3 Ways to Market Your Business

Marketing is an essential aspect of just about every business, and a dog walking business is no exception to this. Marketing helps bring in new customers now and in the future. Dog walkers should promote their business in many ways, including while on the job.

Here are three ways dog walking services, their dog walkers, and independent dog walking companies can market their businesses while out and about:

Wear a jacket, shirt, or hat with company logo. When walking dogs, other dog owners will notice the logo and either ask questions about dog walking rates or remember the company name for a future walking need. This may also be a good way for companies to find employees!

Have a logo graphic on a car or van. Many dog walkers, especially those in the suburbs, drive around in their cars or vans to get from one job to the next. When the company logo or graphic is on the vehicle, other drivers will take notice. As always, make sure to drive safely or this marketing method could backfire!

Carry business cards and/or flyers everywhere. This might go without saying, but people often ask for a business card to remember the name of the company. Having business cards at all times will ensure that potential clients will get a card when requested. Some people even like to put a special offer on the business card to make it even more likely that a customer will call when needed. In addition, some restaurants, coffee shops, and even some dog parks allow dog walkers to post their business cards on a service board.

Marketing is important for most businesses to get new clients. While referrals are probably the top source for new customers, these three ideas for marketing while on the job can also help bring in new clients.

Learn More About Your Client Referrals

There are a number of ways dog walking services learn about DogWalker.com. Some companies simply come across our website when they perform a Google search for a specific keyword search term, and others are referred to us by industry trade organizations or friends. Whatever the case is, referrals are very important to the success of this website, and I appreciate every single referral.

I think it’s important to be able to accurately track referrals, and I hope you are tracking yours. I want to know how people learned about this website because it allows me to focus on improving other channels and it allows me to get a good idea of how dog walkers are finding the website. In fact, on the DogWalker.com sign up page, there is a field asking people how they found the website.

In my opinion, dog walkers and services should ask all prospective and new clients how they learned about their service. If they learned about it in Google, for example, it’s a good sign that the company’s website is optimized or that the Google business listing is effective. If a client is referred by another client, it might be nice to say “thank you” for the referral the next time you see that client. It’s always appreciated when people send their friends to you for new business. If a client finds you because of your DogWalker.com listing, I want you to know that you are spending your advertising dollars wisely! You get the idea about why a referral source is so important.

There are many reasons for why it is good to learn about how people were referred, and it’s important to ask. Sometimes people reply to the field on the DogWalker.com sign up form with a vague answer like “Internet.” This isn’t all that helpful because it doesn’t tell me whether they found this website on Google, Bing, Yelp, Facebook, Twitter, or some other Internet based source. I like to ask more questions when I receive these replies because it helps me figure out where I should improve my focus when it comes to getting sign ups.

The next time someone tells you they were referred by the Internet or something else that is vague, it’s a great idea to follow up with them and ask them where on the Internet. If they tell you they were referred by a friend, ask them which friend! I hope your next client is referred to you by DogWalker.com, and if that is the case, I hope you are able to ask them the right questions in order to find that out!

Holiday Tipping For Dog Walkers

Christmas DogsOur dogs can become just like family. Affectionate, loyal and engaging, it’s no wonder that our furry friends find a special place in our hearts. That’s why the dog-walkers we choose to care for them are so important. We trust them with our precious four-legged companions, to be professional and nurturing, and to keep them safe in our absence. So why not say thank you to your dog walker around the holidays? Last year we discussed giving a Christmas tip to a dog walker, and we have more insight to share this year!

What To Tip?

The tip can vary depending on quality of service and length of time the dog walker has worked for you. Typically, it’s advised to tip in the amount of about one week’s pay, and/or give a small gift. But you should not feel at all pressured to give that much if it doesn’t work for your financial situation. A good idea is to set a reasonable budget for this tip that works for you. A small gift, baked goods or a personal note would be thoughtful, appreciated and appropriate, because this is meant to be a thank-you.

What Sort Of Gift To Give?

There are many choices of thoughtful presents to give your dog walker. If you know your they have a book they’ve been meaning to read, a favorite sports team, or a particular hobby, the gift can be tailored for them individually. These can be given in addition to or in lieu of a cash gift. If you’re not sure of what they like, some safe choices are, but not limited to:

  • warm gloves
  • portable coffee mug
  • ear muffs
  • gift cards
  • ear buds
  • baked goods
  • coffee beans and pods or tea
  • wine or alcoholic beverages

Your dog walker has an important job. Walking dogs is so much more than walking around the block tugging on a leash. Dog walkers must be professional, organized individuals who are both dog-lovers and people-oriented. Remember to say thank you to the person who gives your dog exercise and entertainment, and you priceless peace of mind.

Photo: Flickr

Thanksgiving Tips for You and Your Dog

Thanksgiving is almost here! The start of the winter holiday season brings with it the opportunity to spend time with family and friends, expressing thankfulness for their presence in your life. This thankfulness can extend to the pets in your life as well. Below you will find some simple, effective ways to express thankfulness toward your pets.

Don’t Feed Fido Human Fare

Although you may be tempted to share with your pet some of the delicious meals you are enjoying with friends, you should resist doing so. Dogs have very sensitive stomachs, and even a relatively small amount of human food can give him diarrhea, constipation or another unpleasant illness. Pancreatitis is a common condition that dogs get from being fed from the dining room table. The high fat content of human foods causes their pancreas to swell, causing much discomfort. Signs of pancreatitis include lack of appetite, diarrhea and depression.

No Bones Whatsoever

Never, ever feed your pet bones from your table. These bones, especially if they are chicken or turkey bones, can splinter and break while your dog is swallowing them, necessitating an emergency visit to the vet. Additionally, salmonella is occasionally found in the center of the bones of poultry, even when the meat is well-cooked. Keeping these bones away from your pet is an easy way of lessening his chances of becoming sick.

Safety Zone

The presence of new people in your home may cause your pet to experience insecurity. He probably will not appreciate the chaos and noise as much as you do. Try to make a safe haven for your pet somewhere in the house, away from all the traffic and noise. Allow your pet to spend time in the safety zone now so that he can become accustomed to it. If you wait until the day the festivities begin to confine your pet, he may become angry with you.

Thanksgiving And Black Friday Walks

Chances are, you probably will not have time to walk your canine. This is why you should hire a dog walker. Dog walkers ensure that your pet is not lonely and gets the exercise he needs while you are enjoying the holidays. As many dog walkers celebrate Thanksgiving themselves, it is important to book your dog walking appointment well in advance. And maybe you could even tip the dog walker, for taking care of your dog on a holiday.

More dog*tec Locations = Expanded Opportunities to Become a Certified Dog Walker

Publisher’s Note: This is a guest post from Veronica Boutelle, Founder of The dog*tec Dog Walking Academy and an industry consultant for dog-related business owners.]

If you’ve thought about taking your dog walking business to the next level, it’s getting easier and easier. The dog*tec Dog Walking Academy is now in 15 locations and growing. We’re truly thrilled to have such an incredible team of talented and passionate instructors bringing this level of education to walkers across the country.

It used to be that professional walkers looking to elevate their canine knowledge and lend the credibility of certification to their businesses had to travel to the original dog*tec location in San Francisco. Now you can attend the Dog Walking Academy in:

  • Austin, TX
  • Chicago, IL
  • Grand Rapids, MI
  • Indianapolis, IN
  • New York City, NY
  • Murphy, NC
  • Phoenix, AZ
  • San Diego, CA
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Seattle, WA
  • Swanzey, NH

And if you’re out of the States or looking for an excuse to travel:

  • Auckland, New Zealand
  • Effingham, UK
  • Vancouver, BC
  • Wellington, New Zealand

Watch for additional cities as dog*tec continues to find instructors able to live up to the high standards of the program. 2015 will see the addition of classes in Calgary, Portland, Utah City, Toronto, and Sao Paulo, Brazil.

For more information on the dog*tec Dog Walking Academy program and instructors, visit http://dogtec.org/dogwalkingacademy.php