you write the article, include a link to the vets web site, their phone number, send them an email so they can post your article on their social media sites – see how much potential marketing traction you will get?
This is how you build relationships with vets in town. Not by dropping off pens.
Other community focused articles:
I bet you care for a lot of pets who are on meds correct?
Interview a local pharmacist.
If your dog gets bit by a rattlesnake do you want to rush to a vet clinic that doesn’t carry the anti-venom?
Call all of the clinics in town and ask them.
I bet you have clients that travel correct?
Interview a Travel Consultant (yes, they still exist!)
Is on-line content important? YES!
Is in-person relationship building important? YES!
How do you implement both to create a successful marketing plan? We’d love to hear your stories in the comments!