Finding New clients is hard — here are some tips to get you started.
A dog training business isn’t a business unless you have clients.
But once you’ve exhausted your personal network (and those of your mom and your great aunt Sue), how do you find clients? And how do you find *enough* clients to go from “just surviving” to truly thriving?
While the right mix of marketing tactics is likely to be a little different for every business, below are 10 marketing tactics for you to test out for your business.
Go to www.helpareporter.com to sign up!
Visit “Dog Places”
You can also join your local Better Business Bureau and local Chamber of Commerce — they often add you to a directory on their site with a link back to your website (good for SEO!). Finally, look for local dog walking groups (Meetup.com is a good place!) and if you find one that looks active, consider contacting the organizer and offer a lesson, demo or seminar for the group!
Parks (especially dog parks), outside shopping centers, and even places like Lowes or Home Depot are great places to work on generalizing behaviors, and I’ve yet to go out with a bait bag and clicker without someone stopping me to ask if I’m a trainer, and even without a shirt that says so, I was often asked for information!
I used to offer several “out and about” classes — including a loose leash walking class, a advanced recalls class (we used long lines), and a advanced version of Denise Fenzi’s Beyond the Backyard class (she offers the instructor’s guide for free).
Take a bit of footage before you start working — things like a dog jumping up, a dog lunging for a treat in your hand, or a dog pulling on lead all make good before and afters — and then once you’ve taught 4 on the floor, leave it, or loose leash walking, take another video. If you want to make the video look even better, pay for a quick video intro via Fiverr.com and put that at the beginning of your video.
Want to learn more about before and after videos?
Check out our article on why they work and find out how to create them.
A word of caution, however — you don’t want to offer your services at a discount too often or it can have a negative impact on how people perceive your business. But once or twice won’t hurt — and may be just what you need to jumpstart a new seminar or get a boost in business.
These ads then show up in a users Facebook timeline, just like an update from a friend. Not sure how to get started? Here’s a great Facebook Guide from Neil Patel!
First, when people land on your website, it gives them a chance to get to know a little about how you think, and helps you to gain their trust — it showcases your expertise.
Second, it’s good for helping people find your site — the more articles you have, the more pages Google can crawl; this helps them better understand what your site is about AND gives them more potential pages they can show someone searching for a topic relevant to your business.
And finally, if you write something and people like what they read, they might share it, exposing you to a whole new group of potential customers.
Maybe there’s a local parenting blog — you could write an article about pets and small children or preparing a dog before a baby is born. Maybe a local cafe offers doggie treats at the counter, and would like a post on teaching pets good manners for public places.
Once you find a likely site, send them an email with your idea — just be sure to personalize it, based on what you learned looking at their site, so that they know you’re not a spammer.
An email newsletter is a great way to increase registrations. Used correctly (more on that soon!) an email newsletter can be your secret weapon. There are a ton of free or low-cost options out there — for beginners, Mailchimp is often a good choice, or if you’re looking for more functionality, ConvertKit, Drip, or GetResponse (what I use here) are also all great options that also come with a bit of marketing automation.
The key with marketing is NOT to do ALL the things, but to do the *right* things — work smarter, not harder. After all, your marketing should work for you — you shouldn’t have to work all the time on your marketing.
Have a question or want to share a tactic that’s worked for you? Leave a comment below!
Learn which marketing tactics work best for dog trainers like you — and get notified of new posts!
Last year I surveyed over 100 dog trainers on the marketing tactics they’d tried… and compiled those result in an easy-to-read report!
Click the button below and sign up now and you’ll get the download right away plus future emails anytime I publish a new blog post!