Whether you’re just starting out or have been in business for a while, sometimes your budget doesn’t always allow for those big marketing bucks. But with the Internet and social media, you don’t need a massive marketing budget to generate new dog training clients.
Even if you’re not a marketing guru, you can still create an awesome marketing strategy with ZERO dollars! From SEO optimization to social media marketing, you’ll find that these 5 tips can help you create a topnotch marketing strategy and draw in new clients.
SEO or search engine optimization is the process of updating your website so that it will rank higher in a Google search. Every day potential clients are turning to Google with questions on how to train their pet. Which means you are in a unique position to center yourself as a top search result and thought leader of your industry.
While you can pay for someone to “optimize” your website, the reality is that you don’t need to pay someone hundreds of dollars to do this simple task. The best way to optimize your website is to do a Googe search for yourself! A simple search can help you better understand what people in your area are looking for. Some common SEO terms to include throughout your website are
- dog training near me
- dog trainers in my area
- dog training
- dog trainer
- dog training cost
Remember that these terms are considered “keywords” and do not have to be written in the same way you typed in your search. Here are two examples of a bad versus a good example of an SEO-style sentence:
“If you are looking for dog training near me then you’ve found your trainer!”
“Are you tired of searching for dog training in your area?”
See how the “good” example is still legible and grammatically correct. The keywords of “dog” “training” and “area” will show your site in a search result regardless of the order. SEO sounds fancy but it’s actually quite easy once you get the hang of it.
You’re probably so sick of hearing about how awesome social media is, especially if it’s not really working for you. However, social media is a powerful tool to find potential clients in your area, as well as helping you reach a wider audience with your expertise. If you’re finding less than stellar results on social media, then it’s time to take a look at what you are and aren’t doing.
First, you absolutely need to be using hashtags. Look for tags that have 100,000 or more tags organized under that specific tag. Next, be sure that you’re using hashtags that are relevant to your local area. Finally, be sure that you’re using general relevant hashtags. You can use hashtags for the weekday, dog specific breeds, specific trick, etc.
Hashtags are a great way to organize your awesome original content and connect with others in your field and area. If you don’t like the way hashtags make your posts look cluttered, simply create a separate comment to leave the hashtags under. Use at minimum 10 hashtags per post. Don’t forget to like and comment on other’s posts! It’s not called “social” media for no reason!
Social media is a great way to create an informal network of non-competing providers in your area. For example, building a relationship with your local veterinarians is an easy and common way for new dog trainers to build and generate a blossoming client list. Even if you live in a large city, vets like to have a rotating list of dog trainers in the area to send their clients to.
Additionally, in order to stand out in a larger city or competitive market, you can choose a special area of expertise. Fashioning yourself as the “go-to” expert within your community for specific areas can help you generate new clients with these issues.
Finally, another way to stand out is to offer a wide variety of services. While some veterinarians may see a lot of the same common, “niche” specific problems with dogs, other vets may be looking for a dog training who trains it all! Do some research in your area to find out what dog owners are looking for in your area and fashion your model after the needs in your community.
Partner with Local Non-Pet Businesses
When it comes to marketing, you never want to think small. Building relationships with all types of businesses in your community can help increase your chances of generating new clients. With so many businesses allowing pets into their facilities, this opens new opportunities for you to offer training classes.
Coffee shops, breweries, restaurant patios, etc. are all places where dogs are often brought along. However, not every dog is trained to handle stimulating environments. Which is where you come in! You can offer unique training classes like “coffee shop etiquette” or “patio etiquette.” It’s up to you whether you’d like to offer these as a free class to promote your business or charge a small fee.
Partner with a Shelter
Shelter dogs are just as sweet and deserving of a loving home as non-shelter dogs. However, many people steer away from them because of the assumption that they’re not as “well trained.” But as a dog trainer, you know that every dog is trainable and sometimes it’s not even the dog, it’s the owner. Partnering with a shelter is a great way to promote your business and promote the adoption of shelter dogs.
Consider offering post-adoption services that help hesitant adopters to commit to a loving and wonderful pet. You can offer quick services for free that new pet-parents can use when they get home or multi-day paid classes.
Marketing your new business isn’t limited by your bank account, but simply by your ability to get creative! With a number of different and free tools out there, you can create a marketing strategy that helps dogs in your area and you live out your passion!